Saturday, May 3, 2014

Bone Broths (Liquid Stocks)

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Liquid gold. That's what it is. Our great grandmother's knew it and wouldn't be without it, but somewhere along the way, old-fashioned broth fell out of everyday use, and stock cubes and packs of insipid factory-made stock took its' place. But now it's making a comeback! And so it should - bone broths are the natural way to beautifully flavour soups, stews, casseroles and sauces while imparting gut-healing goodness and easy to digest minerals. 

You've probably heard about how good bone broth is for you. Traditional, slow cooked broth (or stock) contains many minerals in a form that the body can easily absorb. The gelatine in the broth protects and heals the lining of the digestive tract, and is very high in amino acids like glycine, which are anti-inflammatory and calming. You know how when you get a cold, you crave soup? There's a reason for that. Not only does it feel good on a sore throat, but it really does help you get well. This is one of our favourite recipes for when we're feeling a bit 'under the weather' - Coconut Chicken Lemon Soup. You can just feel it doing you good!




Do you make your own broths and stocks? I love to have a big pot of broth gently simmering on the stove. It becomes the base for so many meals. For example...

Breakfast: eggs poached in chicken broth, sometimes with some added veges, 
or some leftover rice or noodles or avocado



Lunch: add in some veges and maybe some meat for a quick but very nourishing soup




Dinner: add some beef mince, ginger, garlic, chilli, veges and greens 
to beef broth for an Asian-style meal, served with rice or mung bean vermicelli




If you've never made old-fashioned stock or broth before, it's time to get started, both for the health benefits and the amazing flavour that will add so much more to your meals! It's really simple. Here's how:

For Chicken Broth:

Ingredients        

1 whole, fresh chicken
4 litres filtered water, room temperature  
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar  
1 large onion, roughly chopped  
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped  
3 celery sticks with leaves, roughly chopped  
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped   
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped

For Beef Broth:

Ingredients

2kg beef bones - a mixture of marrow, knuckle and meat bones
3 litres filtered water, room temperature
¼ cup of apple cider vinegar 
1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks with leaves, roughly chopped
6 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together, or 1 tsp dried
a handful of parsley, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf

Method

For chicken broth

Cut the chicken apart and remove most of the meat to use in other dishes, leaving a little bit of meat on the bones. The fat can be kept to use in the stock as it adds to the flavour and helps nutrients to be absorbed more easily. (I cut the meat into cubes or pieces and freeze in 300g lots. See recipe suggestions below for ways to use the meat.)

Place the meaty bones (and fat if using) into a large, heavy based pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker. If you are cooking up your own chickens, or have access to the 'whole' chickens, you can also add the chicken feet and head.

Cover bones with water, add other ingredients and leave to stand for 30 minutes.

Bring to a boil, remove any foam that rises to the top, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. Longer is better, as the more time it cooks, the more nutrients and minerals are released from the bones. A slow cooker is easiest, but make sure it's stainless steel or ceramic, preferably not teflon lined. If you use a pot on the stove, keep heat as low as possible and top up water as needed so that the bones are always covered.

Strain the broth into a bowl, then pour into jars. Discard bones and vegetables, but include meat scraps in the broth if you like. (I always do.)

Store stock in the coolest part of the fridge for a few days, or separate into small containers and freeze. Once cold, the stock should become a ‘gel’, and there will be a layer of fat on top. This is good - it helps to preserve the stock.

When you're ready to use the stock, remove the fat and set aside, and scoop out a few tablespoons of stock to add to your meal. It is concentrated goodness, so you can add water to it for soups and stews. If you're taking it as a gut-healing 'medicine', just warm up half a cup of broth on the stovetop, add a little sea salt if you like, and sip like a cup of hot tea at least once a day! So so good for you.

The fat can be washed off with cold water then kept in the fridge to use for frying, as it is a stable fat and won't burn when heated. I use it for savoury cooking - eg. sautéing onions, frying vegetable fritters, etc.

For beef stock: 

Place the knuckle and marrow bones into a heavy-based pot on the stove, or in a slow cooker, cover with water, add vinegar and leave to stand for one hour. Meanwhile, roast meat bones in oven at 180° for 30 mins. Add to pot with other bones.

Add all other ingredients, with extra water if needed to keep bones covered. Simmer for at least 12 hours or as long as 48 hours on low temperature. 

Strain and store as for chicken broth.

Note: If you feel like you need broth quickly and just don't have time for hours of cooking time, you can make the liquid stock recipe in my book 'Quirky Cooking' - it cooks in an hour. It's not going to have all the goodness of a slow-cooked stock, but it's a good start.







Saturday, April 26, 2014

Light & Fluffy Gluten Free Scones!

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These scones are for those of you who are gluten free and really missing light, fluffy scones! For a gluten free, dairy free treat, use the macadamia oil option, and top them with some naturally sweetened jam (takes 8 mins to make, no excuses!) and some cashew cream, for a delicious afternoon tea treat. :)

I’ve tried this recipe with many different GF flour mixes, and have found that the Orgran SR flour has the lightest and best results. Others will be heavier and crumbly. As is usual with gluten free baking, these are best eaten on the same day.

Makes approx. 1 dozen scones

Ingredients

300g Orgran® gluten free self raising flour
60g butter or macadamia oil
½ tsp sea salt
2 eggs
150g coconut milk (recipe here)

Method

Preheat oven to 200°. Line baking tray with baking paper, or sprinkle with flour.

Place flour, butter or oil and salt into mixing bowl and mix 6 sec/speed 6.

Add eggs and milk and mix 10 sec/speed 5, using spatula to help mixture to combine. Do not overmix.

Drop mixture by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking tray, placing close together so scones are touching. 

Cook at 200° for approx. 15 mins, or until lightly browned and cooked through.

Enjoy! xx

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

'Share the Love' Apple & Persimmon Oat Slice

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Wow. What a day. Where do I even begin to say thank you for the crazily amazing gorgeousness of what so many of you did today? I can't find the words to say how much I appreciate it. I feel so blessed. Just wow.

If you're wondering what I'm talking about, it's this. I was totally love-bombed by my readers today! My crazy, sneaky, but ever so sweet sister-in-law, Melissa, decided she was going to do something about my computer troubles and organised some birthday love. (I think my little brother may have had something to do with it too.)  So now I not only will be getting a new computer for my birthday, paid for by my much-loved readers, I've also got enough to buy a decent camera to take better photos! (Instead of using my iPhone all the time, as much as I love it.) To all of you who were in on this - thank you, so so much.

When Melissa texted me and admitted what she'd done, I laughed and cried and was basically totally useless for the rest of the day, and didn't get a scrap of work done. (Except dinner, I did manage to cook that.) So now I'm sitting down at my dodgy old computer at nearly midnight, determined to give you all a little something back, even if it's just a simple slice recipe. Because, you know, giving is like a circle - the more you give, the more you receive, and the more you want to give again.

So here's my little thank you to you, a simple recipe for Apple & Persimmon Oat Slice, which I made up yesterday when I had three squishy persimmons I needed to use. I hope you'll share the love and make it for someone you care about.

Jo xx





'Share the Love' Apple & Persimmon Oat Slice

Ingredients

Filling:
3 apples, peeled, cored and quartered
3 persimmons, washed and stems removed (well ripened)
3 tsp lemon juice
50g rice malt syrup (or 30g honey)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Tbsp cornflour (or arrowroot starch)

Base & Topping:
370g organic rolled oats (GF oats or quinoa flakes for gluten free)
100g unsalted butter (or coconut oil for dairy free)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
60g rice malt syrup (or 40g honey)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Method
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 21cm square baking dish with baking paper and set aside.

Filling:

Place apples and persimmons into Thermomix mixing bowl and chop 5 sec/speed 4.

Add remaining filling ingredients and cook 7 mins/100C/speed 2.

Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Base & Topping:

Place all base/topping ingredients into Thermomix mixing bowl (no need to clean after making filling), and mix 30 sec/speed 4, or until mixture is starting to clump together slightly.

Place 2/3 of the mixture into the lined dish and press in firmly to form base. Pour filling over base.

Crumble remaining mixture over the top of the filling, and press down slightly with your fingers, into the filling.

Place into oven and cook for 20-30 mins, or until lightly browned on top.

Cool, cover, then place in fridge to set.

Once slice is firm, cut into squares and serve cold from the fridge. 

Tastes great with a dollop of cashew or coconut cream!




Variations:

If you don't have persimmons, try apples and plums; or use 6 apples instead of apples and persimmons.

To make this without a Thermomix, chop fruit roughly by hand and simmer filling in a pan on the stovetop until thickened. Mix topping by hand and proceed with recipe.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Weekly Highlights, a Baking Giveaway and a Recipe for Paleo (Banana Flour) Pancakes!

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Hi everyone! I know it's been ages since I've posted my 'weekly highlights' so really it's a bit silly to call them 'weekly,' but I'm aiming to get back to having a regular catch-ups with you all again, so here I am. After a busy week of homeschooling, cooking, writing, driving, cooking, cleaning, packing, cooking and, um, cooking, I need some down time. And besides, I have some goodies to give away, so keep reading!




Update! My book has gone off to the printers (just one more month to wait now!), but the recipe developing continues, as per usual... (Um, yeah, my recipes are a little hard to understand sometimes, especially when I'm testing them over and over. Might be time to write this one out again. Lol!) 

My big news - just in case any of you missed it! (I couldn't keep it in and had to blab all over Facebook and Instagram.) We're moving house! Yes, in less than two weeks' time I'm going to have my very own house with a big, bright, open kitchen! And a dishwasher. And a double sink. Yeehaaaa!! 



I have great plans for this kitchen. At the moment it's a bit bare and modern, but it will soon be 'quirkified' and homey, and ready for... da duh daaaa... Quirky Cooking Classes!! Anyone want to come have a one on one cooking class? Come on, it'll be fun! (You MAY have to dodge nerf bullets and will almost certainly be a guinea pig for my latest creations, but if you're brave enough to come despite that, you will be most welcome.) More details on that to come! 



Beware the nerf guns... 
(Yep, just a normal day in the Whitton household. I think I'm outnumbered.)




The most popular post on my blog this week was my new Gluten free, dairy free hot cross buns recipe - 30,500 views in 6 days! And yes, they are definitely worth making, so if you haven't tried them, get onto it soon, so you'll be all set for Easter. :)

The most popular posts on my Facebook page this week were:

- Healthy snacks while at uni, and sitting for hours in front of a computer

- Comments on my 'insanely delicious' barbeque sauce, that you really should make before plum season finishes

- Thermomix websites and FB pages for recipes that are free from egg, milk, wheat and soy

- Easy dinner ideas, and Meatball, bean and kale soup


- Recipes for grain free pizza bases

- And this absolutely amazing Raw Salted Caramel & Almond Cake!

(Please note: Facebook is cutting down on how many posts you'll see from pages that don't pay to be seen - and yep, that's me. I've never paid for views and don't intend to start. So if you'd still like to see my FB posts, make sure you add my page to your interests lists! And remember to like, comment on, and share posts from pages you love, because otherwise we'll disappear off your FB feed. Thanks!)

Ok, so now you're all up to date with what's been going on, how about a giveaway!


Happy Tummies Baking Pack Giveaway...

As you all know, I LOVE to bake healthy, allergy-friendly goodies. Happy Tummies is an online store that specialises in allergy-free ingredients, cookbooks and all sorts of kitchenware, and they have offered a baking pack for you to win! Check it out... 




What's in the pack?

Quinoa flour (623g): Quinoa flour is one of the highest protein flours, and is great in gluten free cooking. You can use it in recipes like Quinoa & Chia Seed Flatbread, or Banana & Raspberry Muffins. (Instead of milling the quinoa seeds, add the same weight of quinoa flour.) Tip: I find with quinoa flour it's best to keep it to a quarter or less of the overall amount in a gluten free mix.

Rice malt syrup (500g): A low fructose sweetener that you can use in place of sugar or honey in recipes. See my Sugar Substitutes page for tips on how to use rice malt syrup.

If You Care Baking Cups (3 packs - mini, large and jumbo): This range of baking papers and baking cups are what I prefer to use, as they are non-toxic and very high quality. Most baking papers are coated with Quilon, which contains heavy metals like chromium, which can be toxic when incinerated. If You Care papers use silicone derived from a natural element, and they also don't contain chlorine, so no bleach in the waterways. Aside from that, they just work better! Muffins don't stick to them, and I find the baking paper can usually be wiped down and reused. Love it. 

Loving Earth Raw Cacao Powder (500g): My favourite cacao powder - raw, unadulterated, no additives, and completely delicious! I would love to share my new chocolate cake recipe with you, as I use this cacao powder to make it, but it's for a special project, so how about making some raw chocolate instead! You'll also need...

Loving Earth Raw Cacao Butter (500g): This is the fat from the cacao beans, and is the key ingredient in good chocolate. Loving Earth is my favourite brand, and you'll understand why when you use it - it's so creamy and the smell is divine! See my recipe for raw chocolate above.

Heilala Vanilla (100ml): Made from organic vanilla beans from Tonga, this vanilla is amazing. Another important ingredient in raw chocolate, or try adding it to Creamy Coconut Vanilla Rice Pudding.

Banaban Coconut Milk (400g) and Coconut Cream (400g): I use a lot of coconut milk and cream in my cooking - coconut is one of nature's superfoods. For a delicious, dairy free treat, try Dairy Free Condensed Milk or Dulce de Leche using coconut cream, or Quick Egg Curry with Quinoa which is made with coconut milk.

Rapadura Sugar (500g): Rapadura is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice - a much more natural product than refined sugars, and still contains the minerals and vitamins found in sugar cane. The flavour is a lot like brown sugar. Use it in place of sugar in any recipe (1:1). See this article for more info on Rapadura.

Banaban Organic Coconut Sugar (500g): Coconut sugar is made from the dehydrated nectar from coconut blossoms. It is a very environmentally friendly sugar, and is low GI (approx. 35). The flavour is somewhere between raw sugar and rapadura - delicious. Use it in any recipe in place of sugar (1:1) or Rapadura. I love it in Coconut Caramel Custard. Note: This brand of coconut sugar can be ground up in the Thermomix on speed 9, to make a very fine icing sugar, perfect for using in icings or to sweeten pavlovas.

Banaban Organic Coconut Flour (500g): Coconut flour is made from the dried coconut pulp after making coconut milk. It is very high in fibre, and is suitable for a grain free diet. Gooey Flourless Fudge Brownies are made with coconut flour - if you haven't tried them, you need to!

Banana flour: This flour is made here on the Atherton Tablelands, where I live! It is another great option for those who are trying to minimize grains in their diet, and is a nutritious source of resistant starch. Rob and Krista of Mt Uncle have developed many recipes with their banana flour, and are happy to share their recipe for 'Paleo Pancakes' with us!




Paleo Pancakes

Thanks to Mt Uncle's Banana Flour for this recipe. Visit their Facebook page for more recipes, tips and info.

Serves 6

Ingredients

1 cup (130 g) Mt Uncle's Banana Flour

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup (optional)

3 eggs 

1 teaspoon of vanilla bean extract

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

130 ml coconut or almond milk

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1 cup (100g) blueberries (optional)

coconut oil - for cooking

Method

Place Mt Uncle's Banana Flour, syrup, eggs, vanilla, bicarb soda, salt, milk and lemon juice into Thermomix bowl and mix 10 sec/speed 4, then increase speed and mix 20 sec/speed 8. (Or whisk ingredients together in a bowl, by hand.)

Add berries and mix in on speed 3 for a few seconds, or mix 3 sec/speed 5 if you want the berries roughly chopped.

Cook in med-hot frying pan with a little coconut oil, then serve with desired toppings.

Enjoy!


How to Win...

To win this awesome baking pack from Happy Tummies, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post saying what you would make if you won

Winner will be chosen randomly via Random.org, and announced here and on both my Quirky Cooking Facebook page, and the Happy Tummies Facebook page next Saturday, the 29th March, at 8pm.

Pop over and like both pages, if you haven't already, to be the first to hear about new recipes, exciting products, and who the winner of the prizedraw is! Also, make sure you sign up for the Happy Tummies newsletter (on their site) to be kept up with specials, latest news and updates.

Thank you for the great prize, Happy Tummies!

Giveaway open to Australian residents only.

Giveaway now closed - Congrats to Elise @MummyHearts!

Note - to comment on this blog post: If you are viewing this on a mobile device, you will need to switch over to the 'web version' to post a comment. Scroll to the bottom of the post, click on 'view web version', then scroll down to the bottom of the comments and click on 'post a new comment'. If you're on a computer, make sure you have opened the actual post by clicking on the title, so that comments are visible at the end of the post.

All the best, and I hope you all have a great week!

Happy cooking,
Jo xx


PS Happy Autumn! :)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Gluten Free & Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

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The other day I thought I'd have another go at making gluten and dairy free hot cross buns, because I wasn't completely happy with the ones I already have on the blog. And since I'm finding I react more and more to gluten these days, my spelt recipe is out for me. I remember giving in last year when I made a batch at an Easter demo - it's very hard to resist hot cross buns when they're fresh from the oven, dripping with a spicy glaze, and slathered with butter. But I regretted it the next day. Not doing that again... 

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one craving these sweet, spicy buns, and although they're never going to be quite as soft and fluffy as the spelt or wheat versions, they are quite delicious, especially hot out of the oven!



As with most gluten free baking, these are best eaten warm, or at least only a couple of hours old. By the next day they will be a lot drier, only good for slicing up and toasting. Although you could use the leftovers to make a hot cross bun 'bread and butter pudding'... (Hmmm, might have to try that, yum!) My suggestion is, make the dough, then only bake what you will eat that day - save the rest of the dough in a container in the fridge for another batch. The dough will last for about 5 days in the fridge in a sealed container. (The flavours will actually develop as the dough sits in the fridge, and the mixture will thicken so they will rise a bit better.)

I made this recipe without gums (guar or xanthan) as I know a lot of people try to avoid those, and they're also expensive. If you prefer, you can use 2 tsp xanthan gum instead of the psyllium husk. The xanthan gum has pros and cons - with it the buns will be heavier and denser, but they do stay moist longer. The psyllium husk dough will be quite runny (almost a batter), but with the xanthan gum it's firmer and can be gently molded into balls with wet hands once it's been refrigerated overnight. I make the buns in cupcake cups so it doesn't matter if the dough is more of a batter - it works great this way.



I did intend to have an egg free version for you as well, but I just haven't had time to test it yet. If anyone does have success with egg replacer or 'chia eggs' or other egg substitutes, let me know. Otherwise I'll test that version when I can. Also a yeast free version. So many recipes to test so little time! Especially when the weather is MUCH too nice to be inside...



Gluten Free & Dairy Free Hot Cross Buns

Makes approx. 20 muffin-sized buns

Ingredients

Buns
150g brown rice, raw
110g sorghum or millet, seeds or flour
zest of 1 orange (peeled with potato peeler)
1 Tbsp instant yeast
190g arrowroot or tapioca starch
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
40g coconut sugar or Rapadura
1 Tbsp psyllium husk
2 eggs
200g coconut milk (homemade), or preferred milk
150g water
40g macadamia oil or other light oil
100g sultanas
100g currants (or try dried sour cherries or cranberries)
muffin papers

Crosses
50g gluten free plain flour
50g water

Glaze
juice of 1 orange (approx. 50g juice)
50g coconut sugar or Rapadura
1/2 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

Place brown rice and sorghum or millet seeds (if using) into Thermomix mixing bowl and mill 
1 min/speed 9. If using sorghum or millet flour, mill rice on its' own, then add flour. 

Add orange zest and blend 15 sec/speed 9.

Add yeast, arrowroot or tapioca starch, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, sugar, and psyllium husk, and mix 20 sec/speed 5. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.

Add eggs, milk, water, oil, sultanas and currants and mix 20 sec/reverse/speed 4. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula and mix another 10 sec/reverse/speed 4.

Pour mixture into a large container, place lid on, and leave to rise for 2 hours at room temp.

Once mixture is risen, container can either be put into the fridge to be used the next day (best results, as flavours intensify and mixture thickens), or you can make the buns straight away. 

When ready to bake:

Mix the flour and water for the crosses in a small bowl with a fork until smooth, then pour into a small a small ziploc bag. Seal the bag and cut a very small corner off. Set aside.

Place paper muffin cups into a muffin tray (depending on how many you want to make).

Take the dough out of the fridge and scoop out heaped tablespoonfuls, and using a spoon and butter knife, drop a large spoonful into each muffin cup. Muffin cups should be 3/4 full.

Cover muffin tray loosely with a plastic bag (so that plastic does not touch dough) and leave to rise for about 30-40 mins, or until dough has barely risen to the top of the muffin cup. (Don't over-rise buns or you'll find they flatten out, and will sink in the middle once cooked.) Towards the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 200C (fan forced). Pipe crosses onto buns.

Once oven is hot, place tray inside on middle shelf, and cook for 20 mins, or until lightly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Glaze:

Place all glaze ingredients into mixing bowl and cook 2 mins/Varoma temp/speed 2, with MC off to let out steam. Brush hot glaze over hot buns (removing papers if you like and arranging on a plate first, so that the glaze drizzles down the sides). Serve warm.

Store any leftover, cooled buns in an airtight container at room temp for 1 day - best eaten on day of baking.

Non-Thermomix Version: To make without a Thermomix, use bought rice and sorghum/millet flours and bought coconut milk, and mix with a food processor or by hand.




Sunday, February 23, 2014

Inside my Fridge and Freezer

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Ok, so this may seem a bit odd to post photos of my not-completely-tidy fridge and freezer, but I've been asked these questions so many times that it's probably easiest just to go ahead and post about it!

What do I keep in my fridge and freezer and pantry? 
What ingredients do I usually keep on hand? 
How do I organize it all?

I have a very small kitchen and a small pantry, so my large chest freezer doubles as my pantry. I buy my grains, seeds, nuts, flours, beans, meat and fish (and a few other things) in bulk, about four times a year. (See this post for more info on the whys and wherefores of bulk buying.) 

Where I live, in Far North Queensland, you can't leave your grains, nuts, seeds and flours out at room temperature for too long or they'll become mouldy, cobwebby and a home for weevils. (Weevils lay eggs on the grain in the field, but placing grains/flours/seeds in the freezer kills the eggs. It also prevents pantry moths.) Not everything fits in my freezer, so I also have some things stored in sealed 5 Lt buckets, stacked in my laundry. I rotate these through the freezer to kill weevils. As the freezer empties, I put some of those back in on the bottom, under the bags. (See this post for more info on rotating bulk foods through freezer.)

I keep a small amount of flours, grains, seeds, nuts in my kitchen in glass jars and refill from the freezer as needed. (As you can see, sometimes the fresh produce kind of takes over the kitchen...)



The contents of my freezer changes depending on the season, how much fresh fruit I have frozen, whether or not I have bulk meat or fish at the time, and how long its' been since my last bulk order of grains, etc. In the photo at the top of the page, I have grains, rice, flours, starches, chickpeas, quinoa, a big bag of raw almonds (the silver bag), coconut, frozen berries and mango (I don't usually buy frozen mango but needed some and had run out), fruits that I've frozen myself, bulk meat, and a few other bits and pieces.

In the photo below, at a different time of year, my freezer is mostly full of bulk grains, seeds, nuts, lentils, etc.



As you can see in these photos, I place the large bags (12.5kg and 25kg) in the bottom of my big chest freezer. The smaller bags (5kg, 3kg, 1kg) I place either on top or in the baskets. The good thing about leaving everything in bags is that the bags get smaller as you use what's in them, whereas containers take up a lot more room and don't shrink as the contents go down. So I prefer to do it this way even if it doesn't look quite as neat as a freezer full of neatly stacked, labelled containers! (By the way, I prefer glass containers to plastic, for most things. The plastic jug above was what I used to keep spelt grain in so I could just grab it easily when making bread. Now I just use a glass jar.)

The meat that I buy in bulk is local, grassfed, organic beef and sometimes pork, and wild-caught fish. I store the large pieces (roasts, etc) in the bottom of the freezer, and the smaller packets in baskets. The fish is individually wrapped in fillets and they are in a flat box usually, which I place on top of the bags.

I generally keep small bags of frozen fruits in my fridge freezer (and larger ones in my big freezer), as I use those every day for smoothies, juices, sorbets and ice creams. Whatever fruit is in season I buy and freeze, and I always have bananas frozen - just peeled and popped into bags. 

When I cook up a big batch of beans, I freeze those in 250g bags, so I can use them to replace a tin of beans. (1 400g tin of beans usually contains approx. 250g beans.) I also freeze bone broth in jars when I make a big batch.

The photo below is my fridge freezer. As you can see it's mango season - lots of frozen mango and dehydrated mango! On the bottom left is a snack basket for the kids where I put individually wrapped snacks (eg. bliss balls, coconut fudge, brownies, homemade muesli bars, dried fruit, mini quiches), and the bottom right basket is full of gluten free flours in small amounts so I can grab them as I need them. (The big bag is almond meal.) There's also ice, homemade coconut cream frozen in ice cube trays ready for smoothies, ice creams, and coffee (I just drop a frozen cube into my coffee), as well as lots of dried mango in bags. The top shelf has frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, nectarines, peaches, plums, dragonfruit, watermelon, lemon/lime juice in cubes in bags, etc), frozen veges, (and some millet because it didn't fit in the door). And I keep my drink powders (protein powders, greens, etc) on top of the fridge because my pantry is too small for them.



In the fridge freezer door I keep bits and pieces like small bags of buckwheat, spelt grain, nuts, seeds; and there's a jar of bone broth and some natural food colours there too. (Messy, I know. But like I said, I fit more in with bags instead of containers!)



Okay, and I'm keeping it real here, folks. This is generally what my fridge looks like - very overcrowded! (Eeek, embarrassing!) Here's a quick overview of what's in there: Vege stock pastes (and sometimes meat stock pastes - made in Thermomix), tahini, jams, sauces (some made in Thermomix, some not, depending on time), mustards, chutneys, nut butter, homemade pickles, yeast in a big jar, ganache, coconut cream (sometimes homemade, sometimes bought), spinach, mushrooms, mini quiches in a bag, dairy free condensed milk, goat's cheese, silly putty, (ha ha!), homemade lard, meat thawing for dinner, artisan bread dough in a large container, corn, tomatoes, watermelon, chillies, and lots more fruit and veges from my CSA box, leftovers, coconut yoghurt, bone broth in a bottle in the fridge door, free range eggs, nut milk, cow's milk, non-alcoholic wine, pure maple syrup, probiotics (for making coconut yoghurt & to take), teecino, coffee, ginger, coconut, herbal mixtures (for everything from car sickness to colds), cod liver oil, Loving Earth chocolate, and who knows what else!




My daughter always tells her friends that our fridge is very scary. I guess it is a little crazy... But you should've seen it when I was recipe testing for my book and had 7 jars of dairy free aioli in there along with lots of other experiments! (I think I need a walk-in cold room.) ;)

Now, if you're looking for a photo of inside my pantry, I'm afraid I'll have to disappoint you. It's so crowded in there it makes my fridge look empty. Ha. But you can see the kinds of things I keep in stock over on my Bulk Buying post, so check that out. I'll try to get a more detailed list up soon.

If you're wondering where to find recipes for any of the things I mentioned above, they're all on my blog - the easiest way to find them is to just google 'quirky cooking dairy free condensed milk' (or whatever it is you're looking for) as my search box is not working well at the moment (argh). Good news is I'm in the process of upgrading to a new site which will be MUCH easier to use! Hooray!!

Ok, so for a bit of a summary about stocking your pantry/freezer, and a bit of advice on healthy eating, see this interview I did with Louise D'Allura of Meal Planning Your Way... 



Hope that helps!

Jo xx

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dairy Free, Egg Free Aioli

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This recipe has been a long while in the making. Over the last few months I've experimented a lot, determined to come up with a dairy free, egg free aioli that isn't runny. Sometimes I've had six or seven different batches lurking in my fridge at once... good thing I buy my macadamia oil in bulk*! 
I didn't give up because I wanted so badly to have this recipe in my book. Sadly, it just wasn't ready in time, so I've decided to post it here so all that hard work (and many litres of macadamia oil) doesn't go to waste. :)

This is not a traditional 'olive oil and garlic' aioli (which is of course dairy and egg free), but the flavour is more like an aioli than a mayonnaise so I call it aioli. I love it with fish, or on baked potatoes, or you can even add herbs and use it as a dip with crudites (see variation below). You can, of course, also use it instead of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps, or in a potato or chicken salad. 

I have tried making this with rice milk but it doesn't thicken like cashew milk does, so I stuck with cashew milk. If I come up with a nut free version I'll let you know! 

So here it is... I hope you like it. :)




Dairy Free, Egg Free Aioli
Makes 300g - lasts for 2-3 weeks in the fridge

Ingredients

100g raw cashews
500g water
2-3 garlic cloves
¼ tsp fine sea salt
150g macadamia oil
3 tsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Method

Place cashews into mixing bowl and mill for 8 sec/speed 9.

Add water and blend 1 min/speed 9. Pour into a separate container and wash and dry mixing bowl.

Place garlic into mixing bowl and chop 3 sec/speed 7. Scrape down sides of bowl with spatula.

Add salt and 150g of the cashew milk, and insert butterfly. Cook 5 mins/100C/speed 4. Scrape down lid and sides of bowl with spatula. (Place remaining cashew milk in fridge.)

Weigh macadamia oil into a small jug with a pouring spout.

With butterfly rotating on speed 4 and MC in place, drizzle oil very slowly onto lid, starting with just a few drops at a time, and progressing to a very thin stream. Take your time! With butterfly still rotating on speed 4, drizzle in lemon juice. This process should take approximately 6-7 mins.

Remove aioli carefully to small jug or jar, without mixing it with spatula so that it stays light and airy. Cover and store in fridge.

That's it! Very easy, just make sure you take your time while drizzling in the oil, as that will make all the difference.

Herb & garlic variation:

When chopping the garlic, add a few green shoots from spring onions, or some chives, and a sprig or two of parsley.

Notes:

- You will have cashew milk left over - store in fridge to use in cuppas or cooking. Makes great cappucinos!

- If you do try another kind of milk in the aioli, it needs to thicken in the cooking stage before the oil is added, or the aioli will be runny. I've found that soaked cashew milk doesn't work so well as it's thinner, so stick with this method.

- If you're wondering where I buy my macadamia oil in bulk (because I know I'll get that question!), I buy Pressed Purity (extra virgin cold pressed) in a 10 Lt container through my co-op, from Fitness Products

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chocolate-Cherry-Berry Dessert Pizzas

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Last Saturday my niece came to visit from down south, so we got the kids' friends over for a pizza party to celebrate. There were at least 20 teenagers, plus a few other younger kids, and we all had a lot of fun!




To make the food side of things simpler, I got them to all bring pizza toppings to share. They chopped up the toppings while I made enough spelt pizza dough for about 20 pizzas (easy peasy in the Thermomix!), and then they all made their own pizzas. (In between soccer games, board games, remote control aeroplane flying, chatting, laughing, singing, and everything else!) So much more fun than buying pizzas, not to mention cheaper, healthier and yummier. Oh, and in case you're wondering, we used two ovens - mine and mum's - she just lives two doors down. :)




I also made mango sorbets with magic chocolate topping (see 'Day 7') for afternoon tea, which they loved, and no one complained about the lack of softdrink or junkfood, so they must be getting used to my strange ways! :D

After dinner I had a bit of a brainwave, and whipped up these dessert pizzas with the leftover pizza dough. I topped them with my homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread, some cherries and blueberries, zabliagone (a kind of egg yolk custard, no milk, a bit like sabayon), and flaked almonds. Delish!!

I used spelt bases for the kids, but if you're gluten free, don't despair. Use my recipe for Gluten Free Pizza Bases, adding 1 Tbspn of rapadura or coconut sugar to the batter. Blend it well so that the seeds are blended in. You could also use an almond meal pizza base recipe if you want a grain free, yeast free option. Try this one, leaving out the rosemary and garlic; swap the olive oil for macadamia oil, and add 2 tsp coconut sugar per base. See suggestions in recipe for a nut free version.


These pizzas are best served hot, so if you don't want to invite 20 hungry teenagers over for a party and your family won't eat three in one go, try this:

- Make the dough and divide into three portions; place remaining dough in bags and refrigerate or freeze dough for another day. (Dough can stay in fridge for up to a week.) 

- The chocolate spread will last in the fridge for a couple of weeks no problem, as will the cherries if left in the juice in the jar. The blueberries can be frozen. 

- Make zabliagone with 2 egg yolks, 1 tsp maple syrup and 1/2 tsp vanilla, for 10 mins cooking time total. 




Chocolate-Cherry-Berry Dessert Pizzas
Dairy free, with gluten and grain free options, and nut free option

(Makes 3 large pizzas)



Ingredients

Bases:
500g unbleached, plain spelt flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbspn Rapadura or coconut sugar
50g macadamia oil (or olive oil for nut free), plus extra for shaping dough
260g water

(or see gf options above)

Toppings:
1 batch of Chocolate Hazelnut Spread (or nut free chocolate spread/ganache, from this recipe)
  (freshly made - or use your own version of 'Nutella' or ganache)
1 800g jar of Morello cherries, drained
1 125g punnet fresh blueberries, rinsed
zabliagone (see below)
80g flaked almonds (or flaked coconut for nut free)

Zabliagone:
3 egg yolks
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract

Method

Line 3 large pizza trays with baking paper, and set aside.

Place all base ingredients into mixing bowl and mix 6 sec/speed 6.

Knead on interval setting for 1 1/2 mins, then wrap dough loosely in Thermomat (or silicon bread mat, or place in oiled bowl and cover) and let it rest for 20 mins while you prepare the toppings.

Preheat oven to 200C, with pizza stones on racks if you have them.

After dough is risen, divide into three portions and press out into circles using a little more oil, and place on trays.

Divide chocolate hazelnut spread between the three pizzas and spread evenly over bases.

Scatter the cherries and blueberries over the pizzas, and set aside to rise while you make the zabliagone.

Zabliagone: Place egg yolks and maple syrup into mixing bowl, insert butterfly, and mix 6 mins/50C/speed 4. Add vanilla or almond extract and mix another 6 mins/50C/speed 4.

Drizzle pizzas with zabliagone and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

Bake for approx 18-20 mins in hot oven on pizza stones (if you have them), until the zabliagone is lightly browned and the bases are cooked through.

Best served hot, while the base is crisp.

(Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container, but they will get a bit soggy and the zabliagone will melt into the chocolate - although my kids don't complain! They still taste good.)






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