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.

Image Source

Image Source

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.
 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Applesauce Oatmeal Bars (Secret Recipe Club)


Yay, Secret Recipe Club time! This month I was assigned A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures by Christie and I spent many hours perusing her blog trying to narrow down what to make. Christie pretty much grew up in the kitchen and describes it as her zen place. Her recipes are fun and creative with a healthy twist, which suits me perfectly!

I was in the mood for something sweet this month, and luckily Christie's blog didn't disappoint. She has tons of amazing recipes including some seriously impressive macarons with classic flavour combinations like Pistachio and Salted Caramel as well as some a little more out there. Anyone for a Pepperoni Pizza Macaron?!

In the end I was really tempted by her Cranberry Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies (and I have bookmarked them to try later), but I went with the Applesauce Oatmeal Bars. I love a good apple slice and have made something similar before using apple pieces. This version intrigued me because it used pureed apples instead and even better, I had everything on hand to make it immediately.

I made a few small changes like making my own apple sauce, replacing the butter with coconut oil to make it dairy free and using dextrose and rice malt syrup to lower the fructose content.

And how did they taste? Delicious! Like all the best bits of an apple crumble but in bar form.They disappeared in record time, and in fact I was lucky to get a photo! My boys loved it for afternoon tea and then breakfast the next morning, but it would actually work beautifully as a dessert, served warm with lots of custard.

Applesauce Oatmeal Bars
Slightly adapted from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures

3 cups apple puree (see note)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups wholemeal plain flour
170 g liquid coconut oil
1/2 cup dextrose
2 tbs rice malt syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius. Line the base and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with baking paper and set aside.

Combine oats, flour, rice malt syrup, vanilla extract, spices, bicarb soda, salt and butter. Use a fork to combine the mixture until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. It will appear quite dry but it should clump together when sqeezed.

Press 2/3 of the mix unto the bottom of the prepared tray. Spread on the apple puree then sprinkle the walnuts and top with the remaining 1/3 oat mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before carefully lifting out of the tin using the baking paper. It will be easier to slice when completely cool.

* Note - Christie used bought apple sauce in her recipe and includes instructions for draining it. I made my own apple puree by peeling, coring and slicing 6 large granny smith apples, and steaming them until tender. Then puree in a blender or food processor until smooth and allow to cool before using.


Secret Recipe Club

Monday, August 11, 2014

Health(ier) Chocolate Brownies

Healthier Chocolate Brownies Grain free © www.foodbabylife.com

I don't know if there's such a thing as a healthy brownie. But there definitely some brownies that are healthier than others. I got this recipe from my friend Alison and they are in her words 'to die for.'

They have that rich chocolate flavour, fudgy interior and slightly crackly top. They also have no grains, no refined sugar, no dairy and if you leave the nuts off the top, are nut-free and therefore the perfect lunch-box treat.

Keep in mind though that although there is no refined sugar they are packed with fructose from the dates. We eat low fructose around here so this will be a very occasional treat but they were so very good.

I made mine in the Thermomix but any food processor will do.

If you start now you could be enjoying these for afternoon tea! :)




Health(ier) Chocolate Brownies
Slightly adapted from Paging Fun Mums

200 g dark chocolate (85% cocoa)
1/2 ts bicarbonate of soda
200 g pitted medjool dates
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tbs of vanilla extract
200 g raw almonds, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 160 degrees fan-forced. Line a square baking dish (20cm x 20cm is good) with baking paper and set aside.

Place the chocolate and bicarb soda into a food processor and pulse until they have the texture of coarse sand. Add in the dates and pulse until combined.

Add the eggs, coconut oil and vanilla extract and process until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes.

Open the oven and quickly scatter the chopped almonds over the top of the brownie and push in a little with the back of a spoon. Bake for a further 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for one hour.

Slice into at least 16 squares.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Dark Chocolate Gelato (Dairy free, Coconut free, Nut free)

Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Gelato © www.foodbabylife.com

I just sat my first exam in 13 years yesterday. It was for anatomy and physiology and seeing I have no background in science it has been a little out of my comfort zone. I actually feel really confident that I have passed but the perfectionist in me keeps going over and over what I could have done better. So annoying!

In saying that though I am a perfectionist about most things and have been known to throw a bit of a hissy fit when things don't work out the way I want them to. Take this blog for example, I almost didn't post this recipe because I couldn't get 'the perfect photo.'

But this one really is too good not to share. I mean how often do you find an ice cream recipe that not only tastes amazing but is dairy free, coconut free and nut free?

Noah is now 9 months old which means I have been dairy free for almost 9 months as well!

If you'd asked me previously whether I ever thought I could give up dairy I would have laughed. I LOVE my dairy ... butter, cheese and especially ice cream. But it has been surprisingly easy and I don't really miss it all that much. Probably it was easier to start with because I was doing it for Noah (no one wants their baby crying with pain and reflux) but I actually feel really well and have lost the baby weight so much faster than before. Win-win.

I make a brilliant dairy-free white sauce which means we can still enjoy lasagne and tuna mornay. I've been happily drinking rice milk and now that I have the Thermomix I am making lots of different milks. But I haven't had as much luck with dairy free ice cream. Most of the ones I've seen and tried are based around coconut cream. I don't mind them but most of the time I don't want my ice cream to taste like coconut!

That's why I was so excited to see this gelato recipe from The Paleo Mom. It is dairy free but without the usual coconut or almond milks to take away from the flavour of the chocolate. I tweaked the recipe a little by adding some rice malt syrup (which makes it no longer paleo seeing rice is a grain) but I wanted the kids to enjoy it and it would have been very intensely chocolatey otherwise. I also did the first few steps in the Thermomix in order to cook the egg yolks and will include those instructions as well.

Dairy Free Dark Chocolate Gelato © www.foodbabylife.com


This makes the most delicious, darkly intense chocolate gelato. My kids loved it too but it's not your typical chocolate ice cream!

Dark Chocolate Gelato
Adapted from The Paleo Mom

300g dark chocolate (I used half each of Lindt 70% and 85%)
200ml hot water
50g rice malt syrup
1 ½ cups ice water
6 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Roughly chop the chocolate, add the rice malt syrup and pour over the 1 cup of hot water. Stir gently until completely combined.

Mix the egg yolks together in a small bowl. To temper the yolks add a small ladle of the hot chocolate mixture to the yolks and stir continuously. Keep stirring and add a second ladle. Pour the egg and chocolate mixture back into the rest of the chocolate and mix thoroughly.

Place the chocolate mixture in a blender. Add the vanilla and salt. With the blender on low speed, add the 1 1/2 cups ice water a little at a time, blending between each addition, or just drizzle the ice water through lid by removing the insert.

Place the chocolate mixture in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once it’s soft-serve consistency, place the gelato into a freezer-safe container and freezer for about 2 hours to get a perfect scoopable consistency.

If freezing for longer than that, remove from the freezer and place in the fridge for about an hour before you serve, or 20 minutes on the bench.

Thermomix instructions - break the chocolate into pieces, pour over the hot water and melt for 2-3 minutes/50 degrees/speed 3. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the rice malt syrup, vanilla and salt and mix 3 sec/speed 4. Break up the egg yolks then add to the mixing bowl and cook for 3 minutes/90 degrees/speed 3. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. While running at speed 4, remove the measuring cup and drizzle in the ice water until well combined. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place in the fridge until completely chilled then follow instructions above to churn and freeze.

You'll notice in the top photo there are lots of yummy looking chocolate flakes on top of the gelato. This was just some of the mixture that set hard in the ice cream maker and got scraped off into shards after pouring out the gelato. Not sure why that happened but it gave a lovely texture.

Like most homemade ice creams this really is best served pretty much straight away. So if you can serve it after the 2 hours in the freezer that would be ideal.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls (Thermomix)

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls Thermomix © www.foodbabylife.com

So after much (much, much) discussion we finally invested in a Thermomix! And I do say invested because they cost A LOT. We've only had it for a couple of weeks and I am seriously wishing I had bought one years ago.

I already make most of what we eat from scratch but even with all the kitchen appliances I have I still couldn't make a decent risotto, non-dairy milk, nut butter, ground almonds or rice flour.  The plan with the Thermomix is to make virtually everything from scratch, meaning we not only save on our grocery bill but we eat even more healthily than we do now.

In these few short weeks I have made vegetable stock, oat milk, rice/almond milk, pasta sauce, multiple batches of baby food, soups, custard, sorbet, risottos, nut butter, rice pudding, porridge and much more. On an average day I would use it at least 4 times and at the end of the day the kitchen is clean, no more pots and pans piled up on the bench because they don't fit in the dishwasher.

I will be posting lots of thermomix recipes as time goes on but I will always post non-thermomix instructions as well. I know these machines aren't for everyone. And one thing I have made clear is that I will still be teaching my boys to cook the old-fashioned way as much as possible!

So for the very first thermie recipe for the blog I have chosen these delicious Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls. They were SO quick to whip up that I was able to make them on a study day (when I normally don't cook at all during the day) so they were ready for the big boys straight after school and kindy. They were a big hit with my kids. And looking at the picture above I've just realised someone's sneaky little fingers had gone and pinched the edge of one of them while I wasn't looking! Can you spot it?

Spelt Cinnamon Scrolls
Adapted from Be a Fun Mum

Dough:
300g white spelt flour (2 1/3 cups)
1tbs baking powder
60g butter, cut into chunks
30g coconut oil, solid
150g milk (2/3 cup) (I used homemade oat milk)

Filling:
30g butter
30g coconut oil, solid
40g dextrose (or 1/4 cup sugar)
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ cup sultanas (optional)

To make the dough:

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Set the scale to 0 then add the baking powder and enough flour to make up 300g, then the butter and coconut oil and mix for 5 sec on speed 5 until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Place a small jug or bowl on the top of the Thermomix. Set the scale to 0 and then pour in 150 grams of milk. Remove the jug. Set Thermomix to locked position and knead for 1.5 minutes on interval setting. While it is kneading, gradually pour milk through the MC hole until a dough is formed. (mine took an extra 30 seconds or so to come together.

Tip the dough onto to a lightly floured bench, ThermoMat or baking paper. Roll out the dough into a rectangle approximately 25 x 40cm and ½ cm thick or about as big as your tray.

To make the filling:

Place butter, coconut oil, dextrose and cinnamon into the mixing bowl and mix for 10 seconds on speed 4.

Spread the mixture evenly over the dough rectangle and sprinkle over the sultanas if you’re using them.

Roll up the dough from either the long side or the short side of the rectangle (short side makes fewer but more scrolly scrolls and long side makes lots of smaller scrolls).

Using a sharp knife, cut rolled dough into pieces approximately 3cm wide. Place the dough pieces on your prepared tray.

Bake for around 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before eating.

If you don’t have a Thermomix, make the dough in a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour and baking powder until it forms breadcrumbs. Pour in the milk and use a butter knife to gradually bring the ingredients together and form a dough. Follow above instructions to roll out the dough. Beat together the filling ingredients in small bowl and again, follow the instructions above for rolling, slicing and baking.