True-Brown Aussie

Mango mac coconut truffles onesmallpot (1 of 3)

My first long haul flight was when I was just over the threshold of eight years of age.  I’m afraid my memories of it are scant, the strongest one being that I had the special job of carrying the mantapa, the small Hindu altar that my great-grandfather had carved out of rosewood.  A close second is the memory of the confusing emotions that each of us, myself and my parents, carried with us.  A healthy scoop of excitement stirred through a pinch of sadness and a heaped tablespoon of apprehension at the thought of starting a new chapter at our destination, Australia.

I had no appreciation of how brave my parents were then, leaping into a new life in a country they had never even visited.  Approaching with a few thousand rupees, a weak currency against the dollar even then, and a pocketful of hope, we were Sydney-bound with very little idea of what to expect.  As a family, we learnt our way around not only the Sydney streets, but also the Australian culture and vernacular.  We learnt fairly quickly that “How ya going?” invited an answer of “Good thanks!” or “Not bad!”, and not the reply “By bus!”.  It was a hard lesson when we realised that ‘Bring a plate’ meant a prepared dish, not what the phrase implies in a literal sense.

More than twenty-five years later, we are about as Australian as the average Australian.  We make pakoras on Christmas day, party on New Year’s Eve and go to the temple for Hindu new years.  When asked about our background we identify as Indian but while travelling outside Australia we are fiercely proud to declare ourselves Aussie.  We wear saris and bindis at Diwali to exchange gifts of new clothes, and gorge on chocolate eggs at Easter.  Rather than barbeques laden with meat and onions on Sunday afternoons, we spread dosa (south Indian rice crepes) onto hot pans and dunk them in chutney and sambhar.  On  Australia day, we have the added celebration of Indian Republic day, an interesting coincidence.  Some years, to be honest, it’s simply rest-day or spring-cleaning day!

The mantapa now inhabits my spare room, enclosing my small shrine.  It is where I pray before I go forth to conquer the day and before I sit down to a meal, whether Indian, Italian, Thai or Australian.  Like me, it is Indian-manufactured and Australian-developed, it’s wood as solid and un-weathered as my cultural identity.

Mango mac coconut truffles onesmallpot (3 of 3)

There are days when I feel not Indian enough and a few cents short of Aussie enough.  And other days when I know I am standing comfortably in the middle of the see-saw, perfectly balanced.  I am more a True-Brown Indian-Australian than a True-Blue Aussie, and this seems to work just fine.

Mangoes and coconuts are well-loved ingredients in both India and Australia and the Mango-Macadamia combination is a popular on in my adopted country.  These truffles pack all the flavour of mangoes, with the textural elements of coconut and macadamia butter.  They are vegan and free of refined sugar and gluten.

Happy Australia Day and Indian Republic day folks!

Mango mac coconut truffles onesmallpot (2 of 3)

MMC (Mango, Macadamia and Coconut) Truffles

Get:

100g dried mango, soaked in water for 1-2 hours
1/3 cup macadamia butter
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
3 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp flaxseed meal
2 tbsp quinoa flour (or another 2 tbsp protein powder)
1/4 cup shredded coconut + more for coating
Coconut oil (optional)

Make:

Drain the water from the soaked mango.  Pulse the mango with all the ingredients, except for the extra shredded coconut and the coconut oil, in a high-speed food processor, until a smooth mixture forms.  Roll into tbsp sized balls, adding a little coconut oil if the mixture is too firm. Toss the truffles in the extra shredded coconut and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours.

Cherry Ripe Truffles

You’re probably thinking it’s all a bit too little, too late. And in all honesty, I wouldn’t blame you.  I mean, a decadent fruity truffle, perfect for holiday gifting, posted on Christmas Day??  When all the gifts are already wrapped and sitting snugly under the tree, and even those relatives who completely slipped your mind until the very last minute have been taken care of in a panicked flurry.

What was that? Yes yes, if I’d posted this earlier you could have at least whipped up a batch to serve with coffee after Christmas dinner.  I could spout out the usual woes about being too busy, hanging on a thread of exhaustion, working fulltime and trying to meet writing deadlines in my spare time.  I could sing the song about how every time I even thought about doing something with this little blog here, a thousand other more pressing thoughts would flood out the first.  It would all be true, of course but of very little relevance to you, as even the self absorbed me is aware.

Cherry Ripe truffles (5 of 3)

Would it have been wiser for me to wait? To realise the little wooden boat had sailed and to wait until Easter or even next Christmas?  Yes, probably.  But if I made decisions based on what is sensible over what I feel like doing, I would be a very rich woman by now (I’m not).  I truly couldn’t have sat on these truly sexy spheres of bitter dark chocolate, their smoothness only interrupted by the cheeky bite of sour cherries and toothsome shredded coconut.  I could have waited a month maybe, but four months?? A whole year??

You know me better than that 🙂

So here they are, awkward timing and all.  I hope your holidays are as smooth, decadent and studded with pleasant surprises as these here truffles.

Cherry Ripe truffles (6 of 3)

Cherry Ripe Truffles

Get:

100g good quality dark chocolate
1/3 cup nut butter (almond, cashew or macadamia works well)
3/4 cup frozen sour cherries
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Make:

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 20-30 second bursts. Stir through the nut butter and place the mixture in the fridge for at least half an hour.

Pulse the frozen cherries in the food processor briefly until they are very roughly chopped.  Add these to the chocolate mixture with the coconut and stir to combine.  Refrigerate for another hour or so.  When the mixture is firm enough to roll, roll into truffles and refrigerate again.

Gift or gobble as appropriate!

Cherry Ripe truffles (7 of 3)

 

Date-me-you-nut Truffles

I saw these gorgeous looking Date Truffles on Prerna Singh’s equally gorgeous blog, Indian Simmer, some time ago.  I finally got around to making them, then wondered why it took me so long as they are oh so easy and rewarding.  Rich and chewy, sweet without being sickening, it is a damm good thing that these babies are actually quite healthy.

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The first batch I made ended up as gifts to friends and family in Adelaide, in colourful little jars along with dark chocolate truffles (it’s all about balance, I say!).

The second batch was sent to a friend who is soon undertaking the painful and soul-destroying task of moving house.  She declared it to be a fabulous ‘packing snack’, which I fervently hope meant ‘a great thing to snack on while packing’ as opposed to ‘a great snack to use as packing material’.

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Part 2 of the second batch made a wonderful pre-skydiving snack (yes, you heard right and more on that later).  It certainly was a much needed energy hit after rising  at an unearthly hour to drive ninety minutes to take the leap.

The third batch- and yes, I have indeed made 3 batches in the space of 2 weeks- is sitting comfortably in our fridge waiting to be gobbled.

So here goes…..the basic recipe is much the same as the original, but being me I couldn’t help but throw in a few spices.

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Date-me-you-nut Truffles

Makes 14-16

Modified slightly from Cocoa Covered Pistachio Date Truffles on Indian Simmer

Get:

1 tbsp unsalted butter

500g Pitted Dates
The insides of 4-6 cardamom pods, ground to a powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
Dash of vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 cup shelled nuts (pistachios, macadamias, hazelnuts, pecans, almonds all work well)
About 1/2 cup dessicated coconut

Make:

In a non-stick saucepan, melt butter. Add dates, spices and vanilla and cook on medium heat until the dates soften and start to soften and go a little gooey (about 10 mins).

Place date mixture into a food processor and allow to cool a little. Process to a thick paste.  Use the pulse setting.  It may be hard for the blades to move through the mixture, but do not add any water.

Add nuts.  If using almonds or hazelnuts, I prefer to roast them in a 170-180 C oven for 7-10 mins.  Process the nuts into the date mixture so that the nuts are chopped finely but not powdered (you should still be able to distinguish the nut pieces).

If the mixture is very hot, allow to cool further. Pinch off small amounts and form into balls, rolling them between clean hands.  I like to make the truffles about 3 cm in diameter.

Place dessicated coconut in a small food-safe plastic bag (such as a snap-lock sandwich bag).  Throw in truffles 3-4 at a time, hold the bag closed and shake around so that the truffles are coated in coconut.  Place the coconut covered truffles in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Other options are to coat the truffles  in cocoa powder, as specified in the original recipe, or in crushed nuts.

Gift or gobble as appropriate.

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