Tuscan White Bean Soup — Recipe from Three Gold Coins

This is one of my favourite recipes that I developed while researching and writing Three Gold Coins. Perfect for these cooling nights!

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 small ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 potato (I use Dutch Cream potatoes all the time, just because I love them the best)

1 parsnip

Half a head of cauliflower

1 carrot (optional… it will change the colour of your soup, but it’s a good way to use up vegetables in your crisper!)

2 cans of cannellini beans

4 cups stock (I use lamb bone broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

The leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme (just pick them, wash them and use your fingers to strip the sprigs)

2 Tbs lemon juice

Method

Chop all your vegetables.

  1. Fry your leek and garlic in olive oil under fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the your chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly, allowing to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add water just to the top of the vegetables and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Add your stock and cook for ??
  5. Allow liquid to reduce a little if it seems to watery, otherwise proceed to blending.
  6. Blend half your soup until creamy then return to the pot. (Or blend three quarters, or even the whole lot. It depends how you like your soup.)
  7. Add your salt, pepper, thyme and lemon juice and heat through.
  8. Serve with sprigs of thyme for garnish and a side of crusty bread

Zucchini Rosemary Bread — Recipes inspired by Three Gold Coins

Continuing with food inspired by Italy (where I ate a lot of food in research for Three Gold Coins), here is my recipe for Zucchini Rosemary Bread. Enjoy!

 

Zucchini Rosemary Bread

(GF and optional DF)

 

Ingredients

1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

2/3 cup oil (melted ghee or coconut oil or olive oil)

3/4 cup honey

4 eggs

1 cup of milk or nut milk

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp vanilla bean powder (or extract)

1 tsp Himalayan or Celtic sea salt

1 tsp nutmeg

3 cups grated zucchini

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup white rice flour

1/2 cup gf rolled oats

1/2 arrowroot flour

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped.

 

Method

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two loaf tins with baking (parchment) paper.
  2. While the oven is heating, lay out your walnuts on a baking sheet and let them toast gently till fragrant.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients down to the milk and whisk till combined.
  4. Add your dry ingredients one at a time, stirring as you go till everything is well combined. (Add extra rice flour if it looks too wet.)
  5. Divide the mixture between the two loaf tins and place side by side on a top shelf of the oven.
  6. Cook for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before cutting. Serve with butter.

Blossom Water Amaretti: recipe from Three Gold Coins

Like all my books, Three Gold Coins is full of food. One of those foods is the delectable amaretti.

If like me you are gluten free, the amaretti biscuit seems to be heaven sent! It’s also a great one if you’re time poor or not very confident in the kitchen. It’s sweet and chewy, freezes well and is just perfect to accompany coffee and tea.

Here is my recipe for amaretti–so easy, so versatile, so yummy! Enjoy!

Ingredients

4 egg whites

350g caster sugar

300g blanched almond meal

50g almond meal (not blanched) **
(**Note: alternatively, use 350g of blanched almond meal in total.)

30mLs orange blossom water

Method

Preheat your oven to 170 C.

Beat your egg whites with an electric beater until stiff.

Use a silicone spatula to fold in the dry ingredients, as well as the blossom water, until smooth.

Place small dollops of the dough onto two pre-greased and/or lined baking trays, leaving about a centimetre between biscuits.

Place a slivered almond in the centre of each biscuit.

Cook until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.

Tuscan White Bean Soup

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It’s been really cold (relative for the Sunshine Coast) and wet here lately so yesterday I made my first warming soup for the season and boy was it good! So I thought I’d share it with you.

This is my Tuscan-inspired white bean soup and I am declaring it my best soup ever! The lemon and thyme together just bring this soup to a whole new level. Enjoy! xx

 

Ingredients

1 large leek (or 2 small ones)

2 garlic cloves

1 potato (I use Dutch Cream potatoes all the time, just because I love them the best)

1 parsnip

Half a head of cauliflower

1 carrot (optional… it will change the colour of your soup, but it’s a good way to use up vegetables in your crisper!)

2 cans of cannellini beans (drained of juice)

4 cups stock (I use lamb bone broth)

Salt and pepper to taste

The leaves of a few sprigs of fresh thyme (just pick them, wash them and use your fingers to strip the sprigs)

2 Tbs lemon juice

Pecorino cheese (optional)

Method

Chop all your vegetables.

  1. Fry your leek and garlic in olive oil under fragrant.
  2. Add the rest of the your chopped vegetables and mix thoroughly, allowing to cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add water just to the top of the vegetables and simmer for ten minutes.
  4. Add your stock and cook for up to 30 minutes, until all vegetables are well cooked.
  5. Allow liquid to reduce a little if it seems to watery, otherwise proceed to blending.
  6. Blend half your soup until creamy then return to the pot. (Or blend three quarters, or even the whole lot. It depends how you like your soup.)
  7. Add your salt, pepper, thyme and lemon juice and heat through.
  8. Serve with sprigs of thyme for garnish and a side of crusty bread, and grated pecorino cheese if using.

My Chocolate Tourism Bucket List

My Chocolate Tourism Bucket List

Do you love your chocolate? Me too! And other than combining chocolate with a good book, I can’t think of too many things I like better than pairing chocolate with visiting a new place of interest. (And Easter is the perfect time to combine holidays and chocolate!)

While writing my novel, The Chocolate Promise (also called The Chocolate Apothecary in the UK), researching and taste-testing chocolate pretty much took over my life—and my dress size! And my palette for chocolate has changed. Only the finest will do these days. So now, I’ve begun writing myself a ‘Chocolate Tourism Bucket List’, to continue my love affair with this heavenly food.

Selection of chocolate in a row

Here are my current Top 5 locations:

  1. Antica Dolceria Bonajuto. This is the oldest chocolate factory in Sicily. Let’s just consider that for a moment: chocolate + Sicily. It’s a no brainer, right? Top of my list.
  2. Puyricard. This French chocolate artisan store is located just outside of Aix-en-Provence in the south of France, which is where the main character of The Chocolate Promise spends time with a master chocolatier, roams the beautiful countryside and encounters unexpected romance. I soaked up the research for this part of the novel and am positively salivating to go there in person and enjoy the delights of Provence, including this chocolate store.
  3. Chocolate Walking Tour of Melbourne. A little closer to home for me, this would be a delightful weekend treat. Melbourne is known by many to be the food capital of Australia and I’ve no doubt the chocolate on this tour would leave a lasting impression. I only hear good things about this one. Definitely a To-Do, sooner, rather than later, I think. (At least the plane flight would be a quick one!)
  4. Rococo. I certainly couldn’t comprise this list without including a visit to Rococo in London. You’ll find an acknowledgement to Chantal Coady (founder of Rococo) for her inspiration that influenced The Chocolate Promise and for good reason. I pored over her book, Rococo: Mastering the Art of Chocolate, as research for my novel. I even imported some of her creations. (The milk rose is my favourite.) I think I’d like to rent a flat just around the corner and simply hang out there every day, breathing it all in.
  5. Cailler. I’ve been to Switzerland but only once and I would love to go back there. (I’ve even been trying to work in some sort of Swiss plot into a novel so I can have a tax-deductible reason to go.) And this factory has some pretty great architecture to go with the experience.

So there’s my shortlist to get me (and maybe you) started. I’m sure there are dozens of amazing places around the world that would keep me entertained on my chocolate tours. I’d love to hear your recommendations if you have any?

Love

Jo xx

p.s. Here’s a recipe from Chantal Coady for Chocolate Ganache Teacups, which fortuitously combines two of my favourite foods: chocolate and tea!

 

 

Josephine Moon’s favourite chocolate recipe: chocolate beetroot cake

Josephine Moon’s favourite chocolate recipe: chocolate beetroot cake

This recipe comes from The Saffron Girl.

I talk about chocolate a lot. I think about it a lot. And, yes, I even eat it a lot. But what I’ve learned while doing research for The Chocolate Promise, is that you need to know how to eat it in order to get all the great health benefits without all the fat and sugar nastiness that comes with so much of the commercial confectionary on the market.

So, what better way to begin the Easter season than to share chocolate yumminess that’s bursting with goodness.

In this recipe, I take two of my favourite foods—chocolate and cake—add some awesome beetroot and get a delicious, healthy indulgence.

But before we get to the recipe, let’s take a quick look at where chocolate comes from.

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This is a fruit pod from Theobroma Cacao. Inside the pod are flesh-covered beans, and inside the beans are the cacao nibs. And that’s from where we derive cacao, which is fermented, dried and roasted, and artisans then combine it in varying quantities with cocoa butter, some sort of sweetener, and perhaps vanilla or other flavours.

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In its most natural state, cacao is ridiculously good for you, containing a plethora of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and a whopping great load of antioxidants—twice those found in red wine and three times that of green tea.

The problem is that most of what we know as ‘chocolate’ is really just cocoa-flavoured fat and sugar. Bummer! To get the absolute best out of chocolate, you need be consuming high-quality fare of at least 70% cacao.

Better yet, just do what I like to do and put raw cacao powder in whatever you can manage! Smoothies, goodie balls, cakes… go for it!

So, here is my chocolate beetroot cake. In the food processor it’s amazingly red! (And you know it’s good for you when it’s naturally red.) Just like tomatoes and red wine, beetroot is full of fantastic cancer-fighting properties because of that red colour.

Red beetroot + chocolate = awesome!

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Here it is out on a plate, with a sprinkle of coconut and a sprig of lavender (because lavender is my thing—seriously, I will put it in everything given half the chance).

My tips for this recipe:

Measure the beetroot accurately (otherwise it can turn out runny if you use too much) and watch it carefully as it’s baking. Anytime I’ve made it, it needs much longer in the oven than the recipe suggests. Every oven is different so use your best judgment.

Also, it goes really well with coconut milk yoghurt and grated dark chocolate on top for decoration.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of grated, cooked beetroots
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup raw 100% cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (for a slightly fluffier and dryer cake, use 1/2 cup coconut flour)*

Process

  • Preheat oven to 170C (350F).
  • In a food processor or blender, beat the beetroots, eggs and olive oil.
  • Add the honey, vanilla extract, baking soda, sea salt and spices. Blend well.
  • Add the cacao powder and coconut flour and mix until well incorporated.
  • Pour into a greased cake pan of choice. I used a 9-inch diameter tart pan.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool completely before cutting and serving. Garnish as desired.

 

 

 

The Chocolate Promise, excerpt and chocolate lavender truffle ball recipe!

My new novel, The Chocolate Promise, is in production and the book will be out in April 2015. In the meantime, here’s a lovely piece to whet your appetite, an excerpt and a divine recipe for chocolate lavender truffle balls. Oh boy!

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