Monday, March 31, 2014
Secret Recipe Club time! This month I was assigned Curious Cuisiniere by cute couple Sarah and Tim! Their love of food really comes across on their blog and I had a great time exploring their site and bookmarking lots of recipes.
When I came time to choose I actually couldn't decide and ended up making two and funny thing is, both recipes contain peanut butter. Sarah mentions eating peanut butter straight from the jar and while I haven't done that (yet) I do love my peanut butter!
The first recipe I made was the African Sweet Potato Peanut Soup. Smooth soups always go down better at our place so I added extra stock and blended it. It was absolutely delicious and a real winner but unfortunately I didn't get a decent photo.
The second recipe I chose was the Peanut Butter Granola and it was awesome. I've been making homemade granola for ages and I've done chocolate, gluten free and ginger-spiced granolas among others, but it never occurred to me to use peanut butter.
I made a few minor changes to the recipe like swapping the honey for rice malt syrup to make it fructose free. I also left out the whole peanuts to make it child-friendly and then used crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth to give some extra crunchy texture.
3 of the 4 of us absolutely loved it but weirdly, my PB obsessed 3 year old didn't like it. Kids!
My only complaint is that it didn't make enough so next time I will definitely be making a double batch.
Great recipe, thanks Sarah and Tim!
Peanut Butter Granola
Adapted from Curious Cuisiniere
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup natural crunchy peanut butter
3 tbs rice malt syrup
2 tbs water
1/8 ts salt
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C / 325 degrees F. Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
Place the oats in a large bowl. Place the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until smooth and well combined. Pour over the oats and mix well. Tip the mixture into the prepared pan and press down (this will give you lovely clumpy granola which you can break up later).
Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven to break up the clumps. Bake for a further 20 minutes breaking up the clumps once during that time.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
Saturday, March 29, 2014
We love our breakfast smoothies around here. In fact if the boys are being a bit naughty at bedtime the thought of maybe not getting a smoothie the next morning is usually enough to settle them down!
As I am still off dairy I usually make a smoothie just for me while the boys will have the same as my husband. After trying lots of different milk alternatives I am thrilled to say that my tummy is loving rice milk. I really like the Vitasoy one that is enriched with chickpeas and very high in protein. It is quite sweet (although unsweetened) and a perfect base for a smoothie.
This smoothie is rich and sweet but packed with goodness and is a great start to the day. You won't be hungry for a while after drinking this for breakfast.
Have a great weekend!
Choc Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie
Recipe by me
1 cup rice milk
1 small banana
1 ts raw cacao
1/2 ts vanilla extract
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tbs smooth natural peanut butter
handful of ice
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Makes 1 (big) serve.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Lately it's been really hard to fill up my kids. At 3 and almost 5 these boys eat a LOT. Even my 5 month old who has just started on solids has already eaten kilos of fruit and vegetable purees. Heaven help us when they're teenagers!!!
I spend a lot of time looking for new recipes for snacks and quick meals that will fill them up for longer. My main criteria are high protein, low/no sugar and wholegrain. I've been reading Bianca's Wholefood Simply blog for ages but last week I splurged and bought her gorgeous cookbook of the same name. It is a treasure trove of favourites from the blog and so beautifully photographed and put together. The boys spent a good half an hour last night before bed flicking through and deciding what they would like me to make.
For me these breakfast bars were an immediate winner in terms of both ingredients and being so easy to make. My boys loved them for afternoon tea with a glass of milk and it keeps them going until dinner.
Very slightly adapted from Wholefood Simply
1 cup raw macadamias
1 cup dessicated coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 ts vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.
If you have a high speed blender or food processor simply throw in all the ingredients and blitz until smooth. If you think your blender would struggle (like mine did), use it to process the nuts then simply mix with the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
Tip the mix into the prepared pan, smooth the top and bake for approx 25 minutes or until it is golden around the edges and skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool on a wire rack then slice into bars and enjoy!
Saturday, March 22, 2014
A quick post about a quick bread! Sorry, bad joke there. Anyway while it has been radio silence on the blog lately I have actually been cooking and baking a lot but never seeming to find the time to post. I do have a lot of things photographed that I will get to when I can.
This morning though I wanted to bake something healthy for a late breakfast and stumbled across this quick bread. Just a handful of basic ingredients, 5 minutes to mix and 30 minutes later I was enjoying a few slices topped with natural peanut butter and a drizzle of rice malt syrup. The perfect Saturday breakfast.
Spelt Quick Bread
Very slightly adapted from Anja's Food 4 Thought
1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 ts salt
1 ts bicarbonate of soda
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, divided
1 cup rice milk
2 ts apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.
Place the vinegar in a 1 cup measure then fill with rice milk then allow to stand.
Add the dry ingredients (but only half the pumpkin seeds) to a large bowl and stir together. Pour in the rice milk and vinegar and mix well to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, sprinkle the remaining seeds over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out. Delicious served warm from the oven or you can slice, freeze and toast to enjoy another day.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
I am a huge fan of lasagne! It's definitely my favourite pasta dish but for some reason we don't tend to make it very often. It just feels much more time consuming than good old spaghetti bolognaise which we eat pretty regularly.
I had my eye on this mushroom lasagne recipe from Delicious Everyday for ages. It was actually part of a series of Christmas posts from 2010 when the blog was called Le Delicieux, so that tells you just how long it's been hanging around!
I know the recipe looks long but I managed to get this in the oven within an hour, which seems amazingly fast considering I made the pasta from scratch! I was also pregnant at the time with 2 other kids to look after so was feeling very chuffed to make making something so fancy :)
And how did it taste? DIVINE. The earthiness of the mushrooms paired with the creamiest bechamel, tender bite of the pasta and the gorgeous salty parmesan on top ... it was just perfect. If I ever need to make something vegetarian for Christmas this will be ideal.
Very slightly adapted from Delicious Everyday
400g strong 00 flour
4 extra large eggs
1 tbs olive oil
1 ts salt
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre. In a small bowl whisk the eggs until the yolks are broken up, then pour into the well. Add the oil.
Using your fingertips, slowly start to mix the eggs and oil into the flour. Once combined, tip the dough out onto a floured board and knead for approximately 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cut into 4 pieces, wrap each in cling film and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare your mushroom base and bechemel sauce.
Using your pasta machine, roll out each section of dough. I feed each piece through level 1 x 5 times, then once each on 2 -5. Lay out on a tea towel and cover until you are ready to use it.
600g mixed mushrooms (portabella, swiss brown, button)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 brown onion, diced
3 ts fresh thyme, chopped
2 ts salt
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
2 tbs beef/vegetable stock or red wine
In a large frying pan over a medium heat, fry together the olive oil and onion for a few minutes until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms are soft. Add the stock/wine and cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
Set aside and allow to cool completely.
500ml full cream milk
1 bay leaf
1 large clove of garlic, crushed
3 ts butter
3 ts flour
1/4 ts salt
1/4 ts freshly cracked pepper
60g of freshly grated parmesan cheese
Pour the milk into saucepan, add the bay leaf and garlic and allow towarm gently over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
In a large saucepan over a medium heat melt the butter before whisking in the flour. Cook for a minute to remove the flour taste. Pour in the warmed milk and whisk constantly until all the butter and flour is incorporated. Switch to a spatula and cook until the sauce is your preferred thickness. Don’t stop stirring! Add the salt, pepper and parmesan and stir until well combined.
Fresh lasagne sheets
60g parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced.
Grease your lasagne dish with butter and line the base with a lasagna sheet. Cut them to fit if needed.
Cover with half the mushroom mixture and top the mushrooms with 1/3 of the bechemel sauce. Repeat ending with a final lasagne sheet topped with the remaining bechemel sauce. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan.
Bake for around 40 minutes or until the lasagne sheets are tender and the top is golden brown.
Monday, February 24, 2014
It's Secret Recipe Club time! Each month SRC members are assigned a blog to make a recipe from and then we all post on the same day. Who got who is a secret until reveal day, which happens to be today!
This month I was assigned Flying on Jess Fuel, which has to be one of the best blog names ever. Jess is a navy wife and her blog is a fabulous collection of recipes shared from all over the US. Let me tell you I was really spoilt for choice this month. There were SO many recipes I wanted to make!
Unfortunately I can't have any dairy while feeding my son as it upsets his little tummy, so that cut out a few awesome sounding recipes that I have bookmarked for later on - Jess's Taco Salad, Cheeseburger Pizza and White Chicken Lasagna to name a few.
While browsing through her breakfast recipes I came across Jess's Coconut Flour Cherry Muffins. We happened to have a huge bag of coconut flour in the pantry and as I am trying to bake with less wheat and dairy this looked perfect!
Coconut flour has become a really popular ingredient lately as it allows you to bake grain-free, perfect for anyone following a gluten free or paleo diet. It works very differently from other flours though so you can't just sub it one for one with other flours. For example, for every 1 cup of wheat flour you would use only 1/3 cup coconut flour and lots of extra liquid.
I wasn't lucky enough to have a glut of cherries like Jess had when she made these, but I did have a bag of frozen blueberries so I used those instead. The only other changes I made were to use rice malt syrup as the sweetener instead of sugar, and olive oil instead of butter.
So how did they taste? Delicious! Slightly denser than regular muffins but very moist and with a very subtle coconut flavour. Similar to a friand made with ground almonds. These were a hit with my taste-testers and I've already made a second batch using pineapple and they were just as good.
This one's a winner, thanks Jess! :)
Coconut Flour Blueberry Muffins (Gluten and Dairy Free, Low Fructose)
Adapted from Jess's Coconut Flour Cherry Muffins
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup rice malt syrup
3/4 tsp vanilla or almond extract
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Grease a muffin tray and set aside.
Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine and remove any lumps. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, syrup and extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until smooth. Gently fold through the blueberries.
Divide the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups.
Bake 16-20 minutes, until the edges are just beginning to brown and the muffins spring back when touched gently in the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin before turning out on to a cooling rack.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
For the past 7 weeks my husband and I have been eating incredibly well. We cleaned out the pantry at the start of January so we couldn't snack on junk even if we wanted to! And it's working. I have lost 3 kg and hubby is down over 5. But sometimes you just want a little sweet treat, you want to feel like you aren't missing out. Enter these amazing chocolate cupcakes!
Despite being free from wheat, dairy, eggs and fructose they taste incredible! They have a soft, light crumb and intense chocolate flavour that totally belies the fact that they are pretty good for you. You probably still shouldn't eat more than 1 or 2 but if you, it's not the end of the world.
We each had one for afternoon tea today and the rest are stashed in the freezer for a pick-me-up another day.
If you're looking for something chocolatey and delicious for Valentine's Day but without all the crap, these would be perfect!
Rich Chocolate Cupcakes
Adapted from Real Simple
1 cup white spelt flour
3/4 cup dextrose
1/3 cup raw cacao
3/4 ts bicarb soda
1/2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts salt
1 cup rice milk
2 ts apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 ts vanilla extract
2 tbs cacao nibs (optional)
Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius, fan-forced. Line a muffin tray with wrappers and set aside.
In a small jug mix together the rice milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes until it curdles.
Meanwhile, whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl. To the curdled milk add the oil and vanilla and stir together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and mix until just combined.
Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle each cupcake with cacao nibs.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the tops spring back and a skewer comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.