Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pineapple & Cinnamon Jam

I was told this jam flavour sounded a bit odd but I don't know.... I thought it sounded summery and exotic and delicious!   And it certainly turned out that way.  I'm still in my study period and exam period starts next week.  Making these preserves and things for Christmas pressies is certainly a welcome distraction from studying!  

Ingredients (makes about 400ml):

- 1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks (I had about 650g of chopped pineapple)
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
- 1 cinnamon quill
- 200g raw sugar
- Juice of 1/2 lime


Add all ingredients (except lime juice) to a pot and cook on a low heat, stirring frequently, for about an hour or until the jam sets when tested.  Stir through the lime juice, remove the cinnamon quill and then put the jam into sterilised jars.

If making this in the Thermomix, follow the above method but cook on 100deg/sp1.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beetroot Relish

I am just loving making these homemade gifts for Christmas this year.  While this relish was cooking away, it was all I could smell in the house and it brought back fond memories of my Polish grandmother who I was very close to when I was little... and beetroot is certainly a staple food when it comes to Polish cuisine!  Anyway, this recipe makes quite a large batch so I managed to fill 3 jars with it and had some leftover which I quickly scoffed with some sour cream! Yummo!  Enjoy. 

Ingredients (makes about 800ml):
- 2 tbsp butter
- 800g beetroot, peeled
- 2 onions, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored and chopped
- Small handful of fresh thyme
- 100g rapadura
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 3 tsp sea salt
- Good sprinkle of black pepper

1.  Grate the onion and chop the garlic.  Add butter to a large pot and add the onion and garlic, stirring on a medium heat, until softened.

(Thermomix - add garlic and halved onion, chop 4sec/sp5, add butter and then cook 2min/100deg/sp1)

2.  Grate the beetroot and apple (you can do this in a food processor if you like) and add to the pot along with the remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a slow simmer.  Cook for around 45min or until beetroot is soft, stirring frequently.

(Thermomix - add chunks of beetroot and apple, chop 10sec/sp4-5 or until chopped well, then add remaining ingredients and cook for 45min/100deg/sp2 or until beetroot is soft)

3.  Allow to cool and then pop into jars and store in the fridge.  If you're not going to use this relish within a week or so, put it into sterilised jars while still hot and seal the jars.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Strawberry & Chocolate Cupcakes

I always go out of my way to ensure that our fridge is fully stocked with a variety of wholefoods because one of my kids (yes, only one of my 2, much to my frustration) loves to have a large variety of fruit and veg in her diet.  So I may or may not have gone a bit overboard with buying berries in the past week.  With a large stash of strawberries, I decided to cook something lunchbox friendly with some of them!

Ingredients (makes 12):
- 1 cup light spelt flour
- 1/2 cup whole spelt flour
- 1/2 cup rapadura
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup choc chips
- 100g strawberries, hulled and sliced
- 2 tsp baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a 12 hole cupcake pan with cupcake cases.

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cacao powder, milk, coconut oil, egg and vanilla.  Stir to combine.

3.  Fold in the remaining ingredients.

4.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

White Bean & Roasted Garlic Dip

Well it feels like summer is here already in Brisbane although it's still on the beginning of November!  Hot weekend days mean easy lunches and today we thought we would have a plate of dip with veggies, cheese and crackers.  The only thing to remember with preparing legumes is if possible, please use dried legumes which you just need to soak, rinse and cook ahead of time.  I always find that preparing legumes this way, as opposed to using the tinned varieties, results in less chance of bloating due to the fact that the phytic acid has been neutralised through the soaking process.  

Ingredients (makes about 2 cups of dip):
- 1 cup dried white beans (I used haricot beans), soaked overnight and then rinsed well and cooked until tender - this resulted in about 400g of cooked beans
- 3 cloves garlic, roasted in the skins in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then cooled and peeled
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Herbamare
- Few leaves of fresh basil
- Couple of sprigs of fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pop all ingredients into Thermomix or food processor and process until the desired consistency is reached (about 30 seconds on speed 4 in Thermomix).  Serve.