Monday, 24 August 2015

Macadamia and Brown Rice Cookies

Biscuits are so much fun to invent!  Mainly because I find them quite forgiving and it is hard to go wrong when making a biscuit recipe.  Even if they don't turn out exactly as they should, unless you burn the life out of them, they wont suffer from issues such as sinking in the middle or not rising as commonly occurs with cakes or other demanding delights!
These filled our house with such wonderful aromas - macadamias toasting, a subtle hint of vanilla and that delicious buttery goodness!
Whilst they won't be able to set foot in the lunchbox (unless your school doesn't follow a nut free policy!), there are plenty of other occasions for these maca treats - after school snack, morning tea at the office, a gift to show someone you care, road trips, and the list goes on!
I'm sure other nuts will work too, although there is something that works so beautifully with butter and macadamias! Not to mention the fact that Macadamias are indigenous to Australia - with growers spanning from the east coast of New South Wales right up to the far north of sunny Queensland!  Please ensure that when you buy your macadamias, support our local industry and Buy Australian!

If you are using a Thermomix and raw brown rice, you'll get a little crunch in the bikkie which adds to the experience although if you prefer a really smooth result, once you grind the rice you could always sift it to remove the gritty bits.
These are so quick and easy to make with simple ingredients, it really isn't necessary to buy packet biscuits!  Avoid those processed ingredients, make a double batch, and freeze half for another time when the doorbell rings unexpectedly!

Macadamia and Brown Rice Cookies


100g raw brown rice (or brown rice flour if not using a TMX)
100g macadamias
100g gluten free self raising flour
65g rapadura sugar (coconut sugar, brown sugar, or raw would also work)
55g unsalted butter, cold
1 tsp vanilla extract

Method - Conventional

  1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Add the macadamias to a food processor and pulse until a fine meal is achieved.  If you do not have an appliance to do this, finely chop the nuts.
  3. Place brown rice flour, macadamias, SR flour and sugar into a bowl or food processor and combine.
  4. Add butter and vanilla - either pulsing in food processor until mixture holds together well when pressed into a ball, or mix through butter and vanilla with fingertips until butter is evenly distributed through the mix and then stir well until mix holds together well when pressed into a ball (this will take a bit of elbow grease to get a moist dough!).
  5. Press tablespoons of mixture into balls then gently press down with a fork to flatten slightly.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for approx 15 mins (checking regularly after 10 minutes as all ovens are different) or until golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool completely on tray before storing in an airtight container. 

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.  Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place rice in TM bowl and grind on speed 10 for 1 minute.
  3. Scrape sides, add macadamias to ground rice and process on speed 7 for 10 seconds.
  4.  Add flour and sugar and mix on speed 4 for 5 seconds.
  5. Add butter and vanilla and process on speed 5 until combined (approx 20-30 seconds).  Mix should come together into a ball easily.
  6. Follow steops 5-7 above.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Date & Coconut Slice with Lemon Icing

Some of my favourite moments these days involve spending time with good friends.  I treasure it now more than ever before, and consider myself so very lucky to have such dear friends with whom I can cry with, laugh with, bounce ideas off, and solve the worlds problems with!  But most of all just that companionship, that understanding (even when we may see things differently), that support and knowledge that someone is really there for you - as much as you are there for them.  I mean, you can't trivialise that.  That true friend is often years in the making, or sometimes not many years at all.  But either way, it's a precious thing I have in my life, and I try not to take it for granted, ever.
So this is to you, my dear friends.  You know who you are.  You are special to me and I thank you for giving me such richness in my life.  I try hard to give that back to you.  Here's to you and me, and the good times we've had, and the good times that lay ahead.  The greatest way I give love is through food.  And here is some love in a slice!  How lovely it would be to know that this slice created another special moment between two good friends.  Enjoy...

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Roasted Tomato and Capsicum Soup

Over two years on and my Thermomix still never ceases to amaze and impress me!
Today I scored just under a kilo of deliciously juicy and sweet tomatoes and two large red capsicums.    Soup came to mind straight away, but generally with homemade tomato and capsicum soup you would need to remove the skins in most recipes.  And anyone who knows me knows that those kind of tedious steps in a recipe really turns me off!!
Well I decided to put my trust in the power of the TMX and ditch the skinning step - and I'm here to tell you the TMX made light work of those pesky skins!  Blitzed them right into oblivion!!  The end result was smooth, yet layered with a complexity of flavours coming from the roasting.  The sweetness of the tomatoes, capsicum and garlic shone through, complemented with a slight smokiness, the richness of the olive oil, then cut through with the fresh basil and cracked pepper.
A solid entree or even hearty lunch with a chunk of fresh bread, this soup will surely impress its recipients, but most of all, it impresses the cook, because in just two simple steps and as many dishes, you are done and dusted and free to entertain in front of the crackling fireplace; glass of wine in hand, cracker of a soup at the ready!  Now what could be better than that in the dead of winter?!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Carrot & Pecan Brownie Topped with Lemon Curd

 Half a lemon each, a spoon in hand and the sugar jar in our lap.  Sitting on the trampoline on a warm summers day is a distinct memory of my cousin and I many moons ago.  Two girls.  Footloose and fancy free.  The warm breeze in our hair. Chatting about everything and nothing.  Our dreams, our friends, the big issues.  All the time in the world.  A sprinkling of sugar, a taste of the sweet juice, another sprinkling of sugar, and on it would go!  Where did that time go?

I love love love lemons!  Lemon juice, lemon water, lemon cake, lemon slice.
Lemon lifts.  Lemon builds.  Lemon cuts through sweet and salty.  Lemon adds another dimension.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Chocolate Zucchini cake/muffins - Gluten free, nut free, dairy free

My chocolate and beetroot fudge cake has proven to be a huge hit, both amongst friends and family as well as on this blog!  The benefits are not having to cook the beetroot before cooking, and of course sneaking vegetables into a decadent chocolate cake makes eating one slice too many almost acceptable!

Well, here is another option of adding a vegetable to a chocolate cake, no-one any the wiser! 
I'm not suggesting this as a way to get vegetables into your children and to therefore serve it next to their pork chop on the dinner plate!  But actually the zucchini creates a beautiful moistness in this cake, and if that can be done from a vegetable, why not!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Homemade body sugar scrubs - great gift ideas

This time of year, and lets face it, every other time of year, is busy busy busy!  If you're anything like me you have all the best intentions to make homemade gifts during the year, pinning lots of cute ideas to your Pinterest boards, spotting gorgeous jars and bottles in your travels, making a mental note to come back and get them closer to Christmas....  Is that you too?!!
Well then you will understand me when I say that as much as I am happy I have actually pulled it off this year, I am equally surprised that I have actually pulled it off this year!!
But seriously these sugar scrubs are not only a really lovely gift to receive, they are also all natural (no preservatives or numbers), can be all organic if you choose, and only contain two ingredients for the base - YES TWO!! - and then whatever flavours/scents you chose to personalise them.
No whiz bang appliances are needed - just a bowl and a spoon - and within the hour you will have a collection of jars looking so pretty, good enough to eat, and ready to go!

Teachers, neighbours, grandparents, the postie..... whoever you want to give a little gift to to say thanks for all you've done/been this year, this is definitely the thing to make!
I tested some of my scrubs out this morning and my skin is so soft and smooth!  I loved the result so much I think the next batch may just be for our shower!!
The most difficult part of this recipe is deciding which flavour/scent combinations to choose.  I have included some ideas to get you thinking below.

Enjoy the festive season Mellymaks family!  And don't lose sight of whats most important throughout the busyness!!
Homemade body sugar scrubs

Homemade body sugar scrubs


3 cups sugar (I used white this time but in my research the scrubs will work just as well with brown sugar)
3/4 cup oil (I used grapeseed oil, but again many oils would work well - almond, avocado, coconut, macadamia)
flavours ( In one batch I used 10 drops of lavender essential oil and 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract.  In the other batch I used the juice of half a lime, the grated rind of a whole lime and a splash of peppermint extract)


  1. Put all ingredients into the bowl and mix well.
  2. Spoon into jars and seal. (This recipe filled 5 x 200ml jars - see pic above)
  3. Store in a cool, dry place.  It will apparently keep for months!

Flavour/scent options
  • Citrus essential oils and a cinnamon stick
  • Chai - Cinnamon, cardamon, star anise, cloves, black tea leaves
  • Ground freeze-dried strawberries
  • Coffee grounds and vanilla bean extract
  • Raw honey and ginger powder
  • Grated lemongrass and lime zest

Friday, 3 October 2014

Blood Orange Tart with an almond base - Gluten Free

There's something really exotic and mysterious about blood oranges.  Is it their unusually short harvest season (approx 2 months) that creates a sense of urgency and desire? Their stunning and unique flesh colours?  Or the beautiful flavour combination of both citrus and raspberries?  Either way, I absolutely love seeing blood oranges hit the markets and always stock up to make as many treats as possible!
This year I couldn't go past blood orange sorbet.  The colour is striking and the flavour sharp and citrusey yet refreshing!  Making sorbets in the Thermomix is oh so easy that it is almost worth buying one for that benefit alone!
Blood Orange Sorbet made in the Thermomix
But with a bowl of sorbet chilling in the freezer I still had a lot of blood orange quarters peeled and pipped and waiting for another creation.  So a blood orange tart it was!  I was looking for a decadent tart yet something quite light in texture to ensure the citrus notes were not drowned out.    And of course I find it hard to create anything without a touch of nutrition added, and so almonds and chia were made a part of the base and I stuck to minimal sugar and the lesser processed rapadura at that.
You need to excuse my pictures, as per usual, as I am far from a good photographer but take my word for it, this tart was YUM!!
One of the best features of this recipe is the requirement for just one bowl, whether it be a TMX bowl, a food processor bowl or the old traditional, well, bowl!  Serving this up at the table in front of friends will be sure to impress, and yet you needn't disclose the minimal fuss you have gone to!  I won't tell them if you don't!
Make it the day before to let the flavours settle if time allows, and serve up with anything from a reduction of extra blood orange juice, double cream, vanilla ice cream, segments of fresh blood oranges or indeed a scoop of homemade blood orange sorbet.  Enjoy...

 Blood Orange Tart with an almond base (gluten free)


100g butter
100g raw almonds (or almond meal if you don't have a processor to mill almonds)
200g gluten free plain flour (I used Orgran brand)
40g rapadura or coconut sugar
10g white chia seeds
1 egg

300g blood orange flesh (skin, pith and pips removed)
100g rapadura or coconut sugar
2 eggs
180g cream
1 heaped teaspoon gluten free cornflour

Method - Conventional

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a 24cm shallow pie case with a removable base.
  2. For the base, if you are using a food processor, add almonds and chia seeds to the bowl and process on high speed until a meal consistency is achieved. 
  3. If not using a food processor, place almond meal, chia seeds, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl.  Add butter and work through with finger tips until mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Add beaten egg and work through until mixture comes together.  Continue at step 6.
  4. Add butter, sugar and flour and process just until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  5. Add the egg and pulse until just combined.  
  6. Press mixture evenly into pie case both into the base and the sides.  Place on a baking tray for stability and blind bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  7. For the filling, add orange flesh and sugar to the food processor bowl.  Blend until fine pulp is formed.
  8. Add remaining filling ingredients and process until smooth and well combined.  
  9. Pour over base and bake in oven for 30 minutes or until set.  The filling will still wobble when you move it however is actually set.
  10. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in fridge.

Method - Thermomix

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius.  Lightly grease a 24cm shallow pie case with a removable base.
  2. For the base, place almonds and chia in the TM bowl and mill on speed 10 for 10 seconds.
  3. Add flour and sugar and combine on speed 5 for 5 seconds.  Add butter and process on speed 5 for 10 seconds. 
  4. Add egg and mix on REVERSE, speed 4 for 10 seconds.
  5. Press mixture evenly into pie case both into the base and the sides.  Place on a baking tray for stability and blind bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  6. For the filling, place orange and sugar in TM bowl (no need to clean from making the base, just ensure as much of the base has been removed as possible) and blend on speed 9 for 20 seconds.
  7. Add remaining filling ingredients and blend on speed 4.5 for 30 seconds.  Pour over base and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until set.  The filling will still wobble when you move it however is actually set.
  8. Allow to cool to room temperature before storing in fridge.