The chocolate-making process
For the better part of my life, I never came to like chocolate. That changed recently when I started to make my own chocolate out of curiosity. At first, I got some good quality cacao butter and raw cacao powder and began to create my own recipes. Very quickly, I was completely addicted, although only to my homemade chocolate and not to any commercial ones. Serendipitously, I got hold of a fresh cacao pod and made chocolate from scratch. It was an extremely interesting process of fermenting and roasting the cacao beans, making cacao nibs from them, grinding the nibs to powder and ultimately making chocolate. It was amazing to experience this complex process and learn what it takes to make chocolate, a “cheap” product that we can buy in almost every supermarket nowadays.
The secret ingredient to perfect tomato sauce is... cinnamon?
While cinnamon is a typical ingredient in Indian cuisine, it is hardly found in Western recipes. Besides adding it to many of my desserts, I always add cinnamon to tomato-based sauces because it boosts the flavor of tomatoes enormously. Cinnamon has very similar properties to turmeric; it is loaded with antioxidants and has potent anti-inflammatory properties. Simply exchange cinnamon for turmeric next time and see for yourself.
1 lb fresh purple cauliflower florets
½ cup chickpea flour
2 chia eggs (2 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water)
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
2 lbs pumpkin
¼ cup full-fat coconut milk
½ tsp salt
Halved cocktail tomatoes
Preheat oven to 200°F/100°C. Place cauliflower florets in food processor and pulse until a rice-like texture is created. Spread cauliflower rice evenly on parchment paper and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cauliflower feels dry to the touch. Let cool down. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Cut pumpkin in half, scrape out the seeds and pulp, and slice pumpkin in about 1 inch thick slices. Place slices on parchment paper and roast pumpkin for about 30-40 minutes, or until a paring knife can be easily inserted and removed. Remove the roasted flesh from the skin and blend with coconut milk and salt until thick and creamy. (You adjust the thickness with coconut milk, so it is better to start with less and add more while blending.) Set aside. Squeeze cooled cauliflower rice with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Place the drained cauliflower in a large bowl and mix with chickpea flour, chia eggs, olive oil, salt and garlic powder. Mix well until a batter forms. Portion the batter onto a baking sheet and press firmly with your hands to shape the crust into your desired size. The crust should be around ¼ inch thick. Bake at 350°F/180°C for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is dry to the touch. Use an additional piece of parchment paper to flip the crust and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the crust becomes firm and dry. Spread with pumpkin puree and either enjoy with raw toppings or add your favorite pizza toppings and return to the oven for about 5-10 minutes. Serve immediately.