Monday, August 15, 2016

Peanut Butter Loaf (SRC)

Gluten free peanut butter loaf cake - from

It's Secret Recipe Club time again! Is it just me or does it seem like each month is going by faster and faster these days? For those counting there are only 4 more SRC reveals until Christmas!!

Anyway, for those who are new here, every month SRC members are assigned a blog in secret to choose a recipe from, then we all post on the same day. Today is reveal day for group C.

This month I was assigned Our Eating Habits by Jamie - a Disney-obsessed, Christmas-loving mother of 3 from Calgary. Jamie actually had my blog last month so it was extra fun looking through hers this month. Jamie also homeschools her kids which I find so fascinating because that's pretty rare here in Australia. She has also posted loads of restaurant reviews which I had a look through even though I am on the other side of the world!

Jamie has so many recipes to choose from that she has divided her recipe index into 2 categories - cooking and baking. I started making a list of possible recipes but it got a little out of hand so I will share just a few that caught my eye.

Firstly, my kids would go crazy for Spaghetti Tacos, this Sweet Shepherd's Pie is a great twist on a classic, I'm always looking for interesting vegetable side dishes and the Broccoli with Asian Garlic Sauce and Cumin Honey Carrots sound delicious, and lastly Kung Pao Chicken which I've never seen on a menu here but it always seems to feature on American TV shows for some reason.

I moved over to the baking section and bookmarked these Molasses Muffins. Then I noticed Jamie has not one, but two recipes for peanut butter loaf - Amish Peanut Butter Loaf and Peanut Butter Loaf. I've never heard of this before but we love our peanut butter around here so I had to give it a try!

Basically this is exactly what it sounds like, a loaf cake made with peanut butter. If you love peanuts and peanut butter, this loaf is for you!

Peanut butter loaf - gluten and dairy free - from

I'm still doing my gluten-free experiment so I made it gluten free and swapped out the sugar for rice malt syrup as well. I also added a scattering of peanuts over the the top for some extra crunch.

Peanut butter loaf with strawberry jam - gluten and dairy free - from

This was a huge hit with my boys! Seriously, my husband missed out completely because it was completely devoured for afternoon tea before he got home. I used my own blend of gluten free flour and it made a moist, chewy loaf with a crispy crust. So delicious! I was imagining it would be amazing toasted but it didn't last long enough for me to find out! Guess I will just have to make it again.

Peanut butter loaf with strawberry jam - gluten and dairy free - from

We usually buy freshly ground natural peanut butter but we only had peanuts in the pantry so I made my own peanut butter for this recipe. I used the Thermomix but any high powered blender or food processor will work. If you are using regular peanut butter you might want to adjust the amount of sugar or salt you use in the loaf.

Homemade Peanut Butter

160g roasted natural peanuts
15g coconut oil

Place the peanuts into the Thermomix bowl and chop 15 seconds / SP 8. Scrape down the sides, add the coconut oil and process for 6 seconds / SP 6. Makes exactly 2/3 cup needed for this recipe.

Peanut Butter Loaf - Gluten, Dairy and Fructose Free
Adapted from here and here

2/3 cup natural peanut butter
110g rice malt syrup
1 cup rice milk
2 cups gluten free plain flour
1 tbs gluten free baking powder
1/4 ts sea salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees F. Grease and line a standard loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.

Beat together the peanut butter, syrup and milk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and fold through until well combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for approximately 50 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack before serving sliced with strawberry jam.

Thank you for a great recipe, Jamie - this one is a keeper!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Dairy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

Creamy dairy-free strawberry ice cream - from

We're having a public holiday here today in honour of the Ekka, otherwise known as the Royal Queensland Show. Gotta love a day off in the middle of the week!

I have such fond memories of going to the Ekka as a child - catching the train in with huge crowds of people, feeding the animals, climbing into the rickety stands to watch the dog show, eating a dagwood dog and a strawberry sundae.

We've never actually taken the kids to the Ekka and we're not going this year either. Mr 2 still has a daytime sleep and also broke his arm a few weeks ago so has a sling on. It all seems too hard. Next year the boys will be 8, 6 and 3 which I think will be perfect for them to handle a full day out and enjoy all the different activities.

I have to say, ice cream has always been my weakness. Back when I was a bit of a sugar addict I would easily eat a tub a week (if not more). Terrible right? Well it's now been almost 3 years since I ate commercial ice cream. And I'm totally ok with that.

The ice cream they use for the strawberry sundaes at the Ekka is actually great quality, so perhaps next year my kids will experience the joy of having one.

Until then though my dairy-free strawberry ice cream will definitely satisfy everyone.

dairy free strawberry ice cream - from

I made this ice cream a little differently than I have in the past. I know from past experience that adding strawberries can really water down the mixture making it very icy, or leave you with pebbles of rock hard frozen strawberry that will break your teeth.

This time I was careful to make the custard base extra thick and creamy and use very ripe strawberries for maximum flavour.

The result?

Just divine. Smooth and creamy ice cream with big strawberry flavour. The kids declared it to be 'the best ice cream ever' (although they do have short memories because my chocolate ice cream formerly held that lofty honour).

This really was so simple to make.

If you don't have a Thermomix, I would recommend beating the eggs, syrup and arrowroot together in a large bowl until smooth. Warm the coconut milk and vanilla in a medium pot then pour over the egg mixture and whisk together well, then pour the mixture back into the pot and stir over medium heat until the custard has thickened. The follow the instructions below for adding the strawberries, churning and freezing.

Dairy-free Strawberry Ice Cream

500g strawberries (washed, stems removed, halved)
150g rice malt syrup, divided
500ml coconut milk (full fat, from a tin)
4 egg yolks
60g arrowroot powder
2 ts vanilla extract

Place the strawberries and 40g of rice malt syrup into the mixing bowl and blend for 10 seconds / SP 5. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Without washing the bowl, add all remaining ingredients and cook for 7 minutes / 90 degrees / SP 4. It will be very thick and creamy.

Remove the lid and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Add the strawberry puree and blend for 5 seconds / SP 4.

Place into the fridge to cool completely (several hours).

Pour into ice cream maker and churn as per manufacturer's instructions - about 20 minutes.

Enjoy straight away as soft serve or pour into a glass container and freeze for a few hours until firm enough to scoop.

Linked up to Thriving on Thursdays.

Do you have a favourite food memory from your childhood?

Monday, August 8, 2016

Peanut Butter and Coconut Dhal

Peanut Butter and Coconut Dhal - vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free - from

I am so much more of a cold-weather girl. I love hot tea, fluffy doonas, boots and striped scarves. I live in jeans pretty much year round anyway but in winter it's actually justified!

Of course the other thing to love about cold-weather is food that feels like a big warm hug. Unlike Summer when it gets so hot you lose your appetite and can't be bothered to cook. Ugh.

My top 3 comfort foods (in no particular order) would have to be mashed potato dripping with butter, steamed pudding with custard and a good curry. I'm slightly devastated that my husband and kids haven't got the same love for mashed potato as I do - perhaps I overdid the mash when the kids were little! They of course love pudding though and luckily we all love curry, which is why we have one at least once a week.

This coconut and peanut butter dhal was born of the desire to cut back on the meat a little and to broaden our curry horizons. Chicken korma, beef madras and curried sausages all feature regularly so it was time for a change.

This is truly one of the most delicious things you can eat in Winter - warmly spiced, creamy and hearty even on the coldest days. Lentils are incredibly cheap and a great source of protein and fibre and they soak up curry flavours like nothing else.

This was a huge hit as-is with the kids, but if you like it spicy you could definitely add some chili to taste. The dhal is quite soupy first made but turns into more of a mashed potato consistency the next day and it reheats beautifully with just a little coconut milk added.

So in honour of Meat-free Monday, or just anytime you feel like a curry, why not give this one a go!

My Coconut and Peanut Butter Dhal

1 large onion
4 cloves garlic
20g ginger
2 tbs coconut oil
1 ts salt
500mlvegetable stock
400ml coconut cream
250g red lentils
1 tbs turmeric
2 ts cumin
2 ts coriander
2 heaped tbs peanut butter

To serve:
roasted peanuts, rice and fresh coriander

Thermomix - place the onion, garlic and ginger into the mixing bowl and chop 4 seconds / SP 7. Add the coconut oil and salt and cook for 8 minutes / VAROMA / SP 1. Add all remaining ingredients and cook for 30 minutes / 100 degrees / SP 1.

No Thermomix? Finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger then saute in a large pot over medium heat in the coconut oil until translucent. Add all remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked through and the dhal has thickened.

Serve with rice and greens, topped with roasted peanuts and some chopped fresh coriander. Delicious!

Serves 4-6

What's your ultimate Winter comfort food?

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