Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Summer Fruit Trifle (Thermomix)

For me trifle is the quintessential Summer, and therefore Christmas, dessert. It was my favourite thing growing up and I remember the excitement of helping mum assemble it with bought jam roll, red and green jelly, tinned peaches and lashings of bright yellow custard. There was nothing better on Christmas Day (although plum pudding with custard did come a close second and there is a story often told of me as a very young child asking for "a big piece please.")

Keeping with our no-roast Christmas lunch this year it went without saying that we would have trifle for dessert. I made a Maggie Beer raspberry and lemon curd one last year and although we enjoyed it I felt it was a bit too tart overall. This year I played around with flavours and came up with this Summer Fruit Trifle which we all LOVED. I will probably still make a few tweaks for next year (I can never leave a recipe alone) but this was pretty close to perfect.

I was too full to have any at lunchtime but I had a small taste at dinner and then a bowlful for breakfast on Boxing Day. Nothing wrong with that!

This is my final post for 2015 and what a year it's been! Looking forward to spending 2016 with you all.  Enjoy x

My Summer Fruit Trifle

Spelt Genoise Sponge 
Recipe from Jude Blereau's Wholefood for Children, Thermomix adaptation by me

130g white spelt flour, sifted
4 large eggs, at room temperature
100g golden caster sugar (made from raw sugar blitzed in the TMX 10 secs / SP 9)
1 ts vanilla extract
40g melted butter

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line the base and sides of an 8 inch cake pan and set aside.

Using the butterfly, whisk together the eggs and the sugar for 10 minutes / SP 4 until thick and pale.

Add the vanilla and beat again for a few seconds.

Remove the butterfly, add the flour and beat for 10 secs / SP 3.

Add the melted and cooled butter and beat again for another 10 secs / SP 3.

Use a spatula to scrape around the edges and fold through any remaining butter or flour.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 20-22 minutes. It will be golden brown, springy in the middle and pulling away from the sides.

Leave to cool completely in the tin. When ready to assemble the trifle, cut the cake into cubes.

Mango Jelly
2 large mangoes, seed and skin removed
2 cups coconut water
2 tbs gelatine (I use Great Lakes brand)

Place the mango flesh into the mixing bowl along with the coconut water and blend for 20 secs / SP 9.

Sprinkle over the gelatine and cook for 3 mins / 60 deg / SP 4.

Pour into a lightly oiled slice pan and place in the fridge. Cut into small cubes when ready to assemble the trifle.

1L rice milk
4 eggs
140g rice malt syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaped tbs arrowroot

Place all ingredients into the mixing bowl and cook for 10 mins / 80 deg / SP 4.5. Pour into a heatproof jug. Cool on the bench for 30 minutes before placing into the fridge to chill completely.

Lemon and Orange Curd
Adapted from Tenina

200g rice malt syrup
zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
240g cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes
2 heaped ts arrowroot 
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks

Place butter into the mixing bowl and chop 5 secs / SP 5.

Add all remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes / 80 degrees / SP 5.

Cook for a further 3 minutes / 90 degrees / SP 6.

Pour into a large glass container. Place in the fridge once cooled.

Assembling the trifle

2 cups raspberries
2 cups sweet, ripe pineapple, cut into small thin slices

To assemble the trifle (best done at least a few hours ahead of time), place alternating layers of cake, fruit, curd, jelly and custard into a large trifle dish, finishing with a layer of custard and a scattering of raspberries over the top. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. 

Serves 8-10

Monday, December 28, 2015

My pre-Christmas Bake-a-thon and the Best Ever Gingerbread

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all had a fabulous day. We enjoyed a lovely relaxing Christmas at home which was perfect as there is no way the boys would have wanted to leave their brand new trampoline behind.

Did anyone else have a Christmas Eve bake-a-thon? I spent most of the day in the kitchen and then crashed in the afternoon before heading out for the evening. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy the baking and cooking (I wouldn't be here otherwise!) it's just the cleanup that gets me down. I am so grateful to have a dishwasher, we couldn't get by without it.

I was trying not to leave everything to the last minute but some things can really only be made the day before, and other things I sort of forgot about so ended up doing those too!

I know you are probably all totally over Christmas food but I wanted to post at least this one recipe so I can keep track and make it again next year (and probably before that too) because it was totally amazing.  

I didn't have much cooking to do this year but I did lots of sweet things.

On Christmas Eve I made 2 types of custard to take to my mother in laws house (the pudding was already prepped thank goodness). Then for our trifle I made a lemon and orange curd, a spelt genoise sponge, more custard and a mango and coconut jelly. Yum! I also made a double batch of this pumpkin gingerbread for our Christmas breakfast, a batch of my dairy-free rum balls and a batch of gingerbread men so the boys would have something yummy to leave for Santa. Whew!!

For me this gingerbread was the absolute highlight of my Christmas baking. It was everything you want in a gingerbread - packed with warm spicy flavour, incredibly moist and tasted even better the next day when you can't be bothered cooking anything. We had it Christmas morning with some homemade peach and chia jam.

While I think it would be more suited for our Christmas in July celebrations rather than a hot summertime Christmas, I would happily eat this any day and am glad to have half a loaf still stashed in the freezer.

Apologies for the less than stellar photo - cake for breakfast waits for no man! Had to snap one quickly and then get it on plates for the hungry horde. 

Best Ever Pumpkin Gingerbread 
Adapted from Simply Recipes

400g white spelt flour
1 1/2 ts bicarb soda
1 tbs ginger
1 tbs cinnamon
1/2 ts nutmeg
1 1/2 ts salt
2 cups pumpkin puree
225g melted butter
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1/2 cup molasses
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees C fan forced. Grease and line 2 loaf pans (mine were pyrex) and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, bicarb, salt and spices.

In a separate large bowl or jug, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold through until just combined.

Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 45-60 minutes (mine was done at 45 minutes so start checking then). It is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Leave in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Delicious served warm with butter but it's even more amazing the next day if you can wait that long.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Menu 2015

Image source

I'm a little later with my Christmas menu planning than I was intending but I've still made it with 4 days to spare!

We spent most of the day today celebrating an early Christmas with my dad's side of the family. As usual the food was spectacular - ham off the bone, maple glazed chicken, quiche and 8 different salads including my Rice Salad, and followed by cheesecake, a chocolate and raspberry ice cream pudding and a very boozy trifle. The kids were spoilt rotten and we also came home loaded with homemade Christmas cake, chutneys, shortbread and rum balls. Whew!

Yet again for the big day though we are going for low-stress and fuss-free so our menu is quite pared back. No roast turkey again this year just lots of seafood, salads and fruit. We are planning on doing a roast pork belly for Boxing Day.

We are going to my mother in law's house for Christmas Eve and then hosting at home for Christmas Day. I'm very excited to have our first Christmas in our new home, plus the boys have a BIG present coming to the backyard on Christmas Eve!!!

Christmas Eve

Cheese, crackers, nuts and truffles

Barbecued chicken and witlof salad
Grilled prawn, chorizo and corn couscous salad
Sweet potato salad
Sourdough rolls

Steamed orange pudding
Dairy-free Custard

Christmas Day

Gingerbread Loaf
Mango smoothies

Pate, crackers and nuts

Seafood platter with tiger prawns, smoked salmon and condiments
Barbecued side of salmon
Crunchy duck fat roast potatoes
Avocado, mango and walnut salad

Dairy-free Mango and raspberry trifle

I still have a few more festive recipes to post over the coming days but now that the official Christmas menu is set I feel ready to go. I'm doing our final Christmas shopping kid-free first thing in the morning and then it should be smooth sailing!

How is your planning going? Any family favourites that you just couldn't have Christmas without?

Sunday, December 13, 2015

My Fruit Mince Tarts

The first day of the school holidays was unexpectedly cool and rainy so what better way to spend it than to with some Christmas baking! My husband has been dropping not so subtle hints for fruit mince tarts over the past few weeks so that was first on my list.

Before I got into my wholefoods groove I used to make fruit mince tarts with packet pastry and a jar of pre-made fruit mince. Not any more. I love making pastry and after a few years of practice I feel like I understand it a little more and can prevent some disasters. And honestly how amazing is homemade pastry?  If you don't feel up to making your own, the Careme brand pastry in Australia is really good and they even have a gluten free version.

I used my go-to spelt pastry recipe and developed my own fruit mince recipe which was SO delicious I couldn't help taking lots of sneaky spoonfuls for 'just to check if it was ready.' Ha!

The kids were hanging around by the oven waiting for them to bake because they smelt so amazing and then each had 3 for afternoon tea. So that's a big tick of approval.

The pastry recipe makes enough for one batch of 12 tarts and I rolled the scraps out into some little biscuits which we snacked while waiting for the tarts to cool enough to eat.

The fruit mince recipe makes enough for 2 batches of 12 tarts and is stashed in the fridge to make some more next weekend. As I was making these for kids I cooked the brandy in with the fruit to get the flavour but cook off most of the alcohol. You can add the brandy at the end once the fruit is cooked for a bit more of a kick.

My Fruit Mince Tarts

Fruit mince:

500g organic mixed dried fruit
5 granny smith apples (peeled, cored and diced)
1 cup fresh orange juice, pulp and all
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1/4 cup brandy
zest of 1 orange
1 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts nutmeg
1/4 ts clove
1/4 ts allspice

Place all ingredients into a pot over medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer until the apple has completely softened and the mixture is thick and sticky. This will take around 20 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and leave to cool completely.


250g white spelt flour
20g coconut sugar
125g cold salted butter
1 egg yolk
2-3 tbs iced water, as needed

Place flour and sugar into the thermomix or food processor and mix just to combine and break up any lumps. Add the butter and process for a few seconds at a time, until the mixture resembles rough sand. Add the egg yolk and 1 tbs iced water and process again for a few seconds at a time until the dough starts to clump together. Add extra water 1 tbs at a time only if needed.

Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and press into a disc. Wrap well and place into the fridge to rest for at least 20 minutes before rolling.

To assemble the tarts:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease a 12 cup tart or muffin tray and set aside.

Roll out about 2/3 of the dough (leave the rest in the fridge) about 3mm thick. Using a round cutter (mine was 7cm), cut out 12 circles for the bases of your tarts. Choose a cutter that is just a little wider than the diameter of each hole in your tray and they will fit perfectly. Press each circle over the base of your prepared tray and set the scraps of dough aside.

Place a teaspooful of fruit mince mixture into each tart base, being careful not to overfil or the edges won't seal. Using your finger, dab some water around the edge of pastry of each tart.

Roll out the remainder of the dough from the fridge in the same way, but use a slightly smaller cutter (mine was 6cm) to cut 12 circles for the tops of your tarts. Place a piece on top of each tart and then use a fork to crimp and seal the edges. Use the fork to pierce the top of each tart to allow steam to escape.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tarts are golden brown and smell amazing. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack. Delicious warm or cold.

Buttery pastry surrounding sweet and spicy fruit, there's a reason these are a classic!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bacon, Spinach and Garlic Pull-apart Bread

Aaaand so it's December! Things have been very quiet around here lately as I attempt to overhaul my blog. After lots of messing around I have ended up with 2 sites that aren't linked up and there's a whole lot of work to get things ready to go. I will keep you posted but I hope to launch in the New Year.

I haven't been doing much cooking of note lately. I've been sick for the past 3 weeks with a throat and chest infection so quite apart from not having enough energy to cook, I also haven't felt like eating. Tragic I know!

But even I can't resist the aroma of freshly baked bread. We've massively cut back on the amount of bread we buy so I've been baking more. Usually just sandwich loaves (recipe to come!) or a quick focaccia but sometimes you just want something a little fancy.

This bacon, spinach and garlic pull-apart was amazing. AMAZING. These sorts of bread are normally dripping with butter and cheese but I needed a dairy-free version and this worked perfectly. It is so packed with flavour from the bacon, garlic and olive oil that you don't miss the cheese, or in fact even notice that you were expecting some.

I made the dough and filling in the thermomix but you absolutely don't need to. Making the dough by hand (or breadmaker or however you normally make dough) and the filling on the stovetop will work just fine, it may just take a bit longer.

Bacon, Spinach and Garlic Pull-apart Bread

450g water, room temperature
1 tbs instant dried yeast
1 ts salt
750g baker's flour
100g extra virgin olive oil

50g extra virgin olive oil
4 rashers bacon, roughly chopped
1 big handful baby spinach or 2 large leaves silverbeet, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed

Grease a 9 inch cake pan and set aside.

TMX instructions to make the dough - place the water and yeast in the mixing bowl and heat for 2 minutes / 37 degrees / SP 2. Add the salt, flour and oil and mix for 6 seconds / SP 6, then knead for 2 minutes / interval setting.

Remove the dough, shape into a bowl and leave to prove in a covered and greased bowl for around 30 minutes, or until doubled in size.

Meanwhile make the filling - in the thermomix add the garlic and chop for 2 seconds / SP 7. Scrape down the bowl, add the bacon and chop for 3 seconds / SP 6. Scrape down the bowl, add the oil and cook for 3 minutes / varoma / SP 2. Add the spinach and cook for 2 minutes / 100 degrees / SP 2. (To prepare filling on the stovetop just chop all ingredients and fry together in the oil for 5 minutes or so until softened and fragrant). Tip the mixture into a heat proof bowl and leave to cool until required.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 degrees F.

To prepare the bread - knock down the dough and tip it out onto a floured surface. Roll out into a large even rectangle, about 1cm thick. Spread over the cooled filling evenly to the edges.

Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into 4cm wide strips. Fold each piece into a concertina and place into the prepared tin, cut side up. Repeat with remaining dough until the tin is full. Leave to prove for another 15 minutes.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes. It will be risen, golden brown and smelling delicious. Leave in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

It's ready to eat as soon as it is cool enough to handle.
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