Pumpkin, Walnut and Raisin Loaf

I just ended a three month baking hiatus and this was a yummy way to end it 🙂 I will put the original site I got the recipe from but I did change it just a little, increasing the amount of butter, walnuts, raisins and spice and I made the method easier. Served hot with butter it’s very delicious, on day 3 it still has a nice and moist texture.

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4 oz (100 g) butter

1 1/3 cups sugar

2 eggs,

1/4 cup water

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 2/3 cup flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/3 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1 cup walnuts

3/4 cup raisins or sultanas

Preheat oven to 350 (180) deg and prepare 1 large or 2 small loaf pans.

Soften butter and cream with sugar. Add eggs and beat, add pumpkin puree and water and beat well. Add sifted dry ingredients – the flour, spices, salt, baking powder and soda. Fold in the walnuts and raisins, pour into tins and bake a large one 55 – 60 minutes, smaller ones around 35 – 40 minutes.

The original recipe was found at About.com – submitted by Diana Rattray

 

 

 

Dark Chocolate and Beetroot (Beet) Mudcake

I have tried chocolate and beetroot cakes in the past but this one is by far the best. This is not too rich, heavy or sweet and both the texture and flavour are perfect. This recipe is by Gretchen Lowe and Homestyle Magazine, April/May edition.

This uses 250 g of pureed beetroot and I will be cooking some up to keep in the freezer for future cakes. The icing I used was a normal chocolate butter icing (a cheaper option for me) but I will give the recipe for the chocolate ganache she used.

200g Dark chocolate (at least 62% cocoa)

4 tblspns hot espresso

200g butter

135 g flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

3 tbsp cocoa

5 eggs, separated

250 g cooked and peeled beetroot, pureed

190 g castor sugar (this can be made by putting normal white sugar through a blender)

GANACHE:

400g dark chocolate

400ml cream

ALTERNATIVE CHOCOLATE ICING:

50 g butter softened

1 tablespoon cocoa

little boiling water

1 tsp vanilla

approx 2 cups icing sugar

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Line a 20 cm cake tin with baking paper.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan. Then pour in hot coffee and stir in the butter, leaving till softened. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Meanwhile sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a bowl.

Separate the eggs and whisk yolks until frothy. Stir the yolks through chocolate mixture then fold in pureed beetroot.

Whisk whites till soft peaks form. Fold in sugar. Fold into and through the chocolate mixture then fold this mixture into the combined dry ingredients.

Pour batter into prepared tin and bake 35 minutes. Do not over-bake.

When cooked leave to cool before turning out of tin to decorate. When cold the cake can be cut into two layers.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

Place chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream till nearly boiling then pour over chocolate, stirring gently till combined. Leave a room temperature till ganache has reached a spreadable consistency. Smooth generously between the layers and around the sides of cake. Cake can be topped with fresh berries or figs.

CHOCOLATE ICING:

Melt butter, add cocoa and vanilla. Add icing sugar and beat into a thick cream, adding boiling water as required to make a soft consistency. Icing will firm on cooling.

I made in a larger tin so only had one layer. Nice served with whipped cream.Image

 

 

 

Apricot and White Chocolate Fudge Slice

 

Apricot and white chocolate fudge

Apricot and white chocolate fudge

Every year I send this to my son for Christmas….he asks for it. Totally decadent (and NOT at all healthy) it’s a truly morish delight, even his Mum will keep a piece out for herself 🙂

It’s simple and fail proof but keep the recipe right – this should be a firm mixture and if it’s too soft add more biscuits and coconut.

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

125 g butter

350g shortbread biscuits

1 1/4 cup chopped apricots

350g white chocolate, chopped

1 cup coconut

Melt the butter and condensed milk together slowly. Crush the biscuits in a food processor (or bag and rolling pin) and transfer to a large bowl. Add coconut to the crumbs, stir in apricots and mix through the melted butter and condensed milk. Leave to cool a little then add chocolate. Sprinkle with coconut or drizzle with white chocolate. Mix thoroughly and press into a slice tin. Chill before cutting

Woohoo, we have berries again! Garden, kitchen and “stuff”.

Garden:

The garden is growing well and keeping us busy….well in fairness it’s keeping Roger more busy than I, summer and autumn are my times of busy….busy. Sorry this post seems rather long!

This morning Roger made a black mesh cage for the raspberries to keep to keep the birds off them. The three rows of berries are coming along nicely, so far we have had 1.25 kg off them. Not bad for the first week 🙂 Likewise the strawberries – a breakfast of strawberries, raspberries, banana and homemade yogurt is a good and welcome one!

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All the vegetables are growing nicely except the first patch of potatoes. We should be eating them by now and they are tiny, we have no idea why.This has had Roger researching and scratching his head. All the conditions have been good and there are no bugs on them. He read about thinning the top growth out to encourage bottom growth so if this hasn’t made an improvement  in two weeks these will have to come out to make way for something else. The frustrations of gardening sometimes!

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Tiny zucchini are appearing. We have 4 plants this year.

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Beetroot, carrots, onions, beans and garlic all looking good. We have multiple patches of these growing, in the front raised garden they are all more mature than this.

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This photo shows one of our few flower gardens we have left. It’s a rock garden following a path up the side of the house. This has beautiful stones walls like the one at the bottom however becomes overgrown by the many trailing plants in it. These are all going to be ripped out and the herb gardens will be transplanted and increased, plus strawberries will go in here. There are quite a few small ferns in here that will transplanted to the fern garden at the bottom and beside the steps on the other side of the house – this is my favourite spot to sit. It’s overgrown by trees and has the most beautiful energy to sit, calm or cool on a hot day so more ferns will be nice there.

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We decided this year to journal how much we are getting from the garden because we have no idea. It’s very easy to underestimate how much one is growing so it will be interesting to see exactly how many kgs of everything we have grown by end of autumn.

We have managed to collect 12 packets of seeds from a free giveaway with the bread we eat…$36 worth so far! Anything free is good, free seeds…. great. For NZ shoppers who like Ploughman’s Bread http://www.growyourownsandwich.co.nz/

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Kitchen:

In the kitchen I have been dealing with herbs; making mint sauce, lots of pesto, freezing and drying what seems to be an abundance before they seed and new growth begins. The freezers are getting cleaned up and we are trying to use up what is left ready for the new harvests. Bottling jars etc are all being tidied – oh my gosh, that was a mess. Shelves that were filled with food were all slowly replaced by empty jars chucked on them in a hurry. We have two jars of apples left and one jar of chutney so are waiting on the beetroot (beets) pickling onions etc to begin again, hopefully just a few more weeks.

I don’t post that many recipes for meals in my blog, the reason for this is they are reasonably basic – well heaps of variety but at the end of the day either meat (for hubby) and salads of whatever there is or meat and vegetables. No recipes used, good nutritious, tasty meals but no recipe needed. Healthy deserts or treats are where we get our “something different” from and I made these last week. I make them once every so often but never thought of putting them on here until I saw another blogger do so.

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Chocolate Fruit and Nuts:

220 g bar of chocolate, I use dark 70% cocoa

3 tablespoons coconut oil

fruit and nuts – dried apricots, strawberries, slivered almonds, peanuts, raisins etc

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler (I use 1 pot inside a larger pot of water). Cool a little to thicken then dip in whatever fruits you are using and lay on baking paper on dishes in the fridge. I use little dishes of nuts etc, pour chocolate over, mix and drop by tablespoons onto paper. Rum essence can be added to raisin ones, peppermint essence to plain chocolate. Simple but a relatively cheap treat I shall be making to add to Chrissy presents.

Chickens:

Production was falling off for eggs and they were getting smaller, we checked for mites and no sign of them but cleaned out their coup anyway and sprayed with a mixture of salt, vinegar and garlic. We wondered if they had parasites so gave them a mixture of 2 tablespoons cider vinegar and 3 cloves chopped garlic in their water bowls. Just over a week later we have much improved eggs, in fact they are really large! so the mix really works.

We lost one of our chooks a few weeks back. She was one that came in our first lot of ex poultry farm chooks and we had her 7 years which made her around 9. This was the first chicken Roger ever had to put down and he was most miserable having to do it.

Personal:

I have applied for a full time job at my work at which I still only do very irregular shifts. IF I get it it will be higher paid than what Roger is earning now and the plan is for Roger to take some time off from working, as I have done – to focus on the garden and where he would like to take it and to reassess what he would like to do work wise (or maybe study) Some time out. He’s an exceptionally hard working man and wearies himself so I think it would really be good for him. Finger’s crossed!!

And a month ago I mentioned a new boarder. She has gone. No, it didn’t work out!!

Almond, Quinoa and Pumpkin Seed Bread

A couple of weeks ago I posted a recipe for non wheat bread using oats and psyllium husk. https://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/10/26/nut-and-seed-bread-flourless/

I wanted to try making one using quinoa and googled to see if anyone had already tried this…and yes, they had! This uses quinoa flakes, almonds (ground), pumpkin seeds, flax seeds etc.

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For the full recipe please see here http://deliciouslyella.com/almond-quinoa-pumpkin-seed-bread/

I have to be honest and say that though this is nice I found the taste of pumpkin seeds too overpowering for me personally, there is 1 1/2 cups of them in this loaf, most of them processed to a flour. But, that is just me and this recipe is one that could be adapted to taste. I also used the pulped and dried almonds leftover from milk and just a little less water. Though not as economical to make as the oat one this is a good bread that is lovely toasted.

Quinoa Chocolate and Coconut Balls….2 ways

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Since going gluten free I have been baking for my husband but looking for other recipes to satisfy MY sweet tooth. There are many versions of these on the net, I looked at alot of them them then threw my own concoction together testing the flavours until I was happy with it. These are “cakey” in consistency but light, chocolaty but not too sweet or rich and they are yummy. This recipe made about 18 quite large balls, it could easily be halved.

2 cups cooked quinoa

1 cup dates

1/2 cup walnuts (or sunflower seeds)

2 tablespoons peanut butter

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons cocoa

3 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tsp vanilla

1 – 1 1/2 cups (approx) coconut

extra coconut for rolling

Put the dates and walnuts in a food processor and process till crumbly. Melt the coconut oil. Add all ingredients to dates and walnuts, starting with the one cup of coconut. Process till a consistency of dough that can be formed into balls, adding extra coconut if mixture too soft. Roll in coconut and chill.

Chocolate Cranberry Quinoa Balls

The second time I made these I changed the recipe a little. I used 1 cup of quinoa, omitted the peanut butter, increased the coconut to 2 cups, added 1 cup of cranberries.

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I chilled these then dipped in melted dark chocolate combined with 2 tsp coconut oil. Chill and keep refrigerated. These were wonderful too.

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Nut and Seed Bread (Flourless)

I came across this gorgeous recipe on Pinterest. Made with rolled oats and psyllium (to bind) it is studded with nuts, seeds and dried fruit. The original uses goji berries and hazelnuts, which looks delicious, however I just used what I had in the house – dates, walnuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds.

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1 cup nuts (any type) I used walnuts

1 cup of mixed seeds

1.5 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup dates

2 tablespoons oil

2 tablespoons honey or molasses

4 flat tablespoons of psyllium

1.5 cups of water

I added 1/2 tsp salt (not in original recipe)

Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the water mixed with the honey and oil – if the mixture is too wet add a little bit more water but I found mine was fine. I left mine in the bowl to absorb all the water for 1/2 hour, then tip into a paper lined loaf pan and press in firmly. Leave to sit for 2 – 4 hours until it is firm t touch and appears crusty along the top.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.Bake for 30 minutes until browned on top and feels firm. Remove from oven, gently remove from tin onto baking tray and put back into oven, upside down for a further 20 – 30 minutes till baked and crusty in appearance.

Leave to cool, wrap in paper overnight before cutting. Serve in thin slices.

I love this and can imagine making it often but will experiment with the nuts and fruits.  The recipe on Pinterest was from a Belgium site which needs to be translated, find here http://gotujebolubi.pl/niezwykly-chleb-bez-grama-maki/along with her lovely photos, one of which I have pinched because it just looks stunningImage

The woman who originally came up with this recipe can be found on My New Roots http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2013/02/the-life-changing-loaf-of-bread/ and she also has gorgeous photography and writes much more about this so please do pay her a visit if you are going to be trying this!

Nut milks (and using leftover pulp)

I just changed from dairy to nut milks a couple of weeks ago. This is expensive to buy, it’s cheaper and very easy to make. I will be making the walnut milk in future as we have heaps of these already. A bonus using the almonds is the leftover pulp which is delicious and can be used to lots of different ways.

Almond Milk:

Take one cup of almonds and soak in two cups of water for a minimum of four hours (overnight is fine).

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Drain and rinse the nuts. I leave the skins on feeling no need to remove them, the resulting milk is still white.

Put the nuts in a blender with 3 cups of fresh water. Blend till milky and almonds quite fine. Strain through a fine sieve or

muslin.

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That’s it 🙂

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(Edited) see Narf’s interesting comments below about how she makes her almond milk.

Walnut Milk:

Made the same way as above but us 4 cups water. The walnuts are alot softer and I find very little pulp remains at the end.

Almond Meal:

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This can be used as is or dried in the oven on a low temperature for several hours. It can also be frozen if desired for later use. I have been using it in smoothies, porridge and baking but am wanting to try some “cheeses” and pates. Below are some links for some recipes I have tried that are both delicious (the pulp must be dried for both) and a link for some others that sound nice.

Coconut and Almond Macaroons:

8oz dried almond meal

3/4 cup toasted coconut

2 egg whites

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 300 deg. Toast coconut by putting into small fring pan and cooking over lowish heat, stirring till golden. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Whisk the egg whites, sugar and vanilla together till blended and add to combined nut mixture. Drop heaped tablespoonsful (is that a word?) onto tray and bake till browned around edges and golden on top.

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Quinoa Almond Joy Bars:

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The recipe can be found here http://skinnyms.com/skinny-mini-desserts-quinoa-almond-joy-bars/

And a link with a few nice recipes is here http://cafe-janae.blogspot.co.nz/2008/07/what-to-do-with-nut-pulp.html

And one for Banana Bread courtesy of Jamie 🙂 http://www.elanaspantry.com/paleo-banana-bread/

Cinnamon Honey Roasted Nuts / Peanuts

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I love sugar spiced nuts but wanted to find a healthier option and found this recipe on http://skinnyms.com/slow-cooker-cinnamon-honey-nuts/. These can be cooked in a slow cooker but I did mine in the oven. I tried it with peanuts and they are good, very easy to make.

3 cups nuts of preference

1 egg white

1/3 cup honey

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 deg. Whisk or beat one egg white till soft peaks form, add the honey and cinnamon and mix well.

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Fold in nuts and pour into paper lined tin or onto lined tray.

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Bake for 20 minutes, tossing 2 or 3 times to prevent scorching.

Tip out onto bench to cool and crisp up.

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Very Yummy Savoury Scrolls :)

Cheese, pesto, bacon, sundried tomatoes and baby spinach wrapped in a light, buttery cheese scone mix, these are perfection.

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Preheat oven to 400 deg F and line a tray with baking paper.

Scone dough:

3 cups flour

6 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

black pepper

2 oz (50 gr) softened butter

1 cup grated cheese

1 1/3 cups milk

Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Rub in the softened butter and add the grated cheese. Make a well in the centre and add the milk. Mix from the inside out, drawing in the flour from the outer edges as you go. Only mix long enough to form into a evenly mixed dough (don’t knead the dough, it will toughen it) Tip onto a floured bench top or board and roll out to around a 1 cm (1/2″ thick) rectangle.

Topping:

3/4 cup grated cheese

3 rashers bacon, chopped

1 cup pesto

3/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped

Good handful of baby spinach leaves

I prefer to saute the bacon lightly before using in baking, it’s potional whether to do this or not. Spread the dough with the pesto, then spinach, cheese, sundried tomato and bacon pieces, leaving the outer edges bare.

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Roll up slowly, but firmly, as you would sushi. Using a sharp knife that has been dipped in flour, cut the scrolls into even slices, around 1 1/4 ” thick, I got 10 of these. Place carefully on tray and bake for around 10 – 12 minutes. Serve hot with butter.

These wouldn’t normally come under the guise of frugal food, but as I grow/make my own tomatoes, pesto and spinach these cost me very little to make. The pesto is a parsley and sunflower seed one I make and freeze in ice cube trays https://quarteracrelifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/parsley-sunflower-pesto/

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I saw a similar recipe last year in a magazine and always intended making something similar so this is what I came up with. The original recipe used plain dough and feta cheese in the filling which looked so good but I can’t run to feta cheese these days!

Enjoy these if you make them, they are delicious 🙂