Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Free biscuits!

Gluten free and dairy free that is. No good for nut allergies though.

These biscuits are sweet and satisfying. I was not compelled to secretly eat the whole batch. I think there were two reasons for this (1) there were so many even I could see any effort would have been futile (2) after I ate one I was curiously satisfied. This was a disturbing discovery so I ate another one to test my response and the result was the same. I was thus left too conclude that gluten free really does fill you up better than gluten infused treats.
Test it out for yourself.

3 eggs

1 1/3 cup caster sugar (295g)

4 cups almond meal (500g)

1/2 - 1 teaspoon almond essence

1 cup pure icing sugar (160g)

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

  • Using and electric mixer beat eggs and suga together until thick and pale. Fold in almond meal and essence until well combined. Chill for 30 minutes.

  • Roll mixture into walnut sized balls. Roll balls in icing sugar. Place on lined baking tray and use fingers to flatten slightly.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, until pale golden.
  • Cool before serving.

NB/ You can use vanilla essence, rosewater or coconut essence

Too easy.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

O.M.G. ........ Party in my mouth

So it would seem that the "it" dessert at the moment are French Macaroons. They're in every foodie magazine I seem to open or on just about every blog I read.

Move over cupcakes, there's a new fad in town and I'm hitching my wagon to it.

So again, using my Bookclub girls as my taste testers, I cooked up a batch of chocolate ones thanks to this months Women's Weekly magazine.

VOTE 1 for Chocolate French Macaroons ..... these guys will change your life, well probably not but your tastebuds will be forever in your debt.

How do I describe them......well, it's like taking chocolate mousse and encasing it in a hard, sugary shell (like the sugary shells that coat M&M's).......chocolate lovers paradise, PERFECTION.

These guys will impress anyone, and even better, they are so easy to make.

So give them a go, add them to your Easter menu, I know you'll thank me for it.

Chocolate French Macaroons

3 Egg whites, these need to be at room temperature
1/4C Caster sugar
1 1/4C Icing sugar
3/4C Almond meal
1/4C Cocoa Powder

Dark Chocolate Ganache
1/4C Cream
150gm Dark eating chocolate, finely chopped
3tbs Nutella

  • Preheat oven to 120 degrees celsius and line baking paper on oven trays
  • Beat egg whites in a bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks forms. Add Caster sugar; beat until sugar dissolves. Fold in sifted icing sugar, ground almonds & sifted cocoa in two batches.
  • Spoon mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain tube. Pipe 4cm rounds about 3 cm apart onto trays. Stand for 30 minutes.
  • Bake macaroons for about 30mins or until they lift easily off the baking paper. Cool on trays.
  • Ganache: Bring cream to the boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat & stir in Nutella then pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Stand at room temperature until spreadable.
  • Sandwich macaroons with dark chocolate ganache.


  • Don't add 3/4C of caster sugar to your egg whites, as I did, and wonder why it's too runny. Follow the recipe.

  • Nutella - my tablespoons were heaped with Nutella goodness, I don't think you could ever use too much.

  • I found that there was enough Ganache for two batches of French Macaroons.

  • Kept in an airtight container I found these were still good the next day.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Get the right start to the day

We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It gives our brain that kick start we need.

But if you are anything like me, you're just trying to get everyone ready and out the door on time, which mean that sometimes breakfast gets missed.

So here is a great breakfast that you can prepare the day before, pack into a container and eat when you get to work.

Fruit Couscous with Low Fat Vanilla Yoghurt


1/2C Couscous
2 Oranges, juiced
2tbs Sultanas

2 Peaches (I used canned sliced peaches)
3tbs Water
2 heaped tbs Low fat vanilla yoghurt


In a saucepan combine orange juice, sultanas, water and bring to the boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add couscous & peaches (I also added a little of the juice from the canned peaches) - cover and set aside for about 10 minutes.

Serve half the couscous with the low fat vanilla yoghurt. The other half can be refrigerated.

This most definitely is a healthy, filling alternative to the sugary, over processed cereals that I usually serve up for breakfast.

The sultanas and juice from the canned peaches just add that right amount of sweetness.

I adapted this recipe from a recipe that aired on the Biggest Looser recently which I watched while eating my King Size Mars Bar & drinking my low cal Coke Zero!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Soup diet?

It got a little chill before getting a little hot this week and In light of the fact that I love a good soup recipe I went to my book shelf to find one. I recon I did. It's from my favourite cook book called The Practical Encyclopedia of Potato and Rice by Alex Barker, Sally Mansfield and Christine Ingram. In a romantic whim Mick purchased it for me when we were newly weds. (He's a practical lover.)

Minestrone Genoa
1.75 litres/3pints/7 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 large onion, chopped
3 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, finely diced
2 large floury potatoes, finely diced
225g/8oz runner beans, sliced diagonally
2 x 400g/14oz cans cannellini beans, drained
60ml/4 tbsp ready made pesto sauce
salt and ground pepper
crusty bread and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Pour the stock into a large saucepan. Add the onion, celery and carrots. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the potatoes, cabbage, and beans and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Stir in the cannellini beans and add pesto, and bring the mixture to the boil. Season to taste and serve hot with crusty bread and plenty of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
This cost me less than $10 to purchase the fresh ingredients. The rest came from the pantry.
What soups do you like when the weather turns?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mac & Cheese - just a little bit fancy

I know in many households across this vast universe Mac & Cheese is a household staple, the go-to-meal.

You wouldn't dare consider changing it - to do so would be sacrilege.

Well I DID change it and in my opinion, I DID improve it.

Everyone loves a makeover and I think Mac & Cheese love what I did......let your taste buds be the judge.

Macaroni & Cheese


60gm Butter
3tbs Plain flour
1 Leek, sliced finely
4 Rashers of bacon, cut into 3/4in pieces
40gm Pancetta, thinly sliced (about 5 slices)
80gm Pecorino cheese, grated
100gm Cheese, grated
500gm Pasta
5C Milk

  • Cook the Pasta - follow the directions on the side of the packet.
  • Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil in frying pan. Add the leeks and gently fry until soft remove the leeks from the pan & set aside.
  • In the same frying pan add the bacon & pancetta & fry until slightly crispy (I like mine to have a bit of crunch). Remove these from the pan & set aside.
  • In a medium sized saucepan melt the butter & then add the flour, ensuring that all the flour is coated with butter.
  • Then into the butter/flour mixture add a cup of milk, stirring vigorously so you get a smooth paste, then add another cup, stir until thick - repeat this until you've used all the milk.
  • Add your cheeses to the white sauce (I left a little pecorini out to sprinkle on the dish at the end)
  • Then in a large ovenproof dish combine the drained pasta, leeks, bacon & cheese sauce, sprinkle some pecorini over the top & bake in the oven (160 degrees C) for about 15-20mins.

So......what do you think?'s still Mac & Cheese but with a little refinement.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Steamed Fish

Ewan's Uncle & Aunt (Hi Peter & Loy) recently enjoyed the experience of a Thai cooking class, something I would love to do one day. In fact they do a lot of things that I would love to experience but as they have dutifully served out their time in the workforce they're absolutely entitled to enjoy life to it's fullest.

Anywho...back to food....

Thai food is up there on my food radar - it's simplicity in combining flavoursome ingredients is ingenious, and just about foolproof.

But it's definately a balancing act - sweet & sour, texture, colour - all principles used within Thai/Asian-style dishes.

Tonight I made a super simple dish that ANYONE could conjure up and suitably impress their guests, even if those guests are all under 5 feet.

Steamed Flathead with ginger & soy sauce


Firm fish
Finely grated fresh ginger
Red chilli, finely chopped (take the seeds out to reduce the hotness)
Snow peas, finely shredded
Finely chopped capsicum
Soy sauce (just a drizzle)


On a piece of non-stick baking paper, place the fish in the centre and scatter the rest of the ingredients over the top of the fish.

Fold the paper into a parcel, ensuring that the fish is totally sealed inside so that the juices cannot escape, and place the parcel in a steamer over boiling water for about 5 minutes.

See, absolutely nothing complicated.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Child friendly

This one is so good I didn't make enough. Zac asked for more before I had put some on my plate. There was no way I was going to refuse him when it's so hard to get him to eat new things. He ate my fish too. It berely touched the sides. One very happy Mum.
This one is from my new best friends at the ABC. They publish the Delicious magazine and I found this recipe in the latest March issue.

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