Friday, March 14, 2014

Lime & Passionfruit Treats



Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup desiccated coconut, plus extra to roll
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
pulp and seeds of 1 passionfruit
1 banana
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Method
Place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until well combined.

Roll into balls and coat in extra coconut.  Refrigerate and serve.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blueberry Bircher


Ingredients (serves 4)
120g (1 1/3 cups) oats
15g (3 teaspoons) chia seeds
150mL coconut milk
150g natural yoghurt
100g fresh or frozen blueberries
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method
Combine all ingredients in a bowl.  Cover and leave overnight.

Serve with a few extra blueberries on top.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Savoury Scrolls


These super easy scrolls are perfect to keep up your sleeve as a great lunchbox idea or afternoon tea.  They are quick to make, taste great, and the filling options are endless.  Here's some other ideas:
- cheese & vegemite
- pumpkin & feta
- pesto & parmesan
- custard & apple
- cinnamon & brown sugar

I'd love to hear your favourite variety!

These are super easy in a Thermomix (first recipe), but not too hard without one either (second recipe).

Ingredients
300g / 2 cups flour
50g butter
200g milk
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon dried herbs
150g tasty cheese

Method (Thermomix)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.

Place flour and butter in Thermomix bowl and mix for 10 seconds/speed 5 until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add milk and knead for 1 minute/closed lid/interval setting.

Lightly flour the bench top and turn dough out, adding more flour if too sticky.

Roll out into a large rectangle (about 30cm x 40cm) and spread with tomato paste, then sprinkle with herbs & cheese.

Roll it up into a long sausage and slice into 12 even slices.

Grease a muffin pan and put each scroll into a hole.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned and has a hollow sound when tapped.


Method (standard)
Prehehat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.

Place flour and butter in a large bowl and rub together with finger tips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Add milk and stir to combine, then knead until it comes together into a soft dough.

Roll out into a large rectangle (about 30cm x 40cm) and spread with tomato paste, then sprinkle with herbs & cheese.

Roll it up into a long sausage and slice into 12 even slices.

Grease a muffin pan and put each scroll into a hole.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned and has a hollow sound when tapped.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Pumpkin & Ricotta Gnocchi


I've been wanting to make home-made gnocchi for some time, so while I have a temporary Thermomix, I decided it's the perfect time!  Gnocchi can have a tendency to be heavy, gluggy and flavourless, but I love the flavoured variety (plus it sneaks some extra veggies into the kids!)  It's pretty easy and my kids loved helping out with rolling the dough and cutting the pieces.  There are a few steps to the process, but it's not difficult and this was a hit with all of us.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
olive oil spray
250g pumpkin, peeled, deseeded & chopped
400g ricotta
400g plain flour

Method
Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius/200 fan-forced.

Place pumpkin in a baking dish and spray with oil.  Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender.  Cool.

Place pumpkin in Thermomix bowl and mix for 5 seconds/speed 5.

Add ricotta and flour and mix for 5 seconds/speed 5.

Knead for 40 seconds, closed lid, interval setting.

Turn out onto a floured surface.  Add more flour if needed - mixture should be soft and not too sticky.

Roll out into long, thin sausages and cut into even-sized pieces.  Press lightly with a fork.

Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.  Drop pieces of gnocchi in, and remove with a slotted spoon when they rise to the top.  Serve with pasta sauce and parmesan cheese.

For the sauce...

Ingredients
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley)
1 stalk celery
1 carrot, top & tailed
1 tablespoon olive oil
800g tinned or fresh tomatoes

Method
Place onion, garlic, herbs, celery & carrot in Thermomix bowl.  Blitz for 5 seconds/speed 7.

Add oil and saute for 3 minutes/60 degrees/speed 2.

Add tomatoes and cook for 20 minutes/100 degrees/speed 1.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Slice


I have a very important babysitting role over the next two weeks - looking after a Thermomix!  Hurray!!!  It's a lot easier than looking after a 2-year-old, that's for sure!  I have spent the weekend cooking up a storm already and am trying out lots of new things.

Here's one I tried out...and never fear, for those who don't have a Thermomix (yet!), there's a version below for you :-)  Enjoy!

Ingredients
125g butter
1 cup/140g self-raising flour
1/2 cup/90g caster sugar
1/2 cup/40g desiccated coconut

Topping
4 apples, peeled, cored & quartered
2 eggs
2/3 cup/100g self-raising flour
1/2 cup/90g caster sugar
1 cup/80g desiccated coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method (Thermomix)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.  Grease and line a slice pan with baking paper.

Melt butter for 2 minutes/60 degrees/speed 2.

Add flour, sugar & coconut.  Mix 5 seconds/speed 5.  Scrape down the sides and blitz for another 5 seconds/speed 5.

Press firmly into the tin and bake for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, place apple into the TMX bowl.  Blitz 3 seconds/speed 6.

Add remaining topping ingredients and mix on reverse/5 seconds/speed 6.

Spread on top of the base and bake for 40 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through.

Cool in tin then slice and serve.


Method (standard)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.  Grease and line a slice pan with baking paper.

Melt butter in the microwave.  Place in a large bowl along with flour, sugar and coconut.  Mix well.

Press firmly into the tin and bake for 10 minutes.

Grate or finely chop the apple.  Place in the bowl and mix well with remaining topping ingredients.

Spread on top of the base and bake for 40 minutes, until lightly golden and cooked through.

Cool in tin then slice and serve.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

"You'll Never Guess" Brownies


You'll never guess the secret ingredient in this delicious brownie!  It's free from gluten, dairy and refined sugar if you wish.  It's super easy and the kids will never know they're eating vegetables!

Ingredients
250g cauliflower
1 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
1/2 cup olive oil or coconut oil
1/2 cup water
pinch salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.

Steam the cauliflower until tender.  Place in a food processor and mix until smooth.

Add remaining ingredients and process for 1 minute, until smooth and well combined.

Pour into a lined 20cm square baking tin.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with cocoa and serve.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Brown Rice Tuna Cakes


Here's a perfect, healthy, budget lunchbox or picnic idea - enjoy!


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 carrot, grated
1 zucchini, grated
1/2 brown onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tuna, drained and broken up
1/2 cup milk
fresh or dried herbs, to taste

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Spray a 12-hole muffin pan with oil, or 24-hole mini muffin pan (or you can even do one big one!)

Divide mixture between holes.  Bake for 20 minutes for mini size or 30 minutes for larger size, until set and golden brown.

Serve warm or cold.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Mango, Lime & Passionfruit Jam


A beautiful fusion of flavours - this one's a real treat!


Ingredients
500g mango flesh, chopped
1 lime
2 passionfruit
500g caster sugar

Method
Slice two pieces (about 4cm long) of peel off the lime.  Place them, along with the juice of the lime, the passionfruit pulp and seeds, and mango, in a medium saucepan.  Bring to the boil and simmer, until mango is tender and fairly broken down.

Warm the sugar in the oven or microwave.  Add to the fruit and stir well to combine.  Return to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes.

Pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal well.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cupcakes


This is one of those basic recipes that you need on hand, especially when you're a mum!  These cupcakes turn out perfectly every time and are always a hit with the kids :-)  This recipe makes 2 dozen.

Ingredients
200g butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour
1 cup milk

Method
Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced oven. Line 2 muffin pans with paper cases.

Beat butter, vanilla and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.

Mix in half the flour on low speed, followed by half the milk, then repeat.

Divide mixture evenly between pans. Bake for 18 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Buttercream
150g butter, softened
3 cups icing sugar mixture
2 tablespoons milk

Method
Beat butter in a bowl until pale.

Gradually add icing sugar mixture and milk, beating constantly until combined.  Add colour if desired.

Spread cooled cupcakes with icing and decorate.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Love Bites


These gorgeous little bites are not only delicious, but practically guilt-free!  A perfect Valentine's treat for those wanting to be good!



Ingredients
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas
1 cup dates
1/2 cup sultanas
2 teaspoons chia seeds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Method
Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix for about a minute, until it all comes together and is well combined.

Press into mini love heart-shaped silicone molds.  Refrigerate until firm.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Summer Brunch Menu


Summer brunch in the backyard with friends...it doesn't get much better than that.

This was an Aussie-themed spread, inspired by some beautiful tableware from www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au.

The gorgeous coloured serving plates and bowls are from the Ecology Beach range, made from bamboo fibre.  It's lightweight, has that unique "recycled" look and is simply stunning on the table!

On the Ecology Beach Charger Plate, I made a basic damper, served with breakfast bruschetta-inspired accompaniments: smoked salmon, diced tomato tossed with balsamic vinegar, and a freshly-made pesto.  These were served in the divine little Ecology Beach Snack Set.


Pesto
In a food processor, combine 1/2 cup cashews, 1 clove crushed garlic, 80g feta, 1 cup fresh herbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup oil.


I wanted something delicious, fresh, colourful and "brunchy" to serve in the Ecology Beach Salad Bowl.  The result was a hit - this gorgeous Brunch Salad.

Brunch Salad
Toss together 80g salad leaves, 4 rashers of cooked, chopped bacon, 1 cup mushrooms, sautéed with 1 clove crushed garlic, 10 baby bocconcini, 1/2 punnet halved cherry tomatoes, 4 boiled eggs, quartered and 1/2 sliced avocado.  Serve with home-made tomato relish.

I always get nervous when I'm entertaining outdoors and using my fancy glassware.  Especially when young children are around!  But neither do I like tacky, plastic, disposable glasses.  Enter: the Swish Plastic range.

This range gives you all of your favourite styles of glassware, in an unbreakable plastic - genius!  The quality is amazing, but you still get the look and feel of glass.

I wanted to get creative with my Swish glassware and had to think outside the box.

So here it is: 3 different glasses, used in 3 different ways.  They went down a treat!

First of all, Swish Plastic Martini Glasses filled with layers of Home-made Muesli, Yoghurt and Spiced Stone Fruit, topped with berries.  Divine!


Vanilla & Cinnamon Spiced Stone Fruit
Place 500g fresh, sliced stone fruit in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup water.  Stir gently, bringing to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Now, I've decided that chocolate is perfectly acceptable for brunch - it's never too early!

So, using the Swish Plastic Highball Tumblers, and continuing the Australian theme, I decided on Lamington Trifles.  These were probably the hit of the morning, and we so easy to make!

Lamington Trifles
16 small laming ton
200mL whipped cream
1 cup chocolate sauce (combine 1.5 cups icing sugar, 1 cup cocoa, 1/4 cup coconut cream and hot water to reach desired consistency)
1/4 cup shredded coconut

Break up the lamingtons and divide half of them between 4 glasses.  Drizzle with half of the chocolate sauce and dollop with half of the cream.  Repeat with remaining ingredients, then top with coconut.

And to finish up the brunch, we needed an actual beverage to serve in the glasses!

So I used the Swish Plastic Champagne Flutes (teamed perfectly with my Juice Jar!) to make a fresh and fruity drink.  It was a lovely mix of flavours and not too sweet to serve in the morning.


Raspberry and Lemon Refresher
Combine
1Litre raspberry iced tea
1.25L sparkling mineral water
3/4 cup lemon cordial
Juice of 2 oranges
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup chopped mint
crushed ice
1 sliced orange
1 sliced lemon
and serve!

So there you have it - a simple and delicious Summer Brunch, perfect for the Aussie back deck.  When are you hosting yours?!

*Thanks to www.swishplastic.com.au and www.kitchenwaredirect.com.au for the glasses & platters*

Monday, February 3, 2014

Savoury Pinwheels


Ingredients
400g lean beef mince
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cup baby spinach, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh herbs, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 egg, beaten (split use)
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Method
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius/180 fan-forced.

Combine mince, carrot, spinach, herbs, tomato paste and half the egg in a small bowl.

Spread out on the puff pastry, pushing to the bottom and side edges, but leaving a 2cm gap at the top.

Sprinkle with parmesan.

Brush top edge with a little of the remaining egg.  Roll up tightly from the bottom to form a long log.

Slice into 12 even rounds.  Place on a lined baking tray and bake for about 25 minutes, until mince is cooked and pastry is golden brown.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mexican Baked Eggs


I love love love Mexican food and had been wanting to try out this type of dish for a while.  It was delicious and I would happily eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner - how versatile!  It's healthy and is a great little vegetable sneak - the kids would also think you're pretty amazing if you served it up with corn chips.  Try it!


Ingredients
olive oil spray
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
Mexican/taco seasoning or spice (bought or home-made using cumin, coriander, paprika, oregano and chilli) to taste (anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons!)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tin crushed tomatoes
500g grated, hard vegetables (I used carrot, purple carrot, sweet potato and pumpkin)
1 cup vegetable stock
400g tin kidney beans
4 eggs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
coriander, jalapeños and corn, to serve (optional)

Method
Heat a wok or large pan over medium heat.  Spray with oil, then add onion and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes, until soft.

Add seasoning and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add tomato paste and mix, then the tomatoes, vegetables, stock and beans.  Mix well, bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender and sauce has reduced.

Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Spoon into individual ramekins (or one large baking dish).  Use the back of a spoon to create an indent in the mixture.  Crack an egg into each indent.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes until eggs are cooked to your liking.

Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for another 2 minutes, until melted.

Serve with extras, if desired.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ratatouille


This is a real favourite of mine - it's packed full of vegetables, is tasty, easy to make and so good for you!  It usually uses eggplant, but the man of the house is not a fan, so I don't use it - but feel free to add it in, or substitute it for the mushrooms or zucchini.  Enjoy!


Ingredients
1 red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
400g mushroom, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tins crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
400g tin chickpeas, drained

Method
Heat a large saucepan or wok over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes, until soft.

Add mushroom, zucchini, capsicum and carrot, along with tomato paste, and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until vegetables have softened slightly.

Add tomatoes, herbs, vinegar and chickpeas.  Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes, until veges are tender and liquid has reduced.

If you wish, serve with wholemeal pasta, cous cous or brown rice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Guilt-Free Lamingtons


Making lamingtons for Australia Day is a tradition my sister Fiona & I started many years ago.  There's something really satisfying about the process and they taste SOOO much better than store-bought.  Here's my go-to lamington recipe, which I entered into the Ekka two years ago.  Sometimes, I like to mix things up with lamington cake or cupcakes, which are great options too.

But this year, I'm on a stint of clean eating, meaning traditional lamingtons are out of the question.  So I started hunting around for a suitable version, but had no luck.  Well, we all know what to do in that situation - make up your own!

I was pretty impressed with the end result - the cake is light & moist & delicious, the chocolate icing is to DIE for and the whole package is practically perfect (trust me, I've eaten three today...oops!)  Who knew lamingtons could be guilt-free!  Make sure you give these ones a go :-)

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut cream

Chocolate Icing
1 cup cocoa
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup shredded coconut

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius / 160 fan-forced.

In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients.  Mix well.

Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, oil, honey and coconut cream.  Process for about 30 seconds, until well combined.

Line a 20cm x 20cm square tin with baking paper.  Pour mixture into tin and bake for about 40 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through.

Leave to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

Combine cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup until it's a coating consistency.  Add hot water if necessary.

Slice the cake into bars.  Coat with chocolate icing then coconut.  Place on a wire rack to set, then keep in the fridge.

If you want an easier and cleaner option, simply spread the chocolate icing over the top of the uncut cake, then sprinkle with coconut.  Refrigerate and slice to serve.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Caramel Banana Cake


This is no ordinary banana cake!  Give it an extra kick by adding white chocolate, brown sugar and golden syrup, and you have a delectably delicious dessert!

Ingredients
125g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g white chocolate, melted
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups self-raising flour

Icing
125g butter
100g white chocolate, melted
2 cups icing sugar

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius/160 fan-forced.

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.  Gradually add white chocolate.  Add eggs, golden syrup and banana, continuing to beat until well combined.

Stir in the flour and mix well.

Pour into a lined 20-25cm round baking tin.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until golden brown on top and cooked through.

Allow to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then remove and cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, make the icing:  cream butter until light and fluffy.  Gradually add white chocolate, then the sifted icing sugar.

Cut cake in half horizontally and spread with icing.  Spread remaining icing on top, then dust with cocoa powder and serve.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Popcorn Candy Cane Slice


Yum!  This Christmas slice is so easy and so tasty (I'm warning you now, once you start, it's hard to stop!)  It does break up a bit when you cut it, but I don't mind the rustic look of slice "chunks" - but you could always up the white chocolate content to help it stay to together.  It's so delicious, you'll love it!

Ingredients
8 cups popcorn (pop your own in a saucepan with a bit of oil)
220g white chocolate, melted
10 candy canes, crushed
red sprinkles, optional
silver balls, optional

Method
Put popcorn in a bowl and mix with white chocolate and red sprinkles.

Spread into a lined slice pan, then sprinkle with candy canes and silver balls.

Refrigerate until firm, then cut or break into chunks and serve.

Chocolate Christmas Clusters (gluten-free & dairy-free)


If you love Christmas treats but are conscious of the calories, this recipe is for you!  Or perhaps you love to give goodies to friends but someone is gluten-free and dairy-free - look no further!  These are super easy, absolutely delicious and are perfect for the health-conscious this Christmas.  Enjoy!

Ingredients
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds

Method
Mix cocoa, coconut, oil and maple syrup in a small bowl until well combine.

Spoon into a 12-hole silicone mini muffin pan.

Top with cranberries and almonds.  Refrigerate until firm.

Pop out of pan and serve.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Chicken, Mango & Macadamia Salad


This delicious salad just screams all things Summer!  Mango is the absolute favourite food in our house right now - the kids can't get enough.  So imagine their delight when it was actually part of their dinner!  This is fresh, fast, healthy & scrumptious - throw it together and take it for a picnic tonight...good times, great food!


Ingredients
300g barbecue chicken or poached chicken breast, shredded
100g mixed salad leaves
1/2 continental cucumber, chopped
1/2 punnet mini roma tomatoes, halved
100g low-fat feta, crumbled
1 mango, peeled and sliced
50g macadamia nuts, toasted
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Method
Combine honey, mustard and vinegar in a small bowl.  Mix well to combine.

Toss all salad ingredients together in a bowl.  Drizzle with dressing.  Serve.

Monday, December 16, 2013

White Chocolate & Gingerbread Cheesecake


I've been thinking about this recipe all of December and finally got a chance to make it - WOW!  I love love love it - the gingerbread base is to die for, the white chocolate is divine and the lime just gives it an extra little punch.  It's just so Christmas - you'll love it too!


Ingredients
250g gingerbread biscuits (can be bought or home-made) + 6-8 extra biscuits to decorate
100g melted butter
250g cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
180g white chocolate, melted
300g sour cream
zest & juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Method
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Crush biscuits in a food processor until ground finely.  Add melted butter and mix well.

Spread over the base of a lined 7 or 8-inch springform pan.  Press down firmly.

Using a food processor or electric mixer, beat cream cheese with caster sugar for about 30 seconds.

Add eggs, one at a time, then melted chocolate, sour cream, lime juice, zest & ginger.  Mix until smooth and well combined.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Allow to cool until warm, then refrigerate until cold and set.

Top with biscuits and serve.


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