Wednesday, June 29, 2016
I don't want to start by talking about the weather but boy has it been cold! Winter has well and truly arrived here finally and we've been enjoying being all rugged up with coats and scarves and eating lots of yummy warming soups and casseroles.
We've also been having a lot of hot chocolate lately, and I've started experimenting with different combinations of milk to find just the right one. This is the best one yet!
As a kid Jaffas were my favourite chocolate and I got a bag every time we went to the movies (I'm sure I must have been delightful after all that sugar!). To me the combination of chocolate and orange is always a winner. In fact I made myself a Choc-Orange birthday cake last year, have you seen it?
This jaffa hot chocolate is rich and creamy and oh so flavourful. My boys absolutely loved it and ask for it every morning. I can see this becoming a bit of a family tradition!
Dairy-free Jaffa Hot Chocolate
3 cups rice milk
1 cup coconut cream
2 tbs raw cacao
2 tbs coconut sugar (or sweeten to taste)
3 strips of orange rind (use a peeler to peel off nice wide strips)
Place all ingredients into the thermomix and heat for 6 minutes / 60 degrees / REV / SP 2.
No thermomix? Just place all ingredients into a medium pot and stir over low-medium heat with a whisk, until the cacao and coconut sugar have dissolved and it is hot enough for you.
Do you have a favourite Winter drink?
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
I gave up dairy cold-turkey in December 2013 and honestly it was really hard. Not just giving up a food I loved, but the fact that dairy hides in so many foods that you wouldn't expect!
It was the right thing to do for the sake of bub's reflex and dairy intolerance (and for my health too) but I was completely addicted to dairy and ate loads of it - milk, cheese, cream, ice cream, you name it.
At first I just completely avoided it and didn't look for alternatives but as time went on, I started really missing the creaminess that only dairy gives. I perfected dairy-free ice cream and dairy-free lasagne a while ago, which brought macaroni and cheese to the top of the list. It's one of my husband's favourite meals and he has mentioned it often over the past few years.
After a bit of experimentation, mac and cheese is back on the table!
So while this is not exactly the same as the original it is creamy, full of flavour and has a delicious cheesiness from the nutritional yeast. It is the ultimate comfort food and the kids will never know there are hidden veggies.
We LOVE this dish and it's become a regular feature on our meal plans.
If you're dairy free give it a go and let me know what you think!
Best Ever Dairy-free Macaroni and Cheese
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
375ml rice milk
3 tbs spelt flour
2 tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 ts garlic powder
1/2 ts onion powder
1/2 ts turmeric
140 diced sweet potato
140g diced pumpkin
500g macaroni, cooked per packet instructions
Crispy bacon and fresh parsley to garnish
Put the water on to boil for the macaroni. Add the macaroni and cook as per packet instructions while the sauce is cooking.
Place the sweet potato and pumpkin into the bowl and chop for 8 secs / SP 8 or until very finely chopped.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add all remaining ingredients. Cook for 12 minutes / 100 degrees / SP 4.
The sauce should be smooth but if it's not, puree for 30 secs / slowly increasing from SP 3 - 9.
Drain the macaroni and return to the pot. Pour over the sauce and mix well.
Serve topped with crispy bacon and fresh parsley.
Monday, June 20, 2016
Well, where has June gone?? I didn't mean for the blog to become a ghost town this month but between exams and assignments and just daily life with 3 children I've been really stretched this month!
But there is no way I would miss out on my Secret Recipe Club post! Each month members are assigned a blog in secret to peruse and choose something to share on the reveal day. This is my second month as a member of Group C and I am loving discovering all these new blogs!
This month I was assigned Where is my spoon? by Adina. Adina is Romanian but has lived in Germany for the past 10 years with her husband and 2 young children. Her recipes really reflect this European heritage and I spent many happy hours on her blog. There were literally dozens of very European recipes I would love to make - German Schnitzel, Transylvanian Yeast Cake and Linzer Torte just to name a few. But then I also loved her kid friendly recipes like homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter and the delightfully named Magical Soup for Children.
As Winter has finally arrived here I was looking for some serious comfort food and Adina's Garlic Chicken with Polenta ticks all the boxes. A simple but intensely flavourful meal, nothing fancy or complicated but so delicious that everyone is licking their fingers and asking for seconds. Adina describes it as a typical Romanian dish and something that her grandmother would have made. Perfect.
These photos really don't do it justice (it was pouring rain and very dark) but this was SO DELICIOUS! I made a few small changes to the sauce, just reducing it down a little and cooking out the garlic a little more to suit my kids' tastes.
I love simple food like this that when cooked with a little care become so much more than the sum of its parts.
Slightly adapted from Where is my spoon?
For the chicken:
8 chicken drumsticks
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 ts sweet paprika
1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley, divided
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbs butter
salt and pepper to taste
For the polenta:
1 litre water
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 ts salt
Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based frying pan.
Fry the chicken pieces until browned on all sides.
Pour over the chicken broth, sprinkle on the paprika and half the chopped parsley.
Bring to the boil then lower the heat and simmer with the lid on but just ajar slightly to let some of the steam escape. Turn the chicken in the broth several times while cooking for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
(Start the polenta now).
Remove the chicken pieces to a dish and cover with foil to keep warm while you prepare the sauce.
Add the crushed garlic to the pan, increase the heat and simmer rapidly with the lid off for about 10 minutes or until it has reduced by half. Add the butter and stir to combine. Strain the sauce through a sieve into a jug, then return the sauce to the pan along with the chicken pieces.
Coat the chicken in the sauce, sprinkle over the remaining parsley and serve with polenta.
To make the polenta:
Bring the water and salt to the boil in a large heavy based pot. Once boiling add the polenta in a steady stream, along with the oil and cook over low heat, whisking often for 30-40 minutes or until cooked through.
Thank you for a wonderful month, Adina – this recipe is a keeper!
Thursday, June 9, 2016
When I first got into cooking again as an adult I was all about trying new things, sourcing new ingredients and making every meal spectacular. I now have 3 young children and while I still want delicious food, my priorities have definitely changed!
What I look for now is - how long is this going to take me to make when I have a dozen other things I need to do right now? how many ingredients do I need to search for in the supermarket when I have a fussy, whingy toddler in the trolley trying to grab everything off the shelves? will my kids actually eat this or am I wasting my time?
One-pot dinners and one-bowl bakes - those words are music to my ears!
While I have made a hundred different banana breads this one is my simplest yet. Real ingredients, nothing fancy and just one bowl. Hallelujah.
I did this in the Thermomix (which to me is the epitome of one-bowl cooking) but a large bowl, a fork and a spoon will do the job just as well.
My husband scored a 15kg box of bananas for just $7 on the weekend so we have bananas coming out our ears at the moment. Most of these have been peeled and frozen so I am down to the last couple of bunches which are getting nice and brown and spotty, perfect for banana bread.
So here you go, the simplest wholefood banana bread around. This recipe is a keeper!
One-Bowl Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas (250g peeled)
2 extra large eggs
1/3 cup oil (coconut, macadamia or olive oil)
1/3 cup sweetener (rice malt syrup, honey or maple syrup)
1/4 cup milk (rice, almond or coconut)
1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
3 ts baking powder
1 ts cinnamon
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius / 150 degrees fan-forced. Grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper.
In a large bowl mash the bananas, then add the eggs, oil and sweetener and beat together until smooth (TMX - 10 secs / SP 6).
Add the remaining ingredients and fold together until just combined (TMX - 10 secs / SP 3 - scrape down the sides and repeat if you need to).
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until it is golden brown and the tops springs back when you press lightly.
Remove from the oven and leave in pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Delicious still warm from the oven or cold in lunchboxes.
Have you scored any amazing fruit and veg bargains lately?
What would you do with 15kg of bananas??