Sunday, 31 March 2013

Chipotle Deviled Eggs with Homemade Mayonnaise

Happy Easter!! Here are my favourite type of eggs. I am so over chocolate.



Chipotle Deviled Eggs with Homemade Mayonnaise

For the Mayonnaise
Adapted from Epicurious
Makes around 3/4 cup of Mayonnaise

1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/4 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt plus more to taste
3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (or use whatever oil you wish)

Instructions

1. Combine egg yolk, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds.

2. Measure the oil into a jug. While whisking the mixture, add a few drops of oil at a time, making sure it becomes completely incorporated before adding the next few drops. Continue until you have used up 1/4 cup of oil, this should take about about 4 minutes. 

3. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup oil in very slow thin stream, whisking constantly, until mayonnaise is thick, about 8 minutes (mayonnaise will be lighter in color). Cover and refrigerate. This can be made up to 2 days ahead. Keep chilled

For the Chipotle Deviled Eggs
Adapted from Pillsbury
Yields 16 servings

8 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tbsp chipotle chilies in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1/8 tsp salt
Paprika to sprinkle

Instructions

1. Place eggs in single layer in 3-quart saucepan; add enough cold water so it is at least 1 inch above eggs. Heat to boiling; remove from heat. Cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain; rinse with cold water. Let stand in ice water 10 minutes.

2. Peel eggs; cut lengthwise in half. Slip out yolks; place in small bowl. Mash yolks with fork until smooth. Stir mayonnaise, lemon juice, onions, chilies and salt into yolks.

3. Place the filling into a piping bag with a large open star piping tip. Fill egg white halves with the egg yolk mixture. Sprinkle with paprika to finish. Place in mini cupcake patties to serve.


These are super yummy! However can't eat them all as they are for a luncheon tomorrow. But on a side note how cute is my new apron! My daddy enjoyed his Easter with us. We went to the Sydney Royal Easter Show today! The baby animals were adorable and my lover became quite fond of the goats.

I wonder if the landlords would mind us starting a baby animal farm in our backyard. Fresh eggs and goats milk would be heavenly! hmmmmmm.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Healthier Coconut Cupcakes- Easter Bunny Edition

These cupcakes are gluten free! And if you wanted to make them without all the toppings they are dairy and refined sugar free too.

But right now it is Easter. And a little sugar over Easter is fine!



Healthier Coconut Cupcakes- Easter Bunny Edition
Makes 18
Cupcakes adapted from Texanerin Baking
Topping adapted from Taste
Ingredients
 
For the Cupcakes
 1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup granulated stevia
10 drops liquid stevia
1/2 cup coconut cream, can shaken
3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Icing
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/3 cup icing sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut

For the topping
32 Strawberries and Cream lollies
32 Blue mini m&ms
18 Red mini m&ms
32 mini white chocolate buttons (I used milky bar brand)
32 tic tacs
Black icing pen


Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 130°C. Line 18 muffin cups with liners or use silicon molds

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Now add the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. 

3. Fill the cupcake liners so that they're almost full and bake for 35 minutes. If the top begins to burn cover with foil. The cupcake when removed should appear moist but the middle should not be runny.

4. Remove from the oven, let the cupcakes cool for 2 minutes in the tins, and then turn the cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before cooling.

5. For the icing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix. The icing should be on soft but spreadable. If you think it is too runny, add more icing sugar and desiccated coconut.

6. Once the cupcakes are cool, spread the icing onto the cupcakes.

7. For the toppings, trim 5mm from one end of each strawberries and cream lolly and place two lollies on top of one cupcake to form the ears. Press 2 blue mini M&Ms onto the cake to form eyes. Press 1 red mini M&M onto the cake to form a nose. Press 2 mini white chocolate buttons below the nose to form cheeks and add 2 tic tacs for teeth. Use the black icing pen to pipe dots in centre of eyes to form pupils. Once your cupcake resembles a bunny it is ready to serve! 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Coq Au Vin- Ma variété préférée


For my birthday last year my lovely friends bought me Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It was perfect considering my love obsession with France. I would of been far better at speaking the language if I didn't hate my high school French teacher so much. Alas. I can still enjoy French food.

Julia Child's cookbook is an amazing encyclopedia of French food however it is not the easiest cookbook to follow. I find that a lot of her recipes are a little outdated, with modifications  available to recreate traditional dishes that suit the modern family. Here is my simplified version of Coq Au Vin or aka, chicken blissfully cooked in red wine. 



Coq Au Vin
Serves 2
Adapted from Vivalinka

Ingredients

3-4 small chicken thighs and 2 drumsticks
500ml red wine (I used Shiraz)
250ml chicken stock
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
150g shortcut bacon, diced
1 large eschallot, thickly sliced
200g cup mushrooms, thickly sliced
2 small carrots, thickly sliced
100g green beans, chopped
1/4 cup amaretto (or you could use whiskey or brandy)
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 tbsp cornflour (optional)
Salt and Pepper to season

Method

1. Preheat oven to 120 degrees Celsius

2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large cast iron casserole dish over medium heat. Fry the bacon for 5 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the pot to a large bowl.

3. Now add the chicken pieces to the pot, turning occasionally for 5 minutes until browned all over. Remove to the same bowl as the bacon.

4. Heat some more oil in the casserole dish and add the eschallot, green beans and carrots and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for another 1 minute,  stirring the whole time not allowing it to burn.

5. Add your amaretto and scrape all the burned bits to incorporate them into your sauce. Return the bacon and chicken with all the juices they collected into the pot, pour in your wine, chicken stock, seasoning and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the mushrooms, cover with a lid and put it in the oven for 40 minutes.

6. After 40 minutes remove carefully from the oven and place back on the stove top over high heat. Adjust the seasoning if needed.  Remove half a cup of liquid into a bowl and add the cornflour to make a paste. Add the paste to the sauce, sitrring until the sauce thickens slightly. Remove the chicken from the pot, and separate among serving plates.  Rapidly boil the remaining liquid down until it has reached a desired consistency. Please note though that this sauce is not meant to be thick. Once satisfied, spoon the sauce and vegetables over the chicken and serve. Bon Appetit!



Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Dessert is my favourite meal. At Christmas time my family go overboard with desserts, there are at least 5 different types to choose from eat. A day where I get 5 desserts is a good day, if not my favourite day of the year.

While indulgent style desserts should be kept for special occasions, if having something sweet after dinner keeps you sane, then go for it, but make it refined sugar free.

This ice cream is oh so lovely, satisfying and dairy and refined sugar free! You will need an ice cream maker though, just the cheap $20 sort you get at kmart to churn the ice cream for you. If you don't have an ice cream maker then put the mixture in the freezer and manually mix every half an hour until set.

Per serve when using coconut milk with 25% coconut cream, this ice cream has 150 calories, 7.2g carbs, 2g protein and 10g fat




Dairy Free Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

2x 400ml cans Coconut milk (with 25% coconut)
2 eggs
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa
30 drops stevia
2-4 tbsp honey, depending on how sweet you would like it

Method

1. Combine the coconut milk, cocoa powder, stevia and honey in a saucepan, stirring over low heat until the mixture is hot to touch but not boiling.

2. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Carefully, pour the coconut milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking as you pour. Once the eggs have been whisked in, return the mixture to the saucepan and stir the mixture constantly, until it has slightly thickened, 5-10 minutes.

3. Once the mixture has thickened pour it back into the large bowl and put in the fridge until the mixture is cold.

4.When the mixture is cold, pour it into your ice cream maker and follow its instructions or put the bowl in the freezer and stir vigorously every 30 minutes for about 2 to 3 hours until it’s set.

5. When ready to eat, remove the ice cream 10-20 minutes before serving to allow it to soften. Enjoy :)


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Breakfast Pizza

Yes. Pizza for breakfast. And it's healthy?! I know right. Please just do yourselves a favour and make this for your next breakfast, you will not regret it.



Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Breakfast Pizza
Serves 4

Ingredients

For the base
3/4 cup oats
2 tbs coconut flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
10 drops stevia
2 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted

Toppings
4 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 banana, sliced
Shredded coconut to sprinkle


Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

2. Grease a medium sized pie pan and line the bottom with baking paper

3. In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the base. Once thoroughly combined pour into the pie pan. Using your fingers press the mixture down so it forms a 'crust.' You want the crust to be about 1cm thick, but this will depend on what size pie pan you are using, if you are using a smaller sized one you may have some left over crust mixture.

4. Now place your crust into the oven for 22-25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before turning the crust out onto a pizza pan.

5. With your crust all ready, top the pizza with the peanut butter, sliced banana and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Now place back into the oven for 5-10 minutes, until warmed through. Remove from oven, cut into quarters and serve.

Note: You can make the crust the night before, so up to the end of step 4, and simply cover with wrap and leave on the counter overnight and resume step 5 in the morning (this is what I did)

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Coconut Crusted Prawn Salad with Honey Chipotle Dressing

I can tell that this current hot and sunny 'summer' weather is going to be the last before Sydney slowly descends into a cold darkness called winter.

To celebrate my partner completing one of the hardest exams you could ever face I set up a summer picnic in our backyard, complete with antipasto, a refreshing salad and sangria. The salad was particularly amazing. It was just bits and pieces all thrown together which by luck worked very well! It tasted like an Australian Summer should.





Coconut Crusted Prawn Salad with Honey Chipotle Dressing
Serves 2 as a main course. Double recipe to serve to larger crowd as a side dish.

Ingredients

For the Prawns
400g prawns, head and shell removed but tails still intact
1/2 shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 cup coconut flour (you could use any type of flour)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Seasoning
Coconut oil, to spray

For the Salad
4 cups shredded baby cos lettuce or lettuce of choice
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup fresh coriander, chopped
1 Lebanese cucumber, diced
1/2 tbsp olive oil (I used garlic infused extra virgin)

For the Dressing
1/2 cup natural yoghurt (unsweetened variety)
2 chilpotle chillies in adobo sauce, finely diced + 1 tsp adobo sauce
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1-2 tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you want it)
Seasoning

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly spray with coconut oil.

2. Place the coconut flour, seasoning and cayenne pepper on a large plate and mix. Place the beaten eggs in a bowl and the shredded coconut on another plate. Take one prawn at a time, cover it with the coconut flour mixture, then dip it it the egg mixture, and finally roll it in the shredded coconut. Once covered place on the baking tray and repeat with remaining prawns.

3. Once complete, lightly spray the prawns with coconut oil and place in the oven for 10 min. Once 10 minutes has past, take the tray out of the oven and turn the prawns over to the opposite side, place the tray back in the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes (it will depend on how big your prawns are), until cooked through.

4. While the prawns are cooking, prepare the salad. Place all chopped and diced salad ingredients in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with a little olive oil.

5. To make the dressing combine combine the yoghurt, lime juice, diced chilpotle chilli and adobo sauce, seasoning and honey in a bowl. Mix until the mixture is completely combined.

6. Once the prawns are cooked, let them cool for 5 minutes and then add them to the salad ingredients. Now add the dressing and mix to combine, and serve immediately while the prawns are still warm. You could also wait until the prawns are cool and serve this as a cold salad. We ate it while the prawns were hot.


This salad was seriously too yummy. Considering making it again next week!


Friday, 22 March 2013

Healthy Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Pie

Pie is such a comfort food. Here is a low fat and low carb adaption of the classic dish, chicken pie.

Per serve which is 1/5th of the pie, it contains 240 calories, 7g of fat, 13g carbs and 34g protein. Compare this to a normal chicken pot pie which has 484 calories, 29g fat, 42g carbs and 13g protein, sacrificing the pastry in this recipe is all worth it.

The crust is made of cauliflower which has been pulsed in a food processor until it resembles 'rice' like grains. The 'crust' gives this pie a different texture compared to the filling, as does pastry, satisfying that crunch that you just don't get from a casserole.



Healthy Cauliflower Crusted Chicken Pie
Serves 5

Ingredients

For the Filling

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic clove, crushed
500g chicken breast fillets, diced
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled, chopped
200g cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons gluten-free cornflour
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, finely chopped
2 tbs dijon Mustard
1 tbs honey
1/3 cup natural yoghurt
Seasoning to taste

For the Crust

1 head cauliflower, florets cut off.
2 tbs milk
1 tbsp horseradish 
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
1/2 cup reduced fat tasty cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

1. For the filling: brown the chicken in a large pan over medium heat with the half the oil until all sides have been evenly browned. Remove from pan.

2. Add the veggies, garlic and remaining oil to the pan and over medium-low heat stir the vegetables until softened, 3-5 minutes.

3. Return the chicken to the pan and add 400mls of the stock, the tarragon, mustard, seasoning and honey.

4. Mix the cornflour with the remaining 100ml of stock, forming a paste, being careful to smooth out any lumps. Add this paste to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil.

5. Once bubbling, reduce the heat to low and continue to stir the chicken filling until the sauce has thickened, about 5 min. Once thickened turn off the heat and stir through the yoghurt. Transfer this mixture to a large oven safe pie dish.

6. For the crust: Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place the cauliflower florets into a microwave safe bowl with the milk. Microwave on high for 6-10 min, stirring every 2 minutes, until the cauliflower feels soft.

7. Transfer the cauliflower to a food processor and blitz on high until it resembles 'rice.' Place the blitzed cauliflower back into the bowl, adding the horseradish, salt and pepper and yoghurt. Stir to combine.

8. Now using a spatula, spread the cauliflower mixture over the filling. You want the crust to be level and about 1cm thick. My cauliflower was quite big so I had left over crust mixture. Now transfer the pie to the preheated oven and cook for 25min, or until the  crust turns a light shade of golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve.

 

The Perfect Berry Protein Pancake

I could eat one of these for breakfast every morning. Not only are they guilt free but they are one of the few morning meals that will keep me full until lunch time.

This recipe makes one large pancake, which is one serve, although you could make multiple smaller sized pancakes also

For one large pancake (this entire recipe) the nutritional values are as follows: 268 calories, 9g carbs (6g which are fibre!), 14.1 g fat and 25g protein, making this pancake a perfectly balanced morning breakfast. Please note the nutritional values will change depending on what type of protein powder and milk you use, the values are calculated with the products I used.




Berry Protein Pancake
Serves 1

Ingredients

1 egg
1 scoop strawberry protein powder (I used Bsc Hydroxy low carb variety, but you could also use vanilla)
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tbs almond meal
3-4 tbs almond milk (or soy or regular milk)
2 tbsp mixed frozen berries (I just used raspberries) + extra to serve
6 drops liquid stevia (1 tbsp granulated stevia)

Instructions

1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl

2. Spray a small fry pan with coconut oil and heat over high heat. Once the pan is very hot, reduce the heat to low-medium and empty the contents of the bowl into the pan, spreading the mixture into a pancake shape. Cook on this side until golden brown, 3-5 minutes and then flip, cooking this side for 3-5 minutes also.



3. Remove from pan and sprinkle with a few extra berries. Enjoy!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Mexican Inspired Turkey Meatball Salad


Mexican Inspired Turkey Meatball Salad
Adapted from The Domestic Man
Makes 2 large servings



For the Meatballs
500g Turkey mince
3 Chipotle Chillies in Adobo sauce, finely diced + 1 tbsp of sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
 2 tbsp fresh coriander (or your could use 1 tbsp coriander paste)
2 tbsp Parmesan cheese
1 egg, beaten
juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp flaxmeal
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (for frying)

For the Dressing
1/2 cup extra light sour cream (or you could use natural yoghurt)
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 lime (1 tbsp)
2 tsp lime zest
1 tbsp fresh coriander (or 1/2 tbsp fresh coriander paste)
1/2 tsp Salt and pepper

For the Salad
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
1-2 roma tomatoes, diced

Instructions

1. Preheat an oven to 200 degrees Celcius. Have a baking tray ready. 

2. Combine all the ingredient for the mince in a bowl, mixing thoroughly with your hands.

3. Heat the oil in a large fry pan over medium heat. Shape the mince mixture into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and place them in the fry pan, cooking for a few minutes each side until evenly browned. Once the meatball is browned, transfer to the baking tray, and once all are complete, transfer the tray to the oven and cook for 10 minutes or until the insides are no longer pink.

4. While the meatballs are in the oven, combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl.

5. Once the meatballs are cooked, distribute the baby spinach among the serving bowls and top with the Meatballs. Now add the diced red onion, tomato and avocado, and then top with the sour cream dressing. Serve.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

There is a can of pumpkin in my fridge which needs to be used. I do appologise for the bombardment of recipes involving pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pie is one of my most favourite foods ever. Pumpkin Pie oatmeal comes in a close second.





Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal
Adapted from Mommy Run Fast
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients
1 small mashed banana
2-4 tbsp maple syrup ( Depending on how sweet you want it)
1/4 cup granulated stevia (or you could use 20 drops liquid stevia, or another sweetener or simply more maple syrup)
2 eggs
1 tbsp chia seeds
3/4 cup almond milk (I used my own home made pumpkin spice almond milk)
1 cup cooked or canned pumpkin
2 cups rolled oats
2 tbsp Flaxmeal
2 Scoops Vanilla Protein powder (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 cup raisins, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup chopped nuts to sprinkle on top (optional, I used flaked almonds)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a small baking pan- I used my brownie pan, but you could also bake it in an oven proof glass or ceramic dish.

2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl except for the nuts, until the mixture is evenly combined.

3. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and sprinkle with the nuts. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until set in the middle.

4. Remove from the oven and serve straight away! Can also be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheated when needed. Also freezes well.



THIS WAS SO DELICIOUS!!! It tasted like pumpkin pie pudding rather then oats. It was creamy and sweet. If you wanted a less rich/sweet style breakfast then you can reduce the maple syrup/stevia.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Buttermilk Dill Chicken

Just a quick blog post on what I had for dinner. It may look boring but wow was this chicken amazing! My partner agreed that I will have to make this again. This meal just proves that healthy does not have to be boring. I took some chicken thighs and tenderised them overnight in a buttermilk marinade. The result was the most succulent, moist and juicy chicken ever. The chicken had so much flavour and only took 20 minutes to cook. Yes please! The buttermilk also provided a nice tang which complemented the lemon and dill flavours beautifully.



Buttermilk Dill Chicken
Adapted from BS in the Kitchen
Serves 2

Ingredients 
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp fresh dill, chopped
2 tsp lemon zest
Juice of half a lemon
4 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and Pepper
4 Chicken thighs (about 110grams each)
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Vegetables to serve with. I boiled some broccoli which I then sprinkled with chili flakes and garlic oil. I also thinly sliced some sweet potato into 'fries,' sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with cayenne pepper before baking for 20min at 200 degrees Celsius.

Instructions
  1. Place the garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, dill, buttermilk and chicken thighs in a large ziplock bag. Massage the bag so the chicken is covered evenly and then place in the fridge for at least 8 hours (you could also leave it overnight).
  2. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper. ( I used this tray to cook my sweet potato also which I put in the oven now.)
  3. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the chicken and a few tablespoons of the marinade and allow to cook in the pan for 5 minutes before turning. Cook the other side for 5 minutes also.
  4. Once done pan, place chicken on the baking tray and place in the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the thickest part of the thigh is fully cooked and when pricked the juices run clear. My chicken thighs only took about 8 minutes in the oven as they were on the smaller side. You could also make this recipe with chicken breast however they would need longer cooking times in the oven. Adjust accordingly. 
  5. Once cooked remove from the oven and serve with the vegetables of your choice.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Mini Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake

Because sometimes it's just fun to bake

Mini Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Poires Au Chocolat
Ingredients

For the caramel:
60g granulated sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
50 ml water
3 tbs cream
1/2 tsp fleur de sel or finely ground sea salt
2 tbs butter

For the cake:
40g dutch processed cocoa powder
2 tbsp
50ml hot water
150g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
70g butter
80g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

For the Buttercream:
3  large egg white
1/2 cup white sugar
175g butter
1/2 cup Caramel as per above

Method

1. To make the caramel: Put the sugar, corn syrup and water together in a saucepan over high heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and then let it bubble away until the mixture turns a deep golden brown. At this point, remove from the heat and let sit for a minute before whisking in the butter and then cream. Let the foam subside, then stir in the salt. Let cool.



2. To make the Cake: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease two 4" springform tins. 

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sour cream and hot water then put it aside to cool. Weigh out the flour and baking powder and sift into another bowl. In a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Slowly add the beaten egg, mixing well between addition. Add the vanilla and Maple Syrup and beat again. Start adding alternate small amounts of the flour mixture and the chocolate mixture, starting and ending with the flour. 

4. Divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for about 18 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack 



5. For the buttercream: whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heavy based saucepan. Continue to whisk the egg white and sugar over very low heat for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to become hot to touch, the sugar having dissolved, but not so the egg white cook.

6. Once complete, transfer the mixture to your standing mixer and using a whisk attachment, whisk on high for about 5-10 minutes. You know this step has been completed when the bowl and it is at room temperature. 

7. Once the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch, reduce the speed to medium and in small cubes, slowly add the butter, whisking each piece until it has been completely incorporated. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the caramel and whisk until combined.

8. To assemble the petite cake, place one layer on the serving plate, put a few large dollops of the buttercream on top and sandwich the second piece of cake on top of this. Now top this piece with some more buttercream and decorate as you please. I put some hazelnuts on top of mine.  

Pumpkin Protein Granola

Why buy sugar loaded breakfast cereal when you can make your own low sugar and higher protein versions?

Today I made pumpkin flavoured granola!



Pumpkin Protein Granola

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (I used libby's canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup quinoa flakes
1/4 cup shredded coconuts
2 tbs coconut oil, melted
1 tbs chia seeds
1/4 cup oat bran
3 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup dates, chopped
2 scoops vanilla or unflavoured protein powder
2 tbs pure maple syrup
2 tbs granulated stevia
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius

2. Place the pumpkin, coconut oil, spices, vanilla, maple syrup and stevia in a bowl and stir to combine. Now add the remaining ingredients except the craisins and dates, and mix until all the oats are covered evenly with the pumpkin puree mixture.



3. Now grease a large baking tray with coconut oil and pour the contents of the bowl onto the tray. Spread out the mixture evenly and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After this time, check the granola and using a spatula stir it so the browned bits get broken up. Place it back in the oven for 15 minutes and repeat this process 3 more times so all up the granola would have been in the oven for an hour. Towards the end of the hour you may need to check it and stir it more often as it can burn very easily.

4. Once the granola is looking evenly browned and crisp remove from the oven and let cool in the tray. Add the chopped dates and craisins. Once cool place in an airtight container and store for up to a week.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Saffron Infused Spicy Baked Eggs

Sunday morning breakfasts should be special. Nothing says special quite like saffron does. While this dish does take a while to prepare (probably a good half an hour), it is well worth it! The flavours are rich yet the dish is light and wholesome. I will certainly never be making baked eggs any other way!




Saffron Infused Spicy Baked Eggs
Adapted from My Bare Cupboard

1/2 tsp saffron strands
250 ml hot chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
100 grams bacon, diced
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves , crushed
1 small red chilli, seeds removed and finely chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or you could use white)
250g punnet of Cherry Tomatoes, diced
2-3 cups baby spinach
4 eggs
salt and black pepper
crusty bread to serve (I served it with a low carb empower wrap)


Method

1. Preheat oven to 200°C .

2. Place the saffron in the hot chicken stock and leave to infuse for 5 minutes . Meanwhile, heat 1/2 tbsp of the oil over medium heat in a large oven proof frying pan.  Add the diced bacon and fry for 3-5 minutes or until it starts to brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside .

3. Add the diced onion , crushed garlic and chilli to the pan and cook over medium heat until softened and starting to caramelise. Now add the paprika and apple cider vinegar and cook for 30 seconds more. Add the saffron-infused chicken stock, the tomatoes and their juice and bring to the boil.

4. Reduce the heat to medium, returning the bacon to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Now add the baby spinach and simmer for another 5 minutes or until wilted and the stock liquid has been significantly reduced

5. Once most of the liquid has evaporated, using the spatula, form 4 small holes in the mixture which you will then crack each of the eggs into. Season with salt and pepper and place in the preheated oven, for 5-6 minutes or until the eggs are set. You can however bake them for longer or less, depending on how you like your eggs.


6. Carefully remove the frying pan from the oven and serve. It would be perfectly nice by itself or with some crusty bread. Enjoy!



Saturday, 16 March 2013

Carrot Cake Cookies

After running 8 km today my body was craving food. In particular satisfyingly sweet food.

I still had some leftover moist almond meal in the fridge from the almond milk I made earlier this week and decided to make a sweet treat that would cure these ridiculous cravings I was having.

After throwing a bunch of assorted ingredients in a bowl and then baking, the carrot cake cookie was created. Not only did these hit the sweet spot but were filling and very nutritious.

Each cookie has about 70 calories, 5g of fat, 4g of carbs and 3g of protein. While they are quite high in fat, it all comes from healthy ingredients: coconut oil, flaxmeal, chia seeds, almond meal and peanut butter. Flaxmeal and chia seeds are very high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol and reduce inflammation throughout the body. Coconut oil is very high in medium-chain fatty acids, which increases the HDL good cholesterol and is argued to actually reduce the risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis.

This cookies texture is a mix between that of a biscuit and a cake. They carry the wholesome earthy flavour that carrot cake has but with a nutty twist.



Carrot Cake Cookies

Makes 28

Ingredients

3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup oats
1 tbsp flaxmeal
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 carrot, finely grated
2 tbsp maple syrup
8 drops stevia
1/2 ripe banana
2 eggs
1 tsp xanthan gum (helps gluten free flours stick together)
1/3 cup apple sauce
1 tsp baking powder

Method

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius and line two baking trays with baking paper.

2. Mash the banana in a bowl, add the coconut oil and peanut butter and stir to combine. Add the maple syrup, stevia, eggs and apple sauce, mixing until combined

3. Now add the dried ingredients, the xanthan gum, carrot grated (i used my microplane grater to grate it extra fine), chia seeds, flaxmeal, baking powder, oats, coconut flour and almond meal. Again stir until combined. The mixture should be moist and thick enough to roll into balls.

4. Take 1-1.5 tablespoons of the mixture at a time, roll into a ball and flatten on the baking tray. Continue this until the trays are full. The cookies do not expand much so they can be close together. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cookies will not brown much but the outside should look crisp.

5. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling wrack to cool completely before storing in an air tight container. These are best eaten within 5 days.



Berry Banana Smoothie

For my partner's birthday he was given an amazing blender from his sister. This has only increased his smoothie obsession. On its own he is not particularly fond of almond milk but he loved this recipe! You can omit the yoghurt or use natural soy yoghurt if you wish to make it dairy free. The smoothie is fruity and refreshing, perfect for this beautifully sunny autumn day that we are experiencing in Sydney.



Berry Banana Smoothie

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients

1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1 small ripe banana
8 drops of liquid stevia
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp Chia Seeds
1/2 cup natural yoghurt- the no added sugar variety
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk (You could use any type of milk and add some vanilla essence)
1 cup of ice cube


Method

1. Place all ingredients except the ice in a blender. Pulse on high for 30 seconds or until everything has been blitzed. Now add the ice and blend for another 10-20 seconds. If your blender has an ice crusher mode use this otherwise just pulse again on high. 

2. Pour contents from blender into glasses and enjoy straight away.



Friday, 15 March 2013

Chicken and Black Bean Chilpotle Enchiladas

I needed to use the leftover black beans in the fridge from the brownies and decided that tonight would be a Mexican fiesta. My partner introduced me to Mexican cooking and Fireworks Foods, which is an amazing supplier of traditional Mexican foods in Australia. I have fallen quite fond of Chilpotle Chilli, with its smoky tangy flavour that adds depth to any dish. I have used both the dried and canned variety in this dish. I also used an extremely hot dried habaneros chilli but feel free to omit this and just use some extra chilli powder.


Chicken and Black Bean Chipotle Enchiladas 
Adapted from Will Cook For Friends

Makes 5 jumbo enchiladas or 6-7 regular size ones. (A jumbo enchilada is enough to feed one person, except for maybe a very hungry male who might need 2)

Ingredients

2 dried chilpotle chilli, stem and seeds removed
1 dried habaneros chilli, stem and seeds removed
2 chilpotle chillies, canned in adobo sauce
1 tbsp adobo sauce
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red capsicum, diced
1 green bull chili (could substitute with a green capsicum), diced
1 large carrot, diced
1 small zucchini, diced
800g chicken breast, cut into 2cm cubes
1 tbsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt and pepper
1tsp dried oregano
1 can diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
400g black beans, soaked overnight, drained
1/2 cup fresh coriander
5-7 large tortillas (I used empower foods low carb wraps but you could use any type you wanted)
Shredded tasty cheddar cheese to taste (I used probably a cup worth that I grated using my microplane grater)

Instructions

1. Cut the dried chiles open and remove the stems and all of the seeds. I suggest wearing gloves for this, the Habaneros chilli is VERY hot, be careful not to touch your face or eyes because it will hurt! Tear them in pieces and then place in a bowl with enough boiling water to cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Once softened, place the chillies in a food processor and blitz until paste-like. Put aside.

2. Place a very large frypan or casserole dish over medium heat and add a tbsp of olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic until soft.

3. Add the capsicum, bull chilli, carrot and zucchini, stirring occasionally until the vegetables have softened. Once soft remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.

4. Heat another tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over

5. Return the vegetables to the pan, add the spices, tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked all the way through. Now add the chilli paste that was prepared earlier. Depending on how much heat you can handle, I would start with half the mixture, stir it through and let it simmer for a minute or so and then taste to see if you wish to add more. I added about 3/4 of the paste.


6. Now the chicken is cooked, turn off the heat and stir through the black beans and coriander.

7. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease a baking tray with olive oil.

8. Heat the tortillas in the microwave if they are a little too stiff, otherwise, one at a time, place them in the baking tray, filling them with the chicken mixture, folding the sides over one another to form the enchilada. Once all enchilada are filled and sitting snug next to each other in the pan, top with as much greeted cheese as desired. Note: You could make this recipe ahead up to this stage, just cover with plastic wrap and put in the fridge until needed.



9. Now place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the the enchiladas are heated all the way through. Note: If you made this recipe ahead and the pan has just come out of a cold fridge, increase the baking time to 30min or until heated all the way through. Once heated, take out of the oven and serve!

Grain Free Banana Bread

I LOVE banana bread. However it scares me how many carbs are in the standard recipe for it. Banana bread when served in cafes and made in bakeries should be called Banana Cake. There is enough sugar and fat in it to qualify it as being a cake.

Ive been making this version of banana bread for a few years now and adore it. My partner adores it too (especially when I add choc chips to this recipe) and actually prefers it to regular wheat flour based banana bread. In this version of the recipe I also use no oil or butter as I believe the bananas and almond meal keep it moist enough.


Grain Free Banana Bread

Ingredients
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
2 tbs honey
3/4 cup almond meal (I used the left over almond meal created from my almond milk recipe)
1/3 cup coconut flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs granulated stevia
1 tbs chia seeds (plus extra to sprinkle)
2 tbs flaxmeal
2-4 tbs almond milk

Directions
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a small-medium bread pan with baking paper.

2. Mash bananas in a bowl and add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, honey, stevia, chia and flaxmeal, and stir to combine.

3. Now add the coconut flour, almond meal and almond milk. Again stir until the mixture is utterly combined.

4. Pour batter into bread pan and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then using the baking paper, lift the loaf out of the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack until lukewarm before attempting to slice. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


This loaf is very dense and very moist. You don't miss the oil/butter at all! It does not rise very much but this is okay as a small piece is very filling.

For anyone unsure where to get coconut flour, most health food stores sell it as well as Thomas Dux. It is an unusual, low carb and high fibre flour made from de-fatted coconut meat. A little bit goes a long way and when baking with it you will need to use more eggs and liquid than if you were baking with just almond meal or a wheat flour.



Homemade Vanilla Spice Almond Milk

Earlier this week I became aware of a very inconvenient fact. My much beloved Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk contains a chemical in it that is argued to cause inflammation, gastrointestinal diseases and even colon cancer. This compound is called carrageenan, and although there is no conclusive evidence of the effects that carrageenan has on humans, stories about people reacting violently to this chemical is enough to make me discontinue drinking my favourite milk.

In Australia Blue Diamond Almond Breeze is the only brand that I can find which is unsweetened. I do not want to be consuming any added sugars thank you. Dairy does not agree with me in large amounts, and since I have considerably limited my consumption my skin in particular has improved incredibly!


So I set out to do the only thing I could do when faced with this dilemma, I made my own almond milk. And why oh why had I not done this sooner?!!

Not only was it incredibly easy but the most delicious almond milk I had ever tasted! This will now be a permanent product in my kitchen.

Homemade Vanilla Spice Almond Milk

Adapted from OhSheGlows

Makes: 1 litre Almond Milk

Ingredients

1.5  cup raw almonds, soaked in water overnight (I soaked mine for 24 hours)
4 cups water
1 whole vanilla bean, chopped in half or 1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Stevia to taste- I put in about 8 drops of liquid stevia but you could also use granule.

Equipment

High powered blender
Clean tea towel/ cheese cloth/  laundry delicates bag/ stocking.

Method

1. Once your almonds have been soaking in water for 12-24 hours, rinse them under cool water and drain. As in the first picture down below, the almonds will now be looking very plump and will feel soft. Place them in your blender along with the water.

2. Now add the cinnamon, stevia and vanilla bean/extract

3. Blend on highest speed for 1 minute or until almonds have been utterly obliterated.

4. Place your straining weapon of choice (I chose to use a clean laundry delicates bag), over a large bowl and slowly pour the almond milk mixture into the bag (This is easier if you have someone helping hold the strainer open). Once all the milk has been poured, massage the remaining mass down towards the bottom of the bag and gently squeeze it to release the rest of the milk.

5. Pour into an appropriate container to store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Make sure you shake the milk before serving as the mixture separates when sitting.

Please note: You will be left with the aftermath of the almond milk, which is the bottom right photo. This is essentially wet almond meal so please don't throw it away but use in its moist form in baked goods or you could dry it out and use it like regular almond meal :)




Once you try your own homemade almond milk I don't think you can ever go back to store bought. It is just SO much creamier and luscious and the vanilla bean makes it extra special. You could always omit the vanilla, cinnamon and stevia to make ordinary almond milk, but my sweet tooth very much enjoyed the flavours this milk adds to my morning coffee. This would also be awesome in cereal and used in baking instead of cows milk.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Black Bean Protein Brownies

Unless you have been living under a rock (or are just not a food blog addict) you will probably be quite familiar with the new trend of replacing wheat flours with healthier ingredients. Wheat is not all that great, your body doesn't like digesting it and it causes your insulin levels to sky rocket. Unless it is a special occasion or to avoid being that annoying person who doesn't eat certain food groups, I generally don't eat wheat. But I love baked goods. Slight dilemma there.

So coconut flour, almond meal and quinoa flour have become my best friends. See you can still have your cake and eat it too, and today was no exception. Say hello to Black Bean Protein Brownies! Yup.
Not only are these filled with antioxidant-rich black beans, but the recipe is also gluten free, refined sugar free and very low in fat.




I calculated the macro's for these and each brownie has 106 calories, 15g carbs (6g which are sugar), 3g of fat and 6g of protein. Compare this with a Brownie from McDonald's McCafe which has 306 calories, 24.6 grams of carbs (20g which are sugar!!), 21.7g fat and 3.7g protein.

But most importantly, these brownies are delicious!

Black Bean Protein Brownies
Makes 16
Adapted from Kneadtocook

Ingredients:
2.5 cup, soaked and drained black beans
 (You could use tinned but I prefer fresh)
3 eggs

1/2 cup of unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup of dutch processed cocoa powder

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana
3 scoops low carb chocolate protein powder (I used Aussie bodies brand)
3 tbs pure maple syrup
20 drops stevia (Or you could just use 1/3-1/2 cup sugar)

1 teaspoon of ground coffee

1/2 cup chopped nuts of choice (I used pistachios)

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Grease a brownie tray, I used a rectangular baking tray, and line with baking paper.
2. In your food processor, blend all of the ingredients except the nuts, until smooth. Taste the mixture, if it still tastes too 'black beanie' to you, add more sugar or stevia.  Blend for another minute until the mixture looks silky and creamy. Now stir through your nuts
3.  Pour into the prepared pan  bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool completely before slicing and serving. These should be kept refrigerated and it would be best to eat them within 5 days.




The best way to describe these brownies would be fudgy, not too sweet, but rich and dense. They have a distinct flavour, they are made with beans duh! But unless you knew that, black beans would not be an obvious guess at what that distinct flavour is.

In all honesty my sister would probably hate these. She hates anything that has been 'healthified'. But then again she also lives on a diet consisting of KFC and chocolate... But for anyone wanting a little treat that is choc-a-block packed with nutrients, fiber and is low GI, then these are just great!





Monday, 11 March 2013

Strawberry and Vanilla Sprinkle Cake


Today we had a party at work for our nurse Jane who is sadly leaving us to have her first baby. While I am super excited for her she will be dearly missed. For the party I made a super girly pink cake for her, not only to reflect the sadness of her leaving but I thought I should the accustom her with the new colour that will soon dominate her life, once her daughter enters this world.



Nothing screams "ITS A GIRL" like a strawberry pink sprinkle cake does.

(Forgive the Tupperware, the cake had to be transported half an hour by car to its awaiting crowd)

Strawberry and Vanilla Sprinkle Cake
Adapted from Raspberri Cupcakes

For the Cake
400g Plain Flour
400g White Sugar
4 Eggs
2 Tsp Baking Powder
250ml Full Cream Milk
1 Tbs Vanilla essence
250g Salted Butter- make sure it as been softened
2 tsp Strawberry essence
1/4 tsp Rose Pink Food Colouring

For the Buttercream
6  large egg white
1 cup white sugar
350g butter
2/3 cup strawberry jam
3/4 cup Rainbow Sprinkles
1/4 tsp rose pink food colouring
2 tsp Strawberry Essence


1. Preheat oven to 180°C, grease and line four 20cm round springform cake tins (I only have two so I did the baking in two batches and I only lined the bottoms of the pans with baking paper).  Weigh the mixing bowl you will use with your electric mixer (mine was 650g)

2. To make the cake, place the butter and sugar in a standing electric mixer. Start by beating the mixture on a low speed and then gradually increase the speed to high, beating the mixture until it is pale and creamy (this will normally take about 5 min).

3. Now reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time, making sure not to add the next until the first is fully incorporated in the mixture. Now add the vanilla essence

4. Place the flour and baking powder in a bowl and the milk in a jug. On the lowest speed possible, alternate between adding small portions of the flour and of the milk, until both are incorporated into the mixture.

5. Now weigh the mixing bowl again, subtracting the initial weight of the mixing bowl (this was 1450g), and then divide this number in half. Separate out half the mixture into another bowl (I separated 725g out). With the left over mixture in the original mixing bowl, place half of that in one cake tin (so around 360g) and the other half in the second cake tin.

6. With the second mixture that you separated into another bowl, add the strawberry essence and the pink food colouring. Now repeat the above process so you have half of that mixture in two cake tins also. (You should now have 4 cake tins, each full with a quarter of the original mixture.)

7. Now bake the cake layers for 18-20min. Once the time has passed, check the cakes are cooked, they should be lightly brown around the edges and spring back when pressed in the center. Let the cakes cool for a few minutes in the tins and then turn them onto cooling racks to let them cool completely.






8. For the buttercream, whisk together egg whites and sugar in a heavy based, good quality saucepan (I use scan pan- the quality matters). On the lowest temperature possible to achieve on your stove top, continue to whisk the egg white and sugar over this heat for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to become hot to touch, the sugar having dissolved, but not so the egg white cook! If this is your first time making Swiss meringue butter cream maybe look up the most foolproof method to do this, which involves whisking the mixture in a bowl over simmering water with a candy thermometer attached… but who has time for that. Live dangerously, use a saucepan and watch your egg whites with care.

9. Once complete, transfer the mixture to your standing mixer and using a whisk attachment, whisk on high for about 5-10 minutes. You know this step has been completed when the bowl and it is at room temperature. If it is still warm the mixture still needs more time being whisked. You want to add the butter to a mixture that is at room temperature.

10. Once the mixing bowl feels neutral to touch, reduce the speed to medium and in small cubes, slowly add the butter, whisking each piece until it has been completely incorporated. This buttercream is an emulsion mixture just like mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce. Thus time is needed in slowly incorporating the solid into the liquid otherwise the mixture will split. Once all the butter is incorporated, add the colouring, sprinkles, flavour and the strawberry jam, and whisk until luscious and tempting.



11. Place the buttercream in the fridge for 10 or so minutes so it is easier to work with as now we assemble the cake. Take your first cake layer, position it on the display medium and put about a cup of the butter cream mixture on top. Spread it out so its even and repeat with the remaining layers. Once complete do a crumb coat by putting a thin layer of buttercream all around the cake. Now put a thicker layer, making sure the cake appears round and even. Now put the cake in the freezer or fridge for 10 minutes to harden up the buttercream, this makes it easier to smooth out. Once the buttercream is cold take a butter knife and smooth out the surface of the cake.




12. Decorate the cake as desired, I used some pink and purple sprinkles and wrote a message on top with a black icing pen. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When ready to eat, take the cake out of the fridge 2 hours before serving so the cake can come to room temperature.  Everyone at work really enjoyed this cake including Jane! At the end of the day only one piece remained which my partner was very thankful for when it was presented to him as dessert tonight. I can't believe he is not sick of cake yet.