White X’mas with Pistachio and Cranberries

This no-bake slice ticks all the boxes when it comes to Christmas confection.

It’a ever-so-easy to make so you can can safely get your little helpers in the kitchen to give a hand, wrapped in baking paper it makes a delightful Xmas treat to gift your friends with and, above all, it is utterly and over-indulgently delicious.

The traditional recipe calls for an ingredient I wasn’t familiar with: Copha, an Australian vegetable shortening made from hydrogenated coconut oil…

As many Australians do these days, I have replaced this less familiar ingredient with the velvety  lusciousness of white chocolate.

This is not the only liberty I took… I sometimes find this confection to be overly sweet and somewhat adult-unfriendly, with its massive presence of rice bubbles and marshmallows. I much rather have my kids grow to like the sourness of cranberries and the savory quality of toasted pistachio and make this a treat fit to please children and grown-ups alike.

ingredients for 10/12 rectangles

180 gr (6.5 oz) white chocolate

60 ml (1/4 cup) condensed milk

25 gr (1 oz) toasted pistachios

60 gr (2 oz) dried cranberries

40 gr (1 1/2 oz) blanched almonds (I used chocolate covered ones..you only live once!)

25 gr (1 oz)desiccated coconut

1/2 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste.

In a double boiler, melt your chocolate with the condensed milk.

In the meantime, dry toast your pistachios in a non-stick pan for 1 or 2 minutes.

Pour the chocolate and milk paste in a large bowl, add your nuts,  fruits and coconut and scrape it onto a sheet of baking paper. Shape it like a sausage and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours before slicing.

Oh, Oh, Oh…Santa is coming to town!

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Rigatoni with Ocean Trout, Broad beans and Mint

Whoever said that pasta is fattening ought to look at this and think again…

This dish could not be healthier if it tried… concentrated onto one plate you have the goodness of vibrant green broad beans, the Omega 3 provided by a flaky, succulent ocean trout fillet, the zing of lemon zest, the fragrance of freshly chopped mint and chives, all married with al dente cooked rigatoni, tossed with EVOO.

I dare any health freak with a fear of carbohydrates, to say that this is not good for you….

It s also spectacularly easy to make, this alone is a good thing.

INGREDIENTS FOR TWO PEOPLE

1 150 gr (1/3 pound) fillet of boneless and skinless ocean trout

180 gr (6.5 oz) of short pasta

The zest of 1 lemon

a handful of chopped up mint and chives

freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons of EVOO

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.

In the meantime, cook your fish.

You can either steam it of pan fry it. Either way, keep it a little under as, when you toss it with the cooked pasta, the residual heat will cook it further.

When you water is boiling, drop a cup of podded broad beans and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water to arrest the cooking process.

Drop your pasta in the same *boiling water and cook until al dente.

While the pasta is cooking, shell (take the skin off) your cooked broad beans, and mix them in a large bowl with the flaked up trout, the herbs, the oil and salt to taste.

Drain the pasta and reserve 1/4 of a cup of cooking liquor.

Toss the pasta with the other ingredients and mix well. If it’s looking to dry, add a tablespoon or two of pasta water. Sprinkle with lemon zest and freshly ground pepper.

Serve hot, warm or at room temperature as a nice pasta salad.

* Boiling your pasta in the same pot you have cooked your vegetables is a cooking technique often employed in Italy. The pasta will retain the goodness and the flavor of your greens and you don’t have to wash two pots. It’s a win-win!

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