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.


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.