Pear tea cake

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So… you may have noticed that I’m making (and eating) a lot of cakes recently. This is a little odd for me. While I do have a very sweet tooth, I seem to focus on cooking savoury (probably because I HAVE such a sweet tooth).

Given I’m not running at the moment as well due to injury it’s probably not the best thing to be doing, but it has been fun (and tasty).

Maybe it’s a winter hibernating thing…? Regardless, I recently made Pear Tea Cake, and it was yum.

I am a creature of habit. I have a coffee at about 3pm every afternoon. My fiance has also gotten into the habit of – when being asked if he’ld also like a coffee – replying with: “And tea cake…?”

Last weekend I gave in and decided to see if I could make one. My goal was to not leave the house. I would only make tea cake if it could be achieved with whatever was already to hand.

Fortunately this recipe is quite easy, and if you’re a long time glutard/lactard, you probably have all of these ingredients close to hand.

The only substitute I had to make was trading the apple (that the recipe listed), for a pear (that I had available). It still worked really well though, so if you plan ahead to make this (instead of my last minute attempt) you could use whichever you prefer.

Oh, and the cake went down a treat. My fiance and our housemate actually couldn’t believe that it was gluten and dairy free… winning!

Gluten and dairy free pear tea cake

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35-50 minutes (depending on your oven, ours is slooow)
Serves 6 (if you’re lucky, it didn’t last very long in our house)

Ingredients:

  • 100g Nuttelex, chopped
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free, self raising flour, sifted
  • 1/2 cup rice, soy, almond or non-dairy milk of your choice
  • 1 Pink Lady apple, or pear, or any other apple of your choice (or availability)
  • an extra 10g Nuttelex, melted
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Method:

  1. Preaheat oven to 180˙C.
  2. Grease and line base and sides of a 20cm round baking tin with baking paper.
  3. Beat Nuttelex, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.
  4. Add eggs and beat until combined.
  5. Add flour and milk, stir well with wooden spoon (not sure what the wooden spoon does, I used a spatula and seemed to work fine).
  6. Spoon mixture into tin and smooth the top, but dont’ put it in the oven just yet.
  7. Cut apple or pear into quarters.
  8. Remove core and slice thinly.
  9. Arrange slices on top of batter, brush with the melted extra Nuttelex, and sprinkle with the combined cinnamon and sugar.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes (or depending on your oven, as long as it takes for a skewer to come out clean).
  11. Remove from tin to cool, or serve warm.
  12. Enjoy!

And now it’s time for my afternoon coffee… 🙂

Flourless orange cake

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Just kidding! Here’s a photo of it below. That is a genuine “after” photo above though.

I first made this cake a couple of months ago when we had my brother and sister in law over for Sunday lunch.

It’s such a gorgeous dessert. It’s rich and decadent, but not overbearing like some flourless chocolate cakes can be (can’t believe  I just wrote that!) It must be the zesty orange base that makes it feel fresh rather than heavy.

It’s super moist as well, and would probably last a long time, however it doesn’t seem to last long enough in our house to determine exactly how long that may be…

I actually just had a piece then, nom!

Flourless orange cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 large oranges
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • 250g almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons orange liqueur (Optional, I didn’t put this in to my cakes and they were still delicious. Actually, that doesn’t sound like much to me either. Personally I’ld put 1-2 tablespoons in)

Optional “finishers”:

  • Icing sugar (to dust over the top once cook)
  • Cream, non-dairy cream, or sheep’s milk yoghurt (that last one’s my favourite)
  • Strawberries (and for an added treat, cut and soak them for a few hours before in port with a teaspoon of sugar before serving, mmmm…)
  • Or orange syrup made from another orange and 3/4 cup caster sugar (recipe below)

Method:

  1. Place the oranges in a saucepan covered with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours, filling the saucepan up with extra water as required.
  2. Remove from water, and allow the oranges to cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200˙C.
  4. Grease and line a 20cm round baking tin with baking paper.
  5. Cut the oranges into quarters and blend until smooth either in a food processor or with a handheld blender (pips, peel and all).
  6. Beat the eggs and sugar together.
  7. Mix in the baking powder, stir in the orange puree mixture, and gently fold in the almond meal.
  8. If using orange liqueur, stir this in, then pour the mixture into the baking tin.
  9. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a knife or skewer comes out clean. This will depend on your oven. It took about 1 hour and 5 minutes in ours.
  10. Allow the cake to cool in the tin before removing.
  11. Dust with icing sugar (once completely cool) before serving, or cover with orange syrup (see below). Also serve with cream or yoghurt, and or strawberries if desired.
  12. Store in fridge.

Above: The oranges cooking. On the left, before, and on the right, after. You probably can’t see much of a difference, but they do soften and infuse the water. I need to find something to do with that water! It seems like such a waste…

Orange syrup:

I actually haven’t tried this orange syrup, so if you do, please let me know in the comments.

To make the orange syrup:

  1. While the cake is cooking, use a grater to zest the orange, and also juice the orange (it’s easier if you zest the orange before juicing it).
  2. Place the rind in a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 5 minutes or until soft.
  3. Drain, and return the cooked zest to the pan with the juice from the orange and the 3/4 cup of caster sugar.
  4. Place over low heat and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sugar dissolves and the syrup thickens.
  5. Once the cake has been removed from the pan, use a skewer to prick the top of the cake (to let the syrup in) and pour the syrup over the cake.
  6. Cut and serve!

Raw cacao biscuit balls

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I mentioned before that I’m trying to cut down on sugar, and more specifically, dark chocolate. I love dark chocolate. It’s one of my weaknesses.

Thankfully, I’ve recently found a good substitute. This recipe was recommended to me by a colleague who knows I adore the various raw balls from Goodies & Grains in Adelaide’s Central Markets.

I’ve tried to make them myself before, but just haven’t gotten the specific ingredients, or proportions right. While this recipe isn’t a perfect substitue for the G&G balls, they certainly satisfy my cravings.

The original recipe is from the Running to the Kitchen blog, and it’s author, Gina, seems like a woman after my own heart, loving both running and food.

I’ve adapted the recipe slightly, and find it a good base to add your own “optional extras” to, depending on your own preferences, what you have at hand, and how you’re feeling.

Raw cacao biscuit balls

Makes approximately 10 bite-sized balls.

Ingredients:

  • 1-1 1/2 cups LSA (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almond meal), or you can make your own by first blending your preferred nut/s
  • 6-12 prunes
  • 1/4 banana
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 1 tablespoon pure cocoa powder (either to add to the mixture, or roll them in afterwards)
  • Pinch salt

Optional extras:

  • Acai powder (e.g. 1-2 teaspoons)
  • Maca powder (e.g. 1-2 tablespoons)
  • Shredded or desiccated coconut
  • Flax seeds or other seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • etc

Method:

  1. Using a food processor or similar device, combine the LSA, banana, 6 prunes (to begin with), cacao nibs, cocoa powder (or reserve to roll them in after), salt, and your choice of extras.
  2. Blend until combined and it begins to form a soft dough (albeit somewhat crumbly). You may need to add extra prunes (1-2 at a time) to get to the desired consistency.
  3. Once you’re happy with your dough, roll into bite-sized balls.
  4. Place on a tray and put in freezer for 30 minutes to become firm.
  5. After 30 minutes, remove from freezer and roll in cocoa powder if desired.
  6. You can also press them into more biscuit-like shapes with a fork, or leave as balls.
  7. Store in fridge or freezer, and consume within 3-5 days (If they last that long that is…)

“Healthy” hot chocolate

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If you can’t tell already, I have a super-sweet tooth. It’s so sweet that once I start having sugar-y food, I have trouble stopping. So I’ve been trying to cut back and tame my “sugar beast”.

I’m also an after dinner snacker. Another habit I’m trying to curb. Sometimes a cup of dandelion tea will do the trick, but sometimes I need a little bit more…

That’s why this hot chocolate recipe from my friend Tina has been a godsend! (or a Tina-send…?)

I like to think that it’s “healthy” and it’s certainly better than having dark chocolate, however I still see it as a treat.

“Healthy” hot chocolate

Ingredients:

  • A cup or mug’s worth of unsweetened almond milk or rice milk (I tend to have rice milk always on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon pure unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon coconut oil
  • Dash cinnamon power
  • 1/2 teaspoon lavender tea (optional, but recommended)

Method:

  1. Combine milk, cocoa, coconut oil and cinnamon in a small pan.
  2. Stir over medium heat, until combined and warm.
  3. If using lavender tea, place the lavender flowers in a single tea ball, place in mug, and when the cocoa mixture is warmed to your liking, pour into the mug.

If using lavender tea, you may wish to remove it after a few minutes and it’s seeped to your liking.

Gorgeous green juice

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I got pretty excited when I finally found kale at the local sustainable market, and bought two massive bunches of it… So then I had to find other things to do with it.

My housemate’s got a juicer, so I decided to try juicing it. I searches for a few recipes and eventually came across this one which I like.

If you prefer sweet juices, this probably isn’t for you. It’s very veggie, and a bit tart, but sooo good for you. I also find it a great immune system boost, particularly in this wintery weather.

Gorgeous green juice

Ingredients:

Adjust the quantity as you prefer, or to make more. This is about how much I use for one large glass.

  • 1/3 continental cucumber, cut into pieces
  • 2 smallish apples (I used red delicious), cut into quarters, with the pips removed
  • 1 lemon, peel removed and cut into quarters
  • 1 handful-ish of continental parsley, chopped
  • Approximately 8-10 kale leaves, chopped

Method:

  1. Rinse all of the chopped/prepared ingredients and juice through a juicing machine.
  2. And drink!

If you need an extra immune boost, try stirring through a heaped teaspoon of spirulina.

If you can’t be bothered making your own juice, or want to take it to the next level and treat your body to a full juice detox, check out Juice Revolution.

They’ve got a range of delicious and uber-organic juice products and detox programs. You can order them online and make your body sing!

And while the lovely Juice Revolution ladies are friends of mine, this is not a sponsored post. Just sharing a great product and service.

Vanilla sweet potato and kale curry

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It seems that “kale” is the new black. Pretty much every second recipe I am attracted to these days uses kale, and for a while it was a “mythical” ingredient.

I eventually tracked some down at the fortnightly sustainable markets at my local primary school. I swiftly bought two bunches, and then figured I should dig up one of the aforementioned recipes to use it in.

I finally decided to make another recipe from the My New Roots Holiday Reader Recipe Challenge PDF download on the My New Roots food blog; Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale curry, submitted by Janet (check out the photo of it on her blog, it’s much better than mine).

I was unsure what to expect of it, especially not having tried kale before. But it was divine… my goodness. So good. Here it is:

Vanilla Sweet Potato and Kale Curry

Ingredients:

  • Approximately 500g sweet potato and 500g pumpkin (I used butternut), cut into 2-3cm cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 415mL coconut milk (or 1 can)
  • 1 cup unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (or to your preferred heat)
  • 4 packed cups of kale (washed and chopped or torn into pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sultanas
  • 1/8 cup salted peanuts (for garnish)
  • shredded coconut (for garnish), I lightly toasted mine in a hot pan before garnishing, nom.

Method:

  1. Cook sweet potato and pumpkin in microwave on high for 6.5 minutes (or steam if you don’t like using evil microwaves).
  2. Heat a large pot on medium to high heat.
  3. Spray with cooking spray and add sweet potato and pumpkin, cooking until they begin to brown, then stir in the chopped garlic.
  4. Add the coconut milk, milk, spices, salt and chilli flakes.
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Mash the mixture with a potato masher or puree with a hand held blender.
  7. Add the sultanas, kale and vanilla, and cover again.
  8. Cook for 8-10 more minutes, until the kale is bright in colour.
  9. Serve with brown rice, and garnish with the salted peanuts and toasted shredded coconut.

I hope you like it as much as I did. I found it also went really well with When Harry Met Sally.

Peanut butter biscuits

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Where have the past few months gone!? I know I’ve been busy, but I didn’t realise it’s been over two and a half months since I’ve posted anything here… I’ve still been cooking and trying new recipes, so will try to make up for my tardiness by posting them all here now.

To kick things off, here is a new recipe I got from a colleague who was recently diagnosed as celiac. She had actually saved this recipe from the kids section of the newspaper when she was a kid, and found it again recently when trying to figure out what she could make to take to book club (and that she could eat, obviously).

I could not believe how simple this recipe is. It’s seriously sooo simple. And deceptive.

It’s peanut butter, sugar and an egg. That’s it. Nothing else. No flour. And they’re sooo delicious.

Gluten and dairy free peanut butter biscuits

Makes about 12 biscuits.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter (I used smooth, but you could try with crunchy as well).
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180˙C, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine ingredients in bowl until they form a sticky batter.
  3. Roll into biscuit-sized balls, place on tray and press top down with fork.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes, until firm and lightly brown.
  5. Leave to cool.
  6. Eat.

That is all. Do it.

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