not quite nutella

June 16, 2015

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surprisingly, this diy nutella is pretty close to the real thing- and in someways, it’s even better. this not quite nutella is slather on toast, teaspoon in jar and even index finger scooping worthy. and the brilliant thing is you know that you’ve made it yourself! it’s basically a health food what with all the hazelnuts involved. these are loaded with heart-healthy fats, and vitamins B and E, making your skin, hair and nails lovely. there is also no refined sugar, and the cocoa offers plenty of antioxidants. as with any diy project, there is no doubt you will feel a great sense of accomplishment by making a jar, and have a lovely little chocolatey reward for your troubles.
recipe inspired by good food.

not quite nutella
makes approx. 150g

125g hazelnuts
50g honey
50ml water
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp almond oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
small pinch sea salt

preheat oven to 180C and toast hazelnuts on lined baking tray for 10 minutes. once roasted, place nuts in a clean tea towel and rub vigorously until almost all of the skins are removed. pick out the nuts and place in a high speed blender (i used a thermomix, but any strong food processor will work) and whiz for 30 seconds until nuts have completely broken down. they should be on their way to becoming a paste. add the honey, water, cocoa powder, almond oil and sea salt, and blitz for a good two minutes, or until you have a thick spreadable consistency. store in an airtight glass jar for up to 3 weeks.

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comfortable soup

June 10, 2015

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what makes a comfort food so comfortable? is it the warming from the inside out, the evocation of childhood memories, or is simply the sheer deliciousness they offer, momentarily alleviating our every anguish? perhaps it’s all of these things. and perhaps it’s time for soup.

this seasonal, simple and comforting winter soup is a breeze to prepare, nutritious, (even more so if using homemade chicken stock) and very warming. the elementary combination of onion, carrot and pumpkin gives this soup it’s satisfying sweet/savoury quality and the addition of ginger adds a mellow background heat, with the amount added easily dialled up or down according to taste. and with its strong anti-inflammatory properties, the ginger can only can only help through the long winter months. adding yoghurt and coriander to serve bulk it out a little, and make a meal of this smooth and unsophisticated soup. it’s nourishing and satisfying without be too heavy. warm pumpkin soup may just be the answer to everything.

pumpkin, carrot and ginger soup

serves 4-6

100g butter
2 large brown onions, sliced
1 large knob of ginger, grated
1kg pumpkin, skin removed and roughly chopped (kent, butternut or whatever looks nice at the grocery store)
1/2kg carrots, peeled and roughly diced (about 4 large carrots)
1.5L homemade chicken stock (or other good quality stock)
salt/pepper
coriander leaves and plain natural yoghurt to serve

melt butter over medium heat in heavy based pot and add onions and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally until onions have become translucent but not browned. add chopped carrots, pumpkin, salt/pepper and stir. add chicken stock and simmer over medium/low heat (depending on how much/little time you have) for 10-15 mins or until carrot and pumpkin are soft. remove from heat and blitz with hand blender in the pot. return to low heat and simmer until ready to serve. top each bowl with coriander leaves, a large dollop of yoghurt and season.

 

 

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nice pear

June 9, 2015

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long days, balmy evenings and bountiful peaches and plums, have been replaced by dark mornings, icy winds and stockpiles of persimmons and pears. embracing the change in season can take a little time, and it seems this pear cake may help to ease the onset of the frosty winter months. pears are in abundance at this time of year, and there’s something very wholesome about eating seasonally, and baking something seasonal- well, that’s just about as virtuous as it gets.

the use of olive oil in place of butter here keeps things light, while the ginger and cinnamon provide warmth, and when combined with almond meal, fleshy pears, and molten brown sugar, the result is a little celebration of the winter months. and let’s be honest, there is nothing quite as warming as a big old fat piece of cake.

this recipe has been adapted from silvia colloca’s pear cake recipe, and can also be baked using gluten free self-raising flour.

pear and ginger cake

makes 1

3 small pears
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar plus 2 tablespoons
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup yoghurt
1 cup almond meal
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted

preheat oven to 180c and line a round 20cm cake tin with baking paper. sprinkle the base with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and 1 tsp of ginger. cut pears in quarters and remove cores. line the base of the tin with the pears packed in fairly tightly. beat the eggs with the sugar until well combined and fluffy. add oil, yoghurt, remaining cinnamon and ginger and whisk well. add the almond meal and sifted  flour, and gently fold through until just combined. pour the batter over the pears and bake for 40-45mins, or until skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. once cooked, turn cake, still in the tin, upside down onto cooling rack for 30-40mins before serving.

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buns of s p e l t.

April 8, 2014

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if only i had buns of steel as good as these buns of spelt. (although i’m pretty sure that if i didn’t eat so many buns of spelt, i would have a chance at having buns of steel).

anyway.

obviously easter calls for hot cross buns. they are one of my all time favourite festive foods. soft and deliciously sticky. traditionally they are a glorious marriage of spices and currants, however I think they are robust enough to take a small amount of tweaking. i’m definitely not a chocolate chip addition fan, however a little extra something to your liking is a must.

these hot cross buns are baked with spelt flour, rather than traditional plain white. spelt contains a broad spectrum of nutrients, and is highly water soluble, making these nutrients more easily absorbed by the body. spelt is also a good source of fibre and has a low gluten content, all of which lends itself to being easily digested. the result means that these are perhaps not quite as light and fluffy as a standard hot cross bun- but who wants standard anyway? importantly, the almost nutty flavour of the spelt marries the spices and dried fruit in these warm little bundles of easter joy.

spelt hot cross buns

makes 12

4 cups organic spelt flour
2 x 7g sachet dried yeast
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups currants
1 cup sun dried apricots
50g butter
300mL milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten

flour paste
1/2 cup plain flour
4-5 tbs water

glaze
1/3 cup water
2 tbs caster sugar
3 tbs poppy seeds

combine flour, yeast, sugar, mixed spice, salt and currants in a large bowl. melt butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. add milk and heat for 1 minute, or until milk is lukewarm. add milk mixture and eggs to the flour mixture. mix until dough almost comes together and then finishing mixing with your hands to form a soft dough.

turn dough onto a (spelt) floured surface and knead lovingly for 10 minutes. at this point the dough should be smooth. place dough in a bowl which has been lightly oiled, cover with a tea towel or glad wrap and place in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours. by this time the dough should have doubled in size.

line a large baking tray with baking paper. punch (literally) dough down to its original size, and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. divide dough into 12 equal portions and shape each into a ball. place balls onto lined tray and cover again, placing in a warm place for 30 mins. the buns should double in size. preheat oven to 190C.

while waiting, make flour paste (for crosses) by mixing flour and water together in a small bowl until smooth. add a little extra water if the paste is too thick. place into small piping bag, (or snap lock bag and snip corner off. continuously pipe paste onto tops of buns to form crosses. bake for 20 mins, or until buns are cooked through.

to make glaze, place water and sugar into a small saucepan over low heat and stir until sugar dissolves. bring to the boil and allow to boil for 5 mins without stirring. remove from heat, and add poppy seeds. brush warm glaze over warm hot cross buns liberally.

enjoy however you like- warm, toasted, room temperature, but most definitely with butter.

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rainy sundayssss.

February 27, 2014

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on sundays, some people brunch, some people sleep in, some even socialise, but for me, sundays are all about baking. and if the rain is teaming down there just isn’t a better place to be than in the kitchen. i would quite happily bake chocolate galette, after sponge, after gingerbread, after muffin, after frangipane tart, but sometimes, although it pains me to say, you can develop a little cake overload.

this loaf however, answers all of my rainy sunday morning prayers. it’s delicious, healthy, and just a little bit cake like. straight out of the oven it is steaming and lovely, and with the addition of just a little butter, it takes the weekend to a happy place.

it’s also great toasted a few days down the track. and ricotta slathered on works nicely too.

spelt berry loaf

1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 banana smashed
1 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 cup almond milk (or whatever milk you like)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup of frozen berries ( i used raspberries and blueberries)

preheat oven to 180C. mix all dry ingredients together in one bowl, and all wet ingredients together in another bowl. add dry ingredients to wet and combine. gently fold in berries. pour into greased and/or lined loaf tin and bake for 35-40mins, or until skewer comes out clean.

 

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get your greens.

February 11, 2014

IMG_6373sometimes i need a break from tomato. sure- tomatoes are great. juicy, sweet and high in vitamin c, but it often seems like everything has tomato in one form or another. this green minestrone is just that- green. packed full of green vegetables, flavour, and wholesomeness. this is one of those meals you eat and feel like you’ve just done your body a favour. and although we’re in height of summer and heat of february, this soup is actually makes a refreshing warm summer evening meal.

this summertime soup is super simple to make and very adaptable to just about anything you have in your fridge (except tomatoes). i serve mine with a quick homemade pesto which is literally 2 big handfuls of basil, pine nuts, parmesan, salt/pepper, and glugs of olive oil. stirred into the soup it adds richness and saltiness.

green minestrone

serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large leek, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped finely
2 zucchinis, chopped finely
1 bunch of cavolo nero, chopped
1 cup green peas, frozen are fine
1L chicken stock
1 tin cannellini beans
homemade pesto to serve (see above)

heat oil in large saucepan over low heat and saute leek and celery until softened. add zucchini and allow to soften slightly. add stock and simmer over a gentle heat for 10mins or so. add cavolo nero and allow to cook until just softened. add peas and beans and stir to combine. allow to cook for an additional 2mins, or until peas are just cooked and beans have warmed through. add salt/pepper if required. serve with a big dollop of pesto to stir in.

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feeling peachy?

February 11, 2014

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i didn’t think it could be done, but i’ve managed to find a way to eat cake all year round. cake is usually one of those delicious things that you begin to crave as the weather gets cooler and activities become focused indoors. summertime, however, is generally reserved for gelato. and lots of it.

i came upon this recipe as the overripe peaches, slightly bruised but still glistening and beautiful, seemingly stared at me from my fruit bowl. what could i make that celebrated these summertime gems? inspired by nigel slater’s summertime cake recipe, this seemed convincingly appropriate. cake it was then.

with the addition of almond meal, this afternoon delight is crumbly and delicious, with the peaches and tart blueberries cutting through the buttery richness. this cake is simple in execution and result, in the best possible way. it is so pretty, so light and so seasonal. just peachy.

peach, blueberry and almond cake

serves 8-10

175g butter
175g caster sugar
200g ripe peaches (approx. 2), roughly chopped
2 large eggs
175g self raising flour
100g almond meal
zest of one small lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
125g blueberries (1 punnet)

grease and line the base of a 20cm, spring form cake tin and preheat oven to 170C. cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. beat the eggs lightly then add a little at a time to the creamed butter and sugar. mix the flour and almonds together and fold into the mixture at a slow speed in two or three separate lots. add the lemon zest and vanilla and incorporate. add chopped peaches and blueberries and gently fold in to combine. scrape mixture into cake tin and bake for 1hr 10mins. skewer should come out clean once cooked. allow cake to cool in tin for 10 mins before removing and allowing to cool completely.

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post yoga wholesomeness

February 5, 2014

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if i’ve done an evening yoga class (unusual), or perhaps have slightly over indulged on the weekend (usual), this is what i cook. it has fast become a regular in my mid week repertoire. it’s meat free, super healthy, protein packed with chickpeas, loads of vegetables, and together with a good dollop of harissa, is delicious and wholesome. served with brown rice, it pretty much ticks every healthy eating box there is. the pumpkin and chickpeas give it bulk, while the spinach and harissa give it a little lift, making it light and easy to eat.

while not being terribly pretty, it’s pretty easy to make, with chopping being perhaps the most complicated step. the brown rice adds texture and nuttiness. and by adding a spoon of natural organic yoghurt,  the harissa can be mellowed a little.

namaste.

chickpea, pumpkin and spinach

serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 piece of pumpkin peeled, chopped chunky, to give you 800g
800mL good quality chicken stock
1 tin chickpeas
1 cup of frozen peas
2 big handfuls of english spinach (or as much as you like really)
brown rice, harrisa and natural yoghurt to serve

heat olive oil in heavy based pan on medium heat. add onion and garlic and saute until softened. add tomatoes and allow most of the liquid to gently fry off. add chopped pumpkin and chicken stock and allow to simmer slowly until pumpkin is tender. add drained chickpeas to warm through and the peas. stir through spinach just before serving. serve with brown rice, and a good dollop of harissa and yoghurt.

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i’ve always loved macaroons. even before macarons were cool. these are simple and honest. coconut. sugar. egg whites. without a rainbow fantastic colour or flavour in sight. and even better- you don’t have to be zumbo to make them.

they are rustic little mounds of deliciousness. enjoy.

coconut macaroons

makes approx. 18

3 large egg whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
280g shredded coconut (i use organic but any will do)

preheat oven to 160C. line trays with baking paper. whisk egg whites, sugar, vanilla and salt until glossy and stiff peaks form. gently fold in coconut. use a tablespoon to form macaroons onto baking trays and shape gently with hands. bake for 20-25mins until just golden, rotating trays in the oven halfway through. allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.

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i’ve been road testing recipes from gwyneth’s new book, it’s all good. although somewhat skeptical, (can she really be that perfect?!), each and every recipe so far has been DELICIOUS. she offers something for everyone- a little celebrity, a little boho, a little earth mother,- and a lot of envy. throughout the book she’s pictured in her denim cutoffs barbecuing corn on the beach and collecting eggs from the farm. all the while looking effortlessly together and glowing with what can only be described as the look of optimum health. rather than leaving you despondent, this in fact makes you want to cook from the book (and leads your mind to believe you too could be a celebrity earth mother by simply drinking almond and kale smoothies each morning). the recipes are in fact relatively simple, and most of the ingredients you would most likely find in your pantry. (some at the very back). maple syrup features heavily, however this is saving us from a refined sugar overload, so it’s all good.

the japanese salad with carrot-ginger dressing is crisp and vibrant, and you feel a little healthier with every mouthful. the brownies are a show stopper. so incredibly easy to make and so chocolatey rich. i substituted the vegetable oil for olive, and the rice milk for regular as it’s what i had to hand. so it seems the recipe can take a little tweaking to your liking/pantry item availability. the banana and date muffins are also alarming good, all the while being gluten, sugar, butter and egg free. sticky, crunching and suitably satisfying. (rosebud also approved).

i’m still working my way through many of the other recipes while wearing my denim cutoffs and (dreaming of) barbecuing corn on the beach. check out gwyney’s blog, goop.

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