Tangy yet sweet tomato chutney, perfect as a topping or side

Last year I took the first steps of trying to grow my own vegetable & herb garden.  It’s been an amazing learning process: with many successes & failures!
I find it utterly amazing, seeing how certain vegetables grow – I had no clue!  It’s been an eye opening experience.

Through it all, you realise how imperfect your vegetables grow, which lead then to so many questions on how we only see “perfect” vegetables in our stores, and what it takes to make them so “perfect”.

But putting that aside, I had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes, and thus out of the need to preserve and not throw away, I made copious amounts of ‘tomato chutney’ for me, my family & friends.

image of tomato chutney and the making

It’s delicious & sweet, which makes it a perfect accompaniment with cheese, or a topping on your fish, chicken etc.  Use it in whatever you’d normally use ‘tomatoes’ and/or onions for!  Just experiment!

Ingredients (recipe can be halved, doubled, quartered etc)

  • 500g red onion (chunky chopped or thinly sliced)
  • 1kg cherry tomatoes
  • 150ml red wine vinegar
  • 250g xylitol
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • optional: 2 chillies OR 5 cm ginger, 10 cardamom seeds, 1 tsp paprika
    Note: I ran out of red wine vinegar, so added apple cider vinegar!   So use other vinegars if you don’t have red wine vinegar….

How to make?

  1. Fry the onions in the coconut oil, until nicely softened and translucent.
  2. Now add all the other ingredients into the pot and stir.  Get the mixture to a gentle simmer and allow it to cook slowly.
  3. My quantity took close to 90-120 minutes to cook down to a nice thick consistency similar to jam.  Timing will be dependent on the quantity you cook.   I suggest you check it ever now & then & stir, when it appears to be nearly complete, then keep stirring, since you don’t want the bottom to burn, due to the caramelisation of the mixture.
  4. Then decant into sterilised glass containers and seal.  Keep in fridge.  Once open consume within a 2 week period.
  5. If you want to make it more into a tomato sauce, simply puree it in a blender!  And voila ‘tomato sauce’.
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No Bake Seed & Nut Cocoa Clusters

A recipe I will be making this week since it looks too delicious for words, and that would hopefully satisfy my sugar cravings, is the cocoa nut and/or seed clusters recipe from the website blog Low Carb is Lekker, or you can find her on Facebook.  So full credit to this yummy recipe to Low Carb is Lekker!

Pictures of this, will be posted hopefully by next week.

Ingredients:

  • 100 gram *coconut flakes (* can be replaced with 3/4 cup plain fine or medium desiccated coconut)
  • 50 g butter
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa
  • 2 Tbsp xylitol
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water
  • 4 Tbsp coconut cream
  • 4 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 4Tbsp desiccated coconut fine
  • 4 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 2 Tbsp grated orange or lemon peel (optional)
  • NOTE: you can make these with chopped nuts instead of the seeds, or use a combination!

How to make?

  1. In a dry pan, toast your seeds and coconut flakes ever so slightly on medium heat till brown colour starts to show. remove from heat.
  2. In a medium saucepan, on medium – high heat, melt the butter, add the xylitol and mix.
  3. Add the cocoa dissolved in the hot water and the coconut cream. Allow the sauce to bubble and thicken for 2 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and allow to sit for a minute or two.
  4. Add all the seeds and coconut and stir into the chocolate sauce.
  5. Scoop into a12 hole tiny cupcake latex moulds or into small cupcake liners. (You could also line an egg carton with cling wrap and mould little clusters in the oval moulds)
  6. If you did not use the coconut chips you could roll the batter into 12 balls.  Allow to cool and set overnight or for 2 – 3 hours.

 

Satisfy your cravings, with a coconut kiss!

I don’t know about you, but there are days, that I crave sugar.

And that craving just doesn’t disappear, by trying to fool my body in forgetting, by drinking coffee or having a savoury low carb snack.  It sits on my shoulder, nudging me, however I now know from past experience, that I can’t stop if I start with “real sugar” & “high carbs”.

So every now & then, I experiment, with alternative low carb high fat “sugar-free” options.
Through this, I’ve found
“sugar-free” bite size delights.  I find one or two are enough to satisfy my craving.  They are the perfect chocolate coconut kiss!

image of coconut macaroons covered on dark chocolate

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  •  1 tbsp xylitol (optional to add, you don’t need to add the sweetener to the recipe) and can add more if you require it sweeter, or can use stevia as an alternative

How to make it?

  1. Soak the coconut in the coconut milk.
  2. Beat the eggs, until fluffy.
  3. Add in the salt, extract & sweetener.
  4. The mix in the coconut mixture.
  5. Then either use a greased mini-muffin container or baking tray to prepare for baking.  I use approximately a heaped tsp per serving, so the batter makes approximately 36 coconut kisses.
  6. Bake at 160 degrees Celsius for approximately 20 minutes, or until lightly golden.
  7. Whilst cooling, on a baking rack, melt 50g of Lindt dark chocolate (use any variant of good quality dark chocolate, that’s higher than 70% cocoa), in microwave.  This takes approximately 2-3 minutes.  Take out every 30 seconds & stir.  Alternatively melt, in a double-boiler on the stove.  Then dip the tops of each of the “kisses” into the chocolate.
    Voila, Enjoy your coconut kiss!!!  I hope it satisfies your cravings as well.

I can’t believe it’s Almond Butter!!!

Eezy Peezy Home-made Almond Butter

image of almond butter in a glass jar

Homemade Almond Butter

I ran out of my shop-bought almond butter the other day, which I had been eating a teaspoonful of, whenever the snacking urge bit me!  Or when I had fresh LCHF bread, I used it, as my topping treat.

Now in parallel, I’ve been sitting with a bagful of almonds, which I had not been eating, since ironically I don’t enjoy eating nuts whole….it’s the texture & experience, that I simply don’t enjoy, don’t ask me why, I can’t explain.

So I’ve been using them to make almond flour, but I thought why not try make almond butter.  Seriously, I can’t believe how easy it was!  I wish I had known sooner, it would have been much more cost effective making my own, vs the cost of almond butter in the shops!

So you only need two things:-

1) raw almonds (with skin or blanched, the choice is yours!)

2) food processor (with the S-blade)

And lastly patience.

My machine is old, so it’s engine can’t run continuously, so it had to stop a few times to let the engine cool.

It’s as simple as throwing the almonds into the processor & running at full speed.

image of almonds being crushed in food processor

Crushed Almonds

The first stage looks all crumbly like broken biscuits or almond flour (as seen above).

image of crushed almonds binding in food processor

Crushed almonds binding

And slowly it’s starts binding, it really does! (as seen above).  And depending on how powerful the engine of your food processor is, it could take 5-10minutes or slightly longer, if you are like me, letting your engine cool when the light starts warning!

And then voila, it turns into the butter/paste, and you finally get almond butter!

Which was placed in a sterilized glass jar!

I couldn’t believe how simple & easy it was to make…

And a few of my friends scored some freshly made almond butter for the weekend.

I can’t wait to try macadamia, cashew and the like!

 

Note: to sterilize glass jars, you simply wash them and place them upside down on a rack in the oven and heat for 45minutes at 145 degrees celsius. The lids you place in boiling water for a minute, before using them to close the container.