Good things come in lemon packages

So here is the dessert I have made for this evening's dinner with friends.  I've called it "Good things come in lemon packages".


It is individual lemon sparkle cheesecakes - dairy free, gluten free, refined sugar free along with a couple of pieces of homemade raw lemon chocolate - also dairy free, gluten free and refined sugar free.

Both are small in size, but that's all desserts need to be - a little taste.



The raw lemon chocolate is the one I showed in my blog post yesterday - with dehydrated lemon rind.  It is like a bark but I added a little bird motif to the other side - especially suitable this time of year as the birds are all getting busy and thinking about nest building.



Making the cheesecake was an interesting lesson in portion size. I have made it before as a large cheesecake but this time, as I was making it in little pots I made only a 1/3 of the recipe.  One third of the recipe yielded 10 little pots!  That means the full cheesecake would make 30 servings.  At most, we tend to cut a full cheesecake into 12 pieces - not 30.

I tied on little spoons for the pots of lemon sparkle as I am taking these to a friend's house for dinner and didn't want to be stuck with only large spoons that won't fit inside!  And yes, the 'sparkle' in the lemon sparkle cheesecake? There's a little surprise in the cheesecake that gives it a "sparkle"!  Can't tell you what it is as it will ruin the surprise for this evening!



Next time you make a dessert, think about how much we really need. It's great to have a little something sweet at the end of the meal with friends, but we only need a taste.
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Melted Snowman Dessert

I made some little melted snowmen in honor of it not snowing here!

I really like surprises...so this recipe appeals to me in that you serve up a little jar.....


....... and then open it up to find the melted snowman inside




Get it? The two raisins are his eyes, his carrot nose and currants as his buttons....!

Of course you can be elegant and serve this in a shot glass instead



The dessert is a hazelnut cream.  It's rich and full of flavor - which is why you only need a small amount.

Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup hazelnuts
1/8 cup coconut palm sugar
2 teaspoons of grated lemon zest
1 cup non dairy milk ( I used homemade hazelnut milk)
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 cinnamon stick
(Optional for snowman - 2 raisins, 3 currants, orange sprinkle or carrot triangle)

  1. Toast the hazelnuts in a 350F oven for approx 5 minutes until golden and fragrance.  Transfer them onto to a kitchen towel and rub them in the towel to remove most of their skin.  Let them cool.  (If serving in  a glass, finely chop 1/2 tablespoon for garnish).
  2. Place the remaining skinned hazelnuts, sugar, and lemon zest in a food processor until finely ground into a paste.
  3. Combine the hazelnut mixture with the milk, vanilla seeds, cinnamon stick in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil the reduce the temperature and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to thicken.  Remove the cinnamon stick.
  4. Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour into small jars and decorate or into shot glasses and sprinkle on chopped hazelnuts.  
  6. Can be served warm, room temperature or chilled.
Don't feel bad eating the snowman...he had melted anyhow ;-D
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Food as Medicine Group

In my "food as medicine" groups this week - Tuesday and Thursday - we discussed the effects of sugar in our diet, sugar substitutions, insulin resistance, diabetes, glycemic index, glycemic load etc.

(Gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, grain free) walnut roulade with pomegranates
For the cooking part of the class we learned how to bake desserts with low glycemic load foods, for those special occasions when we have treats.  Even when desserts are made healthier, they are still foods you shouldn't eat every day...but when an occasion arises, it's nice to eat something that is made from nutritious food.

The groups made some delicious food including a walnut and pomegranate roulade, a cranberry and pear tart, choux puffs and individual citrus and chocolate cakes.  They looked so beautiful too.

(Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free) Cranberry and Pear Tart

They were good sessions and people seemed to enjoyed the end result!  I wonder what they'll make again at home for Christmas and friends and family.

(Fat free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free) Individual Citrus Cake

All the dishes were gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.  In addition,
  • the walnut roulade had no flour in it - only walnuts 
  • the cranberry tart also had no flour, and used almonds and walnuts instead, it used flaxseeds as an alternative to eggs, and used dates as its sweetener
  • the citrus cake used oat flour and replaced fat with applesauce
  • the choux buns used sorghum flour and coconut milk for their cream

Which one would you chose?
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Tastiest food of the week - Chai fudge

I've never had anything "chai" before.....mainly because Chai normally has something to do with  tea and dairy milk - neither of which I like!!! But when I read a recipe for chai fudge it sounded so good with all those spices in it, that I had to give it a try.  It was a friend's birthday so it seemed like a good reason to make a treat for her.


The fudge is gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free - and raw, so keeps those wonderful nutrients of the raw cacao bean.  There is homemade almond milk in it, plus cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  It really is the spices that make it, oh, and the chocolate!!!

It was a little bit squishier than you would normally think of for fudge and in fact it turned out to be a lovely thick dipping fudge for some dried apples I had...but for my friend's birthday, I rolled it in crushed pecans so you could eat it without getting your fingers dirty!


The texture is divine!  So smooth and creamy yet light and kind of fluffy in a way.... I wish you could try some!

Then when I had a friend over for dinner this week, I used the same fudge inside some gluten free profiteroles I made!

I will have to experiment more with this combination of chocolate and spices.  Definitely my tastiest food of the week!...maybe month.....maybe.....
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Gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free dessert cooking class

Tomorrow is my GF, SF, DF "blissful celebrations" dessert cooking class at Ceres in Sebastopol.


We will be making and tasting:

Lemon (un-)cheesecake



Coffee choux puffs



Pear cake and 
Chestnut roulade.


There is still time to sign up. It's a hands on class with lots to learn.  Come join us!

And as a bonus, if we have enough time, I'll teach you have to make a "march of the penguins", perfect to adorn any winter dessert - but no one will ever eat them!!



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Walnut Roulade

Yes, I'm definitely in a roulade phase! This is the third type of roulade I've made in the last few weeks. This was for an event we held on Sunday.  It is refined-sugar free, gluten free and dairy free.


I was really pleased with how it came out.  It is made with just eggs, lemon juice, xylitol* and walnuts.  Of course, I then decorated it with fresh raspberries and then drizzled a little fruit-sweetened, sugar free raw chocolate and grated lemon zest on top.

It was eaten up very quickly, but I did manage a little slice, only to check how it tasted, of course!


*Xylitol is a natural sweetener, a sugar alcohol used as a substitute for sugar.  I like it and it seems to work well.  It is a cup for cup replacement for table sugar, so it's easy to substitute in recipes.  It is also granulated like sugar but you can grind it up finer, as necessary.

Xylitol is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables and can be extracted from various berries, oats, mushrooms, as well as fibrous materials such as corn husks and birch.  Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health, reducing caries to a third in regular use and it has also been shown to reduce the incidence of ear infections.


It has a much lower glycemic index than sugar - GI 7 for xylitol vs GI 80 for sugar, so it a great low calorie sugar substitute for diabetics  that doesn't cause a spike in blood glucose levels.

I don't notice any difference in taste at all between it and sugar, but I find it takes a little long to dissolve when I am cooking with it, for example if beating it with eggs, it stays granular longer so I just whisk it a little longer.

Have you ever used it? What are your thoughts?  If not, give it a go. I think you'll like it.
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