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Archive for the category “Recipes”

Ethical Easter Chocolate!

This Easter I’m making my own chocolate – sugar fee, dairy free and fair trade (not to mention delicious!). My ingredients are sourced from Loving Earth who have a healthy, sustainable and fair trade philosophy. This recipe is taken from Chocchick – thanks girls!

Ingredients:

  • 100g Raw Cacao Butter
  • 6 Tablespoons Raw Cacao Powder
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Agave Syrup
  • Paste from 2 Vanilla bean pods (optional)
  • 1 Small pinch of rock salt (optional – use good quality sea salt to lift the chocolate flavour)

Ensure all utensils and the bowl are dry before the ingredients are added as water can cause the mix to separate.

Directions:

Place the raw cacao butter in a bowl over a pan of water on a low heat and melt gently (Bain Marie or Baño Maria in Spanish).

Once melted add 6 tbsp raw cacao powder and mix well using a metal whisk (wooden spoons don’t blend as well). Ensure the heat is low and add the Agave syrup and mix well. Taste the mix once melted and add more agave syrup if you prefer a sweeter taste. Just a warning though – it’s not the same kind of sweet as sugar and I wouldn’t add more than 3 tablespoons. Then add the vanilla bean paste and salt.

Once completely melted and blended remove from heat. Your mixture should be runny and easy to pour and can be poured or spooned into ice cube trays, silicone moulds or even plastic tubs to make fabulous raw chocolate bars.

I put my chocolate mix into my Gran’s milk jug for easy pouring (and just because I like to use it!).

I added almonds into some chocolates and organic sultanas into others. Place in the freezer and leave to set for about half an hour on in the fridge for around 2 hours.

Tap out and try not to eat them all in one go!

If you’re used to eating Cadburys Dairy Milk chocolate these may not be to your taste. However for any dark chocolate lovers like me – they are amazing!

Lucky Miss Maggie got her first taste of chocolate by licking the bowl…Happy Ethical Easter everyone!

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Homemade Yogurt

Another getting back to basics recipe…making my own yogurt. This recipe is from Jude Blereau‘s book Wholefood for Children published by Murdoch Books and with her permission I am able to share this wonderful recipe.

My daughter and I have issues with dairy. I do like sheeps yogurt but it can be expensive so I wanted to have a go at making my own and it’s surprisingly easy. As Jude says ‘Good-quality yogurt contains live bacteria that break down many of the reaction-causing properties of milk and make it easier to digest.’

Ingredients:

  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 tbs yogurt (it must say ‘live cultures’ on the label)

1. Wash a heatproof glass jar and lid, rinse with very hot water and drain to dry.

2. Put the milk in a saucepan and bring just to the boil (82˚C on a sugar thermometer) – stiring occasionally. Remove from the heat and let the milk cool to 43˚C, or until it’s cool enough for you to put your finger in it and keep it there. Stir the milk a couple of times to prevent a skin from forming.

3. Spoon the yogurt into a clean jar and pour in a little of the warmer milk. (Don’t be tempted to add a little extra yogurt, thinking more is better; the bacteria need lots of room to grow and play.) Stir to combine well, then add the remaining milk and replace the lid.

4. Leave the jar to sit overnight, or for at least 8 hours, in a warm, but not too hot place, approximately 20-25˚C. (For example, wrapped and left next to the warm part of the fridge where the motor is, in an oven if it has a low temp setting. I ended up wrapping mine up in a towel and sitting it under and warm lamp we have – I felt like I was hatching chickens!)

The next morning you will have a lovely, thick, yogurt. Allow it to cool a little, then refridgerate. It will keep for about 6 days.

It tastes so pure and fresh, I love it! For a bit a sweetness you could add some honey or fruit.

You can also use a tablespoon of this yogurt to start your next batch, after 3 or 4 batches you may need to start with bought yogurt again.

Homemade Chicken Stock and Soup

I was very fortunate on the weekend to meet Jude Blereau and hear her talk about her passion – Whole Food Cooking.

Wholefood n. food that is eaten as close as possible to it’s natural state, without unnecessary processing and refining…

She is such a passionate intelligent woman and it really inspired me to make some changes to the way I think about and prepare food. Much of it I have practised in the past but it’s so easy to let it slide and become so busy in life that food is no longer high on your list of priorities.

And hopefully it will lead me on the path to restoring our families digestive systems which are all in a poor state at the moment.

So to get started today I made chicken stock and then chicken soup. I would like to say it was all organic ingredients but I was just using up what was in our fridge (the chicken was free range though!).

I based my recipe on this blog and just used what I had at home.

Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole chicken
  • 2 celery sticks roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • 1 brown onion (I only had a red one so used that)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Put all the ingredients into a large pot. Add enough water so that the chicken is just covered. Bring to a boil then simmer on low heat for about 45-60 minutes, or until the meat is cooked. The cooking time will vary depending on the size of the bird. I also turn the chicken about half way through as it floats and I worry the top won’t cook as well as the bottom.

2. Keep the stove on low heat, and carefully remove the poached chicken and place it into a large bowl or dish. Remove the breasts, legs and wings (leave the skin on so the meat stays moist) and place the carcass back into the pot. Make sure that the meat is covered with enough juices so that it remains moist. You could always add some from the pot, if there’s not enough. Then cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and allow the meat to cool.

3. Meanwhile, simmer the stock for another 1–2 hours, and then strain into a large bowl to cool. Keep the vegetables and discard the carcass. Once the stock has cooled, store in containers and freeze.

This made 7 cups of stock for me.

 

Chicken Soup

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 spring onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic crushed
  • 3cm piece of fresh ginger grated
  • Vegetables from the stock (finely chopped)
  • Approx 1.5 cups of poached chicken from the stock (finely chopped)
  • 2 cups of stock
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce (optional)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Anything else you want to add – I had some left over gluten free pasta that I popped in too.

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan and add the spring onion, garlic and ginger. Stir until onion softens.

2. Add water and stock and bring to the boil. Then add the chicken and vegetables from the stock.

3. Since everything is already cooked you’re basically just heating it up. Add any other herbs you’d like.

Serves 3-4 people.

By the way I met Jude through Mindful Empowerment – a womens group run by my friend Bianca on the last Sunday of every month. She has organised amazing guest speakers, yummy afternoon tea and meditation. It’s just great to have some time to relax and concentrate on yourself and I couldn’t recommend it more highly!

Homegrown & Homemade Zucchini Pickle

If you have a vegie patch (and live in southern Australia!) you’re probably just harvesting the last of your zucchinis. Here’s a great way to use them up and enjoy them for the rest of the year.

1kg zucchini finely chopped
2 large onions finely chopped
1 red capsicum finely chopped
2 tbs salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups white or cider vinegar
2 tsp mustard powder
2 tsp ground tumeric
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbs white or cidar vinegar (extra)

Place zucchini, onions and capsicum in a bowl, add salt and mix well. Leave to stand for at least 3 hrs. Drain well

Combine sugar, vinegar, mustard powder and tumeric in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Add vegetables and boil for 25 min. Mix cornflour to a paste with extra vinegar and stir through. Cook for 2-3 mins more or until thickened.

Spoon into warm sterilised jars and seal. Eat immediately or store in a cold, dark and dry place for up to 1 yr.

Makes approx 1.5litres.

I love it on sandwiches and with cheese & crackers – enjoy 🙂

Besan Bombs

Should I have put ‘bomb’ in the title I wonder?

This recipe is taken from my failsafe bible The Failsafe Cookbook by Sue Dengate but I’ve modified it a bit. It’s one of the (very) few ways I’ve been able to get my daughter to eat vegetables and if she’s not quick my husband and I eat them all – they’re so yummy!

They’re basically little parcels of vegetables covered in batter, very similar to Indian pakora. Gluten free, dairy free and failsafe!

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup besan (chickpea) flour
  • 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 3/4 cup water (approx)
  • 1 shallot finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic crushed
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup vegetables chopped into bite sized pieces. For failsafe use old white potatoes and other permitted vegetables. Mushrooms are my favourite if you can eat them!
  • Rice bran oil

1. Combine flours, add water and mix until the batter resembles a thick pancake mixture. Getting the right consistency is key, if it’s too runny the batter won’t stick to the vegetables.

2. Add in the chopped shallot, crushed garlic and salt. Mix well.

2. Chop up the vegetables and parboil any hard ones such as potato. Ideally you want to catch them before they get mushy. Add them in with the batter, stiring to make sure they’re all coated.

3. Heat enough oil in your saucepan for shallow frying, make sure it’s quite hot (medium to high heat). Once the oil is hot use a teaspoon to scoop out a piece of vegetable making sure it’s reasonably covered in batter and drop it into the pan. Let it cook until it’s a golden brown colour and then turn once or twice as needed for all sides to be browned.

4. Cook in batches letting the finished ones drain on some paper towel. I’m not sure if it’s the rice bran oil or the batter I use but they’re never greasy like bad fish and chips.

Besan bombs are yummy on their own but I make up a sauce for the adults which is 50/50 lite sour cream and sweet chilli sauce. So my daughter doesn’t feel left out I give her some soy yogurt to dip hers into.

Happy eating!

Homegrown & Homemade Tomato Chutney

We’ve had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year – they are so amazingly sweet and delicious!

Once again I cannot claim to be the maker of this recipe (my husband does all the jams, chutneys, sauces etc) but I’m very gratefully the taster.

Ingredients: (Calum used 1/2 portions)

  • 2kg tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 500g onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cooking apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
  • 2 tbs salt
  • 3 tps mustard powder
  • 3 tps curry powder
  • 500g sugar
  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 1/2 cup of vinegar (extra)

1. Place tomatoes, onions, apples, garlic, salt, mustard powder, curry powder, sugar and the vinegar in a large saucepan. (Your house will smell like vinegar for a couple of hours, but it’s worth it!)

2. Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved and continue to boil for 1.5 hrs.

3. Mix cornflour to a paste with extra vinegar, add to tomato mixture and stir until thickened.

4. Pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately. Eat at once or store in a cold, dry and dark place for up to 1 year.

Makes approx 2kg.

So yummy on sandwiches…enjoy!

Dairy & Wheat Free Rolled Oat Bars

This recipe is a staple in our house and my 20mth old daughter is always asking for ‘slice, slice!’. It’s very easy and very quick and a great snack for lunchboxes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups gluten free self raising flour (I use Orgran)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 200g Nuttlex
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs golden syrup

1. Combine flour, oats and sugar in a bowl.

2. Melt Nuttlex in a small pot and then add the golden syrup.

3. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and press into a slice tray (mine measures 33cm x 23cm).

4. Bake at 160 degrees for 15-20mins or until brown.

5. Cut into bars while still hot. Leave to cool before removing from the tray. Makes 24 bars.

Cut into bars while still warm

This recipe is kept quite plain as my daughter is on a failsafe diet, however you can add all sorts of goodies into it. For my husband I add 1 cup of coconut. You could also add dried fruit, chocolate chips or anything else you fancy. You may need to add more Nuttlex if you’re adding more dry ingredients. And if you’re not worried about dairy it’s even better with butter.

Happy eating!!

A small note about oats and gluten: oats do contain gluten but a different type to that found in wheat. See more info here or seek advice from a medical professional.

Update: We have since moved on from the Failsafe diet in this house, my new cookbook bible is by Jude Blereau Wholefood For Children. I love her philosophy and now rarely make anything that’s not in her book. However, this morning I need to make a slice in a hurry, so i came back to this recipe but replaced these ingredients:

  • Gluten free self raising flour was replaced by spelt flour with baking powder added (2 tsp for every cup of flour)
  • Nuttlex was replaced with organic butter
  • Sugar replaced with rapadura sugar
  • Golden syrup replaced with real organic maple syrup

The mixture was a little too moist (something to do with replacing the Nuttlex with the butter I think) so I also added a cup of dessicated coconut. Next time I’ll also think of replacing some of the butter with coconut oil too.

I have to say, it’s so much tastier!!! And much more nutritious too I’m sure.

Jane’s Date & Cashew Treats

Feeling guilty about how much chocolate you eat? Try these yummy treats instead – healthy and delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 200g fresh dates – seeds removed
  • 200g raw cashews
  • 1.5 tbs cocoa powder

1. Put cashews into a food processor and process until cashews have formed a fine meal. It’s ok if they’re a bit chunky but the mix will hold together better if it’s finer. Put cashew meal into a medium sized bowl.

2. Chop up dates and put them in the food processor. Process until the mix forms one big ball (or it’s totally mushy).

3. Add cocoa powder to the cashew meal and stir until combined. Then add the dates.

4. Use your hands to rub the mixture together until the ingredients are totally combined.

5. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls (you may need to add a few drops of water if the mixture is a little dry and not quite holding together).

Makes approx 30 balls. Store in the fridge.

Mmmmm...

Guilt-free, easy and delicious!

Delicious Lemon Cordial

It’s a bit hot out there today and this delicious lemon cordial really goes down a treat! I can’t take credit for being the maker (my husband makes it) but I’m really enjoying being the taster!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg sugar ( we only added 1.25 and it’s plenty sweet enough)
  • 1 tbs citric or tartaric acid
  • Zest & juice of 6 large or 8 medium lemons
  • 4 cups boiling water

Place sugar, citric or tartaric acid, lemon zest and boiling water in a large heatproof bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves, then add lemon juice. Leave to stand overnight or until cool, then strain through a fine sieve.

Poor into steralised bottles and seal. Makes approx 2 litres and can be used immeditely.

So good and so easy to make. Trust me this will go down a treat and you’ll be making a second batch before you know it!

The perfect summer cordial

Dairy & Gluten free Banana Oat Squares

A new recipe I tried today. I replaced the butter with Nuttlex to make it dairy free and I got to use my lovely new babushka measuring cups that mum gave me for Christmas.

My lovely new babushka measuring cups

Ingredients:

  • Nuttlex                                    6 tbsp
  • Brown Sugar                           1/2 cup
  • Large egg                                 1
  • Mashed banana                       3/4 cup
  • Salt                                            1/4 tsp
  • Quick-cooking rolled oats      2 cups
  • Chopped walnuts                    1/3 cup
  1. Beat butter and brown sugar in medium bowl. Add egg. Beat well.
  2. Add banana and salt. Beat until well combined.
  3. Add rolled oats and walnuts. Stir until combined.

    My daughter Maggie stiring the mixture

  4. Spread evenly in a greased 20 x 20 cm pan. Bake in 175degree celcius oven for about 55min until a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

    Greasing the pan!

  5. Let stand in pan on wire rack until cool. Cuts into 25 squares.

    Banana oat slice

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