Friday, 31 August 2012

Perfect with a cuppa - Apple Hazelnut cake

I should be trying to tie this post into Fathers Day, shouldn't I?  Hmm, well I haven't perfected my Bourbon soaked shanks recipe yet and I'm not sure an apple tea cake would be at the top of every dads wish list for Sunday!!  Gee, that was a bit sarcastic and stereotypical wasn't it?!  My hubby actually doesn't mind apple tea cake, and quite liked this cake too!

The apples I'm now getting from Petty's Orchard are so tasty at the moment.  When I made another batch of my brown rice and quinoa baby rusks recipe the other day, I actually didn't even need to add sugar as the half apple that you add to the flour was so flavourful and sweet that sugar wasn't needed.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Steamed choc caramel puddings

This weather just doesn't seem to be warming up quick enough for my liking!!  But then, I know I could quite happily live in a climate that wouldn't ever dip below 25 degrees. I'd be as happy as a pig in mud!

But, living in Melbourne, that will never be the case so I may as well make the most of the cooler days while they last, and for me that means comfort food.  And when we have visitors or go visiting, that can mean a little indulgence with the comfort I reckon!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Sweet potato, chickpea and chia burgers - Tasty, healthy, oh and did I mention tasty?!

Burgers really are a great comfort food aren't they?!  They are the perfect culinary answer to so many situations - quick meal out with mates, summer picnics in the park, casual meal out with the kids (where you don't generally have to worry how messy they get!), 'refueling' after a big night out on the town, and many more.

Up until a few years ago, burgers were found at either the local fish'n'chip shop or of course at McD's, and were pretty one dimensional - low grade meat patty, bit of lettuce and tomato maybe, white bun and, what am I forgetting???  Oh yes, the quintessential accompaniment, tomato sauce (or ketchup if that's speaking more your language!).  In more recent times, various gourmet fast food establishments have arisen and taken the humble burger to a new level, and consequently reinvigorated our interest.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Healthy grain cherry macaroon cake (coincidentally gluten and dairy free!)

This creation actually came about not from an abundance of seasonal produce being put to good use, but from my next favourite option, frozen stock!  The great thing about buying frozen fruits (or freezing your own home grown crops) is not just the bleeding obvious, being able to eat them all year round, but the nutrition status can often be better than their fresh siblings due to being snap frozen only hours after picking.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Fig, nut and puffed rice bars

I am constantly trying to think of new and tasty snack ideas for the family that ticks all the boxes - providing nutrition whilst at the same time being something that is enjoyed and not eaten 'just because its healthy'!

Although my boys are a little way off school yet, I know it is such a difficult thing for parents to come up with lunchbox fillers day in and day out.  Not only that but many schools now have 'no nut' as well as minimal packaging (nude food) policies, further reducing the options available.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Espresso, hazelnut and cinnamon ice cream

When coming up with flavour combinations, for me it is often the coming together of imagery, to the point where I can pretty much taste it.  Sometimes its from the senses of smell and touch, and often it stems from an ingredient I have in my kitchen that I want to play with.

Obviously it is underpinned from years of trawling blissfully through glossy food magazines, walking past cafe and restaurant windows with one eye on whats on offer, watching endless food related tv series, and even learning on my travels, where the focus for me is always on the local flavours!

And so when I noticed a tub of cream in my fridge coming close to the expiry, the wind howling and rain coming down hard and fast outside, it seemed to suddenly come to me that the warming flavours of cinnamon, coffee and toasted hazelnuts would excuse, and maybe even warrant the need to make up another batch of ice cream - specifically in celebration of these final weeks of the cold! (Those who know me know that ice cream is not a seasonal treat in this house - its a year round indulgence!)

Tonights dinner is all wrapped up! (Thai salmon parcels)

I have to say, this way of cooking ticks a lot of boxes for me.  I first came across it in one of the first Jamie Oliver cookbooks some years ago and it has since graced our dining table many a time - and not, as you might imagine, in a gourmet setting, but rather marking the result of a rushed and chaotic day!

The beauty of cooking in a parcel is multi layered, in that it can be extremely nutritious, needing very little added fat to achieve a tender and moist result every time due to the steaming effect the parcel creates.  And yet given the parcels are baked, some degree of caramelisation still occurs giving such a beautiful flavour.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Fats in the diet - friend or foe?

When you complete your studies in something, anything, the teachings you learn become ingrained in you.  It gives you a lens to which you see everything through.  And whilst you do build greatly on that in the years following, the foundations are set early and are the reference point to which you always return.

Studying science has been a learning curve for me not just from the information I have learnt over the years, but also by forcing me to be someone open to and accepting of change.  I found this was something personally I wasn't too comfortable with - a creature of habit you may describe me as!