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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

DIY Golden RoughDo you remember growing up with those chocolate, coconut treats called Golden Roughs? They still sell them at the shop today. If you loved them growing up, then you’ll love this lovely home-made version. It tastes similar but is all natural and without all the nasties. It’s not suitable for lunch boxes as home-made chocolate tends to melt easily, but it makes a nice, guilt-free chocolate fix when you need it.

IngredientsIngredients1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup of almond butter or paste

1/4 cup of honey (or maple syrup)

1/4 cup of cocoa (or cacao powder)

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

Pinch of salt

DirectionsInstructions

Melt all the ingredients in a small pan over a low heat.

Pour a small amount of mixture into the bottom of a 12-cup muffin tray.

Freeze for 1-hour until set.

Store in the freezer.

Enjoy with tea.DIY Golden Rough

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Pizza for Picky PeopleIt’s a truth universally acknowledged that once you make your own pizza dough, it’s near impossible to buy a shop-bought base again. Not only is it insanely cheap (the cost of flour and a yeast sachet) but the results are incredibly delicious. It also becomes a family activity when you have the kids on the bench helping out with their own little ball of dough and a small rolling pin.

My trick for the little picky people in my life is to put a bunch of mixed vegetables into a food processor and blitz. The blitzed vegetables can be stirred into some organic tomato paste with a pinch of salt and pasted liberally over the pizza base and topped with grated cheese.

The pizzas look deceptively vegie free but are filled with all the sneaky goodness of kale, capsicum, mushrooms and carrot.

For a quick and easy pizza base recipe, try this one from taste.com.au.

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Carrot and Apple Ice BlocksSeveral years ago I attended the Newtown festival on an incrediblly hot day and was blown away by a stall selling 100% pure fruit ice blocks. I immediately went home to experiment with my own version. After a little trial and error I realised that the secret to making a good ice block was to create a mixture that doesn’t ‘separate’ as freshly juiced fruit is prone to do. The trick I came up with was to puree the fruit to mix with vegetable juice. This ‘fluffs’ up the mixture and creates lovely even ice blocks. With the warmer weather upon us, I thought I’d share my simple instructions for homemade ice blocks. These are pure wholesome goodness and the kids love them. The only drawback is the amount of equipment you need in comparison to your available bench space, but it’s well worth the time and mess to stock your freezer for summer.

Carrot and Apple Ice Block CollageEquipment Needed

Juicer

Steamer set

Food Processor

Ice Block Moulds (these are a few dollars in K-mart or discount variety stores)

Ingredients

2-3 Carrots

4-6 Apples

1/4 cup of water

Instructions

1) Peel and chop apples.

2) Steam apple pieces on stove-top until soft (approx 15 minutes)

3) Place apple pieces in a food processor and blitz until thick and smooth. Set aside.

4) Juice carrots.

5) Combine pureed apple with carrot juice. Add water to dilute a little.

6) Pour into ice block moulds and freeze.

Makes approx 6-8 ice blocks depending on the size of your moulds.

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Five Ways with Lilly PilliesLilly Pilly TreeDown our street and around the corner is a rather majestic Lilly Pilly tree, whose branches hang over a little lane-way.  Many Lilly Pilly trees are native to the East Coast of Australia and carry striking pink edible fruit. This vitamin-C rich fruit formed part of the diet of coastal Aboriginal communities. The fruit is quite acidic and tangy…I would describe it as being similar to a not-yet-ripe green apple with the texture of crisp watermelon. I’m surprised that my children snack on the fruit straight from the tree, undeterred by the sourness. While eating native foods is becoming much more common in Australia, it’s still not very widespread. Given the overabundance of this little native fruit in our lives recently, I’m pleased to present my top five ways with lilly pillies.

1) A native substitute for fresh flowers.Lilly Pillies in a Vase

2) Lilly Pilly Smoothie. Pictured below is two freshly juiced organic apples, a small organic banana and a cup of pitted lilly pillies blitzed in the food processor.

Lilly Pilly Smoothie

3) Table Decor. A sprig of lilly pilly tied with brown twine to a white cloth napkin.Lilly Pilly Table Napkin

4) Lilly Pilly Muffins. I adapted Donna Hay’s recipe for Blueberry Muffins to make the Lilly Pilly Muffins pictured below.DSC03833Lilly Pilly Muffins

5) The way nature intended…from the tree to the mouth.Toddler holding Lilly Pillies

A note on cooking with lilly pillies

If you’re planning to eat and/or cook with Lilly Pillies, please note that there is a hard little seed in the centre of the fruit, pictured here.
Lilly Pilly Seed
It’s easy to remove the seed by squashing the berry between your fingers. The prepped lilly pillies should look something like this.Pitted Lilly Pillies
This image shows diced lilly pillies in muffin batter. Cooking the lilly pillies makes them sweeter and more palatable.Lilly Pilly Muffin Batter
This NAIDOC week embrace some lilly pillies into your life!

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Not Ice Cream

Recently I’ve been visiting Little People Nutrition and was intrigued by a recipe for Dairy Free Banana Coconut “Ice Cream”.  Feeling curious, I decided to experiment with a combination of Banana, Raspberry and Coconut Cream. After trying this a couple of times now, I can honestly say…I can’t believe it’s not ice cream. This iced dessert is sugar-free, preservative free, additive free and colouring free. It has only three ingredients, can be made using completely organic products and is only sweetened by the natural sugars in the fruit.

Ingredients

1 can of coconut cream

2-3 ripe bananas

A cup or so of raspberries (or pre-packaged frozen raspberries)

Instructions

1) The night before, or early in the day, you will need to pour coconut cream into a couple of ice cube trays to freeze. You will also need to chop and freeze the bananas and the raspberries. Once these have set, you have your three ingredients. I used about a third of each.Ingredients

2) Place the three frozen ingredients into a food processor and blend. It may be difficult to blend at first if it’s frozen hard, but it will gradually break up. Stop every few moments to use a spatula to scrape down the sides and scoop off the base, then continue blending.

Food ProcessorThere’s something quite magical that happens during this process as air is whipped into the components. The end result is a lovely, light, ice cream-tasting dessert.  I am so looking forward to trying this with other fruits. Mango would be sublime…with some crushed macadamias included at the end. If you try this dessert at home, let me know what you think.

Pink Iced Dessert

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Homemade PastaWe’ve been tinkering around with a pasta maker we were given a few Christmases ago. There’s loads of tutorials on the internet so I don’t really have anything to add here. Except that I’ve learned kneading wholemeal pasta is a bit like learning to drive a manual vehicle before an automatic. Once you can knead wholemeal dough…the white dough’s a piece of cake. I mean, this baby is TOUGH. Prepare yourself for a workout. Wholemeal pasta also tastes better and makes you feel smug. My husband is pictured below kneading white ’00’ flour which is very finely milled…oh what a breeze. Kneading Dough

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A Simple Fancy Salad

A Simple Elegant Salad

  • Baby spinach
  • Thinly sliced apple
  • Sliced red onion
  • Walnuts
  • Broken up blue cheese
  • Red wine vinegar and olive oil

Make to your desired proportions and dress with the vinegar and oil.

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My little boy leads the anti-vegetable movement in Sydney. His zeal has brought out new levels of deceit in me as I smuggle vegies into the least suspecting of meals.

Recently a strange phenomenon took place.

It all started with a trip to the petting zoo, where he fell in love with guinea pigs.

From that point on he has wanted to be a guinea pig, even though we explained that guinea pigs eat carrot sticks and cucumber (and showed him some YouTube clips for reinforcement).

Now that he is a guinea pig, he eats carrot sticks with great gusto.

Just like that.

He also walks around most of the day on all fours and squeaks when I talk to him..but I’ll take my victories where I can.

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Warning: There is a confession at the end of this post.

I had never made a carrot cake up until recently. I always thought there was a token gesture of carrots in a carrot cake, but was amazed to discover that this cake has five whole carrots in it! That’s no token gesture…that’s dinner. This is the tastiest, most moist, addictively delicious cake I have ever made. It was so good I made a second one a few days later…which turned out just as great.
Here is the recipe, from Donna Hay’s website:

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

Cake

  •  1¼ cups (220g) brown sugar
  •  ¾ cup (185ml) vegetable oil
  •  3 eggs
  •  1½ cups (225g) plain (all-purpose) flour
  •  1½ teaspoons baking powder
  •  1 teaspoon bicarbonate of (baking) soda
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  ½ teaspoon ground ginger (see my confession below)
  •  2½ cups grated carrot (about 5 carrots)
  •  ½ cup (60g) chopped pecan nuts (I didn’t include these)
  •  ½ cup (80g) sultanas (I didn’t include these)

Cream Cheese Frosting

  •  250g cream cheese, softened
  •  ⅓ cup (110g) icing (confectioner’s) sugar, sifted
  •  1½ tablespoons lemon juice

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Place the sugar and oil in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2–3 minutes.

Add the eggs gradually and beat well.

Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger over the sugar mixture.

Add the carrot, pecans and sultanas and mix until just combined.

Pour into a greased 22cm-round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 55–60 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Cool in tin.

For the cream cheese frosting, process the cream cheese in a food processor until smooth.

Add the icing sugar and lemon juice and process until smooth.

Spread frosting on the cooled cake.

Serves 8.

Confession time

Now…cough…this is the part of the post where I must make a small confession. When I made this cake, I kinda made a little mistake. I used ground coriander instead of ground ginger. Both times. The two jars looked so similar except that a few days later I realised the ground ginger still had its seal on it! Now it may sound crazy…but this was cake was un-freaking-believable with ground coriander. And hopefully there is some foodie out there that can explain to me why these flavours worked so well. So while I can completely vouch for this cake with ground coriander…I have yet to make it with ground ginger.

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I couldn’t resist doing a quick post about the meal I cooked last night. There’s loads of ingredients but don’t let this put you off. It’s actually very easy, with most of the work in the preparation. The chicken is mouth-watering and the flavours are very complex. The only minor change I made was to use 1kg of chicken thigh fillet (trimmed of fat and halved) instead of a whole chook cut into 8 pieces. I’m not a huge fan of currants but I resisted the urge to leave them out and stuck to the recipe exactly. I’m so glad I did as all the flavours work so harmoniously together. I recommend having some Baclava on hand for dessert. Perfection.

The recipe for Karen Martini’s famous Syrian Chicken can be found here.

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