Proper, indulgent, great tasting food that everyone loves, but without guilty, unhealthy side effects that invariably come with it – many would consider it the Holy Grail of cooking. Well, if you’re looking to get healthy, maybe lose a pound or two, but you don’t want to go through the boring, bland and, let’s face it, mostly unsustainable process of going on a diet, then my next two guests have written the cookbook for you.
Jordan and Jessica Bourke are a brother and sister team – she a nutritionist and he a chef – who have put together The Guilt Free Gourmet.
Quinoa with carrots, hazelnuts and pomegranate
2 Medium carrots – grated
60g Hazelnuts – lightly roasted at 180C until a shade darker. Remove skins.
1 Pomegranate – cut in half around the centre, and seeds removed. The easiest way to do this is to bash them out with the back of a wooden spoon.
Bunch parsley chopped – keep some aside for serving
10 Dried apricots (unsulphured) – chopped into small pieces
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
200ml of Extra virgin olive oil
2tbsp of agave syrup
1 tsp Sea salt
A few grindings of freshly ground black pepper
Bring the quinoa to the boil in just under double its quantity of water. The moment it has come to the boil, reduce the heat to low and place the lid on top. Cook for about 12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, remove the lid and let any remaining water evaporate. Remove to a wide plate or tray and leave to cool.
Add in all the other ingredients and combine together. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Serve with the remaining parsley sprinkled on top.
Orange Zest Chocolate Brownies
Honestly, who doesn’t love a good sticky and chewy chocolate brownie? They are the ultimate in decadent home baking, rich and moist and totally addictive. This recipe is completely sin free, yet still delicious and indulgent tasting. I have had people beg me for the recipe when they found out they were sugar, wheat and dairy free.
225g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids. There is a very minimal amount of sugar in the ingredients of dark chocolate. If you want no sugar at all you can buy sugar free dark chocolate in health stores)
110g Rice flour
70g cocoa powder
2 eggs and 2 egg yolks
Half tsp baking powder
Half tsp salt
Zest of 1 Orange
170g Coconut palm sugar or xylitol (Both are natural & healthy sugar alternatives from plant sources. Available in good supermarkets and health stores.)
225g Sunflower spread (Or any other dairy free spread, e.g. soya spread)
100g pecans – (Lightly roasted at 180C for a few minutes, until their intense flavour has been released and they have gone a shade darker)
Preheat the oven to 160C. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Slowly mix in the eggs and egg yolks and then the melted chocolate and orange zest. Finally stir in the flour mixture and the pecans. As the melted chocolate cools the mixture becomes increasingly stiff and difficult to mix, to the point that you may think you have made a mistake and need to add in more liquid… don’t! This is what makes these brownies so decadently chewy and dense in texture. If you have a food mixer it makes the job a little easier, otherwise work those triceps!
Line a small casserole dish or baking tin with baking parchment. With the back of a metal spoon flatten the chocolate mixture into the tin. Dipping the spoon into hot water every now and again prevents it from sticking. Bake in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes, depending on your oven and the thickness of your brownie. It should be slightly undercooked and a skewer should come out with some of the wet mixture still on it, as the brownie will firm up once it has cooled and the chocolate sets. Once cool, transfer to the fridge until fully set and then cut into squares and devour!
DARK CHOCOLATE- Dark chocolate, unlike it’s ‘milkier’ counterpart is high in anti-oxidants which help reduce the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. It also has flavanoids which maintain blood pressure and reduce the chance of blood clots occurring.
Researchers from Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition found that consuming milk chocolate or drinking milk while eating dark chocolate may reduce the absorption of anti-oxidants in the dark chocolate, thereby negating the potential health benefits.
The advice is to opt for high quality dark chocolate with a cocoa content of a minimum of 70%, ideally 80% or higher for optimal health benefits with minimal sugar consumption.
Convincing people that food, especially desserts, made without sugar, wheat and dairy can actually taste good, let alone delicious, is an almost impossible task, which is why I adore this Chocolate Tart. It will convert even the greatest cynics, who protest that no dessert free of sugar, wheat and dairy could possibly taste as good as their more sinful cousins. After tasting this, I guarantee your family and friends will admit defeat and beg you for the recipe, as well as another slice!
125g oat cakes
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp agave
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tsp cocoa powder
3 Medium avocadoes (flesh removed)
4 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp agave
1 tbsp carob powder
5 tbsp cocao powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp date syrup
Half a tsp salt
100g best quality dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids.
(Dark chocolate will have a very low amount of sugar in the ingredients. If desired you can get sugar free dark chocolate in health stores, that is sweetened with agave.)
Lightly roast the pecans at 180C for about 5 minutes or until they are a shade darker and aromatic. Leave to cool. In a food processor blitz the dates, then add in the rest of the ingredients for the base and blitz until it comes together into a sticky ball.
Press it into an 8inch round springform tin, so that you have an even and smooth base for the tart. Place in the fridge to set for 30 mins or the freezer for 15 mins.
For the filling, again place all the ingredients into a food processor, apart from the coconut oil, and blitz until smooth. In a pan over the lowest heat possible, melt the coconut oil, this will only take a few moments. Turn on the food processor and pour the coconut oil into the mixture through the funnel. Once combined pour the mixture onto the set base and smooth out the top. Place in fridge to set for at least two hours. Or again, if you want to set it quickly, you could put it in the freezer.
When you are ready to serve, warm the 85% dark chocolate to just above room temperature, so it is easy to grate. I find leaving it beside the oven when you are cooking for about 10 minutes does the trick. You want the chocolate to be just beginning to get soft, not in any way gooey or melting though, just not rock solid, so it grates easily in long strips.
Take the tart out of the fridge, remove it from the springform tin and place it on a large white plate. Liberally grate the chocolate over the tart so it piles up high.
This tart keeps wonderfully well, and can easily be made a day in advance, or a few weeks in advance if you keep it in the freezer.
- Avocados are high in essential omega fats, which are food for the brain, nervous system, skin and hair. Contrary to popular belief, Avocados do not make you fat! In fact, studies have shown that those who have high amounts of healthy fats like avocados (and indeed coconut oil) in their diet are more likely to be a healthy weight.
- Coconut oil, which turns solid in the fridge and is then called coconut ‘butter’, has amazing health benefits. It has been shown to have such strong anti-microbial and anti-viral properties that it is now being used in trials for HIV/Aids victims. It contains Lauric acid, which has anti-oxidant properties that help improve the texture of the skin and hair.