Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The HULK Green Smoothie

Hulk Green Smoothie © All rights reserved
Why the Hulk? Because it's green of course!

I know I am a little late jumping on the green smoothie bandwagon but it wasn't from lack of interest, rather from lack of equipment. While I am the queen of kitchen gadgets one thing I don't have is a blender (well actually I do have one that fits on top of my 35 year old Kenwood Chef mixer but it's pretty much useless so it doesn't count).

I saw this gorgeous green smoothie on The Healthy Chef blog and was immediately inspired to try it. I loved the tip she had about replacing the fresh spinach leaves and ice with cubes of frozen spinach. Genius!

I first attempted to make it in my food processor. It blitzed all the ingredients quite well but I was still left with lots of large spinach flecks. I then tipped the mix into a jug and tried to blend it with my stab mixer. It frothed up a bit more but still left lots of green specks.

Despite the fact it looked more like a herb bechamel than a smoothie I drank it anyway. It was AWESOME.

My 3 year old who watched me make it also had a taste and then begged to lick the spoon, the glass and anything else this smoothie may have touched. It was that good.

I took a pic of my now empty glass covered in spinach flecks just to have some sort of photo to accompany this recipe. Hopefully it doesn't put you off your breakfast.

Blender or no blender I will be making this again (and again, and again ...). Such a fantastic way to get in some extra greens and even better that it tastes so good. And no you can't taste the spinach at all!

Hulk Smoothie
Adapted from The Healthy Chef

As with most smoothie recipes this is very adaptable. You can use plain or flavoured yoghurt, any type of milk you like and any kind of sweetener. What you see here is what I used and really enjoyed but the possibilities are endless ...

1/2 cup almond milk
100g good vanilla yoghurt (I used Jalna)
1 ts rice malt syrup
1 ts white chia seeds
1 banana
3 cubes frozen spinnach
generous pinch of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.
Serves 1.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Baking with Julia - Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Loaves © All rights reserved
Umm not sure if anyone noticed but I completely forgot (and I mean completely) about the last Baking with Julia recipe. It was for an Upside-Down Nectarine Chiffon Cake and it sounded delectable. But I forgot. So it's now on my to-bake list and I will get to it eventually.

This week was another bread recipe which I was really happy about. Bread in general makes me happy! As with the White Loaves recipe from way back in February this was an easy to put together loaf which baked up perfectly.

I knew I wouldn't be using molasses or malt extract (I'm trying to avoid buying ingredients that won't get used regularly) but didn't worry because I always have treacle in the pantry. Except this time I didn't. Oops. So I subbed golden syrup for both the honey and the malt extract and got a gorgeously golden and slightly sweet loaf that we all loved.

As usual I snagged the crust while it was still warm and enjoyed it with a smearing of butter. You really can't beat homemade bread fresh from the oven!

I cut and froze most of the 2 loaves, using most of it for toast and it was fabulous.

This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Our hosts this week are Michele of Veggie Num Nums and Teresa of The Family That Bakes Together. They will post the recipe for this lovely loaf so make sure you check it out!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Oaty Pancakes with Strawberries

Oaty Pancakes with Strawberries © All rights reserved
I am the early riser in the family. Morning is my favourite time of the day and my alarm goes off at 5.30am every day. When the mood strikes I get up and exercise, or I'll just have a cup of tea and enjoy some peace and quiet, mentally preparing myself for another busy day with my 2 little people.

After yet another long week of illness in the household a yummy Sunday breakfast was definitely in order so that's what I spent my early morning doing.

Usually after having a breakfast of pancakes made with white flour and loads of sugar I will crash a few hours later, starving and with a headache. Recently though I've been making simple changes to our diet, swapping white rice for brown, always buying wholemeal or multigrain bread, reduced fat cheese and the like. So my challenge was to make some pancakes that the kids would actually eat while still being pretty healthy.

Oats are my breakfast of choice most days so that's what I used here and I was really happy with how these turned out. The batch of 12 disappeared in record time and with the strawberries on top it was the perfect start to our Sunday!

Oaty Pancakes with Strawberries
Makes 12 pancakes, serves 4.

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tbs sugar
1 ts vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 punnet of strawberries
1 tbs orange juice
1 tbs maple syrup

Wash, de-stem and halve the strawberries and place them in a bowl. Pour over the orange juice and maple syrup and toss well to combine. Leave to macerate while you make the pancakes.

In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, oats and sugar. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Lightly grease a large fry pan with butter and cook pancakes over medium heat 4 at a time (or whatever will fit in your pan). You should get 12 pancakes from this mix. Cook on the first side until you see lots of bubbles start to form then slip over and cook until golden brown. Continue with the remaining batches.

Serve warm with a big spoonful of strawberries and syrup. Yum!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Peanut Butter Ice Cream © All rights reserved

I blogged a few days ago about the amazing Aztec "Hot" Chocolate Ice Cream I made for our Father's Day dinner. Well I also made a more kid-friendly ice cream. Both my boys love peanut butter so when I saw this recipe it was perfect. It's also such an easy recipe with no cooking involved at all that older kids would be able to make it themselves!

If you love peanut butter you will LOVE this ice cream. I served it with hundreds and thousands but I think having it in a sundae with hot chocolate fudge sauce and a scattering of roasted salted peanuts would be divine. Yum!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz p50

180g smooth peanut butter
180g sugar
330ml full cream milk
330ml pure cream
Pinch of salt
1/2 ts vanilla extract

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Chill thoroughly in the fridge then churn in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes approx 1 litre.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Best Ever Brownies with Aztec "Hot" Chocolate Ice Cream

Aztec Hot Chocolate Ice Cream with Best Ever Brownies © All rights reserved
It was Father's Day here in Australia yesterday, so belated good wishes for all the amazing dads out there!

We didn't really have the best weekend, with 3 out of 4 of us coming down with a bad cold and cough, and poor Charlie had conjunctivitis as well. Needless to say there were no fun father's day activities to be had, unless you count hubby and Oscar going to the library and to Coles to pick up a few essentials. Oh well, there's always next year!

In spite of feeling like crap I still cooked up a storm, doing toasted ham and cheese croissants for breakfast, this creamy prawn curry with naan for dinner and of course a yummy dessert.

You really can't go wrong with chocolate for my husband. He is the ultimate chocoholic! So what better for a decadent Father's Day dessert than these amazing fudgy brownies topped with a spicy chocolate ice cream?

I spotted this ice cream recipe in The Perfect Scoop on my first read flick through. It is a Philadelphia style (no eggs) chocolate ice cream with cinnamon, chili and brandy to give it some kick. I also added the zest of an orange to ramp up the flavour.

The taste test ...

Sensational! Incredibly smooth and luscious but with a bit of a fiery kick at the same time. Hubby said it tasted like Christmas. Adding alcohol to ice cream stops it from setting too hard and I definitely think that's what made the texture so luscious. Served on top of a fudgy chocolate brownie this was a chocoholic's dream. Success.

If there are any chocoholics in your family then you should definitely make these!

Aztec "Hot" Chocolate Ice Cream
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz p 29

560ml pure cream
50g cocoa powder
150g sugar
85g dark chocolate, chopped
310ml full cream milk
1 ts vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 ts cinnamon
1/2 ts hot chilli powder
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tbs brandy

In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the cream, sugar, orange zest and cocoa until it comes to a full rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking until it is completely incorporated. Stir in the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, chilli and brandy. Pour the mix into a blender or food processor and blitz for 30 seconds or until completely smooth.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge and then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Makes approx 1 litre.

Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours, p 91

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp salt
250g butter
120g dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
60g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup toasted walnuts, roughly chopped
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 degrees fan-forced). Line the base of a 9 inch square baking pan with baking paper and place on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour and salt and set aside.

Place a heat proof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, put the butter and chocolate in. Stir frequently until the ingredients are just melted-you don’t want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Add the brown sugar and whisk gently just to incorporate it, then remove the bowl from the pan of water. Stir in the vanilla and transfer to a large bowl.

Put the remaining cup of sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer or a medium bowl and whisk in the eggs. Switch to a rubber spatula and little by little add half of the sugar-egg mixture to the warm chocolate, stirring very gently without stopping-you don’t want the heat of the chocolate to cook the eggs.

With the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer beat the remaining sugar and eggs on medium-high for about 3 minutes, or until they double in volume. Using a spatula and a light touch, fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate, stopping just short of blending them in completely.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients and the nuts over the batter and delicately fold them in, working only until they disappear. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the spatula.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until the top looks dry. Use a thin knife to check for doneness - the brownies should be only just set and quite gooey. (Mine took about 40 minutes to reach this point so just keep an eye on them and keep checking regularly).

Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into pieces while still in the pan. Makes approx 16.
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