Wednesday, December 8, 2010
I love rusks, but after you have made them a few times and realise how much sugar and fat go into them, you feel more and more guilty about eating them. I have experimented with many so called ‘healthy’ recipes and in my experience if you drop the fat content too much the rusks end up super hard. But I have successfully reduced the sugar in this recipe by 80% and added lots of fibre rich ingredients making it tummy friendly. And there is no compromise in flavour! The whole family will love them.
Low sugar high fiber rusks
2 cups cake flour
2 cups nutty wheat or brown flour
2 cups bran flakes
2 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup oats
½ cup of toasted seeds (breakfast mix; omega mix; ultimate mix)
15 ml bicarbonate of soda
15 ml baking powder
15 ml cream of tarter
150g brown sugar
10ml vanilla essence
Non nutritive sweetner (the equivalent of 20 spoons of sugar)
400g butter, just melted
2 large eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200˚C.
Sift together all the flowers and add the remaining dry ingredients.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the melted butter, honey, buttermilk and eggs.
Mix to form a thick dough.
Spread into a greased baking tin and bake until risen and golden brown, about 45 mins to an hour. Allow to cool completely before cutting into long thin pieces. You can speed up the cooling process by putting it into the fridge or freezer.
Arrange spaced out on a baking tray or wire rack and dry out in the oven at 80˚C, for a couple of hours until crisp and dry.
PS - if you want this recipe in a nice printable word format, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I will gladly mail it to you.
Monday, December 6, 2010
I can make this curry in the time it takes me to steam the rice I serve with it! It is full of flavour but still light enough to enjoy a gulit free second helping.
80mls of olive oil
3 medium onions
75grams of ground almonds
400grms plain yoghurt or can of coconut cream (if going for a non diary option)
6 Medium chicken breasts or one pack of Fry’s vegetarian chicken style strips
3 tsps (15mls) cumin
2 tsps (10mls) coriander
2 tsps (10mls) garam marsala
2 tsp (5mls) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) chilli powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) black pepper (or to taste)
1 1/2 tsp (7.5ml) salt (or to taste)
Chopped fresh coriander to serve
Chop up and fry the onions in half the olive oil until golden brown. Combine with the ground almonds and yoghurt and blend until smooth. It will still be slightly grainy in texture, not 100% smooth. Set aside.
Cut the chicken up into small cubes. Gently fry the spices in the remaining oil until flavours are released (1 or 2 minutes) and then add the chicken, frying until just cooked. Do not over cook the chicken.
Add the yoghurt sauce to the chicken along with the salt and stir gently until all the flavours have combined and curry has just begun to gently simmer. Remove from heat and allow flavours to develop. Heat through just before serving.
This dish is ideally served with sambals and topped with fresh chopped coriander. Basmati rice, Jasmine rice, rotti’s or naan are the ideal starches to serve with it.
If cooking for dinner party this dish is perfect to prepare the day before as flavours only improve over night.
For those of you who would prefer a lower fat option, use fat free yoghurt and cut down the almonds and the oil a bit. It won’t be as creamy but will still be very yummy.
For those of you who don’t care – double cream Greek yoghurt is awesome!
I created this recipe as I am usually not a big mince pie fan, feeling that the pastry is too floury and there’s too much of it. The fruit mince is often too intense in flavour. Both the recipes for the dough and the fruit mince have been adjusted to create a much lighter more subtle but still hugely flavoursome combination. It really is a winner.
It is great to make with kids as there is some easy grating and mixing and the fiddly making of the pies is suitable for slightly older kids. The pastry can be pretty tricky to work with but kids certainly can help with cutting out the rounds.
for the dough:
2 ½ cups of flour
2 pinchs of salt
100g ground almonds
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolk
½ cup castor sugar
Rind of half a lemon
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 - 3 Tbsp ice water
Sift your flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt, ground almonds, vanilla essence, egg yolks, sugar, lemon rind, squeeze of lemon juice and cold butter cut into cubes. Combine the ingredients by rubbing it between your fingers until well mixed and has formed rough crumbs. Add the iced water to the crumbs to form a dough like mixture. Roll this into two balls and refrigerate for an hour or two until the dough is cold.
For the filling:
½ a jar (200g) of Christmas fruit mince
½ a cup of grated apple
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp rum/brandy essence
50g of finely chopped nuts, I usually use pecan nuts but almonds, macadamia, hazel nuts etc will also be good.
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Pre heat your oven to 160°C. Place your rack in the centre of the oven.
Find an appropriate surface for rolling out your dough. Make sure it is clean and dry. Liberally flour the surface, a rolling pin (if you don’t have one a wine bottle works well) and your hands. Using the first dough ball, start flattening it by gently squashing it down with your hand. Where it begins to crap, squeeze these cracks together. Keep flipping the dough and re-flouring it on both sides. Gently flatten the dough with rolling pin. Keep re-flouring so that the dough does not stick to the rolling pin or to the surface. Get the dough to about 2 – 3 mm thick before cutting out rounds. If you have cookie cutters, chose medium sized one. If you don’t, a tea cup or mug with a think edge also work. Use a spatula to loosen and lift your rounds. If you have rounds of varying thickness, use the thinnest ones as bases and the thicker ones as tops. Roll the scrap dough into a ball and put it back into the fridge.
To assemble the pies get a cup or bowl of water ready, place a disc on a baking tray and with your finger tips lightly wet the edges of the disc. Using a teaspoon scoop out a small amount of fruit mince into the centre of the pie. Flatten this with your finger tips, taking care to keep the filling well away from the edges of the dough. Take a second disc of dough and cover the filling gently pressing along the edges to seal the pie. Continue this process until all your discs have been used. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake the pies for 15 - 20 minutes. While the first set is baking repeat the process with the second ball of dough and again until all your dough has been used.
Allow the mince pies to cool and dust with sifted icing sugar.
|This is the recipe my Mom copied for us from step Granny - as you can see it's been well used!|
Recently it was the birthday of my nephew's best friend, Cuma. I decided that some cup cake baking was in order. I used a Vanilla Sponge recipe I found at my Mom's house the other day in this divine Italian cook book. I'm not really a sponge cake gal myself but this one is dense, moist and super quick and easy. I served it for guests the other night (as a cake) filled with macerated berries and soft whipped cream... mmm...
Vanilla Sponge Cake
250g Butter, just melted but not oily, plus extra to grease the pan
250g (1 ¼ cups) castor sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1tsp vanilla extract
225g (1 ½ cups) cake flour
25g (2 Tbsp) corn flour
2 tsp baking powder
Squeeze of lemon juice
Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter a 25cm shallow round cake tin. Whisk the melted butter and sugar until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the eggs, vanilla and lemon. Gradually sift in the flour, corn flour and baking powder. Pour into the tin and bake until golden and springy for about 20 – 25 minutes.
This mixture is also ideal for cup cakes. I makes about 20 cup cakes and needs to bake for 10 – 15 minute.
Remove from tin when cooled. You can serve this plain, dusted with icing sugar. I like to fill this cake with sugared mashed up berries, soft whipped cream and dusted with icing sugar.
Let the kids have fun with different coloured butter icings and decorations if using this recipe for cup cakes.