Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake ©

Sometimes you just need cake. And with cake it really doesn't need to be fancy to be good. This may be a bit plain in the looks department but it is moist, buttery and scented with vanilla and really, who could ask for more?

We ate ours warm from the oven with lots of my Roasted Strawberry Chia Seed Jam. Absolutely delicious!!!

Wholemeal Vanilla Loaf Cake
Adapted from Lisa Corduff

100g rice malt syrup
130g butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
250g wholemeal flour
150g milk (I used homemade almond and coconut milk)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper and set aside.

Place the butter and syrup into the thermomix bowl and beat for 1 min / SP 4.

Add eggs one at a time while mixing at SP 4 until well combined.

Add all other ingredients and mix for 30 secs / SP 4, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely.

If you don't have a thermomix just use a food processor, stand mixer or electric beaters and follow the same instructions. It may just take a little longer for each step!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches (SRC)

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches ©

It's Secret Recipe Club time again and that means all my fellow Group Ds are revealing their chosen recipes today! This month I was really excited to be assigned Making Miracles by Rebekah. If you haven't checked out Rebekah's blog yet you really should because this woman is AMAZING! Rebekah has been a surrogate 3 times since 2006 (and currently on pregnancy #4) and started her blog to keep a record of her surrogacy experiences. Since then it has definitely evolved to include her own family and lots and lots of food!

I love the names of her recipes too, it makes them really hard to resist - how about some Amazingly Easy and Delicious Ham and Potato Soup, Emergency Chicken or the Best Steak Marinade in Existence?

I nearly went with the Bacon-Wrapped Potato Wedges but in the end though the Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches won me over not only because they sounded absolutely delicious, but because I remembered seeing the movie Chef  last year (did anyone else see it? we loved it!) which was all about Cuban street food including the famous el sandwich Cubano!

This is a super easy meal which takes only minutes to prepare and then the slow-cooker does all the work for you. I use my slow-cooker a few times every week so this was perfect for us. Every time I cook meat like this I wonder why I don't do it more often because it's just SO good! Tender, juicy and packed with flavour.

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches ©
The house smelt amazing all day while the pork was cooking and when it came the taste did not disappoint! I don't eat dairy and I did feel like I was missing out a bit without all that luscious melty cheese but it still tasted fantastic. We all loved these and even better, because I did such a big roast we had lots of leftover pork for lunch the next day and froze the rest for another dinner a week later.

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches ©

Fantastic Cuban Sandwiches
Recipe from Making Miracles

For the roast:
1 x 2kg pork shoulder (this makes lots of leftovers)
6 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 ts oregano or marjoram
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs white vinegar
3 ts salt

For the sandwiches:
Long bread rolls
Sliced Swiss cheese
Sliced ham
Sliced pickles
Honey mustard

To prepare the roast, combine all marinade ingredients together and rub over the pork before covering well and leaving it in the fridge overnight. The next morning place in your crock pot on low for 8-12 hours (mine had about 10 1/2 hours and was perfect).

To assemble the sandwiches, slice the rolls in half and spread a thin layer of the mustard and mayonnaise on the insides. Layer the cheese, ham, pickles and roast pork on one half. Top with another slice of cheese and then the other half of the roll.

Press sandwiches in a panini press until bread is crispy and cheese is melted, about 3-4 minutes on medium-high heat.

Thanks for a great recipe Rebekah. I loved spending some time on your blog! :)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits

Chocolate Chickpea Cookies - free from gluten, dairy and fructose - from www.mywholefoodfamily.c

I know they don't look like much but these Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits are one of the best things I've baked in ages. Seriously! I've made a Magic Bean Chocolate Cake before which we all loved and these biscuits are just as good with their fudgy chocolate middles surrounded by raggedy, crinkly, crispy edges that make it incredibly hard to stop at 1 (or 2).

My kids are always ravenous at the end of the day and afternoon tea often turns into one big grazing session (and yes they still eat a big dinner!). We had an after school function to go to the day I made these so I packed them up and hoped it would be enough to keep them going until we got home. Well, they each ate 3 biscuits and were set. They absolutely loved them but 3 was enough and I didn't get a single 'I'm hungry' the whole afternoon! The chickpeas and oats in these are packed with protein and fibre and they are really satisfying. Next time I will be doubling the recipe and stashing some in the freezer. 

Even straight from the oven there was absolutely no discernible taste or smell of the chickpeas so if you've been on the fence about the whole beans-in-cakes thing give these a go!

Chocolate Chickpea Biscuits - Gluten, Dairy and Fructose Free
Recipe adapted from The Road to Loving My Thermomixer

45g quinoa flakes
80g rice malt syrup*
zest of 1 orange (optional but delicious!) 
400g tin chickpeas
40g raw cacao powder
1 ts vanilla extract
1 ts gluten-free baking powder
100g coconut oil

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Place quinoa flakes into a food processor and blitz for 20 seconds (TMX 20 secs / SP 7). Add all remaining ingredients and process for 30 seconds (TMX 30 secs / SP 5).

Dollop small spoonfuls of mixture onto the prepared trays, allowing some room to spread, and flatten slightly (I often forget to do this).

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing the biscuits on a wire rack to cool completely (or not, they are absolutely delicious warm from the oven!).

* Using RMS is what makes these fructose free but they are definitely not as sweet as the original - if you're not worried about fructose you could use raw honey instead or half-and-half. 

Makes approx 20

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Egg Bake (Dairy Free)

Sweet Potato Bacon and Egg Bake ©

We go through lots of eggs in this house, at least 2-3 dozen or more if I'm doing lots of baking. We love them boiled, scrambled and fried. Turned into omelettes, quiches, custard and french toast.

A quick flick through an old Woman's Weekly cookbook called Cheap & Cheerful and I came across a Kumara, Bacon and Egg Bake. We had everything on hand it was such an easy and delicious dinner! Itwas somewhere between a quiche and a frittata and would work really well if you happened to have some leftover steamed veggies in the fridge already. I used sweet potato and regular potatoes but really you could use anything you have.

We had this for dinner but I think it would be a perfect brunch dish, especially as it could be prepared ahead of time and then popped in the oven at the last minute.

Sweet Potato, Bacon and Egg Bake
Adapted from Cheap & Cheerful (Australian Woman's Weekly, ACP Books, p50-51)

1 large sweet potato (about 500g)
2 large potaotes (about 500g)
5 bacon rashers (about 350g)
8 eggs
1/4 cup milk (I used rice milk)
1 ts ground cumin
2 tbs nutritional yeast

Chop the sweet potatoes and potatoes into a 2-3cm dice and steam until just tender and then set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease a baking dish ( mine was 20 x 26 cm) with olive oil.

Roughly chop the bacon and fry it in a pan over medium heat until just starting to crisp up. Sprinkle over the cumin and toss to combine. Spread the potatoes over the base of the baking dish and scatter the bacon over the top.

Whisk together the eggs, milk and nutritional yeast in a medium bowl and then pour over the potatoes and bacon. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve warm or hot with a green salad.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunshine Soup (aka Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup)

Sunshine Soup (Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup) ©

We've been hit with numerous bouts of colds recently and seemingly permanent runny noses so I've been looking for lots of nutrient rich foods to boost the kids immune systems - fresh juices made on carrots, celery, beetroot, spinach, orange and ginger in the morning and warming drinks with lemon and raw honey in the afternoon when the coughs and sniffles come back.

And now that it seems like Winter is finally on the way (we've dropped into single digits overnight in the last few days) it's soup time!!!

I don't tend to follow recipes for soup, I usually just throw in whatever veggies we have on hand, add some herbs and stock and call it a day. This soup, which my boys called Sunshine Soup because of its gorgeous sunny colour, was the perfect tonic for my big boy who was home sick from school yesterday. As usual I thought I made plenty but it disappeared in record time and I will be making another batch today!

I did this in the Thermomix but you can easily adapt it and I have included alternative directions below.

We all loved this soup. My 18 month old ate more than 1 1/2 cups and wanted more but there wasn't any left!

Sunshine Soup (Carrot, Pumpkin and Sweet Potato)

2 large carrots, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato, roughly chopped
1 big wedge of pumpkin, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2cm piece ginger
2cm piece fresh turmeric OR 1ts dried turmeric
2 1/2 cups water or stock
1 ts vegetable stock paste (only if using water)
1 heaped tbs solid coconut oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

TMX - place the ginger, garlic and fresh turmeric (if using) into the bowl and chop 3 secs / SP 7. Add the coconut oil and dried turmeric (if using) and saute 2 mins / Varoma / SP 1. Add the carrot, sweet potato and chop 15 secs / SP 7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the stock or water and cook 20 mins / 100 degrees / SP 1. Blend 45 secs / sp8, gradually increasing from SP 1 to SP 8. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

If not using a Thermomix, place all ingredients except the water/stock and oil into a food processor and process until finely chopped. Pour into a medium saucepan, add the oil and water or stock. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes or until veggies are tender. Using a stick blender, process the soup until smooth.

Serves 4.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pumpkin Banana Bread

Pumpkin Banana Bread ©

I'm beginning to think I have a bit of an obsession with banana bread. I was too scared to check just how many variations I've posted over the years but I know I've never made a Pumpkin Banana Bread before!

We bought a whole pumpkin last weekend for just $2 and we enjoyed it roasted last night, mashed for lunch today and now baked into a cake. There will also be pumpkin soup made in a few days when it cools down again after a few days of unseasonably hot weather.

Mr Fussy 4yo loves cinnamon and was willing to taste some pumpkin roasted with cinnamon last night (it got a screwed up face) but even he couldn't resist this Pumpkin Banana Bread still warm from the oven and spread with lots of butter. It was the perfect afternoon tea for the kidlets and I can vouch for the fact that it is just as good if not better toasted the next day.

The original recipe had 1/2 cup honey AND 1/2 cup sugar which I replaced with just 1/2 cup rice malt syrup and an extra banana and it definitely sweet enough for us. You may want to increase it a little.

This was incredibly moist, lightly spiced and absolutely delicious. We will be making it again!

Gotta love hidden veggies!

Pumpkin Banana Bread sliced ©

Pumpkin Banana Bread
adapted from allrecipes

3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 large eggs
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
2 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts nutmeg
1/4 ts cloves

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C / 350 degrees F. Grease and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

In a large bowl, stir together the mashed banana, eggs, oil, pumpkin and syrup. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients and then stir these into the banana mixture until just combined (don't over-mix).

Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (mine took 50 - it was huge!) or until the top springs back when touched and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Serve warm or cold. Suitable to freeze.

TMX - place bananas, eggs, oil, pumpkin and syrup into the mixing bowl and blend for 10 seconds / speed 6. Add remainder of ingredients and blend 6 seconds / speed 6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and proceed with baking instructions above.
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