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Cherry Tomato & Green Bean Salad With Lemon

I love to make this dish, which can be served either hot or cold, during the festive season, as it reminds me of Christmas trees and Christmas Baubles, but you can definitely enjoy it right through the year!

700 g green beans, topped and tailed
5 ml canola or coconut oil
1 large onion, sliced
zest of 1 large lemon, finely chopped
5 ml crushed garlic or garlic & herb seasoning
500 g cherry tomatoes
2.5 ml salt or seasoning of your choice
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Weigh the beans with an electronic kitchen scale to determine the weight if you don’t have the exact amount.
  2. Cut the beans into 3 cm sections and rinse the beans in a colander under running water.
  3. Steam the beans for 5 to 8 minutes in a steaming basket on the stove, in an electric steamer or in the microwave.  Be careful not to overcook the beans – they need to be firm and crisp.
  4. Rinse the beans under cold water and set it aside.
  5. Zest the lemon with a zester and chop the zest finely.  Set it aside.
  6. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, lemon zest, garlic or garlic and herb seasoning and stir-fry with a turner for a few minutes until tender.
  7. Add the tomatoes and stir-fry for a further 2 to 3 minutes. The tomatoes must still be whole, i.e. remove the saucepan from the stove before they burst open.
  8. Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
  9. Add the green beans and heat through.
  10. Transfer the bean mixture to a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature as a vegetable side dish.

8 to 10 servings.

Variation
Add slivers of Parmesan or Pecorino cheese to the beans when ready to serve.

CherryTomato&GreenBeanSalad

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Flourless Peanut Butter Biscuits

Also known as “miracle” cookies, these cookies only have three ingredients, are quick to make and they are also gluten-free.

2 large eggs
5o0 ml sugar
500 ml peanut butter, smooth or crunchy is good
2.5 ml vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 º C and line two baking trays with Wizbake baking sheets.
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add the peanut butter and mix until quite smooth.
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least 45 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and place it onto the baking tray allowing room for spreading.
  6. Use a fork and press a pattern onto the biscuits.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  8. Allow to cool a few minutes on the tray before placing onto a cooling rack.
  9. Store in an airtight container.

24 cookies.

Peanut-ButterBiscuits

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Gluten-free Biscotti With Brazil Nuts

These light and delicious biscuits are trendy and nutritious. Enjoy as is or dip in coffee or sweet dessert wine such as sherry as the Italians do!

1 cup (250 ml) Brazil nuts (see Note)
½ cup (125 ml) egg white (4 -5)
¾ cup /150 g (175 ml) sugar
½ tsp (2.5 ml) vanilla essence
¾ cup (185 ml) gluten free flour
pinch salt

  1. Line the base and sides of a loaf tin (280 x 110 x 65 mm or 225 x 125 x 80 mm) with baking paper and grease well with butter or cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the egg whites in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the balloon whisk and beat until stiff peaks form.
  3. Add the sugar gradually and whip until thick and glossy as for meringue. Beat in the vanilla essence.
  4. Add the flour, salt and nuts and fold in very lightly with the whisk or a large spoon only until combined with the egg white. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake about 25 minutes or until firm and golden. Cool, loosen, turn out and cool completely.
  5. Preheat the oven to 100°C.
  6. Slice the loaf with an electric or sharp serrated knife into 5 mm slices and arrange flat on a baking tray.
  7. Return to the oven and dry out for about 20 minutes, turning over once until crisp and dry.
  8. Place a spoon in the door if necessary to keep it slightly ajar to allow moisture to escape. Cool and store in airtight containers.

About 30 biscotti, depending on size.

Note  The nuts used may be one kind only or a mixture of 2 to 3 kinds. This may include blanched almonds, shelled toasted pistachio nuts (salt rubbed off if salted) toasted and shelled hazelnuts or unsalted cashew nuts or pecan nuts.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

BrazilNutBiscotti

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Quick All-day Cheese Puffs

Feather-light cheesy puffs baked in mini muffin tins to serve as tempting snacks or in medium muffin tins to serve with soup or stews.

250 ml self-raising self-binding rice flour plus 5 ml baking powder OR
or gluten-free cake flour or flour mix plus 10 ml baking powder
2 ml salt
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch mustard powder (optional)
100 g/250 ml grated Cheddar cheese
250 ml milk
1 large egg
15 ml oil
paprika or garlic and herb seasoning to sprinkle

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 º C and grease the cups of a mini muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Beat together the milk, egg and oil in a measuring jug and add to the bowl with dry ingredients.  Mix lightly only until combined.
  4. Divide the mixture, with the aid of two teaspoons, between the prepared cups and sprinkle with paprika or garlic and herb seasoning.
  5. Bake the muffins for about 10 minutes or until well risen and light golden.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature, as is or with butter and/or any savoury filling preferred.

18 to 24 mini puffs.

Variations

Parsley, spring onion or herb puffs
Add 15 ml chopped parsley and/or 30 ml chopped spring onion to the dry ingredients.

Goats cheese and peppadew puffs
Replace half of the Cheddar cheese with crumbled soft goats cheese (Chevin) or grated firm goats cheese (Gotino) and add 4 to 6 chopped mild or hot peppadews.

Cheese and biltong puffs
Add about 60 ml finely grated or chopped biltong to the batter.

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Wheat-free Vegetable Tart or Quiche

There is no reason why quiche cannot be enjoyed by people that are wheat and/or gluten-intolerant or celiacs.

Crust
250 ml rice flour
50 ml corn flour
50 ml potato flour or 60 ml soya flour
125 g chilled butter or margarine, grated
1 large egg
± 50 ml water

Vegetable filling
2 tsp (10 ml) oil
250 ml leek, very coarsely chopped
250 ml finely diced pumpkin or butternut?
60 ml) halved and sliced courgette (1 small)
60 ml trimmed and sliced young green beans or additional courgette
1 small or ½ large red capsicum, seeded and cut into strips
2,5 ml crushed garlic
2,5 ml salt
2 fresh basil leaves, shredded (optional)
250 ml milk
3 large eggs
125 ml grated strong cheese such as Edam or Parmesan or ½ of each
freshly ground black pepper

To serve and garnish
salad garnish as preferred including sliced cucumber and chives

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C and grease a medium pie dish (24 to 26 cm) with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. To make the pastry, place the dry ingredients and butter or margarine into the bowl of a food processor and process on pulse until crumbly.
  3. Add the water a few drops at a time until the pastry holds together and is neither dry nor sticky.
  4. Knead the pastry gently on a surface sprinkled with any of the flours used just until smooth.
  5. Spoon the soft pastry into the pie dish and with the back of a spoon, spread it evenly over the base and sides, making sure to spread out thinly in the corners.  Refrigerate the pie dish while making the filling.
  6. To make the filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the leek.  Cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes, stirring until softened but not at all browned.
  7. Add the pumpkin or butternut  and cook and stir 3 minutes more.
  8. Add all the vegetable ingredients including the basil, stir and cook 3 minutes and set aside to cool.
  9. Beat together the milk and eggs in a measuring jug and set aside.
  10. Spoon the vegetable mixture evenly over the crust, pour the milk and egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
  11. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden and set.
  12. Allow to rest a short while before cutting into neat triangles.
  13. Serve warm with any preferred salad garnish.

8 servings.

 

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Wheat-free Rusks or Biscotti

This light and delicious sponge base can be baked as sponge cake layers, as cup cakes or cut into fingers and dried out to make low-fat rusks or biscotti-style biscuits.  Add any typical  ingredients to flavour the biscotti. A combination of 75 ml chopped pecan nuts or sunflower seeds and red cherries makes a delicious biscuit cum rusk.      

2 large eggs
125 ml sugar
2 ml salt
2 ml vanilla essence
200 ml self-raising rice flour
50 ml oil
125 ml boiling water
100 ml flaked almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.  Grease a 28 x 20 cm ovenproof dish or a Swiss roll style tin well with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the eggs, sugar, salt and essence in a large mixing bowl with an electric hand mixer until pale yellow and spongy.
  3. Combine the rice flour and baking powder in a second mixing bowl and add it to the egg mixture.  Mix only until combined.
  4. Add the oil and water and stir to make a runny batter.
  5. Pour the prepared batter into the prepared dish or tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
  6. Set aside to cool in the tin before transferring it to a cutting board.  Cut into fingers with a serrated or electric knife.
  7. Dry the rusks or biscotti out in the oven at 60 ºC for 3 to 4 hours.  Set aside to cool and store in an airtight container.

Makes about 30 fingers.

Notes
You can also use 200 ml rice flour and 10 ml baking powder if you cannot find self-raising rice flour.

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Wheat-free Pizza Muffins

These muffins will be a hit with young and old alike!

500 ml rice flour or gluten-free flour mix
20 ml baking powder
5 ml salt
5 ml garlic and herb seasoning
5 ml dried origanum
10 ml mixed dried herbs
1 ml cayenne pepper (optional)
100 ml finely chopped spring onion
50 g/125 ml grated Cheddar cheese
100 g/250 ml finely diced Mozzarella cheese
100 g ham, coarsely chopped (optional)
300 ml milk
2 large eggs
100 ml oil
30 ml tomato puree or pizza or pasta topping sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 200 °C Grease 12 medium or 8 jumbo muffin cups generously with margarine.
  2. Place the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir until evenly combined. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
  3. Combine the milk, eggs, oil and tomato puree in a measuring jug and add it to the well in the dry ingredients.  Mix only until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.
  4. Divide the batter between the greased cups and bake 10 minutes at 200 ° C.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 ° C and bake 8 to 10 minutes more or until golden and firm.
  6. Cool in the muffin cups a few minutes, loosen, lift out and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  7. Store in an airtight container.

12 medium muffins.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

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Seed Clusters

These healthy biscuits can be served with tea or as snacks.  It is great for including in lunch boxes for kids as well as mom and dad!

250 ml sunflower seeds, toasted
250 ml pumpkin seeds, toasted
125 ml sesame seeds, toasted
125 ml coconut chips or flakes, toasted
60 ml soft brown sugar (Treacle or Demarera)
60 ml honey
125 ml dried cranberries, sultana’s or raisins
2 extra large egg whites

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 º C and line two large baking trays with Wizbake baking sheets or a 48-hole macaron mat.
  2. Toast the seeds and coconut chips one ingredient at a time in a single layer in a large saucepan until light brown – watch it carefully as it can burn very quickly.
  3. Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
  4. Place heaped teaspoonfuls 2 cm apart on the Wizbake sheet or place on the “holes” of the macaron mat and flatten with the back of the teaspoon.
  5. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven and set aside to cool before transferring the clusters to a airtight container.

Makes 60 to 80 small clusters

Variation:

  • Drizzle a little melted white or dark chocolate over the clusters once they are cool.

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Cloud Nine aka Rolled Meringue Roulade

An exquisite light and soft meringue filled and rolled with cream. A perfect choice to serve after a filling meal. Decorative colourful fruit compliments the dessert.

Meringue
150 ml egg white (5 egg whites)
150 g/175 ml castor sugar
7,5 ml vanilla essence

Topping
50 ml flaked almonds 15 ml castor sugar 2 ml ground cinnamon
To turn out the meringue
baking paper
50 ml castor sugar to sprinkle

Filling
250 ml cream
30 ml sugar

To serve and garnish
decorative with fresh or canned colourful fruit
icing sugar to dust

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray (30 x 20 cm) with baking paper to extend over the sides and grease or spray with non-stick spay.
  2. Beat the egg whites, preferably with the balloon whisk of an electric mixer until soft peaks form.
  3. Beat in the castor sugar gradually and add the vanilla essence.
  4. Continue beating until a very firm and stable meringue is formed.
  5. Spoon the thick meringue onto the lining and spread evenly to fill the tin.
  6. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over the top.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the meringue resembles a fluffy cloud, is just set if pressed lightly with the fingertips and pale golden, but not browned.
  8. Sprinkle a second paper or cooking bag lining with the 50 ml of castor sugar.
  9. Turn out the baked meringue onto the paper and carefully peel off the greased paper, using a sharp pointed knife to loosen meringue from the paper if necessary. Allow to cool.
  10. Beat the cream and sugar until stiff and spread over the cooled meringue.
  11. Roll up gently and carefully with the aid of the paper and transfer to a suitable serving platter.
  12. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until required.
  13. To serve, cut the roll into 12 slices, about 25 mm wide and place 1 – 2 slices per person onto shallow platters.
  14. If fresh or canned fruit is used, arrange decoratively onto the platter and dust with icing sugar.

6 to 12 servings.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 551.

Notes

  • The filled roll may be kept refrigerated up to a day before serving. The filled roll freezes well. Allow to thaw 1 –2 hours in the refrigerator or 30 minutes at room temperature before serving.
  • Egg yolks may be used in boiled or baked custards, ice- cream, mayonnaise and salad dressings, pie crusts or added to scrambled egg.

The recipe is based on the one given in Art of Cooking p.  551.  For a large roll as seen on the photo, prepare double quantity and use a 38 x 28 cm baking tray.

Cloud Nine

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Cinnamon & Sesame Crescent Biscuits

These biscuits are good to nibble at any time of the day but also ideal to use as “saucer” biscuits with good coffee or tea.

1 cup (250 ml) ground almonds
½ cup (125 ml) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) cake flour or gluten free flour
¼ tsp (1 ml) salt
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
½ cup (125 ml/125 g) butter (room temperature)
1 tsp (2.5 ml) almond or vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
a little extra flour
± ½ cup (125 ml) sesame seeds

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC and line two baking trays with Wizbake baking sheets.
  2. Combine the almonds, sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon in a mixing bowl and add the butter, almond or vanilla extract and egg.
  3. Mix and knead, adding a little extra flour as necessary to make the dough firm enough to handle. Pinch of small portions (about 24 walnut size) of dough and roll into balls.
  4. Place sesame seeds onto a shallow plate, coat the balls with seeds and roll between the palms of the hands into cylindrical shapes about 5 cm long.  Add more seeds if necessary.
  5. Place the biscuits side by side onto the baking tray, twist into crescents and bake about 20 minutes or until firm and golden brown.
  6. Cool a few minutes before placing onto a cooling rack to cool.

Makes about 24 biscuits, depending on size.

Recipe by Carolié de Koster.

SesameCrescents

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Low Carb Oopsies

Oopsie bread or Oopsies is all the rage these days due to the fact that it is low in carbs.  Nothing more than an improved version of the Atkins Revolution Roll, Oopsie bread provides a gluten-free alternative to bread and even to some types of cakes!  The texture is similar to choux pastry and the taste is neutral, not eggy at all as one would expect.  It can therefor be served with either sweet or savoury dishes.  I prefer to bake Oopsies in a muffin pan (or a swiss roll tin for roulade).  I have successfully used Philadelphia cream cheese, creamed cottage cheese and cream cheese.  By simply adding sweet or savoury ingredients Oopsies can easily be turned into classic sweet or savory recipes.  See my recipes for Low Carb Tuna Roulade and Low Carb Raspberry & Cream Roulade.

6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
250 g creamed cottage cheese or cream cheese
2.5 ml baking powder
30 ml gelatine powder (optional)
30 ml psyllium husks (optional)

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 ° C.
  2. Spray a 12-hole medium muffin tin very well with non-stick cooking spray.  The capacity of each hole should be 100 ml.  Set it aside.
  3. Transfer the egg whites to a large mixing bowl and add the salt.  Set it aside.
  4. Transfer the egg yolks to a second mixing bowl and add the cheese, baking powder, gelatine powder and psyllium husks, if used.  Mix well.
  5. Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric hand mixer until very stiff.
  6. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  7. Use a 25 ml measuring cup or a small soup ladle and divide the mixture between the 12 cups.  Each cup should only be filled ¾ full.
  8. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the muffins are set, puffed and lightly browned.
  9. Remove the tins from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes to cool. They will deflate a little as they cool.
  10. Carefully remove the muffins and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely or to a serving platter to enjoy warm.
  11. Serve with raw honey, grated cheese, basil pesto, olive tapenade, etc.

Makes 12 Oopsie muffins.

Variations:
Add one of the following to the mixture before you spoon it in the muffin pan:
– 5 ml vanilla extract, 15 ml poppy seeds and 250 g fresh or dried berries
– 15 ml finely chopped lemon rind
– 15 ml basil pesto or olive tapenade
– 125 ml raw or cooked chopped vegetables (add the vegetables after you spooned the batter into the tin)
– 50 g grated cheese

OopsiesWithMarrowBone
Oopsies (on the left) With Oven-baked Marrow Bone and Mushroom, Cucumber & Micro herb Salad
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Paella

Paella takes its name from the typical wide, shallow saucepan used for this ever-popular Spanish rice dish with magnificent contrasting flavours, colours and textures. To simplify and save time, cook the ingredients simultaneously in two smaller saucepans and the large shallow paella-style pan.  Read more about National Spanish Paella Day here.

Notes

  • To make paella successfully use rice that does not stick together such as parboiled or polished rice.
  • Saffron is the typically used flavouring and colouring agent but it is costly and may be replaced by turmeric.
  • Frozen or canned mussels and oysters are often used in paella. They may be used as is or crumbed and fried before placing on top of the paella.

150 ml sunflower or olive oil or half of each
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
2 – 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 large red tomatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium green pepper, seeded and cut into strips
250 g / 300 ml parboiled or polished rice
750 ml boiling water
7,5 ml chicken stock powder
1 ml saffron or 2,5 ml turmeric
200 ml white wine (semisweet or dry)
2,5 ml salt
± 300 g thickly sliced smoked or cooked ham
250 ml frozen peas
± 1 kg boneless skinless chicken breasts
125 ml cake flour or gluten or wheat-free flour
2,5 m salt
additional pinch of saffron or 1ml turmeric
1ml black pepper
± 1 kg combined seafood such as 350 g firm white fish, 350 g shelled and de-veined prawns
2,5 ml salt
few drops Tabasco sauce or a dash of cayenne pepper (optional)

To serve and garnish
± 200 g canned, shelled mussels or half shell mussels drained and rinsed or
frozen, shelled or half shell mussels, rinsed in boiling water and drained
black or Calamata olives
chopped parsley
sprigs of fresh herbs

  1. Select one large saucepan or paella–style pan and 2 smaller saucepans and place 50 ml of the oil into each.
  2. Place the onions and garlic into the large saucepan and sauté gently, stirring form time to time until tender.
  3. Add the tomato, green pepper and rice and stir-fry 5 minutes more.
  4. Add the water, stock powder, saffron or turmeric, wine and salt and bring to the boil.
  5. Lower the heat and boil gently until the liquid just covers the rice.
  6. Cut the ham into strips and place with the peas and if used plain, the mussels and oysters as well, on top of the rice.
  7. Cover and simmer gently until the rice is tender and dry and the ingredients on top cooked to taste.
  8. Meanwhile, cut the chicken into 2 cm dices and toss in the combined flour, salt, saffron or turmeric and black pepper.
  9. Heat the oil in the second saucepan and stir-fry the chicken until golden brown, crisp and cooked and set aside.
  10. If frozen seafood is used, rinse in a colander to remove any ice particles and dry well. Cut the fish into 2 cm dices.
  11. Heat the oil in the third saucepan and stir-fry the seafood and fish until cooked and lightly browned. Sprinkle with salt and Tabasco or cayenne pepper and set aside.
  12. Place the cooked chicken and seafood, except the prawns in the shells onto the rie mixture when cooked and toss all together gently.
  13. Serve from the paella-style pan or turn into a warm serving dish and garnish with the prawns in the shells and if used, crumbed oysters and mussels.
  14. Sprinkle with parsley, place the olives on top and garnish with sprigs of herbs.
  15. Serve hot with crusty bread and a mixed green salad.

See the Art Of Cooking Recipe Book for tips on storing, freezing and enlarging paella.

8 generous servings

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art Of Cooking recipe book p. 445

Seafood Paella

Variations

Seafood (only) Paella
Omit the chicken and ham and increase the mixed seafood to aout 2 kg.

Vegetable Paella
Omit the chicken, ham and seafood and add about 2 kg lightly cooked or roasted mixed vegetables to the basic rice.