Sunday, March 23, 2014

Chocolate & Vanilla Swirl Berry Delight Cake



If you've been following my Facebook page, you may have seen me post about Matilda, the travelling swirly pan from the Aussie Peoplehood of the Travelling Swirly Pan.  Matilda makes its way to a new Australian home every fortnight.  Currently it's my turn to bake in Matilda and I made this gorgeous cake in it.  If you would like to be part of the baking action, head over to this page for more info or to sign up!   In the meantime, check out my latest blog post.

Ingredients:
Cake:
- 3.5 cups unbleached spelt flour
- 3/4 cup rapadura sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 free range eggs
- 400ml coconut cream
- 50g butter, melted
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup cacao powder

Icing - whipped coconut cream:
- 2 x 400ml tins coconut cream, refrigerated for a few hours
- 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence

Strawberry sauce:
- 1 punnet of strawberries, washed and hulled
- 1 tbsp maple syrup

Garnish:
- Fresh mixed berries
- Toasted organic coconut flakes

Method:

1.  Make the cake.  Preheat oven to 160 degrees.  Grease the cake tin with butter and dust with spelt flour.  Set aside the prepared cake tin.  In a large bowl, whisk together until well combined the spelt flour, rapadura, baking powder, eggs, coconut cream, butter and vanilla.  Pour half the cake batter into another bowl.  Add cacao powder to one of the bowls and whisk to combine.  Pour small amounts of the cake batter, alternating between the 2 batters, into the prepared cake tin.  Swirl the batter with a skewer or knife.  Pop into the oven for around 20-25 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when pressed lightly on top.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before turning out and allowing to cool completely.




2.  Make strawberry sauce by processing strawberries and maple syrup until a smooth consistency.  I did this in the Thermomix for about 40sec/sp4-5.  Rinse Thermo bowl. 

3.  Make whipped coconut cream.  With an electric beater (or Thermomix, with the butterfly attachment), add all the coconut cream icing ingredients and whip until the mixture thickens (approx 1min/sp4 in Thermomix).

4.  Ice the cake with the coconut cream and strawberry sauce, then garnish with berries and toasted coconut. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chicken Bone Broth



Well I know that this isn't the most attractive looking blog post - but trust me - bone broth is liquid gold!  I always have a jar of it in the fridge and love to use it in anything I can.  It adds a wonderful depth of flavour to soups and casseroles and any other dish where you would otherwise use stock.  I also love to drink a cup of it, warmed up, with a sprinkle of Herbamare.  It's delicious!  I like to cook this in the slow cooker because that way I can maximise cooking time without too much evaporation and therefore cook the broth for the full 24 hours.  If you don't have a slow cooker, you can also do this on the stove top however you'll have to cook it on the lowest heat possible and be sure to keep a close eye on it through the day as you don't want it to evaporate too much.  Even just cooking this for a few hours, you'll be able to get some of the health benefits.  For more information on the health benefits of bone broth, please click here.  Please also note that you can add any sort of veggie offcuts to this!

Ingredients (my mother in law's slow cooker which she has kindly loaned to me while we are still searching for a house to buy while my own slow cooker is in storage, has roughly a 4L capacity and makes about 1-1.5L of broth - adjust the amount of chicken pieces and water to suit your own):
- 1.5kg chicken pieces (I use a mix of carcasses, necks, drummies, wings, wing tips and also a couple of chicken feet if I can find them - whatever you can get is fine as long as you have a good amount of pieces with quite a bit of cartilage in them)
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- Filtered water
- 1 carrot, cut into chunks (no need to peel if organic)
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 celery sticks with leaves, cut into chunks
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
- a few peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves

Method:

1.  Put chicken pieces into the slow cooker and add apple cider vinegar.  Top up with filtered water, sparing enough room to add veggies later.  Cover and allow to sit for a couple of hours.  The vinegar will start to leach some of the nutrients out of the bones.



2. Add the rest of the ingredients, cover and cook on "low" for up to 24 hours. 



3.  After this, I switch off the slow cooker and allow the broth to cool down a bit.  Once it's cool enough to handle, I strain the broth into glass jars.  (If you have pets, you can pull the chicken meat off the bones and use as pet food.  My dogs love this, with a bit of the broth added to the meat!)  Refrigerate the jars of broth and if you're not going to use it within a week or so, I would suggest freezing in portions.  Once the broth has been refrigerated, it should be a gelatinous consistency.  If it isn't don't worry, it's still very nutritious.  Just next time you make it, try and use some more chicken pieces with cartilage in them such as wing tips.