Potters Delight and the man who robbed us
Father’s Day recipe # 2: Potters Delight (AKA chocolate soil with honey cashew ice cream, cinnamon cake, strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries) – gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free, clean and paleo friendly.
I get excited when the opportunity arises to use my creative skills. This Potters Delight recipe is one I’ve wanted to create since I saw the original version at The Potting Shed at The Grounds Of Alexandria. Known as The Shed Sundae, it’s made with chocolate soil, chocolate brownie, chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream, meringe and biscuit shards. I’ll usually try gluten and dairy filled desserts/sweets in the name of research so when the dish arrived on our table it looked fantastic, although it was ultra sweet to our refined sugar free palates.
My Potters Delight dish is similar to last year’s Father’s Day recipe Chocolate dirt pots with strawberries in that it uses chocolate soil and strawberries with sauce but this time I’ve added more flavours and textures to tantalize dad’s taste buds with the addition of honey cashew ice cream and cinnamon cake. It really is a Potter’s Delight as your taste buds will go on a an exciting, yet healthy journey. The dish is designed as a “share plate” between 2 people so this recipe will be enough for 4 people. (2 large serves or 4 individual serves).
I love using food as theater and this dish looks like someone has been doing a spot of gardening for Spring. (which is next week by the way. Yippeeee!!).
I’ve called this dish Potter’s Delight because of my father who is an avid green thumb and because of the history associated with the name.
In 1986 my parents opened their own nursery in Coffs Harbour called “The Potter’s Nursery” which was a part of our lives for 7 years.
I associate this time with lots of happy memories and some devastating and life changing. Other memories were a testament to how cruel and selfish some people can be and this story is about a man named Mal.
Potter’s nursery was located on the land we lived on and formed part of “Bethany”, a ministry dad started for people to help give them hope. It also gave them the opportunity to get off social security benefits.
The nursery flourished until one Easter Monday when gale force winds, the worst in 25 years completely destroyed the glass and green houses. After the storm passed, hundreds more plants died under the ferocious sun before they were able to be placed under alternate shade. The local and national TV crews arrived on site to film the aftermath that was shown on that evening’s news.
The next day, dad’s friend Paul came forward and offered the services of an experienced nurseryman named Mal who had just moved down from Queensland. Paul would be the financial backer (no repayments) to get the nursery back on its feet and Mal would use the money to rebuild the nursery and restock the plants. There was one caveat, however and that was Mal was to become the manager and dad and his team would help with the work. Dad accepted this generous offer even though he had a bad feeling about Mal.
Within 2 months business was booming like it had before the cyclone but there was no sign of any money. Dad reluctantly resorted to social security benefits at Mal’s insistence that he couldn’t pay him a cent until the nursery started to make a profit.
Over time, Mal’s practises in running the nursery unnerved dad greatly as he cut corners everywhere, wouldn’t pay bills and lied to customers in order to get a buck out of them. Mal also sold grossly inferior soil to our retail clients which ultimately resulted in us losing our contracts to them. This same soil was also used to grow our seedlings in, which destroyed them all. Mal informed dad the seedlings were a waste of time and they needed to concentrate on selling exotic plants as that is where the big bucks were.
When dad approached Paul with his concerns, he was told not to worry as Mal knew what he was doing. Still disturbed, dad called a couple of contacts he had in Queensland and none of them had heard of Mal or the nurseries he claimed to have run.
Not long after, my brother Andrew was diagnosed with a brain tumor and dad focused his energy on this. Within time mum was diagnosed with cancer as well and after a harrowing few months of chemotherapy in Sydney, she couldn’t take it any more and nothing else could be done for her.
After arriving back home, dad discovered Mal had sold the nursery out from under his nose and disappeared with the money.
Not long after, the new nursery owner approached dad about the state of the plants. She showed him the brown, withering leaves of a large number of elkhorns, staghorns, orchids and other protected plants. They smelled of kerosene. Mal had poisoned them and the reason? The lack of a label to prove they had been acquired legally for commercial use. He had destroyed the evidence.
Within a month, Potter’s nursery bore the sign “CLOSING DOWN SALE”.
Mal, (one of his fake names) was never found.
Despite the numerous emotional and financial wars my dad has fought including the loss of his wife, his only son and the land on which he lived, he never ceases to amaze me with his always positive attitude and his strong desire to never give up. This is why I dedicate today’s recipe to him.
Happy Father’s Day to a truly amazing man. You are a beautiful soul and you deserve the very best in life. xx
Now onto the recipe
Don’t be too put off by the list of ingredients. There are 4 elements however you don’t have to make all of them. If you do however, you can make the individual elements ahead of time and then put it all together on the day. If you don’t want to make the honey cashew ice cream (and don’t have a decent healthy alternative) then spoon over some vanilla flavoured coconut yoghurt instead.
Some things to consider
A note about the ice cream. You will need a high powered blender/food processor or smoothie maker with ice crushing blades for the initial cashew mixture to blitz into complete smoothness. I make it in my Ninja smoothie maker and it turns out smooth every single time. When I tried it in my regular food processor it didn’t turn out smooth (and it cost 5 times the price of my smoothie maker!)
I have experimented with this ice cream many times with different ratios of ingredients. If you don’t have an ice cream machine and don’t feel like hand churning at regular intervals to break up the ice crystals, you can try this: Place your ice cream mixture in a zip lock bag and freeze. Remove, break into chunks, blitz in the food processor and then place back in a zip lock bag to freeze once again. Remove and break into chunks one more time, blitz, then place in a regular sized bowl where you can then cover the mixture with cling wrap and freeze till firm. It won’t turn out as creamy or light as properly churned ice cream but it does taste yummy!
Otherwise, substitute with 1 ingredient banana ice cream. Simply peel and slice about 4 – 5 very ripe large bananas, cover in cling wrap and freeze. Remove from freezer, blitz till creamy then transfer to a bowl and cover in cling wrap. Once frozen, it will be creamy and ready to go.
Blanched almond meal is used for the dirt. Make sure you add nuts to the dirt as this will be your much needed crunch factor in the dish. I used hazelnuts as this is all I had left lying around and it matched beautifully with the other ingredients. What nuts you use, however is up to you.
If you’ve never worked with almond meal/flour before:
Almond meal/flour is simply ground almonds. It comes in 2 forms. Blanched (skinless ground almonds) or regular (ground almonds with the skin). You can make your own skinless almond meal by using almond slivers or flakes. If you can’t find skinless almonds in any form, just use regular almond meal or whole almonds with the skin on and blitz in your food processor till it turns to flour.
If your dirt turns out too wet, add more flour. You want your mixture to appear damp but still look like soil.
The cinnamon cake recipe is enough to make 3 cupcakes which you then pull apart to give a rustic look. You can substitute with biscuits or brownies or leave it out altogether. This was just an optional extra in the dish.
For individual servings, I found these plastic pot plant saucers plus kid’s trowels below for under $3 each at Bunnings. Otherwise just use a normal plate.
I do hope you give this deliciously healthy dessert a go; and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!
Love, Tash x
Here’s a brief overview on what to do
How to assemble
Why this is so good for you
Almonds alkalize the body (good for fighting inflammation), nourish the nervous system, provide good brain function, build strong bones and teeth, provide healthy fats which aids in weight loss, reduce risk of heart disease and help protect against diabetes.
Strawberries stimulate the burning of stored fat, lower inflammation, lower risk of heart disease, improve bone health, help prevent skin from sagging , help grow strong hair and nails, lower risk of macular degeneration, reduce the risk of stroke and helps prevent constipation.
Raw cacao powder (pronounced ka-kow) is full of antioxidants and protects against the ravages of aging and cancer, improves digestion, gives energy, improves mood, lowers blood pressure and increases circulation.
Coconut oil speeds up metabolism, reduces the risk of heart disease, reduces the risk of diabetes, improves digestion, increases immune strength, is anti-bacterial, anti-vira, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic, prevents osteoporosis, prevents stroke and helps prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
Himalayan salt contains all of the 84 elements found in your body. It is anti aging, increases hydration, promotes blood sugar health, prevents muscle cramping, strengthens bones, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation, helps expel toxins from the body, helps reduce acid reflux and helps the intestines absorb nutrients.
Honey helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces ulcers, reduces throat irritation, strengthens the immune system, enhances performance and topically can help treat infections.
Coconut syrup is a natural, unrefined sweetener that’s not addictive like refined white sugar. It aids in digestive health and is low GI so it won’t spike your blood sugar levels and make you feel lethargic later on.
Cashews help prevent cancer, help reduce the risk of heart attack, help prevent age related eyesight deterioration, help protect against migraine, soreness and fatigue, help develop bone and connective tissue, aid in producing skin and hair melanin, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and help reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
Vanilla aids digestion, regulates blood sugar, reduces nervous tension, helps prevent PMS and keeps the heart strong.
* You will need 2 3/4 cups blanched almond meal for this entire dish.
* If your strawberries are quite large, then slice them into thirds, keeping 2/3 as the strawberry halves and add the remaining 3rd to the other strawberries.
* Banana ice cream can be subbed for the honey cashew ice cream. Peel and slice 4 - 5 large bananas. Cover in cling wrap and freeze. Place in food processor and blitz till smooth and creamy. Pour into bowl, cover and freeze.
* The cinnamon cake is a optional extra. Feel free to leave out or use brownies or biscuits instead.
* As with all my baking, I measure flours etc by pouring into cup, tapping the cup a few times on the bench to let contents settle, then refilling to the top and leveling off with a knife. If you don't do it this way you will find your mixture may be too wet.
- 1/2 cup raw (natural, unsalted) cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 500 grams (2 punnets) strawberries
- Sweetener of choice (amount will depend on how sweet your strawberries are)
- 1 - 2 teaspoons lemon juice (to brighten the strawberry flavour)
- 2 cups blanched almond flour (ground skinless almonds)
- 1/4 cup chopped nuts, roasted/pan toasted
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or unsweetened cocoa powder)
- 4 tablespoons liquid sweetener of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt
- You will need a 12 hole capacity muffin pan but only 3 cupcake/patty pan cases
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 egg (free range or organic)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup blanched almond flour (skinless ground almonds)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- Mint leaves, to scatter
- Soak cashews in cold water overnight or for 1 hour in hot water. Drain.
- Place all ingredients in a high speed blender/food processor or smoothie maker with ice crushing blades and blitz till completely smooth.
- Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn according to manufacturer's instructions.
- OR pour into a zip lock bag and freeze. Remove from freezer, break into chunks and blitz in a food processor. Return to another zip lock bag, refreeze and repeat. Transfer to a regular bowl and cover with cling wrap so it's touching the mixture. Freeze till firm.
- Wash and hull strawberries. Slice 10 strawberries in half and set aside.
- Slice remaining strawberries, transfer to a small saucepan along with some sweetener and vanilla. Pop lid on and cook on low heat until strawberries have broken down and juices released. Remove lid and continue to cook until sauce thickens. Mixture should part when a spoon is scraped through it. Blitz mixture along with the lemon juice in a blender until smooth.
- Combine dry ingredients. Stir through wet ingredients then push wet into dry with the back of a spoon until all the mixture is slightly damp and clumps a little.
- Preheat oven to 140 degrees C and line your 12 hole muffin pan with 3 patty pans/cupcake cases.
- Place wet ingredients in a blender or food processor and blitz for 30 seconds. Add dry ingredients and blitz for 20 seconds.
- Divide mixture between the 3 patty pans/cupcake cases and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out slightly dirty. Cool completely before removing patty pan/cupcake cases from the cakes. Break cakes apart with your fingers.
- Place trowel off center on plates. Divide strawberry sauce between plates and place strawberry halves with the sauced areas. Add a few mint leaves and torn pieces of cake.
- Scatter chocolate dirt over the top, then top with more mint leaves, cake and 2 scoops each of ice cream.