Lemon & Basil Truffles

Lemon & Basil Truffles

I love to use savoury flavours in desserts, and in these truffles the basil compliments the lemon really well. They are perfect to finish off a dinner or to give as a gift. Put them in a pretty glass jar and tie a ribbon around the neck… people always appreciate something that you have made yourself!

Ingredients

200g creamed coconut (or coconut butter, not coconut oil)
zest of 3 lemons
30ml lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp organic stevia leaf powder
pinch of organic vanilla powder or 2 drops vanilla extract
1 tbsp baobab powder
pinch of himalayan salt
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
about 40g cacao butter
an empty egg carton and toothpicks

Method

Place all the ingredients except the basil and cacao butter into a food processor. Process until well combined. Then add the chopped basil and pulse to combine. If the mixture is very soft you can refrigerate it until it firms up. Take about a heaped teaspoon of mixture at a time and use your palms to roll it into a neat ball. Place on a plate as you go. You should get about 21 truffles. Place them in the freezer to harden.

In a small saucepan, gently melt the cacao butter (don’t be alarmed that it turns brown as it melts, this is normal.) You will need to melt more cacao butter than what you actually end up using – simply allow the remainder to set again and return to the packet. Spear a truffle onto a toothpick and then dip it into the melted cacao butter, swirling to remove any excess and ensure an even coating.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 2

Then stick the other end of the toothpick into an empty egg carton, allowing the cacao butter to set.

Lemon & Basil Truffles 3

Repeat with all the truffles. Once they have set you can give them a second coating if you like, and then keep them refrigerated. This is actually the first time I’ve made truffles in years and I really enjoyed the process, but if this seems like too much hard work for you, you can omit the last step of coating them in cacao butter!

Health & happiness 🙂

Love,
Raine

Tarragon & Grape Salad

tarragon salad

Growing up my mom used to make a chicken dish with a tarragon cream sauce, using dried tarragon. It was one of my favourites, so tarragon is a familiar flavour to me. But I’ll never forget the first time I tasted fresh tarragon – it was at Angela Hartnett’s London restaurant, Murano. It took me a good few minutes to identify the salad ingredient as fresh tarragon… I couldn’t believe the intensity of the flavour which, while obviously similar to dried tarragon, had a unique note all of its own. It was a feeling of dèja vu.

I don’t often find fresh tarragon in Joburg, but much to my joy, the Organic Emporium gets in a delivery of organic fresh tarragon every now and then. The slightly liquorice flavour pairs very well with sweet, white grapes, of which we have an abundance in South Africa right now.

I had this salad with a fillet of hot-smoked salmon. A perfect hot summer’s day lunch.

Ingredients (to serve 1)

a handful of fresh tarragon
a handful of wild rocket
a few leaves of fresh basil, torn
a handful of white grapes
a handful of cocktail tomatoes, sliced in half
2 spring onions, finely sliced
a handful of sugar snap peas, sliced
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
extra virgin olive oil
pomegranate concentrate (or organic red wine vinegar, or fresh lemon juice)

Method

Combine all the ingredients. Dress with a drizzle of olive oil and pomegranate concentrate. Season to taste with himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Tri-colour Roasted Pepper Salad

roast pepper salad

My mom used to make something similar to this when I was growing up and it was one of my favourite salads. Roasting the peppers and then removing the skin gives them a lovely silky texture. This makes a great accompaniment to a big family Sunday lunch, or is filling enough as a meal on its own.

Ingredients (enough for a table salad, or serves 2 as a meal)

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
1 green bell pepper
1 tin organic chickpeas, rinsed well
about 20 olives (I used Blue Sky Organics chilli-stuffed olives for an extra kick, available at Organic Emporium)
2 tbsp of the liquid from the olives
2 tbsp capers
4 large cloves of garlic, minced
a small handful of fresh basil, torn
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp himalayan salt
juice of 1/2 a lemon (about 2 tbsp)
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Preheat the grill in your oven and then place the peppers about 10 – 15cm under the grill. Allow the skin to bubble and blacken (takes about 10 minutes) and then turn them to do the next side. Continue until the all the peppers have been blackened on all sides. If the skin has not at least bubbled and browned you will not be able to remove it. It needs to look like this:

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Place the cooked peppers in a glass bowl and cover tightly with clingfilm. Leave them to sweat (which separates the skin from the flesh) and cool down enough for you to work with them. Once cooled, peel all the skin off. You just want to remove the very thin outer layer, not any of the flesh.

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Remove the seeds and stem and cut the peppers into strips about 5 cm wide. Cut the olives in half. Combine all the ingredients and taste for seasoning. You can either eat immediately, or leave to marinate for a few hours. Best served at room temperature, not cold from the fridge, so I would suggest taking it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes prior to serving. I ate this as an easy dinner with some gluten-free flat bread. I’m still working on the recipe but will share it as soon as I’m happy with it 😉

Health & happiness!

Love,
Raine

Basil Pesto

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This is my dairy-free version of pesto (traditionally you would add parmesan,) and using a combination of cashews and sunflower seeds makes it more economical.  If you have pine nuts, feel free to use them! If you have a nut allergy you could replace the nuts with more seeds.
This will keep in a jar in the fridge for about a week, or you could make a big batch when you have lots of basil and freeze it in smaller portions. I often freeze sauces in an ice tray, and then put the cubes into a freezer bag. That way you can just defrost a few cubes at a time, instead of the whole lot.

I’ve given alternatives in case you feel like a change, or if you don’t have the correct ingredients on hand.

Ingredients

80g fresh basil leaves (or replace 40g with fresh spinach)
1/2 cup raw cashews (or macadamias)
2 tbsp raw sunflower seeds (or pumpkin seeds)
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Method

I like my pesto chunky so I make it in a food processor, but you could do it in a blender if you prefer it smoother. Simply throw in all the ingredients and pulse until you have the desired consistency. As with all our dips & sauces, taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary to the way you like it!
I find that this makes the perfect consistency for using as a dip or spread, but if you want to use it as a sauce for gnocchi for example, add a few drops of water just to loosen it up a bit.

Health and happiness!

Love,
Raine