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Posts Tagged ‘recipes’

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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Blanket I discovered this crocheted blanket at a little church run op-shop. It’s one of those op-shops that’s only open one morning a week and only the locals know about it. I was told that the lady who made this blanket passed away peacefully at home two weeks ago at the age of 83. She had kept active with her crochet and was quite renowned for her handiwork in her church community. It’s nice to know the story behind a blanket. Lego My son keeps producing the most extraordinary lego creations. For some time he followed the instructions meticulously…but like every great artist has kept his style evolving. The past few months have been an era of unbridled creativity. His vehicular creations have extraordinary names like “The Flying Audiologist” in a homage to a recent medical check-up. MintOur mint plant was on death’s door so I gave it a generous scoop from our compost and a good watering. There’s obviously something magical in our compost, because here it is a few days later completely reinvented with a new lease on life. Kitty My daughter has become quite attached to this stuffed cat and sleeps with it every night. It’s called “Kitty” and is getting pretty worn and smelly…but I love this thing.Homemade Golden Rough

This is a wholefood version of a Golden Rough. It’s completely natural, raw, organic and vegan. But don’t let that put you off…it tastes amazing. I will be posting the recipe soon. BooksThese past few weeks I have been quietly amassing a little stash of books and get a ridiculous amount of pleasure at the thought of reading these. There’s nothing more decadent than ignoring the 1001 things that need to be done and reading a novel in bed.

Vintage sheets

And finally…watching vintage sheets hanging on the line in the sunlight. And how do you know that a gorgeous little floral number is vintage?

Vintage Sheet Tag

Check the tag. Made in Australia’s the giveaway.

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

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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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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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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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I have been baking these muffins regularly for my fussy boy. They’re super easy to make, full of protein and the best bit…they contain a cup full of vegies.

Here’s the recipe:

Savoury Muffins for Toddlers

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

2 cups grated cheese

1 cup of diced cooked bacon

1 cup of your chosen vegies either blitzed in the food processor or grated/finely diced (peeled zucchini is the safest option for super fussy tastebuds…here I used zucchini & carrot)

1/4 cup of finely chopped chives (leave out if your toddler has an aversion to green)

3/4 cup of milk

1 egg

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200°C (400°F).
  2. In a large bowl stir together flour, cheese, bacon, vegies and chives.
  3. Mix the milk and egg together.
  4. Pour milk mixture into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir until just mixed (it should have a thick, lumpy consistency).
  6. Grease a 12-cup muffin tray and scoop batter in evenly.
  7. Bake in oven for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Hard to believe this cheesecake is the work of a total novice! I baked this Donna Hay cheesecake on the weekend for Sunday’s Easter lunch.  It featured on a Masterchef masterclass and a video tutorial can be found here.  It has a subtle lemon flavour and beautiful texture, and I thought it was really easy to make. I let it refrigerate overnight before serving.

Here is the recipe:

Classic Baked Cheesecake

Ingredients

Filling

330g cream cheese, softened
500g ricotta
4 eggs
1⅓ cups (295g) caster (superfine) sugar
¼ cup (60ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1½ tablespoons water

Base

⅓ cup (40g) almond meal (ground almonds)
¾ cup (105g) plain (all-purpose) flour
¼ cup (55g) caster (superfine) sugar
90g butter, chopped

Instructions

Preheat oven to 150°C (350°F).

To make the base, place the almond meal, flour, sugar and butter in a bowl. Rub the mixture with your fingertips until a rough dough forms. Line the base of a lightly greased 20cm-round springform tin with non-stick baking paper. Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden. Set aside.

To make the filling, place the cream cheese, ricotta, eggs, sugar, lemon juice and rind and vanilla in the bowl of a food processor. Combine the cornflour and water until smooth and add to the cheese mixture. Process the mixture until smooth. Lightly grease the sides of the tin and pour the filling over the base. Tap the tin lightly to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off and stand the cake for 1 hour, leaving the door closed. Refrigerate until cold and serve with fresh berries. Serves 10.

Enjoy!

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I have a fussy toddler with a very discerning vegie-detecting palette. Consequently I’ve become quite skilled at hiding vegetables in his meals.  These homemade sausage rolls have lots of vegies in them and are so delicious that they feel like a naughty treat.  The mixture freezes beautifully, so it’s easy to wrap any leftovers and have an emergency stash in the freezer.

Healthy Sausage Rolls

Ingredients

500g lean, premium or heart smart beef mince
Puff pastry sheets (I use 25% reduced fat Pampas puff pastry. As a guide, one sheet makes 6-8 small sausage rolls.)
1 brown onion, finely diced
A mix of fresh vegetables (ie 1 carrot, 1 zucchini, 1 capsicum and a few green beans)
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons tomato sauce
Herbs and seasoning (I use oregano, salt and pepper)
1 egg (to glaze the puff pastry)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  2. Lay out several sheets of puff pastry to defrost on the benchtop, then cut in half.
  3. Cut all vegetables into small pieces then blitz in the food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate and/or finely dice the vegies).
  4. Place beef mince, bread crumbs, onion, diced vegies, tomato sauce and seasoning into a bowl and mix thoroughly (using your hands is best!)
  5. Shape the mince mixture into a long tube shape and place along the centre of the puff pastry.  Fold puff pastry over so the mince mixture is completely covered.
  6. Beat egg lightly then brush over the top of the puff pastry.
  7. Cut the sausage roll tubes into desired size and place onto an oven tray that is lined with baking paper.
  8. Bake in oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes or until sausage rolls are golden brown.
  9. Roll any leftover mince mixture into long tube shapes and wrap individually in gladwrap to freeze.  This will make defrosting and preparing your sausage rolls next time quick and easy.

Enjoy!

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