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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

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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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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Beetroot Cannelloni 1Beetroot Cannelloni 2Beetroot Cannelloni 3Beetroot Dip 3Beetroot Cannelloni 4Beetroot Cannelloni 6Beetroot Cannelloni 7

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Baked Mushroom1

There’s a wonderful quote from food writer Micheal Pollan: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. These past few months I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my life. I find meat to be quite filling, so the challenge has been finding ‘hearty’ vegetarian options that are not too overloaded with carbohydrates. Mushrooms and cheese seem to fit the bill quite nicely. It’s hard to classify this little number…perhaps because it’s not quite substantial enough for a meal. I like to think of it as a wonderful entree preceding the starring vegetarian main or a moreish snack. I’ve made it a dozen times now and each time I love it more than the next. Recipe adapted from here.

Baked Mushrooms with Blue Cheese

Ingredients

4 large field mushrooms (stems removed)

150g blue cheese

Handful of crumbled/lightly crushed walnuts

1 small chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped

1 brown onion, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

A large sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

Baby spinach leaves for serving

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Lightly fry onion in a small saucepan. Add garlic, chilli and rosemary till aromatic. Remove from heat.
  3. Add blue cheese and crumbled walnuts to the onion mixture in the pan and mix together to form a lumpy paste.
  4. Spoon mixture evenly into mushroom cups and smooth down.
  5. Place mushrooms on a tray with baking paper and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes in the oven.
  6. Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves. This cuts through the richness of the cheese and catches all those wonderful mushroom juices.

Baked Mushroom4

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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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Muesli BarFor many years I’ve searched for the perfect muesli bar recipe. It has to be tasty, healthy, sugar-free, easy to make and chewy. I’m excited to share this recipe from Minimalist Baker for Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars. Check out her amazing photographs and please try this!

As a note I used organic almond paste (which is 100% almonds) and *ahem* don’t forget to remove the pits from the dates.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)
  • 1/4 cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave for vegan option)
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
Instructions
  1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency. (mine rolled into a ball)
  2. Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I just prefer the toasted flavor.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl – set aside.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf pan might work, but will yield thicker bars.)
  6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
  7. Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn’t necessary.

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Dirty RiceDo you ever get the feeling that brown rice is the least desirable member of the grain family? Well I love brown rice. I love its nutty texture, its earthy colour, its distinctive flavour. I want to be the Patrick Swayze to this dish and give it its moment in the spotlight. This meal is fabulous with leftover brown rice that has sat in the fridge over night. I’m deliberately loose with the measurements; make the proportions to your own preference.

DIRTY RICE

Ingredients

Cooked brown rice that has been cooled in the fridge

Vegetable Assortment i.e. broccoli, red capsicum, mushrooms, carrot….cut into stir fry sized pieces

Extra firm tofu, sliced and patted dry

Garlic and Chilli, finely diced

Cashew nuts

Soy Sauce

Olive Oil

Instructions

1) Fry the tofu crispy, then set aside.

2) Heat a generous amount of oil in a wok. Add chilli and garlic, closely followed by all the vegies with some generous splashes of soy sauce. Cook for a few minutes.

3)  Add tofu, cashews and brown rice. Add more oil and soy sauce. Cook stirring until well heated.

Enjoy!

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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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You can feed a family of four a satisfying meal for $5 in less than 15 minutes. It’s not sexy, it’s not fancy and you may not want to serve it at a dinner party…but it is:

1. Healthy

2. Cheap

3. Filling

4. Quick to prepare.

5. Easy to conceal vegies.

5. Passes the trifecta baby/toddler/adult tastebud test.

Tuna Pasta is our ‘go-to’ meal. The quickest, easiest, mid-week meal in my cooking repertoire. It’s the meal I go to if I’m considering ordering take-away, as the ingredients are always in my pantry. Works just as well with any vegies!

Tuna Pasta

Ingredients

1 x 700g jar homebrand pasta sauce

1 x 400g tin homebrand diced tomatoes

1 x 185g tin homebrand tuna, drained

1 packet of homebrand thin spaghetti

1 brown onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small zucchini, grated or blitzed in food processor

1 small carrot, grated or blitzed in food processor

Cheese to serve

Instructions

1. Cook 3/4 packet of pasta in a large pot of boiling water.

2. Brown onion and garlic in a large saucepan.

3. Add sauce, diced tomatoes, vegies and tuna. Simmer while pasta cooks.

4. Serve with cheese.

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