Quinoa Snack Bars with Nuts & Seeds

I cannot believe how popular these were over the weekend.  They were all gobbled up in a couple of mouthfuls.  I’m so glad you all enjoyed them so much.  🙂  So here it is girls!

I had a moment on Friday when I needed a healthy snack.  I searched the cupboards and found some rice puffs and quinoa flakes.  So I had a bit of a play around and believe it or not came up with these little beauties.  I used a mix of pepitas, sunflower kernels and pine nuts for these bars but you could make your own mix.

I made a fresh batch today without the coconut sugar and they are just as yummy…. and they’re all mine this time.  Hee hee hee.

Quinoa Snack Bars with Nuts & Seeds

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 15

1½ cups puffed rice
200g packet mixed nuts & seeds (roughly 1½ cups)
1 cup quinoa flakes
½ cup coconut sugar (optional)
½ cup honey
½ cup coconut oil

Add the puffed rice, nuts and seeds to a bowl.  You could dry fry the quinoa flakes in a frying pan for about 5 mins but this is optional.  Add the quinoa flakes to the bowl and mix through.

In the same frying pan or a saucepan add the sugar, honey and oil and melt over a medium heat.  The oil will melt quickly so keep an eye on it.  If you see a few bubbles forming remove from the heat immediately.  Add this to the dry mixture and mix through thoroughly.

Line your pan with baking paper and pour the mixture into the pan.  Press down firmly with your fingers and place it in the fridge for about ½ hour.  Cut into slices and wrap each one in glad wrap.

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Quirky Quinoa Salad in a Jar

Salads in jars are trending at the moment and I think it’s a super idea.  It’s perfect for lunch or dinner on the go, taking to BBQ’s, picnics or school lunches and can be prepared a day or two ahead.

The salad depends on the order of layering to avoid it from becoming soggy.  Start with the dressing and follow with a non-absorbent veggie.  Continue layering and finish with the most absorbent veggie.  When you empty the jar everything will be in reverse.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Kernels of 1 corn
½ cup uncooked red quinoa
1 cup water (or chicken or vegetable stock)
½ small pumpkin, diced (or sweet potato)
Handful of ricotta cheese, crumbled
1 handful pine nuts
1 handful spinach leaves

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Cook the corn, allow to cool down, and cut off the kernels.  Cook the quinoa in water (or stock) and allow to cool down.  Roast the pumpkin for about ½ hour, turning halfway through, and allow to cool down.

In a screw top jar or similar start with your choice of dressing and follow with the corn, quinoa, pumpkin (or sweet potato), cheese, pine nuts and spinach leaves.  Close the jar and stand upright.  When ready to serve tip the salad upside down on to a plate and enjoy!

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful, fulfilling and Happy New Year.

Thank you all for your wonderful support and feedback and I look forward to posting more recipes to you in the new year.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

Strawberry, Kiwi & Coconut Tartlets

With Christmas just around the corner who could resist these little tarts.  Why not indulge a little over Christmas?  If you are pushed for time in the kitchen these tarts are very quick and easy.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 4 Tarts

135 g unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1½ tbsp coconut oil
1½ tbsp honey
½ cup coconut flour
4 tart tins (base measuring 6.5 cm)

Topping

300g cream
½ cup desiccated coconut (optional)
250g punnet strawberries
1 kiwi fruit

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Combine butter, water, oil and honey in a medium microwave safe bowl.  Melt in the microwave for about 1 min, stirring half way through.  Sift the flour into the wet ingredients and stir (for about a minute or two) until it becomes a dough.  See tip below.

Divide the dough between 4 tart tins and press in with your fingers.  Prick the base with a fork.  Bake for about 10-15 mins or until lightly browned.  Let them cool down before removing from the tart tins.  I left mine in the fridge overnight before filling them.

Meanwhile whisk the cream to soft peaks.  Fold through the coconut and spoon into the shells.  Top with strawberries and kiwi fruit or your choice of fruit.

Tip:  Coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture.  I’d say about 3 times more than regular wheat flour.  When mixing the flour with the wet ingredients it may take a minute or two to get the right consistency because the flour needs to absorb the moisture.  I started with a 1/3 cup flour but found it was slightly runny so I upped it to ½ cup.  Voila!

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

You might be asking what Riscotta balls are?  I decided to mix risotto with ricotta cheese and came up with the name Riscotta.  They’re inspired by Arancini balls which are usually filled with parmesan cheese.  They’re crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside with plenty of texture.  Let me know what you think.

They are a bit messy to roll into balls but well worth it in the end.  I made the mistake of removing some from the oil with a pronged slotted spoon and ended up stabbing them to death.  Oops!  Just use a regular slotted spoon.  LOL.

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

Pumpkin & Spinach Riscotta Balls

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 24

300g pumpkin, diced
4 cups homemade vegetable stock or chicken stock (I used chicken stock)
2 tsp olive oil
½ large onion, diced
1 garlic, crushed
1½ cups Arborio rice
Roughly 50g spinach, stems removed
½ cup pine nuts
Homemade ricotta cheese
Rice crumbs (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 200°C.

Roast your pumpkin for about ½ hour until tender.  In the meantime in a saucepan bring your stock to a simmer.  In a separate pot, heat the oil and sauté the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the rice and stir for about 2 mins.  Add 1 cup of stock at a time to the rice until absorbed.  Turn off the heat.  Add the pumpkin, spinach and pine nuts and stir in gently until the spinach has wilted.

Lay the rice out on a baking tray to cool a little.  Roll into balls about a ¼ cup in size and insert some ricotta cheese into the centre.  Roll in rice crumbs (optional).  Fry in vegetable oil (fully immersed) until golden brown.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Little Miss Muffet ate what?  Curds and Whey?  I loved my nursery rhymes as a little girl but that sounded awful.  It happens to be Ricotta Cheese or Cottage Cheese.

The curd is the ricotta cheese and the remaining liquid is whey.  Whey is said to be very good for your skin and the Swiss are known to add it to their baths to soak in.  Others reserve and substitute it for water in bread making or pizza bases, or even add a little to their drinks.

If you have half an hour to spare, give this a go and enjoy your curds and whey.  Just keep an eye out for spiders! LOL.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes about 2 ½ cups

8 cups (2 litres) full cream milk (avoid low-fat or UHT milk)
½ cup full cream
1 tsp salt
¼ cup lemon juice (from 1½ large lemons)

Pour the milk, cream and salt into a large saucepan and gradually heat until almost boiling (when bubbles and froth start to appear turn down to simmer).  If it boils remove it from the heat.  Add the lemon juice and stir only once.  Simmer for 1-2 minutes.  It should start to separate now.  Remove it from the heat and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Place a fine sieve over a large bowl (or use 2 layers of muslin over a colander), pour the milk into the sieve and let it drain for about 1 hour or overnight until you get your desired consistency.

The ricotta will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Tip:  If you would like a dryer ricotta, let it drain for longer.  If the ricotta is too dry, add some of the whey back into the curd.

Honey Almond Snaps

Have you planned a snack for Santa this Xmas Eve?  I’m sure he would love these knowing your children made them.  You might like to make a double batch because they will disappear faster than Santa can say ‘Ho Ho Ho’.

Pictured by Deborah

Pictured by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

Makes 32

60g butter or coconut oil, melted (I used coconut oil)
1/3 cup honey
¼ tsp bi-carb soda
2 cups almond flour or almond meal (I used almond meal)
¼ cup almonds, flaked (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C.

Sift the flour into a bowl.  Melt the butter (or coconut oil) and honey together in a saucepan.  Add the bi-carb soda and remove from the heat.  Add to the flour and mix to combine.  Place ½ tablespoons of the mixture on a lined baking tray and flatten slightly.  Sprinkle with flaked almonds.  Cook for 8-10 mins or until golden brown.  They will flatten out more so leave enough space between them.  Leave for 10 mins before transferring to a cooling rack because they will still be soft.

Tip:  Almond flour or almond meal has moisture in it compared with regular wheat flours because there are natural oils in almonds.  The longer you store this flour, the more moisture it will produce, so I would recommend storing it in the fridge for up to a month.  I’ve also heard that it lasts for up to 6-8 months in the freezer although you should take it out ½ hour before using it.

Garlic Tiger Prawns

Imagine a romantic moonlight dinner with a plate of succulent prawns… mmm.

The moonlight is not so good for the prawns though, because it’s the best time to go prawning.  My parents love prawning and often catch far too many to eat so they give them away to their friends.  Great holiday memories and a lot of fun.

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

(Makes 4 small servings or 1 large serving)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil
60 g butter
4 spring onions, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, de-seeded, finely diced
24 large uncooked tiger prawns, peeled, de-veined with tails left on
Salt & pepper to taste

In a pan over a medium heat, melt the butter and oil.  Add the spring onions, garlic, chillies and prawns and cook for another 2-3 mins.  (The prawns should turn pink when they are cooked.)  Season with salt and pepper.  Divide the ingredients 4 ways if you are using small dishes.

Compliment with a serving of Jasmine rice.

Leek & Potato Soup

Do you sometimes find a recipe that you love but it has a gazillion ingredients?  I prefer simple and easy recipes so I’ve come up with this one to warm your bellies.  Now you can spend more time in front of the fire instead of the stove.

Photographed by Deborah

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

(Makes 5 cups)

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 leeks, sliced
2 potatoes, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
4 sprigs thyme
Salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan and the onion, leeks and garlic on a low heat until lightly browned.  Add the potatoes, thyme and stock and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 25-30 mins with the lid on or until the potatoes are tender.

Season with salt and pepper.  Serve as it is (chunky) or purée with a blender until smooth.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Is it safe for dogs to eat pumpkin or sweet potato?

Today being a sunny day I decided to eat outside.  I put my soup on the table and went inside to grab a spoon.  When I returned, the neighbour’s little dog, Shep greeted me at the door with an orange goatee and a trail of soup droppings.  He looked so cute and innocent.  I wish I’d thought to take a photo.

There’s nothing better than a bowl of warm soup on a winter’s day.  Shep must have thought so too.  I would have let him finish it but not sure if it’s good for him.  Oh and if you’re wondering, I threw out his serving and gave myself a fresh bowl.  LOL.

You can substitute sweet potato with potato if you like.  It’s just as good.  Enjoy!  I think Shep did.

Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup

Photographed by Deborah

√ Wheat Free, √ Yeast Free, √ Egg Free, √ MSG Free, √ Gluten Free

(Makes 7½ cups)

750g pumpkin, cubed
2 leeks or 2 large onions, sliced
250g sweet potato, cubed
4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock
1 cup cream
Salt & pepper

Place pumpkin, leeks or onions, sweet potato and chicken stock into a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil, then simmer uncovered for about 25 minutes or until vegetables are soft.  Let it cool a little and purée with a blender until smooth.

Add the cream and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for another 5 mins.  I usually add a dollop of cream before serving, swirl it around and garnish with parsley.