Thursday, July 04, 2013

chocolate pud

I found alpro soya chocolate desserts in PaknSave the other day, the first time I've ever found them in this country - they've always been on my list of 'things I miss' from the UK, so out the window went all my resolutions about foodmiles and processed food and I treated myself to a pack. Only to discover that actually, my homemade avocado chocolate mousse is far richer and more satisfying - and given how cheap avos are around here, decidedly less expensive! 

Avocado Chocolate Mousse:
1/2 cup honey (preferably runny)
1/2 cup water
2 medium avocadoes (about 300g flesh, needs to be smushable not firm!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder
juice of half a small lemon

put everything into a food processor and blend (or use a electric cake beater), chill and eat. Apparently it keeps well for up to 10 days but I've never managed to make it last that long to test the theory!

It was both something of a disappointment, and a relief that the bought stuff didn't live up to expectations - maybe the recipe has changed? It seemed more watery than I remember. But realising I could create something more satisfying out of predominantly local ingredients (the avos, lemon and honey, I don't think we grow any cocoa in this country... yet!) was definitely a bonus. 

 I'd been reviewing my budget lately and seeing how it was shaping up given how pared back it had been in the light of my reduced income, and I was pleased that my purchasing of processed foods had plummeted - partly as I have more time to make more things from scratch, I didn't really want to have to force myself to walk past the chocolate puds each time I went to PaknSave to keep on budget! I've only so much will power to go around when it comes to chocolate I can eat... 

Each week I'm now making my own bread, milk (from almonds), oatcakes (yay for my bargain mouli grater and restored cast iron pan! Another thing you don't seem to be able to buy here is oatmeal - hence the need to grind oats finer), fruit & nut chocolate slice (gluten and added sugar free) and more often than not a date and walnut loaf, although that is because I'm trying to adapt an old favourite recipe to make a decent gluten free version - not that I need it to be GF, but friends do and it is nice to have something else to take to pot luck meals that they can eat too (thankfully they aren't allergic to nuts as well!). It still keeps coming out too dry... going to try adding some oil next time. 

I rarely used tinned food, not even tinned tomatoes which used to be a staple ingredient for me! Admittedly that is usually because we have tomatoes from the garden on the plant or in the freezer, or locally grown ones from the market around the house, not that I've learned to cook without them altogether! I have time to soak batches of chickpeas and dried beans, cook up a pot full and freeze them in portions. I use the nuts left from my milk making to make rissoles and nut loaf etc and haven't bought ready made veggie sausages etc for use at home in ages although they sure come in handy when I'm staying at someone else's house for a while.

I used to cook most meals from scratch with extremely little processed food when I was a student, but that was due to a combination of one of my flatmates dietary restrictions and limited budgets. These days whilst the budget is still tight, I have far less desire to use them even when I can afford them, having got used to cooking without them I notice the 'bought' taste in a way that no longer appeals. I suppose it is similar to milk chocolate and cows milk cheeses etc no longer having any appeal, whereas I never thought that day would come when I first started to cut them out - although those do make me sick which is an added incentive to do without! 

I'm still working on decent replacements for Engine Shed smoked tofu and Macsween's Veggie Haggis though...

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