Fructose Free Chocolate Cake

Fructose is contained in most sweeteners that are used in traditional desserts. Refined sugar, honey, maple syrup – all contain fructose. Fortunately, it is recognised now that sugar is the main source of fat that build up in the human body. Spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels may also cause dysfunctions of organs.

Since I discovered Brown Rice Malt Syrup, I have been really enjoying it in my recipes. Rice malt syrup is fructose free, it is made from 100% brown rice. Australian brands make organic Brown Rice Malt Syrup that reduces arsenic to hardly detectable levels. This is good information to be researched for those who consume rice regularly.

The malt syrup is made through fermenting rice to break down the starches and then transforming it into syrup through cooking. The syrup contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and glucose. Rice Malt Syrup is a lower GI product in comparison to fructose and it takes more than an hour to digest.

So, here you are, for milk, fructose and gluten intolerances I have a chocolate dessert for you!

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Fructose Free Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:

270ml coconut cream
3/4 cup rice malt syrup
4 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup pure cocoa or raw cacao
2 cups white ground almonds (almond meal/almond flour)
Also required: a 20 cm removable cake tin (spring form), 2 bowls and an electric mixer.

Optional (Cherries contain low fructose): 1 cup morello cherries (frozen or fresh), stones removed.

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 180c degrees. Make a single layer a piece of baking paper for the base of the springform and a double layer wide to cover the sides.

2. Combine coconut cream, syrup and cocoa well in a bowl using a spoon to get a smooth and shiny mixture. Put aside about 1/4 cup of this chocolate mixture and save it in a fridge for later use when the cake will be ready.

3. Using an electric mixer beat egg yolks until creamy. Add all the remaining chocolate mixture and continue mixing on the medium speed until completely incorporated.

4. Place egg whites in a second bowl and let the mixer run until soft peaks form.

5. Add almond meal to the bowl with the chocolate mixture and combine to get a consistent mixture by using a large silicone spatula.

6.  Dividing into three portions, gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the prepared chocolate-almond mixture through in a figure of eight movement with a large spatula.

7. Pour the cake dough into the middle of prepared tin, and if the cherries are used, mix them in during this step. Bake for 25 mins at 180 degrees in a fan forced oven. Then turn off the fan and bake for another 15 minutes at 160c.

8.  Let it cool approximately to the body temperature before removing from the form. Once cake is on the platter, spread the saved 1/4 cup of chocolate on top of the cake. It should melt and run through the sides of the cake.

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Marinated Zucchini Salad

Courgette (Zucchini) is a simple and affordable fruit that is harvested immature. Some information about zucchini was collected in the other post for Zucchini Patties recipe. Young zucchini have a subtle taste and they are perfect for being used raw in salads. If you like cucumbers try to substitute them with young zucchini and you will increase your vitamin intake. Below recipe uses uncooked zucchini but not completely raw!

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Marinated Zucchini Salad

Ingredients:

 5 small zucchini
100 g soft goat cheese
Marinade:
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 small gloves of garlic (finely minced)
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
Optional:
150 g cherry tomatoes

Method:

1. Thinly slice zucchini using a vegetable peeler, or a knife if preferred.
2. Combine all the marinade ingredients in a large jar and shake. Add zucchini and shake gently to mix the marinade through the zucchini. Leave the jar in the fridge for an hour.
3. Lay out marinated zucchini from the jar on a shallow serving plate and crumble the goat’s cheese coarsely over the salad. Optionally, decorate the salad with halved mini tomatoes.
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Sesame Tuna

This is a very simple and easy way to enjoy a fresh, high quality piece of tuna. I find, it is a perfect entrée meal to share or a snack for two on the weekend.

I was served a similar dish in one of the Melbourne’s restaurants years ago and since, I have been using this idea to experiment with different coatings and sauces. This method is so versatile. So, next time you see a beautiful piece of tuna in the shop, get it and have a try.

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Sesame Tuna

Ingredients:

Fresh tuna, a piece about 250g
Sesame seeds
Black pepper (optional)
Oil
Cucumber

Sauce:
Soya sauce
Fresh wasabi
Ginger (optional)

Method:

1. Thoroughly wash tuna and paper dry. Mix sesame seeds with a bit of cracked black pepper and roll tuna in it. Press harder, so more seeds stuck to the fish to fully cover the whole surface.
2. Heat oil in a frying pan on medium and fry tuna on all sides. When first frying, notice how much time it takes to change the colour for 2mm in thickness. Then apply the same time on each side. This should take a few minutes in total.
3. Cut the fish into slices and serve immediately with some shaved cucumber and a traditional soya-wasabi sauce. Alternatively use Wasabi Mayonnaise from this earlier post.

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Hawthorn Tea Recipe

Hawthorn (Greek Crataegus) is a beautiful plant that grows in all continents now. The leaves, flowers and berries have health benefits and they are used to produce medicine for heart diseases.

The British Homeopathic Review revealed of Dr. Green (Ireland):
“… For many years had a reputation for the cure of heart disease that caused patients to flock to him from all parts of the United Kingdom. He cured the most of them and amassed considerable wealth by means of his secret. 

For, contrary to the code, he, though a physician in good standing, refused to reveal the remedy to his professional brethren. After his death … (in 1894), his daughter, a Mrs. Graham, revealed the name of the remedy her father had used so successfully. It is Crataegus oxycanthus …”

The health qualities of Hawthorn are still being researched:
‘This study was to investigate the anticancer effects of the peel polyphenolic extract (HPP) and flesh polyphenolic extract (HFP) from hawthorn fruit in human MCF-7 breast cancer cells. It was found that the polyphenol and flavonoid contents of HPP were significant higher than that of HFP. Both HPP and HFP inhibited cell growth in a dose-dependent manner with …, suggesting that HPP was more effective against MCF-7 cells than HFP. … All these findings indicate that hawthorn fruit, especially its peel, is an excellent source of natural chemopreventive agents in the treatment of breast cancer.” (Food Chemistry, Volume 141, Issue 2, 15 November 2013, Pages 1008-1018)

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Hawthorn tree, Daylesford

In autumn (April for Australia) the berries can be picked and dried. Alternatively, the flesh of berries can be preserved with the inner pips removed. The berries are best brewed in a teapot fresh or dried.

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Hawthorn Berries

To make hawthorn berry tea take one tablespoon of fresh berries for one cup of tea, crush them between two spoons and cover with boiling water in a pot. Fresh berries will brew in 10 minutes. Dried berries need to be boiled first and simmered for about 20 minutes.

This tea is only for leisure, if you need to use Hawthorn as medicine please talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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Lemon and Cashew Dessert Recipe

Cashew tree produce cashew apples, and cashew apples have cashew seeds. The green seeds are processed, and we find them as light brown cashew nuts on the food store shelves.

From a traditional stir fry to a modern cashew milk, from breakfast to dinner, cashew nuts prove to be more versatile every day. Health benefits of the cashew nuts inspire not only many of us who experiment with home cooking but also some food manufacturers.

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Pumpkin Bread Recipe

In addition to being healthy, pumpkin also contains another healthy ingredient, that is pepitas, or pumpkin seeds. Pepitas are very rich in minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They are also high in protein content, about 20%. Unfortunately, like many other nuts and seeds, pepitas contain anti-nutrients like phytic acid, or phytate, that can make all the previously discussed important nutrients less bioavailable when you consume them. These anti-nutrients bind to minerals, especially zinc and iron, and the minerals cannot be absorbed.

I found a study that was specifically designed to research this factor in pumpkin seeds. It concluded, ‘The subsequent digestion under intestinal conditions showed that Zn becomes less accessible, indicating that antinutrients like naturally present phytate may be responsible for complex formation in the small intestines, thus reducing the potential for Zn bioavailability.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 128, Issue 4, 15 October 2011, Pages 839-846)

So, if you plan on consuming seeds or nuts on a regular basis, it would be wise to soak or sprout them, that is what doctors advise. Unfortunately, ‘the soaking of whole seeds for 24 h can lead to leaching of iron and, to a lesser extent, of zinc ions into the soaking medium.’ The same applies to all legumes and grains. The good news, it was also proved that fermentation can completely hydrolyze the phytic acid. (Food Chemistry, Volume 138, Issue 1, 1 May 2013, Pages 430-436) And by the way, the heating also causes phytic acid reduction.

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Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Soup Recipe

The pumpkin is a large fruit that is so versatile that it can be used in many sweet and savoury dishes. Pumpkin is packed with vitamins and minerals. Of note, it is very high in vitamin A and C, potassium and the minerals copper and phosphorous. Pumpkin is also very low in calories.

NPK fertilizer is often used to grow pumpkin. NPK stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. One study from 2012 evaluated the influence of NPK fertilizer on protein, fibre, fat and carbohydrates, which collectively are called proximate content. The main focus of the study was to assess the effect of NPK fertiliser on antioxidant activities and antioxidant phenolic compounds in immature and mature fruits of pumpkin. It was found that ‘Between the control and the highest fertilizer rate, proximate compositions decreased by 7–62% while the antioxidant profile decreased by 13–79% for both immature and mature fruits. Across all the measured parameters, mature fruit had higher proximate contents and higher antioxidant concentrations.’ (Food Chemistry, Volume 135, Issue 2, 15 November 2012, Pages 460-463)  It seems like buying very ripe pumpkin is a good idea. The conclusion made was ‘ For the high health value of pumpkin fruits to be maintained, little or no NPK fertilizer should be applied.’ Unfortunately, considering NPK can be organic fertilizer, how do we know how much of it was used in the pumpkin we buy?

Here it is my version of pumpkin soup that can convert anyone into becoming a pumpkin soup lover.

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Pumpkin Soup

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