I don't claim to be an expert cook. Or a fancy cook. In fact, I never used to really enjoy cooking. So this is mostly about low fuss, filling and tasty meals, and really just anything I have a go at and decide to share along the way!! My top priority is avoiding additives and preservatives wherever possible closely followed by using whole/less processed/healthier ingredients. But for those who would like conventional options that are quick tasty and cost effective, I would like to share tips on all of these as well!!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Can you really call it Apple Crumble?

I know lots of people who are on a low fat diet.  Some of those people are in my family.  And I keep feeling bad even using good fats because oil, fat and butter are in a lot of foods.  And high cholesterol runs in the family.

Anyway, so I was looking for a nice apple crumble recipe, MINUS the butter and refined flours.  Because I do enjoy a nice warm apple crumble on a winter's night.  And I don't want to feel guilty about it!

So I came up with this little combination and thought it was really yummy.  I mean, you have to remove yourself from the expectation of cakey or floury and buttery crumble.  But yummy cinnamon apples and sweet nutty crumble!

Apple filling:

Approx 450g apple slices - 3 large apples or 4 smaller apples, peeled and in slices.  I used Granny Smith
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Approx 100g water

Preheat oven to 160C
1. Place apples in Thermomix, sprinkle with cinnamon and add water.  Cook for 10 minutes, 90C Reverse + Speed 2.  Add another 2 minutes if they need to soften more.
2. Once the apples are cooked you have 2 options.  You can drain the excess liquid, or leave it in.  Then chop apples to desired consistency - around 4 seconds about Speed 3 will come to the following pic.  But it depends on how cooked they are, thickness of slices etc, and if you like more pureed then bump up the speed and add some extra time - watch through lid until you are happy.  Add to oven proof dish (this just makes about 6 servings)

Clean out bowl and start "crumble"

30g almonds
80g walnuts (pecans could work if preferred)
20g desiccated coconut
40g oats (leave out for gluten free)
10g rapadura
50g raw honey

1.  Chop almonds for 2 short seconds Speed 5
2.  Add walnuts.   Chop another 2 seconds Speed 5.  Check consistency and chop a second or 2 longer if a finer crumble is desired.
3.  Add coconut, rapadura, oats and drizzle honey evenly around the top of ingredients.  Combine for about 20 Seconds, Reverse + Speed 3.
4.  Add crumble to top of apples.
Cook in oven for about 15 - 20 minutes until gently browning.  Serve with Dairy Free Custard for dairy free or ice cream! Yummy!

1.  This really is a "do it how you like it recipe" (if that wasn't obvious!)
2.  This is not very sweet to the sweet tooth, so add more sugar or honey if you like it sweet - I kept it down for health conscious :)
3.  You could probably add other stuff in, but also could leave out oats and add some more coconut for gluten free too.
4.  Would I sound weird if I said I would eat this with some milk for breakfast??!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Spaghetti Bolognaise... or not?

I quickly made up this recipe tonight.  I have never actually made the bolognaise out of the Everyday Cookbook (shame on me), I guess I'm just not typically a bolognaise girl.  I have heard some say they don't LOVE the version in the EDC... but tonight I had planned to make Shepherd's Pie but realised my cookbook with the recipe in it was in hubby's car.  SO!  I decided to make an easy, tasty and filling merge of bolognaise and Shepherd's pie mince!  And I think it was really tasty!  It is definitely NOT traditional bolognaise, it really is just a mish-mash of everything.  Here 'tis:

350g lamb (I found the stirfry strips on special)
300g beef, cut into 2cm pieces (rump, casserole, chuck, whatever preferred for mincing)
400g Organic tin diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon TM Vege Stock
2 cloves garlic
1 onion 
1 carrot
20g oil
150g frozen peas and corn (optional, or more if wanted!)
60-70g water (if adding frozen veggies... just add what you think it needs!) 

1.  Make mince from lamb pieces (Press Turbo button 3 or 4 times, 1 second each, checking texture - don't "over mince"! Set aside  

2.  Make mince from beef pieces and set aside

3.  Chop onion, carrot and garlic, 4 seconds Speed 6. Add oil, saute 3 minutes, 100C, Speed Soft

4.  Add mince. Saute 6 minutes, 100C, Reverse + Speed Soft.

5.  Add tomatoes, paste, and stock. Cook 15 minutes, Varoma Temp,  Reverse + Speed Soft. 

Add frozen veggies and water with 5 minutes remaining. 

Serve with spaghetti (or whatever pasta you have left in the pantry! As I said, not a true bolognaise this one!)

I hope you like it!!

And topped with a very hurried iphone pic - hey, I'm doing this for the info, not the photography (that's what I'm sticking with!).

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Coconut Cupcakes for everyone.. Dairy Free!

This recipe is based out of the recipe for Coconut Cupcakes in the 2012 Food Lovers Calendar - seriously yummy!!!

I thought seeing as it was almost there with the Coconut cream instead of milk etc, that I would take it one step further and remove the butter as well!  And the result was.... perfect!!

Here is the recipe:

320g sugar
160g coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla essence + 1 vanilla bean OR 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
240g coconut cream (or 1 can Ayam Coconut cream)
4 eggs
430g SR flour
1 tsp baking powder (homemade - in Basics section of Everday Cookbook)
Pinch Salt

Preheat oven to 180C.  Line 2 x 12 hole muffin tins with patty cases.

1.  Place sugar and vanilla bean in TM Bowl.  Mill for 15 Seconds, Speed 10
2.  Add coconut oil and mix 10 seconds on Speed 4 (my oil was solidified because of the cold and worked well!)
3.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 20 Seconds on Speed 7 or until combined
4.  Spoon mixture into patty cases and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool before icing.

I did try to experiment with a dairy free frosting as well, but I also tried to lessen the recipe and it all ended in... well, a NOT great result!  And no ingredients left (a rarity!).  So a sprinkle of icing sugar it was!!!

These cupcakes were lovely and light and nicely speckled with the vanilla sugar.  You would never guess they were dairy free (and not using additive-full butter substitutes!).

1.  Don't have your 4 and 6 year old boys helping if you don't want it to take about 45 minutes to fill the patty cases.
2.  That's it for this one - I think it would be fairly hard to wreck it!!