Friday, October 19, 2012

Mocha Cream Tart

This is similar to a peppermint crisp tart, except without the mint and with a coffee flavour.  It's an easy dessert to make when you need something simple and sweet. :D

1 can caramel (about 360g)
250 ml cream
1 cup coffee
2 packets Tennis biscuits
  • whip cream until stiff, then fold in caramel (I couldn't get it smooth so there were little lumps of caramel in the mix, but that's ok, it's like getting a little extra sweet surprise now and then hehe)
  • dip the cookies in coffee and lay on bottom of glass dish, then cover with caramel mixture - repeat this 2 or 3 times depending on the size of your dish - finish off with a layer of caramel mixture
  • refrigerate for a few hours before serving, and try to share with others. :) 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Malva Pudding

This is EASILY one of my most favourite desserts in the whole world (if not THE favourite), I LOVE malva pudding!  It's so sweet and so moist and so tasty.  :)  And it's so sinful with all the sugar, hehe.
 For the pudding:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbs apricot jam
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • generous pinch of salt
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 cup milk
For the sauce:
  • 1 cup cream
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  1. Beat the egg and sugar well with an electric beater.  Add the jam.
  2. In a separate bowl mix together flour, bicarb and salt
  3. Melt butter and add vinegar - add liquids to the egg mixture alternatively with the flour mixture - beat mixture well
  4. Bake in a greased glass dish at 180 degree C (350 degree F) for 45 minutes to an hour
  5. Sauce - melt together all ingredients and pour over the pudding as soon as it comes out of the oven - you may have to do this slowly to give the liquids chance to soak into the pudding so that it doesn't overflow if you don't have a high baking dish
I don't think I'd ever make this dessert for when we have guests, 'cause I'm too stingy to share THIS one. :)
I dunno if you can see it, but it's SOOOOO moist.

Mmmmm.....served with cream....Although I'm one of those people who like to have some dessert with my cream, I actually enjoy this pudding more without cream - weird, I know....but that's how good it is. :D

Monday, October 8, 2012

Bran Muffins

These are one of my favourite muffins, and even though I don't classify them as a healthy delight, they're at least a tad healthy in that they're full of BRAN. :)
This recipe made 24 normal muffins and 12 mini muffins.

Beat together:
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
 Add rest of ingredients & mix well:
  • 2 cups digestive bran
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 raisins
  • 2 1/2 tsp bi-carb of soda
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
Pour into greased muffin tins.  And don't forget to stir as you pour the muffin mix because the raisins sink to the bottom.  Bake at 180 degrees C for 18-20 minutes (although with my oven the big ones took 15 minutes and the mini muffins took 12 minutes).

Mmmmmmmm.......!  :)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Granadilla (aka passion fruit) Tropical Smoothie

I had granadilla (passion fruit) flavoured yoghurt this time instead of greek, and so thought I'd try it in a smoothie.  Here goes!

3 bananas
3-4 pineapple rings, cored
2 heaped dessert spoons granadilla yoghurt (or more according to your taste)
1 cup orange juice
3 tbs ground flax seeds

Blend together.  Yum-ums.  Makes 2 large smoothies.

Creamy Trifle

I can't think of anything better to call this trifle than a creamy trifle.  :D  It was much yummier than I anticipated! have to try really hard to make an un-yummy trifle, but this one was just better than I thought it would be.

Warning - contains a LOT of cream - this dessert is not for the cream-faint-of-heart.  ;)

It looks pretty plain, but I can't get enough of it! :D

Here's what you'll need:
2 small vanilla swiss rolls
1 can of sweet cherries in syrup (or whatever cherries you want to use)
small handful of crushed raw almonds
A box of custard
500ml cream
Raspberry dessert sauce (raspberry jam would do too)
A small cup of coffee (no sugar or milk added - allowed to cool a bit)
2-3 level teaspoons of castor sugar (or you can use liquid stevia, I actually forgot to...)

As you can see I didn't really measure anything, I just slapped some ingredients together how I like it, and here's how I made mine:
  1.  Slice a swiss roll into 1 1/2 - 2cm thick slices and layer at the bottom of your dish
  2.  Spoon over some of the pre-made coffee, just enough to cover the slices but not soak them so that they go all mushy
  3.  Pour over a generous layer of custard and spread out evenly
  4. Remove some cherries from the syrup, cut them in half and place some on top of the custard - put as few or as many as you like
  5.  Sprinkle over some of the chopped almonds - as much as you like 
  6.  Add 2-3 tsp of the sugar to the cream (depending on how sweet you like it) and whip until stiff.  Add a thick layer of cream (ie half the cream) over the custard and cherries and spread out evenly
  7. Add another layer of sliced swiss roll, and this time spread on a thin layer of raspberry dessert sauce (or raspberry jam)
  8. Pour over a thin layer of custard, and add the rest of the cream on top and even out.
If you want to be fancy you can grate some chocolate over the top or add some more cherries, but I didn't want to ruin the cream with any of that this time, hehe.

Let set in the fridge for a couple of hours. 
It looks like a bowl of mush, probably thanks to all the cream I used. :D  But don't let it be underestimated!  I'm definitely  making this one again.  :)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Banana Oat Tahini Smoothie

I have tahini to use up and I'm trying to find interesting ways to use it other than in hummus, so I put it in a smoothie.  I think it's alright and adds a slightly nutty flavour to the smoothie.

2 bananas
1 cup rice milk
1/4 cup water
4 tbs ground raw oats
3 tbs ground flaxseeds
3 tbs tahini

Blend it all together.  Add more rice milk if you don't like it too thick.  Makes about 2 medium servings.  I added some acai berry powder to mine, which is why it's purple.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Toasted Wrap with Hummus Dip & Salsa

I was in the mood to try something different today, so I made some hummus and a simple salsa as dips for a wrap that I cut into pieces and toasted in the oven.  It was tasty and filling. :)
I cut up a wrap and toasted the pieces in the oven for 5 mins at 180 C (could have gone a bit longer to make them crispier though --- next time!)

See my hummus recipe HERE.

And the's just a really simple one - finely chopped tomato & red onion, salted with Himalayan crystal salt. 
(There's some pesto in the background which I got as a gift and never knew what to do with, so I finally opened it today and it actually smells yummy.  So I used it as a dip for the wrap chips too.)
 It was good, and more than enough left over for my lunch tomorrow too. :D


I decided to try make my own hummus recipe today - well, it's not much different from the standard hummus recipe, but I like this one 'cause I added ingredients in proportions that I like, plus I added some turmeric . . . haven't seen that in a hummus yet.  Anyway, here it is!

1 can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
6 tbs tahini
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt to taste
pinch of fine black pepper
3 tbs ground flaxseed
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder

Throw it all in a food processor and blend until smooth.

What I also like about this one is that it's nice and thick.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Turmeric Sour Cream Dip

I made some air-fried potatoes last night, AND I had some sour cream that I needed to finish, so I thought I'd try to make a dip for the 'tatoes.  All I did was mix in some turmeric powder with the sour cream, and kept adding some until it tasted to my liking.   I'm really happy with my newest invention.  :D
I think it may make a nice chip dip too if you maybe add some plain smooth cottage cheese to make it thicker...and more turmeric of course.  Mmmmmm.....  :)

Rice Pudding

This rice pudding uses coconut milk instead of evaporated milk, and it's soooooo good. :D

I had to add a whole lot more milk than the recipe called for though, but I'll put that bit in brackets:

250 ml rice (any rice it says, so I used basmati rice)
400 ml coconut milk
300 ml full cream milk (I ended up using 5 3/4 cups in total)
125 ml sugar
2 star anise pods
1 stick cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
  • place rice, coconut milk, milk and sugar in pot and bring to the boil
  • add star anise, cinnamon & cardamom
  • turn down heat and simmer until rice is cooked, stirring occasionally
I couldn't find star anise pods ANYWHERE, so I had to do without.  Boo.

Since I had no idea how long to cook this for, I set the timer for 5 minute intervals and checked up on it and stirred it.  When I saw the rice got too dry and it was still not cooked, I kept adding 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup milk.  I cooked it in total for 75 minutes! (on medium heat).  Adding all that extra milk actually made it taste much better . . . before that the sugar was too overpowering.
Yum yum yummmmm.  :D

Only thing is, it's not as soft & "poury" as I thought it should be, so when I had some rice later after it had cooled down, I added a little bit of milk to it before I heated it up in the microwave, and it was perfect.

Oh yes, sprinkle with some cinnamon powder before serving...and be generous, it's yummy when mixed in, and it's healthy too! (I ended up  adding a lot more cinnamon after the pic was taken).  :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Curried Bean Wrap

This is good for lunch or dinner really.  Usually I use canned curried beans for this but I couldn't find it lately so I made my own curried beans.

Curried beans:
1 can red kidney beans
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste

Put everything in a food processor and blend until smooth.  You could use whatever spices you like, but I like this combination for wraps.

Rest of the wrap:
1 wrap
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tomato, finely chopped
1 leaf of lettuce, finely chopped
sour cream  (or mashed avocado)

Plop some bean paste onto the wrap, sprinkle over the sesame seeds, add the lettuce and tomato and fold up the wrap.  If my avocados were ripe, I would have added some of that in the wrap too, OR if I had cheese, I would have added some grated cheese as the last ingredient and microwaved it for a few seconds to melt the cheese (this also helps to hold the wrap together, almost like a glue).  But alas, I had neither of these ingredients, but it was still good!  Add sour cream as desired.

I just added the sesame seeds for some extra nutritional benefit - you don't taste them in here.
If you can find a vegan wrap, you can make this meal vegan if you substitute the sour cream with mashed avocado...yummy..... :)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Carrot & Beetroot Juice

Freshly juiced raw veggies and fruits are a great way to assist your body in detoxing, and besides that, it's so healthy too, since juicing the food makes it more easily assimilated by your body.  Plus it's refreshing and tasty. :)

This morning I added beetroot to the mix and it turned out really well - it's sweet and tasty and the beetroot gives it a slightly earthy flavour too.   And the colour is gorgeous! :D

For this one I used 5 medium carrots and 3 medium beetroot - all peeled and then juiced (in a juicer, not blender) - here's what it looked like:
Then I mixed it before pouring into glasses - makes 2 medium servings:
How pretty is that? Yummmmmm.....

Ginger Honey Lemon Ice Tea

This is nice and refreshing, and best of all it's sugar-free and it's actually a healthy treat. :)

Ginger honey syrup:
1/3 cup honey
2 cups water
1/2 inch roughly chopped, peeled fresh ginger

Add all 3 to a pot, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer for 5 mins on low heat.  Remove from heat.

To finish the tea:
6 "white tea" tea bags (* see below)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 cups water

Throw the tea bags into the "syrup" immediately after removing pot from heat, and let steep for 30 mins.
Strain the syrup, add lemon juice & 6 cups of water & stir to combine.

*  If you can't find white tea, just use ordinary green tea - according to google, white tea is a milder flavour of green tea, so I thought green tea would make a suitable substitute - I used green tea (jasmine green tea actually, just has a more pleasant flavour for me), and because it has a stronger flavour than white tea, I only used 5 tea bags.

Serve over ice and with some mint leaves (I didn't have mint available, booo).
The first time I tasted it I thought it's a little too lemony and a little not-honey-y enough, but then I got used to it and I wouldn't change the recipe now, I like it as is.  If you do want to add more honey though, I think do it in the beginning, maybe increase it to 1/2 cup, or use less lemon juice instead.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cucumber & Chickpea Hummus

This is yummy with savoury biscuits, as a chip dip, or as a healthier snack, used as a dip with veggies.

1 cup peeled & diced english cucumber
2 tbs water
1 tsp ground flax seeds (I'll probably add at least double that next time - make it extra healthy!)
1 400g / 15oz can of chickpeas (drained & rinsed)
2 1/2 tbs organic tahini
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
salt to taste
  •  Place cucumber, water & flax into a food processor & blend on high until frothy
  • Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
  • Pour into serving dish and refrigerate until chilled and slightly thicker
This is a really healthy dip!  It's so easy to make, so definitely worth it to make your own instead of buying ones which often contain other nasty ingredients that you can just do without.  Tahini is of course made from sesame seeds, which are really good for you too.  To improve this hummus health-wise, you could cook your own chickpeas isntead of buying canned ones.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Oh my goodness....this cake is SOOOO good. :D  Not only the taste (which is realllly chocolatey), but it's so soft and so moist, and what I really like about it too is that it's vegan, so I can enjoy this guilt-free! (well....except for the sugar, still feel a little guilty there, but oh well).  This one definitely ranks as one of the best cakes I've ever had. :)

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup white & 1/2 cup whole wheat)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup white & 1/2 cup light brown)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water or brewed coffee (I used coffee)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tbs vinegar
  • Preheat oven to 180 C / 375 F
  • Mix flour, cocoa, baking soda & sugar in a mixing bowl
  • Mix oil water or coffe and vanilla in a small bowl, then pour into dry ingredients and mix well with fork or whisk until combined
  • Once the batter is smooth, add vinegar and stir quickly until fully combined and pale swirls (created by reaction between vinegar & baking soda) have been mixed in evenly
  • Pour into a single greased cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes (I did mine for 25)
Once the cake is cooled, try to save some for the guests or other members of your family. :)
 The cake doesn't rise that much, so it won't work for a double layer cake IMO.

It's so tasty that I don't even both to make an icing / frosting for it.  But if I were to find a yummy and easy vegan icing, I'd try it out.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fibre Filled Cereal

This one doesn't contain muesli, but high-fibre bran flakes - The bran flake cereal I used (Heartland Bran Flakes) seems to be a bit healthier than Kellogg's All Bran Flakes, in that it contains wayyyy less sodium (0.2mg vs over 200mg.....)

I've also added no sugar to this cereal (yay!)...instead I sweetened it with some other healthy options, so here goes:

bowl of bran flakes of your choice
1 dessert spoon digestive bran
1 dessert spoon molasses bran (a sweet bran which I love to use)
1 dessert spoon of raisins (for some sweetness)
a few blobs of plain greek yoghurt
honey & sweet molasses to drizzle (or omit the honey if you want sugar-free)

And if you're not lazy like I was this morning, you could add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds too, and even sunflower seeds for some extra nutrition. :)

Combine the dry ingredients and raisins, then mix in the yoghurt, and then drizzle over some honey and molasses to taste.  Yum!  It's the first time I've tried this combination and I think it turned out good - the molasses really does the trick! I may even leave out the honey next time and add a little more molasses.

I think this is a pretty good fibre-y breakfast. :D

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chewy Peanut Butter & Honey Oatmeal Squares

WOO HOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm proud to say that this is the first GOOD recipe that I've invented all on my own!  My husband really likes it too, so that really has to mean something...hehe.
It's exciting because I'm not very good in the kitchen...even when I follow a recipe to the letter sometimes, a flop occurs in the end product.

To be honest, what sort of inspired this adventure were these rice crispie squares, but mine's much healthier! :)

Anyway, what's good about this sweet treat is that I think it can be classified as a healthy delight. :D  I was wanting to come up with a sweet snack that's actually good for you, and I believe this one is - it contains no sugar, no processed foods and lots of nutrition and fibre.  Since this was an experiment, I made a tiny portion, so next time I'll tripple the ingredients and see if that works out, then I'll amend this recipe.  Here goes:

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup organic sugar-free peanut butter
1/4 cup uncooked oats
1 tbs sunflower seeds
1 tbs sesame seeds
1 tbs molasses bran
1 tbs ground flax seeds
1 tbs digestive bran
1/2 tsp sweet molasses (see also blackstrap molasses)
  • warm up the honey & peanut butter on the stove on low heat and mix to combine (don't "cook" it or heat it up unnecessarily long), remove from heat, mix in molasses
  • add all other ingredients and mix well - it's quite a stiff mix!
  • place in a greased glass dish and press down to even out the top.  I wet a spoon with a couple drops of water and used that to press down the mixture - it's quite sticky
  • set in fridge for at least an hour, cut into squares and munch!
The tiny portion
Mmmmm - chewy (not SO sticky actually) peanut butter and honey yumminess. :D  Needless to say that it's already finished.

Banana, Mango & Papaya Smoothie

Usually I only make smoothies with banana and either papaya or mango, but this time I added all 3!  And it was good. :)  I love discovering new yummy combinations.

1 banana (it's all I had left, but it turned out to be enough)
1 mango
1/2 large papaya
+- 1/2 cup apple & red berry fruit juice (the no preservatives & no sugar added kind)
3 tbs ground flaxseeds

Blend together and enjoy!  Makes 2 large smoothies.
Oh yes, lately I'm also now adding acai berry powder to my smoothies - it's not only a good antioxidant, but it has lots of other goodness to it too.  It's dark purple in colour so it changes the colour of the smoothies a bit, but it doesn't change the taste.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Rice Crispie Squares

Obviously this isn't a healthy treat, but it's healthier than the usual rice crispie squares because there's no white sugar in it!  No marshmallows are used, which also means that it's vegan. :)

These were so tasty, but they tended to fall apart quite easily (especially once they started warming up once taken out of the fridge)...not sure why...maybe it has something to do with the fact that when I was watching the recipe show on tv, she didn't let us know how much peanut butter to put in!  So I had to take a guess from what I saw how much she added.  Either way, they turned out pretty good!

I also used organic sugar-free peanut butter which I think is a good move in making this recipe just a tad better for you.

6 cups rice crispies
1/2 cup honey (the poury kind)
1/2 cup peanut butter (my guess)
2/3 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped (she used dried cherries but this is what I used)
  • Add honey & peanut butter to a pot on the stove and warm them up (just need to warm it up slightly so that they become soft and mix together, no cooking needed).  Stir to combine.
  • Add rice crispies and mix until rice crispies are all coated with honey mixture.
  • Add cranberries and stir to combine.
  • Place into greased baking or glass dish and press down to even out the top.  The layer should be about 1 inch thick (I wouldn't go thinner otherwise I think they'll break apart very easily).
  • Set in fridge for about 1 hour.
And that's it!  This was so easy and really quick to make...JUST my kinda recipe... :D

Friday, March 16, 2012

Banana Oat Carrot Muffins

I've completely adapted some "oat raisin banana bread" recipe that I found online, and came up with this one, which is not only vegan, but also much healthier because I've cut out any dairy, white flour and sugar.  They're quite moist inside, almost as if they're not baked totally through, but they're not raw.  Muffins freeze well and are still soft and moist once defrosted, so I think these muffins are best frozen if you're not going to eat them all the day you make them, because their moistness may cause them to go "off" sooner than drier muffins.

My husband and I think these turned out yummy. :)  I decided to add carrot to this one because I'm trying to find more ways of using the left over carrot "pulp" that I get after juicing carrots - I hate throwing it away...

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tbs ground flax seed mixed with 2 tbs water
3/4 cup rice milk
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (you can use buckwheat if you want it gluten-free...I didn't have any on hand)
1 1/2 cups oats
1/2 cup organic agave nectar
1 1/2 cups finely grated carrot (but of course I used left over carrot pulp)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp powdered himalayan salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
handful raisins
1/3 cup molasses bran (optional)
  • Add mashed bananas in a large bowl.  Stir in flax seed mixture, rice milk, agave, vanilla & carrot.
  • In another bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, oats, cinnamon & bran.
  • Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir well until combined.  Stir in raisins.
  • Divide mixture among prepared muffin tins.  Bake at 400 degrees F / 200 degrees C for about 18-20 minutes.  Muffins are done when tester stick comes out mostly dry.
The bran is optional, I added it for some extra fibre.
 They're nice for breakfast when you're in a hurry or on the run - well, that's what we usually use them for. :)

Broccoli & Carrot Slaw

I made this for the first time today, and it's also the first time I make a dish with raw broccoli...I had a small taste and I think I like it, the dressing is yummy.  And this is a new and different way to get some broccoli in - usually I just steam it and eat it as is (which is delicious!), but it's always nice to try something different once in a while.  So I may just make this again in future...I'll see how I feel about it after eating more. :)

1/3 cup sunflower seeds
+- 4 cups chopped broccoli (florets and stems)
2 medium carrots

2 tbs tangy mayonnaise
1 cup plain greek yoghurt
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp mustard (not the powder)
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (I added 20 shakes of powdered himalayan salt instead)

Whisk to combine.
  • toast sunflower seeds in dry pan over medium-high heat for a few minutes until they smell aromatic (don't let them burn or turn too brown)
  • shred the broccoli & peeled carrots in a food processor
  • combine everything with the dressing and mix to coat well.  

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

These are my favourite peanut butter oatmeal cookies...they're seriously addictive and once I start munching I find it hard to stop. :)

1 cup butter, soft or melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
3 tbs molasses
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 cups oats
  • Beat together melted butter, sugars, vanilla, molasses, peanut butter & eggs.
  • In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder & oats.  Stir dry ingredients into wet mixture.
  • Drop teaspoonfuls of cookie dough onto un-greased baking sheet and bake at 175 degrees C for about 10-15 minutes (mine come out perfect at 10 minutes).
This is by no means a healthy recipe, but it's so delicious that I wouldn't dare mess around with the ingredients in trying to make it healthier...I couldn't bare a wasted batch of messed up cookies. :S  Hehe...

Tangy Red Savoury Sauce

This sauce is SO good I can almost eat it all on it's own - it's very tangy and rich in flavour and it's the best accompaniment (at least according to ME) to what we here in South Africa call "pap", which is traditionally eaten as a side dish at a bbq.  It's sort of a porridge made from maize meal and there are a variety of tomato & onion-y sauces usually eaten with this "pap" and it's called "pap en sous" (porridge & sauce) - but this red sauce is WAY better than those tomato-y based sauces. :)

When we're not having a bbq with people over, I serve this sauce with cous cous - I think it's a little healthier than the refined maize meal.

This recipe makes a large amount of sauce, but it freezes really well in a sealed tub - when you need some all you have to do is dish out how much you need and heat it up in the microwave.

250 g butter
1 tsp mustard powder
30 ml worcestershire sauce
125 ml sugar
125 ml vinegar
250 ml tomato sauce (what some of you call ketchup I think)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 finely chopped green pepper (what some of you call bell peppers I think)

Dump everything in a pot, heat and stir until the butter is melted (if you're using frozen butter) and all ingredients are mixed together, then cook on medium to high heat for about 10 minutes.  No need to boil it at any stage.

Sugar Spice Cookies

These are one of my favourite cookies EVER. 

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp allspice
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs cream
  • mix together 1 cup flour, baking powde, salt & all the spices.
  • cream butter, beat in sugar.  Beat in egg, vanilla & cream.
  • stir in flour mixture, then add enough of the remaining 1 cup flour to make the dough stiff enough to roll.
  • wrap in plastic wrap and chill several hours.  
  • preheat oven to 180 degree C / 375 degree F.
  • place dough on adequately floured surface (lightly floured didn't work for me...) and roll to about 1/8" thickness - these cookies must be quite thin.  Cut into shapes, placed on ungreased baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes. (mine came out perfect at 10 mins) (Note: when I used an ungreased sheet as suggested, my cookies stuck to it and broke! So I greased it with spray on grease and that worked much better)
As you can see, I last made these at Xmas time. :)

Tapioca Pudding with Pineapple & Cream

I didn't know exactly what tapioca was made from myself, so I google it quick: Tapioca is made from the cassava root and does contain some nutrients and fiber, however the processed tapioca bought in store seems to have virtually no nutrients left and so all it contains at that stage is mainly starch.
 Tapioca cooked on it's own has virtually no flavour at all, so I suppose it's used mainly as a base ingredient and then everything else is added to add a flavour.

Anyway, all I use tapioca for is this pudding. :)  Because you have to soak the tapioca before you use it, you need to begin this recipe the night before you want to cook it.

500g uncooked tapioca
1 cup sugar
1 can crushed pineapple (undrained) (+- 400g can)
 250ml cream

Makes a big pot of pudding - many servings!

  • Before you go to bed, place tapioca in a pot and cover completely with water and cover with the lid.  Let soak until the next morning.  Before I started cooking it, I topped it up with more water to cover the tapioca again.  Cook on low to medium heat until the tapioca becomes clear (this may take up to an hour or so), stirring frequently so as to prevent it from burning and sticking to the pot.  I added little bits of water throughout every now and then when it started sticking to the pot - the water is absorbed quickly by the tapioca.  The tapioca is done when most of them have turned clear, like this:
  •  Add the sugar (I only added 1/2 cup sugar because that's fine for my liking), pineapple with juice and mix until well combined.  Let cool a bit.
  • Then add the cream.  You can add more cream if you'd like it more creamy
It's a nice subtle-tasting pudding and I love it. It's quite filling too.  It's yummy while still warm, or chilled.  Should be kept in fridge after cooking so that it keeps longer.

By the way, I read that tapioca flour can be used as a substitute for other flours, it's gluten-free and apparently a healthier option compared even to whole wheat flour.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegan Carrot Cake with Apple & Coconut

This is my first attempt at a carrot cake and it was delicious! :D  With truly yummy vegan options like these, there's really no reason to go back the dairy-cakes way! :)

The original recipe called for some kind of boxed egg replacer and canned crushed pineapple, but I didn't have either, so I used freshly grated apple instead of the pineapple (my guess is my option is healthier anyway!), and I use my personal favourite egg replacer - ground flax seeds mixed with water.

What made me decide to try a carrot cake was because I had lots of left over carrot "pulp" from the carrot juice I made, and I always hate to just throw that away....what a waste!  So obviously the natural thing to do was make a carrot cake.  :)

2 1/4 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin spice or allspice (I used the latter)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
3 tbs ground flax seed mixed with 6 tbs water - let stand for 5 mins before using
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup sunflower oil
2 cups finaly grated carrot
2 cups finely chopped apples (i peeled, cored and put them in food processor for few seconds)
1 cup desiccated coconut
nuts & raisins, optional

I didn't add raisin because I wasn't sure how I'd like it in a carrot cake, but after tasting the cake, I think raisins will got perfectly, so I'll add some next time, as well as chopped walnuts (I didn't have any of these on hand).

1.  preheat oven to 175 degrees C / 375 degrees F.
2.  in a medium bowl mix flour, baking soda, spices, baking powder & salt
3.  in a large bowl mix sugars and flax seed mixture with a spoon until well combined.  Then add vanilla and mix.  Lastly add oil.
4.  add dry ingredients to wet ingrediets and mix well until combined.  Stir in carrots, apple & coconut.  Add nuts & raisins if using.
5.  Grease a cake tin and pour mixture in.  Smooth batter and bake for 40-45 minutes or until tester stick comes out clean.

Note: I baked the cake on one of the higher racks in the oven for the full 45 minutes, but the cake was nonetheless a little underbaked in the centre (even though my tester stick came out pretty much clean)....which wasn't a big problem since there are no raw eggs or things in there, so it was still good (not gooey either - you can see from the photo it's not so bad), but I'd bake it just a teeny bit longer next time, maybe on a lower shelf? just to try and get the centre a little more cooked.  The rest of the cake was perfect and moist.

And I won't even bother trying it with pineapple next time, the apple in there was perfect and I think healthier than any canned item anyway. :)
I also didn't bother with the icing / frosting - it really doesn't need it at all, it's sweet and delicious enough just as is.

Foods with Benefits: Carrots

  • orange / yellow foods are the most protective against cardio vascular disease, and carrots are among the best in this group
  • contains anti-oxidants (beta-carotene)
  • good for eye health (beneficial for vision and helps against glaucoma)
  • has anti-cancer properties - studies have especially shown carrots to inhibit growth of colon cancer cells
  • they're rich in digestive tract-supporting fiber
  • source of vitamin A, K, C, potassium and much more
  • they are alkalizing and help detoxify the blood

Carrot Juice

This is so simple, so yummy and so healthy too.  And the only ingredient is carrots!  You can of course add other veggies or fruits too - I want to try it with beetroot, and another with begin with, to see what they taste like.

Carrot juice is nice and sweet too, I make it for or with breakfast in the morning - it's really delicious. :)

You do need a juicer for this though.  It's one of my favourite kitchen goodies since it's such a huge health benefit. :)

All you do is juice as many carrots as you want until you have as much juice as you'd like.  Just peel them first, and you may have to chop them or slice them if the whole carrot is too big to fit into the juicer's "feeder".

Carrot juice is also good for using during detoxification. Also, juicing fruits or veggies helps to make the nutrients more easy to absorb.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jelly (Jello) Carrot Salad

This has *some* "healthy delight" aspect to it, buuuut the jelly kinda tips it over into the junk food category.  It's one of my favourite salads and it especially yummy on a hot summer day, say with a BBQ. :)

All you need is:

1 packet Jelly / jello (I use greengage because it's my favourite, but pineapple (or even peach) jelly works really well here too - so test it out with your favourite jelly)
3 cups finely grated carrots

First make the jelly according to packet instructions, then mix in the grated carrots.

If you'd like to, you can add pineapple chunks too.

The amounts don't have to be exact, of course.  For every 400ml of jelly that I make (ie 400ml of the liquidy end product, not 400ml of powder), I add about 3 cups of grated carrots.  You can add less carrots if you want more jelly in there, or even a little more carrots if you want the mixture to be firmer and denser.

Let it set in the fridge for a few hours until the jelly is fully set and no longer liquid - so make sure to make this dish WELL ahead of time.  It can stand in fridge overnight as well.

Ok, so to be honest, the jelly I used is probably not strictly vegetarian because of the gelatine... :O  I have found a vegan jelly but I still need to try it out with this salad to see if it works.