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.

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.