Two things have been on my mind lately. One, I feel sluggish and unhealthy after a hot summer of eating out too often. The kitchen has been so unappealing in 30+ degrees and I have eaten way too much junk. I want to make some changes to my diet once I get to Norway, which shouldn’t be so difficult as it is much more expensive to eat out, with less choice as to world cuisines.
But, here is the downside, I am about to move away from Toronto and my beloved Qi Natural Foods and Essence of Life. Health food stores in Norway charge truly exorbitant prices, so I have been looking into online shopping (many Norwegian raw foodists and such seem to swear by iherb.com). It’s almost absurd how much one can save, even factoring in shipping halfway across the world. Ordering from California seems a bit problematic to me, given that it must have a bit of a carbon footprint, so I’ve been looking for some UK based alternatives. I just placed an order from Raw Living, will report back.
All this browsing around online health food got me reading up on various “super foods”. I eat chia seeds and coconut oil, but otherwise I have not forayed much into this stuff. It often seems too expensive and somewhat faddish. We should be able to get all necessary nutrients from a normal diet anyway! But I did get curious about certain items. I am definitely going to try maca, which a lot of people recommend for extra energy. And I got very interested when I discovered that lúcuma, which I have seen sold as a powder in Qi Natural Foods, turned out to be made from a fruit closely related to the Salvadoran mamey. We ate ice cream and such made from this fruit in El Salvador, and it is really yummy. So I decided I had to get my hand on some to experiment with in recipes.
It seems to me a bit of an exaggeration to call lúcuma a super food. It has some fibre and some beta carotene, but as I saw someone remark online, so do carrots! However, it’s neat as flavoring and as a gentle sweetener – lúcuma powder is naturally sweet. The flavor is vaguely caramel-y, I think. Hard to describe.
For my first attempt, I made a simple riff on a panna cotta, but using agar agar (vegan, easy to work with) and coconut milk. As both the coconut and the lúcuma are naturally sweet, there is no need to add extra sweetener.
Coconut lúcuma “panna cotta” for two
- 150 ml low-fat coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lúcuma powder, or to taste
- 1/2 tsp agar agar powder
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan (it might be a good idea to sift in the lúcuma to prevent lumps). Stir constantly as you heat the mixture to break up any lumps. Boil for about 2-3 minutes to activate the agar agar. Pour into two small espresso cups and chill before serving. Voilà!