Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easy Bolognese

An oldie but a goodie - this is my version of it.  Another one of my family faves because it allows me to pack loads of veggies into it!  Also, this might be a good time for me to talk about cooking fats.  I prefer to use saturated fats (eg butter, ghee, duck fat, coconut oil) for cooking with as they are a lot more stable when exposed to heat, due to their molecular structure.  As much as I can, I try to minimise heating unsaturated fats as they go rancid as soon as they are exposed to heat  - I try and stick to using these kinds of fats at room temperature (eg salad dressing).  

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1 tbsp duck fat or butter or ghee
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
500g free range beef mince
1/2 capsicum
6 mushrooms
1 carrot
1 zucchini
60g preservative-free red wine (I use either Wild Fox or Settlers Ridge brands)
350g tomato puree
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp Herbamare
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp rapadura or raw sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

1.  In a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt the cooking fat.  Add the diced onion and minced garlic.  Cook until softened.

(In Thermomix, add halved onion and garlic cloves.  Chop 2sec/sp7.  Add cooking fat and cook 2min/100deg/sp1).

2.  Grate the veggies and add them to the saucepan along with the mince.  Cook, stirring, for a few minutes until the mince is browned.

(In Thermomix, add chunks of veggies and chop 5sec/sp6.  Add mince and cook 5min/100deg/rev+sp1).

3.  Add wine, tomato puree, tomato paste, Herbamare, balsamic vinegar and sugar.  Turn down the heat and simmer for around 10 minutes.  Adjust seasonings if necessary.  Stir through the chopped herbs. 

(In Thermomix, add remaining ingredients and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1).  

4.  Serve on top of your choice of spaghetti and grate some fresh parmesan over the top.     

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lemon, Coconut & Chia Seed Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

These muffins are so easy to make and the strong lemony flavour is very refreshing!  I also couldn't resist adding some coconut because I love it!

Ingredients (makes 6):
Muffin batter:
1 cup light spelt flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp chia seeds
20g butter, melted
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 free range egg
1/2 cup milk of choice
1 tsp vanilla

1 block Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
40g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
300g pure icing sugar

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tray with 6 muffin cases (I used the tall cafe style wrappers).

2.  In a large bowl, combine all the muffin batter ingredients and stir until just combined.  Distribute evenly among muffin cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through.  Allow to cool completely before icing.  

3.  Make frosting:  In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter, vanilla and lemon juice until smooth.  With the blades running, gradually add icing sugar through the hole in the top.

(In Thermomix, add the first 4 ingredients and process sp5/20sec.  Then with the blades running on speed 4, gradually add the icing sugar through the top.  If required, scrape down the sides and process for another 20sec/sp4 or until smooth). 

4.  Spoon a generous amount of frosting onto each of the cooled muffins.  Grate extra lemon zest over the top if you like!      

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Mexican Style Baked Pork Meatballs with Brown Rice

I have 2 kids under 6, one of whom is a very fussy eater, particularly when it comes to eating veggies!  So I'm always looking for any opportunity to "hide" veggies in whatever I cook.  This is one of those dishes - and it was a hit with the whole family!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
350g brown rice, soaked for at least 6 hours prior to cooking (soaking wholegrains prior to cooking makes them easier to digest and also quicker to cook)

Avocado slices and chopped fresh parsley, to serve

500g free range pork mince
Handful or 2 of mushrooms, finely chopped
1 zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
1 free range egg
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp celtic salt
1 tsp rapadura sugar
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 large green capsicum, sliced
300g tomato puree
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients.  Mix with your hands and shape into about 12 meatballs.  Put the meatballs in a large baking dish, cover and set aside into the fridge while you prepare the sauce.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan on medium heat.  Add diced onion and minced garlic.  Cook for a few minutes until softened.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a few minutes.  Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

(In Thermomix, add halved onion and garlic cloves.  Chop 5sec/sp5.  Add butter and cook 2min/100deg/sp1.  Add remaining ingredients and cook 5min/100deg/rev+sp1).

3.  While the meatballs are in the oven, cook the brown rice as per the packet directions.

(In Thermomix, put 1L of water into the TM bowl, place pre-soaked rice into the rice basket and cook for approximately 30min/Varoma/sp4).

4.  Serve the rice topped with meatballs and sauce.  Top with avocado slices and garnish with fresh chopped parsley.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Pesto Stuffed Chicken Rolls with Tomato Mushroom Sauce

These chicken rolls are a great weeknight dinner, especially if you have pre-prepared the pesto. I made a dairy free pesto by using nutritional yeast flakes (available from health food stores) but you could also use parmesan in place of these if you are OK with dairy.

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
6 free range chicken thigh fillets

Basil & Spinach Pesto:
1/2 bunch basil, leaves only
2 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
1 cup macadamias
3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Mushroom & tomato sauce:
20g butter or ghee
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
350g pasata
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley and basil
Herbamare, salt & pepper to taste

1. Make pesto.  Add garlic (and parmesan, if using) to food processor or Thermomix.  Process for a few seconds until finely chopped (speed 9 in Thermomix).  Add basil, spinach, macadamias, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and garlic powder.  Pulse a few times.  Season well with salt and pepper, then with the blades running (speed 3 in Thermomix), add the oil in a slow stream through the hole in the lid.

2.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Flatten the chicken fillets slightly with a mallet.  Spread a tablespoon of pesto on top of each fillet, roll up and secure with toothpicks.  Arrange chicken rolls on baking tray and season with Herbamare.  Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until chicken is golden brown on the surface and cooked through.

3.  While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.  Add butter to a saucepan and melt on low-medium heat heat.  Dice onion and mince garlic.  Add to saucepan and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until softened.  Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for a few minutes or until mushrooms are cooked through.

(In Thermomix, add halved onion and garlic cloves.  Chop 5sec/sp5.  Add butter and cook 2min/100deg/sp1.  Add remaining ingredients and cook 5min/100deg/rev+sp1). 

4.  Once chicken is cooked, remove the toothpicks.  Cut each roll into 3-4 slices, pour over the sauce and serve with a salad or veggies on the side.     

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Layered Vegetable & Spicy Lamb Pie

Don't be put off by the amount of ingredients in this recipe.  There are a few components to it, but this makes quite a large pie and it is really delicious.  It's also a great way to get the kids to eat veggies they may not normally eat - my kids call this "lasagne pie"!

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
100g pecorino or parmesan (block)
2 large potatoes
1/8 jap pumpkin
2 baby eggplants
1 zucchini
20g butter (block) or ghee
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
500g lamb mince
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp Herbamare
Juice of 1/2 lemon
400g tin diced tomatoes
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste

White sauce:
3 tbsp butter (block)
2 tbsp cornflour (gluten free)
500ml milk of choice (I used Bonsoy)
Salt to taste
Pinch of ground nutmeg

1. Grate the cheese and set aside.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

(In Thermomix, grate 10sec/sp9.  Set aside)

2. Prepare the vegetables - thinly slice the potatoes, pumpkin, eggplant and zucchini (I did this by using the thinnest setting on my v-slicer).  Set aside. 

3.  Prepare the white sauce:  in a small saucepan on medium heat, melt butter and then whisk in cornflour.  Gradually add the milk, whisking the whole time.  When sauce has thickened slightly, add salt and nutmeg.  Set aside.

(In Thermomix, prepare a quantity of white sauce by using the EDC recipe)

4.  Prepare lamb mince: in a medium saucepan on medium heat, melt butter.  Add diced onion and minced garlic. Saute until onion has softened.  Add lamb mince and cook, stirring, until browned.  Add spices, Herbamare, lemon juice and tin of diced tomatoes.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

(In Thermomix, add halved onion and garlic cloves.  Chop 5sec/sp5.  Add butter and cook 2min/100deg/sp2.  Add lamb mince and cook 3min/100deg/rev+sp1.  Add spices, tinned tomato, Herbamare and lemon juice and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1).

5.  Grease a large glass baking dish with butter.  To assemble the pie, line the bottom of the dish with half the sliced potatoes and pumpkin.  Season with salt and pepper.  Top with half the mince.  Top the mince with all of the eggplant and zucchini slices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the remainder of the mince.  Arrange on top of this the remaining pumpkin and potato slices.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour over the white sauce and sprinkle with grated cheese.

6.  Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and the top of the pie is golden.  Serve with a green salad.        

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Homemade Fruit Cordial

It is not easy to find additive free cordial that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!  But it is so easy to make your own!  You can use any fruit combo you like and this is a good way to use up any over-ripe fruit you have laying around. 

Ingredients (makes approx 1.25L)
2 cups roughly chopped fruit (for the one above, I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries and frozen organic raspberries)
3 cups filtered water
2 cups rapadura or raw sugar

1.  Add fruit and water to saucepan.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat.  Simmer for 10 minutes.    Take off the heat.  Using a stick blender, blend until fruit is finely chopped.

(In Thermomix, add fruit and water to TM bowl.  Chop 10sec/sp5.  Then cook 10min/90deg/sp2)

2.  Strain mixture into a large bowl or jug.  Discard the fruit pulp and pour liquid back into the saucepan.  Add sugar and cook, stirring on low-medium heat for approximately 10 minutes.

(In Thermomix, add strained fluid into TM bowl.  Add sugar and cook 10min/90deg/sp2)

3.  Pour into sterilised bottles and allow cordial to cool to room temperature before storing in the fridge.

4.  Use as you would commercial cordial - diluting approximately 1 part cordial to 10 parts water, or to taste.   

Friday, March 22, 2013

Choc Orange Cupcakes

Chocolate and orange is one of my favourite flavour combos!  These are also great for school lunchboxes as they are nut free. My kids love them.   If you don't have sorghum flour, you can use any other type of flour you have in your pantry.

Ingredients (makes 12)
1 cup whole spelt flour (or spelt grain, if milling in Thermomix)
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup rapadura sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp Superfoods for Kids Berry Choc Chunk
1 free range egg
Zest and juice of 2 large oranges 
3 tbsp butter (from block), melted
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup choc chips (I used Sweet William brand)

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake cases.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.

(if milling spelt grain in Thermomix, do this for 1min/sp9 and pop a piece of paper towel in between the lid and MC to stop the flour from spitting out whilst milling).

3.  Add wet ingredients and stir to combine.

4.  Divide mixture between cupcake cases and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked.  Let cool down slightly before turning cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Homemade Chocolates

These little chocolates are a delicious sweet treat.  Just make sure that you store them in the fridge and eat them straight out of the fridge as they do tend to melt if left sitting out for too long!  Just before serving, I sprinkled them with organic dessicated coconut.  

Ingredients (makes 12)
3/4 cup cacao butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
Optional - handful of organic chopped dried fruit or crushed nuts or cacao nibs

1.  In a small saucepan on low heat, combine cacao butter and coconut oil.  Stir until melted and smooth.

(or in Thermomix: add cacao butter and coconut oil to bowl and melt at 70deg/4min/sp2).

2.  Add cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla to saucepan.  Whisk until smooth.

(or in Thermomix: add cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla to bowl.  Mix 20sec/sp4).

3.  Line a pizza tray with silicone moulds.  If using any of the optional extra ingredients, sprinkle these evenly amongst the moulds.  In the picture below, I used an organic mix of sultanas, white mulberries, sour cherries and goji berries. 

4.  Pour chocolate mixture into silicone moulds and put into the fridge to set for at least 1 hour.