Saturday, September 13, 2014

Homemade Almond Butter


My frist time making almond butter was more liked making a coarse paste as I really didn't know what "oil comes out" meant.  After reading detoxinista step-by-step instructions, I finally get a success making smooth almond butter.  I was only using an old model of blender and it worked well even I was a little worry when steam came out after 20 minutes of blending.  It's a stage of the heat generated cooking the almonds and the whole process takes about 30 minutes. So be patients and the final product  is delicious as a dip for crackers or put into beverages.

Almond Butter

Ingredient:

2 cups raw almond kernels

Method:
Put the kernels into the blender with the S blade, blend until the oil comes out and smooth. You may stop the blender in between to scope down the side and let the blender has a little rest.


Getting ready

Pour almonds into the blender

After 15 seconds, coarse almond meal formed

5 minutes later, almond meal starts to form into a rough paste

10 minutes later, a thick paste is formed, you also notice the butter is heated with little steam

10 more minutes, the butter is nearly ready to form a smooth, light texture

5 more minutes, the butter is ready

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Happy Father's Day - Espresso Brownie Cupcakes


This is the second time I make these cupcakes, my family likes the strong flavour of these cakes. My husband reckons anyone like coffee would like them. It's very muddy and bitterly kind if chocolate taste so I would recommend to serve it with some fresh cream or/and ice-cream with strawberries.

This Sunday is Father's Day in Australia, why not show your appreciation to bake your dad a sweet treat instead of buying him a box of chocolate? It's also the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) on Monday, this is a great weekend to have a family gathering.

Happy Father's Day!


Espresso Brownie Cupcakes
(make 12)

180g dark cooking chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons instant coffee powder
1 tablespoon hot water
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons caster sugar

Chocolate ganache:
100g dark cooking chocolate
1/2 cup thicken cream
1 teaspoon Kahlua (optional)

Decoration:
white chocolate, melted
thickened cream, whipped + sweetened with a little icing sugar
strawberries
ice-cream

Method:

  1. Melt chocolate with a double boiler with hot water. Leave cool a little.
  2. Mix the coffee powder with hot water then mix all the wet ingredients into a mixing bowl and shift the dry ingredients into another mixing bowl. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold till the mixture is incorporated.
  3. Spoon the batter into a paper lined 12 holds muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 160c.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the ganache, melt chocolate in a double boiler with hot water then stir in the cream and liquor. Put the ganache into the fridge until it is spreadable. Spread over to the cool cupcakes.
  5. Decoration: grease a foil with a little old, put the melted white chocolate into a zip bag. Cut a little corner and pipe the chocolate into the foil with a desirable pattern.  Cool into fridge before peeling it out.
  6. Take the paper out from the cupcake. Put a halved strawberry over the cake with a white chocolate swirl, serve with more strawberries, whipped cream and ice-cream.



Saturday, August 30, 2014

Homemade Cumquat Marmalade


There is this very cute 90 years old lady selling jam and homegrown fruit for the church every week.  The fruit of the jam is donated by local farmers and made by volunteers with lots of love and kindness.  Their specialities are rosella jam in March, strawberry jam and cumquat marmalade in August, mango chutney in December. The day I went to visit her, her little store was full with bottles of cumquat marmalade and she was saying delightfully, "there is cumquat everywhere!"

I bought a bottle of marmalade and 1 kg of cumquat from her.  I didn't expect there would so many seeds in cumquat so it took me a while to cut up the fruit.  But it really worth the effort because the jam is tasty (as good as the one I bought) and I am pleased that I finally make jam without using the bread machine. And now, I have jam everywhere in my fridge and pantry!


Cumquat Marmalade
(make about 5x500g bottles)

Ingredients:
1 kg cumquats
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1.25L water
6 cups raw sugar
1 tablespoon jam setta (optional)

Method:

  1. Wash cumquats, drain.  Quarter cumquats with knife but not cutting all the way through. Remove seeds and cut off the hard pitt from the centre if needed.  Don't worry if you do not remove all the seeds, it would float out later. 
  2. Process cumquats in a blender then combine the cumquats mixture, lemon juice and water in a large saucepan.  Stand for at least 2 hours.
  3. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for 30 minutes. Spoon out any seeds if you see them floating at the surface.
  4. Add sugar to the mixture and boil for another 30 minutes. Skim scum with a metal spoon if necessary. 
  5. The jam should turn thick and bubbling. Test the jam if it is set by dropping 1 tablespoon of hot jam onto a chilled plate, move it with finger after 40 seconds.  If it crinkles and thicken, its done.  If not, add 1 tablespoon jam setta and boil for another 5-10 minutes and repeat the test until the jam is set. 
  6. Pour hot jam into sterilised jars, covered with transparent papers that have been dashed with lemon juice then tighten the jars with lids and rubber bands.
Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Classic Preserves Jams Chutneys Relishes" from the Australian Women's Weekly.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

White Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies


After my guest post of white chocolate & raspberries muffins, it reminds me that this blondies recipe has been bookmarked for a long time and it's about time to review it.

Blondies is the white version of brownies, my favourite is the nutella chocolate brownies. Unlike a lot of people, I prefer my brownies using less oil and well cooked rather than the fudgy one.

This blondies is rich in butter taste and I like the raspberries puree which is much better than just putting in whole raspberries into the mixture so the blondies don't get too soggy.

What's your favourite brownies or blondies?





White Chocolate & Raspberry Blondies

60g raspberries
1/2 cup caster sugar
150g butter, chopped
250g white chocolate, chopped
3 eggs, beaten
1 2/3 cup plain flour ( I use 1 cup plain flour and 2/3 cup self raising)
1 teaspoon baking powder

Method:

  1. Pre heat oven at 180c. Combine raspberries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tablespoon water in a saucepan over low heat. Leave cool a little and blend till puree formed.
  2. Place butter and 200g chocolate and melt in a double boiler. Leave cool.
  3. Whisk eggs and remaining sugar into a mixing bowl. Sift in flour and baking powder.  Stir in chocolate mixture and 50g white chocolate. Spoon into a lamington pan (I put into a square pan)
  4. Drizzle over the puree and make a swirl with a skewer or knife.
  5. I bake it for 35 minutes.  The recipe stated for 20 minutes and cool in fridge, please check the source from down below if required.
  6. Cool in pan before cutting into pieces.
Source: adopted and modified from Delicious magazine through taste.com http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/28629/raspberry+white+chocolate+blondies

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guest post to celebrate 4 years of blogging and reaching 200 posts - the Best Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins


My dear friends, I am so happy that this blog has reached its milestones of 4 years with 200 posts.  This blog helps me to recover from my illness and I feel so grateful to be able to enjoy everyday of my life with great food, great love and great laugh!

These raspberry & white choc muffins were baked by my friend, Andi during the school holiday while our boys were making lots of noise playing their ukuleles at her place. Andi has such a crafty talent and her cooking is packed with flavour. She introduces me to the roasted capsicum and pumpkin soup that is truly a great winter warmer. There are so many raspberry & white choc muffins recipes and this recipe is by far the best, the muffins are so moist and dense with flavour. So if she is making more next time, I'll bring a container to take some home before they disappeared!

Here is Andi's thought sharing her muffins and I hope you enjoy reading this blog and have a wonderful day!

A friend of mine has popular coffee shop and bakes fresh batches of muffins each morning upon opening.  The smell as they're baking is amazing, customers flock for these yummy muffins!  Her basic muffin recipe is fool-proof and you add a handful of fruit and a handful of chocolate.  Our family favourite is the Raspberry and White Chocolate muffins and they soon disappear after coming out of the oven!  You can also do a blueberry and dark chocolate muffin which is pretty good too.  If you're quick you maybe able to stash some in the freezer for school or work- they make a wonderful treat.  My son especially enjoys them!  The balance of the sweet chocolate against the tart raspberries is just divine.  Just a hint not to break up the chocolate too small, it'll melt and disappear.  Lindt chocolate or a quality chocolate is also recommended.  It holds it's shape better and who can argue with the taste!  Please enjoy and I'm sure these will become a family favourite.



Raspberry & White Chocolate Muffins
(makes 6 extra large and 12 smaller muffins)

Ingredients:
300g self raising flour
125g castor sugar
300ml buttermilk
200ml oil
2 beaten eggs
1 block of white chocolate, broken up
handful of fresh/frozen raspberries

White chocolate butter icing:
100g softened unsalted butter
100g white chocolate
dash milk
100-150g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Combine dry ingredients in bowl and make a well.
  2. Add all other wet ingredients and stir until combined.
  3. Add chocolate and raspberries (be gentle)
  4. Put into lined muffin tray.
  5. Bake 18-20 minutes at 180c oven until springback or skewer comes out clean.
  6. For the icing: melt white chocolate with dash of milk until just melted. Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add icing sugar and melted chocolate. Spread or pipe onto cooled muffins.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Green Smoothie (Dairy Free)


After making the green juice, I want to make a recipe for green smoothie. Looking around at my fruit tray and the fridge, picking up all the seasonal green fruit and vegetable, this is my new addition of a healthy drink! It involves the juicer and the blender so there is a bit of washing to do, maybe a dishwasher can be my best friend after all!

Green Smoothie
(serve 1)

1 stalk of celery
1 green apple
couple of lettuce
1 kiwi fruit
1/2 small avocado
squeeze of lemon juice

Method:

  1. Cut and core the apple, skin the kiwi fruit, wash the vegetable.
  2. Put the first 3 ingredients into a juicer. 
  3. Pour the green juice into a blender, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend till smooth. Enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Overnight Oats with Strawberry (dairy free)


What would be the perfect breakfast for you? My husband and son would put their hands up and say "Bacon and Egg!" and my daughter would be happy to have French toast with a tub of yoghurt. And for me, this overnight oats with strawberry is my perfect breakfast that keep me going for at least a few hours till lunch time. It provides a good start of the day with fibre, protein, anti-oxidents and calcium....and the best thing is that it is ready to serve in a jar with only a little of work to do the night before.


Overnight oats with strawberry

Ingredients:
1 cup sweetened almond milk
6 tablespoons rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
few goji berries
4-5 fresh strawberries, halves

Method:
Pour milk into a medium size glass jar, add the rolled oats, chia seeds and goji berries. Give it a stir, then add in strawberries. Tighten the jar with a lid. Place into the fridge overnight. Add some toasted muesli and more fresh fruit if needed when serve.

Tip: I usually leave it at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving. If you want to warm it up, leave the strawberries and add it in the morning instead. You can also sprinkle more nuts and goji berries before serving to suit your taste.