Saturday, December 14, 2013

Creamy Smoked Salmon Dip



Well it's really only a matter of days that I have left in Perth and apart from that it's been a pretty busy time with the kids' school year coming to a close.  There have been quite a few shared lunches and farewell parties and for one of these, my 4 year old daughter (with very refined taste for a 4 year old I think!) asked me to make some smoked salmon dip with veggie sticks.  I thought that was a fab idea!  So here is my recipe.  Please note that I do my best to avoid using Australian salmon.  The reason being is that salmon is not native to Australia and therefore any Australian salmon tends to be farmed.  In addition, the nutritional value of farmed salmon is lower than that of wild salmon.  So I buy salmon which specifically states on the packet that it has been wild caught and therefore in this rare instance I believe local is not the way to go.

Ingredients (makes about 1.5 cups):
- 1 shallot, trimmed and cut into chunks
- Small handful fresh dill
- 250g block full fat Philly cream cheese
- 150g smoked salmon fillet (wild caught preferably)
- 2 heaped tbsp natural full fat yoghurt
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
- Sea salt and pepper 

Method:
Add shallots and dill into Thermomix or food processor and process for a few seconds until chopped finely (2sec/sp7 in Thermomix).  Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined and smooth in consistency (40sec/sp4 in Thermomix), stopping and scraping down the sides halfway through the process.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mango & Passionfruit Jam



So with summer almost here, a lot of the beautiful summer fruit is in season now.  Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of mango as a fruit - but in this jam, it tastes absolutely divine.  Give it a go - it's very easy to make!

Ingredients (makes about 500ml):
- Flesh from 2 mangoes, roughly chopped
- Pulp from 3 passionfruit
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
- 200g raw sugar (or rapadura)
- Juice from half a lemon

Method:
Add all ingredients to a pot and simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring often.  Test on a cold plate to see if the jam is set.  If not, cook for an extra 10 minutes at a time, testing the jam after each 10 minute block.  Pour into sterilised jars when done. 

I cooked mine in the Thermomix by adding all the ingredients into the TM bowl and cooking 30min/100deg/sp1, testing the jam and cooking for another 30 minutes before the jam was set.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spaghetti Carbonara



One of the things I really miss since finding out about my food intolerances is dairy... Thankfully it's only mild intolerance so I can tolerate having a small amount of dairy on occasion.  You can make this recipe dairy free by substituting the cream with non-dairy milk but I saw some Barambah organic cream at my local health food store, so decided to make this recipe with dairy cream and have my once in a blue moon dose of dairy!

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 onion  
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 rashers nitrate free bacon
- 2 tbsp ghee (or other cooking fat)
- 300g free range chicken thigh fillets, cubed
- 2 tbsp gluten free cornflour
- 100g mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup preservative free white wine (I used Happs brand)
- 1/2 cup water or stock (I used chicken bone broth)
- 1 cup cream or milk of choice
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt and pepper to taste

To serve: cooked spaghetti (we used wholemeal spelt) and cheese (we used Blue River sheep's milk cheddar)

Method:
1. Melt cooking fat in a pot on medium heat.  Add finely chopped garlic, diced onion and diced bacon.  Cook stirring for a few minutes until starting to brown a little.

(Thermomix: add garlic, onion and bacon to bowl.  Chop 3sec/sp5.  Add cooking fat and cook 2min/100deg/sp1)

2.  Add chicken and cornflour and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.

(Thermomix: add chicken and cornflour and cook 3min/100deg/rev+sp1)

3.  Add mushrooms, wine, stock/water, cream/milk and stir to combine.  Turn down the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every now and then.

(Thermomix: add mushrooms, wine, stock/water, cream/milk and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1)

4.  Season with salt and pepper and stir through parsley.  Serve.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Mick's Grain Free Brekky - My Fave Ever!



So those of you with a Thermomix will recognise this recipe as CADA (coconut, apple, dates, almonds) but this is my hubby's take on it to make it just the way I like it!  I came home from my pilates class this morning and this is what he made for me for brekky - the flavours of CADA with just the 4 ingredients are pretty amazing - but the addition of our little tweaks to the recipe takes it to a whole new level!  Best of all, it takes barely any time to prepare this deliciously nutritious brekky!  To make more serves, just increase the ingredients to however many serves you would like to make.

Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1/2 apple or pear, quartered
- 2 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup raw almonds (or other nuts)
- 1/4 cup organic desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon

To serve - milk (I used almond milk), fresh fruit (cherries, strawberries and blueberries in mine)

Method:
Pulse all ingredients in food processor or Thermomix until finely chopped and serve with milk and topped with fruit!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Spicy Mince with Veggies and Brown Rice



This is a great weeknight dinner and super nutritious.  It reminds me a bit of chilli con carne.  In fact that's exactly what I tell my kids it is because chilli con carne is their latest obsession and if I say those words, they are sure to eat it!  We especially love it with brown rice - just ensure you've soaked the brown rice for a few hours prior to cooking to aid with digestibility... soaking also lessens the cooking time of the rice! 

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp cooking fat (I used duck fat)
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika
- 500g beef mince (grassfed if possible)
- Assorted diced veggies - I used 1 carrot, 1/2 cup fresh corn kernels, 1/2 cup soaked chickpeas, 1/2 cup diced red cabbage
- 100g tomato puree
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water or stock (I used chicken bone broth)
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste

- To serve - brown rice, soaked for a few hours and then cooked as per packet directions (I used about 300g) and also some sliced avocado

Method:
1.  Cook diced onion, garlic and cooking fat on medium heat until softened.  Add spices and cook, stirring until fragrant.

(Thermomix: add halved onion and garlic clove.  Chop 5sec/sp5.  Add cooking fat and cook 2min/100deg/sp1.  Add spices and cook 1min/100deg/sp1)

2.  Add mince and cook, stirring, until browned.

(Thermomix: add mince and cook 3min/100deg/rev+sp1)

3.  Add remaining ingredients except parsley and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often.   Stir through parsley.

(Thermomix: add remaining ingredients except parsley and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1.  Stir through parsley)

4.  Meanwhile, cook brown rice as per packet directions.  I cooked mine in the Thermomix - fill the bowl to 1L mark, put soaked and rinsed brown rice into the rice basket and cook 30min/Varoma/sp4.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Strawberry Jam



I have never made my own jam much because the last time that I made it, I cooked it way too long and it turned into a solid blob!  So now I have plucked up the courage to give it another go and it turned out really good!  I thought I would start with your standard strawberry jam.  It has a bit of a tangy flavour to it because I didn't add anywhere near as much sugar as what most jam recipes tend to use.  Plus using rapadura makes it that bit more healthy.  Next time I want to try making jam with summer fruit so stay tuned for that!

Ingredients (makes about 400ml):
- 500g strawberries, washed, hulled and roughly chopped
- 1 green apple, peeled, cored, roughly chopped
- 1/2 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
- Juice of half a lemon
- 200g rapadura sugar

Method:

Add all ingredients to a saucepan.  Bring to the boil and reduce heat to simmer for around 40 minutes, stirring often.  Check to see if the jam is set (put a small blob of jam onto a cold plate - when set, it will be thick in consistency and not move much when the plate is tilted).  If not set, cook for another 10 minutes at a time and check again.  I cooked mine a total of 60 minutes.  Pour into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.

If you have a Thermomix, you can cook your jam on 100deg/sp2 (with rice basket on top of the lid instead of the MC) following the instructions above.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Peaches & Cashew Cream Cake



This blog looks like it's becoming a bit more of a dessert blog than anything else lately!  I'm going to have to ramp up some savoury recipes soon I think just to balance things out a little.  In  the meantime, here is a recipe for a yummy, no-bake, super easy cake recipe that is dairy free and grain free.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Base:
- 1 cup organic desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 5 fresh Medjool dates, pitted
- 2 tbsp coconut oil

Cashew cream layer:
- 2.5 cups cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours and then drained, rinsed
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- Squeeze of lemon or lime juice

Peach jelly layer:
- 425g can peaches in juice, pureed
- 1 cup hot water
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1.5 tbsp additive free gelatin powder (I used Great Lakes brand which I bought online)

Method:
1.  Grease a springform tin with coconut oil.

2.  Make base layer.  Combine all base ingredients in Thermomix or food processor and process until finely chopped (5sec/sp6 in Thermomix).  Tip into prepared cake tin and press down evenly.  Refrigerate while you make the next layer.

3.  Make cashew cream.  Combine all cashew cream ingredients in Thermomix or high speed blender and blend until smooth (2min/sp6 in Thermomix), stopping and scraping down the sides a couple of times.  Pour into the cake tin onto the base.  Smooth out and refrigerate for 2 hours until the cashew cream layer is firm.

4.  Make peach jelly.  Dissolve the gelatin in the hot water.  Add pureed peaches and stir well.  Add cold water and stir well to combine.  Pour into the cake tin on top of the cashew cream layer.  Refrigerate until set.  Serve.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chocolate Fondants



So initially I tried to make these fondants white chocolate, dairy free and gluten free.... however... that didn't quite work out as planned!  So I tried again and made them with cacao powder and with spelt flour which is a lot more predictable, I find, than gluten free flour.  And they worked a treat!  However of course spelt isn't gluten free.  Anyway they turned out great - you can tell just by looking at the photo can't you? 

Ingredients (makes 4):
* You will need 4 ramekins, each approximately 1 cup capacity
- 3/4 cup cacao butter
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 2  large free range eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup spelt flour

Method:

1.  Grease the ramekins with coconut oil and lightly dust with spelt flour

2.  Melt together on low heat the cacao butter, coconut oil, and rapadura sugar.  Take off the heat.

(Thermomix: add cacao butter, coconut oil and rapadura sugar to TM bowl and melt 4min/70deg/sp2)

3.  Whisk in the cacao powder, one tablespoonful at a time and also add the vanilla.
(Thermomix: with blades running on speed 3, add the cacao powder, one tablespoonful at a time through the hole in the lid and then the vanilla)

4.   Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.

(Thermomix: with the blades running on speed 3, add the eggs one at a time)

5.   Whisk in the spelt flour, one tablespoonful at a time.  

(Thermomix: with the blades running on speed 3, add the spelt flour one tablespoonful at a time)

6.  Pour the mixture evenly among the prepared ramekins.  Refrigerate for 1 hour. 
7.  Preheat oven to 190 degrees.  Bake the fondants for around 10 minutes.  Take out of the oven and loosen by running a sharp knife around the edges of each ramekin (take care not to burn your fingers - be sure to use an oven mitt!).  Turn out onto plates to serve.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Strawberry & Coconut Custard



I have been madly studying for exams so stress levels are high, cooking time to try new recipes is lacking and as a result, my blogging has also been pretty infrequent!  I'm not quite finished with exams just yet but thought I would get a quick and easy blog in while I can this weekend!  Here is a super easy custard recipe that kids and adults will love.  It is dairy free, gluten free and of course additive free.  Not to mention naturally sweetened.  Once cooked, I separated the custard out into 4 little containers that my kids will get in their lunchboxes this week.

Ingredients (makes about 1L):
- 250g punnet strawberries, washed and hulled (puree if not using Thermomix)
- 400ml coconut cream
- 200ml water
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp gluten-free cornflour (I used organic to ensure it is non GM)

Method:

Dissolve the cornflour in a little water and pop all the ingredients into a saucepan on low heat, whisking constantly for a few minutes until the mixture thickens a little.  The custard will thicken more as it cools.

OR

If using Thermomix, add strawberries and pulse a couple of times to chop.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for 7min/90deg/sp4.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's In My Fridge?




Myself and a few other bloggers were invited by Natural New Age Mum Sonia to take part in a "What's In My Fridge?" blog special this week!  So here goes - after a quick tidy up (my fridge is usually overflowing so in order to make it look a bit more presentable, it needed a quick clean!), here's some of what's in my fridge!


* Seasonal, local, organic fruit and veggies which I get delivered weekly from The Organic Circle
* Bodhi's sprouted spelt bread
* Homemade chocolate muesli bars (recipe by Healed Nutrition)
* Thermomix veggie stock concentrate
* Homemade kombucha (probiotic drink)
* Homemade water kefir (another probiotic drink)
* Natural mineral water (unflavoured) - love a glass of this with a slice of lemon or lime
* Homemade cordial (using my recipe
* A few jars of my homemade chicken bone broth (using recipe from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions") - which I use for cooking with and also sometimes I like to just warm up a cup and drink it just like that with a sprinkle of Herbamare!
* Thermomix mayonnaise
* Inner Health Plus probiotic capsules (for me) and powder (for the kids)
* Certified organic free range eggs
* Preservative-free organic red wine from Settlers Ridge
* A few jars of condiments (mostly organic) including tomato sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, sweet chilli sauce
* Planet Organic strawberry jam
* Macro Organic butter block
* Blue River sheep's milk pecorino and cheddar blocks
* Meredith Dairy sheep's milk yoghurt
* Melrose certified organic flaxseed oil
* Raw hazelnut milk 
* Flaxseed oil capsules
* Nitrate-free bacon rashers
* Organic tomato puree 
* Organic tomato paste
* Organic mixed raw nuts, seeds
* Activated almonds
* Activated chickpeas
* Organic dates and figs (for sweetening my brekky smoothies)
* My homemade sauerkraut (click here for recipe)
* Spiral miso paste (which my kids have in place of Vegemite)
* Thermomix play dough
* Cooking fats - grassfed suet, duck fat, ghee
* I also have a deep freeze full of beautiful meat such as grassfed Gingin Beef which I buy in bulk from Subiaco Farmers Markets

So there you have it - now you know exactly what my fridge looks like :)  Now hopefully I can figure out how to add other health/foodie bloggers links at the bottom of this post! Also don't forget to check out the blog post from Natural New Age Mum and all the others below!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Making Sauerkraut



OK so I know this is not one of my most glamorous blog posts.... but... there are so many health benefits to fermenting veggies at home.  It's not something I have been doing too long just yet and I haven't ventured past fermenting cabbage.  But I love sauerkraut and it is an excellent natural probiotic.  I strongly believe that if we look after our gut, every other aspect of our health will improve as a result.  The other piece of equipment that I have found is necessary for my sauerkraut making is a Pickl-It fermenting jar which I bought from Kitsa's Kitchen and since then, I have not had any problems making sauerkraut.  Everytime I make sauerkraut, it still amazes me just how much the cabbage ends up shrinking and therefore fitting into that jar!

Ingredients:
* I used a 750ml Pickl-It jar
- 800g cabbage (I used a mix of red and white cabbage)
- 2tbsp good quality salt (I used Murray River salt flakes)
- Optional - 1 large carrot, grated

Method:
1.  Shred your cabbage finely - I used the thin slice setting on my V-slicer to achieve a nice uniform result.  From your shredded cabbage, remove any thick pieces and discard.

2.  Put the cabbage into a couple of large glass bowls and spinkle with salt.  Allow to sit for a few hours - in this time, you will see the cabbage shrink in volume and the salt will draw the brine out of the cabbage which you will see collect in the bottom of the bowl.  Every now and then, give the cabbage a toss to distribute the salt.



3.  After a few hours, begin to compress the cabbage with your hands, drawing out more brine.  Once there is enough brine to cover the cabbage, mix in the grated carrot (if using) and then tip about a quarter of the cabbage and brine into the Pickl-It jar.  Using the Dunker which came with your jar and a rolling pin, compress down the cabbage in the jar to remove any air bubbles.  Repeat the process until all the cabbage is in the jar.  Leave the Dunker in the jar as this will help to submerge any cabbage which may be floating on top.  The brine should come up at least a couple of centimetres above the surface of the cabbage.  Ensure also that there are a good few centimetres in between the neck of the jar and the surface of the brine to allow room for expansion during the fermentation process.

4.  Put the airlock into the lid and then close the lid.  Fill the airlock with water to the level indicated.  Close the airlock with the lid provided.



5.  I like to wrap the jar with a tea towel and then pop the jar into a cool, dark spot - I use my laundry cupboard.  I leave the jar in there for about 3-5 days, checking every second day or so.  When I don't see any bubbling anymore, I then place the jar in the fridge and my sauerkraut is ready to eat!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Strawberry & Almond Cupcakes with White Chocolate Icing



I've mentioned previously that I make my own nut milk and always wonder what to do with the leftover pulp so as I'm not wasting it.  So when my little girl stayed home sick from daycare yesterday and asked me to make some strawberry cupcakes for when she felt better, I thought these cupcakes would be a great way to use up the latest batch of leftover almond pulp.  Now I know this sounds strange but my little girl has the most amazing palette when it comes to food!  So when she suggests I make something, I know she's onto a good thing!  Later in the day she felt much better and started to get hungry so she asked me for some cucumber and avocado slices.  I was so proud!  She is the sort of kid who loves her healthy foods and who knows, maybe one day she might follow in my footsteps and study to become a nutritionist as well??

Ingredients (makes 9):
Cupcakes:
- 100g strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 cup almond pulp (or almond meal)
- 1/2 cup spelt flour
- 2 free range eggs
- 50g butter, melted
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder

Icing:
- 100g white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks), broken up into pieces
- 1 tbsp coconut oil 

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tray with 9 cupcake cases.

2.  In a food processor or Thermomix, process the strawberries until finely chopped (5sec/sp5 in Thermomix).  Add the other cupcake ingredients except the baking powder and process until combined (20sec/sp4 in Thermomix).  Scrape down the sides and add the baking powder.  Process for a few more seconds (5sec/sp3 in Thermomix).

3.  Divide evenly amongst the cupcake cases and bake for around 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.  Allow to cool.

4.  To make chocolate icing, melt the chocolate and coconut oil on low heat, stirring constantly until smooth.  Drizzle over the cupcakes (to make icing in the Thermomix, melt the chocolate and coconut oil for 4min/70deg/sp2 until smooth).  Garnish with fresh strawberries.
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Savoury Corn, Cheese & Bacon Mini Muffins



Here's another great and super easy recipe which freezes well and therefore is excellent for your kids' lunchbox freezer stash!  And as always, I love the sneakiness of hiding veggies in something I cook and then watching my son gobble it up.  Then admitting to him that there are veggies in there.  Nowadays he just laughs when I tell him that because he knows that veggies are good for him and he loves it when he has eaten something with veggies hiding in it that he couldn't taste!

Ingredients (makes 12):
- 1.5 cups light spelt flour
- 2 free range eggs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated cheese of choice (I used sheep's milk cheddar)
- 1/2 cup grated zucchini
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (I used organic frozen ones)
- 1 rasher of nitrate free bacon, diced
- 1 cup milk of choice
- Sprinkle of rosemary (I used dried organic rosemary)
- Optional -  Superfoods for Kidz Vital Veggie Power
- Sea salt and pepper
- 2 tsp baking powder

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cupcake cases (or you can grease)

2.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except the baking powder and stir to combine.  Then add the baking powder and stir it in.

3.  Divide the mixture evenly among the 12 cupcakes cases and bake for 15 minutes or until the muffins are golden on top and spring back when pressed lightly on top.  These are delicious served warm with a big dollop of butter!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Grain Free Pizza



As many mums out there would know, sometimes it can be a bit of a struggle to get veggies into your kids!  I have been blessed with 2 beautiful kids.... but only one of them loves veggies!  The other, who is now 6 years old, still hates most veggies (though he is slowly but surely acquiring a taste for a slowly increasing variety of veggies) and often I have to resort to hiding veggies in the meals that I cook.  Here is one example of such a meal - the main ingredient in the pizza base is cauliflower, which Ben would not otherwise eat.  But he does love pizza, and this one was no exception!

Ingredients (makes 1 large pizza):
Base:
- 1/2 a cauliflower (about 400g) cut into florets
- 3 free range eggs
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (or some freshly grated cheese)
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- Squeeze of lemon juice or splash of apple cider vinegar
- Season with sea salt, pepper and Herbamare

Toppings:
Whatever you like but I used organic BBQ sauce, sprinkle of dried organic herbs, diced nitrate free bacon, sliced mushrooms and freshly grated sheep's milk cheddar.  I also served the pizza with a side of baby spinach leaves dressed with some extra virgin olive oil, apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a pizza tray with baking paper.

2.  In a food processor or Thermomix, pulse the cauliflower until finely chopped.  Add remaining base ingredients and process together until combined (20sec/sp3 in Thermomix).

3.  Tip out onto the lined pizza tray and spread out the mixture evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

4.  Top the base with toppings and put back into the oven until cooked to your liking.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Choc Mint Ice Cream with Magic Chocolate Topping



I haven't always liked the chocolate with mint flavour combination.  Must be my taste buds changing as I get older or something but I have recently started enjoying it.  So here's my recipe for choc mint ice cream.  Super easy if you have an ice cream machine, but if you don't that's OK!  You can still make your own ice cream.  And also the extra special part of this recipe is the topping (think "Ice Magic" but without the nasties) - so yummy!

Ingredients (makes about 1L):
Ice cream:
- 400ml coconut cream (or other full fat milk of choice)
- 200ml water
- 2 free range eggs
- 3/4 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 2 tsp vanilla essence (I make my own using this recipe)
- 1/4 tsp natural mint flavouring (I used Medicine Flower mint extract)

Chocolate topping:
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
1.  In a saucepan on low heat, whisk together the coconut cream, water, eggs, sugar and cacao powder.  Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and slightly thickened.  Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla and mint flavouring.  Set aside to cool.

(Thermomix: add coconut cream, water, eggs, rapadura and cacao to the TM bowl.  Cook 7min/90deg/sp4.  Add vanilla and mint flavouring and mix 10sec/sp3.  Set aside to cool)

2.  Churn through ice cream maker.  Or if you don't have an ice cream maker, blend the mixture in a high speed blender for about 30 seconds (speed 9 in Thermomix)  to aerate.  Freeze for a couple of hours.  Take out and blend for another 30 seconds on high speed.  Put back in the freezer until completely frozen.

3.  When ready to serve, allow the ice cream to sit on the bench for about 10 minutes to soften to a scoopable consistency.

4.  To make the chocolate topping, melt the coconut oil on low heat and then whisk in all the other ingredients until smooth. 

(Thermomix: melt coconut oil for 1min/70deg/sp1.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for 1min/70deg/sp4).

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Passionfruit & Coconut Custard Filled Tartlets



One of the girls at uni came in one day handing out some beautiful fresh passionfruits which she had grown at home.  I adore passionfruit so I decided to make these little tartlets for the kids.  There was lots of custard leftover (what a pity right?) which we decided to churn through our ice cream maker for some beautiful coconut and passionfruit ice cream!

Ingredients (makes 24):
- 3 sheets Pampas butter puff pastry

Custard:
- 400ml coconut cream
- 200ml water
- 2 free range eggs
- 3/4 cup raw or rapadura sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tbsp gluten-free cornflour
- Pulp from 3 large passionfruit

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease a 24 hole mini muffin pan.

2.  Using a 7cm diameter round cookie cutter, cut 24 circles out of the pastry.  Line the greased muffin holes with the pastry circles and bake for around 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden.  Take out of the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack. 

3.  While the pastry is baking, make the custard.  In a saucepan on low heat, whisk together all the custard ingredients (except passionfruit) until the custard has thickened.  Set aside to cool for 15 minutes and then stir through the passionfruit pulp, reserving a little of the pulp for garnish.

(Thermomix - add all ingredients except passionfruit and cook 7min/90deg/sp4.  Stir through passionfruit pulp, reserving some for garnish)

4.  Fill each pastry case with the custard and then garnish with some of the remaining passionfruit pulp.  Serve.    

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hummus



It is finally feeling like spring in Perth and it's been such a lovely, relaxing day.  I felt like something super easy for an afternoon snack (but it was so good that I probably won't be hungry at dinner time now!).  Since buying my Thermomix in 2010, I have been making loads of different dips.  One of my faves is the hummus from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook, but I'm not a fan of using tinned legumes (where possible), so I have tweaked that recipe a bit to make the hummus just as I like it!  If you're wondering what the issue is with tinned legumes, they are usually cooked without soaking.  Soaking legumes prior to cooking helps to neutralise the phytic acid and makes the legumes much more digestible.  It's well worth the effort I think!

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup dried chickpeas, soaked in water for 24 hours, then drained and rinsed and simmered in water for about an hour or until tender, then cooled and drained
- 1/2 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp tahini
- Small handful of fresh parsley
- 2 tsp onion powder
- Good splash of extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lime
- Sea salt, pepper and Herbamare to taste

Method:
Put all the ingredients into Thermomix or food processor and process until desired consistency is reached.  I processed for about 30sec/sp4 in my Thermomix, stopping and scraping down the sides a couple of times.  Serve with crackers or veggie sticks and an extra drizzle of olive oil on top of the dip!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Chocolate Coconut Self-Saucing Pudding



I had a major craving today for chocolate self-saucing pudding.... I realised it's been years since I last had it!  So seeing as it's school holidays (and long weekend here in Perth) and it was cold and rainy today... my keen 4yo helper and I got cooking!  This recipe is literally just throwing everything into 2 separate bowls and then into a baking dish and into the oven to bake!  So simple yet so delicious and very warming!  We served this pudding with a dollop of coconut yoghurt, recipe for the yoghurt is courtesy of Alisha, the Naughty Naturopath Mum and Essence Practitioner. 

Ingredients (serves 6):
Batter:
- 1 cup spelt flour (I used light spelt flour)
- 3/4 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1 + 1/2 cups coconut milk (or coconut cream plus water)
- 1 free range egg
- 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp vanilla essence

Sauce:
- 1 cup freshly boiled water
- 1/2 cup rapadura sugar
- 1/4 cup cacao powder

Method:
1.  Grease a square 20cm baking dish with coconut oil and preheat your oven to 160 degrees.

2.  Combine all the batter ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Pour the batter into the baking dish.

3.  In another bowl, whisk together the sauce ingredients.  Then using the back of a large metal spoon, pour the sauce all over the batter.

4.  Bake for around 25 minutes or until the centre of the pudding springs back when lightly pressed on top.  Allow to cool down a little and serve warm with yoghurt or cream or fruit!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pear & Cinnamon Cupcakes with Quick Caramel Sauce



Keeping the kids' lunchboxes interesting can be a bit of a mind boggling exercise sometimes.  They do have their favourites that they like me to make but I like to keep things interesting.  This is a super easy recipe for cupcakes which freezes well (without the caramel sauce on top - the sauce is just for us to have at home but for the lunchboxes, I use un-iced cupcakes) and the cupcakes are super moist on the inside thanks to the pear sauce. 

Ingredients (makes 12):
Cupcakes:
- 1 large pear (to make pear sauce)
- 1 cup light spelt flour
- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 1/2 cup rapadura sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup milk of choice
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 1 free range egg
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 2 tsp baking powder

Caramel sauce:
- 6 fresh Medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- Pinch of sea salt

Method:
1.  Make pear sauce: peel the pear, chop into pieces and boil in some water until tender.  Drain off the water and mash the pear.  Set aside to cool.

2.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a cupcake tray with cupcake cases.

3.  Into a large bowl, add all the cupcake ingredients and stir to combine.  Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cases.

4.  Bake for around 15 minutes or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed on top. 

5.  Allow the cupcakes to cool.

6.  To make the caramel sauce, blend all the ingredients until smooth in a high speed blender or Thermomix (around 1min/sp9).  Drizzle over the top of the cupcakes.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Beef & Vegetable Pies



Well it's still footy finals time and hubby has once again requested some "dude food".  I went through our deep freeze and found some osso bucco in there which I thought would be a great cut to slow cook some pie filling.  There's something pretty satisfying about making your own pies!  Hope you enjoy this recipe. 

Ingredients (makes 6):
(You will need 6 pie pans or you could use a Texas muffin pan)
- 800g of beef suitable for slow cooking (I used about 1.5kg of grassfed osso bucco and took out the bones after the filling was cooked)
- 1 cup homemade chicken stock OR 1 cup Campbell's liquid veggie stock OR 1 cup water + 1tbsp Thermomix veggie stock concentrate
- 2 cups water
- 400g can diced tomatoes (or fresh)
- 100g sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 carrot, diced
- 1/2 zucchini, diced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Optional - 1/2 chipotle chilli, sliced (this adds a lovely smokey flavour)
- Sea salt, pepper and Herbamare to taste
- Pampas butter puff pastry sheets (I used 4 sheets, having to do some patchwork to create the lids to 2 of the pies!)

Method:
1.  Combine in a slow cooker (or casserole dish, though if doing this then preheat your oven to 150 degrees) all the ingrediens (except puff pastry of course!) and cook on low setting for 6 hours, stirring every now and then.  Or if using oven, cook for 3 hours, stirring every now and then.

2.  Allow the meat mixture to cool right down.

3.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees and grease your pie pans.

4.  Line the base of each pie pan (to do this, I used 3 pastry sheets, cutting each one diagonally in half and then trimming off any excess pastry).  Fill each pan with the filling, ensuring you don't put in too much liquid.  Seal each pie with a pastry lid (I cut the remaining pastry sheet into 4 squares and then for the remaining 2 lids, I patched together the excess pastry leftover from lining the bases), trim off excess pastry.  I also used a fork to press right around the edges of each pie to seal.  Then I also used the fork to prick a couple of vents in the top of each pie.

5.  Pop the pies into baking trays and bake for around 20 minutes or until the pastry looks nice and golden on top.  We served these pies with organic tomato sauce and salad on the side.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites



So have you tried my homemade chocolate recipe yet?  Well if you haven't.... it's... AMAZING!  I have tweaked the recipe over time and am super dooper happy with it now.  This is a variation on that recipe but with a peanut butter centre.  And who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate together?  Well.... my husband doesn't like nuts.... but he's a bit strange!  Just have to mention that the cacao butter is pretty much essential in this recipe.  You can buy it from most good organic health food stores.  Next time I make these, I will also add a little strawberry jam into the centre.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (makes 6):
- 3/4 cup cacao butter
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 cup cacao powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 6 tsp natural peanut butter (or other nut butter. I used Macro Organic smooth peanut butter)

Method:
1.  Line a baking tray with 6 silicone moulds.

2.  In a small saucepan on low heat, combine cacao butter and coconut oil.  Stir until melted and smooth.

(Thermomix: add cacao butter and coconut oil to bowl, chop 5sec/sp7 and melt 70deg/4min/sp2).

3.  Add cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla to saucepan.  Whisk until smooth.

(Thermomix: add cacao powder, maple syrup and vanilla to bowl.  Mix 20sec/sp4).

4.  Pour half of the chocolate into the silicone moulds.  Refrigerate for 5 minutes.

5.  Top the chocolate in each mould with 1 tsp of peanut butter.  Refrigerate for another 5 minutes.

6.  Pour remaining chocolate into the moulds to cover the peanut butter.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  Keep in the fridge. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Roasted Capsicum & Sundried Tomato Dip



I haven't bought premade dips in a few years due to the nasties that get added to them.  Plus it is so easy to make your own dips at home, full of real and wholesome ingredients.  This particular dip requires a little prep time with roasting the capsicum and nuts, but apart from that, it takes almost no time at all to make!  It makes a great little afternoon snack on the weekend.

Ingredients:
- 1 red capsicum
- 1/2 cup raw cashews or macadamias
- 1/2 cup organic sundried tomatoes (make sure they are additive free - it can be difficult to find additive free sundried tomatoes in the supermarket - I used Organico brand which I bought from an organic health food store)
- 1 fresh tomato, halved
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (or parmesan/pecorino if you're OK with dairy)
- Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- Sea salt and pepper to taste

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Put the whole capsicum onto the baking tray and also the raw nuts.  Put into the oven. 

2.  After around 10 minutes or when the nuts are looking lightly roasted, remove them from the oven.  Put the capsicum back in the oven for another 10 minutes or until it is soft.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

3.  When the capsicum has cooled down, peel it (the skin should just pull away easily) and discard the skin and seeds.

4.  Add the capsicum flesh along with all the other ingredients to Thermomix or food processor.  Pulse a few times until the desired consistency is reached.  We had this dip with cucumber slices!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Baked Beans



Well I initially intended to make these baked beans in my Thermomix.  But when I saw how much they had expanded during the soaking process, I decided I would cook them the good old fashioned way - on the stove top!  I strongly recommend starting with dried beans (as opposed to canned).  Although it takes a while longer to prepare them this way, you are making them much more digestible by soaking them.  Another added benefit is that when buying tinned beans, they usually come in a BPA lined tin.  And this recipe makes a really nice big batch, so whatever you don't use, you can freeze for later!

Ingredients:
- 3 cups dried navy beans, soaked for 24 hours in water and then drained and rinsed well
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 rasher nitrate free bacon, rind removed, diced
- 2 tbsp cooking fat (I used ghee)
- 4 cups water (or you can do what I did and use homemade chicken broth)
- 1 bay leaf
- 400g can diced tomatoes or tomato puree
-  2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp rapadura sugar
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Sea salt, pepper, Herbamare to taste

Method:
1.  In a large saucepan on medium heat, cook the onion, garlic, bacon and cooking fat, stirring for a few minutes until beginning to caramelise.

2.  Add the beans, water/broth and bay leaf.  Cover with a lid and reduce the heat to very low.  Simmer for a couple of hours, stirring every now and then.  If the liquid seems to be evaporating quickly, you can top it up with water if required.

3.  When the beans are tender, add the remaining ingredients, cover and cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring every so often.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Banana & Choc Chip Bread



My kids love banana bread.  It makes a great snack for morning tea or afternoon tea... or even breakfast!  I made this one without nuts so that I could pack it into the kids' lunchboxes for school.  You can also freeze this bread, just be sure to slice it up prior to freezing.

Ingredients:
- 1 large ripe banana, peeled
- 1 cup wholemeal spelt or kamut flour
- 1/2 cup light spelt or kamut flour
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 tbsp pure honey
- Optional - 1/2 cup crushed walnuts

Method:
1.  Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Grease a bread tin and line the base with baking paper.

2.  In a large bowl, add the banana and mash with a fork.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

3.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and bake for around 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. 

4.  Allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Spicy Pork & Lettuce Cups



So after doing some hardcore blogging for a few months, I decided last month it was time to take a bit of a break and get re-inspired.  I'm feeling much more refreshed now and ready to get back into blogging a bit more again!  Anyway, these pork & lettuce cups are what we had for dinner here tonight.  I'm always reluctant to call things by their traditional names (ie san choy bau for this one) because I never know exactly how authentic my recipes are!  So I just call them something that I feel more comfortable calling them!  Either way, dinner tonight was delish!

Ingredients (serves 4):
- 1 head of iceberg lettuce, leaves washed and separated
- 1 onion, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 thumb ginger, peeled
- 1 thumb fresh turmeric, peeled
- 1/2 red chilli, deseeded (the rest sliced for garnish)
- 2 anchovies
- 2 tbsp cooking fat
- 500g free range pork mince
- 1/2 red capsicum, diced
- 100g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup cabbage, shredded
- 4 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I used Lea & Perrins brand)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- Juice of half a lime
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Garnish: sliced red chilli, toasted peanuts or cashews, sesame seeds, sprouts

Method:
1.  In a saucepan on medium heat, add diced onion, crushed garlic, finely chopped ginger, turmeric root, chilli, anchovies and cooking fat.  Cook, stirring, until softened.

(Thermomix: add halved onion, garlic cloves, ginger, turmeric, chilli and anchovies.  Chop 2 sec/sp7.  Add cooking fat and cook 2min/Varoma/sp1)

2.  Add pork mince and cook, stirring, until browned.  Stir through veggies and cook for a few more minutes.

(Thermomix: add pork mince and cook 2min/100deg/rev+sp1.  Add veggies and cook another 3min/100deg/rev+sp1)

3.  Add sauces and seasonings.  Turn the heat down to simmer for 10 minutes.

(Thermomix: add sauces and seasonings and cook 10min/100deg/rev+sp1)

4.  Serve the mince in lettuce cups, topped with sliced chilli, toasted nuts, sesame seeds and some sprouts.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Breakfast Super Smoothie



A lot of people might be surprised to learn that for me, eating fruit doesn't come naturally.  If I want a snack, I very rarely want to grab a piece of fruit to snack on.  So to ensure I do get the fruit my body needs, I make brekky smoothies each weekday morning.... not just to get some fruit into me, but also because I'm always in such a rush in the mornings and smoothies are the ideal quick and nutritious breakfast for me.  The recipe below is my fave, though I do like to mix the recipe up throughout the week for a bit of variety.

Ingredients (serves 1):
- 1/2 cup coconut cream (or other milk of choice - I often use my raw nut milk)
- 1/2 cup filtered water
- A couple of handfuls of leafy greens (today I used rainbow chard)
- 1 Medjool date, pitted
- 3/4 cup of frozen organic mixed berries (or other fruit)
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Optional - 2 tsp superfood powder (today I used 1 tsp maca and 1 tsp lucuma)

Method:
Pop all the ingredients into a blender or Thermomix and blend on high speed for 1 minute (sp9 in Thermomix). Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Spicy Roasted Chickpeas - guest post by Meagan James




Hi everyone and thank you to Iwa for inviting me to post my recipe for roasted chickpeas! My name is Meagan and I am studying Naturopathy at Endeavour College of Natural Health. I am seriously addicted to chickpeas and love having them in salads or hummus, but that can start getting a bit boring after a while... This easy recipe is great for mixing up my chickpea consumption, plus it’s a good alternative to nuts and is very transportable, so something to pop in your handbag to keep the hunger pangs at bay. I like to marinate my soaked chickpeas in a mixture of olive oil and warming spices such as cumin, turmeric, coriander and cayenne, which gives it a bit of a Middle Eastern flair. You could use just about any powdered spices/aromatics you like – for example, if you used cumin, sesame seeds and lemon zest you would get a deconstructed hummus!

Before I get started on the recipe, I would like to take a moment to discuss the importance of soaking your grains and legumes.


The reasons why these foods should always be soaked before cooking are to improve their digestibility, and to neutralise substances found in grains and legumes that would inhibit the absorption of important minerals such as magnesium and zinc. The phytates and enzyme inhibitors tend to draw minerals from the body’s stores, plus the nutrients that the legume actually contains is bound up in lots of fibre and starch that is very difficult to digest. So, show your tummy some loving and make sure to soak your grains and legumes from now on! Smaller grains and legumes such as lentils will only require about 6-8 hours of soaking, while the more robust chickpea takes between 12-18 hours. I also pop in a spoonful of bi-carb soda to the soaking water, just to ensure all the phytates etc will completely break down.

And now, to the recipe!

Ingredients:
- 1/3 cup dry chickpeas, soaked for up to 18 hours
- 1 dessert spoon bi-carb soda
- 1 – 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp turmeric 
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste (can be omitted)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
1. Measure out dry chickpeas in a jug, sprinkle on the bi-carb soda and pour in enough water to cover the chickpeas by roughly an inch.

2. The next day, drain and rinse the chickpeas thoroughly under running water. Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small dish. Return chickpeas to the jug and pour over the marinade. Cover and leave for at least 3 hours.

3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Spread the chickpeas evenly over a baking tray – try not to let any touch – and cook for around 15 to 20 mins, or until golden. These do burn easily, so make sure you stay close by while they are cooking, and if you hear any popping, take them out immediately.  Enjoy!