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Her thoughts immediately went to how she could continue to share and enjoy celebrations with friends and family or go to restaurants.
Having lived in California, she was aware of the ''healthy food'', ''comfort food'' and ''wellness food'' concepts, ''but I missed the richness and the refinement of French patisserie.''
So, her wildest dream was to bring the ''grandeur of patisserie together with the nutritional qualities of California cuisine''.
With the help of her pastry chefs at her restaurant Noglu, they have tested, experimented and developed many recipes that are easy and healthy, as well as delectable and pretty.
They use principles that are ''dear to my heart'', using organic products, seasonal fruits, less fat and less sugar.
''It's a modern kind of patisserie that has adapted to allergies and intolerances, while remaining aware of environmental issues. Recipes that are colourful, delicious and definitely not boring,'' with informative descriptions of flours and sweetening agents, milks and nuts as well as a basics section providing recipes for basic cake batters, pastries and lactose-free creams.
From there, the book is broken into big cakes, tarts, desserts, afternoon tea and breakfast.
The recipes are all straightforward and simple, giving you allergy-friendly options for the classics from a chocolate sponge and panna cotta to pancakes and fruit scones.
Cooking time 10 minutes
150g flour mix (see below)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
80ml canola oil
40g sweetened soy yoghurt
200g grated carrot
100g spreadable cream cheese
100g icing (confectioner's) sugar
25g crushed pistachios
toasted flaked coconut
Homemade flour mix - Makes 1kg
500g rice flour
300g cornflour (cornstarch)
100g potato starch
100g almond meal
2g xanthan gum
Heat the oven to 180degC. Combine the flour mix, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Add the canola oil, soy yoghurt, eggs and grated carrot.
Whisk until the batter is well combined and smooth.
Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool.
Make the icing: beat the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar until creamy. Spread the icing over the top of the cake. Decorate with pistachios, pecans, flaked coconut and edible flowers.
Homemade flour mix
This is the base recipe needed for each recipe.
It can be varied by incorporating 100g tapioca starch or chestnut flour (reducing the quantity of rice flour by the same amount) for cake batters.
Cooking time 20 minutes
Resting time 12 hours
500g shortcrust pastry (see below)
200ml lemon juice
200g butter, cut into cubes
grated zest of 1 lime
Shortcrust pastry - Makes 1kg - Cooking time 10 minutes - Resting time at least 12 hours
300g rice flour
100g potato starch
150g almond meal
200g icing (confectioner's) sugar
300g cold butter or cold margarine, cut into small cubes
Make the filling: heat the sugar, eggs, cornflour and lemon juice in a heatproof bowl sitting over a saucepan of gently simmering water (don't let the base of the bowl touch the water). Cook, stirring with a spatula, until thick and creamy.
Remove the bowl from the pan, add the butter and stir until melted. Set aside in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 180degC. Blind bake the tart shell for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Spread the lemon filling in the tart shell. Scatter the lime zest on top.
Whisk together the rice flour, potato starch, almond meal and icing sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the butter cubes and mix until you have a smooth and homogeneous dough.
Set aside in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before rolling it out to line a tart tin (approximately 25cm).
Heat the oven to 180degC. Blind bake the pastry shell for 10 minutes before filling.
Matcha cream puffs
Cooking time 30 minutes
100g butter or margarine
150g flour mix (see carrot cake recipe)
Icing (confectioner's) sugar
100g single (pure) cream
200g mascarpone cheese
15g matcha powder
Heat the oven to 200degC. Combine the water, salt and butter or margarine in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
When the butter has melted, add the flour mix to the boiling butter mixture and quickly mix with a spatula until the mixture is well combined and comes away easily from the side of the pan.
Pour into a mixing bowl and add the eggs, mixing with the spatula until smooth. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle.
Pipe small balls of choux on to a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Let the balls cool before cutting off the top third of each puff.
Make the matcha cream: whisk the well-chilled cream with the mascarpone until light and airy, then add the combined sugar and matcha powder.
Spoon the cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm star nozzle and pipe into the choux. Replace the lids and dust with icing sugar.