samedi 29 mars 2014

On se lève tous pour la Choconette!

We are sorry we have been away for so long. To help you forgive us, I have prepared a little surprise.

I take it everyone has tasted (and probably adored with unrestrained devotion), Nutella.

Me too. My father (wise man) forbid us to have some in the house, so I simply bought some and hid it in my room. I would sneak out at night, cut slices of bread or baguette and spread Nutella lovingly over it. As soon as I was a student in Montréal, I bought Nutella and would eat it at every breakfast. More Nutella than bread, a glass of orange juice to balance the sweetness with acidity and it was simply delicious.

BUT. I grew up. And I read Antigone’s article on Nutella. Revelation !! Home-made Nutella CAN taste delicious and replace the industrial oily, too sweet paste I used to buy. The best thing is you can eat it without guilt, it’s 100% plant-based. 

As Antigone explains well in her article, in addition to not being healthy (which let’s face it, we already knew, it was just too good for us to really want to face the fact), Nutella is actually dangerous for your neurons, carcinogenic and contains plastic derivatives.

Sooo, instead of buying Nutella, I encourage you to try the home-made alternative: the Choconette ! (see for the original version of Antigone’s article).

Let’s dive straight in! (which I literally end up doing everytime I make this recipe. You should see me with chocolate up to my elbows/nose, enjoying the child-like pleasure of licking the remains on the spoon/mixer…). 

Makes a 330 ml. or 11 oz. jar (the equivalent of a Bonne Maman jam jar)

Ingredients :
  • 15 dates (around 90 g. or 3 oz.)*
  • 125 g. [1/2 cup] hazelnut butter
  • 60 ml. [4 Tbsp] agave or maple syrup (or raw liquid honey)
  • 30 g. [1/3 cup] cocoa powder
  • 15 ml. [1 Tbsp] water
* For those who don’t want to use dates, you can substitute 1/2 dried apricots and 1/2 dried bananas (but not banana chips!)

Preparation :
1. Rehydrate the dates in hot water for about 10 minutes (or 2 hours in cold water)
2. Put all your ingredients in a blender and… blend!

If your blender is not very robust, add the cocoa last as it dries up the paste and makes it harder to mix. 

Use a sterilised jar (10 minutes in boiling water), and keep the Choconette in the fridge. Ours lasts for 2 to 3 weeks, but we usually finish it well before that ! 

You see that jar? That was my first go at it. It lasted 6 days. I now systematically double this portion ;)


lundi 3 mars 2014

Never throw away a fruit

I think I haven’t invented this movement but since I was young my father always made impressive jams and fruit purees. Having an orchard helped a lot as we were always left with more fruit than we could possibly eat.

For a while we were there every week end. I knew that when the apple were falling the apple puree will arrive.
The second thing I learnt is that a fruit is never dead until you decide it is. That’s why I make a jam or a puree of my almost all rotten fruits.
Apple Purée
I will describe three recipes here. I try to make good combinations with what I found in our kitchen.

Strawberries and Squash Jam:
  • 4 rotting strawberries
  • Part of an already cooked squash (about a quarter of it)
  • Sugar (less than the total weight of your fruit/veg)
To make the jam there is a tiny preparation, just remove the stem and cut in quarters. Don’t cut any part out! Keep everything.
I first heat in a saucepan the strawberries, the squash and the sugar.
I wait 20 minutes maintaining in a low simmer.
The result did not need to go through a blender or a chopper.
I put in a sterilised jam jar (you have to boil the jar and lid separately for 10 minutes)

The taste is interesting and new. Sweet and tangy, very smooth. I eat it for breakfast on a buttered baguette.

Pears and Orange Jam:
  • 2 very ripe or rotting pears
  • 1 very ripe or rotting orange
  • Sugar (half of the total weight of your fruits)
Same procedure, heat everything in a saucepan. Wait 20 minutes and put in a sterilised jar.

Pears and Orange Jam

Apple and Sugar Water, not really a jam much more a Purée:
I used water in which R soaked dates for a homemade Nutella. She was about to pour it down the sink when I stopped her in extremis. I improvised the following:
  • 300 ml of sugar date water
  • 2 great apple
  • 2 tsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon powder
To create the water you need to put 15 dates (cut in half) in a cold water bowl. After two hours, take the dates for their initial use (the homemade Nutella, more of this below). The dates release their aroma and sweetness in the bowl. If you taste the water it will be sweet.
Cut the apple in dice; keep the skin but not the core.
In a saucepan boil the water; add the apples, the sugar, and the cinnamon. Wait until the water disappear and looks like a syrup.
Put in a sterilize jar.

I eat this puree with plain yoghurt.

Stay tuned in for the homemade Nutella recipe, it’s delicious, healthy and completely addictive!