Monday, 6 July 2015

Warm apple and almond puddings

I'm finally packing up my baby gear.  And I think this time it's for real. It's a different feeling than this time 2 years ago when I tried to do the same.  At that point I had my 2 kids, the perfect pigeon pair, a boy and a girl, where many people these days would feel content.  But deep down inside I wasn't.  I reluctantly started packing up my baby gear and sold one item but no more.  The maternal urge came a calling and I really wanted just one more. I never really  thought it would happen as we'd been telling everyone we weren't having any more and I didn't even discuss it with my husband as I thought I knew his response.

But I couldn't ignore the calling any more and my biological clock was ticking.  So I took the plunge and asked veggie daddy what he thought of the concept of a third.   He nearly drowned with laughter (we where swimming at the time) but rather quickly and without persuasion said.... yes!

We went through the pros and cons of having a third child, asked for advice, and really gave it plenty of thought (and even some lost sleep).  In the end it was gut instinct, would we regret not having a third, yes.  Looking back was it the best decision to make, absolutely yes!

Our cherub Parker has just turned one and he's a little champ.  He completes our family, gives us balance and brings us unconditional love every day.

So anyone else deciding whether or not to have one more.  While everyone is different, if you're thinking about it, do it.  You won't regret it.

On the flip side I don't have a great deal of time to share posts these days.  Plenty of delicious food being created and enjoyed, a few photos taken, but the creations just don't get written down. 
So here's one I made tonight.  Not too sweet and a nice size for family treat.

Warm apple and almond puddings

Warm apple and almond puddings

50g raw almonds
50g raw sugar
120g butter cubed
2 apples (granny smith or pink lady work well)
2 free range eggs
1 MC of milk
130g SR flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
approx 1/4 cup golden syrup (or maple or rice malt syrup)

  • Preheat oven to 180
  • Grease pudding tins or use 12 silicon cupcake moulds
  • Peel apple and thinly slice 1 half, roughly chopping remainder
  • Place 1 tsp to 1 tbls of syrup into each mold followed by a slice of apple
  • Place almonds in Thermomix bowl and grind for 5 seconds on speed 8
  • Add butter and sugar and cream for 10 seconds on speed 6 
  • Add the 1 and half roughly chopped apples and chop for 5 seconds on speed 6
  • Scrap down if needed, add eggs, milk, flour and cinnamon and mix for 10 seconds on speed 5
  • Spoon mixture into moulds and bake for around 20 minutes or until golden
  • Invert to onto plates and serve warm with thick yoghurt or cream
  • Enjoy!

Warm apple and almond puddings straight from the oven

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Green Buckwheat Crepes

So where do you get your inspiration for dinner?

Finn with "silverbeet ears" 
For me tonight it was partly related to Summer’s day at school and partly what was in the veggie patch.  At school it was Pancake Tuesday (or Shrove Tuesday, the marking of the start of lent leading up to Easter).  So I decided to follow suit and went with the theme for dinner along with a bit of a religious education for the kids.

Of course I like to cook outside the square a little, so it was a savoury pancake, and not just any pancake but a green buckwheat crepe.  The veggie patch is overflowing with silverbeet but there's also a few tomatoes, zucchini and chillies too.  These were thrown into my stock standard yet rather flexible Mexican bean and veggie filling.  A creamy mushroom and spinach sauce would be quite delicious too.  But the fun was in the pancake.

I combined buckwheat with regular flour just because I like to vary the grains we eat and I love the earthy flavour buckwheat gives.  You could use any other grain such as oats or spelt which leads to my favourite part of owning a Thermomix.  The fact that you can make your own fresh flour from any grain you want.

The hero of the pancake was the green. We love eating green in this Veggie house.  I think we all crave it at times. I used silverbeet because that’s what’s in the veggie patch but spinach or kale would work just as well.  These crepes are also great as finger food for little ones or as a wrap for school lunch the next day.  Yum!

Green Buckwheat Crepes

100g buckwheat grouts (ideally soaked overnight) or buckwheat flour
140g plain flour
3 free range eggs
Large handful (around 50g)of greens (silverbeet, spinach or kale)
250g milk (plus a little extra if required)
50g greek yoghurt
Pinch salt
1 tbls coconut oil
  • Place buckwheat in Thermomix bowl and grind for 1 minute in speed 9
  • Add all other ingredients and mix for 20 seconds on speed 6 or until well combined
  • The mixture should be reasonably runny for a crepe so add a little milk if required
  • Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes while you prepare your filling
  • Heat a little coconut oil in frypan over a moderate heat
  • Pour about half a cup of mixture into pan and quickly spread to thinly cover
  • Cook for a few minutes on each side or until golden but still soft enough to roll
  • Fill with your favourite filling and plenty of cheese, roll them up and enjoy!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Chocolate Bourbon Cake

How crazy is this.  I have heaps of healthy and even baby friendly recipes that I'm trying to find the time to share.  Then I come out with this.  The opposite of 99% of my cooking. Not even any hidden kale or beetroot.  Just rich, indulgent, even a bit adults only. 

What else do you make for your brother.  A thirty something single guy who couldn't possibly celebrate his Australia Day birthday without a drink in his hand.  And he’s not even much of a cake eater so let’s see if this twists his rubber arm.   Fortunately for the kids the alcohol cooks out so even they can have a special occasion taste.

Chocolate Bourbon Cake

100g almonds
¼ cup SR flour
Pinch salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
200g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
120g butter
90g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 tbls bourbon or whiskey of choice
5 free range eggs

  • Preheat oven to 180⁰
  • Place almonds in Thermomix bowl and mill for 10 seconds on speed 9
  • Add flour, cinnamon and salt and mix for 3 seconds on speed 4 then set aside
  • Place chocolate roughly chopped in Thermomix bowl and chop on speed 6 for 5 seconds
  • Melt for 3 minutes at 70⁰ on speed 3
  • Add cubed butter and continue at 70⁰ for a further minute or until melted
  • Add sugar and mix for 3 seconds on speed 3
  • Let the mix cool a little while you grease and line a 23cm springform pan
  • When chocolate mix has cooled to 37⁰ scrape down the sides to incorporate any chocolate stuck to the sides.   Add eggs, bourbon and vanilla and mix for 20 seconds on speed 4 or until mixture is smooth and almost mousse like
  • Pour into prepared pan (enjoy licking the spoon) and bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs and is still a little moist
  • Once cooled serve with cream and fresh berries.  You only need small pieces and the fresh berries complement the richness beautifully!

ps.  The outcome of the cake was everyone loved it!  But my brother couldn’t believe I baked something that didn’t have hidden veggies!

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Chai Tea

Isn't it nice when a little bit of effort goes a long way.  This was the case for me recently when I rather spontaneously decided to support a charity which I just felt good about.  I held a High Tea for Hamlin.  Put simply I organised an afternoon tea with a lovely bunch of beautiful women to raise money and most of all awareness for women in Ethiopia suffering from Obstetric Fistulas. 

The organisation involved is the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia which supports the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital and the Hamlin College of Midwives.  These were co-founded by Dr Catherine Hamlin AC an Australian obstetrician-gynaecologist in the 1950’s and her great work has treated more than 40,000 women with more than 90% of them cured.

Chai Tea for a High Tea

And the high tea was a success.  My lovely family and friends brought along their favourite afternoon tea delicacy along with the recipe to share.  With a few bunches of flowers, pretty tea cups, French cafĂ© background music and most importantly great company it was a rather relaxing afternoon.

Along with traditional teas I decided to brew a Thermomix pot of Chai Tea.  My own blend which I’m rather enjoying.  It’s even taken over a morning coffee on most days!  This can be brewed in a teapot or latte style with your choice of milk.  While most people find the flavours enough in this chai you can sweeten with a little honey if desired. 

For more details on the work of Dr Catherine Hamlin and Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia see:

Chai Latte in the Thermomix

Chai Tea blend
1 tsp cardamom pods
1 cinnamon sticks broken up roughly
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp black peppercorns
3 Star anise
1 Vanilla pod
1 tsp ground ginger
20g large loose leaf tea

·        Place the cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise and vanilla pod in Thermomix bowl and roughly chop by pressing the Turbo button about 5 times.  Make sure it’s not too fine so it will still be caught in your tea strainer.
·        Add the tea and ginger and combine for a few seconds on speed 4
·        Store into an air tight container

To brew Chai Latte for 2:
  • Add 2 heaped teaspoons of Chai Tea mix into Thermomix bowl
  • Add 300g water and 300g of your chosen milk (almond milk is rather nice)
  • Heat for 5 minutes on speed 2 at 70⁰
  • To froth the milk a little blend for 30 seconds on speed 4
  • Pour through a strainer into your favourite tea cups and enjoy!

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Lemon and Poppy Seed Drizzle Cupcakes

I can’t believe our baby boy is 5 months old!  And I've made this recipe at least 5 times since he was born always with the intention to write this post.  How time flies when you’re busy and at least it’s been well tested!

So to try and keep it brief and summarise the last few months, I’m still totally in love.  And so is his daddy, and his big brother and sister.  Little Parker is such a cruisy baby who makes everyone (and I mean everyone) smile.  I really trying to stop and smell the roses with this one.  I even enjoy the night feeds.  I know he’ll be all grown up all too soon so it’s about cherishing every moment I can.

He brings me down to earth.  Reminds me we all have a soul, a unique and very special soul and that we are blessed to have created this one.  While kids can frustrate us at times especially the older ones as they go through different stages of growth and development, we need to remind ourselves of how special they are and how precious this time with them is.

And occasionally make them a treat...

Lemon and poppy seed drizzle cupcakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
50-80g raw sugar – mill 15 sec
40g raw sugar for syrup
150g softened butter
2 tbl honey
1 tbls chia seeds
50g yoghurt
3 eggs
250g SR flour
2 tbls poppy seeds 

  • Preheat oven to 180°
  • Fill muffin tray with silicone liners or grease lightly
  • Place lemon peel and sugar in Thermomix and mill for 15 seconds on speed 8 the scrape down
  • Add butter and cream for about 20 seconds on speed 6
  • Add honey, chia seeds, yoghurt and eggs and blend for 10 seconds on speed 6
  • Add flour and poppy seeds and mix for about 5 seconds on speed 4 or until just combined
  • spoon into muffin trays and bake for about 20 minutes depending on size.  
  • Cakes will be golden and will spring backed when touched once cooked.
  • Combine lemon juice with extra sugar and heat in a small saucepan, in microwave or in Thermomix (4 mins at 90° on speed 2) until sugar dissolved 
  • Using a skewer pierce a few holes into each cake once removed from the oven and drizzle syrup over while still warm
These are delicious eaten while still warm but also keep nicely for a few days

Use a combination of lemon and orange zest for a twist.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

It’s a boy!

We’re over the moon to share our exciting news that we’ve welcomed baby Parker into this world.  A little brother to a very proud Summer and Finn and a totally in love mum and dad.

Little Parker caught us by surprise.  I finished work just a few days before thinking I had 2 weeks to get organised.  I mean even the basics like get a bassinette, pram and baby clothes, let alone have the house extension finished, or catch up on blogging some recipes!

But now that he’s here all we can do is fly by the seat of our pants, take each day as it comes (and rather quickly goes) and enjoy every precious new born moment.  And that is by far my favourite part.  I forgot how little newborns are.   I forgot how addictive their smell is (I wish I could bottle it up).  How soft their skin is.  How cute the sounds they make are.   I love every minute with him and miss him when he sleeps.
And of course this is a time when I cherish my Thermomix.  I even managed to whip up a chocolate zucchini loaf and muffins for healthy school snacks and tired mummy energy treats.  Yum.

So to anyone else with a newborn at the moment...  cherish it, never forget it x

Friday, 25 April 2014

ANZAC biscuits with a healthy twist

ANZAC biscuits with a healthy twist
I feel privileged to share a public holiday with my family on a day that remembers those who have fought for our country and fallen.  And today really was a glorious day.  A cool morning turned into a pleasant day, perfect for a morning walk on the beach, ramble through the rockpools and a play in the playground.  In the afternoon the kids made ANZAC biscuits in the Thermomix almost on their own (so much safer than a hot pan on the stove).  A few eaten still warm was a perfect energy boost for a late afternoon bike ride.

Summer and Finn taste testing their creations
The almonds and Chia seeds in this version add fibre and plenty of nutrients.  I just can’t resist the addition of the spices to add a slight twist on the traditional taste (I add cinnamon to most things I bake if you haven’t noticed).  And while there are healthier sweeteners than golden syrup I find this keeps the tradition alive.  Yum.

ANZAC biscuits with a healthy twist
100 almonds
120g butter (or coconut oil)
40g golden syrup or honey
1 tbls chia seeds
100g rolled oats
80g coconut
100g rapadura or raw sugar
1 tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • Preheat oven to 160°
  • Grind almonds in Thermomix for 10 seconds on speed 8 then set aside
  • Place butter and syrup in bowl and melt for 2 minutes at 60°C on speed 2
  • Add bicarb and Chia seeds and mix for 3 seconds on speed 3
  • Add all remaining ingredients, set to Reverse and mix for 30 seconds on speed 3
  • Roll spoonfuls of mixture into balls, place into a baking tray and flatten to about 5mm
  • Allow enough room for them to flatten further and spread when baking
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until golden
  • Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes to set before cooling on wire racks
  • Enjoy while still a little warm or completely cooled for more crunch!

Beautiful morning for a play in the park...
or kissing the baby by the beach.