Monday, July 28, 2014

Chicken Paprikash (Secret Recipe Club)

Secret Recipe Club time! This month I was assigned Loving Life by Kirstin. Kirstin is a mum of 2 teenage daughters and blogs about her everyday life and all the delicious food she makes for her family. She has lots of great recipes to choose from and there were 3 which really caught my eye - the Texas Caviar, Candied Spiced Chickpeas and the Watermelon Cake.

But, there was one which I simply couldn't go past - Chicken Paprikash. Does anyone else remember that scene from When Harry Met Sally? 'Waiter there is too much pepper on my paprikash'. You can find it here if you have no idea what I'm talking about!

So Chicken Paprikash is essentially a Hungarian chicken soup flavoured with paprika. Or it's supposed to be. Mine turned out more like an Hungarian inspired chicken and dumplings! Even if it didn't turn out quite like it was supposed to (make sure you visit Kirstin's blog for a way more attractive photo of this dish) it was absolutely delicious. Really hearty and warming and perfect for the the chilly Winter weather we've been having here. I served it with a dollop of sour cream for the rest of the family.

Please don't be put off by this photo, it tastes WAY better than it looks here!!

So I'm not sure if I actually did something wrong or there was a mistake in the original recipe but there really wasn't enough liquid to make this a soup, even when I doubled it. I wanted to message Kirstin to ask her but then my recipe wouldn't have been secret any more! Either way, it was totally delicious and well worth making.

Paprikash inspired Chicken and Dumplings
Recipe adapted from Loving Life

1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic
1 kg chicken thigh fillets, each cut into 6 pieces
2 tbs Sweet Hungarian paprika
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth/stock
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Add the oil to a large pot over medium heat and fry the onion until it starts to soften before adding the garlic and cooking for another minute or so. Add the cut up chicken and fry until brown. Add the paprika, water and stock and simmer for 1 to 1 ½ hours.

To thicken the soup (which I completely forgot to do):

1 tbs cornflour or arrowroot flour
2 tbs milk

Mix together the cornflour and milk in a small bowl and once combined, add in a small amount of the hot soup and stir until blended. Return the mixture to the pot and stir well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the dumplings (if not already there).

To make the dumplings:

2 cups plain flour (I used spelt flour)
2 ts baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk (I used rice milk)
Pinch salt

Mix the dumpling ingredients together in a medium bowl and then drop by tablespoonfuls either directly into the soup or in a pot of gently boiling water. Simmer until the dumplings float.

Serves 6.

Thanks for a great recipe Kirstin!


Secret Recipe Club

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Double Chocolate Cookies (Wheat and Fructose Free)

Wheat and Fructose Free Double Chocolate Cookies © www.foodbabylife.com

More school holiday baking today and these double chocolate cookies were a big hit!

Most things that say 'double chocolate' include both melted chocolate and chocolate chips. Oscar and I are dairy free at the moment (apart from a small amount of butter) and we had no Lindt 85% which is our dairy free chocolate of choice, so I invented these!

These cookies give a really intense chocolate hit with the raw cacao and cacao nibs. They are quite a grown-up chocolate cookie although my 3 and 5 year old taste testers couldn't get enough. We have been eating most of the batch straight from the freezer where they are lovely and chewy with a bit of crunch from the cacao nibs. SO good!!

Double Chocolate Cookies (Wheat and Fructose Free)

125g softened butter
100g dextrose
125g wholemeal spelt flour
50g white spelt flour
40g raw cacao powder
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts bicarb soda
1 egg
1 tbs rice milk
1 tbs cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees C fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, dextrose, cacao powder, baking powder and bicarb.

In a large bowl, beat together the butter, vanilla and egg with an electric beater until thick and smooth.

Fold in the dry ingredients and the cacao nibs until just combined.

Roll the mixture into 24 balls and place on the prepared trays, allowing room to spread. Flatten each cookie with your fingertips then bake for approx 10-12 minutes. Make sure you take them out when they are only just done so you get a gorgeous slightly fudgy middle!

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam © www.foodbabylife.com

The other night right before bed Oscar requested scones with jam for breakfast, and being the awesome mum that I am, I obliged! It's the school holidays after all, and really who wouldn't want to wake up to fresh scones with homemade jam??

Rather than make a typical sugar-filled jam (which I've only ever done once), I decided to make a chia jam instead. Chia seeds have become incredibly popular these days and why not? These tiny seeds are packed with fibre and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as calcium, manganese and phosphorus. We use them daily, sprinkled on porridge, in smoothies and in baked goods.

This jam worked brilliantly. The roasted strawberry flavour was delicious and it set beautifully. The kids loved it on their scones fresh from the oven and it was just as tasty the next day when we polished off the leftovers.  So easy and a great alternative. I will definitely be making this again and playing with different flavour combinations.

Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam

1 cup sliced frozen strawberries
1 tbs rice malt syrup
1 tbs orange juice
3 tbs white chia seeds

Place the strawberries, syrup and orange juice in a small oven proof dish and stir together. Place in the oven and roast at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, add the chia seeds and mix well to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes before stirring again. Allow to cool and eat immediately or store in the fridge for a couple of days, if it lasts that long!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Raspberry and Coconut Muffins

Raspberry and Coconut Muffins © www.foodbabylife.com

The last month or so has been really busy with things on at Oscar's school, Charlie starting kindy and me starting my Naturopathy course. Yep I am now officially a student for the first time in 15 years and loving it! 

But it's school holidays here now which means I have all three of my monsters munchkins home with me which is making it tricky to find time to study. It also means lots of noise, mess and 'I'm hungry mummy!' 

I've been a little more organised this time around and had a bit of plan for the holidays before they started. Nothing set in stone just a rough idea of what was happening, which days we would be home and who was around for a playdate and when. I also planned what I wanted to cook and bake. Yesterday was a really chilly day and it was wonderful to be in the kitchen with my big boys making some delicious biscuits and muffins next to the warm oven while my little one slept upstairs. A picture of domestic bliss!

In all seriousness I am not only trying to have some qualtity time in the kitchen with the kids but also build up a stash of snacks and meals for the freezer so life will be a little easier once school goes back. Afternoon tea time can be particularly busy because Noah is ready for a feed as soon as we pick up the big boys and really isn't happy to wait while I prepare anything for the older ones! 

Yesterday we made some Cornflake Biscuits which I have blogged about before and also these yummy Raspberry and Coconut Muffins. The recipe comes from a fellow Brisbane mum who has self-published her own sugar-free recipe book! You can find her website at Hungry Tums or she is also on facebook.

In other exciting news we have just ordered a ... thermomix!!! The price has put us off for years but the more I see and hear about them and just what you can do with one, the more convinced I've become that it will be a great investment. Being able to make our own rice and nut milks, ground almonds and flours etc will be amazing. Not to mention all the wonderful meals. I've been reading the Quirky Cooking blog for a few years and ordered her gorgeous cookbook as well so keep an eye out over the coming weeks and months for lots of thermomix recipes!

Raspberry and Coconut Muffins
Very slightly adapted from Hungry Tums

1 cup dextrose
1 ¾ cups self-raising flour (or plain flour with 2 1/2 ts baking powder sifted through)
1 cup dessicated coconut
2 eggs
¾ cup coconut milk
150g olive oil
pinch of salt
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ½ cups frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 170°C fan-forced. This recipe makes 16 muffins so either grease and line 1 and a bit muffin trays or use 16 individual silicone muffin cases on a baking tray (what I do).

In a large bowl, use a whisk to stir together the dextrose, flour, salt and coconut. Add the raspberries and toss through.

Place the eggs, vanilla, oil and coconut milk in a small mixing bowl or jug and whisk to combine. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir only until just combined. Do not over-mix!

Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin trays and then bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked (they will be golden brown and spring back when pressed lightly in the middle).

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Delicious warm from the oven but they also thaw out beautifully after being frozen. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Gluten Free German Apple-Plum Cake (Secret Recipe Club)

Gluten Free German Apple Plum Cake © www.foodbabylife.com
Secret Recipe Club time again! Has it really been a whole month since the last one?

This month I was assigned Without Adornment by Bean. Bean is a chemical engineer, self-proclaimed nerd and fabulous gluten-free baker! I was intrigued by her blog's name but after reading her About Me page it all makes sense. I really admire Bean's quest to truly be herself without adornment. It's a great sentiment and something I most definitely relate to.

As for her baking and cooking, well I spent a very long time trying to choose what to make. I've been cooking more and more allergen-free food, so being assigned a blog where I didn't have to convert any recipes was wonderful! All her recipes are gluten-free and lots are also dairy and refined sugar free which fits in perfectly with how we eat at the moment.

So what to choose? Well, I bookmarked her Vegan Gluten Free Gingerbread Cookies to try at Christmas, and I was really tempted by her Health(ier) Peanut (Not Quite) Brittle, but as I needed something for a morning tea with family I wanted something baked. Her German Apple Plum Cake sounded perfect.

And the taste test? Yum! Really moist, packed with fruity flavour and with all that crunchy streusel on top. Just delicious. Even better it was gluten and dairy free which meant happy tummies around here.

Thanks for a great recipe Bean! I really enjoyed spending time on your blog and will be back many times :)

Gluten Free German Apple Plum Cake Slice © www.foodbabylife.com

Gluten-Free German Apple-Plum Cake
Recipe adapted from Without Adornment

For the cake:
125g dairy-free spread (or butter if you're not dairy free)
100 g dextrose (or sugar)
1ts vanilla
4 eggs
1 pinch salt
165g brown rice flour
65g tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp rice milk
1 tsp lemon juice
400g tart apples, peeled and diced
lemon juice, extra
200g plums sliced in halves (I used canned)

For the topping:
25g tapioca starch
50g brown rice flour
60g dairy-free spread (or butter if you're not dairy free)
60g dextrose (or sugar)
50g sliced almonds or walnuts
1 tsp cinnamon

Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius/400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Peel and dice the apples and toss them in the extra lemon juice to stop them browning. Slice the plums in half and set aside.

To make the streusel topping, mix the dry ingredients together in a small bowl and then rub in the dairy-free spread with your fingers until crumbly. Set aside.

To make the cake, cream together the butter, dextrose and vanilla until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a medium bowl, whisk the salt, flours, baking powder and xanthan gum. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and then add milk and lemon juice and mix until just combined.

Fold the apple slices through the batter then pour into the prepared pan. Arrange the plum halves on top leaving a small space between the fruit and the edge of the pan. Sprinkle the streusel over the top.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes (mine took 50) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.



Secret Recipe Club


Monday, May 26, 2014

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake (Secret Recipe Club)

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake Gluten Free Dairy Free © www.foodbabylife.com

Secret Recipe Club time!

This month I was assigned The More than Occasional Baker by Ros and let me say it was an absolute pleasure spending some time on her blog. Baking has always been my first love but I'm not doing much of it these days because of time and dietary restrictions. I must have looked at/drooled over nearly every recipe on her blog and found so many things I would have loved to make (and eat). The Peanut Butter Toblerone Cheesecake and Neapolitan Rose Cake really caught my eye!

In the end I settled on this Chocolate Olive Oil Cake, not only because I had all the ingredients but because it sounded insanely good. It didn't disappoint! This is a Nigella Lawson recipe after all and they are always pretty reliable and delicious.

I made a few minor substitutions, replacing some of the regular olive oil with extra virgin, using dextrose instead of sugar and blitzing up some raw ABC nuts (almond, brazil and cashew) instead of the almond meal because that's what I happened to have. The resulting ground nuts weren't quite as fine as what you can buy but I think that added to the charm of this cake.

In case you can't tell, we LOVED this cake. Special enough for a dinner party but easily enough to make any time, this recipe is a winner. Thanks Ros!

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson via The More Than Occasional Baker

75 ml regular olive oil (plus more for greasing)
75 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 g good-quality cocoa powder
140 ml boiling water
2 teaspoons best vanilla extract
150 g ground almonds (or 125 g plain flour)
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 pinch of salt
144 g dextrose
3 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 160°C, fan-forced. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with a little oil and line the base and sides with baking paper.

Place the cocoa powder into a small bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water and vanilla extract until you have a smooth but still runny paste. Set aside to cool a little. In another small bowl, stir together the ground almonds (or flour) with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.

Place the dextrose, olive oils and eggs into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer at high speed for about 3 minutes or until the mixture is pale, thick and aerated.

Pour in the cocoa mixture, beating until well incorporated then fold through the ground almond (or flour) mixture with a spatula until only just combined. The batter will be very liquid.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes (mine took 50 minutes and was still very wobbly but a skewer came out clean). The sides should be set and a cake tester should come out almost clean.

Allow to cool in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes before carefully removing the tin. Can be eaten warm or cool, either way it will blow your mind! It is pretty rich though so this would easily serve 12, especially if served warm with ice cream. I served it to my boys with a dollop of sweet and creamy greek yoghurt as pictured.

NB. The cake appeared very light, spongy and wobbly at the 50 minute mark but I trusted the skewer coming out clean to tell me it was cooked. It collapsed considerably upon cooling but that is typical of cakes like this and it was incredibly moist and perfectly cooked. So keep an eye on it and don't over-bake!


Secret Recipe Club

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

No Bake Lactation Cookies (Bliss Ball Slice)

No Bake Lactation Cookie Bliss Balls © www.foodbabylife.com

 If you have no interest in breastfeeding this may not be the post for you!

As any new parent will tell you, the first few months with a baby revolve around feeds, sleeps and nappy changes. While I have happily breastfed all 3 of my boys it has not always been easy. In fact at some points it has been excruciatingly painful and downright stressful.

With each baby though I have learnt new strategies and this time around one thing I committed to doing was increasing/maintaining my supply through my diet.

I found some really good recipes for lactation cookies online and made a couple of batches a few weeks before my due date to stash in the freezer. I snacked on a few in the days before Noah was born and took a bagful to the hospital with me as well.

I found the midwives to be really interested and supportive of the choices we made during labour (things like having a doula and choosing drug-free methods of pain relief) and they were keen to find out about what I was doing in the days after Noah was born as well. I snacked on my lactation cookies immediately after labour and at all hours of the day and night in those first few sleepless days and I can say with certainty that my milk came in almost a full day earlier than was expected or had experienced before. Was it the cookies? Who knows, but they certainly didn't do any harm!

My research showed that the key active ingredients in lactation cookies are oats, flaxseed and brewers yeast so every batch I made was based around those.

Some of the sites I found suggested that you could see better results if you just ate the dough rather than bake them. Even after pregnancy I am a little leery of raw eggs (even though that isn't too much of an issue here in Australia) so I always baked mine. That is until I came up with the idea to combine the active ingredients of a lactation cookie with the energy packed ingredients of a bliss ball!

I found it really easy to make up a big batch of my lactation bliss balls and store them in the freezer to grab as an easy snack during the day or a pick-me-up during Noah's nighttime feeds. Those bliss balls really got me through those first few exhausting months!

Lately I can't be bothered to roll the mixture into balls so I simply line a large baking dish with paper and press the mixture in well. Once it has chilled in the fridge I slice it into squares and throw in the freezer. Easy. Both my big boys love them as well so they sometimes get some of 'mummy's special slice' as a treat too.

No Bake Lactation Cookies (Bliss Ball Slice)
Recipe by me

2 cups traditional rolled oats
2 cups raw ABC nuts (almond, brazil and cashew nuts)
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup raw cacao
2 tbs brewers yeast
2 tbs coconut oil
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 ts sea salt
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1-2 tbs rice milk

Line a lamington tray with baking paper and set aside.

Place the oats and nuts into a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Add in remaining dry ingredients and process until well combined. Add the rice malt syrup and coconut oil and process until the mixture becomes sticky and starts to clump together. Only add the milk if needed, a little at a time.

(Make sure you taste the mixture at this stage. Brewers yeast has quite a strong flavour so you can add more syrup or other spices (ginger works well) or even some dried fruit. I find the cinnamon and rice malt syrup to be sweet enough for me and the salt creates a yummy and really balanced taste.)

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down well before placing in the fridge to chill for 1 hour.

Remove from the fridge and tip the slice out onto a large cutting board. Using a large sharp knife slice into small squares (I get at least 40 from this amount). Place in an airtight container and store in the freezer.

I found snacking on a few of these every afternoon really helped to boost my supply for Noah's evening feeds, which was always when he was hungriest and wanted to cluster-feed. They also make a great breakfast on the run which is perfect if you have older children and can't sit down to eat properly in the mornings.

* This post does not constitute medical advice, it is for your information only. If you are having issues with breastfeeding please consult a GP, lactation consultant or child health nurse.