Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Self-Saucing Pudding

I had a major craving today for chocolate self-saucing pudding.... I realised it's been years since I last had it!  So seeing as it's school holidays (and long weekend here in Perth) and it was cold and rainy today... my keen 4yo helper and I got cooking!  This recipe is literally just throwing everything into 2 separate bowls and then into a baking dish and into the oven to bake!  So simple yet so delicious and very warming!  We served this pudding with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, recipe for the yoghurt is courtesy of Alisha, the Naughty Naturopath Mum and Essence Practitioner. 

Ingredients (serves 6):
- 1 cup spelt flour (I used light spelt flour)
- 3/4 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 + 1/2 cups coconut milk (or coconut cream plus water)
- 1 free range egg
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla essence

- 1 cup freshly boiled water
- 1/2 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/4 cup cacao powder

1.  Grease a square 20cm baking dish with coconut oil and preheat your oven to 160 degrees.

2.  Combine all the batter ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Pour the batter into the baking dish.

3.  In another bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.  Then using the back of a large metal spoon, pour the sauce all over the batter.

4.  Bake for around 25 minutes or until the centre of the pudding springs back when lightly pressed on top.  Allow to cool down a little and serve warm with yoghurt or cream or fruit!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pear & Cinnamon Cupcakes with Quick Caramel Sauce

Keeping the kids' lunchboxes interesting can be a bit of a mind boggling exercise sometimes.  They do have their favourites that they like me to make but I like to keep things interesting.  This is a super easy recipe for cupcakes which freezes well (without the caramel sauce on top - the sauce is just for us to have at home but for the lunchboxes, I use un-iced cupcakes) and the cupcakes are super moist on the inside thanks to the pear sauce. 

Ingredients (makes 12):
- 1 large pear (to make pear sauce)
- 1 cup light spelt flour
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup rapadura sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder

Caramel sauce:
- 6 fresh Medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Pinch of sea salt

1.  Make pear sauce: peel the pear, chop into pieces and boil in some water until tender.  Drain off the water and mash the pear.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

3.  Into a large bowl, add all the cupcake ingredients and stir to combine.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cases.

4.  Bake for around 15 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed on top. 

5.  Allow the cupcakes to cool.

6.  To make the caramel sauce, blend all the ingredients until smooth in a high speed blender or Thermomix (around 1min/sp9).  Drizzle over the top of the cupcakes.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beef & Vegetable Pies

Well it's still footy finals time and hubby has once again requested some "dude food".  I went through our deep freeze and found some osso bucco in there which I thought would be a great cut to slow cook some pie filling.  There's something pretty satisfying about making your own pies!  Hope you enjoy this recipe. 

Ingredients (makes 6):
(You will need 6 pie pans or you could use a Texas muffin pan)
- 800g of beef suitable for slow cooking (I used about 1.5kg of grassfed osso bucco and took out the bones after the filling was cooked)
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock OR 1 cup Campbell's liquid veggie stock OR 1 cup water + 1tbsp Thermomix veggie stock concentrate
- 2 cups water
- 400g can diced tomatoes (or fresh)
- 100g sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- 1/2 zucchini, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Optional - 1/2 chipotle chilli, sliced (this adds a lovely smokey flavour)
- Sea salt, pepper and Herbamare to taste
- Pampas butter puff pastry sheets (I used 4 sheets, having to do some patchwork to create the lids to 2 of the pies!)

1.  Combine in a slow cooker (or casserole dish, though if doing this then preheat your oven to 150 degrees) all the ingrediens (except puff pastry of course!) and cook on low setting for 6 hours, stirring every now and then.  Or if using oven, cook for 3 hours, stirring every now and then.

2.  Allow the meat mixture to cool right down.

3.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease your pie pans.

4.  Line the base of each pie pan (to do this, I used 3 pastry sheets, cutting each one diagonally in half and then trimming off any excess pastry).  Fill each pan with the filling, ensuring you don't put in too much liquid.  Seal each pie with a pastry lid (I cut the remaining pastry sheet into 4 squares and then for the remaining 2 lids, I patched together the excess pastry leftover from lining the bases), trim off excess pastry.  I also used a fork to press right around the edges of each pie to seal.  Then I also used the fork to prick a couple of vents in the top of each pie.

5.  Pop the pies into baking trays and bake for around 20 minutes or until the pastry looks nice and golden on top.  We served these pies with organic tomato sauce and salad on the side.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

So have you tried my homemade chocolate recipe yet?  Well if you haven't.... it's... AMAZING!  I have tweaked the recipe over time and am super dooper happy with it now.  This is a variation on that recipe but with a peanut butter centre.  And who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate together?  Well.... my husband doesn't like nuts.... but he's a bit strange!  Just have to mention that the cacao butter is pretty much essential in this recipe.  You can buy it from most good organic health food stores.  Next time I make these, I will also add a little strawberry jam into the centre.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 6):
- 3/4 cup cacao butter
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 6 tsp natural peanut butter (or other nut butter. I used Macro Organic smooth peanut butter)

1.  Line a baking tray with 6 silicone moulds.

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

(Thermomix: add cacao butter and coconut oil to bowl, chop 5sec/sp7 and melt 70deg/4min/sp2).

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

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

4.  Pour half of the chocolate into the silicone moulds.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

5.  Top the chocolate in each mould with 1 tsp of peanut butter.  Refrigerate for another 5 minutes.

6.  Pour remaining chocolate into the moulds to cover the peanut butter.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  Keep in the fridge. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Roasted Capsicum & Sundried Tomato Dip

I haven't bought premade dips in a few years due to the nasties that get added to them.  Plus it is so easy to make your own dips at home, full of real and wholesome ingredients.  This particular dip requires a little prep time with roasting the capsicum and nuts, but apart from that, it takes almost no time at all to make!  It makes a great little afternoon snack on the weekend.

- 1 red capsicum
- 1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamias
- 1/2 cup organic sundried tomatoes (make sure they are additive free - it can be difficult to find additive free sundried tomatoes in the supermarket - I used Organico brand which I bought from an organic health food store)
- 1 fresh tomato, halved
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (or parmesan/pecorino if you're OK with dairy)
- Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Sea salt and pepper to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Put the whole capsicum onto the baking tray and also the raw nuts.  Put into the oven. 

2.  After around 10 minutes or when the nuts are looking lightly roasted, remove them from the oven.  Put the capsicum back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until it is soft.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

3.  When the capsicum has cooled down, peel it (the skin should just pull away easily) and discard the skin and seeds.

4.  Add the capsicum flesh along with all the other ingredients to Thermomix or food processor.  Pulse a few times until the desired consistency is reached.  We had this dip with cucumber slices!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Baked Beans

Well I initially intended to make these baked beans in my Thermomix.  But when I saw how much they had expanded during the soaking process, I decided I would cook them the good old fashioned way - on the stove top!  I strongly recommend starting with dried beans (as opposed to canned).  Although it takes a while longer to prepare them this way, you are making them much more digestible by soaking them.  Another added benefit is that when buying tinned beans, they usually come in a BPA lined tin.  And this recipe makes a really nice big batch, so whatever you don't use, you can freeze for later!

- 3 cups dried navy beans, soaked for 24 hours in water and then drained and rinsed well
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rasher nitrate free bacon, rind removed, diced
- 2 tbsp cooking fat (I used ghee)
- 4 cups water (or you can do what I did and use homemade chicken broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 400g can diced tomatoes or tomato puree
-  2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp rapadura sugar
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt, pepper, Herbamare to taste

1.  In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, bacon and cooking fat, stirring for a few minutes until beginning to caramelise.

2.  Add the beans, water/broth and bay leaf.  Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to very low.  Simmer for a couple of hours, stirring every now and then.  If the liquid seems to be evaporating quickly, you can top it up with water if required.

3.  When the beans are tender, add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring every so often.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Banana & Choc Chip Bread

My kids love banana bread.  It makes a great snack for morning tea or afternoon tea... or even breakfast!  I made this one without nuts so that I could pack it into the kids' lunchboxes for school.  You can also freeze this bread, just be sure to slice it up prior to freezing.

- 1 large ripe banana, peeled
- 1 cup wholemeal spelt or kamut flour
- 1/2 cup light spelt or kamut flour
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 tbsp pure honey
- Optional - 1/2 cup crushed walnuts

1.  Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Grease a bread tin and line the base with baking paper.

2.  In a large bowl, add the banana and mash with a fork.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

3.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

4.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Spicy Pork & Lettuce Cups

So after doing some hardcore blogging for a few months, I decided last month it was time to take a bit of a break and get re-inspired.  I'm feeling much more refreshed now and ready to get back into blogging a bit more again!  Anyway, these pork & lettuce cups are what we had for dinner here tonight.  I'm always reluctant to call things by their traditional names (ie san choy bau for this one) because I never know exactly how authentic my recipes are!  So I just call them something that I feel more comfortable calling them!  Either way, dinner tonight was delish!

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves washed and separated
- 1 onion, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled
- 1 thumb fresh turmeric, peeled
- 1/2 red chilli, deseeded (the rest sliced for garnish)
- 2 anchovies
- 2 tbsp cooking fat
- 500g free range pork mince
- 1/2 red capsicum, diced
- 100g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
- 4 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins brand)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Juice of half a lime
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Garnish: sliced red chilli, toasted peanuts or cashews, sesame seeds, sprouts

1.  In a saucepan on medium heat, add diced onion, crushed garlic, finely chopped ginger, turmeric root, chilli, anchovies and cooking fat.  Cook, stirring, until softened.

(Thermomix: add halved onion, garlic cloves, ginger, turmeric, chilli and anchovies.  Chop 2 sec/sp7.  Add cooking fat and cook 2min/Varoma/sp1)

2.  Add pork mince and cook, stirring, until browned.  Stir through veggies and cook for a few more minutes.

(Thermomix: add pork mince and cook 2min/100deg/rev+sp1.  Add veggies and cook another 3min/100deg/rev+sp1)

3.  Add sauces and seasonings.  Turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.

(Thermomix: add sauces and seasonings and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1)

4.  Serve the mince in lettuce cups, topped with sliced chilli, toasted nuts, sesame seeds and some sprouts.