Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A New Beast in my Kitchen

Photograph courtesy of Froothie UK
Yes, a new and powerful beast has taken up residence in my kitchen. It has such a commanding presence that I can't help but use it again and again. What, you may well ask, is she wittering on about now? I have a new blender, a Froothie Optimum 9200 to be precise.

Finely grinding many foods, especially fruit, vegetables and nuts enables the body to more easily absorb any available nutrients. Whilst my old blender was useful for making basic smoothies, it wasn't very efficient at grinding up anything course. This meant, when making smoothies with goji berries for instance, I'd end up with a reddish bitty sludge at the bottom of the jug that wasn't desperately appealing. I was also unable to make 'green' smoothies. I tried with some of our home grown kale once and it was just not meant to be - coconut water with large pieces of kale was rather hard to drink.

The Optimum 9200, on the other hand, is a high speed super blender with a 2,611 watts motor and a scary top speed of 44,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). The jug which is made of ultra strong, heat-resistant polycarbonate has a 2 litre capacity and can take both wet and dry ingredients. The blades are stainless steel and very sharp.

It has automatic blending options, which means you don't have to hover over your morning smoothie when there are so many other things to be done. It can be set to low, medium or high speed and includes a pulse function. It can blend pretty much anything and can be used to make smoothies, nut butters, ice-cream and even soup. Handily, the jug has measures, for cups, fluid ounces and litres, so can cope with pretty much any measurement you care to throw into it. I have the rather smart black model as shown above, but white, red and silver models are also available.

Kale Smoothie
I've put it through its paces a few times and conducted a number of tests, all of which it passed with flying colours. When I made a raw chocolate and goji berry smoothie, it was impossible to detect even a tiny bit of goji berry. Our kale blended to a fine green juice and a couple of other ingredients I wasn't sure about had similarly successful results. I will be posting some of the things I've made in due course. I do have a couple of quibbles, but all in all, I am delighted with my new resident beast.

The quibbles are on the cleaning front. I'd heard that it was a synch to clean and all that you needed to do was put some water in the jug with a dash of washing up liquid and blend. This works to a point, but of course doesn't clean the top or lip of the jug. Whereas I used to just dunk my old blender in the washing up bowl along with everything else, it is best not to get the bottom of this jug wet. So cleaning the jug overall is a little awkward. I must stress, this hasn't put me off using it. I am super excited about its capabilities and will continue to use it on a regular basis.

In fact I am a Froothie Ambassador. This means Chocolate Log Blog will get plenty of posts showing some of the things I make in The Beast. It also means that if you buy an Optimum 9200 using this link, I will gain a commission. Any purchase made includes a one month money back guarantee, including postage and a six year warranty. It is currently on offer at £329, normal price £429.

I was sent a Froothie Optimum 9200 Blender to try out in my kitchen. I was not required to write a positive review and as always, all opinions are my own.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lemon Coconut Cakes with Freekah Flour

Lemon Coconut Cakes
With a bounty of lemons from 3pFruits and some coconut oil and a big bag of Freekah flour from MyProtein, it wasn't long before I thought some kind of coconutty lemon freekah cakes were in order.   Here are a couple of recipes I've already posted using my citrus and protein stash - Healthier Brownies with Cashew Nut Butter and Grapefruit and Honey Almond Cake.

Freekah Flour
I was really excited by the freekah flour, which I'd heard a lot about, but had never used. It smelt fragrant and nutty and had a lovely golden hue to it. I couldn't wait to try it. I happened to have a Waitrose recipe card lying about for coconut lemon cupcakes which I was keen to adapt. This had caught my attention because it used coconut cream in the mix, something which appealed to me. Sadly, I didn't have any coconut cream, but I did have a block of creamed coconut, so I thought I'd give that a try instead. I also decided to use coconut oil rather than margarine, which would make these cakes dairy free. Then I went and spoilt it with a creamy lemon curd topping ;-) If you want dairy free, use coconut cream instead.

I also added a little cardamom into the equation by using cardamom sugar and topping the cakes with Seed and Bean's lemon and cardamom dark chocolate. To be honest it was a bit of an odd recipe and I adapted it so completely in terms of both quantities and ingredients, it bares little resemblance to the original.

This is how I made:

Lemon Coconut Cakes with Freekah Flour

  • Placed a 125g of creamed coconut and 100g of coconut oil in a bowl on top of the heater to soften.
  • Creamed the coconut with 200g cardamom sugar (golden caster sugar) and the grated zest from 1 lemon.
  • Beat in 3 duck eggs, one at a time.
  • Sifted in 200g of freekah flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Folded this in together with 25g of desiccated coconut and the juice from two lemons.
  • Spooned into 12 muffin cases and baked at 180℃ for 17 minutes.
  • Turned out onto a wire rack to cool.
  • Whipped 100 ml double cream to soft peaks, then folded in 2 tbsp of homemade lemon curd.
  • When the cakes were cool, made a slash down the centre and spooned in some of the lemon cream. Topped with a sprinkling of flaked lemon and cardamom chocolate (Seed and Bean) and a little desiccated coconut.

Lemon Coconut Cake
The cakes were amongst some of the best I've made, they were oh so flavoursome, with zesty citrus notes and a background hit of coconut. They also had a great texture, being both light and moist. The zingy lemon curd cream was delicious in itself and the lemon cardamom chocolate enhanced everything - literally the icing on the cake.

I am sending this off to Janice at Farmersgirl Kitchen for her new challenge #RecipeClippings.

This also goes to Jac over at Tinned Tomatoes for Bookmarked Recipes.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Côte d'Azur Éclair

Photograph courtesy of Le Méridion Hotels
I have travelled over much of France, but I have never been to the Côte d'Azur. I have a friend who grew up there and now lives just across the border in Italy. He has waxed lyrical about the region ever since I first knew him as a teenager. As well as the azure seas and beautiful scenery, it's meant to be a foodie paradise with olives and lemons being very much to the fore.

Photograph courtesy of Le Méridion Hotels
Chef Johnny Iusinni, award winning pastry chef, author, motorcyclist and world traveller is one very lucky man. In collaboration with the Le Meridian Hotels, he is travelling to eight Le Meridian destinations and creating a unique and exquisite éclair inspired from the food, tastes and ambiance of the region. Here, in the second film of the series, The Éclair Diaries, Chef Johnny travels to the Côte d'Azur and gets to see some great scenery as well as citrus orchards, patisseries and markets as he searches out the ingredients he is going to use to create his éclair. If you'd like to find out more and download some of the éclair recipes, head over to Le Meridian Éclair.

Photograph courtesy of Le Méridion Hotels
I'd highly recommend sitting back for a few minutes and allowing yourself to revel in the sights and sounds of this short video and perhaps, like me, dream of actually going there and making that long overdue visit.

Now who can resist a luscious chocolate éclair? I know I can't. What sort of éclair would you most like to eat and in what part of the world?

This is a sponsored post. I was not asked to write a positive review and as always any opinions expressed are my own.


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