Monday, September 30, 2013

Chickpea Salad with Curried Yoghurt Dressing (Secret Recipe Club)

Pan-fried Chickpea Salad with Curried Yoghurt Dressing ©

For this month's SRC I was delighted to be assigned The Wimpy Vegetarian blog by Susan. I've been on a real mission this year to increase the veggies in our diet and have been searching for more creative meatless recipes that will keep my husband and kids happy.

I can really relate to Susan who says that while meat and fish will never be totally gone from from her diet they are now no longer 'the main event.' A few years ago I could have quite easily gone vegetarian. I rarely ate red meat and only ate chicken or fish very occasionally. I don't think I would have missed it in the slightest. But pregnancy certainly fixed that, and I have been particularly carnivorous this time around! It will be interesting to see whether my old eating habits reassert themselves afterwards.

I was really spoilt for choice with Susan's blog and there were literally dozens of recipes, both sweet and savoury, that I would have liked to make. However as long-time readers will know we love chickpeas and curry around here so her Pan-fried Chickpea Salad with Curried Yoghurt was really calling my name!

Susan said she likes this at room temperature or slightly warm but I made this ahead of time and had it cold for dinner and again for lunch the next day and it was amazing. Such a fresh, zingy blend of flavours and so filling. I would happily eat this for lunch any day of the week!

I made only minor changes to the recipe, using all lime juice instead of lime and lemon and I left out both the harissa and olives simply because I didn't have any. I also doubled the recipe and that's what I have included below. We are coming into Summer here and I can see this being a regular feature on our menu, particularly for my lunches when I will be home with 3(!) kids and needing a hearty meal to get me through the day.

Pan-fried Chickpea Salad with Curried Yoghurt Dressing
Adapted from The Wimpy Vegetarian

Chickpea Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
Juice and zest of 1 lime
3 cups rocket/arugula

Curried Yogurt Dressing
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 bunch chopped coriander
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium-sized pan over medium-high heat, heat up the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté until the onion starts to soften. Make sure the cooked chickpeas are dry, and add to the skillet along with the salt and pepper. If the chickpeas are wet, you can get some splatter with the hot oil.

Saute until the chickpeas begin to lightly brown and the onions are soft, stirring frequently – about 5-7 minutes. Stir through the lime juice and zest and remove from the heat. Immediately transfer the mixture to a bowl, and let cool to room temperature, or just a little warmer than room temp if that's how you intend to serve it.

While the chickpea mixture is cooling, make the Curried Yogurt Dressing by combining the yogurt, curry powder, lime juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

When the chickpea mixture has cooled, add about ¾ of the rocket and coriander and fold in half of the Curried Yogurt Dressing until the chickpeas are completely coated. Place remaining rocket and coriander over the top and drizzle with additional dressing as desired.

This salad can be served at cold, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

Secret Recipe Club

Monday, September 23, 2013

Banana Bread (Wheat, Dairy, Sugar and Nut Free)

Easiest Banana Bread (Wheat free, Dairy free, Sugar free, Nut free) ©

I have been attempting to bake extra batches of things lately to stash in the freezer for after-baby. While I really should be focusing on dinners I can't seem to stop baking! I've had 2 very ripe bananas burning a hole in my fruit bowl (so to speak) so when I saw The Natural New Age Mum post a blog on not 1 or 2 but 8 different banana bread recipes, their fate was sealed!

The one I chose and adapted was from Mamacino, another favourite blogger of mine. While bananas are high in fructose I made it lower by using dextrose instead of regular sugar along with a few other little changes. It was absolutely delicious! Really moist and with a great banana flavour. The kids and I loved it and we still have over 1/2 the loaf in the freezer.

This one's a winner!

Easiest Banana Bread
(Wheat, Dairy, Sugar and Nut Free)
Adapted from Mamacino

1 cup white spelt flour
½ cup wholemeal spelt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 mashed bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius. Grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, bananas and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until it is just combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared pan.

Bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until the top springs back and a skewer comes out clean when you test it. Leave in the pan for five minutes and turn out to cool on a rack.

Lovely warm from the oven with a big smear of butter (if not dairy-free) or slice and freeze to make wonderful toast.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Profiteroles (Baking with Julia)

Profiteroles with Cinnamon Icecream and Chocolate Sauce ©

I used to be obsessed with profiteroles and growing up I always wanted a croquembouche wedding cake. When it came to it we ended up having an awesome cupcake tower but I still love my profiteroles!

These were not my finest moment. In order to make them child and preggo friendly I left out the espresso and made regular profiteroles. I couldn't find a plain piping tip so had to use a star one and they came out a little odd looking (although they did puff up beautifully). I only used 1/2 ts cinnamon in my eggless ice cream and it had a really blah could-have-been-anything flavour, and then I decided to use a simple cocoa glaze rather than chocolate sauce and made it too thin.

BUT put those 3 less than perfect elements together and it was delicious. The fact that I immediately ate 2 with all the trimmings says they couldn't have been too bad!

To see what everyone else thought don't forget to check the LYL page!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sweet Berry Fougasse (Baking with Julia)

Sweet Berry Fougasse (Baking with Julia) ©
Another choose your own adventure week at Baking with Julia, with a choice of Blueberry Muffins or Sweet Berry Fougasse. I was all set to make the muffins but then I actually read the other recipe and was intrigued.

So what is a fougasse? It turns out to be a sweet foccacia, this one topped with berries and a crumbly streusal topping. Sounds yummy right? I figured it would make a wonderful breakfast, so I made it for Fathers' Day on Sunday and it was a big hit.

I have made foccacia many times but had never rested the dough in the fridge for 24 hours first as per this recipe, so wasn't sure what to expect. I have to say I'm not sure it really made a big difference, apart from the yeasty smell of the fermentation turning my stomach a little (if you're not preggo maybe you wouldn't even notice that though!)

All 3 of my taste testers really enjoyed these warm from the oven, and after a quick microwave they were still really good the next day, although the streusel had lost some of its crispiness.

If you would like to bake your own Sweet Berry Fougasse (and you really should) you will find the recipe here.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Happy Fathers' Day + No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake ©

Happy Fathers' Day to all the dads out there!

This year Fathers' Day has fallen a mere 2 days after my and my husband's birthdays (yes we have the same birthday!). I wanted to make sure we celebrated both occasions properly without going overboard so I decided we would skip a birthday cake this year and just go with something extra yummy for dessert for Fathers' Day.

This has worked out perfectly as we went out for dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant for our birthday and between dinner and dessert we definitely didn't need cake as well!

I have been tossing up dessert ideas for weeks now but when it came to the crunch it had to be chocolate. My husband is a die-hard chocaholic and I'm known as the cheesecake queen around here, so really what else would I make? Ha!

This is an easy no-bake cheesecake which has a lovely creamy texture and a deep chocolate flavour. It is fructose free (as I am attempting to do whenever I bake these days) but you could easily substitute in regular sweet biscuits for the base and normal sugar for the filling, but maybe just cut it back a little.

I made this the day before and allowed it to chill overnight which I think gives the best results, although it would be set in as as little as 4 hours if you were pushed for time.

Served with fresh strawberries it was the perfect finish to our Fathers' Day lunch of Beef and Guinness Pie with mushy peas. Yum!

No Bake Chocolate Cheesecake Slice ©

No-Bake Chocolate Cheesecake
Recipe by me

For the base:
150g plain sweet biscuits (mine were sugar-free from Aldi)
50g almond meal or LSA
50g dessicated coconut
1/4 cup raw cacao
110g melted butter

For the filling:
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups cream
1 cup dextrose (or regular white sugar if preferred)
2 ts vanilla extract
150g dark chocolate, melted
4 ts gelatine
1/4 cup hot water

Extra chocolate to decorate, optional

Line the base of an 8 inch spring-form pan with baking paper and set aside. Using a food processor, crush the biscuits into a fine crumb. Add the other dry ingredients and pulse to mix. Add the melted butter and blitz until well combined. Pour the crumbs into the prepared tin and smooth over the base and about halfway up the sides. Place in the fridge to set.

Sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water and allow to bloom (it will become thick and lumpy). Microwave on high for about 20 seconds until it is fully dissolved then set aside to cool.

Wipe out the food processor bowl then add the cream cheese and whiz until smooth. Add the dextrose and process for another minute or so until it is dissolved. Scrape the sides then add the cream, vanilla and melted chocolate and process for another minute. Finally add the cooled gelatine mixture and whiz for 2 minutes until thoroughly combined.

Pour over the prepared base then refrigerate until set, a few hours at least or overnight. Decorate the top with extra grated chocolate and serve with sliced strawberries. Serves 8-10.

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