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Eating Fresh and Alive Foods not 'Fake Meat'

You don't have to eat meat to enjoy soothing aromas and flavour-enriched meals.  I have decided not to use 'fake' processed food that is supposed to replace meat.  I am eating fresh, alive foods with herbs and spices and loving it.  There are enough delicious whole vegetarian foods without having to resort to meat substitutions. Some meat substitutes contain processed ingredients, additives and preservatives Most meat substitutes are highly processed and full of artificial fillers, preservatives and additives. Many are made from soy protein isolate, wheat gluten and other textured vegetable proteins, but also questionable ingredients that help gel and mold them into meat-like shapes.

Rachel Berman, R.D., author of Boosting Your Metabolism for Dummies and health editor at About.com, says to read the box before buying. “Be wary of a long ingredient list,” she says. “The more it has, the more likely there are additives and preservatives in there to stabilize the food, add flavour, or change its consistency.”

I love going to the Albany's Farmers Markets every Saturday morning where local producers sell their fresh and seasonal produce.  The quality and range is amazing with every kind of imaginable type of fruit and vegetables in season.

This week I made a lentil, mushroom and spinach strudel.  It was so good, I was glad there were leftovers.  

4 Tbsp olive oil

6 large mushrooms, chopped into small pieces Use a variety of mushrooms for richer flavour.

1 400g brown lentils, washed and drained (buy fresh and cook your own or use canned)

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Small onion finely chopped

4 or 5 cups fresh roughly chopped English or baby spinach

6 to 8 sundried tomato halves

1 tsp hot curry powder

¼ tsp coriander seeds

salt to taste (don’t omit)

the zest of a small lemon or lime

2 to 3 Tbsp home made tomato paste

1/8 cup water

Puff pastry sheets

Grated cheese

a few sprigs of fresh rosemary

METHOD

Fry the mushrooms, onions and garlic in a large frying pan, mixing all the time.  Then, after a few minutes of letting them sweat, add the tomato paste, the curry powder, and the onion powder, and mix. A minute later, add the cooked lentils, and stir.

Add the spinach, and the remaining ingredients.  Cover, and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes – the mixture should be thick, rich and very aromatic.  Remove from heat, and allow to cool for 15 minutes or so.

Next, place your thawed pastry sheets on a clean, floured surface

Spoon thick spinach and lentil mix onto the pastry sheet, top with cheese then roll up and brush with milk and beaten egg.

Cook in hot oven until pastry is golden brown.  Serve with fresh rosemary on a bed of spinach and rocket mix.

French Toast Roll Ups

We are always on the lookout for different and unusual breakfast dishes.  I came across this one a few weeks ago and pinned it on my Pinterest board and made it last week.  I did my own little tweaking and result was amazing.  Our guniea pig guests were totally speechless after the first bite.

With a hint of cinnamon and sugar on the outside, and a creamy filling on the inside, our mini French Toast Rollups are the perfect make-ahead, portable breakfast!

Yields: 24 rollups

Chilling Time: 2 hr

Cooking Time: 10 min 

What You'll Need:
  • 1 package cream cheese, softened
  • egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 24 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Toasted Almond Flakes, Fresh Fruit and Maple Syrup to serve
What To Do:
  1. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, egg yolk, and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth; set aside.
  2. Roll out each bread slice with a rolling pin. Spread cheese mixture over bread, distributing evenly. Roll up each slice jellyroll-style and place seam-side down on a baking sheet.
  3. In a shallow dish, combine remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Brush butter over rollups then roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, until completely coated. Repeat with remaining rollups, returning them to baking sheet after coating.
  4. Cover and freeze at least 2 hours.
  5. Just before serving, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bake rollups 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Sprinkle with toasted almond flakes, drizzle with maple syrup and add some fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or peaches on the plate.
Notes

Rollups will keep in the freezer up to two months prior to baking.

Chicken & Chickpea Salad

Some pretty awesome food comes out of our HideAway Haven kitchen.  Some of it is actually good for us and healthy too.

Chicken and Chickpea Salad

Ingredients

1 clove garlic, minced

1 red or green capsicum, seeded, ribs removed and finely diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1/2 punnet tomatoes, halved

1/4 bunch mint, leaves roughly chopped (use up to 1/2 if you love the flavour of mint)

1/2 bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped 

1/2 avocado roughly chopped

1 cup chopped cooked chicken

Salad leaves or spinach and rocket leaves to serve

Directions

Combine the garlic, pepper, red onion, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl.

Add the chicken, chickpeas, tomatoes, mint, avocado and coriander. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and toss over the lettuce.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Our Thermomix is just such a fantastic piece of equipment.....love trying new recipes and spoiling our guests.

I found this recipe on a site called thermovixens ... Ooooh.....Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ingredients
200g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 grams cocoa powder
60g butter, at room temperature
180g white caster sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tbs red liquid food colouring
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp bi carb soda

Cream Cheese Icing

250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
110g icing sugar, sifted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (non fan forced)
  2. In a large bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
  3. In the bowl  beat the butter until soft 20 seconds on Speed 5
  4. Add the sugar and beat  until light and fluffy for 30 seconds speed 5  
  5. Add the egg and beat for 10 seconds speed 3.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  
  6. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined 5 seconds speed 6
  7. In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food colouring.  With the TMX on speed 3, alternatively add the flour mixture, and then the buttermilk mixture to the bowl.  Do this in three additions, ending with the flour mixture.
  8. In a small cup combine the vinegar with the bi carb soda.  Allow the mixture to fizz, and then quickly mix into the  batter 10 seconds speed 6
  9. Now they said to work quickly – but I couldn’t and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference. Divide the batter amongst your prepared muffin cups.  Smooth the tops
  10. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (my oven was 15 mins)
  11. Cool the cakes on a wire rack until completely cool.

Icing:

  1. To make the cream cheese icing place the cream cheese in the bowl TMX with the Butterfly attachment. Beat the cream cheese until smooth 20 seconds speed 4,  scrape down the bowl.
  2. Add the vanilla and icing sugar, and beat until the mixture in nice and smooth for 20 seconds speed 4.  You may need to add more icing sugar to get the right consistency.  
  3. Pipe the icing onto the cupcakes and crumble your “sacrificial” cupcake and top of the icing with those lovely red crumbs!!

Becki's new camera and her love for close up shots made this an awesome photo.  Next time I am going to try this cake without using artifical colours.  Have found a recipe using beetroot and raspberries instead of food colouring...stay tuned.

Afternoon Tea Delight

We like to offer our guests a healthier alternative to the usual chocolate cake for afternoon tea.  Becki found this receipe by Nigella Lawson as she was searching the internet.  They are so yummy.

One of our guests has asked for recipe and as we all know when you are travelling, little bits of paper get lost, so here it is Merilyn.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 397 grams can condensed milk
  • 250 grams rolled oats (not instant)
  • 75 grams shredded coconut
  • 100 grams dried cranberries
  • 125 grams mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
  • 125 grams natural unsalted peanuts

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 130°C/gas mark ½/250ºF, and oil a 23 x 33 x 4cm / 9 x 13 inch baking tin, or use a throwaway foil one.
  2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.
  3. Meanwhile, mix together all the other ingredients and then add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber or wooden spatula to fold and distribute.
  4. Spread the mixture into the tin and press down with the spatula or, better still, your hands (wearing disposable vinyl gloves to stop you sticking), to even the surface.
  5. Bake for 1 hour, then remove from the oven and, after about 15 minutes, cut into four across, and four down to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.

Thanks Nigella for sharing your receipes...our guests are certainly enjoying them.

Asparagus Season

Potato Rosti

2 large potatoes (grated)

1 large onion (grated)

2 tablespoons flour

salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together, place tablespoon size balls into a pan of hot olive oil.  Cook on both sides...approx 2 mins each side.

Hollandaise Sauce

4 egg yolks

180 grams chilled butter

salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into thermomix bowl and cook on 60 degrees, 8 mins on speed 2.

Asparagus

Place on a hot griddle, drizzle with oil then serve with salt & pepper.

 

 

Easy Crispy Onion Rings

Becki made these last week...they were so easy to make and yummylicious!!

Slice onions thinly

Coat in BBQ sauce - make your own

Coat in Panko Crumbs - make your own.  Stale Bread into the thermomix and blitz till fine, then bake in oven...easy

Then pop into the oven at 190 degrees until cooked.

 

Rediscover The Pear

Rediscover the Pear is a cook book I picked up from Woolworths last week.  There are so many interesting recipes in the book, it just had to be added to our collection.  With pears available at the the Farmers Markets and at the fruit road side stall in Mount Barker, they featured on our breakfast menu this weekend.

French Toast with Caramelised Beurre Bose Pears (fresh from the farmers market yesterday morning) and maple syrupBircher Muesli with Grated Pear, Toasted Hazelnuts and HoneyWe look forward to serving these through the winter months.  There are 8 varieties of Australian Pears and we look forward to trying them all.

Pear, Chia & Cinnamon Smoothie

As this recipe is not on the web site....here it is.

2 - 3 tablespoons white Chia Seeds

2 Ripe Packham Pears, peeled, cored and roughly chopped

Flesh of 1 Mango roughly chopped

1 1/2 cupsof milk or almond milk

1 cup vanilla yoghurt ( I used our home made greek yoghurt)

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

(This was part of the original recipe which was actually Pear, Chia and Spice Smoothie, but I omitted it.  1/2 teaspoon ground giner, 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon and pinch of Himalayan Salt.)

Soak Chia seeds in 1/2 cup water and soak for 20 mins until a thick gel forms.

In the blender (of course I used the Thermomix) add remaining ingredients and blend till smooth.

Serve immediately.  (serves 6)

Enjoy!!

 OR try the pear as a main dish

 

Pan Fried Pears