Thursday, October 16, 2014

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting


Magic Bean Chocolate Cake © www.foodbabylife.com


There have always been lots of chocolate cake recipes with secret ingredients - like beetroot, beer and even mayonnaise. The latest thing seems to be beans and it's had me intrigued for months. I mean, you really can't taste them? Not even a little bit? Well I finally made my own 'magic bean' cake and it's true, if you didn't know they were there you would have no idea there is an entire large can of kidney beans in this cake.

What you get is an amazingly moist, almost fudgy chocolate cake with absolutely no hint of beans whatsoever. It was a huge hit with my kids who have been pleading for more magic bean cake ever since!

I made the recipe exactly as written using the remnants of a bag of brown sugar I found hiding up the back of the pantry. My sugar-free palate found it too sweet so next time I will be using sugar alternatives, but the rest of the family had no such reservations.

Rather than make a regular icing I decided to cross another item off my to-do list and make a cashew cream icing instead. It was delicious! Much thicker than I was expecting so we opted to smear each individual slice with the cashew cream instead of decorating the whole cake.

Both of these recipes are for the Thermomix and in fact the cake recipe, as created by Sarah of Clever Cook, won recipe of the year for 2012 on the Thermomix Recipe Community!

You can of course make this cake using a high powered blender or food processor, anything that will get both the beans and the cashews blended into a very smooth paste. I actually didn't let my cashews get smooth enough as you can see from the picture but that's one of the hazards of baking with kids, things sometimes get rushed or missed!

I will be making both of these again and will update this post with my tweaks.

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake with Cashew Cream Frosting © www.foodbabylife.com

Magic Bean Chocolate Cake (Thermomix)
Recipe from Clever Cook

450g canned kidney beans – drained and rinsed
1 tbs water or coffee
1 tbs vanilla extract
70g cocoa powder
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts baking soda
1/4 ts salt
125g softened butter or oil
180g brown sugar (I would suggest cutting this back by at least 1/3)
5 eggs

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius fan-forced. Grease a ring or bundt pan very well and set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar together on speed 5 for 45 seconds.

Add the beans, water/coffee, I egg and vanilla and beat again until smooth on speed 7.

Add the remaining eggs and beat for 20 seconds on speed 4.

Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and blend on speed 4 for 10 seconds.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes (mine took 45) or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Cashew Cream Frosting (Thermomix)
Adapted from Clever Cook

130g raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours
3 tbs rice malt syrup
1 tbs cacao
2 ts vanilla extract
1/4 ts salt
70g water
90g coconut oil

Put the first 5 ingredients into the thermomix and grind on speed 9 for 1 minute. Stop and scrape the sides of the bowl and add the water and coconut oil. Blend for a further 3 minutes, stopping and scraping down the bowl a few times. It will eventually become smooth. Check for sweetness and add more syrup if needed. If it is too thick add a little more water, a few teaspoons as a time. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate for a few hours. Whip again before using if has set hard.

Both the cake and frosting are packed with protein and very nutrient dense, so a small piece goes a long way!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli © www.foodbabylife.com
Doesn't that look like a big bowl of sunshine??

When I first had to give up dairy breakfast was the meal I was most worried about. I mean without milk for cereal, yoghurt, cheese or even butter, what on earth was I going to eat?! But I needn't have worried. While I do miss yoghurt, there are good substitutions for everything else and it just takes a little creative thinking.

I've been experimenting with different mueslis for breakfast for months now. I make a killer chocolate and chia muesli (recipe to come) but I wanted something a little lighter and fresher this time around, esecially now that the weather is starting to warm up.

Orange and almond is one of those flavour combinations that just works, and there are lots of recipes for dairy and gluten free orange and almond cakes. I've made a great one myself (although it disappeared too quickly for me to get a photo!).

The flavours work just as well as a muesli and when served with some sliced fresh fruit and a little cashew milk it makes a delicious, nutritious and really filling breakfast.

Orange and Almond Toasted Muesli
Makes - a lot!

1kg rolled oats
2 cups coconut flakes
2 cups raw almonds, chopped as finely as you like
1 tbs cinnamon
125g rice malt syrup
125g coconut oil
juice and zest of 1 large orange
1/2 ts sea salt

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees celsius. Grease 2 large baking dishes and set aside.

In a vary large bowl, mix together the oats, almonds, cinnamon and salt.

Place the rice malt syrup, coconut oil, orange juice and orange zest in a small pan over medium heat and bring just to the boil. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.

Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 trays and bake for approx 45 minutes, stirring at least 3 times and rotating the trays so it browns evenly. I like mine quite toasty brown but keep an eye on it and remove it when it is as dark as you like. It will smell toasty and citrus-y but will still seem a bit damp - it will dry out as it cools.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for a couple of weeks, or you can freeze it in batches and just bring out what you need for a few days.

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Strawberry Sorbet (Thermomix)

Strawberry Sorbet © www.foodbabylife.com

Does anything more perfectly say springtime than strawberry sorbet? Strawberries are abundant at the moment and so cheap that we are buying 4 or 5 punnets at a time with the intention of just freezing them. They are perfect to add to smoothies but my kids love just eating them straight from the freezer.

If you have a few extra punnets lying around then why not make sorbet?

This strawberry sorbet was our dessert on Father's Day a few weeks ago and it was so refreshing after our delicious BBQ dinner.

A lot of sorbet recipes include an egg white as this helps stop the sorbet from becoming icy like a granita. I am still a bit iffy about raw eggs (a leftover hang-up from pregnancy I think!) so I decided that adding a tablespoon of rice malt syrup might do the same job, preventing the sorbet from freezing rock hard. It worked pretty well!

This recipe is my own take on the sorbet recipe in the Everyday Cookbook which comes with the Thermomix. The possibilities for sorbet flavours are endless and I am already thinking of mango, pineapple and melon sorbet for summer.

Strawberry Sorbet

600g frozen strawberries
300g ice cubes
100g dextrose
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 tbs rice malt syrup

Put the dextrose into the Thermomix and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9.

Add strawberries, rice malt syrup and orange juice/zest into the bowl. Slowly turn the speed dial to speed 10 and blend for up to 30 seconds until everything is smooth.

Add the ice and blitz for 30 seconds, slowly increasing the speed to 10. Use the spatula to assist in incorporating the ice until it is completely smooth. Scrape down the sides as needed.

Freeze for about 20 minutes to get that perfect sorbet consistency. If freezing for longer you will need to let the sorbet rest on the bench for at least 10 minutes so it is scoopable.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Kiwi Lime and Coconut Muffins (Secret Recipe Club )

Kiwi Lime and Coconut Muffins © www.foodbabylife.com

This month I was assigned Chocolate and Chillies by Asiya, a stay at home mum of 2 from Toronto. She has a gorgeous blog where she posts not only the food she makes for her family but does reviews and giveaways. If that weren't enough she also has a second blog about all the arts and crafts she does with her kids called Keepin' 2 Boys Busy. Super woman!

Asiya's family is from India and her husband is Pakistani so I found some delicious sounding recipes like Mummy's Indian Spiced Shrimp and Mango Pistachio Kulfi which I have pinned to try later. What I was really looking for this time though was a kid-pleaser.

This month has been really busy for me with 2 exams, 1 assignment and lots of end of term festivities for school and kindy. Because I've been so busy I haven't been baking much so the boys have been having things like popcorn, cereal or just fruit for afternoon tea. When I saw Asiya's Kiwi, Coconut and Lime Muffins I knew the boys would love them and it would get me back into the baking groove.

I've never used kiwi fruit in this way before but it's such a great idea, and gave these muffins had a lovely tropical flavour which we loved. And yep, a big thumbs up from my 2 little taste testers!


Kiwi Lime and Coconut Muffins © www.foodbabylife.com

Kiwi Lime and Coconut Muffins
Adapted from Chocolate and Chillies

1 ¼ cups white spelt flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarb soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup desiccated coconut
3 tbsp coconut oil, room temperature
¾ cup dextrose
2 eggs (if using regular sugar only use 1 egg)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 kiwi fruits
zest and juice of one lime
extra desiccated coconut for topping

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line a muffin tray with 10 liners.

Peel the kiwi fruits and puree them in a blender or food processor. Pour the puree into a ½ cup measure and add the lime juice and enough water to make ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons.

Add the kiwi puree and all remaining ingredients to the food processor and mix until just combined.

Pour the mixture into prepared muffin tray and sprinkle each with some coconut. (I forgot to do this so toasted up some coconut and sprinkled it over the top once the muffins were cooked).

Bake for 14-16 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Makes 9-10 muffins


http://secret-recipe-club.blogspot.com



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hazelnut-Chocolate Ganache Tart


It's a big call but this tart is one of the best things I've ever made. Or eaten. Seriously! I made this for dessert on Father's Day a week ago and it didn't even make it to dessert. We ended up having it for afternoon tea because it looked so good we couldn't wait!

My husband is a serious chocoholic so it was a given that I would make something chocolatey for Father's Day. But seeing three out of the five of us have issues with dairy, a traditional chocolate dessert just wasn't going to cut it.

The base is my own creation and I found a gorgeous-looking chocolate ganache spread on Quirky Cooking that I hoped would work as a tart filling. I doubled the recipe and added a good pinch of salt and it worked perfectly. I made the filling in the Thermomix but you could definitely make it the old-fashioned way by finely chopping the chocolate, heating up the remaining ingredients and then stirring together until smooth.

You will have about a cup of the base mixture left over and this is a good thing—roll it into bliss balls, sprinkle it over fruit and yoghurt or just eat it by the spoonful straight from the bowl. Delicious!

This chocolate tart is very rich—but not too sweet—and decadent without being sickly. It is the perfect special occasion dessert!

Dairy Free Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Tart © www.foodbabylife.com

Dairy-Free Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Tart

Base:

2 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts
1 cup dates
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup raw cacao
1/4 ts sea salt

Place the hazelnuts in a food processor or high-powered blender and blitz to a fine crumb. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined and sticky. Press most of the mixture over the base and sides of a lightly greased 23 cm tart pan with a removable base. (See note above on what to do with the leftovers.) Place in the freezer to chill until ready to fill and use.

Filling (Thermomix):
Very, very slightly adapted from Quirky Cooking

200g dark chocolate (Lindt 85% is good)
60g coconut oil
60g rice malt syrup (use honey or maple syrup to make it 100% grain free)
400g coconut cream
2 ts vanilla extract
generous pinch of sea salt

Break up the chocolate into pieces, place in the mixing bowl and grind for 10 seconds / speed 9. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add remaining ingredients and cook for 2.5 minutes / 60 degrees / speed 2.

Remove the prepared tin from the freezer and pour in the chocolate filling. Smooth to the edges and place in the fridge until ready to serve with fresh berries.

Serves 10-12

Dairy Free Hazelnut Chocolate Ganache Tart © www.foodbabylife.com

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Happy Father's Day!


Eggs Benedict © www.foodbabylife.com

It's Father's Day here in Australia so I wanted to give a shout out to all the Dads and Grandpas on this important day. And a special mention of course goes to my wonderful husband who at this moment is off at the chemist with Oscar and Charlie buying medicine for me. I've been sick for a week now and still feeling lousy. Despite that I made Eggs Benedict for him to have breakfast in bed this morning.

My version of Eggs Benedict includes a toasted English muffin topped with freshly sliced ham, spinach sauteed with garlic, a wedge of omelette (the only way my husband eats eggs), hollandaise sauce and a scattering of chives on top. Yum!

I also have a gorgeous chocolate and strawberry dessert planned for tonight which I will post about later in the week.

Have a great day Dads!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Product Review - Vileda Premium 5 Mop System

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OK, so I know it might seem a little odd to be reviewing a mop on what is essentially a food blog. But if your house is anything like mine, the kitchen is the heart of the home and the kitchen floor gets literally covered in muck. Every. Single. Day. Seriously, it's like a magnet.

Between the crumbs, spilt cups of milk and muddy footprints from two little boys who love playing outside but always forgetting to wipe their feet, it gets pretty gross by the end of the day. My youngest is 10 months and crawling on this floor, putting every little speck he finds into his mouth. Yuck.

So when I got the chance to review the Vileda Premium 5 mop system thanks to Product Talk by Nuffnang I jumped at the chance. I am currently using a Vileda strip mop and its been pretty effective but I have been convinced there is something even better out there. Especially as we have light-coloured tiles which show every little drip and spill.

I hate having to drag out the vacuum all the time but sweeping with a regular broom never quite gets the job done. What's special about the Vileda Premium 5 system is that it includes two floor padsone for wet mopping and the other one for sweeping and dusting.

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This is the information I was given about the Vileda Premium 5 Flat Mop System and Premium 5 Wringer Bucket:
  • Wide frame covers more surface area
  • Microfibre pads for a streak-free floor
  • Thorough cleaning with less chemicals
  • Swivel head to clean hard-to-reach places
  • Ergonomic telescopic handle

I gave both the dry and wet pads a thorough workout over the past week or so and have been really impressed! The dry microfibre pad does a great job picking up dust and crumbs and is a brilliant alternative to the vacuum cleaner for those in-between cleans. The wet pad did a great job on our tiles and because the pad is so wide it was much quicker than my usual mop. On the downside though,  it wasn't as good at squeezing into nooks, like next to the fridge and around the toilet. I also found it a little fiddly getting the mop flattened and in and out of the bucket.

The Premium 5 wringer bucket was a huge hit with my kids once they discovered you could press the button on the side and make the wringer spin around. Lots of toys went for a ride in the wringer! It is quite a big and substantial-feeling bucket but it feels a little lopsided (and annoyingly it is too long to fit in the spot where my current mop bucket lives).

Overall I was really happy with this mop and feel much happier about the state of our floors!

To see the Premium 5 in action check out Episode 5 of Where's Julia and for more information (and the occasional giveaway!) visit Vileda's Facebook page, Help Me Clean.

*This is not a sponsored post. I received the Vileda Premium 5 mop and bucket for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.