Date, Fig and Nut Bites

Date, fig and nut bites

These bites are both delicious and good for you – always a winning combo!

Although I’ve seen many variations of this recipe, after much playing with different combinations and quantities of the ingredients, this one is my favourite. Feel free to change up whatever you like though to suit your own tastes.

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Nasturtium Pesto

Nasturtium pesto

Nasturtium pesto might sound a bit strange, but if you like the slightly bitter taste of nasturtium leaves (or rocket/arugula, if you’ve never tasted nasturtium leaves), you’ll love it. In fact the basic recipe is very similar to that of traditional basil pesto, only we’re varying the leaves.

Traditional pesto can be pricey though, which is not surprising given some of its original ingredients – parmesan cheese and pine nuts, neither of which is particularly cheap. Luckily, you can create something that tastes quite similar using more reasonably-priced ingredients, in this case, cheddar cheese (leave this out if you want a vegan or pure paleo version) and toasted sunflower seeds.

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Potato Rosti

Potato rosti with roasted fennel and smoked trout

Rosti go by many names – rösti, potato pancakes, hash browns and latkes, to name just a few – and come in many variations. At heart though, they are simply grated potato mixed with a little salt, and whatever other flavourings you choose to add, like onion, herbs and/or cheese. I’ve been wanting to try them for ages and when a friend bought round some smoked trout, I decided it was the perfect opportunity.

After doing some fairly extensive research on Pinterest (there are quite a few methods out there, believe me), I decided to keep the base very simple and rather go wild on the toppings.

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Créme Caramel

Demolished creme caramel

This recipe is great to make ahead for a party, and the mixture of creamy custard and caramel sauce is a winner every time – and I’ve made it many, many times. People love the taste and texture (as you can see from how it’s been demolished in the picture) and are always impressed by it, although it’s really not that difficult to make.

By the way, this is not the same thing as crème brûlée, which is far richer as it’s made with cream instead of milk, and which requires very careful handling to create the sugar crust on top. Crème caramel is the easier and, in my opinion, equally delicious version.

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Healthy Chocolate Mousse

Healthy chocolate mousse

This is a really easy and healthy recipe that tastes very decadent, and if nobody told you, you would never guess the ingredients!

I first had a version of it on a raw food course I did several years ago, and it’s something I make often when avocados are in season (they’re just coming back here in South Africa now).

It only takes about 15 minutes to prepare but some pre-planning is needed as it’s best to use ripe bananas and avocados. It also takes a couple of hours to set so you need to allow for that too, although you can try to speed the process by putting it in the freezer for a while.

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Lemon, Almond and Ricotta Tartlets

Lemon, almond and ricotta tartlets

I’ve been looking for a recipe like this for a long time, after first tasting an Italian Ricotta cake made by Hmmm a few years ago. I found a few recipes which helped, especially this one by Cakelets and Doilies, which it seems she adapted from a Donna Hay recipe.

So basically this concept has been around the block a few times, and when you taste it, you’ll know why it’s so popular. It’s light and almondy, moist and crumbly, with a lemon flavour that can be subtle or quite strong, depending on how you like it. As a bonus, it’s gluten-free and if you wanted to make it sugar-free/paleo too, I imagine it would work very well if you used honey or something like xylitol instead.

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Chicken with Coconut and Sesame Sauce

Chicken with coconut and sesame sauce

This easy and delicious dish has a slightly Asian flavour but it’s not overwhelming. It uses coconut milk, sesame oil and lemon juice to make a thick sauce that’s a wonderful base for the other ingredients.

I’ve used chicken and sugar snap peas here, but you could equally well do a completely veggie version, and use something like baby marrow, spinach, sweet potato, butternut, carrot or a mixture of just about any other veggies. I’m not sure about beef, but I can imagine that pieces of pork with veggies would also work really well.

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