It’s unavoidable now that Halloween is over… Christmas is just around the corner. I’m looking forward to sharing some favourite recipes over the next couple of months and hearing about what you all are cooking for Christmas!
I really want to thank you all for your support this year with ‘whatannabelcooks’ – whether you were one of the 28 women that attended one of my paleo cooking classes (we raised just over $800 for daughtersofcambodia.org), ‘liked’ one of my recipes on Facebook or Instagram, opened the email you receive with each blog post or just generally support and encourage me, I really do appreciate it. It’s been a big year on a number of fronts, so thank you.
I am experimenting with selling what has become my ‘famous’ (in my own lunchbox I know!) Christmas Rocky Road. It falls deadset within the ‘treat’ category and is not paleo (although IS gluten free) but is a well deserved decadent splurge for the Christmas season. Unfortunately they can’t be shipped so only available to my Brisbane peeps.
I’ve had to order a carton of ring tins so feel free to pass around to a few friends if you think they might be keen. Orders will need to be in ASAP and preferably by end of November and available for collection anytime from next week until 18 December. There are a variety of sizes so could make great teacher gifts/neighbour gifts and the large ones would look fabulous as the centre piece for your Christmas party or dessert table on Christmas Day.
If you want an order form, please send me an email to email@example.com and I’ll send you one.
Turkish delight is something I’ve come to love over the last few years. I didn’t like it as a kid, I think because my only experience of it was biting into the last chocolates left in the Roses Chocolate box or the bars of chocolate coated turkish delight. Now I’ve come to see it as the treat used by the White Witch to tempt Edmund in The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe…. ie tempting! Generally I tend to buy it at Christmas time to put in my rocky road, but I gave into temptation recently and had a container beckoning me in the fridge.
I had been looking for inspiration on Pinterest for turkish delight desserts as my husband is currently chocolate free, I had the turkish delight in the fridge and we had friends coming for dinner. Not only did Pinterest inspire me to cook, it inspired me to try hard to make it look pretty too. This dessert is so feminine and delicate that it would be very suited to a ladies lunch or high tea. But don’t be put off if you want men to eat it too as my husband was raving about it (even though declaring that turkish delight is usually too sweet for him). The strawberries in the ice cream really tones down the sweetness of the custard.
So, with fresh inspiration added to a basic vanilla ice cream recipe, may I present my Pretty Persian rose ice cream.
Pretty Persian rose ice cream
Serves 8-10 depending on how greedy you are 😉
- 2 cups full fat milk
- 2 cups thickened cream
- 3/4 cup castor sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 5 egg yolks
- 1-2 tsp rosewater (according to taste)
- 1/2 cup pistachios roughly chopped
- 2 large pieces of turkish delight chopped into small cubes (it helps to have the pieces refrigerated before chopping and to keep dusting with icing sugar so they aren’t too sticky)
- 1 punnet (250g) strawberries – pureed
- pretty things to decorate eg more diced turkish delight, dried rose petals, silver or other coloured cashous, Persian fairy floss (though check it’s GF), finely chopped pistachios.
- Whisk together milk, cream, half the sugar, salt and vanilla in a medium saucepan over a medium heat and bring almost to the boil.
- Meanwhile whisk (it’s easier with a hand held mixer) the egg yolks and remaining sugar until thickened and pale.
- When the milk mixture is hot, whisk a ladle full into the egg mix and then repeat with another ladle or 2.
- Pour egg mix into milk mix and stir continuously over medium heat with a wooden spoon until thickened and coats the back of the spoon. DON’T let it come to the boil or it will cook the egg and the mix will curdle.
- Stir in the pureed strawberries.
- Stir in rosewater to taste (depending on how strong a rosewater taste you like).
- Pour into container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Just before pouring into your ice cream machine, stir through pistachios and turkish delight cubes.
- Churn and serve immediately or place in freezer until you wish to serve.
- To serve, scoop ice cream into bowl and decorate creatively, or you could put the decorations in little bowls and have your guests decorate their own.
If you’re looking for a dinner party hit, here it is. No one will notice the lack of gluten!
Chocolate almond torte
- 1 cup ground almonds (almond meal)
- 4 large eggs – separated (room temperature)
- 200g dark chocolate
- 150g unsalted butter (I suspect you could use coconut oil for DF)
- 150g (3/4C) white sugar (or better sugar alternative eg coconut palm sugar)
- 1/2tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4tsp cream tartar
- cream/ice-cream/berries for serving.
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F and line a 20cm/8″ springform tin.
- Melt chocolate and butter in a stainless steel bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat.
- Place eggs yolks and 1/2C/100g of the sugar in a bowl and mix with your electric mixer until pale and thick.
- Beat in the melted chocolate & butter, vanilla.
- Fold in the almond meal.
- In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and keep whisking until soft peaks form. Gradually sprinkle the remaining 1/4C/50g sugar and whisk until stiff peaks.
- Quickly and gently fold the egg white mix into the chocolate mix.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake 40-50 mins until cooked. The top will ‘drop’ and crack as it cools.
- Serve warm or cold with berries and cream/ice-cream.
Enjoy! The original recipe can be found at Joy of Baking.
Recently when I was visiting my family over Easter, Mum made slow roasted duck. She made this version
and it was beautiful, so tender! Last night, we had friends over and I made the version below but forgot to take a photo! I didn’t have any orange/juice hence the switch to the ‘soy’ version.
2kg-ish whole duck, rinsed
1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coconut aminos/tamari/soy
2 cups water
1 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil/olive oil/butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 175C/350F.
- In a small bowl mix together mix together the basil, ginger, salt and 1/4C coconut aminos or substitute and rub mixture all over the duck. Place it into a roasting dish with a lid.
- Add water.
- In a small saucepan combine the honey, coconut oil/butter, lemon juice and remaining 1/4 C coconut aminos. Simmer together over low heat until syrupy; pour a little of the mixture over the duck, saving the rest for basting. Cover dish.
- Bake/roast duck for 30 minutes. Turn duck breast down, reduce heat to 150C/300F and roast covered for another 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until very tender. If desired, turn duck breast up during last few minutes of cooking, to brown.
- Once removed and cooled slightly you can pull all the meat of the carcass.
- Serve with side of your choice (eg warm sweet potato and herb salad) and pour over some of the syrup.
Serves about 4-6.
NB: I made this ahead of time and once I removed all the meat and got rid of the carcass, I left the juices/fat in the pan, and put it in the fridge for a few hours. The fat the solidified and I scraped the fat off, threw it out and then put the meat back in the juice to warm just before serving.
NB for AIP or paleo use the coconut aminos and coconut/olive oil.
We just finished this sensational dinner and so I just had to share it with you all! Eye fillet steak cooked to perfection by my hubby, topped with mushrooms (they are hiding a bit in this photo) and sweet potato spiral crisps. It was served with a simple green salad on the side. The crunch of the sweet potato makes this a complete winner for either an ‘above average’ mid week dinner, or a great meal for entertaining!
This recipe serves 2.
- 2 eye fillets or steak of your choice
- 300g sliced mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbspn olive oil
- 1 Tbspn vegetable stock concentrate
- 1 Tbspn coconut aminos or soy sauce (if you can have it)
- 1 med sweet potato
- 2 Tbspn coconut oil
- Fry onion and garlic in olive oil. Add mushrooms and vegetable stock and cook until the mushrooms are soft.
- Add coconut aminos/soy sauce and stir though.
Sweet potato crisps
- Create spirals from the sweet potato using a spirialiser. (see picture below)
- Toss in coconut oil.
- Spread out on lined baking tray and bake in the oven (180C/350F) for 25 mins or until they have turned crispy but not burnt. You may need to toss them around mid-bake so the edge bits don’t burn.
- Grill or panfry your steak to your liking whilst the sweet potatoes and mushrooms are cooking.
Place the steak on the plate, top with mushrooms and sweet potato crisps and serve with a green salad. YUM!
This is my spiraliser – you can buy on eBay or I got mine from local farmers markets.
I’ve already revealed my rocky road secret but for this year’s twist – buckinis. If you’ve been reading my posts recently you will have noticed these little things have come up a fair bit as I have been trying to avoid nuts and seeds but love to have ‘crunch’ in my food. Buckini’s are apparently technically a fruit and come from the buckwheat family. They are gluten free too.
So to make a completely gluten free, nut free rocky road without compromising on crunch or taste I have employed my new friend, buckinis instead of my usual slivered almonds.
Continue reading rocky road buckini ball (gluten/grain/nut free)
The gingerbread house is a relatively new introduction into our family Christmas tradition. The kids love to decorate and eat it, so I’m happy for it to stay! The first year we made one was about 3 years ago and was one of the ready made kits – it ‘worked’ but tasted awful so the next year I came across the box of cutters and as I already had a fantastic gingerbread recipe from my friend Juliet I have just done this one the last few years. This year’s one is made from spelt flour as one of my kids is better with that than wheat flour. This recipe is certainly not GF, but it’s a spectacular Christmas treat and makes a sensational centrepiece for any Christmas meal or party.
Continue reading gingerbread house
I’m not one for secrets, but if I was, this would be the one I would keep! My rocky road is, I think, the best rocky road, and I honestly don’t say that about a lot of my things, as I know many others do far better other ‘things’. I think it’s the best because it’s about lashing out on the quality ingredients and keeping it simple. I love the crunch of toasting the nuts and coconut.
I will post separately the recipe with a twist (nut free/gluten free).
Here is the secret revealed….
Continue reading annabel’s rocky road… the secret revealed
I love the idea serving a whole fish for a dinner party. We’ve done it a few times for Christmas with salmon which is my all time favourite fish. We had some friends for dinner last weekend and the fishmonger recommended ‘Gold Band Snapper’ – it was sensational served with salad and potato bake.
I must admit that it’s my husband who actually does ALL the BBQ cooking in our house, so whilst I hunted, gathered and prepared, the credit for the cooking goes to him.
Served with my family heirloom fish knives and forks makes for a very special meal.
Continue reading whole BBQ thai flavoured snapper
With Christmas upon us, we are all looking for an easy but outstanding nibble for guests. Family and friends will love to nibble these nuts! They are what I called them – hot, sweet & salty! The recipe is from the Union Square Cafe, New York – they are called their ‘bar nuts’.
- 2-3 cups mixed natural nuts
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1/2 tspn cayenne pepper (the ‘hot’)
- 2 tspns brown sugar (the ‘sweet’)
- 2 tspn Maldon or other sea salt (the ‘salty’)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- Warm the nuts on a baking tray in the oven (180C) for 10 mins.
- Melt the butter in a large bowl and stir in the hot, sweet and salty!
- Toss the nuts in the butter mix.
- Serve warm.
* could try tossing in ghee for true paleo version