Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Starting School and Sultana Oat Biscuits

Sultana Oat Biscuits © www.foodbabylife.com
Today is a big day in our family as our eldest is starting school! While this year is called different things around the country here in Queensland this first year of school is called prep and is for kids who will turn 5 by the 30th of June.

Whatever you call it, it is the end of an era for us and the start of a new exciting chapter for Oscar!

We have been preparing for months getting school uniforms bought, washed and labelled, school books covered and the all-important lunch box chosen. After much deliberation I went with a medium size Fridge to Go lunch bag, a stainless steel lunchbots trio container and a 4 My Earth sandwich wrap and snack pocket. I bought all of these on Lime Tree Kids (my favourite online kids store) but they are available at other places. All of these should last him for years and I'm happy to be moving away from plastic to more environmentally friendly products.

At Oscar's school they eat 3 times in first term then twice a day after that. This means we need to send a piece of fruit for mini munch, lunch and a snack. For this first week I thought a yummy cookie would be perfect for his afternoon snack as it only has to keep him going for the hour or so until he gets home and I can bake and freeze ahead of time.

I came up with these Sultana Oat Biscuits using ingredients I had in the pantry. While I am baking without wheat and dairy most of the time these days, Oscar doesn't have any allergies and these are sugar free, contain wholemeal flour and will give him a good energy hit from the sultanas.

Good luck to all the preppies and their mums/dads today!

Sultana Oat Biscuits
Recipe by me

125g butter, softened
1 tbs stevia (I used Natvia)
1 ts vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 ts baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

Cream the butter and stevia together until pale, add the vanilla and egg and beat until thick and smooth. Fold through the dry ingredients until well combined. Roll spoonfuls of dough into 16 balls and place on 2 trays. Flatten each ball with damp fingers.

Bake for approx 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. They will be soft at first but will firm up when cool.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pistachio Crumbed Chicken with Raspberry Soy Sauce (Secret Recipe Club)

Happy new year everyone and welcome to my first Secret Recipe Club post of 2014!

So my blogging has been a little sporadic to say the least over the past couple of months. Who would have thought that 3 little boys would keep me so busy! My littlest boy is now 3 months old and sleeping pretty well so I am finally starting to feel more like myself and more motivated to get back into the kitchen.

This month for SRC I was assigned My Judy the Foodie by Shari. I love the idea behind this blog, with Shari cooking her way through her mother Judy's recipes as a way of remembering her and preserving her culinary prowess.

I can really relate to Shari as I lost my mum to cancer in 2008 and actually started this blog within a few weeks of her passing. While she didn't love cooking she certainly encouraged me and loved eating anything I made. I know she would have loved me blogging.

While Shari has some delicious sounding sweets on her blog I am on a healthy-eating kick at the moment to shift some baby weight so decided to stick with a main meal. The one I chose, Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Raspberry Soy Sauce, had me so intrigued I just had to make it!

I sent my husband out to buy the ingredients for this one and we both had mini heart attacks at the price of pistachios - about $60/kg!!! So we got just 1 cup of un-shelled pistachios and made up the rest of the quantity with mixed nuts. The end result was still really tasty with that gorgeous pistachio green colour. I would however recommend blitzing the nuts in a food processor for a smoother crumb. I crushed mine very carefully with a rolling pin so as not to wake the baby!

I was a little dubious about the sauce, I mean who mixes raspberry jam with soy sauce and horseradish? I will admit to having a little taste of the sauce on its own and wondering whether I'd made a huge mistake. But Judy was onto something because when it was poured over the chicken it was delicious! I served it with sweet potato mash and it made a really lovely dinner.

Recipe Pistachio Crusted Chicken with Raspberry Sauce
Adapted from My Judy the Foodie

500g chicken thigh fillets
garlic powder
olive oil for frying
sea salt
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup flour
1.5 cups crushed pistachio nuts
250g jar of raspberry jam (mine was St Dalfour 100% fruit)
90mls low salt soy sauce
2 ts of white horseradish from a jar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Season the chicken with garlic powder and sea salt. Dip the chicken fillets into a bowl filled with flour, then into a bowl full of beaten eggs. After chicken is fully coated with egg wash, place in a bowl with the crushed pistachio nuts and cover completely.

In a large fry pan over medium high heat, fry the chicken pieces in about ¼ cup olive oil until both sides are golden, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

Remove the pieces from the pan and place on a baking tray and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through.

To make the sauce, combine the raspberry jam, soy sauce and horseradish in a small bowl and mix completely to desired taste. Heat the sauce if you wish and pour over top baked chicken.

Secret Recipe Club

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Healthy Lamingtons for Australia Day

{Wheat free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free}

Happy Australia Day everyone! The kids are playing, there's cricket on TV and there are lamingtons ready to eat.

It's become our tradition to make lamingtons on Australia day but this year I wanted something a little healthier but still with great chocolate flavour. Amy from The Holistic Ingredient obviously agrees because she came up with these amazing lamingtons so that no one misses out despite any food allergies or intolerances!

I made her exact recipe which you will find on her blog here . The sponge uses almond meal and tapioca flour and relies on beaten eggs and baking powder for the lift. The icing is packed with superfoods like coconut oil and raw cacao rather than your typical butter and icing sugar. So much better for you and really, really delicious!

Having run out of baking powder I found a recipe online to make my own but unfortunately it wasn't hugely successful this time. Perhaps my ingredients were a bit old? The recipe is 1 part bicarbonate of soda, 1 part corn flour and 2 parts cream of tartar, all of which I happened to have in the cupboard. I ended up with a sponge that was light but flat.

Amy recommended slicing the sponge and layering 2 pieces together, but in order to get a more traditional lamington shape I layered 3 together, sandwiched with 100% fruit raspberry jam. I cut my sponge into 24 squares and made 8 lamingtons.

These lamingtons were absolutely scrumptious! Packed with flavour and without any of the ingredients I am trying to avoid, they were exactly what I was hoping to find. This recipe is definitely a keeper!
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