Tag Archive | recipe tweak

up to all sorts

It’s been so great discovering this little world of healthy food enthusiasts… it’s really inspired my kitchen creations.  I used to get in a lot of ‘food ruts’ – eating the same sort of things day in, day out.

BORING.

Nowadays, I get so excited to create new recipes, or try other blogger’s recipes.

Actually, reading blogs of any description has really got my creativity cranking.  I’m having so much fun just making STUFF.  For some reason, I have a lot more focus these days.  Maybe it’s because the time I have to get a little project completed is usually pretty short.  Either when Misty’s sleeping or after dinner is about it… not like ‘back in the day’ before child where I just had too much time on my hands to know what to do with.

I made this washable snack bag as I am so sick of using plastic snap lock bags for Misty’s snacks when we are out and about.  So much plastic.  This is great as it is a light vinyl-you can wipe it out, or chuck it through the washing machine.

I can’t help defacing things, even with a sewing machine.  Angry apple.

I’m always wanting new and different non dairy milk ideas… I’ve made home made almond, coconut and brown rice milks.  They were all good, but not great if you know what I mean.  Store bought almond milk is not that flash here down under, and it’s super expensive so not really worth it.  Home made coconut milk is good for cooking, but not so tasty in coffee or tea (which I drink a LOT of).  I actually mix my home made coconut milk with Dr Bronner’s amazing soap and use it as shampoo.  It really is wicked knickers stuff.

I stumbled across the idea of tahini milk while reading Gena’s blog.  Awesome.  Tahini is one of my favourite things, and I love mixing it into soy milk with a touch of agave and cinnamon already.  I whipped up the recipe and it was love at first sip.  Great on it’s own, or over cereal.

I had about a half cup of this recipe left over (the barley)  I chucked it in the freezer, not wanting to waste it.  After returning from Sydney to an empty fridge, I pulled it out to feed my hungry beast.  I was being a lazy Mama and didn’t want to spoon feed it to Misty, and was bored so I decided to bake it into something.

Baked Barley Fridge Scrape:

  • 1/2C this recipe
  • 1T ground flax seed mixed with 3T water to make a flax egg
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1/16t baking powder
  • 5t coconut flour (I reckon chickpea flour would work well too, the texture might be a little different, but would be good)
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Spoon into a lined baking tray (a mini muffin pan would be great but I don’t have one, so I used a tiny loaf pan – 10cm in length)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees C.
  4. Turn off oven, take the bake out of the pan and flip onto a cooling rack upside down.
  5. Put back into oven (which is turned off) and let the bottom dry out a bit until the oven had cooled down completely.

Seemed to go down a treat.  Fruit, flaxy and easy to hang on to – no Mama spoony needed.

Anything new/creative/fun you’ve made or discovered recently?

birthday cake bender

I’ve been experimenting with ideas for what I’m going to use for Misty and Mopsy’s 1st birthday cake.  I’m probably going to cop flack for it, but I’m sticking to my guns and am going to make a healthy (yet hopefully delicious) birthday treat for the kidlets.   People seem to think I’m weird for usually skipping the usual white sugar, butter, cream based desserts.
  1. I don’t really dig heavy cream, especially whipped cream, I never have… just find it too full on.
  2. White sugar and me ain’t mates.  If I want a break out, or break down (sugar hangover = depressed Lou) a sugar overload will give it to me, toot sweet.
  3. Yes, they may be delicious, but traditional desserts make me feel like crap.  What’s wrong with creating something that is both delicious plus actually nutritionally beneficial?
It always makes me feel uncomfortable saying, ‘no thanks,’ to dessert.  I’m not trying to be rude, I’m sure it’s delicious, but I just don’t want the consequences.  Of course, every now and then I will indulge but a few moments of deliciousness on the tongue doesn’t really make the after effects worth it for me.  I think I just have to get used to people rolling their eyes at me or questioning my eating habits.
How do you deal with people questioning your eating habits?  I would love to hear your thoughts/experiences.
I’m a really sensitive person, and I hate feeling like I’m offending someone… saying ‘no thanks,’ to a food offering always makes me uncomfortable, like I’m doing something wrong.
Back to the job at hand – the cake.
Or rather, some sort of brownie-type thing. Not really sure what I’m going for here.  I know I want something different from the usual dry sponge with sugar-loaded frosting that is some obscene fluro colour, all covered with 10 tonnes of lollies.  Crack for kids?  Most definitely.
The first trial was pretty good, considering I was fumbling around in the dark with the recipe.  I had a heap of brown rice flour on hand, so decided that would be good.  Also, if anyone has a gluten sensitivity, it’s always nice to oblige.   I know I don’t want too much sugar, so bananas are my go-to ingredient for adding sweetness and moisture.  I decided I want to use this as an icing (frosting) amd this folded through for some delicious chunk action:
It’s not chocolate.  Close, but no cigar.  It’s tahini chocolate.
  • 1T tahini
  • 1T agave or brown rice syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2t coconut oil
  • 2t cacao powder (or regular cocoa)
  1. Mix everything together, pour into a plastic container or mould lined with glad wrap and freeze.
  2. Easy.
This is more like a truffle than chocolate; it doesn’t go solid – it reminds me of the cookie chunks in cookies and cream ice cream.  Now that’s always a good thing.  It’s really good crumbled over hot oats, or folded through banana soft serve ice cream.
I left it out of trial #2, because I think I’m going to use it as a decoration, rather than in the cake itself.  Trial #1 was good, but not quite there – it was a little too gummy; needed a little more dry in the mix.  I added in some coconut flour and cacao, and something pretty darn yummo was the result.
Woah.  Woah.  I can’t believe this doesn’t have any sugar, butter or anything bad in it.  The texture is amazing (I love coconut flour).  It doesn’t look very pretty as is,  but just you wait until I have gone to town with decorating.  It is fudgy, dense, sweet and really filling.  It’s like a cake, but a bar at the same time, if you get my drift?  With the tahini chocolate folded through it as well would be crazy crazy good.  I’m amazed, I’ve acheived the exact texture of these guys:
I eat these a lot, especially when I’m out and about and need something to tide me over.  They used to make a vegan chocolate version which was incredible… then they took it away from me.  Ha ha! I have recreated it without even trying… the similarity is uncanny.
I’m really really happy with the result of my kitchen play time – Misty approves too.  These bars are excellent for kids – they hold together enough for your little one to grab onto and nosh away at leisure, yet they are still soft enough for a gummy wonder to be included in the feasting.
I promise I will post recipe after the party – I just want to see/hear the reaction from the unknowing party goers first.

smokin’ salmon struggles

You probably know I’m fond of salmon.  I know a certain yogini that’s very fond of the stuff too.  As well as being ridiculously delicious, eating salmon has done wonders for my skin (Skin Series #2 coming up).  Salmon has a special place in my heart;  it was the first meal that Viper cooked for me, as he tried to woo my affections.  He definitely has talent when it comes to preparing and cooking fish.  Wooing?  Not so much, but the salmon did help his cause.  We love to play around with toppings/flavours to pair with salmon  … honey, sweet chilli, soy, miso, brown sugar – so many great combinations.  Keeping things sugar free this week, and the results spoke for themselves.

One of our favourite meals that we eat without fail each week is the same one he prepared for me, many moons ago.  Sometimes the simple things are best – grilled salmon (on the rarer side of cooked) a fresh seasonal salad, and boiled potatoes with a home made dill tartare.  I know I tease Viper about his fisherman-skills, but he totally knows his fish and how to wrangle them in the kitchen.

Smokin’ Salmon technique

Piece of salmon (250g ish) with skin ON.  (I don’t eat the skin, it creeps me out, but it is essential for the cooking method).

  • 1t soy
  • 1/4t tamarind paste
  • 1 medjool date, chopped up as finely as you can
  • 1cm piece root ginger, grated
  • 1T boiling water

Mix tamarind, soy, ginger and date.  Pour over the hot water, which just loosens everything up a little.  Loosey goosey.

Top fish with mixture.  Sprinkle over a pinch of salt.

Now I can’t take credit for the method – this was Viper’s stroke of genius.  I’ll be honest with you; I can’t cook fish.  Well, I just don’t – Viper is a ninja at it, he always presents the most perfectly cooked, succulent fish – so why would I try and risk botching it?  Oh, and I’m lazy.  So while I was having a shower, Viper did this:

  • Place the fish on a baking sheet, lined with aluminium foil.  Crank up your grill (around 200 degreesC) get the fish under it (maybe the second rung down, not too far away) for a fast and furious scalding.  Basically, you want to get the outside of the fish crisping and the skin even slightly burning at this point.  This seals in the moisture and gets the smokey flavour happening.
  • After 4-5 minutes under the grill, pull fish out, and wrap it up in the aluminium foil you have it sitting on.  CAREFUL.  Use tongs.
  • Place your fish parcel in a hot dry fry pan, and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Remember, it’s always better to pull it off the heat earlier rather than later – overcooked fish is such a shame!  If it is too rare for your liking, you can always return it to the heat.  We removed the skin before eating, as it burns with the cooking process.
Wow, this was crazy good.  The tamarind-date sauce combined with the new cooking method produced a sweet, smoky, deeply flavoured piece of fish.  I’m still getting over it now.  I don’t have an after-shot of it, too busy eating.  Sorry guys (I’m not really).
Dill Tartare
(inspired by my Mum’s home made dill mayo I sampled the last time I was in NZ)
  • 1/2C mayonaise (I usually make my own, here is the general idea, but pre prepared is totally fine)
  • 1 gherkin (5cm in length, approx) grated or chopped very finely
  • 1/2T capers, chopped finely
  • 1/2t wholegrain mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Squeeze of lemon juice to taste
  • 1T fresh dill, chopped finely
Combine all ingredients.  Taste and adjust seasoning.
Adding different seasoning and herbs to plain mayonnaise creates a whole new element to a meal.  Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of mayonnaise – I find the flavour and texture a little off putting.  This tartare, however really goes amazingly with seafood.  I think I like it because the acidity from the capers, gherkins and lemon cut through the creaminess of the mayo which usually I find way too rich.  Viper is a freak for mayo – we seriously go through so much of the stuff it’s a little concerning.  I never could understand the dipping chips (French fries) in mayonnaise thing.  Ketchup all the way.  What do you reckon?
This meal was amazing.  Amazing.  I am struggling with eating fish though – I love it so much, and nutritionally, it is stellar. The issue is that it’s proving quite difficult to get wild salmon where I am – most of it is farmed in Tasmania these days.  My conscience is getting the better of me… what to do, what to do?

you CAN do it

I’ve got issues.  Sweet potato and mango issues.  I’m just going crazy with both of them.  Soon I will go over the edge and start COMBINING the two (hmmmmm).

I know that most of you will not have access to mangoes right now, but I don’t care.  I have mangoes and I’m going to eat them, cook with them and smear them all over myself.

The lovely thing is (apart from me, ah the lovely Lou) that you can sub pretty much anything into these two recipes.   I think berries (fresh or frozen) would be delish, and canned fruit would work just as well.  I love apricots from the can, especially on cereal – it makes the milk at the bottom of the bowl go all sweet and tangy.  Sometimes, I hate to admit it, I think I almost prefer canned apricots; fresh are amazing, but they are always so hit and miss.  Either too hard and bitter, or way too soft and floury.

What fruit or vegetable do you prefer frozen or canned?  Or am I the only one willing to admit to it?

I really hate those little cherries. The grapes make me gag. Fruit salad from a can? Not so much love from Lou.

Coconut Mango Custard (Serves 3)

(Gluten free, dairy free, nut and seed free, soy free, egg free, vegan)

  • 3/4C coconut milk
  • 1/2C mango puree + additional puree for topping if desired (a few T per serve)
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 2T agave (or to taste, depends how sweeeeet you like it)
  • 1/2t vanilla extract
  • 1/4t + 1/16 guar gum
  • Toasted coconut and mint for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except guar gum in a small saucepan.
  2.  Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, stir in guar gum until thick.
  4. Pour into glasses or bowls and put in the fridge to chill and “set.”
  5. If desired, top with additional mango puree, toasted coconut and mint.

Mango Cashew Cream 

(Gluten, dairy, egg, soy free.  Vegan)

  • 1/4C raw cashews, soaked overnight
  • 1/3C mango puree
  • 2 dates, chopped
  • Pinch of sea salt (approx 1/8t or to taste)
  • 1/2t lime juice
Blend all ingredients together.  Chill and use however your imagination sees fit.
I piped it into a little oaty crust I made (single serve – none for you Viper – ha!)