Monday, April 15, 2013

Fruity Chocolate Slice

Fruity Chocolate Slice
Since we ventured back to school in January I've been trying a couple of different lunchbox treats, to try and ensure that the sweet stuff my boys devour during the day packs a fair whack of nutritional punch whilst also being delicious.

I love slices because they're that little bit quicker than biscuits.  If I can turn a biscuit into a slice, I will!  It's a lesson I learnt from a gorgeous friend who one of the smartest women I know when it comes to saving time.  Why spend 10 minutes shaping biscuits when I could spend that time on the phone to her!

This slice came about when we had a glut of over-ripe bananas.  Thanks to my first pregnancy, the smell of over-ripe bananas still haunts me, so they tend to get used up pretty quickly in our house and frozen once they start going ripe.  You can, of course, vary the dried fruit with whatever you'd prefer and play around with your sweetener, if you'd prefer to use something other than maple syrup.  I have used rice syrup in the place of maple syrup in this recipe, but prefer the extra caramel flavour the maple provides.


Fruity Chocolate Slice
160g dried fruit (I use craisins, apricots, dates & sultanas)
80g dark chocolate
1 frozen ripe banana
150g rolled oats
150g wholemeal spelt flour
50g coconut flakes
1/2 tsp baking powder
75g rapadura or coconut sugar
80g butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
65g maple syrup
40g coconut oil

Ready to bake
Pre-heat oven to 170C (fan forced).
1.  Place frozen banana (broken into chunks), dried fruit & chocolate in TM bowl and turbo 2-3 times until evenly chopped. 
2.  Add oats, spelt, coconut, baking powder & sugar to the bowl.  Mix for 5 seconds on speed 5.
3.  Add remaining ingredients, except chopped fruit & chocolate, to TM bowl and mix for 10 seconds on speed 5.
Press into slice tray.  I usually sprinkle home-made milo on top of the slice, for a little extra chocolateyness.
Bake for 30 minutes, until brown.  Cool and slice into squares.  Devour!


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April News

The April Newsletter is out - at last!!!

Jude's Fish Pie

Jude's Fish Pie & Crunchy Green Salsa
Jude Blereau is touring Australia for two reasons at the moment.  The first is to launch her greatly anticipated Baking book, which I can't wait to get my hands on.  The second reason is because she is hosting a series of Thermomix specialist classes. 

Jude is a Thermomix Ambassador, for good reasons.  The Thermomix fits into Jude's food philosophy perfectly - she's all about nutrient dense, tasty food in a realistic everyday setting.  Her classes have sold out incredibly quickly as they've been released across the country, which speaks volumes.  I've been fortunate enough to do a couple of weekend intensive courses with Jude and can promise you that two hours with her will leave you with a host of recipes you're desperate to go home and try!  If you can come along to her Thermomix classes make sure you do - but book in quickly so you don't miss out!

Two of Jude's books, Wholefood for the Family and Wholefood for Children are staples in my library.  I cook out of both of them at least once a week - they're dog eared, scrawled through, post-it noted and well loved (the way good cookbooks should be).  They're also beautiful - you can feel Jude's love come through the recipes which I know sounds corny, but once you meet Jude you'll understand what I mean.  She cooks and writes with love and compassion.

This recipe is from Wholefood for Children and is one of the ways I get fish into our weekly dinners.  I tend to make two pies at once and freeze one for the next week.  I tend to use red mullet because it's readily available in Brisbane and is a great, sustainable fish choice.

Jude's Fish Pie
(from Wholefood for Children by Jude Blereau)
2 potatoes - large diced*
100g broccoli - coarsely chopped
40g butter or ghee
2 spring onions (or 1 brown onion) - halved
2 tbsp herbs (lemon thyme, parsley or basil)
Rind of 1 lemon (be careful to only remove rind, not pith)
Large handful of seasonal green vegetables (peas, 1cm diced beans or asparagus)
80g crème fraiche or kefir cream
1/4 tsp wholegrain mustard
300g fish fillet - skin and bones removed, chopped into 3cm cubes
Preheat oven to 190C.
1.  Place 500g of water in TM and place potatoes in basket.  Insert basket into TM bowl and cook at Varoma temp, for 8-10 minutes, speed 2 (until potatoes are just tender).
2.  Add broccoli to basket and cook for a further 4 minutes, on Varoma temp, at speed 2.  Remove basket and pour out water.
3.  Tip potato & broccoli into bowl, add 1 tbsp butter/ghee and roughly mash for 6 seconds on speed 4.  Set aside.
4.  Place onion and herbs in TM bowl.  Chop for 2 seconds on speed 7.
5.  Add remaining butter/ghee to bowl and sauté for 3 minutes at 100° on speed soft.
6.  Add remaining ingredients, season with salt & pepper.  Cook for further 1 minute at 100° on reversespeed soft.  This will allow the cream to melt and relax and all the ingredients to softly mix together.
Spoon the fish mixture into a shallow, ovenproof dish and top with the mashed potato.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.  Serve with green salad and enjoy!
*  Tips:-
If I know this is on the menu for the week, I tend to make it following a night where we've had mashed potatoes and broccoli.  On that night, I just add some of the broccoli to the leftover mash and reserve it to use for the pie topping the following night. 

Carrot & Beetroot Patties

Carrot & Beetroot Patties in the making
These little lunch delights are sensational - they are that perfect mix between sweet and savoury and are a great, high protein, finger food snack.

I've held off blogging the recipe because the first two times I made them we forgot to take a photo and the last time I managed to lose the photo in my great iPhone backup debacle.

So, I'll update the recipe later with a photo of the finished product, but here's the recipe in the meantime.  I'm pretty confident you guys know what a patty looks like!

They are best when they've just been cooked, but my boys happily eat them cold in lunchboxes or for afternoon tea.

You can play around with the spices if you want them to have a bit more bite, but these work well for my boys' palates.


Carrot & Beetroot Patties

1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2cm piece peeled ginger
1 tsp turmeric
280g beetroot - roughly chopped
250g pumpkin - roughly chopped
300g carrots - roughly chopped
1/2 cup coriander
200g moong dahl
Coconut oil for shallow frying
1.  Grind dahl into flour for 30 seconds on speed 9.  Set aside.
2.  Place ginger in TM bowl and chop for 2 seconds on speed 6.
3.  Add beetroot, pumpkin, carrot & coriander to bowl.  Chop for 10 seconds on speed 6, using spatula to help ensure even chopping.
4.  Add spices and reserved moong dahl flour.  Mix for 10 seconds on speed 6, scrape and repeat.
Heat frying pan over medium heat.  Add 1 tsp coconut oil and shallow fry patties for 2-3 minutes on each side (until golden brown and edges are starting to crisp).  (You will need to add extra oil for each additional batch.)
Set aside to cool on paper towel, for as long as you can hold yourself back from eating them.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Cherry Ripe Gelato

Cherry Ripe Gelato
One of the things I love about summer is the fruit - the berries and cherries in particular.  When I was prepping for our Festive Flavours class, I thought I'd like to do a fresh cherry sorbet... which then evolved into a cherry ripe sorbet.

The trick with sorbet  is not to be focussed on the weight of the ice.  Each sorbet needs a different amount of ice - the amount varies on the water content of the fruit, the dryness of the ice etc.  Whilst 700g is usually a good approximate amount, it's not a hard and fast rule.  The trick is just to keep adding ice, bit by bit through the MC hole, until the sorbet stops "spitting" - once it's taken on enough ice, it will churn itself and that's the magic moment when you stop.

In the end, I made cherry ripe sorbet a couple of times but decided it worked better as a gelato, using frozen cherries - the flavour is much more intense.  You can use fresh cherries but obviously need more frozen coconut milk or ice, whichever you've got handy!

Cherry Ripe Gelato
300g frozen, pitted, cherries
200g frozen coconut milk
50g raw sugar
80g dark chocolate (less if you don't like it quite so rich)
1 egg white
1.  Place sugar and chocolate in TM bowl and mill for 20 seconds on speed 10.
2.  Add cherries and coconut milk.  Chop for 40 seconds on speed 8, using spatula to keep fruit moving through the blades if necessary.
3.  Insert butterfly and add egg white.  Beat for 40 seconds on speed 4, then serve. 
When you make a gelato using frozen fruit, it tends to freeze softer so that you can keep the leftovers and just go back to them and spoon them out for later servings.  If you want it to be lovely and fluffy again, spoon the leftovers into the bowl, run them through for 20 seconds on speed 8, insert the butterfly and re-whip.