Pistachio, chia seeds and vanilla “icecream”…

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The first fire training night after I got back from my training course the Fire Services’s  National Training Centre in Rotorua was our first Brigade meeting for the year. These are every two month and are where we decided on allocation of funds and resource, develop training programmes etc. In our Brigade we always lay on a dinner.

I normally draw dessert – our dinners are all self-cooked: everyone contributes to a course. This time I wanted to play with some of the ideas I’d hoovered up off the ‘Net in the previous few weeks. I settled on three recipes to make a single disk but the way it panned out, I ended up with two separate desserts.

Plan A was for a  pistachio chia pudding layered with a plum cream topped with a dairy-free vanilla ice cream. The layered part went together OK, although my layering needs work as you can see from the image above.

I had to double both recipes as I was preparing for fourteen – that’s a lot of pistachios to shell and ideally to fill the cups I would have needed the same again. The pistachio flavour is very strong and distinctive: it went OK with the plum cream layer but both would have been better if served separately- next time I do this recipe, I’ll be thinking more along the lines of three sampler deserts with plain ice cream…

The ice cream just didn’t work and, going on many comments on the page, that’s more down to the recipe than anything that I did or didn’t do. Simply the recipe, Jamie Oliver or not, does not contain any ingredients that will set it. A more recent note on the recipe page says that the staff will have a look at it. What I ended up with was a large vanilla-flavoured ice block with not the slightest creamy characteristic.

My Plan B recovery plan was to grab a tub of TipTop vanilla ice cream from the local GAS petrol station and Four Square dairy – when they learned it was for the Brigade dinner, they kindly refused to charge me for it…thanks, team!

The ice cream was the common denominator between the pistachio and plum dessert and what was now a rich vanilla cream over ice cream dessert. The pistachio and plum dessert would have been better served as two separate option and not layered in the same cup – next I’ll serve each of the three desserts in separate corners of a dinner plate, with a scope of ice cream in the middle.

I;m quite keen to play more with pistachios as the flavour is so distinctive and strong; the plum cream I could take or leave but the vanilla ‘cream’ was to die for – seriously: rich, sweet and strong…unfortunately not enough survived for any photos…next time..

 

 

Going bananas

A couple of weeks ago, I journeyed down to Palmerston North for a meeting with a local MP. I had a few errands to run before heading north again, one of which took me to Spotlight for some voile to make my own nut milk bag. The Spotlight shares a car park with New World so I popped in there in search of some of this:

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The Stir It Up line of non-dairy milk powders (almond, coconut, oat and soy) was launched a few weeks prior but had been slow to appear on shelves. My previous supply of coconut milk powder having dried up, I’ve been keen to give it a go.

Anyways, New World had nice big juicy oranges for 99 cents/kg so I mega stocked up; looking back I should have bought twice as much for juicing and freezing. The trouble with juicing oranges is having to peel them all so, being inherently lazy, I googled a solution…which said…peel the oranges…

My quest did lead me to a site – now forgotten –  that listed fruit that could be juiced unpeeled – the short version is most of them less citrus – and extolled the virtues of unpeeled banana…it seems that the lowly banana peel is rich in serotonin which helps keep the demons away of grey winter days…so…

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…remember to take the sticker off – it’s not rich in serotonin – and give the banana a good wash to remove anything unhealthy…hack the ends off and dice the rest up peel and all…

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…slice off and dice up a centimetre ring of pineapple…

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before tossing in a tablespoon of chia seeds – don’t put these in first or they will just glug up at the bottom of the mug – a teaspoon of turmeric (organic from Hardy’s), and four teaspoons of coconut milk powder: this is about the same as a cup of coconut milk. Add filtered water up to the mark, blend, fill to the top with water and blend again.

And that’s half of tomorrow’s lunch done…

I’ve been blending unpeeled bananas for a week or so now with no detrimental side effects…I wouldn’t say that there’s been a big surge of serotonin-based benefits either but it does reduce waste and I am now keen for another crack at banana peel cake, using the kumara cake base from a few weeks ago…