Orange and Garlic Humus

Vegan and Gluten Free
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When I was little I used to hate Middle Eastern food. I don’t think I even tried it before I had decided. Falafels and humus were just not for me. The only thing I liked was the greasy deep fried cauliflower, which I would steal from the rest of the table and eat by the bowlful. (Soooo good.)

Luckily times have changed! I think I realised how much I liked this kind of food when I was in Europe, which has amazing Middle Eastern food literally everywhere. You’re so lucky! I’ll never forget the humus plate I had in Munich. Swirled with baba ganoush, beetroot dip, and covered in dolmades, falafels, tabouli and fattoush it was the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten in my whole life. Oh my gosh! Just thinking about it makes me weep.

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Fast forward to now and I’m kind of obsessed. Like, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have some element of za’atar or humus or sumac at least once in the day. I realised it was probably time to give homemade humus a whirl, what with me wanting to have it at every meal.

I used the recipe from Jerusalem as a starting point, but halfway through realised I didn’t have any lemons! Oh no! But then I remembered a recipe in Moosewood Cookbook that had used orange juice instead. I don’t want to brag, but it turned out so amazing! I couldn’t stop eating it. I had it on sweet potato fries (the best kind of fries) but you could do so much with it!

I’m excited to experiment with all the different legumes. I’m also super excited to make homemade falafels now. I might just have to make an official falafel month! Who knows, it could be even more exciting than Dumpling Month.

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This week is the first week of uni holidays and I’m so excited. Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to post all the recipes I’ve been promising to make on Instagram for ages! Saying that I can already tell I’m going to spend most of my time at the beach sunbaking or watching Shrek and eating ice cream…(don’t judge me.) But I will try!

I’ve been dreaming of making some coconut ice cream with brownie chunks for a while now, if anyone is interested in that…have a great break every body! xx
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Orange and Garlic Hummus: Adapted from this book

250g dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 tsp bicarb soda

270g tahini (hulled)
4 tbsp orange juice (or lemon)
1/2 tsp each ground cumin, coriander and ginger
100ml ice cold water

parsley and olive oil, to garnish
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Drain the chickpeas and put a pot of water on to boil. Add the bicarb soda, then the chickpeas, and boil for about 20 minutes, until the skins come off and the chickpeas can be easily crushed between your fingers. Drain and peel off any remaining skins. You can use canned chickpeas, but you will have to pick off all the skins yourself. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes. The final weight should be about 600g of chickpeas.

Add to your blender along with the tahini, spices, orange juice and a pinch of salt. blend until combined. Slowly pour in the ice water, blending as you go until the humus is completely smooth and of the desired consistency. Leave to settle for about half an hour before stirring in any crushed chickpeas and herbs for texture.

Top with fresh parsley and olive oil. Keep in a sealed container for up to a week in the fridge, although it’s best fresh.

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A Healthier Spiced Carrot Cake with Maple Orange Icing

Optional vegan, low fat and refined sugar free

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 I was craving carrot cake like a wild woman this week. Every day at uni I would walk past the cafe eyeing those dodgy wrapped carrot cake slices covered in buttercream and almost ALMOST  buy one. 

But I managed to hold out partly because they don’t use cream cheese in the frosting (who even are they?!) and partly because I had no money…

By the end of the week, it was carrot cake time. At first I was thinking to myself you can’t make that, you’ve already made a banana carrot cake to end all carrot cakes on this blog. It was mile high and adorned with chopped nuts and creamy ricotta frosting! But that was a carrot BANANA cake. Subtle difference my friends. And a very different recipe too!(Perfect for Easter!!)

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When I was first coming up with this recipe I mainly wanted a carrot and cinnamon centred vehicle to transport cream cheese frosting in my mouth. I looked at lots of recipes trying to gather together the best of all, and I couldn’t believe how unhealthy most carrot cake recipes are! For something made of carrots I was surprised.

Just to be clear, my definition of ‘healthy’ is definitely not low fat or low calorie! Wholemeal grains, real fruit and unprocessed sweeteners plus some natural fats from avocados and nuts are much more my scene. However I’m aware that some people want to have their cake and they want to eat the whole thing too, without spending an extra hour at the gym. So this is my fat-free (almost) and refined sugar free carrot cake!

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 Sweetened with maple syrup and the natural sugars of the carrots, this carrot has no butter or oil in it (none!). I was feeling daring so when the recipe called for ‘butter’ I just subbed in a whole load of buttermilk. The recipe is based on the Moosewood carrot cake recipe, which is already a very wholesome and tasty loaf to begin with. It came out so cinnamon scented and warm and delicious, I could not even deal. Carrot cake heaven. 

The best part of carrot cake is the icing (can I get an amen please) so I didn’t skimp on that. Instead of using low fat or substitute; the cream cheese is mixed with half ricotta, which is naturally low in fat and high in calcium and protein. Mixed with maple syrup and orange zest it was so delicious! I ate quite a bit of it with a spoon (shh). Topped with naturally delicious and healthy nuts, this cake is perfect for breakfast as well as the best dessert ever. 

Also vegan friends, I’ve given substitutions below for how to make the cake completely free of animal products. I’ve made the cake without eggs and buttermilk before and it worked well, but I haven’t tried it low fat so if you do try that method, tell me how it goes!!

One Year Ago: Sweet Plum Jam

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 Healthy Carrot Cake with Orange Maple Frosting: Adapted from here

1/2 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup buttermilk (or for vegan, sunflower oil or half oil half vegan yogurt)

2 eggs (for vegan, 2 tbsp chia seeds mixed well with 4 tbsp water)

1 finely zested orange

1/2 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and 1/4 tsp allspice

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup wholemeal flour

1/2 cup plain flour

1 + 1/4 cup carrot, grated

Frosting:
250g each ricotta and cream cheese OR cashew/coconut cream for vegan
1 finely zested orange
1/3 cup maple syrup
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For the Cake: Preheat the oven to 180C (356F) and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Whisk the 2 eggs until pale and fluffy. Mix the remaining wet ingredients (buttermilk or oil, maple syrup) together well. Stir in the orange zest. Stir in the grated carrot. Sift the flours and baking powder, plus the spices. Stir the dry into the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into tin and bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden on top and a skewer comes out clean.
For the icing, blend together all the ingredients well and ice the cake once completely cool. Top with chop nuts if you want!
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Orange and Poppyseed Ricotta Cupcakes

Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free

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 The orange and poppy seed party continues! I think with these cupcakes I’ve officially won the yellow award. I mean seriously. Has anyone in the room seen a yellower cupcake? If so, shh. These still win because they are in gold cupcake cases!!! So there. Party cupcakes! 

These mini cheesecakes were actually birthday cupcakes for my beautiful friend Anna, way back in November! Anna means so much to this blog. She was the first subscriber! She was always the one to encourage me, and to send me helpful messages when I put up a post with no photos, or sometimes no words. She helped me so much with the photography! The reason your eyes aren’t bleeding right now is because of her. Serious. 

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Anna has been a bestie of mine for years now so I knew for her birthday I wanted to make something she’d really like. I knew she loved ricotta, because she eats it almost every day. And I knew she liked honey, because she eats her ricotta every day with honey. And she liked poppy seeds too! So these cupcakes seemed like the perfect idea. 

I based the recipe on David Lebovitz’ ricotta and orange cake, switching the double cream for yogurt and the sugar for honey. And adding a butt-load of poppy seeds.

The result was sweet and zesty little cupcakes that were crunchy from the poppy seeds, and slightly tangy from the yogurt. Feel free to sub back in the cream for a richer version, and the sugar too. Honey worked surprisingly well as a substitute. I was worried the extra liquid would change the consistency! I used raw honey though, which was slightly crystallised. So hopefully that wasn’t the only reason.

IMG_7894 If ever you try one of my recipes and something doesn’t work, please let me know in the comments! Sometimes ingredients can react super differently depending on the oven or brand, so it’s good to know which ones can cause problems. Also I often write up the recipes in about ten minutes just before switching my computer off and running out the door, so mistakes are bound to be included every now and then.

These little cakes are super light and delicate, perfect for those recovering from the holiday season. They will inevitably deflate a little, as is the nature of ricotta cheesecakes. Just cool them down slowly and fill the muffin cups more than you normally would.
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Orange and Poppyseed Cheesecakes: Adapted from this recipe
1kg (2.2 pounds, 35 ounces) ricotta cheese (full fat)
60g (1/2 cup) natural yogurt
zest of 1 orange
5 eggs, at room temperature
130ml honey
80g (1 cup) poppyseeds
1 tbsp gluten free flour (you could try corn, almond or oat flour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
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Preheat the oven to 180C (355F) and line 12 muffin holes with large papers. Mix the ricotta, yogurt and eggs together well. Mix in the zest, vanilla extract, flour, salt, honey and poppyseeds. Stir to completely combine. Pour even spoonfuls into the muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake in the middle of the oven for 17-20 minutes, until risen and golden on top. Cool with the oven off and the door open before taking them out.
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Fluffy Orange and Poppy Seed Pancakes

Optionally vegan and wholemeal

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I have a weird thing with pancakes. I love making them, and I love eating them. But I don’t really like making and eating them. Does anyone else have this strange dilemma?!?! Going out for breakfast to a cafe and ordering pancakes is the best thing ever. Eating hot pikelets with jam and cream at my grandma’s is my idea of heaven (oh my god I need hot pikelets now that I said that). But standing over a hot stove flipping pancakes for half an hour and sitting down and eating them. Ew… Something must be wrong with me, but I just prefer making pancakes for other people. Or getting made pancakes by someone else. Hint hint. 

I made these orange and poppyseed pancakes for my sister, because she always likes pancakes, and she doubles as pancake decorator as well. I feel bad whenever I make her pancakes for the blog as well, because I spend half the time roaring at her to stack the pancakes evenly, drape her fruit more artfully and suspend the bite in midair so I can capture the dripping syrup.

Don’t worry, I wasn’t trying to gain forgiveness for anything through butter and flour like with these apple pancakes, I just wanted to try yet another recipe in the Three Blue Ducks cookbook. Any day now I’m going to get an email telling me to stop spamming all their recipes all over the internet. I can’t help it! They always taste so yummy! I adapted their orange and yogurt pancakes to make orange and poppy seed pancakes, because we had soo many oranges we could literally last the winter on them. 

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 Whipping up the egg whites separately might seem like a big hullabaloo for breakfast cooking but believe me, you won’t regret it. They’re the only rising agent in this recipe and they make the pancakes so fluffy and light. The vegan version using chia or flax eggs makes denser pancakes, especially if they’re wholemeal. It’s kind of a completely different route that works surprisingly well! The addition of poppy seeds made the pancakes slightly crunchy and textural, and kind of made them taste like orange poppyseed cake. But for breakfast!  

I feel very conflicted about photographing pancakes. On the one hand, when I make pancakes I know they’re going to be eaten. I’m pretty sure I have a phobia of wasting food. Seriously, some of the blogs I read say things like “the first time I made the cake batter it was too lumpy, so I scrapped that and tried adding blah blah…”. Sentences like that upset me! If I made a lumpy cake batter and knew I had to fix it, lets be honest here. I’d probably eat it. Or blend it with an egg of something in a poor attempt to fix it. I would adjust the recipe and try again at some point before I posted it, but probably not until a week later when the first cake had been satisfactorily eaten down. 

But pancakes really have to be eaten hot. You can pop them in the oven for a quick warm-up, but not if you’ve already dolloped on the toppings. And I can’t photograph without toppings, people! So I always end up trying to photograph at the table whilst people are already eating it, and more often than not they turn out horrific. I’m not too happy with these photos today, but again the recipe makes it necessary I post about them anyway. There you go. Laugh as you please! Send me beautiful photos of your pancakes so I can see how it’s done. 

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 If I’m a little slow replying to comments or if there are any major flaws in this post, please forgive me! I am away and am trying to update from overseas.

Want to see some other awesome pancake recipes I’ve been reading this week? Here are three of my favourite:

I know it’s not Easter but PLEASE someone make me Joy the Baker’s hot cross pancakes

These Honey and Oat Pancakes from Top with Cinnamon look so good I want to weep

Holy moly ricotta has never looked so evil! Wit and Vinegar yum times 100000

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Orange and Poppy Seed Pancakes: Adapted from Three Blue Ducks

3 eggs, separated (or 3 tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with 6 tablespoons of water)

50g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

zest and juice of two medium oranges

120g plain flour, sifted (can substitute half for wholemeal)

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

150g natural yogurt (or coconut/soy yogurt)

Orange segments and coconut yogurt or ricotta, to serve

 

Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form (not too stiff!) Whisk lightly the egg yolks, sugar, and orange zest until combined. Whisk in the yogurt and orange juice. Whisk in the flour and poppy seeds until almost smooth, don’t over whisk! Fold in the egg whites until completely combined, without beating out the air too much. If using chia seeds, blend the chia gel with the coconut yogurt and orange, than fold in the other ingredients. Heat a fry-pan with some coconut butter or oil over a low-medium flame and cook the pancakes for a few minutes on each side, using a large ladle to get even sizes. Serve with desired topping and eat hot for the love of God! 

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Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles

Raw, Gluten Free, Refined Sugar Free, Vegan

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There’s something about chocolates in the shape of a ball that is seriously addictive. It’s like eating grapes. Who ever saw a bunch of grapes and thought, oh…I’ll just have one. I’ll just have one grape please. Who does that? No one. It’s obligatory that you have at least five. I feel the same way about chocolate balls. Maltesers, M&Ms, Smarties, Jaffa Balls, all the balls. It’s impossible to show any kind of self control and just have a single malteser! Plus, people would think you were weird. Who only eats one ball! Ok,  time to move on from the subject of balls… these chocolate orange truffles are pretty much where it’s at with addictive chocolate. 

I go all kinds of crazy in Christmas season (who doesn’t, please.) and bake/ice/eat at a velocity of 1000x more intense then the rest of the year. Last year I made three kinds of ice cream, a Christmas fruit cake, gingerbread men, custard and sugar cookies all for Christmas Day. And I was not assigned to dessert. Christmas lunch at my family’s house is always an intense eating marathon that we all look forward to for the entire lead-up. 

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Lunch is always AMAZING! Heaps of seafood and ham and prawn cocktails. But I never fill up on these trivial things. I just sip my water and eat my tasty salad patiently, waiting for the big guns. Dessert. Oh my gosh. I dream about it. My grandma always makes a multi-layered trifle covered in cream and passionfruit that makes me weep with joy. We always have a prune pudding (do not judge! It is the food of the Gods!) and ice cream and fruit skewers and more cream and custard and wow. It’s really a beautiful moment. 

And at the end of the day there’s always a box of chocolates on the table, usually one of the many Christmas gifts received over the previous weeks. These chocolate truffles are for that moment. They’re the perfect Christmas gift because they’re full of Christmassy flavours like cinnamon and orange, and they look nice and ‘rustic’ and homemade. You can feel the love right? 

ImageChristmas is a little bit sad this year because I’m not with my family to celebrate. I’m going to miss seeing all my beautiful cousins and aunts and uncles! And my hilarious grandpa wearing his cute little Christmas paper crown. But then again, hopefully by that point in my travels, I’ll be celebrating Christmas with my boyfriend in an apartment in Paris! So I doubt I’ll be that sad.

These chocolate truffles are super healthy and easy to make for all your family and friends this year. They’re similar to the chocolate coconut balls I made, but with a seasonal twist. Made out of dried organic apricots and walnuts, they are packed with protein and potassium and vitamin C from the orange juice! Way healthier than the usual standard truffle, keep these in the fridge or freezer for a yummy snack or wrap them up in cellophane and send around the Christmas cheer 🙂 IMG_7634

Orange and Cinnamon Chocolate Truffles
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dried organic apricots
juice of 2 oranges
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup cocoa powder, plus extra for dusting
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Soak the apricots for half an hour in the orange juice. Drain them, reserving some juice, and cut into strips. Pound up the walnuts and throw in the blender with the cinnamon, cocoa powder, and apricots. Blend until smooth, adding a teaspoon or two of orange juice as you go if the paste is too thick. Scoop into a bowl and use two teaspoons to roll out even balls. Pour a little cocoa powder in a small bowl and drop the balls in the bowl. Use your fingertips to roll the balls around until evenly coated. Once dusted, place in a container and keep in the fridge until they firm up. Happy holidays!
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Orange and Honey Rose Cake (gluten and sugar free)

 Gluten and Refined Sugar Free
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 This morning we woke up before the sun rose. We got dressed in the dark and for a moment I climbed back in to bed, still so warm. Together we made toast, got in the car and drove to the markets. We beat the banana truck and the shallots truck there, and while waiting for the doors to open, watched trolleys lift the bulging trays and wheel the boxes in to the stands. Inside the smell of fresh coriander and cut vegetables was overpowering, as trays of water-flecked greens were pulled out and displayed in their crates. 

We walked slowly from store to store, pulling out a few dollars at each for bundles of sweet potatoes, red tomatoes, spinach, herbs, bananas and apples. I wanted to buy a whole tray of mangoes. Already blushed and ripe, they rested next to great piles of red and purple grapes impossible not to pick at. 

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 Coming home with boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables, I wanted to make a cake that would taste as summery and light as all the fruit at the markets. The front garden has slowly filled with roses over the last few weeks and they are just beginning to drop their petals, so that when I went to grab some blossoms they showered down into my hands before I could cut their stalks. It envisaged a softly sweet, zesty cake decorated with their petals. Rose petals are good for decorating cakes, because they don’t leave a flavour or stain on the icing. They can be sugared and turned into a real edible decoration, or they can be left like they are here, purely for visual impact. 

The cake is adapted from the classic Claudia Roden orange cake, but with honey instead of sugar. It’s layered with yogurt kissed with a drop or two of rose water and topped with fresh petals. The cake itself is cool and light, despite being made entirely with almond meal. It smells gently of orange zest and the rose adds the subtlest floral flavour that is almost intangible. Rose water has a tendency to make or break a cake depending on how much you add, so if in doubt, use less instead of more. 

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 This orange cake is such a versatile recipe that turns out so differently from flour-based orange cakes. I’ve adapted it before to make chocolate orange cupcakes that turned out really good! And it worked perfectly here again with the yogurt topping. I love using yogurt as a topping because it tastes just as rich and creamy as cream cheese without any of the heaviness. I flavoured it with rose, but I’ve made it with cinnamon and vanilla before, both of which could taste nice here. 

Alternatively leave out the yogurt topping and bake the cake as one big cake in a 23cm tin. It lasts well in the fridge and stays moist for a really long time. I don’t really have anything else to say today, because I’ve had four hours sleep and besides, I’m about to go get gelato…so try the cake! And tell me any variations you try.
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IMG_6992 Orange and Honey Rose Cake: Adapted from Claudia Roden

250g (scant 3 cups) almond meal

250g (3/4 cup) honey

6 eggs, gently whisked

2 oranges

450g (1 pound) labneh, recipes follows

30ml (2 tbsp) honey

3 drops rose water (optional)

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To make the labneh, suspend the yogurt in a tied tea-towel over a sieve which is set over a bowl. Tie up the tea-towel in a bundle and put the whole set-up in the fridge for a few hours, up to 5 and at least 3. Boil the oranges in simmering water for 1-2 hours, until completely soft. Preheat the oven to 180 C (360F) and line two 20cm (8 inch) baking pans with paper. Blend the eggs, almond meal, cut up oranges, and honey until smooth. Pour into the tins and bake for 25 mins, until golden on top and cooked through. Leave to cool completely, then top with the yogurt and sandwich the layers together. Serves 8-10. 

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Fudgy Chocolate Orange Cupcakes (vegan, gluten and sugar free)

Vegan, gluten and refined sugar free

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 People, it’s started. 

Mango season has officially arrived. 

People always wonder what Australia’s national food is. Some say meat pies, which doesn’t really work because meat pies are from England and are just as popular in their football matches and sports weekends. Some say sausages on the barbie, again not a very good fit because according to the interweb Americans are the king of the barbecue! Others even suggest pavlova! Which is controversial because (it was actually New Zealand who invented the pavlova…shhh). So I’m taking it upon myself to announce the new Australian icon. The new national delicacy: mangoes. 

Australian mangoes, in season from late september to mid-February, are the best tasting fruit in the country. During summer we live and breathe mangoes as a dietary staple. For the rest of the year people dreamily talk of summer, sighing “mangoes”! As the pinnacle of Christmas holidays. Every picnic and dining table in the country will probably have a few mango halves cut in the classic hedgehog style come Christmas day. I’ve had mangoes overseas, and they’re ok. Especially in India and Thailand. They were actually really good. But they didn’t have that magic quality and smoothness of Australian mangoes. 

I’m a bit obsessed with mangoes. (If you saw inside my mind right now there would be a little circus monkey clapping symbols yelling mangomangomangomangomango) Last summer I ate so many I got really sick and thought I was dying of a rare disease. The doctor prescribed no more mangoes. I bargained with her three a day. She said no mangoes. I said two a day. She said no more mangoes. I said just one a day…She said no. I said ok. I broke my promises. 

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 This year, in a determined attempt to NOT eat so many mangoes that my stomach hates me, I had to come up with a dessert that was just as sweet and delicious and just as healthy. So these fudgy chocolate marmalade cupcakes were born! I’ve made apple and cinnamon cupcakes for the blog before, but never chocolate ones. So it was about time! The idea started out with an amazing new cookbook I’ve been reading recently, called Three Blue Ducks. If you live in Sydney you would have heard of the cafe, located at Bronte beach and focused on locally sourced, organic and home-grown produce. 

Last weekend I played with their orange marmalade recipe because we had a cheeky three kilograms of leftover oranges that just weren’t going to all be eaten. Such a simple and accessible recipe! I made a cinnamon version and only made eight jars instead of around eleven or twelve, and it turned out perfectly and so delicious. I wanted to pair it with chocolate and also continue the jaffa theme, and that’s where these boiled orange almond cupcakes come in. I’ve made the Claudia Roden famous boiled orange cake before and loved it, and when I saw on Petite Kitchen that she’d made a honey chocolate version, I had to make these cupcakes happen.

Topped with a creamy vegan chocolate icing I found here, that I literally licked out of the bowl, these little cakes are easily the most delicious orange chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had. 
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I was worried using chia eggs in place of hens eggs would affect the recipe too much, as it originally called for five eggs. However in this small setting, the dense, fudgy texture couldn’t have turned out better. The cakes didn’t rise much so don’t be scared to fill them right up! Also the marmalade in the centre is totally optional. The recipe uses sugar so the title is really referring to the cakes themselves. Other filling ideas could include a small scoop of the icing, a cherry, some raspberries or any berry filling, a macadamia or walnut, or just keep them plain old jane. 

Also, exciting news, from now on I’m going to post all recipes in metric as well as cups and tablespoons, because most of my readers are American anyway! I’m a big advocator for gram and mil measurements because they’re way more reliable and easy to increase or decrease, but I also want to make the recipes easy for everyone to follow. I’ve gone back and added the measurements to the last few posts but it will probably take me a while to do all of them. That’s if I can even be bothered to do any of them 🙂 

I’ve been doing a lot of clean-up work on the blog recently and have been trying to work out a clear direction that I want to take it in. At the moment there’s a big focus on clean eating and gluten free, vegan recipes, but I don’t want to strictly stick to that now and then regret it in a months time when I make a towering chocolate fudge mountain cake built on a foundation of eggs and whipped cream. Ok that’s not really something I plan on doing, but you get what I mean. 

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Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about sustainable eating and farming, and it’s made me decide I can’t really justify eating fish anymore. I haven’t eaten other meat for almost four years now, but the rule was originally that I had to eat fish as long as I lived at home for my studies and convenience with cooking. Reaching the age where I’m more independent now, both in my life and in my cooking, I’ve been making an effort to only eat sustainable fish and avoid canned tuna and other obvious choices. 

It’s a tricky dilemma! Fish is so packed full of vitamins and healthy fats it’s really hard to remove from your diet without feeling the effects of it. Last month I eliminated almost all fish and ate heaps of legumes and tofu as a replacement, and my energy levels weren’t affected. So maybe it is possible. I don’t know. A large population of people go their entire lives living off no fish at all so I’m sure it’s not a human dietary necessity. But I also don’t want to be that person weeping over a side salad every time I go out for dinner. Why can’t salmon grow on trees!

Anyway back to the cupcakes. I keep getting off-topic today. Bake them with your eyes wide open! Because despite all that moisture they can burn quickly because of the lack of oil. Fill them whenever you want, ice them whenever you want because it isn’t going to melt and run everywhere. Eat them fresh, refrigerate them for a truffle-like texture. Enjoy them. 

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Orange and Cinnamon Marmalade: (Reduced but same recipe as Three Blue Ducks)

2 kilograms (4.5 pounds) oranges, rinsed and sliced thinly. 

1 litre of water 

1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of white sugar 

3 cinnamon quills

Put all the ingredients in a very large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1-2 hours. Once the mix begins to look like jam, test it by placing a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes, then dolloping some marmalade on to it and putting it back in the freezer. Pull it out after a minute and run your finger through it. If it wrinkles, it’s ready. Repeat until the marmalade is ready.

Pour into sterilised jars (mine made exactly 8 large jars) whilst still hot and keep in the fridge once open. To sterilise jars, was well with soapy water or better in the dishwasher on high, then leave to dry out in the oven for ten minutes on 170C (340f). 

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Chocolate Orange Cupcakes: Recipe barely adapted from Petite Kitchen

2 oranges, rinsed

240g (2 cups) almond meal

1 tsp baking soda

5 tablespoons chia seeds mixed with 10 tablespoons water (or 5 large eggs)

60g (4 heaped tablespoons) raw cocoa powder

100ml (5 tablespoons) raw honey

Optional: 12 Macadamias, cherries, berries, or pieces of date. 

Preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line 12 cupcake tins with papers. Boil the oranges in water for an hour until soft. Blend in a blender until smooth, and add the rest of the ingredients. Blend well. Half fill the cupcake cases with mixture. Either add another topping now with a small teaspoon, making a small indent first, or fill to the brim. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean (avoid the middle).

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For the icing: (Found at 80twenty)

170g (1 cup) dates

120ml (1/2 cup) boiling water

30g (2 tablespoons) cocoa powder

20g (1 heaped tablespoon) almond, peanut or coconut butter

Soak the dates in the boiling water until soft. Blend in a powerful blender, adding the other ingredients. Using a palette knife, spread the icing generously on the cupcakes and serve. Keeps in the fridge for a few days. 

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