Category Archives: Baking

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My Green Kitchen

my-green-kitchen-1My Green Kitchen by  Neena Truscott and Belinda Macdonald

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My-Green-Kitchen by Neena-Truscott-Belinda-Macdonald – NZ$39

My lovely friends have just released a wonderful book that is full of inspirational recipes integrating the healing power of foods in easy-to-make family recipes. These recipes have a focus on restoring gut health, utilising leftovers and seasonal abundance and foraging for superfoods.

Also included are herbal recipes for stimulating vibrant health and innovative ideas for meals which feature ancient grains, and how to indulge in sweet treats without the ‘nasties’. The book features an article on ‘ancestral eating’ from Ben Warren of BePure, one of NZ’s leading nutrition and holistic health experts.

Written by the winners of the first My Kitchen Rules NZ, Neena Truscott and Belinda Macdonalnd I love their work. This book reflects their love and comitment to good, healthy foods and take you on a journey in your own kitchen.

 Two Thumbs Up, well worth getting.

Fresh Gluten-free Pasta

Fresh-gfpastaI love pasta and this meets my needs for a gluten-free option that I can have whenever I want.

Ingredients

1∕3 cup white cornflour

1∕3 cup tapioca flour or potato flour

1∕3 cup buckwheat flour or millet flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp fine sea salt

2 whole eggs

1 tbsp olive oil

1–2 tbsp filtered water, if needed

Sift the flours, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor, and process until well combined.

Combine eggs and oil in a bowl and slowly pour into the food processor, holding back some of the liquid until you can check the consistency of the dough (it is easier to add more liquid than to add the right quantity and mix of flours). Pulse gently until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, adding water if needed.

Turn dough onto a lightly floured bench (white rice flour works well) and knead gently until dough is smooth and elastic. You don’t have to knead too much as you are finishing the dough off rather than having to work the gluten.

Cut the dough into rectangular mounds for easy handling. If you are using a pasta machine, make the mounds a little narrower than the width of your pasta roller so they will be easy to put through the machine. Cover each mound with plastic wrap and allow it to rest at room temperature for at least 20 minutes.

Take each mound and roll out thinly with a rolling pin (about 2–3mm, depending on the shape you wish to make). Form dough into the required shape or feed through your pasta machine. Make sure you keep flouring your bench top and roller so the pasta does not stick and glue together.

Cook pasta in salted boiling water. Fresh pasta requires a lot less cooking time than dried pasta. The cooking time will depend on the shape you have chosen and how thin your pasta is – usually about 2–3 minutes.

Easy Damson Plum Jam

Plum-Jam-Jars-webDamson plums are small and the flesh is quite sharp and sour, but in my view makes the absolute best plum jam in the world. I match the jam with nice cheeses on a platter with some slightly spicy cured meats. I am in heaven. 

Makes about 8 250ml jars. 

Ingredients 

1 1⁄2kg (3.3lb) whole, washed damson plums

3 cups water

5 cups sugar 

Method 

Combine the plums and the water and over a medium hot heat bring to a boil. 

Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. 

Allow to cool enough to handle – or completely, if you like and fish out the pits. It’s a bit messy but well worth it. 

I put them in a colander over a large pot and pass the liquid and as much of the flesh that you can through and then start picking out the stones. Return the pulp to the rest of the jam to the pot once the pits are out. Bring them back to the boil and add the sugar to the plums, stirring to dissolve. 

Reduce the heat to a light, rolling simmer and cook to jam stage, about 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, put the clean jars into a pre-heated oven at 140 C (300F). 

Return the plums to the jam kettle, and bring them back to the boil. Add the sugar to the plums, stirring to dissolve. 

Jam Stage Test 

Sheet or spoon test — Dip a cool metal spoon into the boiling jelly mixture. Raise the spoon out of the steam, about 12 inches above the pan. Turn the spoon so the liquid runs off the side. The jelly is done when the syrup forms two drops that flow together and sheet or hang off the edge of the spoon. 

Once the jam has reached setting point remove from the heat and stir and skim 5 minutes. 

Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal with lids sterilized according to the manufacturers directions. (Generally, boiled for 5 minutes.) 

Let cool, label and store when the jars have sealed.

Freedom To Indulge – A Chocolate Brownie Adventure

brownie_webAs a kid I remember watching my mother baking chocolate brownies for the pantry tins and entertaining or when she had to take a plate to an event, shared meal or for a school fundraiser. 

The brownie is a cross between a cake and a cookie in texture. They are either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density. Reference to making chocolate brownies as a staple in the home goes right back to the beginning of last century and they have become well established as a great family baking recipe. 

Why? 

Because they are easy to make and can be “dressed up” and served as a dessert or a yummy afternoon tea treat and can be made light like a cake or fudgy for a yummy, chewy experience. 

Love Cake Chocolate Brownie Natural -FBMaking Life Easier – Love Cake 

I have been baking since a young boy, but in the past few years my focus has been savoury. Living with food allergies baking didn’t take a big focus for me as there are specialist allergy free bakers and companies in the market that make my life so much easier.  My all-time favourite is Love Cake based in Auckland. 

Being soy and gluten free their range of ready mixes make my baking easy and removes the need for having lots of different flours and ingredients in my pantry. And they are ORGANIC & FREE FROM GLUTEN, DAIRY, SOY, NUTS & (optional) EGGS. This makes it so easy when I am entertaining for people with different or multiple food allergies. 

Over the next few of weeks, I will be posting recipes and serving ideas using Love Cake’s Chocolate Brownie baking mix.  I’ll take you from a basic, age old presentation dusted with fine sugar to being dressed like you would get in cafes.  I’ll show you how you can do this from home easily and with no fuss. 

I’ll include additional ingredients that can be added, presenting exciting layers of flavours to the basic recipe. My 6 year old step granddaughter will be my chief assistant and taster, it’s going to be fun. 

Tip from Jimmy – Zing and Zesty Brownie 

To add a slight savoury taste to the Love Cake brownie ready mix add ¼ tsp of chilli powder and fine grated zest of ½ of a medium orange and combine into the mixture before baking.  

Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LoveCakeNZ and for product information visit the Love Cake website at http://www.lovecake.co.nz/

 

 

 

Homemade Chilli Orange Chocolate Sauce

chilli-choco-or-jarThis sauce has to be one of my all time favourites. It is so easy to make and the better the quality of chocolate that you use the better the resulting taste. It stores well for a couple of weeks in a sealed container in the fridge and it’s a sauce that can be made ahead of time and warmed up. 

Ingredients 

400g (14oz) of dark 80% coca chocolate, chopped in pieces

1/2 cup of full milk

1/2 cup of cream (heavy)

1/4 cup granulated sugar or raw honey

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 orange, zested

25g (1oz) butter

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract 

Method 

Chocolate-chilli-orange-potAdd the chocolate, sugar, chilli, orange zest, milk and cream to a heavy based saucepan and melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring continually until all the chocolate is melted and combined with the other ingredients. 

Add the vanilla and butter, remove from the heat and combine then set the sauce aside to cool.  Reheat it briefly before using it.  

Dairy Free Version

If people do not want to use milk and cream they can replace them with 1 cup of coconut milk that has warmed up to a gentle simmer, let cool slightly and added once the chocolate has melted. Add and combine without the butter.

Any leftover sauce keeps well refrigerated for many weeks in a sealed container.

Vanilla Bean Paste Is Magic To My Taste Buds

SD_VB_Paste-1000What about vanilla bean paste? 

In my view vanilla bean paste can be thought of as a great in between option when vanilla is called for in a recipe.

It is essentially a small jar of the scraped-out vanilla pods and you get that super fragrant, sweet vanilla concentrate with the convenience of a quick scoop of the teaspoon. No cutting and scraping the pods. Every time I open the jar I have to have a smell and I am in heaven. 

Vanilla bean pods can be pricey and I use the paste when I don’t need to use pods. I do use the pods when required though. Some recipes are just not right without them. 

My choice of brand is Singing Dog Vanilla. Natural, ethical and available here in New Zealand from Organix Wholefoods Ltd supplied to shops all around the country.  

Check out their range here http://www.organix.co.nz/products/singing-dog/ 

Ok, so how do we convert different Vanilla products? 

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract is equal to one 50mm (2-inch) piece of vanilla bean. This converts to one whole typical vanilla bean will equal 3 teaspoons extract. 

As for vanilla paste, there are usually directions on each jar indicating proper equivalencies, so consult that first as the concentrations can differ. 

Here is how I use the paste from Singing Dog Vanilla. Its thick consistency is similar to molasses, you can use this paste to add more delicious vanilla flavor to batters, sauces and baking without thinning them out. 

To replace vanilla extract in a recipe, simply measure the same amount of Pure Vanilla Bean Paste and add to what you are making. Or, replace one tablespoon of paste for every whole vanilla bean.

Bob’s Red Mill Flours in New Zealand

Over the past few years I have seen so much growth in Gluten-free product availability and this is a wonderful thing. I have also seen a growing number of people not Gluten-free but have family and or friends that are. 

What is pleasing is that lots of these people are taking care when GF people come to their homes. I get a lot of people like this asking for advice and help to better cater to GF peoples needs and keep them safe. 

Rebs-Mill-BannerIn New Zealand, we have in some ways, been driven to adapt recipes from North America and find substitute ingredients. I came across many, in fact hundreds of recipes that called for this flour or that from Bob’s

Organix Wholefood Ltd based in Auckland is behind Bob’s Red Mill products being available here in New Zealand. And its not just Bob’s Red Mill from the US. And they have coconut flour. Many of my recipes mention coconut flour. It’s a great option for Gluten-free that can also be paleo for those that eat the caveman diet. 

They bring in a wonderful range of other products like Red Ape Cinnamon and Singing Dog Vanilla. These are two of my favourites. 

All of their range of products are available through New Zealand. You can find a complete list shops stocking their range here…… 

http://www.organix.co.nz/where-to-buy/ 

GF Pancake

blueberry-pancakesMakes 12 pancakes.

Ingredients

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup ground almonds
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup blueberrys 
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips, optional

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, potato starch, almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in blueberry’s  and chocolate chips if desired.

Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot plate coated with butter or cooking spray. Turn when bubbles form on top.

Cook until the second side is golden brown. 

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

This recipe makes a great layered cake for a kid’s party. You can also use sponge to make Tiramisu or a yummy trifle for a festive occasion. 

Makes 2 by 20-cm (8 inch) cakes 

3 egg whites

3 egg yolks

½ cup sugar

¾ cup cornflour (For those in the US make sure its non GMO corn starch)

1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 180 °C. (390 F) 

In a large bowl, beat egg whites until stiff using an electric beater. Beat in egg yolks. Add sugar gradually and beat in a figure 8 motion until the mixture forms stiff peaks (the mixture should hold a figure 8). 

Sift together cornflour, baking powder and salt and fold into the wet mixture. Mix until well blended. 

Grease two 20-cm (8 inch) sandwich pans and line with baking paper. Pour the batter evenly into the two pans and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

 

Pecan Pie Slice

Pecan Pie Slice

I first tasted Pecan Pie when I was in the USA years ago and I just loved the nutty-rich taste. Serve this luscious dessert in small wedges with a dollop of whipped cream to balance the flavours.

Base

½ cup brown rice flour

½ cup sweet sorghum flour

½ cup almond meal

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

4 tbsp cold butter, diced

1 ½ tbsp shortening, diced

2 tbsp water

Filling

¼ cup butter

3 tsp cornflour

1 tbsp water

1 cup brown sugar

¾ cup golden syrup

1 tsp vanilla

¼ tsp salt

3 eggs

1 ½ cups pecans

To make the base, combine all of the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add vanilla, butter and shortening and fold together, adding water towards the end. Shape dough into a ball and press into a 23-cm (9-10 inch) square pie pan. Chill for at least 1 hour to allow the dough to set.

Preheat oven to 160 °C (350°F).

To make the filling, slowly melt butter in a saucepan. In a small bowl, mix together cornflour and water. Add brown sugar to the melted butter and stir well. Add cornflour (Corn starch) mixture then stir in golden syrup, vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat. Allow to cool for just 1 minute.

Whisk eggs together in a bowl then slowly pour the eggs into the saucepan with the rest of the melted filling. Mix in the pecans. Pour the filling into the chilled base and cover the exposed edges with aluminium foil.

Bake for 45 minutes. Remove pie from oven and carefully take off the aluminium foil. Return pie to oven for 10–15 minutes, or until lightly browned on edges. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes so that it sets. Cut into 12–16 squares and serve.

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