SPICED FRUIT STEW - COLADA MORADA (V+, GF, NF, ChF, GrF)

Turn back the clock by about 6 years: It’s the morning of Halloween. I frantically run to the supermarket, get a family sized pack of miniature milk chocolate bars and - that evening - hand them out to unassuming children after they have politely rung our doorbell and chanted ‘trick-or-treat’.

Of course there are left-over chocolate bars. There always are. I eat 1-2 (honest ;)) and then take the rest into the office at the earliest opportunity, causing a handful of work colleagues to abandon their diets and yet strangly feel better for it; at least temptation is no longer within my four walls.

Fast forward: I become a mother. Then I learn more about nutrition. Then I question my actions...

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Now the children knocking on our blue front door are rewarded with apples, clementines or, if they are really lucky, raisins instead. Because if I don’t eat it myself and wouldn’t give it to my son, why on earth am I giving it to someone else’s child? Luckily they keep coming back, year after year, so I can only assume they like the treats we give them. (BTW nowadays I take kale chips into the office. Gotta up those good Karma points, you understand).

But where does that leave my Halloween inspired blog post? In the blogosphere I’m competing against some jaw dropping sweet Halloween creations. But hey! I’m confident that this beauty of a recipe offers the right mix of naughty and nice, whilst still fully embracing this fun time of the year.

This spiced fruit stew or Colada Morada as it's offically called is a family favourite in Ecuador, South America (where my husband is from :)). It’s not necessarily super healthy as it's got a fair amount of sugar in it, but it is home-made, full of nourishing fruit and vegan. Plus it is something I feel comfortable giving my family on a special occasion like this, so therefore I feel comfortable sharing it with you.

In Ecuador people make Colada Morada for Dia De Los Muertos – Day of the Dead, which falls just 24 hour after Halloween. In many ways, Colada Morada is similar to mulled wine (which is prepared around this time of the year too), though it is non-alcoholic of course.

I’ve given the recipe a European twist as many of the traditional ingredients aren’t readily available outside Ecuador. Plus, I was really keen to include some fruit that is local to me and in season too.

Finally, the recipe is inspired by Laylita's blog post. She knows a thing or two about Ecuador cuisine and I think her fan base of nearly 200,000 facebook followers speaks volumes, don't you?

Hope you enjoy the recipe and thanks for popping by :).

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SPICED FRUIT STEW - COLADA MORADA (V+, GF, NF)

Preparation Time: 10min
Cooking Time: 35min
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
Peel of 1 orange and 1 lime
1 lemongrass stick
3 cinnamon sticks
3-4 whole cloves
3 juniper berries
5-6oz/140-150g (organic) brown sugar
4 cups + 2 cups of water

1 cup/120g of fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup/120g of fresh or frozen blueberries
200g/7oz oranges (about 2 oranges), peeled, de-seeded and broken into large pieces (see picture)
½ cup (40 - 50g) of organic corn flour OR ¼ (25g) of organic coconut flour (see tips below)
1 cup/120g of sweet, ripe pears, peeled and cut into chunks (see tips for alternatives)

Instructions:
Get all your ingredients out onto the kitchen counter, washed, measured and ready to use.
Place the orange and lime peel, lemongrass, cinnamon, cloves, juniper berries and sugar in a deep pot together with 4 cups of water. Boil for about 20 minutes.

As this is cooking away, place the blueberries and blackberries in a separate smaller pot with 2 cups of water. Boil for about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, take the pieces of peeled oranges and place in a blender. I used a vitamix, but any blender should do the trick. Blend until mushy. Set aside.

Remove the blue- and blackberry mixture from the heat, let it cool a little and then place it in your blender until the mixture resembles a thick runny jam. Pour the mixture through a sieve and set aside.

By now the watery orange, lime and spice infused liquid should be ready. Pour through a sieve. In a deep pot, mix the resulting liquid with your chosen flour until the flour is completely diluted. Then add the strained berry mix and the blended oranges. Mix over a low heat for another 10-15 minutes adding a tiny bit more water if need be.

Just before serving, add the chopped up pears, keeping some back to garnish the bowl at the end.
Enjoy warm or cold.

Tip 1: You can use pineapple or strawberries instead of pears. I had a few frozen strawberry and pineapple which I used for visual effect in one of the pictures, but for flavour I felt nothing could top the pears.

Tip 2: I made two versions, one using the organic corn flour and the other using organic coconut flour. The former was my favourite as it resulted in a lighter drink. The corn flour is also cheaper and easier to find. Using the coconut flour tasted great, but the Colada Morada was a little bit thicker and the flour is quite pricey. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice, so go with what you fancy.

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