Siena Cake aka Panforte
3/4 cup almonds (or replace with a combination of nuts: brazils or walnuts, for ex.)
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup dried apricots (or replace with dried figs)
1/3 cup candied citrus peels (orange and lemon)
2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon good ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
60 g dark chocolate
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
icing sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Cut baking paper circle to fit bottom of 20cm well-buttered
round cake pan, then butter the paper.
2. Preheat oven to 160c.
3. Chop almonds, hazelnuts, apricots, orange and lemon peel.
4. Mix well with flour, spices, and cocoa.
5. Melt chocolate and set aside to cool.
6. Put sugar and honey in a saucepan, stirring over medium heat
until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5
minutes or until it reaches 115c.
7. Pour the melted sugar/honey mix over the nuts and fruit mix and
8. Press the batter into the pan and pat flat.
9. Bake for 35 minutes.
10. Let cool in pan.
11. Remove cake from pan, sprinkle with icing sugar (use a mesh
12. Wrap in foil or in a tin to preserve whole.
13. Or cut into thin wedges.
Note: Wrapped in aluminum foil or a tin to stay air-tight, it will
keep for weeks, refrigeration not needed.
Apple Plum Crumble (Vegan/Gluten-free/low sugar)
I adapted this recipe from a friend's vegan crumble recipe to make it more suitable for a diabetic (I used stevia instead of sugar, as per below). The ingredients are gluten-free, healthy and delicious! You can use other stone fruits if you don't have plums though I really like the sour flavour of the plums and the way it complements the apple.
Crumble base and topping:
1 cup oats
½ cup almond meal
50g or ½ cup coconut sugar (or replace with ½ tsp stevia for lower sugar: conversion rate: 100g sugar=1 cup sugar=1 tsp stevia)
40g tapioca flour or arrowroot flour
40g coconut oil (I used the kind that solidifies when cold, so heated it a bit to soften in the microwave, then scooped it semi-hard straight into the dry mixture in food processor)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon + whatever other spices you like (nutmeg, 5-spice, cloves..)
550 g apples, cored and sliced; I add some freshly squeezed lemon juice to the apples to keep them from browning
450 g plums, pitted and sliced
75 g coconut sugar (or 1 ½ tsp stevia)
2 tablespoons cornflour/corn starch or arrowroot flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 180c.
1. First make the crumble mix. Place dry ingredients in the food processor and mix till combined.
2. Add coconut oil and vanilla and mix till it’s crumbly and combined
3. Grease a 15x23cm pan with coconut oil
4. Pour 1/3 of the crumble mix into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 5-8 minutes until the crumble starts to look a bit brown and dry. Remove from oven and cool.
5. Make the filling: put fruits and other ingredients in a large bowl. Stir until combined.
6. Pour the filling onto the cooled base. Top with the rest of the crumble mix.
7. Return to oven for 30 minutes or until the topping is nicely browned. Enjoy on its own or with vanilla yoghurt or ice cream (or vegan alternative).
Salted Caramel Nut Tart
This recipe is adapted from an excellent tart in the recent Dish magazine (page 102-4 in the Sept 2021 issue). I’ve only tweaked a few things from the original recipe (adding a homemade crust and cutting down the sugar slightly) but the original recipe is stunning too.
It’s chewy, nutty, buttery and delicious with vanilla ice cream! The filling reminds me of my mom’s famous Thanksgiving pecan pies. I’ve used a fool-proof homemade tart crust dough that works for so many different sweet tarts.
Preheat oven to 200c. (Or 180 fan bake). You’ll need raw rice or pastry weights to blind bake.
1.5 cups flour
60 g icing sugar
128 g cold cubed unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1. In a food processor, add dry ingredients and butter gradually and mix until you get a sandy texture. Add egg and enough water to just bind the dough.
2. Turn dough out on baking paper, wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
3. Roll the dough into a circle large enough to fill a 22cm loose-based tart tin (I do this between two sheets of baking paper so dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin or the tart tin.) Tuck the dough neatly around the rim.
4. Blind bake until the dough has lost its shiny raw look. In my oven this took 10 minutes but every oven is different so I advise to check after 8-15 minutes. Tip: I peak under the weighted baking paper and when the base is no longer raw, I take off the weights and paper and bake a further minute.
5. Remove crust from oven and cool. Turn oven to 160c fan bake and place an oven tray in oven to preheat. You’ll bake the tart on this in its tart tin. Make filling.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla
100 g butter
1/2 cup cream
1. In saucepan, melt the above ingredients, bring to boil, stir to dissolve sugar. Simmer 3 minutes. Cool completely. (I did this step the day before and let it sit out till cool.)
2. Add 1 egg, 3/4 t salt, and 200g roasted chopped nuts. Almonds, pecans or walnuts work well.
3. Pour filling into cooled crust. Slide into oven onto heated tray.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the filling is bubbling. Cover any areas that are browning too quickly with foil. Remove from oven.
5. Allow to cool completely before eating (we couldn’t wait though and had a piece when still partially warm and were impressed that the filling set pretty quickly).
Enjoy! (We had it with vanilla ice cream-yum!) Let us know if you make it and how it goes.
Silverbeet Broccoli Soup (vegan + gluten free)
This recipe was inspired by a few different green soups I’ve made over the past few years. I’ve chosen it because it’s hearty, healthy, warming and uses ingredients that are easy to source in Wellington (plus I’ve got lots of leek and silverbeet in the garden so I wanted to use those), and it’s entirely plant-based. Instead of using chicken stock, I’ve made a mushroom kombu seaweed stock that adds nutrients and an excellent flavour base. The coconut cream adds a silky creaminess. Yum!
If you’d like to give it a Middle Eastern flair, there’s an excellent broccoli soup that inspired this one in Food of the Southern Forests by Sophie Zalokar, © 2014. She tops her soup with a tahini, lemon and pine nut za’atar that would work well on top on this soup. For copyright reasons, I’m not reprinting that here, but you can google it and find the recipe. I’ve included my recipe for za’atar below which would be a nice finish sprinkled on top with a swirl of coconut cream.
1 leek, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 whole head broccoli, head + stems trimmed of tougher bits, then the whole thing roughly chopped. *TIP: chopping the broccoli up a half hour before you cook it and leaving it to rest releases the cancer-fighting enzyme myrosinase. According to nutritionist Sue Radd, PhD (Food As Medicine, 2021), myrosinase is 'fenced within the cells of cruciferous vegetables. So you need to first chew or chop these veggies for myrosinase to be released...This needs to occur before cooking as myrosinase is progressively destroyed by heat. However, once the individual anti-cancer phytonutrients...are formed, they are heat-resistant and can withstand cooking.' (p. 375)
1 litre (4 cups) mushroom kombu stock (recipe below) or vegetable stock
1 x 400ml can coconut cream
1 large bunch of silverbeet or spinach leaves, stalks trimmed off
2 tablespoons za’atar
1. In a good soup pot (I use a heavy creuset or a nice weighty copper saucepan that prevents burning and allows for simmering), gently fry the leek and garlic, together with a teaspoon of salt and the ground cumin, in the olive oil until soft.
2. Stir through the broccoli and then add the stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the broccoli is soft. Add the silverbeet leaves to wilt.
3. Puree together with the coconut cream until smooth and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
4. Garnish with a swirl of coconut cream and za’atar.
Mushroom Kombu Stock
Pour 2 litres of water in a stock pot. Add 25 g dried shitake mushrooms (or any mushrooms you have) along with some kombu seaweed and three spring onions. I also add the silverbeet stems and dark green leaves from the top of the leek. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Allow to sit for a while if you have time, then strain the liquid and discard the solids.
Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice mix of dried thyme, oregano, sesame and sumac that mimics the flavours of the hyssop plant that is native to the Mediterranean.
At Savour, we grow the herbs, dehydrate them, and whizz all the ingredients in a food processor using a recipe adapted from Sababa by Adeena Sussman, my favourite Israeli cookbook. We store the extra in glass jars and it keeps well for months, and can be sprinkled on roasts, flatbreads, labne, hummus. You can buy premade za’atar at specialist shops.
Tips from Sussman: 'There are different styles of za’atar all over the Middle East; some are much tangier due to the amount of sumac added; some have more sesame seeds or salt. I found making my own to be a revelation, because I could control exactly how much of each element I wanted in the mix. Microwaving herbs to dry them is another discovery; it removes the moisture while leaving the herbs bright green.'
1 cup fresh oregano leaves, or 6 T dried
3 T dried marjoram
3 T sesame seeds
4 t dried thyme
1 T sumac
1 t salt
Method: If using fresh oregano, arrange it on a towel-lined plate and microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring between intervals, until dry and crumbly, 2 to 2½ minutes. Crumble the leaves by hand or in a spice grinder until almost fine then add marjoram, sesame seeds, thyme, sumac, and salt and grind up until it reaches a texture you like. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Some super health benefits of the ingredients in this soup:
Silverbeet: great source of iron, vitamins K, A and C and calcium
Broccoli: see note above
Sumac: Rich in antioxidants, sumac has also been shown to improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes
Oregano: Contains several antioxidants with anti-inflammatory, blood sugar and blood-fat lowering properties. It's one of the richest sources of polyphenols among herbs.
Kombu Seaweed: rich in iodine, important for your thyroid
Mushrooms (if using mushroom stock): excellent source of vitamin D, mushrooms also contain some unique phytonutrients that might boost immunity by encouraging a greater diversity of microbiota in your gut. Mushrooms might also help with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Texas Pulled Pork
If you love a super easy, deliciously fatty shredded pork recipe in lots of juice, this one's for you!
As a girl growing up mostly in the United States (and in the South for 3 years), I spent a lot of weekends enjoying barbeques with my extended family or being taken along to church picnics that seemed to last all day with hotdogs, potato salad, sloppy Joes--a sort of pulled pork sandwich served with butter on a burger bun. This recipe is even better than the meat served at those childhood picnics. Perfect for Autumn hibernation!
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) pork shoulder roast
1 cup barbeque sauce
½ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 extra large onion, chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
1 T fresh thyme leaves or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
8 hamburger buns, split
2 tablespoons butter, or as needed
1. Pour the vegetable oil into the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the pork roast into the slow cooker; pour in the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, and chicken broth. Stir in the brown sugar, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, chili powder, onion, garlic, and thyme. Cover and cook on High until the roast shreds easily with a fork, 5 to 6 hours.
2. Remove the roast from the slow cooker, and shred the meat using two forks. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker, and stir the meat into the juices.
3. Spread the inside of both halves of hamburger buns with butter. Toast the buns, butter side down, in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Spoon pork into the toasted buns.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes source :