Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup

Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup ©

Winter has well and truly arrived this week. While we're still getting glorious sunny days, the nights and early mornings are absolutely freezing. We have so far avoided having heaters on but a few more days like this and that will change!

In our house cold weather is soup weather. I love the fact that both my boys love soup, especially my 4 year old. If you haven't tried soup with your kids yet it's really worth a go, just be prepared for some mess!

We've had pumpkin soup a few times recently and I've always stuck to my tried and true recipe which includes garlic, ginger and coriander. This time I thought I would make something a little lighter and sweeter, so decided to not only include some apple but also to roast all the ingredients first, something that really brings out the natural sweetness.

The taste test ...

Pumpkin and apple really are a match made in heaven! My kids absolutely devoured this for lunch. Both had seconds. You'll notice from the photo how thick this soup is. Not only does it make quite a hearty meal it also makes it easier for little kids to handle.This was a winner and will be added to our regular rotation.

Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup

1/4 large pumpkin (I like jap or kent for soup, my piece was 1.6kg)
2 small green apples
1 potato
1 large onion
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts cumin
3-4 cups stock (chicken or vege work well)
1 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C / 170 degrees fan-forced.

Chop up the pumpkin into thick slices, removing the seeds but leaving the skin on. Wash and core the apples, leaving them whole with the skin intact. Wash the potato and chop into quarters, leaving the skin on. Top and tail the onion and remove the skin.

Place all veggies into a large baking dish. Sprinkle over the spices, drizzle on the oil and toss to combine.

Place in the oven and roast for 45 -60 minutes or until all the vegetables are soft, golden and cooked through. Keep an eye on the apples and onion as they will be done before the potatoes and take them out if they are getting too brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before scooping out the flesh of the apples and veggies into a food processor or blender. Leave any hard or overcooked edges and all the skin behind.

Blitz until well combined. Add the stock and blitz for 2 minutes or until completely smooth (if you want a thinner soup just add more stock now). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the soup into a large saucepan and simmer gently until warmed through. Serve with hot buttered bread rolls.

Serves 4.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Snow White Popcorn Treats (Secret Recipe Club)

Snow White Popcorn Treats ©

SRC time again! This month I was assigned Life and Kitchen by Lindsay. I love that Lindsay posts so many veggie and meatless meals but after doing something savoury for the past few months of SRC I had already decided to do something sweet this month, and was delighted that she had so many to choose from!

The instant I saw these Snow White Popcorn Treats I was sold. It actually is winter here, but this is as close as my boys will get to snow!

We make popcorn a few times a week using our air popper. I like mine with a little melted butter and sea salt but the kids are totally happy having it plain. But let me tell you they were very excited about their special sticky popcorn!

The recipe called for 1 large or 2 small bags of popcorn but I have no idea what size that would actually be. I just did the usual 1/4 cup we always do and hoped for the best. It was pretty much spot on.

So how did it taste? Totally amazing as you would expect! I did find it VERY sweet though and added extra salt to mine (love that sweet and salty contrast). This would be perfect bagged up and given as gifts at Christmas and I will be doing just that this year.

Thanks for a great recipe Lindsay!

Snow White Popcorn Treats
From Life and Kitchen

1/4 cup popping corn
20 white marshmallows
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup white chocolate
sea salt

Pop the corn and spread it out on a lightly greased baking tray, making sure to remove any unpopped kernals.

In a medium pan over lowish heat gently melt the butter and the marshmallows, stirring constantly. Once they are completely melted and liquidy, add in the white chocolate and stir until smooth.

Quickly pour the mixture over the popcorn using a silicone spatula to toss it all together, coating as much of the popcorn as you can.

Sprinkle generously with sea salt and leave to set for about 10 minutes before devouring.

Secret Recipe Club

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Naked Chocolate Mini Cakes with AntiOx Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Coconut Mini Cakes ©

If you missed my review of the AntiOx Chocolate and Snack Bar range yesterday make sure you check it out. You could win a $30 chocolate gift pack!

While it has certainly been lovely having some chocolate in the pantry to nibble on, I wanted to showcase the chocolate in a recipe. Given it is a sugar-free chocolate I chose to make an equally healthy and allergy-friendly cake.

These mini cakes are gluten, dairy and sugar free but most definitely don't lack taste! They are rich and intensely chocolate-y and when paired with the chocolate ganache make a truly decadent dessert. Keep in mind they are not very sweet so you could add a little stevia into both the cake and ganache to up the sweetness or just serve with some lovely sweet strawberries. Yum!

Naked Chocolate Mini Cakes
Very slightly adapted from The Healthy Chef


1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/2 ts baking powder
1/2 ts ground cinnamon
Pinch of sea salt
4 eggs
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
1 ts vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted


Preheat oven to 160 degrees C / 140 C fan-forced.

In a medium bowl mix together the cacao powder, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a small bowl mix the eggs, syrup, vanilla and coconut oil.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and stir until smooth and well combined. Spoon into 6 mini cake moulds (mine were 2 inch square).

Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before covering with the ganache. Makes 6.

AntiOx Chocolate Ganache


80 grams AntiOx Chocolate with Acai
40ml pure cream*


Finely chop the chocolate and place in a heat-proof bowl.

In a small saucepan heat the cream until very hot but not boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate and stir gently from the middle until the ganache is smooth and glossy.

Allow to cool slightly before smoothing over the tops of the mini cakes.

Serve immediately or store in fridge until required.

* For a dairy free topping you could use chilled coconut cream and fold through the cooled melted chocolate.
And don't forget you could win your own gift pack of AntiOx chocolate. 

BWJ - Cheese and Tomato Galette

Cheese and Tomato Galette ©
I actually wasn't really expecting much from this one but I was so wrong. We LOVED it! It was all the best parts of a pizza encased in a buttery flaky pastry. Just divine.

I knew we didn't have any cornmeal and couldn't be bothered searching for it so I used semolina instead for the dough and it worked brilliantly. I also just used regular tasty cheese and shredded mozzarella.

Originally I intended to make a sweet one as well but it actually didn't make as much dough as I thought. I used the full batch for this galette and it was the perfect dinner for the 4 of us with just one largeish piece leftover (for my lunch, yum!).

The dough was a little sticky but I didn't have any problems with it, possibly because it is winter here and quite a cool day?

This recipe is definitely a keeper and we'll be making it again.

Monday, June 17, 2013

AntiOx Chocolate Review + Giveaway!!

**This giveaway has now ended. Congratulations to Rockn and Sapna! Click here to find out how to claim your prizes**

Recently I was sent a lovely pack of chocolates to try thanks to Product Talk by Nuffnang. And these weren't just any chocolates but the new AntiOx Chocolate and Snack Bar range from Vitality Brands.

As I've mentioned before we have been cutting out refined sugar which has meant chocolate has been mostly off-limits. So I was really interested to try the AntiOx range as not only is it 70% cocoa and packed with antioxidants, it is also naturally sweetened with stevia.

The range includes both blocks of chocolate and snack bars, all of which are made with sugar-free dark chocolate. I received 2 x 80 gram blocks of dark chocolate, one with Goji and the other with Acai. I also received 3 x snack bars - Goji, Acai and Chia & Quinoa.

Both goji and acai are considered super fruits because of their nutritional properties. Goji berries contain a very high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins and essential minerals and are also rich in vitamin C. Acai berries have a higher antioxidant capacity than any known berry, with over 16 phytonutrients and antioxidants. When combined in a bar with naturally antioxidant rich 70% cocoa, the result is a hit of antioxidants equivalent to 12 cups of green tea! Pretty impressive.

Even when I was eating sugar I've never been the person to grab a chocolate bar to eat as a snack. So I wondered how I would find a chocolate covered snack bar. When I first opened the snack bars I was hit with a gorgeous berry and chocolate aroma and a taste to match. Yes they are sweet but it's not the cloying sweetness of regular chocolate. Each bar is also packed full of wholegrains and forest fruits and is of course sugar-free, so there is nothing to feel guilty about when indulging in one of these!

I really enjoyed the blocks of chocolate, probably because it is more my style to grab a piece or 2 after dinner than sit down to eat a whole snack bar. The chocolate is smooth and intense and complemented by the tangy fruitiness of the berries. If it happens to boost my immunity and enhance wellbeing over winter than so much the better.

Want to try the AntiOx chocolate range for yourself? Here's how!


I have 2 amazing AntiOx prize packs valued at $30 to give away! Each pack includes:

          6 x AntiOx Snack Bars and
          4 x AntiOx Chocolates.

For a chance to win, simply leave a comment answering this question:

               Why do you want to try the new AntiOx snack bars and chocolate?

The giveaway closes on Friday 28th June and is open to Australian residents only (sorry international readers!). Click here for full terms and conditions.

If you don't happen to win, the lovely people at Vitality Brands are giving away some snack bars through their Facebook page! Just follow the link to the Winter Snack Bar Giveaway.

Check back tomorrow to see how I used some of my AntiOx chocolate in a delicious and intensely chocolatey dessert!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pumpkin Fruit Cake

Pumpkin fruit cake - wheat, dairy and refined sugar free -

{Wheat Free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free}

It isn't often I find a recipe one day, bake it the next and am already planning when to make it again! But this Pumpkin Fruit Cake from The Healthy Chef was calling my name the moment I saw it.

I was looking for something sweet but healthy to bake for after kindy, that was also nut-free to include in Oscar's lunch box the next day. This recipe was not only easy but I already had all the ingredients.

I adore pumpkin baked goods but unless I happen to have leftover steamed pumpkin already in the fridge I can never be bothered to make them. This recipe however, just calls for grated raw pumpkin. Genius! The end result was identical to cakes that use pumpkin puree. It was mixed and in the oven in about 5 minutes.

The taste test ...

YUM. Incredibly moist, subtly spiced and filled with little bursts of extra sweetness from the sultanas. We ate half the loaf warm from the oven and stashed the rest for snacks. I will be making it again next week!

Excuse the bad photo. It's a dreary grey day here, not great for photos but perfect for cake.

Pumpkin Fruit Cake
Adadpted slightly from The Healthy Chef

250 g grated raw pumpkin (2 cups)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup rice malt syrup
¾ teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 big handful organic natural sultanas
1 cup (150 g )wholemeal spelt flour

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/ 150 C fan forced. Grease and line a loaf pan (mine was pyrex).

Combine the raw pumpkin, eggs, vanilla, oil, zest, rice malt syrup, bicarb, baking powder, spices and sultanas in a mixing bowl. Fold through the spelt flour.

Spoon into a prepared tin and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, covering the top with foil if necessary (mine was done in exactly 1 hour, no covering required). The cake will spring back when pressed lightly.

Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning out.

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