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The benefits of broth have been known for many many centuries… everyone knows you should eat chicken soup when you have a cold or the flu, but why?

because it tastes awesome…

well yes, but also because

bone broth is amazing!

The gelatine, the minerals and the gut healing properties is just the start of this meaty deliciousness, and then there are all the nutritious things you can put in to add flavour and medicinal properties… and then the recipes… oh the recipes!!! You can of course drink it straight, but you can also turn it into soups, rissottos, fried rice, sauces and add it all sorts of other things.

I predominantly use chicken carcasses, sometimes a whole chook or with added wings, to make my broth. I have used beef and lamb bones as well but as a family we prefer the flavour of chicken. My kids especially love this broth and anything i make from it. My son even asks for it when he is unwell and drinks it plain from a cup.

It is cheap. It is easy. And it can form the basis of many frugal and “meat-free” meals to get you through the week.If you haven’t delved into making your own stock or broth then this weather should give you the extra push that you need to give a go.

To get the best nutrients and healing benefits from your broth you should try and buy the best quality chicken you can afford. I know organic is pricey but we get ours from a local organic farmer that does wholesale prices for a $400 order and we purchase as a co-op (lots of people buy together) and we have a monthly order. Seriously, organic chicken carcasses are $2 each and i can get 2 (or sometimes 3) batches of stock from one carcass.

Simailarly, whole organic chickens are about $25 each, which i admit seems expensive, but from one good sized chook i can get 2 meat meals and 2 broth meals – thats 4 meals for a 4 person family for $25… now i know that’s cheaper than what most people spend on meat. And for the record, our organic meat budget for the month is roughly $100. During summer if we’re having guests or lots of bbq’s then it needs a top up, but just for the 4 of us, being frugal, we can do $100 for organic beef, lamb and chicken. I think that’s pretty good! If you can’t afford organic then just do the best you can. You can pick up a free range whole chicken from ALDI for about $10-$12 and if you can get 2 or 3 meals out of it then you’re doing well 🙂

Back in the old days we would roast a chicken and eat the whole thing, for dinner and then maybe a couple of sandwiches – and then we would do the unspeakable and throw away the bones and leftover bits! At that point in my life i could not fathom spending $25 on 1 chicken. I have been there… but now we eat differently. What we eat is more expensive, but how we eat it makes it more affordable… but i am not here to preach, you eat what you eat and if you want to make changes you can.

Now there is some contention about what is broth and what is stock – to be really honest, i don’t give a crap. I use them interchangeably. I *think* stock is just meat, bones and water and therefore broth occurs if you add any flavourings. So i guess officially mine is broth, but seriously, i don’t care… lets get to the recipe!

 

Whole Chicken Broth

1 whole organic chicken (or the best you can get) OR 1 chicken carcass

2-4 cloves garlic

splash of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach minerals from the bones and you can’t taste it)

Enough cold water to cover the chicken.

1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt (i use half and then as i am turning my stock into soup or whatever i can adjust with other flavours)

**Optional – carrots, celery, onion, cloves, bay, turmeric, ginger etc etc etc… the possibilitites are endless (i personally do not flavour my stock, if i want to add veggies i do it at the soup stage or when i am turning it into a meal. This broth is so flavoursome from the chicken it doesn’t need veggies!)

Place all ingredients in slow cooker and turn on high, then once its hot turn down low. If you are using a whole chook then remove it after 4-6hrs. Remove all meat from bones and pop in the fridge to use later. Place all the left overs (bones, skin – EVERYTHING!) back in the pot. I use the meat in stir fries, curries, frittatas, pizza, salad or with veggies… anything!

After 6-12 hrs you have a delicious meat stock to use for soup. Clear soups or blended soups, both work beautifully. Honestly this is the most flavoursome of all the broths so use this in its most purest form if you can. You can let it cool in the fridge and scrape of the fat but we don’t, we eat the whole lot. If you are going to scrape off the fat then at least use it to cook with, if it’s an organic chook then it has beautiful omega 3’s and it is actually good for you!

Top up the slow cooker pot and give it another 6-12hrs. This broth will still be beautifully flavoursome. I use this for making rissotto or for cooking my rice in the rice cooker to make fried rice with. It still makes a great soup & sauces though, so do whatever you like with it.

At this point, if i can bothered i might fill up the pot and go again – but this stock will be quite mild. You can boil it down to enhance flavour and freeze in cubes to make sauce, gravy or add a little flavour to curries or stir fry.

NOTE: If you prefer roast chicken then please, roast it first and remove the meat. Just be sure to save ALL the leftovers for the stock pot. Roast chicken stock is amazing!!!

NOTE: Use the same method for lamb and beef bones, but be sure to brown them in the oven first otherwise the flavour is not very good.

Please understand that this not exact recipe. Use the ingredients and extras YOU like and cook for your own preferred amount time. After 4 hrs your chicken is absolutely cooked so you don’t need to worry about poisoning yourself… after that it’s purely a matter of preference!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have eaten Sauerkraut since i was about 10 years old. I must have been the only non-German 10yr old who loved Sauerkraut!

It’s been a part of my family since i met my step dad and his parents, and may i just say…

Sauerkraut and German sausages totally rock!

I have tried making it quite a few times but it has always involved a jar of pre-made kraut and a tonne of sugar… and it didn’t taste very good. I don’t know how my grandparents make it, but i think its canned or jar and then they tweek it, and sadly i have no knack for this method. Balancing those flavours is beyond me!

So i was absolutely over the moon when i discovered that real Sauerkraut is actually a lacto-fermented vegetable and be made quickly and simply (with a little muscle power) at home with either a little whey or extra salt – and NO sugar :

Nourishing Traditions and my Kraut!

Nourishing Traditions and my Kraut!

Sauerkraut – Inspired by Nourishing Traditions

Half a large head of cabbage, finely shredded (i used my food processor)

Half a tablespoon Caraway seeds

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons whey (or an extra teaspoon of salt)

Place all ingredients in bowl and pound until juices are released. Place into wide mouth mason jar and continue to pound until juice is at least 1 inch above the cabbage. Cap the jar and leave on your bench for 3 days. At this point you can place it in the fridge and start eating it… the flavour will continue to mature over time!

Meat basher works just fine.

Meat basher works just fine.

sk4

Kraut-man!!

I must admit, after receiving my copy of Nourishing Traditions i have gone a little nuts on lacto-fermentation.

It was always my plan, it was something i have wanted to do for ages and i don’t look like slowing down anytime soon… i still have many thingsd i would like to ferment and i am enjoying the results!

I have had a few people comment on my facebook page they don’t have whey, or that my recipe contains whey so they haven’t tried it yet… my advice… make some whey! Or not… it’s completely up to you 🙂

I make my own… or i should say, i made my own. Completely by accident and then i threw it out. I had no idea it was so useful or good for me. This is the recipe i used. It is supremely easy and the delicious by-product is ricotta cheese.

Alternatives to whey that are still fermented dairy include: homemade yoghurt, milk kefir (or non-dairy water kefir), buttermilk, piima and various cultured/sour creams. Fermented dairy has been a part of traditional diets for many many years in many cultures. It’s ability to lower cholesterol, protect against bone-loss, provide beneficial bacteria and lactic acid for digestion and it is certainly a wonderful means of keeping dairy in a fermentation state well beyond its use-by date… and the results are udderly delicious (oh yes, i did!)

However, if you are completely against making delicious cheese and other various dairy products, or if you are very intolerant or allergic to dairy you may need an alternative! Just for the record, many people who are dairy intolerant can still have whey – but why would you make whey if you can’t eat the wonderful cheese?

For soaking grains, flours and making cultured veg – simple alternatives are either lemon juice or vinegar, preferably a good quality organic apple cider vinegar, but start with whatever you’ve got. Salt is another alternative for cultured veggies, but make it a good quality sea salt or the pink himalayan from an ethical source. Please try and loosely follow a recipe to ensure you are using an appropriate acid/salt for the product you are making.

The acids in the vinegar and lemon will help break down the grains and the phytates and make the food more digestable. Whereas salt will assist in preservation of veggies and keep the crunch!

I hope this helps you delve a little further down the road of fermentation, cultured dairy and it’s alternatives… it is a good start, but i will be following it up with posts on kefir, milk kefir, buttermilk and cultured creams and yoghurt.

The perils of porridge… leftover porridge!

What to do with pre-soaked oats that no one wants the next day for breakfast?

I thought about feeding it to our daily ducks, but then i thought about muesli bars and i just had to try to make some.

I actually didn’t use a recipe for these and i encourage you to do the same! Branch out, take a risk, be bold, be brave… make muesli bars!

These can be made completely RAW if you so wish.

My recipe used a dehydrator to “cook” these but i used cooked porridge as the base so they aren’t entirely raw. If you want to make them totally raw just use pre-soaked oats as your base – it will yield the same results.

Muesli Bars & Muesli Bites!

Muesli Bars & Muesli Bites!

 

Muesli Bars

Approximately 1 cup of left over porridge  (your porridge can be oats/spelt/flaked quinoa or rice!)

~or half a cup each of oats (or an alternative) and warm water – soaked 12-24hrs, with or without whey or another acid~

Now using a small hand (or your child’s hand) drop in small handfuls of the following:

Cashew pieces, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, linseeds, coconut flakes, raisins – or use any combo of seeds/nuts/fruits that you have.

Add 2 tablespoons each of Raw Honey & Organic Peanut Butter and a teaspoon of Cinnamon.

Mix it all together. The mixture should stick together and have the ingredients well combined.

I lined a small shallow tin with baking paper and spread my mix out evenly and flat, then popped in the fridge to set for an hour or so. Remove from tin and using a large sharp knife, dipped in water, slice your bars and load on to your dehydrator trays. Alternatively, you can bake at a low oven temp until they are crispy and ready to eat!

I dehydrated mine on a medium setting for up to 18hrs and they were deliciously crispy. The bites were only dehydrated for half that time!

If you’re worried about if they’re done – taste one! If its too soft, cook it more.

Please feel free to play around with this recipe and let me know how you go… i would LOVE to see YOUR results!!

Firstly, let me tell you that i haven’t eaten chocolate or bread for over 2 weeks… um… except today i had that chocolate craving. You know the one you get that just doesn’t go away and no matter how many other things you eat you just can’t ignore it? Right, well, i had that ALL DAY!

If you want to make this recipe now then you need to go and get 8 medjool dates and put them in the fridge (maybe even the freezer) as they need to be cold – they NEED to be!

Let me apologise in advance that there are no pictures for this one. It’s probably not the prettiest thing to photograph anyway, but it’s chocolate and delicious caramelly dates, it’s totally good! Trust me 😉

 

CHOCOLATE COATED DATES

Ingredients:

8 Medjool Dates (cold – either kept in the fridge or quickly blasted in the freezer, but not frozen)

4 Tblspns Coconut Oil (either slightly thick or solid-ish, but liquid will also work)

1 tspn Raw Cacao (you can use more but i was trying to be sparing)

1 tspn Maple Syrup (again, you can use more but with less cacao i needed less sweetness, and the dates are sweet too)

In a small bowl mix coconut oil, cacao and maple.

Cut cold dates in half and remove seeds.

Stir halved dates into chocolate mixture. This will simulaneously mix in the maple and start to set the coconut oil – leaving you with chocolate covered dates!

Eat and Enjoy!!

p.s. try not to eat them all!! I have saved some for tomorrow… and i also did some dried figs too 😀

 

 

With 2 small children in the house i constantly need snacks… and since i don’t buy a lot of snacks (i do buy some!) i need make snacks.

These biscuits are my own personal variation of the “Two Ingredient Biscuits” that have been doing the rounds on my facebook feed for a while now. I have made the biscuits with just 2 ingredients (bananas and oats) and they were o.k. Not great, but my kids ate a few of them… i didn’t like them and as a family we have never finished a batch. So i accepted the challenge and tried to make them a bit more interesting but still healthy and nutritious.

Plain honey and Cacao flavour bickies.

Plain honey and Cacao flavour bickies.

Quickie Bickies

1 cup oats

1 ripe/over-ripe mashed banana

1-2 Tblspn Honey

1-2 Tblspn Peanut Butter (preferable natural/organic with no additives)

*1 egg (optional – you can add another half to one bananas to keep the biscuits together – but i like the added protein of the egg!)

*1 tspn cinnamon (optional – for flavour)

*2 Tblspns Whey (optional – i soaked my oats for a few hours in a little whey first – read about the benefits here and here)

*Raw cacao (optional – i used about 1 tspn in half a batch of these biscuits, just for a little variation)

Mix batter by combining all ingredients in a bowl. Add any optional ingredients you like the sound of – i used all of them!

If your batter is too runny (that depends on how much honey/peanut butter/whey/egg/banana you use) then add a few more oats until it holds together a bit more.

Using a dessert spoon plop a splodge of mixture on your baking tray (either oiled or with baking paper) and cook in a 180C oven for about 15 mins. I like them when they get nice and golden around the edges.

These biscuits go soft after about 24hrs but they are still fine to eat and can be crisped up in a hot oven for 5mins if you prefer.

 

Enjoy!

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a toddler means that you will inadvertantly be left with rotting food around the house… it’s inevitable.

After discovering that my Mr-3 had eaten bananas on 3 separate occasions at other peoples houses i bought a bunch, big mistake!

So this morning i had 5 yellow spotty bananas to use. No, i can not let them go completely brown because then the smell makes me nauseous and if i open it to mash i may vomit… so yellow and spotty is as long as they last at my place.

Searching the internet for a ‘healthy’ muffin recipe i found this: http://catesworldkitchen.com/2010/08/vegan-spelt-banana-muffins/

Yes, the recipe says vegan but i am out of chia and flax at the moment and since we are not vegan i used a large free range egg, you have my permission to make these muffins as you see fit 🙂

…and being one to try and cook wheat-free occasionally i have some spelt and rye flours in the cupboard, i also never follow a recipe so here is my version of the above recipe and it was delicious!!!

1 1/2 cups of spelt flour (although i ran out of spelt and had to top up using Rye flour, about half a cup)

1 teaspoon each of baking soda and powder (not sure why but you must use both! Kidding, do what you please, they’re your muffins)

1/2 Tspn salt (i use himalayan and next time will reduce to 1/4tspn as i find the muffins a little salty due to a reduction is sugar)

4 bananas, lightly mashed

1 egg

Half cup of coconut oil, melted

1/3 cup of maple syrup, the good stuff please.

Moist coconut flakes and/or pumpkin seeds to decorate (you can use nuts if you like)

1. Sift dry ingredients

2. Mix wet ingredients

3. Combine the two and fold together, don’t overwork.

4. Cook on 180C for about 15-20mins.

 

These are awesome! Not too sweet, but if you like sweetness then add some coconut or rapadura sugar (about half to 1 cup).

No wheat, no dairy… and if you like you can replace the egg with a flax or chia egg replacement mix (1Tblspn of flax or chia ground up with a few tblspns of water will do the trick!)

Recently i’ve been playing with a recipe i found online and it’s so darn easy and fantastic i thought i should share it. I have no idea where i found it or who to thank for it, but i do know that it is not mine so i can’t take credit for inventing it. I do however, get a lot of credit when i make it.

It’s just a pancake recipe, but what i’ve done to it could be considered blasphemy in the world of pancakes. It’s kind of like what i do to the 5 cup-cake recipe (if you read that blog?) and you have so much freedom to move it’s insane! I was, up until recently, a bit scared of pancakes. I was worried about how fluffy or gluggy or delicious they’d end up. What i have recently discovered is that it’s so simple… and anything smothered in maple syrup in delicious. REAL maple syrup, not that ‘maple flavoured’ stuff.

Here it is:

1 cup flour (doesn’t matter what type – gluten free, spelt, plain, self raising… whatever. I use self raising because i like the ‘lift’)

1 cup milk (again, it doesn’t matter what type – soy, rice, oat, skim, full cream… etc)

1 egg (makes no difference if its big or small, i prefer big huge hunter valley free range eggs)

Mix together… and you’re done. Seriously. Done.

Or if you’re anything like me you might like to add a few bits and pieces… here is just the beginning of a ginormous list of things i have done to this basic recipe… try them all, try none of them, make your own and please, please share them!!

SWEET OPTIONS (you can add a tablespoon or 2 of sugar if you want, but i hardly ever do)

  • Banana
  • sultanas
  • cinnamon
  • grated apple and/or pear
  • strawberries
  • ricotta cheese
  • dried fruit
  • mashed pumpkin and maple syrup
  • custard powder
  • cocoa
  • choc chips
  • fresh/frozen berries

SAVOURY OPTIONS (i think these are the best, and a little garlic and herbs go a long way to making these so awesome!)

  • corn
  • bacon
  • cheese
  • garlic
  • grated carrot, zucchini, sweet potato… or anything that will be grated!
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • tuna, shredded chicken, tofu
  • left over pasta or noodles chopped up

These pancakes can be made big or small, thin or thick (depending on how you like your batter), filled with vegies as a meal for your kids or left plain to be topped with fruit or syrup or whatever it is you like. They really are the most versatile, easy thing to whip up for a snack, if you have guests, if you’re trying to use up old vegies or just getting your kids to eat some veggies. I let my little guy pick the fresh herbs and decide what goes in them (within reason) and even stir the batter. The more involved he is the more he is likely to eat them.

Please feel free to let me know what you add to this recipe and how good… or bad, it is!

 

Enjoy!

 

Rainy day, hungry child, bored Mummy, spare piece of pumpkin and Google = Pumpkin & Sultana Muffins

 I found the recipe for these muffins after a series of thoughts and interactions which i will attempt to explain here.

1. Child is hungry

2. Must feed child

3. Not much in fridge… ooh look pumpkin, i should use that before i have to throw it away…

4. Ask child “Do you want pumpkin for lunch?”

5. Child says “No like it, pumpkin”

6. This makes me want to feed him pumpkin… i need to feed him pumpkin to be a good Mummy.

7. Ask child “What do you want for lunch?”

8. Child says ” Odidge bar, bar” (which is secret code for Orange Heinz Muesli Bar, to which i say No, and then realise i am on my own to come up with ideas for lunch.)

9. Use brain – Child loves muffins. Child will eat ANY food containing sultanas.

10. Google search Pumpkin + Sultana + Muffin

Voila!

Pumpkin & Sultana Muffins

Recipe is as follows
1 ¾ cups self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup sultanas
1 cup cooked, mashed pumpkin

Preheat oven to 180ºC or 160ºC if fan forced.
Line a 12-hole muffin pan with patty cases.
Combine flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together milk, egg, and oil. Add to flour with sultanas and pumpkin.
Mix together, until just combined.
Fill prepared cases. Bake for 20-25 mins, until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

N.B. I also added half a grated apple and about a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ginger powder.

These were delicious served with a hot cup of tea, for me, and a babycino for the hungry child.

*Disclaimer: “World” as stated in title refers to my world, my own personal world, not the world in its entirety.

I recently acquired a real, country grown, organic black Potkin pumpkin (Thanks Mum!). The moment i laid eyes on this beautiful pumpkin i knew exactly what i wanted to do to it… but my husband beat me to it.

What follows here is the most exciting, fun, tasty and easy pumpkin soup you will ever make. Use any pumpkin you like, although i recommend a sort of bowl-shaped pumpkin like a Jap, Kent, Potkin etc. rather than a butternut, and i say that not because i think butternut lacks anything in taste or texture, but only because the method of cooking requires a kind of flat bottommed pumpkin.

As previously mentioned, my husband hijacked this pumpkin, and he made the “World’s Best Pumpkin Soup!” … and this is how he did it…

Firstly, you must cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin, not a huge hole, just enough to be able to remove the seeds and pour a few things into the pumpkin. With the exception of cutting this hole, do not cut through the pumpkin or the skin otherwise all the goodness you are about to add will seep out.

Next, we add what i like to call “the goodness”. Once the seeds and ‘goop’ are removed from the pumpkin you need to add flavour to your pumpkin. Try half a cup of stock (chicken or veggie) or water, a diced onion and some salt and pepper to start with. In our house we like a light curry in our pumpkin soup so we also add some Yellow or Massaman curry paste, just 1 or 2 tablespoons. We also like to add garlic, a diced bacon rasher (because my husband will add bacon to just about anything) and sometimes we also like sweet corn. You could also add fresh or dried herbs, butter or oil, honey and cinnamon or any other flavour you like in your pumpkin soup… be creative!

When all of this yummy goodness is safely placed in the cavity of your pumpkin you need to replace the lid (the hole you cut out earlier), put it in a lightly oiled baking dish and bake it in the oven. Time and temperature depends on your oven, the size of your pumpkin and the ingredients you have placed inside it. We generally go about 150C with a low fan for at least 45min – 1hr or longer if required. To test you can take off the lid and use a sharp knife to poke at the inside of the pumpkin, careful not to pierce the skin or the goodness will seep out!

Once your pumpkin is cooked then you need to remove the insides of the pumpkin – everything you’ve added plus the pumpkin flesh – and place it into a saucepan on low heat. Mash up all your ingredients and add either stock or water (depending on how strong the flavour is already) to the pot to achieve the desired consistency. Scooping out the pumpkin can be messy if you break the skin but it really doesn’t matter. If you’re the kind of person who loves baked pumpkin skin (like me) then just let it split open in the baking dish, pick out as much skin as you can (and eat it), pour the flesh and soupy goodness into the saucepan and go from there.

I generally use my stick mixer to whizz this up so its nice and smooth. You can also add butter for a professional, glossy finish. If you make the curry version of this soup then i recommend a touch of coconut milk at the table. Or you could add sour cream, pure cream, natural yogurt or absolutely nothing at all.

*As a side note, i had a large bowl of soup left over. Instead of devouring it all myself i made another family dinner from it. I sautéed an onion, browned some chicken thighs, added the soup, another half a cup of stock, a handful of fresh herbs and a green chilli… and *voila* a pumpkin chicken curry!! Served with coconut milk, a side of steamed broccoli and rice.

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