Totally delicious fruit mince tarts. Yes it’s true. fruit mince tarts!
To me, food is about variety. It’s about healthy balanced eating and cooking. No strict adherence to any specific kind of diet. No overdoing it on super foods or Paleo stuff or bliss balls for me. I like them all at different times and on different days. Some days there will be chocolate and on other days cake, because life is not worth living without cake. Variety, style and artistry are all important aspects of food too. But to me the highest prize is creative intelligence. Just knowing what flavours work, what textures will enhance and how putting them together in a certain way can just change everything.
I have made these Gluten Free Fruit Mince Tarts from Feel Good Food.
It’s a new book that seems to follow my thoughts. If you love delicious magazine you will find that this is a snapshot of all of this years trends and styles of eating all in one place. Healthy, trendy, stylish and fresh.
Feel Good Food is the tenth book from best selling author Valli Little, with the team behind one of Australia’s leading food magazines, delicious. Valli is one of Australia’s most recognisable food writers, who has been food director at delicious since 2001. She is influenced by travel and all of the amazing guests that contribute to the magazine on a monthly basis, and for this book she has been inspired by a desire to enhance peoples cooking for their own well being.
Each recipe is brought to life with beautiful images shot by Jeremy Simons and acclaimed stylist David Morgan.
So what does this book offer? “The recipes in Feel Good Food will help you find the middle path between an indulgent and a healthy lifestyle”.
It’s a very large book with 180 recipes. It seems to have fallen into step with the way I like to eat and cook. It offers new ways to cook favourite recipes without skimping on things you love. There are substitutions here, for sugar and butter and also ways to cook without gluten but at a glance this isn’t obvious. The best thing about this book is the colour and variety, and the sheer volume and I am happy to say she has balanced it out with chocolate, cake and ice cream. It’s not yelling at you to change your ways, it’s offering a gentle substitute- if that’s what you want.
How does it work? The book is broken into chapters that encompass a theme, such as Power Lunches, Salads with Substance, No Sweat Dinners and Raw Energy. Because I am me, I flipped straight to the Total Bakeover and the Just Desserts chapters, to find simple but inspiring cakes and desserts. It’s a clever way to present recipes because it allows dishes such as Braised Duck and Plums to work in the same book as Barbecued Beetroot Salad with Lamb Cutlets, Thai Prawn and Noodle Soup and the ubiquitous Bliss Balls (Walnut and Chia in this case)that sit comfortably alongside Chocolate Banoffee Tarts. It works.
There is no doubt that every food trend you have heard about this year is in this book. Spiralized vegetables, salads in mason jars, cauliflower rice, bliss balls, gluten free baking, raw desserts and naked cakes. If you missed any of these this is your chance to catch up. Along with this you will get enlightened curries and interesting braises and soups, as well as carrot cake and a healthy looking cheats Porchetta you could make during the busy weeknight rush. It’s solid good looks and good ideas.
Feel Good Food is available now. Find it here ( Booktopia). It would make an ideal gift
- 150 gm (3.5 oz) rice flour
- 150 gm / 1 cup chickpea flour (besan)- you could also use buckwheat flour
- 100 gm/ 1 cup almond meal
- 4 Tablespoons unrefined icing sugar (or powdered sugar)
- 2 teaspoons Xanthan gum
- 160 gm cold unsalted butter chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 Granny Smith apples peeled cored and grated
- 45 gm / ⅓ cup toasted slivered almonds
- 65 gm / ½ cup dried cranberries
- 55 gm / ⅓ cup sultanas
- 3 fresh dates pitted and chopped
- 35 gm /1/4 cup dried chopped apricots
- 35 gm / ¼ cup raisins
- 40 gm / ¼ cup currants
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 80 ml / ⅓ cup maple syrup
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon (approx 1½ tablespoons juice)
- 80 gm /1 cup grated vegetable suet (I used butter)
- 2 Tablespoons Marsala or Brandy
- Unrefined ( or powdered) sugar for dusting
- Place the apple, almonds, cranberries, sultanas, dates, apricots and raisins in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and add the currants, spices, maple syrup, suet ( butter), zest and juice and stir until well combined. Chill overnight
- Place the flours, almond meal, icing sugar and xanthan gum in a food processor and whiz to combine.. Add the egg and whiz just till the pastry comes together in a ball. Form into a disc, wrap and chill 15 minutes or overnight. (Just to make sure the butter or suet sets firm and holds the pastry together).
- Grease the tin.
- Roll out ½ the pastry on a floured work surface to 5mm thick. Using a 9 cm (3.5 in) cutter cut out 12 rounds and use these to line the tin.
- Roll out the remaining pastry and cut the tops approximately 7 cm (3 in). Spoon the fruit into each hole. Brush the underside of each top with a little water and gently place over the mince filling, pressing the edges to seal. Gather any pastry scraps and re-roll, then cut out shapes to decorate each tart.
- Brush tarts with eggwash, then bake 15-18 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp.
- Cool 5 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely if not serving immediately
- Dust the tarts with icing sugar, if using, and serve warm or at room temperature
I got to ask Valli a couple of Questions.
Q: My Kitchen Stories: I am always completely delighted by your twist on old favourites and food trends. are there any food trends that you dislike or you just wish would go away?
A: Valli Little: I am really happy that in most fine dining restaurants that “foam” has almost disappeared. What was that one about ? I was never a fan. Oh and people calling sauces ‘Jus” call it was it is. If its gravy then just call it that.
Q: My Kitchen Stories : people always ask me what kind of food i cook, and i find that hard because like you Valli, i cook all kinds of things. I would like to know what kind of food you most like to eat weather you cook it or eat it out?
A: Valli Little: I am almost always driven by my mood and that is how I tend to cook and eat. If I have had a day in the kitchen testing cakes or desserts then almost certainly I am craving something hot and spicy for supper. I was trained in classical french cooking but these days my heart is with Italian food. There is such beauty in its simplicity. One of the best meals I had in Italy recently was just a place of tomatoes dressed with extra virgin olive oil…..amazing.
Q: My Kitchen Stories: What was/ are the most inspiring places you have been to for food when you travel?
A: Valli Little: I was completely blown away with the food in china. I didn’t know what to expect but it was a revelation. Mind you we ate in some incredible places like Dragonwell Manor where all the food is grown or sourced from 50 kilometre radius. I had some pretty amazing food in London recently. There are so many exciting new places particularly in the East End. I kept going back to a little restaurant called Honey & Co for their delicious cakes. It was like a mini version of Yotum Ottolenghi’s place.
Q: My Kitchen Stories: What is the most exciting ingredient for you right now?
A : Valli Little : This sounds terribly pretentious but David Morgan who styles all my books for me gave me a truffle as a present and quite a good size one too we have been shaving it on everything from eggs to pasta and even some little fried Talleggio sandwiches which were delicious. I am pretty excited about some good bacon I have found. Its worlds apart from anything you will find in the supermarket. I am also highly anticipating my home grown broad beans not long to go now before they will be ready. I will be making vignolle a dish of sautéed fresh broad beans and artichokes with prosciutto and garlic. Can’t wait for that one.
This post was supported by Harper Collins. All opinions are my own. *