Eat sugar. Don't eat sugar. Good Sugars. Bad Sugars....the never ending debate is endless. Go on a diet, drink diet soft drink and then cut fruit from your diet because of the sugar (Hmmmm)...Crazy! 
Problem isn't the actual sugar, it's what we do to sugar! Many of us (guilty) in good faith have turned to artificially or man made alternatives. So, instead of consuming those 'bad sugars' we're now sweetening our food with aspartame, sucralose, saccharin, dextrose, maltrose, high fructose corn syrups, glucose, maitadextrin and more

Rapadura- is sugar! So, why is Rapadura sugar better for us? Like raw honey, pure maples syrup and palm sugar,  rapadura sugar is made by juicing the sugar cane, which is then dehydrated. This process ensures that the vital minerals such as potassium,  magnesium, calcium and phosphorus aren't lost and that's a good thing x
Want to Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/524501-rapadura-sugar-and-its-health-benefits/#ixzz2O4fMqO00

Must haves....

300g plain flour
2 tsp of baking powder (mixed into the apple sauce)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
2 cups of Apple sauce
160ml of sunflower oil
160g of Rapadura sugar
2 tsp of vanilla powder or paste
200g of blueberries
6 whole strawberries
50g of shredded coconut flakes
Directions
Preheat oven to 180c or 350 f
  1. sift together flour, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk together apple sauce, oil, vanilla, sugar blueberries and strawberries.
  3. Blend flour mix and wet mix.
  4. Fold in coconut
  5. Spoon into lined muffin tins
  6. Top with crumble mixture and bake for 25 minutes

PS... the flavour will improve after a couple of hours. Top with yogurt or eat alone, with tea (of course) x 
Crumble....

50g of butter, 75g of plain flour, 50g of Rapadura sugar, 50g of rolled oats. Rub butter into dry ingredients and then add; 25g of sunflower seeds and 25g of pumpkin seeds. Sprinkle onto muffin before baking x
LOVE an alternative; Replace the strawberries with 2 bananas and 200g of dates. Lessen the sugar to 120g (Dates are great alternative to sugar)!
 
 
Part One...Pastry x

Pulse 1 cup of plain flour, 1/4 of icing sugar and a pinch of salt. Add 6 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces. Add 2-3 tablespoons of ice water and knead until dough forms. On a lightly floured board, roll out dough and cut using a 3 inch circle cutter. Place and mould into a mini muffin tin. Refrigerate for an 1 hour. 

Part Two... Rhubarb filling

Place 3 cups of fresh rhubarb into a pan with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice and stew over a medium- low heat. Add 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Combine and cool. 
PART three... Crumble and bake.

Make a simple crumble. Combine 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean powder or paste, 1 tablespoon of cold water,  1/4 cup of Almond meal, 1/4 cup of shredded coconut and 1/2 cup of oats and 3 tablespoons of butter

Preheat oven to 180 c or 350 F- Add rhubarb to tart cases, top with crumble and 2 fresh blue berries.  Bake for 25 minutes. Allow tart to cool in tins, about 10 minutes and then remove with a knife.  Serve with double cream, ice cream or custard x 
Picture
Click here and buy yourself some fabulous vanilla x
A little baking tip...

Sift 3 times &
Spoil yourself... Buy fabulous vanilla and farm fresh eggs! x
 
 
This recipe makes 2 cakes OR one double decker cake... 

Pantry MUST haves

1 bottle of beer (375ml-2 cups). I used a Boags Premium lager
1 pound of unsalted butter 
1 1/2 cups of cocoa (unsweetened) or Cacao 
Powder
4 cups of plain sifted flour
1 tablespoon of Baking powder
1  1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
4 cups of caster/granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup of sour cream

ICING

12oz of Dark chocolate
3 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of whipping cream
4 1/2 cups of sifted icing sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extracts 

Decorate with...
Crushed coffee beans and Cacao
OR Rose Petals and raspberries.


Directions- preheat oven to 350 f or 180 c

  1. Bring beer and butter to a boil. Sift in cocoa and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Sift Flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in sugar and set aside
  3. Combine eggs, yogurt and sour cream in a mixer. Add in beer mixture slowly then gently mix in flour mixture. 
  4. Divid the batter into two 10inch greased cake tins. 
  5. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes. OR until the sides have pulled away from the cake pan and the tops are firm.
  6. Cool at Room temp for 15 minutes. Remove from the baking tin and cool for an hour before icing.

ICING
While the cake is cooking and cooling, place 3 tablespoons of butter and the chocolate into a double boiler, whisk and melt over a low heat.
Add cream and quickly whisk before before chocolate dries and cracks. Remove from the heat and using an electric mix, combine stir in the icing sugar (a handful at a time). Mix until smooth and then fold vanilla into the mixture.


Place icing in the fridge for an hour and then frost- top and sides (double decker- also spread icing to each layer).  Decorate with crushed coffee beans and cacao or dried rose petals and raspberries. Serve alone with a bottle of beer x


 
 

In the Pantry

  • 60g whole unskinned almonds
  • 40g hazelnuts
  • 300g whole oats (separate into 2 bowls of 150g)
  • 60g pumpkin seeds
  • 60g sunflower seeds
  • 100g cranberries/ raisins/sultanas
  • 60g dried figs
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 120ml maple syrup
  • 120ml honey


Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 140C
  2. In a mixing bowl. Mix nuts, whole cinnamon stick, dried fruit and 150g of the oats. 
  3. In a saucepan, place syrup ingredients and warm over a low heat.
  4. Using the warming syrup, coat the dried ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  5. Line a baking tray with parchment/baking paper. Spread the granola over the the tray evenly, no more that 1cm thick. Use 2 trays if needed. Bake for 40-50 minutes, turning the mixture 3-4 times. 
  6. When ready, it will be a honey-like colour. It maybe appear a little soft, once it cools it will turn crunchy.
  7.  Remove from the oven. Leave to cool on the tray. Add the remaining 150g of oats, mix well and then transfer to a sealed container. It will keep for up to 2 weeks. 

Serve with yoghurt, fruit, 
 coffee and a newspaper  x

 
 

For us in the southern hemisphere it's warm, okay, bloody hot. So hot that our flip flops are sticking to the road...therefore our hot chocolate needs cold milk and a little ice cream!

For our northern friends it's a little chilly...therefore HOT chocolate is a must!! 

Fun Facts 
The chocolate bar was only invented in 1847,  prior to then, chocolate had always been a beverage and dates back to 1500 B.C.E.  Chocolate was the drink of royals, aristocrats and wealthy merchants; the beans were so valuable they were used as currency.
It was made from finely-ground or pounded cacao beans, water, indigenous chiles and ground, toasted corn (maize). Other recipes might have included wine, honey and allspice. Today...we scoop it from a jar or squeeze it from a bottle.  The ingredients (Mmmmm), depending on its sob value will determine the level of cacao used...

To honour the Aztecs lets MAKE real, cacao rich... HOT chocolate x

Pantry Must Haves

Marshmallows
Melted Chocolate- (good, quality chocolate)
Dulce Sugar
Warm Milk
NOTE: For a Mocha Chocolate; add a few ground coffee beans.

DIRECTIONS

Pour the melted chocolate into an ice cube container.
Sprinkle on dulce sugar and/or coffee beans.
Place in the fridge for about 10 minutes 
Place a marshmallow on top and then stick an icy pole (ice pop) stick through the mallow and chocolate. 
Place back into the fridge until solid. Carefully remove the chocolate chunk by twisting the stick slightly to loosen from the ice container. 

Warm a cup of milk. Place hot chocolate stick into the milk and stir, until the chocolate and marshmallow has melted. Sit by the fire with a great book and enjoy xx
 
 
WHERE'S the TURKEY??? Look closely...This year's menu: Turkey Sambos (sandwiches), Sausage Rolls, mouth watering watermelon, beer and 'Pumpkin Tarts'!!!

THe PUMPKIN TARTS...

Make pastry a day before...
  1. Cream butter and sugar
  2. Add eggs
  3. Fold in flour and polenta - a little at a time.
  4. Wrap pastry and chill in fridge for a few hours or overnight

Pantry Must Haves

Polenta Pastry
150g butter
150g sugar
1 egg
200g flour
75g polenta

Filling
1.4-kg pumpkin or pie pumpkin, peeled, seeded, cut into 2-inch chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream 

For the toppings:
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pecans

Serve with
whipped cream

 Filling
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a heavy baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. Toss the pumpkin with the oil, cinnamon, ginger and cloves (you can use whole cloves) 

  3. Bake for 1 hour or until the pulp is very soft and golden brown. 
  4. Blend the hot pumpkin in a food processor until a smooth puree forms. Set aside to cool completely.

  5. Whisk the eggs, brown sugar and salt.

  6. Add the pumpkin puree (you should have about 2 3/4 cups) and blend well. Reserve any remaining pumpkin puree for another use.

  7. Mix in cream 

Using a cookie cutter, cut 30 small circles. Line with your pre greased mini muffin tin with pastry and bake in a preheat oven (160c-345F) for 10 minutes.


  1. Pour in a tablespoon of pumpkin mixture into each tart.
  2. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes
  3. Cool.
  4. To prepare the pecan topping: Heat a heavy large sauté pan over medium heat until it is hot.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sugar over the hot pan and cook until it melts.
  6. Add the pecans and toss until the sugar syrup is golden brown and coats the pecans and the pecans clump together.
  7. Transfer the pecan mixture to a sheet of parchment paper and set aside until the sugar coating cools and hardens.
  8. Break up the pecan mixture into large chunks and crush 
  9. Serve with sprinkle the pecan topping and whipped cream
 

Dear...

11/18/2012

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Thanksgiving Sweet Potato Streusel 

Pantry Must Haves

8 Medium Sweet Potatoes

Streusel 
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened.
1/2 Cup Plain flour
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon of table salt
1 cup of pecan nuts

Potato Filling

5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons juice from 1 lemon
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups of half and half (milk and cream)
Sprinkle of sugar

  1. Poke sweet potatoes several times
  2. Wrap each sweet potato in foil
  3. Bake at 400 F (200 C) for 1- 1 1/2 hours 
  4. Remove and cut length ways 
  5. Cool for at least 10 minutes

REDUCE OVEN to 375 F (180 c) 

To make Streusel: 
  1. Mix flour, brown sugar, and salt in food processor until blended. Sprinkle butter pieces over flour mixture and mix until a crumble forms. 
  2. Sprinkle nuts over mixture
  3. And mix...
Filling
  1. Once the sweet potatoes have cooled, scoop the flesh into a bowl...you should have about 8 cups.
  2. Place half the potato into one bowl and set the other aside.
  3. Add melted butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice to potato mixture. 
  4. Mix in a food processor or Kitchen Aide, until smooth. 
  5. Add 3 tablespoons of sugar for sweetness and egg yolks.
  6. While food processor is running, slowly add half and half. 
  7. Add the remaining potato to mixture and lightly mix by hand...
  8. Pour into a casserole dish. Top with streusel and bake for 40- 45 minutes.
 
 

Flourless... Almond, orange cake

In the Pantry

  • 2 whole oranges.
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (250g) caster sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (250g) ground almonds
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder*
  • Pure icing sugar to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base of a heart-shaped pan.

  2. Place the two whole oranges, pin with cloves and place in a saucepan and cover with water. 
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 1 hour, ensuring that the oranges remain covered with water. Drain and cool.
  4. Chop the oranges into quarters, discard any seeds, then place the chunks into a blender and puree until smooth.

  5. Beat the eggs with the sugar until thick, then add the orange puree, ground almonds and baking powder and mix well.

  6. Pour into tart pan and bake for 1 hour. Leave the cake to firm up in the pan for 20 minutes then turn out, remove the baking paper. let the cake set in the fridge for 24-48 hours...

  7.  To serve, sift icing sugar on top and decorate with orange zest and almonds. Serve with vanilla ice cream or cream .

 
 

Chilli-Cinnamon Chocolate Brownie 
An inner-city living inspiration!! 

Pantry Must Haves

2 1/2 OZ of unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of chocolate nibs
4 oz (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
2/3 cups of plain (all purpose) flour
2 small dried red chillies 
1/4 cup of coffee
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 fine sea salt
1 cup of sugar
2 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of icing sugar for decoration

Direction

  1. Preheat Oven to 180 C or 350 F
  2. line an 8 inch baking pan
  3. Chop dried Chilli and soak in a 1/4 cup of coffee
  4. Place chocolate and butter in saucepan. Melt over a low heat.
  5. Cool for a few minutes
  6. Add vanilla, strain and add chillies 
  7. In a small bowl shift flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Pour in chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and eggs.
  8. Add flour to mixture.
  9. Stir and pour into pan. Cook for 20-30 minutes. When testing your cake the toothpick should come out moist. Allow your brownie to rest for 20-35 minutes. Sprinkle with some icing sugar and serve with ice cream or cream x
 
 
 The sun is shining, spring is in the air and it's school holidays! So yesterday I spent the day cooking for anyone who entered my house.  After a visit to the Little Veggie Patch in St Kilda, and the purchase of a new book, I was inspired!!

What is the Little Veggie Patch?  Another ingenius idea from some local Italian boys.

 Melbourne is a city built on the influences of the migrant population and that citrus tree growing in the corner of the backyard is a reminder of the skills they brought with them from a life closely connected to the land. The shrinking block sizes and the trends for bigger homes is quickly removing the evidence of the Australian migrant heritage. The detachment from our land and the takeover of supermarket culture dominated by over-processed food is taking its toll both physically and emotionally. 

A friend popped over yesterday..."So Kate, what happened to my posh friend?  She's become this earth-loving hippy." I looked at him and chuckled... "Mate I still shower daily, shave my legs, drive a car and pay for electricity." The difference is I'm now fasnitated by where my food comes from and care that my children know what beetroot is...Actually I've always cared :-) Although, like many, I still battle with my kids about eating their greens - actually my daughter is on a 'white and yellow' diet (corn, cheese, bread, crackers,bananas and yoghurt)!

Yesterday, to my surprise, she ate not one but two eidble flowers from our newly planted garden...Jamie Oliver has a great little catch phrase...'Grow it, eat it, LOVE it!", all you need is light, water, seeds and time. Tomotoes don't need to cost you $8.99 a kilo x

The founders of The Little Veggie Patch [a concept born from childhood memories, a suitcase packed with photos, a long journey to new beginnings and a jar containing a few tomato seeds brought from the homeland] have a fabulous theory..."In Australia we don't need to grow food for survival, we can grow food for love or whatever reason motivates us, so why not?"

So, over the spring and summer I plan to work with my family and my class to reclaim the lemon tree...Yes, I'll still be running to the supermarket but not for our fruit and veggies (I hope) and my classroom will hopefully be abuzz with activity and excitement...well at least they'll be eating well x

Each week, I'll 'AIM' to entertain you with a new experiment which will hopefully result in a successful outcome xx 
PS...start saving those 'loo rolls'. x

Experiment Number 1:
Lavender Sugar.
Pick, wash and dry your lavender.
Fill a jar with sugar.
Add 3-4 lavender flowers to the jar, seal and let sit for 3 weeks. 
Make your favourite tea cake and while warm, add a little butter to the top of the cake and sprinkle with lavender sugar.  

Experiment Number 2: 
Eye off the neighbours' passionfruit vine making its way onto your side of the fence! Cut off a bit of the stem and try to propagate the plant in a jar filled with soil...I'll let you know if my plan works x