Friday, 21 December 2012

Almond and coconut balls - Ferrero Raffaello style!

I used to absolutely love those little balls of pleasure, Ferrero Raffaello!  So moreish though - it was always hard to stop at one.  Well, who am I kidding?  I never stopped at one!

Until, of course, I was diagnosed Coeliac, and sadly these delightful little treats moved across to the 'no go' list, which my hips were probably relieved about, but I did miss them!

So when deciding this year what I was going to make for the various Christmas related gatherings and presents, the flavour of the Raffaello popped into my mouth, as did the thought of pretty little 'snowballs' gracing the top of my Christmas cake and being placed in little packages for kinder teacher presents!  I took to work in an attempt to replicate the flavours of the Raffaello, but home style, and of course gluten free! (they could be dairy free too with a few ingredient changes as noted in the recipe below)

A tasty way of decorating your Christmas cake (try my Kahlua version!)
These are nice and easy, the kids can get involved in the chocolate coating and coconut rolling (although the yield may go down considerably!), and you'll be sure to impress taking these to any festive function.

You will need some kind of high speed processor to turn the shredded coconut into a paste.  I obviously use my Thermomix however I am sure food processors (particularly smaller ones) would work just as well.  This is probably the most tedious part of the recipe but believe me, the results are worth it!

As an aside, have a look at the ingredient list below for Raffaellos, and then compare to the ingredients in my recipe below.  Nice to think of the good quality natural ingredients you'll be passing onto your loved ones!
Oh and I found I could use minimal sugar (40g rapadura divided into 30 balls - you do the math!) as the almonds and coconut bring a natural sweetness of their own, and of course the white chocolate adds a fine coating of sweetness to each mouthful, making them perfect to have with a coffee, or even a nice sweet digestif!


Ingredients: Desiccated Coconut (23.5%), Sugar, Vegetable Oil, Skim Milk Powder, Vegetable Fats, Whole Almond (8%), Wheat Flour, Whey Powder, Flavourings, Emulsifier (Soy Lecithin), Rye Flour, Raising Agent (Sodium Bicarbonate), Salt.

Almond Coconut balls - Snowballs (makes approx 30)


200g organic shredded coconut (I used macro brand)
40g rapadura sugar (coconut sugar or brown sugar could also be used)
1 tbs organic coconut oil
65g raw almonds (or almond meal if not using a Thermomix)
60ml cream (use coconut cream for dairy free version)
250g good quality white chocolate (use dairy free chocolate if required)

Method - Conventional 

  1. Place 150g of the shredded coconut and sugar in the food processor.  Process to a paste.  This will take a bit of stop/starting and scraping down the sides but hang in there, the oils will release from the coconut and it will happen!
  2. Add the almond meal, coconut oil and cream and process again, scraping the sides until thoroughly combined.
  3. Place mixture in fridge for 30 minutes or until firm.
  4. Meanwhile, place remaining 50g coconut into a bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Melt the chocolate according to directions on pack.
  6. To assemble, roll mixture into small balls, approximately the width of a 10 cent piece.  Dip into melted chocolate (I coated them using two spoons) using just enough for an even coating then roll and coat in the shredded coconut.  Set aside and repeat until all balls are coated.
  7. Store in fridge but leave out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Method - Thermomix

  1.  Place 150g of the shredded coconut, coconut oil and sugar into the TM bowl.  Blend on speed 5-6 until a paste forms.  This will take a bit of stop/starting - when you hear the blades no longer hitting the mixture scrape down the bowl and start again.  Be patient though - it does happen!
  2. Add the almonds and process for a further 20 seconds on speed 7.
  3. Add the cream and process for a further 20 seconds on speed 6 until well combined and relatively smooth.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes or until firm.
  5. Follow steps 4-7 above.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Gluten free Kahlua Christmas cake

You may already have a special Christmas cake recipe in your family that has been handed down from generation to generation.
The hand written recipe having been, at some point in time, penciled over with metric conversions, splattered with butter and spice, torn, worn, paper yellowed, and yet with so many memories dancing off the page, the paper is pulled out of storage once a year, marking the start of another season of celebrations.

Funnily enough that was not the case in our family.  Actually I don't remember traditional Christmas cake ever gracing the table in our house.  Mum was the only family member who even liked it and because our family is very small, we tended to celebrate Christmas either with a seafood BBQ or even going out for Yum Cha at Little Bourke St, Melbourne city!

But I have this new found urge to create a new tradition for my own little family now, and that is to perfect a Christmas cake recipe that hopefully will be loved and remembered by my boys as something to look forward to each festive season.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

STEPS 7 - Detoxify your diet

And by that title I certainly do NOT mean the latest lemon detox or broth only diet!!  Surely you know me well enough now to know I would not be leading you down that garden path??!!

What I do mean for this task is to wave a magnifying glass over the commonplace food items in your pantry/fridge/freezer and have a real look at what exactly you are eating and feeding your family.

This, for me, really became a focus with the arrival of the Thermomix into my kitchen in 2012.  A friend had given me a book on artificial additives and preservatives a few years before and to be completely honest, I graciously accepted it and, though it did catch my interest at the time, obviously not enough as I never really read it and instead it fell onto a bookshelf never to be opened again.     

But with the Thermomix and a series of other recent events leading me down this learning trail, wow!  The passion, invigoration, enthusiasm and belief for where I am heading with this is the exact reason why I have made it one of our STEPS to the greater goal of wellness and happiness!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Roast vegetable and brown rice slice

 There a few things I like about this dish.
1.  The versatility.  We had this slice for dinner, though it would be just as ideal for lunch, picnics, brunch, and even sliced into bite sized pieces and served as an hor d oeuvre/appetiser.
2.  Loaded with veg.  The latest task in the STEPS program is 'pumping up' your fruit and vegetable intake, and this dish is a great way of eating lots of veggies in a delicious and filling way!
3.  Easy to make.  Whilst it isn't a dish that would feature on 'Jamie's 15 minute meals', the processes are not difficult and would even be a great dish for the kids to make for you when you need a break from cooking!!  (Do I need a disclaimer here to point out the possible need for supervision of knives and heat processes??)
4.  Good meal for vegetarians.  Given there is tofu, a rainbow of vegetables, brown rice, cheese and eggs in this dish, vegetarians are ensuring a balanced intake of protein, fibre, vitamin B12 and a multitude of other complementary vitamins and minerals.  This recipe is also gluten free and could be dairy free by either omitting the cheese component altogether or using your favourite dairy free cheese.