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Wholefood Salt Caramel Slice ; Simply to die for, plus a Pureharvest giveaway

11 Sep

whole food salt caramel sliceWhen I was asked if I would be interested in receiving a hamper of goodies from Pureharvest I was pretty keen. Although not traditionally a super, mega organics shopper you know I am very aware of what I feed the family, and besides I’m not one to look an organic gift horse in the mouth when it comes to products I’m actually keen to sample.

In my pantry I already stock the Pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup as it’s a low GI, complex carbohydrate blend of glucose and maltose used as a sugar alternative. I like to mix up my sweeteners and Rice Malt Syrup is considered one of the gooduns.

The argument about fructose versus glucose is a valid debate, but I’m not going to be entering into it today. Partly because I’m not that sugar-free chick and partly because I have cracked a ‘healthy’ version of a caramel slice that’s to die for and I can’t wait to tell you that instead.

I’m just going to give you a disclaimer –

THIS IS A SOMETIMES FOOD UNLESS YOU CAN’T STOP AND YOU EAT THE WHOLE BATCH, BUT THEN IT’S GONE AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO THINK ABOUT IT’S DELICIOUSNESS TAUNTING YOU FROM THE FRIDGE ANY LONGER.

Now, where were we?

Pureharvest.

whole food salt caramel sliceI met founder, Don Lazarro, at ProBlogger and he told a story of how back in the late ’70s he had a health food store that sold mostly dried legumes and seeds.

In the early ’80s Don took a punt and bought 1000L of soy milk into Australia on a big, heavy pallet to try to sell in his shop. He had no idea if it would fly, but he thought a non-dairy milk alternative was a good idea.

It was better than a good idea. It was bloody brilliant.

I’m not a fan of soy milk for loads of reasons but I’ll tell you what- Pureharvest have cracked almond milk, rice milk and Coco Quench milk. I’ve been experimenting with them in my cooking – oatcakes, French toast, scrambled eggs have all had the Pureharvest treatment and I reckon it definitely adds something good. Nuttiness? Earthiness?

D Man has gone nuts for the CocoQuench on his cereal. It’s a cross between rice milk (made from brown rice) and coconut milk. Seriously bloody yummy with great nutritional benefits.

Late the other night I made a Coco Quench hot chocolate with organic cocoa, sweetened with rice malt syrup as an experiment. I went one step further and chucked in 2 marshmallows and a fat slug of whiskey. Not sure if that’s what Pureharvest had in mind however it rocked my socks.

Will I completely switch from cow’s to these alternatives?

No. But having options and mixing it up is something I love. Options.

Anyhoo, I’ve been ploughing my way through their products but I wanted to make a little something amazing as I do see a great trend towards gluten free, dairy free, sugar stuff…. don’t screw your face up, it can be even yummier than traditional baking. Give this a shot and tell me it’s not ALL THAT.

whole food salt caramel slice

What you will need : 

For base – 

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cacao (or cocoa powder if that’s what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 270ml tin coconut cream (I like Ayam brand as it’s pure)

For salt caramel – 

  • 140 ml coconut milk
  • 2.5 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • a big pinch of salt

For top – 

  • 2 squares of Lindt dark salt chocolate

What you will need to do :

Line a tin, I used 25 x 15, with baking paper.

Stick all of your ingredients for the base into a food processor and wazz it until it starts to stick together and clump.

Tip into your tray and press down with your fingers so it’s nice and even and then pop it in the fridge.

whole food salt caramel slicePop your ingredients for salt caramel into a saucepan on medium heat and bring to boil. Leave at a medium boil keeping an eye on it until it reduces, thickens and darkens to a rich caramel colour. About 20 mins.

whole food salt caramel slicePour immediately onto your chilled base, spreading it evenly, and using a microplane or the finest grater you can grate the salt chocolate over the top whilst it’s still hot and it will melt on contact.

whole food salt caramel sliceEnsure an even coverage and pop back into the fridge for an hour or so until all cooled.

Cut into pieces as large as you wish. It’s fairly rich so you don’t need much.

whole food salt caramel slice

 

Would you like some of this Pureharvest goodness for your very own?

They have offered for me to give one of my peeps a generous hamper like my own if you can just name this slice.

Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, no bake salt caramel slice is a bit of a mouthful in more ways than one.

Leave a comment on my Facebook page or right here to go in the running. Winner will be announced Wednesday 17th September.

 

***THIS IS NOT A SPONSORED POST***

I RECEIVED A HAMPER OF ORGANIC GOODNESS FROM PUREHARVEST AND ALL OPINIONS AND RECIPES ARE MY OWN

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apple Fritters and A Daunting Dance Card

3 Jun

apple fritters recipeYou know that old expression be careful what you wish for?

I don’t reckon many people would wish for herpes so I figure as long as you’re wishing for something positive that doesn’t leave a burning sensation in your knicks, knock yourself out.

It helps to be specific so the Universe, or the angels, or God, or whomever you wish to doesn’t mess it up. You know, don’t just make a blanket wish for ‘more excitement’ cos that shit can be tres confusing to the powers that be, know what I’m sayin’?

I wished to be a freelance writer who could work from home and be with my kids and balance everything beautifully.

Luckily, farking luckily, for me, it would appear it’s kinda happening.

I admit I’ve put in some yards, and as we know hard work accentuates luck, but still…..L.U.C.K.Y M.O.F.O.

But first things first, let’s talk the about Kidspot Voices 2014 because that is one of the flukiest damned things that I ever did see.

You know how made it into the Kidspot Top 30 Parenting and Personal blogs?

No?

Well, I didn’t really mention it here, because I didn’t wish to be a douchey bragger, and although it’s lurvely to receive a kudos from the community, the competition is well fierce I didn’t really think I’d get far in the comp.

The gorgeous Amanda from the Cooker and a Looker and I at the Voices announcement party (may be a tad squiffy)

The gorgeous Amanda from the Cooker and a Looker and I at the Voices announcement party (may be a tad squiffy)

Which I didn’t……. the Top 5 was announced, I wasn’t in it.

Then, like a goldfish I promptly forgot about it until I received an email recently telling me that one of the original Top 5 had to pull out due to personal matters, and being as I only just missed out by the skin of my teeth, did I want to step up to Top 5 and get back in the game?

This is the part where I did a cartwheel and tore my middle-aged, slightly dimply, inner thigh.

Voices2014-nominee_P&P_TOP_5_Am I pissy that I wasn’t in the original picking?

Are you kidding? I eat cold vegemite toast off the floor, for god’s sake. I have little pride.

As if that wasn’t cool enough, same day I had a meeting with the fab editors over at Essential Kids and you are looking at (well, reading) the very latest Fairfax (douchey bragger) food writer.

You know I hate BOOM, but……

apple frittersI’m a lucky mofo, right?????

I bought myself a wall calendar and scrawled all over that puppy because I’m a shocker at remembering dates and deadlines and suddenly there seems to be many of them. HEAPS.

Little bit scary.

I do feel I’ve been neglecting you guys a tad though. I mean, you’re my first love.

It’s you guys and this space and all my hours of spilling my guts that have got me to this point… so let me make you a special little breakfast.

Just pretend we’ve had a sleep over you and I, drank too much celebratory champers, eaten ourselves silly and passed out without removing our make-up. Now I’m whipping this up in my dressing gown while you drink tea and stare at Giggle and Hoot, all the while wishing my kids would shut that infernal racket up.

There’s a banana in the picture below because this rocks with banana too. If you want to use gluten free flour it works, I’ve done that too, but this time I just went spelt.

You can also use plain flour. Your brekky, your choice.

I don’t have an apple corer and I’ve NEVER succeeded in removing the core until this day…. see what I mean?

L.U.C.K.Y M.O.F.O

If you’re not so lucky, just halve it, and a V wedge out where the core is and serve moons rather than rounds like I do every other day.

apple frittersYield : serves 4

What you will need :

  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large apples, cored and sliced into rounds
  • Coconut oil, or butter for frying
  • vanilla yoghurt, for serving
  • raspberry jam (or your preference), for serving

What you need to do :

Toss your flour and baking powder into a bowl and stir quickly to combine.

Make a well, dump in your egg, vanilla and milk and stir until smooth as a baby’s butt.

Get your frypan nice and hot with your coconut oil or butter, before dipping in your apple rounds, ensuring they’re nice and coated before you pop them ito the pan.

Flip when brown. Repeat until done. Smear with jam, blob with yoghurt and nosh it up with gusto.

BOOM!

apple fritters

Flukey perfect apple round – B.O.O.M.

 

Cook Once, Feed All COVER_lr

Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

If you like what you’re reading why not like my Facebook page now or subscribe via email, to be sure to always keep up with the Holsbys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daddy’s Day Hero Worship

27 Aug

How is that that even though I do all the grunt work, like wiping endless butt, snot and tears, Daddy is the one who gets the true hero status in the kid’s eyes?

Thankfully, Mister H is a bit of alright, otherwise this Daddy Worship business would probs get right up my nose!

In honor of the impending Daddy’s Day this weekend, I hopped on over to Woolworths Baby and Toddler Club to talk up Daddy’s and make a little special brunch to show him that we appreciate him.

Brunch Pikelets with Goats Cheese and Bacon

 

 

I don’t know how it is in your house, but in my house, Daddy is a bit of a hero.

Even though I change a gazillion nappies, wipe endless snotty noses, and kiss grazed knees and bruised elbows aplenty, as soon as Daddy walks in the door, he’s Number One.

Lucky for my hubby, I think he’s pretty cool too, and more often than not I’m so relieved that the reinforcements have arrived that I feel like giving him a hero’s welcome.

My three-year-old son and I have a little game whereby we hear Daddy’s key in the door and my toddler quickly hides. I must admit, he’s not a very sophisticated hide-and-seeker, but in the name of good parenting we never let on that he’s as obvious as an elephant in a phone box.

To see the rest of this post click here, make sure you follow the links through to the uber yummy Brunch Pikelets with Bacon and Goats Cheese.

Leave a little comment love on the Woolies site if you’d like to see me feature there more often!

 

Hooking up with the IBOT gang over with the essentially wonderful EssentiallyJess.

 

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Beans Means…….Homemade Baked Beans.

29 Nov

I cannot hear the words Baked Beans and not think of that scene in Blazing Saddles….you know the scene I’m talking about?

Basically, it’s a load of cowboys sitting around a campfire eating beans and they all begin to thunderously pass wind only seconds after the beans pass their lips.
I’m not a huge Mel Brooks fan, but this scene is the first ever fart scene in a movie, so I will give him credit where credit is due.

You rarely see/hear farts in film. Considering they are a part of life and everybody does it, you’d think there would be a little more wind on celluloid.

I wonder if James Bond ever got a nervous tummy? He’s certainly been in some tight squeezes, so it wouldn’t surprise me, but I suppose he would not be as cool  if when push came to shove a little ‘eeep’ squeaked out of his tuxedo……or heaven forbid, a shart.

But I digress, back to beans.

I love baked beans, and they are actually incredibly good for you. Packed with iron, protein, calcium, fibre and they are low GI so they will keep you fuller for longer. All this, and they are really yummy too.

I made these beans as a side dish to a slow-roast pork belly. Pork and beans go together like Ginger and Fred, in my books. All at my table enjoyed the combo, but none more than Mister H and I who got to double up with eggs and beans for breaky the following day.

It’s surprising we didn’t singe our eyebrows, if you catch my drift.

The original recipe for this came from the Riverstone cafe in Bellingen, but I tweaked it to my taste. If you would like to see the original recipe it is here.

Yield : 6 portions

What you will need :

330g dried cannellini beans (or Great Northern Beans), soaked in water overnight

3 red capsicum, seeds removed, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 onion, coarsely chopped

75 ml olive oil

200 gm speck, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 thyme sprigs

1 fresh bay leaf

400 gm canned crushed tomatoes

1 tsp smoked paprika

30 ml maple syrup

a good dash of balsamic vinegar

a good dash of Worstershire sauce

To serve: poached eggs and toasted sourdough

What you need to do :

Drain your beans and chuck them into a pot of lightly salted water, so they are covered with an extra couple of centimetres. Bring to boil, and reduce to simmer until they’re tender (30-40 minutes).

In a food processor, chuck your capsicum, onion and carrot until finely chopped.

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add capsicum and carrot mix, speck, garlic and herbs and cook until soft (7-10 minutes). Add salt and pepper to taste. Add tomato, bring to a simmer and add to beans. Add 500ml water, paprika, Worstershire sauce and vinegar, cover with foil and bake, stirring occasionally.

After 2 hours, check to see if they need a little more water, add if required, pop back into the oven for another 30 mins or so, until beans are nice and tender but not mushy. You want them to retain their shape.

Stir through maple syrup, season to taste and serve with poached eggs and sourdough toast.

We’re heavy on the recipes this week as it’s time to wrap up my Spring To Do list……and then we can get onto Summer!

Say I Love You with CROISSANTS!

18 Nov

A long time ago, Mister H said to me –

If you loved me, you’d make me croissants

I laughed in his face.

I thought it was a terrible shame that he would go through his life without someone who loved him enough to make croissants, because the whole world knows that those tasty little French pastries are an utter ball-ache to make, and I, for one, was not interested in such pursuits.

But, you know, sometimes that little seed gets sown in your brain and, slowly, slowly it can germinate into a hair-brained idea that maybe, just maybe, you do love your husband enough to bestow upon him a calorie-laden delicacy extrava-ma-ganza.

I started to look around at a few recipes and I got the resounding impression that these were going to be a commitment…..much like marriage.
The writing was on the wall.

I decided that I was going to give this infamous pastry a crack. When I told my mother I was doing them, her response was bolstering.

My biggest EVER culinary disaster was croissants (and gnocchi), said she.

I will say two things for this recipe I’m about to impart to you –

1) If no one has ever challenged the quality or quantity of your love, and you have a life, just buy them.

2) These were some of THE best tasting croissants I ever did eat.

I dare say we have a quandary, no?

Read this and decide from there your chosen method of croissant acquisition.

It’s not that they’re difficult, because they really aren’t, but time-consuming they most certainly are. In a 24 hour period, they got more rest than the rest of the family combined, but the good news is while they’re resting, you can be doing whatever the hell you like.

Yield : 15-20 croissants depending how big you make them.

What you will need :

  • 1 1/2 cups warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 3 3/4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 375g cold, unsalted butter
  • 1 egg + 1 teaspoon whole milk, beaten for brushing

What you need to do :

Put your sugar, salt and yeast into your warm milk and leave for about 10 minutes. You need it to get activated, and it needs to be foamy. The recipe I was following said if it wasn’t frothy, toss it and start again…..I did that once. Second time looked a bit more active so I thought, LET’S GET THIS SHOW ON THE ROAD!!!

Once foamy, add 3 3/4 cups flour and the salt. My recipe called for a stand mixer, but I only have a hand mixer (are you reading this KitchenAid? I will spruik your product til the cows come home, with no qualms about selling my arse, if you send me a red one) which I used with dough hook attachments.

Mix on low-speed until dough comes together and is  soft; about 7 minutes. Transfer dough to your workspace and knead by hand for a minute or 2, using more flour to make it silky and not sticky.

Form dough into a 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour. I got distracted at the park and mine chilled for two hours but who’s counting, right?

Pull your butter from fridge and cut into even sticks. Lay them next to each other. Press down on it with the rolling-pin and roll and bash and roll into 8 x 5 inch rectangle. Once done, wrap in plastic wrap and chill while rolling dough.

LOOK AT THAT BUTTER!!!!!! Arteries hardening yet?

Remove dough from fridge, unwrap and sit on a lightly floured counter. Stretch the dough into a 16 x 10 inch rectangle. It was kind of like making a pizza but a rectangle. Be sure to measure as it does matter.

Place dough with a short end near you. Stick your butter in the middle of the dough, then fold the ends up to encase it top half down and bottom half up.

Turn your parcel so the short side is facing you, and use the rolling-pin to evenly roll your dough into a 15 x 10 inch rectangle, rolling out to the ends but not actually over the ends.

Again, fold the dough as before; top half down and bottom half up, and stretch so the corners are square. This should form about a 10 x 5 inch rectangle.

Glad Wrap it and chuck it in the fridge for an hour…..or two, because you get distracted hanging washing and putting kids down for a sleep.

Now this is where I think I got lost – How Sweet It Is, whom I following like a lamb today, wrote this –

Repeat step 3 THREE more times, for a total of four folds, chilling the dough for one hour after each fold. After the fourth and final fold, wrap dough tightly with plastic wrap and chill for 8-12 hours, no longer.

I wasn’t sure if that was three times the two folds, or four folds all together so I kinda split the difference…..now, I realise that the more folds, the better as it makes the layer upon layer of buttery, light, fluffy goodness……next time, I shall do four times the two folds……then I went to bed and let my little butter-ball get a good night’s sleep in the fridge.

When dough is ready, roll out to a very long and skinny rectangle, about 15 x 32 inches. (If your counter is small, you can break the dough in half and do this in 2 sections). Cut the dough into long triangles. Cut a small vertical slit right into the middle of the straight end, and using both hands, roll croissant up pushing the sides out to either side to form your crescent.

Line trays with baking paper and lie your little delicacies about 2-3 inches apart, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for 1-2 hours.

Tempting to skip this last one, but they did rise a little more……even though I only left them for one hour. I will admit freely that by now I was getting a tad impatient….we were coming up to our 20th hour of doughy relationship.

Pre-heat oven to 230C. Brush croissants with beaten egg then, bake for 12-14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let cool before removing from tray and cooling on a wire rack…..unless you’re too excited and you shovel one straight into your mouth and burn the knobbly bit behind your teeth.

I rolled a piece of Lindt Dark chocolate into four of mine as a surprise……and it was a very nice surprise indeed.

The verdict :

These were not quite as airy as some I’ve had, resulting in a slightly more doughy croissant. I think I’ll try fresh yeast next time and the multiple fold thing I talked about………the taste?
Oh my sweet baby Jesus, these tasted awesome. Butterier (hmmmm, think I made that word up) than the average bakery ones and the perfect balance of yeasty sweetness.

I declare these a success, and they are only going to improve with practice.

I ate two straight away and then I did something really mean…..I took a load of them to my bootcamp class and off loaded them to the ladies thereby rendering their last hour of exercise null and void.

But I did it because I love to share…..and for self-preservation.

The rest I offered to my darling husband, as a token of my affections, and he is now smug in his knowledge that I am 100% crazy about him.

Secret Squirrel Savoury Muffins

5 Sep

I love secrets.  As a matter of fact, I’m holding a couple for people right now.
Some are dark and heavy, but my favourite is that a really dear friend is pregnant and it’s hard not sing it from the rooftops. It’s really early days so it’s totally secret squirrel but I know….and now you know too.
She’s so into the business of it all…..like I was with my first. Thirsting for knowledge, reading everything and following the little growth chart of my peanut implicitly.
‘Look, babe, this week we get ears!’
By the time you’re pregnant for the second or, heaven forbid, third time you can barely remember how many weeks you are, but that first pregnancy is such a great, magical, miraculous unknown.
Anyway, she’s looking to me as a bit of an expert on the subject of pregnancy and babies…. Lord, help her.
Even after two I still know sweet F.A. about the business of bairns.

The novelty of flourescent coloured porridge has worn off on Wonder Boy (and Mister H questioned whether he truly needs that much food colouring at breakfast) so we’re back in the breakfast funk. He’ll eat a bite of toast, or a Weet-Bix bite or two but nothing that will really sustain him or grow him big and strong-like.
I do have to give D Man props for optimism though, because every morning, when asked what he would like for breakfast, he answers with ‘choco’, which is D speak for chocolate pudding.
Having never, ever once had chocolate pudding for breakfast, and his chances of ever receiving it being next to nothing, I think his tenacity is commendable.

That kid will go far.

Muffins disappear pretty quickly around these here parts, and although I do love a savoury muffin, I had never really busted them out for my family before today.
I thought we could give them a crack for breaky. I reckon they’re a fairly wholesome kind of breakfast. There’s everything in there a boy could need for his morning’s activities. A bit of flour, a bit of egg, a hint of bacon and some cheese. When you think about it, it’s kind of like a fry up in sheep’s clothing……except I threw in some sneaky, secret squirrel vegetables. Next to ‘shrooms, zucchini is my least favorite veg, however, for this kind of thing, they’re ideal. Innocuous, is the name of the game, and in these babies, they just blend into the mix….spinach? Same goes.
Corn gives a sweet pop, and onion adds flavour. I’m a convert to the savoury muffin.
You could make these ones vege-ma-tarian if you wanted but everybody knows that everything is better with bacon. Well, maybe Miss Piggy wouldn’t agree but who asked her, the old sow?

Yield – 17 muffins

You will need –

1 cup of self-raising flour
1 cup wholemeal flour
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup grated zucchini
1/2 corn kernels
a handful of spinach, finely chopped
1 rasher of bacon,finely chopped
1/2 small spanish onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 good pinch of mixed herbs

Per-heat over to 180C.
Cook off your onion and bacon in a fry pan.
While that’s doing it’s thing, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Add your wet stuff to your dry and mix it well, taking care not to over mix.
Spoon it into your prepared muffin cases.
Chuck them in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Eat, eat, eat.
The panel beater dude did me a large favour by coming to pick my car up today for the insurance evaluation tomorrow. I came him a bag full of these little rippers.
He’ll think I’m a great baker, who can’t drive for shit, but I’m ok with that.

Wow, we’ve covered some ground today, huh? Hope you’re all better at keeping secrets than I am.

 

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Breakfast of Legends – Red Porridge

14 Jul

D Man’s all time favourite colour is red. Everything is red. Even blue things are red.

He loves red shoes, red pants, red cars and, although fond of all hats, his favourite – by a country mile –  is his red fire chief hat.

I’ve been feeling like a bit of a fraud lately, you know being a foody/mummy blogger and all…..It would seem that D Man’s tastes have changed and my toddler, who was eating sushi back when his peers were eating rice smoosh and mashed everything (he didn’t use chopsticks though, just in case you were going to call Ripley), has become a bit picky.
I hate picky eaters, as much as I hate dog poo so I sincerely hope it’s just a passing phase.

He still eats sushi with gusto, and pretty much anything that can be eaten on the run with his hands. I think it’s mostly because he’s just so damn busy all the time. He’s currently a cracking multi-tasker. Playing with blocks, whilst watching tv, whilst eating something that will leave crumbs all over the Persian, whilst probably filling his pants.
I wonder if he’ll continue to be able to multi task as he gets older? I think it’s something that most guys lose the ability to do by about 4…..but I digress.
Breakfast has been a real bitch. He might have a couple of bites of toast, a few nuts or half a banana, but he’s gone from devouring large amounts of breakfast to picking like a supermodel. When I asked him yesterday what he wanted for breakfast, he answered,

“Red”

What the f&*k is red? Red is not a food? But instead of going into the semantics of the English language I thought perhaps I could accommodate my little red-loving friend. I made us red porridge….apples, berries and some food colouring. Figured he’d poo poo it and I’d end up eating the lot, but I’m ok with red porridge.

He noshed that red pap right up, muttering “Yummy, red. Niiice”, like a mini, blonde Yoda.

I sure fixed his little red wagon, so to speak.

This morning, when I asked him what he wanted he said, for the first time EVER,

“Blue”

When I put his bowl of banana, date and blue porridge in front of him, he breathed a happy sigh and said,

“Mmmm, red’.

Little weirdo.

So, today’s recipe is nothing amazing for people with no kids (perhaps inner children will be excited?), but for people with kids, this may revolutionise your mornings. If you’re going to be all ‘oh no, we don’t do food colouring because it’s unnatural, and stuff’, then fine. Stick to grey old porridge.
I ain’t bovvered.

Yield : enough for he and me (yes, grammar spotters – I KNOW!)

You will need :

  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 small red apple, grated
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries, chopped
  • a few drops of red food colouring

Do you really need me to tell you? Ok, I’d better, just to keep up appearances.

Place all of the ingredients into a pan and cook until thickened, and squidgy. Like porridge…..but red.

Other rocking combinations are banana and date (and blue, if you so desire), and pear and apricot (yellow, I would say – but there are no rules)

Mother’s Day Every Sunday – Banana and Berry Pancakes

26 May

Some concepts are worth fighting for. Remember when the French rioted in the name of the four day week? That was totally worth fighting for. They lost, and still work 5 days like the rest of the Western world, but it was definitely worth a shot. I’m going for Mother’s Day every Sunday. You don’t need to give gifts, although they are appreciated. You don’t need to bring flowers, although the dining table looks surprisingly less cluttered with a full vase amongst the crap. Husbands, you don’t need to give foot massages, although you will probably increase your chances of sex……You just need to be nice to Mums, all Mothers, every Sunday.

Now, I really think that’s worth fighting for.

Nothing says Mother’s Day like a spesh breakfast. Preferably made for you…..preferably while you’re still in bed, but sometimes you just need to make yourself feel special if you think you may die waiting for said meal. I will proudly state that I do get a cup of tea in bed every non-training day. Before triathlons, that was every day, after triathlons, it’s twice a week…….stoopid triathlon training.

Anyway, this breakfast is a cracking start to the day. I always keep frozen berries in the freezer. They’re great to throw into muffins, smoothies and bircher muesli to give them a lift. Fresh berries actually dry out a bit when cooked so frozen is the way forward for things like this. If you want to thrown in a spoon full of LSA (linseed, sunflower and almond meal), go for it. I’m out at the moment so I didn’t.

Yeild – 2 adults and 1 toddler

You will need – 

  • 1 ripe banana, peeled and mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml milk
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2/3 cup frozen berries, I chop the large ones into bits for even cooking
  • butter for cooking
  • yoghurt for serving
  • maple syrup for serving

Place mashed banana into a small mixing bowl and add the egg and milk. Add the flour, gently mixing as you go. Stir in your berries. Heat a little butter in a fry pan and spoon in your mixture, cooking three or four at a time. Cook until little bubbles appear in the top and flip. Fry until golden brown. Cook remaining pancakes.

Share out the pancakes and top with a dollop of your favourite yoghurt and a splash of maple syrup. If you’re really going for the Mother’s Day sensation, serve with crispy bacon. Mmmmmm, crispy bacon. Oink.

Our Daily Bread – No Knead Sourdough

9 Apr

I promise I’m not a bum-licky, over achieving show off. Ok, I don’t promise, but I’m fairly sure I’m not. I do, however, like to make our bread whenever possible. It’s much easier than you think. It takes 5 minutes to throw it together, and then you ignore it for 18 hours, turn it out, ignore for another two hours, then you cook it. So, I guess when you think about it, it takes time, but it certainly doesn’t take much effort once you’ve perfected the art of ignoring. If you think it sounds like a ball ache, maybe save it for the weekend, but it is totally worth it.

I began making our bread because we like really yummy artisan type loaves and I have an objection to paying between $7 and $8 dollars for our daily bread….remember, my husband is Dutch and they have no fear of the carbohydrate! Now that have moved to the burbs, I can barely even find the bread we love. Whenever I go passed a Bourke Street Bakery I must stop in and grab a loaf, even to freeze, just because there is a shortage of great sourdough in the Wilds of the Deep South……ok, perhaps I also pick up a little Pork and Fennel Sausage Roll, and maybe a little Ginger Brûlée tart but who’s counting. Dang, those Bourke Street kids know how to bake though, huh? I bought my dear girlfriend, also an avid gastronome and chef, the recipe book and their bread starter requires some serious farting about. I cannot be arsed with that behaviour. No feeding starter for weeks on end, just a little /14 of a teaspoon of yeast and some cold shoulder.

My Mama first gave me this recipe after is was published in the New York Times back in about 2007. At the time, I was not bothered about making my bread regularly, but it became quite routine for me once I moved in with the Dutchman. These days I’m not as regular as I once was, but I still maintain that it is my boys’ favourite bread, and my fruit loaves are to die for. Modesty is for chumps.

I use these loaves as gifts, or thank you’s, and they are always well received. There is no end to the different ways you can make them. Different flours, different fruit and nuts (cranberry/walnut – hello?), seeds and spices (don’t be shy about experimenting. I’ve had great success with caraway, fennel and nigella seeds).

Here ’tis –

No Knead Sourdough Bread

Yeild – 1 delicious loaf

  • 3 cups flour (all purpose is fine although I like to mix it up with wholemeal, rye and spelt. Remember the more complex the flour, the heavier the bread. I find as long as whatever the combo is at least one cup is plain flour it doesn’t become a brick)
  • Slightly less than 2 cups, slightly luke warm, water
  • 1/4 tsp powdered yeast
  • Two good pinches sea salt
  • Then, I like to add a variety of seeds. Sesame, poppy, linseed, pepitas, sunflower seeds.
  • You can do fruit (then I add cinnamon also- 1/2 tsp), or roast garlic and rosemary……..only limited by your imagination.

Cover loosely with glad wrap and leave somewhere warm for 18 hours. In winter, in the oven (not turned on), near heater….in summer just the counter top is fine.
Then on a well floured surface, turn bread out (it’ll be sticky and stringy. My mama calls it ‘leggy’. Some loaves are leggier than others), fold the sides into the middle and sprinkle with more seed (I like oats too at this point) and flour generously on top before gently and loosely laying the glad wrap back over for two hours.

This next part is very important……

Every loaf needs either a kiss or a pat with kind words put into it. This way the people eating the bread will taste the love.

Pre-heat oven to 230C. Place clay pot, or cast iron pot with lid in oven to heat up (or you can use a loaf tin which you’ll cover with foil when you bake). Pop dough into pot with lid on for half and hour, then take the lid off for half an hour.

Voila!!! Homemade, super dooper, deliciousioso sourdough, made with love!

Breaking the Fast – Irresistible Apple and Maple Bircher

23 Mar

Anyone that knows me knows that I really love food.

When I’m eating breakfast I’m certain that it’s my favourite meal of the day. Whether it’s hot or cold, eggy or cereal, I do so love breaking my fast…but then, along comes my old friend, Lunch. As I’m enjoying my mid-day meal, not necessarily anything extravagant – perhaps a salad or sandwich, I would quite solemnly swear that, indeed, lunch was in fact my favourite meal of the day. As soon as the lunch plates have been cleared then I begin to think about my true love, dinner. I rarely plan in advance, as much as I’d love to be orgamanised, but I really, really enjoy a yummy dinner at the end of a long day…..oh, and I love snacks and dessert, did I mention that?

I like food. A lot. A LOT.

Seeing as this is the beginning of our relationship, dear reader, I thought it only apt to begin with a spot of breakfast. If you charted our foundling relationship as a day one could say we’re in our metaphorical breakfast, so I’m breaking us in easily with a spot of Bircher Muesli. Fun for the whole family.

Now my men hate porridge. The strange phenomenon is that they both like Bircher. I’m fairly sure Mister H knows Bircher is merely cold porridge but D Man is, as yet, none the wiser. I don’t dig your usual, standard claggy grey bowl of Bircher, I love fancy pants up-town variations that make me feel like I’m consuming a decadent creamy bowl of joy rather than tricked up horse food.

The beauty of this breaky is that you can make a batch on Sunday night, double it if you’re super keen and you’ve got quick, easy, low GI, low fat breaky ready to rock for the start of the week. No excuses for grabbing a ham and cheese croissant on the way to work (although Mister H has been known to have both – two breakfasts, like a good Hobbit!!)

Apple, Cinnamon and Maple Bircher – Holsby Style.

Time – overnight

Quantity – 2 adults and 1 little person

Ingredients –

  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 2 heaped tablespoons, plus extra for serving, yummy yoghurt, either natural or vanilla if that floats your boat
  • 1 apple, skin on, grated
  • Some good quality apple juice
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup – none of that imitation crap, please. The real deal is so much better.
  • 3 teaspoons LSA (or ground linseed, sunflower and almonds for the nut novices)
  • a handful of dried cranberries, or fresh berries or other dried fruit of your liking.

So easy, gang. Ready? Set? Go!

Chuck your oats into a container, and just cover them with the apple juice. Add your yoghurt, cinnamon and grated apple.Stir it like you mean it. Refrigerate overnight. In the morning, serve how much your morning belly wants, dollop on some yoghurt, sprinkle on some LSA and cranberries and drizzle with some maple.

Viola! Breakfast of champions and Holbys!

 
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