Monday, April 28, 2014

San Francisco Garlic Fries (Secret Recipe Club)

San Francisco Garlic Fries homemade by

Another month has flown by and it's Secret Recipe Club time again!

This month I was assigned Melissa's blog Fried Ice and Donut Holes. I really love the story behind her blog's name that her Grandpa used to tell them all to behave or they'd be having fried ice and donut holes (aka nothing) for dinner.

Stories about grandpas are making me a little teary at the moment as we got some sad news yesterday that my Grandad passed away. He was 91, married for more than 60 years to my Grandma (who passed away a few years ago) and an all-round great character. Such a great sense of humour, easy way with people and so successful in everything he put his mind to. He will be missed.

Moving on to this month's recipe, I had a great time perusing Melissa's blog and found some real gems including her No-Bake Energy Bites and Buffalo Chicken Shepherd's Pie. But as soon as I saw the fries they were calling my name.

We're still on a bit of a health kick and tend not to buy takeaway anymore BUT that doesn't mean we can't make our own cheaper and healthier versions at home! And these San Francisco Garlic Fries fit the bill perfectly.

We ate these with some gorgeous pan-fried salmon, avocado and salad on Good Friday and it was an amazing meal. These are hands-down the best fries I've ever made. I kept some plain for Charlie (who's 3 and a very fussy eater) but Oscar loved them with garlic and parsley too.

These are a winner!

San Francisco Garlic Fries
Recipe from Fried Ice and Donut Holes

1 kg potatoes
3 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbs fresh parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 230 degrees C / 450 degrees F. Grease 2 baking trays and set aside.

Slice the potatoes into chips and toss in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons of the oil then season them with salt and pepper. Spread the chips in single layers on the prepared baking trays and bake for 30 minutes, or until the fries are tender and lightly browned.

Increase the temperature to 260 / 500 degrees and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so until the fries are dark brown around the edges.

Meanwhile, whisk the remaining  tablespoon of oil with the garlic and parsley in a large bowl. Add the hot fries and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving. Try not to eat them all yourself!

Secret Recipe Club

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Almond and Chia Bliss Balls

Almond and Chia Balls ©

I have become a huge fan of bliss balls in recent months. I love that I can whip up something so tasty, filling and nutritious and just have it stashed in the freezer to grab whenever I want.

Life has become extra busy since Oscar started school and most days I don't have time to eat a proper breakfast before we leave. But there is always time to eat a bliss ball or 2 on the run which keeps me going until we get home and I can take a few minutes to sit down and eat properly. Not exactly ideal when you are breastfeeding but it's certainly better than nothing!

I have made literally dozens of types recently but this one was especially delicious and both the boys love them too.

Bliss ball recipes are very forgiving so if you don't have a particular ingredient you can easily substitute for something else eg, honey for the rice malt syrup, peanut butter for tahini etc.

Almond and Chia Balls
Recipe by me

200g toasted almonds
1/2 cup chia seeds
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup tahini
2 ts vanilla extract
1 heaped tbs coconut oil
2 tbs rice malt syrup
generous pinch sea salt

Place all the dry ingredients into the food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Add the remaining ingredients and process until it comes together in a sticky ball. If the mixture is too dry you can add some extra syrup or a splash of rice milk. Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. Makes approx 20.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oscar turns 5 and a delicious dairy free number 5 cake!

Number 5 cake dairy free chocolate cake ©

This year Easter Sunday was extra special as it was also my Oscar's 5th birthday! Hard to believe how quickly that chubby little bundle from 5 years ago has turned into the handsome, chatty and all-around awesome 5 year old that he is today.

Oscar had his heart set on a big party this year but after we realised that his birthday fell not only in the school holidays but on Easter Sunday it seemed silly to arrange a party that a lot of our friends would not be able to come to. He will get his party next year but this year was all about family and we had a really lovely day.

One of our birthday traditions for the boys is that they get to choose what we have for lunch. Oscar, bless him, chose to have a simple BBQ lunch at home with sausages, marinated chicken, corn and lots of salad. Yep he really asked specifically for salad!

Our other tradition is that I will make whatever cake they choose from our collection of Woman's Weekly kids' cake books. After much deliberation over the past few months Oscar chose a classic number 5 cake and even wanted the same colours they had used.

I felt a little selfish but I didn't want to make a big cake that I couldn't eat so the cake had to be dairy-free. Well it took a LOT of research to find the perfect dairy-free chocolate cake that would be the right texture to carve into a number 5 shape and taste good and possibly be converted to sugar free as well. Whew.

I eventually found one on The Crafting Foodie and it turned out so well we will definitely be using it again in the future. The original recipe was for a 3 layer 9 inch cake but I converted it into a sheet cake and made it sugar free by using rice malt syrup instead of sugar. I also used decaf coffee so the kids weren't bouncing off the walls!

Dark, Rich, Moist Chocolate Cake - Dairy Free
Recipe slightly adapted from The Crafting Foodie

330g plain flour
1 x 500g jar rice malt syrup (1 1/2 cups)
135g cocoa powder
1 tbs bicarb soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups rice milk
1 1/2 tbs white vinegar
1 1/2 cups strong black coffee, hot
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tbs vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 160 degrees fan-forced. Prepare a 23cm x 33cm baking pan by lining it with baking paper then greasing and flouring it.

Sift the flour, cocoa, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.

Combine the syrup, rice milk, vinegar, coffee, oil and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Beat in the eggs.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients then mix on low speed until well combined. The batter will be very thin.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for approximately 50 minutes or until the cake springs back in the middle and skewer comes out cleanly.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes before inverting the pan to release the cake. Allow it to cool completely before icing.

I also did a lot of research on icing, trying to find something healthy that would also work to decorate the cake as I intended. Unfortunately I couldn't find anything quite right and so ended up with a traditional sugar-filled icing made with Nuttelex instead of butter to keep it dairy free. The search will continue for the next birthday cake.

Dairy-free Icing

185g nuttelex
360g icing mixture
1 tbs vanilla extract
food colouring

Place the nuttelex in a food processor or stand mixed and beat until smooth and creamy. Add remaining ingedients and process until smooth and well combined, and the icing is the right consistency to cover your cake. Add a little more icing mixture if it is too runny, or a little non-dairy milk (a few teaspoons at a time) if it is too thick.  This amount made enough to do a crumb coat and a top coat with only about 1/3 cup leftover.

For the stars I bought a pack of white icing and just tinted them to the colours I wanted.

Overall this was a really easy cake which made preparations for the day stress-free and Oscar loved it too which is the most important thing!

dairy free chocolate number 5 cake ©

I'm actually going to reintroduce dairy in the next few weeks to see how Noah reacts (I've only cut it out while breastfeeding) but until then it's nice to know I can still made a great cake and not feel like I'm missing out.

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