Monday, June 4, 2012

Berry Scones

Berry Scones
These are not your Nanna's Aussie/British scones, these are the sweet and flavoured American style and they are awesome.  Having said that, my first 'American' style scone was at a Canadian owned cafe in Berlin 'Katy's Blue Cat' in Kreuzberg...a true melting pot moment.  They were absolutely delicious, soft crumb, sweet berries, crunchy crust.  No need for adornment.

So I had a hankering for some afternoon tea yesterday and needed a fast recipe that didn't have me standing too long, I have an injured knee.  I'd like to say it was a dance/gymnastics/sports related injury but that would be a complete lie!  It was a wet floor, rushing injury. Now I look like I've just got off a horse when I walk, even with my crutches.

Anyhoo, I found a recipe on Martha Stewart that I used as a very loose guide and converted to Thermie.

Pre-heat your oven to 220c and line a baking tray with non-stick paper. Go on, do it.

Ingredients - not all in grams - sorry...

370g of sr flour
90g of raw caster sugar
1 pinch of baking powder
1 pinch of salt
40g butter
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup of milk, soured with a teaspoon of vinegar
1 tsp of vanilla essence
A couple of handfuls of mixed berries.

Measure in the first 4 ingredients and mix on speed 3 for 3 seconds.
Add diced butter.  Set to closed lid and hit turbo 3 or 4 times until the mix looks like fine bread crumbs.  Check mix and go again if need be.

Add egg yolk, vanilla and milk mixture and set to closed lid and use the turbo button until the mix comes together.

Tip dough onto a floured surface and press out gently.  Press berries over the top of the dough and fold a few times, not overworking dough, until the berries are gently incorporated.  I used frozen berries which held their shape well during this step.

Cut into pieces with a knife or cutter.  I got 12 medium sized scones by just cutting with my kitchen knife - I like rustic - or you could do some giant ones. Place scones close to one and other on the lined baking tray.  Either brush with milk or egg-wash and sprinkle a little more sugar on the top.

Bake for 20 minutes.
Moist crumb, sweet fruit, crunchy topping...

Eat hot! These were a big hit and because of the sugar and berries you don't need jam or whipped cream.  We had a little bit of butter with ours.
Breakfast, afternoon tea, lunch-box snack?

Some variations I think would work well; diced apple and cinnamon at the roll out stage, diced pear and dark chocolate chips or replace the vanilla with lemon zest.

Think I might stick the kettle on and have another one...

Edit:  I have since joined Weight Watchers and I am loving the plan!  I worked out that these have 4 pro-points each - so I guess 1 is enough.  They freeze well in individual containers for the 4 pm sugar crave hour.  You could add a tablespoon of oat bran to increase the fibre.  

Yours in quick treats,

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lychee Ice

Lychee Ice
I made this little number this evening after dinner and it was well received by all.  I had intended to make sorbet but thought I would omit the egg white.  I was feeling all inspired by hearing about some other people receiving new Thermomixes, sorbet being the big winner with new owners. This had a thick, icy-slush consistency and was super refreshing.  I'm thinking next time I would add the egg white and maybe replace one trays of the ice with a tray of frozen coconut milk.  Think how nice that would be with a mango puree or a fresh passionfruit scooped over it? 

Here's the what and how;

1 x 400g tin of lychees drained, reserve juice
100g icing sugar
3 trays of ice

Measure 100g of icing into the TM bowl or make your own by measuring in raw sugar and grinding for 10 seconds on speed 10.  Measure in the drained fruit, mine ended up being about 300g to which I added 40g juice.  Blitz for 30 seconds on speed 10.

Add two trays of the ice and with the help of the spatula through the hole grind for 40-60 seconds.  I tend to check through the hole to see how it all looks.  Add the third tray of ice and go again.

Yours in simple sweetness,

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Lentil and Potato Soup

This is a really nutritious budget soup that is far tastier than it would first appear on reading the recipe.  Let's face it peeps, the day before shopping day in my pantry, it all looks pretty grim.  In fact,  I think you could call me 'Old Mother Hubbard.'  Our big joke is Wednesday is chick-pea day.

That aside, this recipe is similar to one I found in "The Real Food Companion" by Matthew Evans.  I really like this book, I like all the recipes for pastry, rice pudding, soup and coq au vin.  It's 'old skool' cooking revitalized. You may have seen Matthew's TV series on pay TV here in Aus. I would love to live like he does, on a farm in Tassie... I'm pea green with envy!  The introduction in this book makes buying it worth the cost (although mine was a pressie, thank you Sam), it's a lovely, contemplative and personal commentary on cooking and eating.

So, I loosely based this on the 'Green Lentil, Potato and Lemon Soup' on page 117.

Here is how I made this in Thermie, I'm sure you will have all you need to make it the day before shopping too.


2 onions, halved and skinned
2 cloves of garlic, skinned
1 small red chili
20g olive oil
3 medium potatoes
220g of brown lentils (this is what was in the cupboard)
1.1 Litres of kettle hot water
4 teaspoons of chicken style stock powder
Salt and Pepper
Juice of half a small lemon

Optional:  To serve, Greek yoghurt and sprigs of thyme.

To make it;

Blast the onion, chili and garlic on speed 5 for 3 seconds.
Add oil and cook on Varoma for 3 minutes, speed soft.
Add peeled and roughly chopped spuds, lentils, water and 4 tsps of chicken stock.
Cook on 100c for 40 mins, reverse, speed soft.
Add the lemon juice through the hole in the last 5 minutes of cooking and season to taste.

The lentils have a lovely nutty taste and still hold their shape.  This is a hearty, thick soup with a cloudy broth.  It was ridiculously popular with my kids - they had seconds.  I love the way the potatoes soften but don't completely disintegrate altogether.

We have this with some plain bread cooked on the pizza stone and sprinkled with EVOO and flavoured salt.

Delicious, nutritious and dirt cheap.

Edit:  When divided into 8 portions, omitting the Greek yoghurt this soup has 4 Weight Watchers pro-points.

Yours in cheapo soups,

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Chocolate Weet-Bix Slice

Chocolate Weet-bix Slice
I asked a friend for this recipe years ago after having eaten it at a birthday party.  She wrote it out for me right then and there but it never worked.  She was a recipe HOGGER!  How I hate that!  But, after a bit of trial and error I have worked out a similar, if not better version.

This is fast, easy and inexpensive.  It is not healthy, despite the weet-bix. If you want a fudgier slice blast the dry ingredients for a little longer.

Here it is:

3 weet-bix
90g desiccated coconut
100g sugar
150g sr flour
2 Tbsp of cocoa or cacao powder ( I have also used Milo)
Pinch of salt
150g melted butter

Preheat your oven to 180c and line a slice tin with baking paper.

If you want to make the whole thing in Thermie I would suggest you blitz up your dry ingredients first then set aside, melt the butter and add the dry back in.  Otherwise you can nuke the butter for about 40 seconds in the microwave.

Measure in all ingredients except the butter.  The blast on speed 5, reverse for about 6-8 seconds.  Less time if you like it rougher.

Add in the melted butter and give it 15 seconds on Interval.

Press mixture into baking pan and bake for 15 minutes.  Allow to cool in tin.

Icing:  this is rough as I did this bit in a bowl, by eye.
1 - 1 and a half cups of icing, 1 Tbsp of cocoa, 1 Tbsp butter, 1 Tbsp boiling water from the kettle.  Mix until smooth.  Thicken with more icing sugar if you like it thicker, equally add more water for a runnier icing.  Thick is good!

Store in the fridge.  You can cut it much easier after cooling in the fridge overnight.  I get about 20 squares out of a batch.  This flies out of the fridge though, don't expect it to last long.

Variations:  for a Cherry Ripe version add a pack of glace cherries at the Interval stage.  For  a choc-mint variation blast a tube of extra strong mints on speed 9 for 2 seconds and add it to your dry ingredients - it softens in the mix.  

Yours in choco-yumminess,

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Just when you thought I wasn't speaking to you...

Taco's with Cowboy Chili on a tin a real cowboy...
Hello friends,

Yes, I had thought I would give this up.  There are so many good Thermomix sites now and I no longer sell Thermie's so there was no real need to continue.  Also, I had lost my mojo with it all.  Don't think I have stopped cooking in Thermie - it's my number one kitchen appliance still.

Anyway,  I have a lot to share - I won't even attempt it in one post.  I have been to Berlin, Singapore, London and Vietnam since my last post and have tried lots of cooking from the places I visited.  Not all with Thermie but usually as a tool in some form as I cook.  I have also attended another Urban Provider lesson Thermomix Passions 2 and the Vietnam tour was through his company.  I've said it before and I'll say it again - top lessons, fabulous trips, well worth every penny.  I highly recommend Nico's classes and now I can highly recommend his trips.

So, a chili recipe to share.  I have made so many different chili recipes over the years.  I hate those seasoning packs you get in the supermarket.  They are so full of nasty ingredients and thickeners etc.  I used to make a friend's recipe for years but it was long and complicated and chili should be something quick and convenient - especially for those of us who work/cook for families.

Here is my current favourite, largely based on Pioneer Woman's recipe.  This is a great cook book BTW, I got it one Chrissy from my bestie (thanks bestie).  I have made many, many of the recipes in this book. The Pico de Gallo and Guacamole and both totally delicious.  Have a look at her fabulous blog and as many of you will know she has a recipe/cooking community "Tasty Kitchen"  linked in my sidebar.  She has a new book too, check it out.


500g beef mince (I buy organic or Angus Park)
1 tin of whole peeled tomatoes (400g)
1 tbsp of tomato paste
1/2 the empty tomato can of water
2 cloves of garlic
1 small de-seeded chili (not too fiery)
1 tbsp of Mexican chili powder
1/4 tsp of dried oregano
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp Dutch processed cocoa
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp of corn flour or messa flour
Juice of a lime
1 tin of kidney beans

To serve;
Sour cream, avocado, grated cheddar, shredded lettuce, thinly snipped spring onions, chilies, corn chips or tacos or rice.  If you have the Pioneer Woman cook book - make up some Pico de Gallo and some guacamole to serve with it.

I don't clean out the bowl in between steps, just a good scrape.

Here 'tis:

1.  Crush garlic and chili on speed 6 for 3 seconds.  Scrape out and set aside.
2.  Pour in tinned tomatoes, 1/2 can of water and 1 Tbsp of tomato paste.  Puree for about 10 seconds on speed 5/6.  Pour out and set aside.
3.  Measure out all spices into TM, tip in crushed chili and garlic and add meat. Brown on 100c for 10 minutes, reverse, speed soft.
4.  Add tomato mixture and cook for a further 20 minutes on 100c, reverse and speed soft.
5.  Mix the corn/messa flour with the lime juice and add to TM with the rinsed kidney beans - cook as before for 5 more minutes.

Ta da!  I use this as my nacho and taco mince.  It is kid friendly very tasty and wouldn't know MSG if it hit it in the eye!

Heat in chili is up to you, add more fresh and/or dried to intensify heat.  I tend to serve a dish of snipped dried chili or a bottle of Tabasco for the heat seekers.

This served 3 greedy people very easily and I filled a 750m Decor container with left-overs.  When my older kiddies lived here I added more beans and put out extra toppings to make it stretch further.

I am on the hunt for a good vegetarian chili - please leave a comment or a link in comments if you know of a good one.

Divided into 8 servings this equals 4 Weight Watchers pro-points.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Cranberry Granola Bars - NUT FREE!

Crannie Grannies
Or as I like to call them...the Cranny Grannies!

I used the same recipe for Cherry Grannies but swap the nuts for the same amount of mixed seeds.  I added a whole pack of "Freshlife" brand Triple Fruit Treat - mango, cranberries and blueberries (150g). I also had half a pack of glace ginger that I had finely chopped and added.  I think these were a little more interesting for the fruity combo.  I will definitely buy the Triple Fruit Treat again.  Not too dry...nothing worse than dry dried fruit!

These were in lunch boxes today and I find them filling, not too sweet, not too crunchy - just right.  I find it really hard to get nut free bars or recipes for them.  It's a dilemma for us as we all work in schools and of course Lil is a little kiddie still in need of semi healthy lunch box materials.

Yours in nut-free, lunch box goodness,

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thermo Star Meets Thermo Star

Watch what happens when Thermo Stars collide!  Just kidding.   Sorry Tenina, I think I caught you blinking...

Have a look at this first clip of Helene's interview with Tenina and then the second part...

And then you are bound to be itching - as I am to see Part 3 when Tenina makes some sort of announcement.

Your nerdy Thermo viewer,

Piri Piri Chicken Sauce

Yes it looks like the inside of a nappy.  No it doesn't taste or smell anything like it.  It's really flavoursome and tasty.  I am itching to try this again on a big tray of chicken pieces, wings, legs etc.  However, for eye candy scroll down to the next story and it's all cupcakey loveliness.

You will find the recipe for Piri Piri Sauce on page 122 of Jamie's 30 Minute Meals, you can make the sauce entirely in Thermie.  To convert it put the lemon zest in first and mill for 5 seconds on speed 10, then add all the other ingredients and blast for 10 seconds on speed 10 - check, add a little water and go again until its a nice paste.  I am not rewriting the ingredients here because I don't want to get smacked for copyright.  You need to buy this book if you are looking for dinner ideas to make in your Thermie - yes Dani I am talking to you!

One of the other great and easily converted recipes is on page 42 Trapani Style Rigatoni.  Basically it's an almond and basil pesto.  Funny story, my ungrateful children won't eat pesto, they accused me "Is that pesto?"  I replied "No, it's Trapani style rigatoni..."  They ate it all. Mwah, ha ha!  The 17 year old did say it reminded her of pesto but was a bit different...FOOL!

Yours in pucker tucker,