Saturday, April 7, 2012

Brownies a la bean

I really like using surprising ingredients that add a healthy twist to a recipe without compromising taste or enjoyment. After a couple of trials of a brownie recipe that included canned beans (original recipe from My darling lemon thyme) as its main ingredient, the below came out as my best version and voted as amazing by 100% of people. It's fudgy, sweet and delicious.

Brownie a la bean
1 tin of beans - white beans, black beans or kidney
3 eggs 
4 tablespoons oil - coconut or macadamia
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c Xylitol (starch based natural sugar)
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 c LSA (like almond meal but more cost effective)
3 heaped dessert spoons flaxseed meal (works to bind in the absence of flour)
1 t vanilla essence
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2T espresso and 1T coconut flour. Coconut flour is like a sponge - so if your mixture is too wet this will bring it back (use sparingly)
Chopped chocolate
Whatever other tasty additions you like. You could also ice with the avocado icing from here

Preheat oven to 180 and grease a loaf pan or small square tin.
Line with paper if you like.
Mix your dry ingredients together in a small bowl.
Tip beans into the bowl of a food processor and blend to form a smooth paste. Add all the wet ingredients to the beans and pulse to combine. Add sugar to bean mixture and combine.  
Pour bean mixture into a mixing bowl and slowly mix in the dry. Stir through whatever delicious additions you have.
Pour into your tin and bake for 30-35 mins - it should be a fairly wet mix. the top should spring back when done.
Cool in the tin
This is seriously good and you will want to eat it all.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Homemade peanut butter

I love peanut butter - gotta be crunchy. Eat it by the spoonful, on toast, crumpets, with jam, on celery or carrots, as satay, mixed into iceceram. So much tasty goodness.  Check out the label though and perhaps you'll notice a disconcerting difference between percentage of nuts and the full jar. Considering the food's name basically makes up its content, it's unappetising thinking about what makes up the missing approx 11%. Ew.

So I decided to make my own. After searching the supermarket for berloody ages to try and find your common peanut I managed to secure 250gms of homebrand roasted unsalted peanuts. I would have preferred to try unroasted / organic too, but it took many shopping trips just to find the ones I got. If anyone knows where to buy organic peanuts in Sydney let me know.

These cost $2.20 while a $500gm bag which I found on line at cost a mere $3.20. Keep in mind cruddy old factory made peanut butter is twice the price for 375gms / 500gms respectively.

And unless you wanna make your butter with a mortar and pestle the completion of this recipe is easy as.

Peanut butter
250gm peanuts
1T oil 
Salt to taste

Put your peanuts in your food processor, and blend up. Add some oil (I used macadamia) about 1T more or less till you get the consistency you desire. Salt the mixture. Pour in a glass jar and pop in the fridge (no preservatives here).

The consistency of my first batch doesn't have the bigger chunks like store bought - more grainy due the consistent grinding motion of the processor. You could add more roughly chopped up nuts into the final mix if you like.  This recipe, of course, works for any nuts you please.

Enjoy x

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Iced coffee

Coffee is probably not the first drink you think of when there's a steamy hot day brewing. The kind of day where you're sweating as soon as you jump out of bed. Alas being the die hard coffee fan that I am it is the first order of the day. Today like no other the french press, dutifully filled. I always make a full plunger as I'll drink it through out the morning. After a few chores cup refilled, I grabbed some still defrosting milk from the fridge (hot tip - yes you can freeze milk, very handy)

What happened was a deliciously icy coffee hit. It's easy, you should make it next time you do brunch. Of course you can fancy it up with cream, chocolate sauce, vanilla and the rest.

You need:
Cup of cooled strong coffee
Defrosting milk (leave a frozen 1l carton in the fridge over night) It should have milk icebergs still in it
Sugar to taste

Go 3/4 coffee and 1/4 milk.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Slaw salad

This delicious salad will pop with freshness in your mouth. A play on slaw with some extra treats, all dressed up with a light yet satisfying dressing. Make it tonight.

Enough for two, my favourite amount :) 

Slaw salad

1/8 green cabbage - sliced thinly
Two handfuls mixed leaves - chopped
1/4 cup flat parsley - chopped
10 cornichons chopped, these are tiny gherkins
1 large T of low fat thick Greek yogurt
1 small lemon juiced
2 boiled eggs (to your liking)
Shaved grana pandano cheese (a younger sweeter parmasean)
Walnuts chopped

In the bottom of a sald bowl combine the yogurt, lemon juice, parsely, salt and pepper. This is your dressing.
Place the cabbage, mixed leaves, cornichons into the bowl and mix well into the dressing.
Plate up with the quartered boiled eggs, walnuts and cheese.

Simple and delicious.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kangaroo with pomegranate salad

Yes that's right kangaroo. There's lots of it in the Aussie supermarkets, it's low in fat and high in iron, hasn't been injected with hormones or antibiotics and is very well priced.

I bought some my first week here (in May) studiously put it in the freezer and tried to avoid eating it. To be honest I was scared. I didn't want to eat something yukky (who does) and someone told me it smelt awful while it was cooking. I left it in the freezer.

Last weekend the flat had a BBQ. The freezer was raided and the kanga pulled out. Well I thought - this way I can try a little bit, it'll be cooked outside on a BBQ and it will finally be used up. About four drinks later the BBQ was served. With my dutch courage in full swing I popped a bit in my mouth and nothing awful happened. It was actually really nice, tender and meaty like steak. Awesome! I like kanga. New food joy.

So all those who can - please do try some. You'll be pleasantly surprised. Use it in any way you would steak. 

Tonight I bought some more kanga and put it together with this pomegranate salad I first tried at Otto's in Woollamooloo.

Pan fried kanga with pomegranate salad.

1 steak of kanga per person at room temperature seasoned and oiled
1/2 pomegranate per person
1/2 nectarine per person chopped
8 almonds per person chopped roughly

Make the salad first. The trick with pomegrantes is to cut it into quarters (very carefully as like beetroot they stain) then fill a bowl with water and immerse the quarters in the water while you remove the seeds from the flesh. The delicious seeds sink and the bitter pith floats allowing it to be sieved off, then drain the seeds and place in a bowl. Add the nectarine and almonds. Mix and set aside.

Heat the pan and place the kanga in. Cook the same as you would steak - minutes on each side. The top side will look slightly watery when it's time to turn. Rest covered with foil for 5 mins - you do want the steaks medium rare.

Slice up and serve on a bed of the salad.

The slight sourness of the pomegranate goes well with sweetness of the almonds, nectarine and meaty kanga steaks.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Rocky road (um delicious)

This is so easy to make and so easy to eat. I wanted to make a bit of a gourmet style rocky road, so it's a bit special and different for Xmas. Lovely for a wee present. Plus I'd like to think it's the tiniest bit healthier than the usual sort - if you squinted a bit.

To make this I used: 
2 Large blocks of 75% dark chocolate
1 x 400gm pack of mixed nuts, seeds and dried fruits
1 bag of vanilla marshmallows - quartered if they're the large kind
Peel of one small orange chopped small and stirred in a hot pan till dried.
1/2 t salt

I really wanted to try the orange peel - but forgot, as I did the salt into the chocolate (damn!)

Oil some pans - I used olive oil on a round and a loaf tin. I found the mixture quite thick so you can use whatever pan you like really as it holds it shape and doesn't run.

Melt the broken up chocolate slowly in the microwave. 30secs till it starts going then 10 secs intervals, stirring each time.
Stir in your other ingredients.  Mix really well. I reckon I could have gone another 100gms or so of the mixed nuts / fruits. To further eek out the choc mixture and make more servings.
Spoon into your vessel, spread in a single layer.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours till set.  Cut into wedges with a large knife dipped in boiling water.

Makes about 20 good sized bits - depending how big you make them. Total cost about $15


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pumpkin and chocolate tartlets with meringue

I made a recipe everyone! I had some inspiration a while back - beetroot meringues. Well I made them they were really good, but perhaps a wee bit too beetrooty and earthy for me. With a few tweaks they could turn up here later. However I was really keen to see this idea working so decided to try with pumpkin, since we all know that pumpkin works well in desserts like pumpkin pie.
Here's my recipe. I quite like how they are pretty healthy - especially if you use filo pastry on the bases. Enjoy good home made food made of real ingredients everybody.

Pumpkin and chocolate tarlets
Makes six tartlets

Home made pastry - 2c flour, 125gms cold butter, 2 T icey water (or try filo, sandwich three layers together with a light brush of butter)

1 butternut squash or small pumpkin
4 T honey
½ t ginger
¼ t cinnamon
¼ small orange – juiced
½ t salt

3 eggs separated
2 T castor sugar
½ t vanilla

6 squares chocolate – milk or dark

12 walnuts

Blitz the cold butter and flour in a food processor till the mixture is powdery. Add icey cold water till the mixture sticks together when you press it lightly with your fingers. Pour on to the bench and mould into a ball, wrap in glad wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.

Quarter and de-seed your squash. Steam with a small amount of water in a pot till just soft. Let cool then scoop the flesh from the skins. Let the flesh drain in a sieve over a bowl.

Get a six-cup muffin pan greased and heat your oven to 200c. Once the oven is hot roll your pastry out to 1mm thick and line the muffin pans leaving a 1 cm sticking up to account for shrinkage. Prick all over with a fork, drop the oven to 180c and pre cook till the pastry just starts colouring.

Meanwhile push the pumpkin through the sieve into a clean bowl and mix in the spices, orange juice, salt and egg yolks.

Take the pastry cases from the oven and fill with the pumpkin mixture. Pop back in the oven for aprox 10 mins – the mixture should puff and just start colouring.

Remove from oven and place a square of chocolate on top of each tartlet, so it begins to soften and add some chopped walnuts. Leave the oven on.

Whip the egg whites till thick and add the sugar gradually till it’s mixed in and not grainy. Add the vanilla. The meringue should hold its shape. Using a teaspoon pile the meringue on top of the tartlets. Place them back in the oven and cook till meringue is browned – this is pretty quick so keep your eye on it.