Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 27th

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Our favourite meal last week was probably the pizzas - mostly because of the wonderful company that were here to share the meal! (There were five adults and nine kids.) We made four really big pizzas, with homemade spelt dough and heaps of toppings, and putting them together was half the fun - gathered around the kitchen table and all pitching in... Our kitchen is the main gathering place in our house! There's nothing like having a bunch of family and friends gathered around the table talking and laughing and enjoying good food. I hope you have a great week with your family and friends, and remember:

"Meats eaten without either mirth or music is ill of digestion."

- Sir Walter Scott.

For more menu planning ideas, see Menu Plan Monday at

Monday: Baked chicken with pesto, veges.

Tuesday: Vegetable & kidney bean stew with homemade spelt french bread.

Wednesday: Thermomix demo and tuna-tomato risotto for family.

Thursday: Thermomix meatloaf & steamed veges.

Friday: Lamb chops & roast vegetable salad.

Saturday: Raw pasta sauce with spelt noodles.

Sunday: Roast chicken (with garlic, herbs & butter) & veges.

(recipes coming - plus some dessert and snack recipes...)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 20th

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I've been having fun going through all my new Thermomix recipe books - the Varoma book is amazing! You can cook everything from Dim Sims to omelettes, steamed bread to chocolate puddings, meatballs, meatloaf, chilli mussles, garlic prawns... and of course all the steamed veges! Yum! When I get the chance I'm trying out new recipes, and when I'm really busy I'm sticking with the basic quick and easy ones like beetroot salad, bread rolls, soups, mushroom risotto and pasta. If you want any of these recipes, just leave me a note in comments! For more great menu ideas, check out Menu Plan Monday at

If you'd like to know more about the Thermomix, or would like to see a cooking demonstration, contact me at (* means prepared and/or cooked in Thermomix.)

Monday: (lunch) *Curried sweet potato & chicken soup (made from leftovers) with homemade *spelt bread; (dinner) Chicken soup with *spelt dumplings (still using up the leftovers!).

Tuesday: (lunch) Pizza scrolls (*pizza dough rolled into rectangle, filled, rolled, sliced and baked in 'scrolls') & vege sticks; (dinner) Steak, baked potatoes and *carrot salad.

Wednesday: (lunch) *Bean soup; (dinner) *Steamed salt cod with tomatoes & potatoes, salad.

Thursday: (lunch) *Sun-dried tomato & tuna risotto; (dinner) *Meatloaf & steamed veges.

Friday: (lunch) *Bean pasta & salad; (dinner) *Stuffed chicken pockets, salad.

Saturday: (lunch - fellowship lunch at church with visitors) - *beetroot salad, *spelt rolls, chicken salad for rolls; (dinner) Either *pizza or dinner out (something easy!).

Sunday: (lunch - another fellowship lunch at church with visitors) - *coleslaw, *mushroom risotto, marinated chicken wings in crockpot; (dinner) leftovers/omelettes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 13th

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Hi everyone - hope you had a great Easter. I've got a really busy week this week, so I'll be using the Thermomix for just about every meal, except one where I use the crockpot. If you want any of these recipes, let me know. For more menu planning ideas, go to Menu Plan Monday on!

Monday: (lunch) Chinese noodles (made with leftover mince and beans, veges & mung-bean noodles); (dinner) GF preservative free sausages with mashed potatoes & steamed veges.

Tuesday: (lunch) My first Thermomix demo - sorbet, dip, beetroot salad, spelt rolls, mushroom risotto, dairy-free custard; (dinner) Cauliflower soup, lamb roast & veges.

Wednesday (my birthday!): (lunch) Filled bread scrolls; (dinner) Star-anise seared salmon & salad.

Thursday: (lunch - visitors) Chicken & cashews with quinoa; (dinner) Steak with chickpea & spinach soup.

Friday: (lunch) Turkey & salad sandwiches (steaming turkey leg for sandwich meat); (dinner) Thermomix demo with family and friends, with barbeque.

Saturday: (lunch) Tomato noodle soup; (dinner) Crockpot chicken & veges with rice.

Sunday: (lunch) Doing cooking demonstration - family eating leftover chicken, veges & rice; (dinner) Pumpkin soup.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

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I could eat hot cross buns all year round - I love them hot out of the oven... They never last long at our house! I make spelt hot cross buns, and use rice-almond milk and Rapadura, and they turn out just as good if not better than the usual version. This recipe is also delicious as fruit bread - just cook the dough in a loaf tin instead of making rolls. (Good for when you're in a hurry!) Sometimes we make chocolate chip hot cross buns instead of the usual ones - see variation below. Enjoy, and Happy Easter! :)

[Note: Grind up your grain first if you want to use some wholemeal flour in your buns.]

1. Whizz on speed 9 in Thermomix until finely ground:
- zest of 1 orange, no white bits (or you can use glazed peel)
- 60g Rapadura

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on speed 6 for 6 seconds:
- 250ml warm rice/almond milk
- 70g soft butter or ghee or oil (grapeseed, light olive, macadamia)
- 550g spelt flour (I use 100g w/meal, 450g white)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 heaped tsp instant yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp each ground cinnamon & nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves

3. Knead on interval speed for 2 mins, adding dried fruit towards the end:
- 100g sultanas
- 70g currants or dried cranberries
(mix a little longer if needed to mix in fruit)

4. Wrap dough in silicon bread mat and place in cold oven with a tray of boiling water underneath. Leave to rise for 20 minutes.

5. Punch down and shape into small rolls. Place close together on lined baking tray, cover, and leave to rise for 10-15 mins.

6. Pipe with crosses made from:
- 80g white spelt flour
- 1 tsp light olive oil
- pinch salt
- 100g water

7. Place rolls in cold oven, again with a pan of boiling water underneath. Turn oven on to 220 degrees (C) and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden. Brush with hot syrup while still warm.

8. Syrup: heat in Thermomix on 100 degrees for 2 minutes, speed 2:
- 2 Tbspns Rapadura
- 2 Tbspns water

Variation: Instead of dried fruit, add dark chocolate chips - or a mixture of choc chips and sultanas - yum!

Chocolate Chip Hot Cross Buns! mmmmmm...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Greek Easter Bread

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I seem to have a favourite bread for every season - I love baking different types of breads. Today I found a new favourite - Greek Easter Bread. It's really delicious! It is a braided, anise flavoured bread topped with sesame seeds, almonds and sugar. It traditionally has two, red-dyed boiled eggs (or 4 dyed quail eggs) pressed into the braided loaf before rising, which would look really pretty... but I didn't have any red dye, so I didn't do this bit. I used part wholemeal spelt, part white - you could use all white for a softer bread.

The good thing about sweet breads is they use a lot less sugar than a cake or other sweet desserts, and they're every bit as satisfying! I've only given the Thermomix version of this recipe, as the handmade version was so long and complicated that I didn't really think anyone would bother!!!

1. Place in Thermomix bowl and grind for 1 minute on speed 9.
- 100g spelt grain
- 2 dried anise pods (or you can 1 tsp ground anise)
Set aside.

2. Place in bowl and grind at speed 9 for 10 seconds:
- 70g Rapadura

3. Add and grind on speed 9 for 10 seconds:
- peel of one orange

4. Add to bowl and heat at 80 degrees, speed 2 for 1.5 minutes:
- 60g butter or oil (macadamia/grapeseed/light olive)
- 1/2 tspn sea salt

5. Add to milk mixture, and mix for 6 seconds on speed 6:
- ground spelt and anise
- 400g white spelt flour
- 1 egg (opt)
- 7g sachet (or 1 Tblspn) instant yeast

6. Turn dial to closed lid and knead on Interval speed for 2 minutes.

7. Place dough in oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise in warm position for 1 hour, or until well risen. (Or roll it up in a silicon breadmat.)

8. Punch dough down, place back in Thermomix bowl, turn dial to closed lid and knead on interval speed for 1 more minute.

9. Take dough out and divide into 3 equal parts. Roll each portion into 3 equal strands, about 30 cm long. Braid the strands, and fold ends under. Place on oven tray lined with baking paper, brush with combined egg and milk:
- 1 egg, lightly beaten (opt)
- 1 Tblspn rice milk

10. Sprinkle with:
- 2 Tblspns sesame seeds
- 2 Tblspns chopped/slivered almonds
- 2 Tblspns Rapadura
(If using dyed eggs, press them into the braid now.)

11. Place in cold oven with a pan of boiling water underneath, and leave to rise for 20 minutes.

13. Turn oven on to 180 degrees C. It will finish rising and bake at the same time.  Bake bread for 30 - 40 minutes, or until cooked. (Cover with a tea towel, and carefully turn over so you can knock underneath - it should sound hollow.) Serve warm slices with butter.

Have a great Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Cat in the Kitchen

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Do you know how difficult it is to cook with a cat in the kitchen, laying on your recipe books??? Don't worry, we shooed him out - after I took this photo to do a drawing of for my daughter. She loves him dearly, and unfortunately he has skin cancer on his nose, so won't be with us for much longer.

Dairy-Free 'Carbonara'

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Bacon Carbonara with Dairy Free Sauce & Spelt Pasta

I love Bacon Carbonara, but I can't use cream in mine because of my dairy intolerance, and I try not to have bacon too often because it's full of those nasty nitrates and nitrites. So here's my version, with lots of mushrooms, and baby spinach - it's still tasty and creamy! By the way, if you can't bear it without bacon, only use a little, and serve it with antioxidants such as fresh orange juice or a tomato salad - this helps to minimise the harmful effects of nitrosamines.

If your kids love cheese but can't have it, you can make this look really cheesey by using arrowroot for the thickener - it makes the creamy sauce all 'stringy' - the first time I did it, my kids really thought there was cheese in it!

1. Chop onion & garlic (and bacon if using) in Thermomix on speed 5 for 5 seconds:
- 1 large onion, halved
- 2 cloves garlic
- a couple of rashers of bacon (don't chop, just pull off the rind & throw it in!)

2. Scrape down sides, add butter/oil, and cook for 2 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 2:
- 30g butter or olive oil

3. Add sliced mushrooms (or throw in whole and chop for 3 seconds on speed 3), and cook another 2 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 2:
- 2 to 4 cups sliced mushrooms (however many you want)

4. Add spinach, extra butter (opt.), flour, milk and seasonings and cook for 7 minutes at 100 degrees speed 2, or until sauce is thickened:
- a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
- 2 Tblspns butter or olive oil
- 2 Tblspns arrowroot (or rice/cornflour/spelt) flour
- a couple of splashes of tamari (or soy sauce)
- 2 tsp chicken or vege stock concentrate
- sea salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

5. Check seasonings, and serve over spelt or gluten free pasta.

Pancakes for Breakfast!

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We have pancakes for breakfast at least once a week - it's okay, it's really quite a healthy meal! Especially if you make it with fresh, whole grains, soaked overnight, and top it with a healthy sweetener like pure maple syrup, or Rapadura and lemon juice (pictured above)! See this recipe for instructions!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Menu Plan Monday - April 6th

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Well, I didn't get any recipes posted last week - what a busy week! I've just finished my training to become a Thermomix consultant! Yay! I've wanted to do this for years - I love my Thermomix - it's the best kitchen machine you could ever imagine. It saves me so much time, and makes healthy cooking so much easier. I've had mine for nearly five years now, and it's still going strong. My dh finally gave in and let me buy the newest model :) so now he can't complain about me hogging the Thermomix - he can use one while I use the other! Check them out on (For those of you who have Thermomixes, I usually put a Thermomix version of the recipe below the regular version.)

I didn't stick to my plan too well this week - too much coming and going... but it would have been even crazier if I'd had no plan at all. "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!" Check out more menu plans at Menu Plan Monday, Hope you all have a great Easter weekend with your friends and family!

Monday: (lunch) Sandwiches, vege sticks; (dinner) Homemade pizza & Creamy Pepperoni Fettucini.

Tuesday: (lunch) Lamb, feta & black olive casserole; (dinner) Mushroom Risotto & salad.

Wednesday: (lunch) Pumpkin soup & spelt bread rolls; (dinner) Salmon salad & potato wedges.

Thursday: (picnic lunch) Savoury bread scrolls, vege sticks, dip, & flourless chocolate nut cake; (dinner) Butter chicken & rice with vege sticks.

Friday: (lunch) Leftovers; (dinner) Tuna Mornay (dairy-free sauce).

Saturday: (lunch) Tuna Mornay leftovers (busy day!); (dinner) Beef Stroganoff with fettucine, salad.

Easter Sunday: (breakfast) Homemade hot cross buns (made yesterday), 'real' painted boiled eggs, and a chocolate 'Lindt' bunny each for a treat!; (lunch) Salmon, spinach & egg salad, baked potatoes; (dinner) Thermomix meatloaf & veges.

Gingerbread Cake (Eggless)

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This is the gluten free version, using gluten free self-raising flour.

This is a yummy, moist cake that's very quick and easy, especially if you have a Thermomix! It can be made in a pan on the stove if you don't. Try cooking this in mini muffin tins for a yummy, kid friendly snack.

1. Weigh into bowl and cook at 100 degrees for 3 mins, speed 1:
- 80g Rapadura (or brown sugar)
- 180g raw honey
- 110g water
- 125g butter or coconut oil

2. Add & mix for 10 seconds speed 4:
- 200g spelt flour (wholemeal or plain or mixed) or gluten free SR flour
- 3 tspns baking powder (leave out if using self-raising flour)
- 1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
- 3 tspns ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

3. Pour into baking paper-lined cake tin, or small rectangular pan. Bake in moderate oven about 30 mins, or until cooked through. Dust with powdered Rapadura.
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