Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Little rewards

Everyone knows I'm an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie kinda girl. No, let's not jump to specifics. I'm an oatmeal cookie kinda girl-forget the chocolate chip, peanut butter's just as good. But the whole Liver Detox and Low Allergy thing has some downsides, especially when it comes to cookies. Baking cakes with substitutes or muffins even, is not too big a deal, I might even find it better to eat. I feel better eating it and I have heaps of fun baking it. But the few attempts of low-fat cookie baking hasn't reeaaalllyyy worked out for me. Maybe til this one...it's not low fat or anything but definitely better for you, because the fat in it might have some benefits. I was inspired by Cooking Well's tahini chocolate chip cookies and Baking Bite's entry on baking chewy cookies and decided that I deserved some oatmeal chewychocochuck cookies but I really didn't want to feel bad so I came up with this!...

wheat-free chewychocochuck with tahini (makes 24-27)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup rice flour
1 heaping tablespoon potato flour (starch)
1/2 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp butter, softened
2 tbsp tahini
5 tbsp almond butter (storebought or home-made)
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp raw sugar*
1 egg
75g dark chocolate
1/3 cup chopped up dried dates
1 1/2 cup wholegrain rolled oats

1) combine first 5 ingredients together in a bowl, set aside
2) In another bowl, whisk butter, oil, tahini and almond butter together until smooth.
3) Add in egg and vanilla extract and whisk to comebine
4) Mix in the flours (mixture will be veryvery sticky)
5) Add in the oats and stir to combine, add 1-2 tbsp of water if too sticky
6) Add in chocolate and dates and mix well, adding 1-2 tbsp water to assist in mixing.
7) Bake at 175 degrees celcius for 12 minutes or longer if a crispier cookie is desired.
>The longer you bake it (16-17 min), the more chewy the dates will be, a little like raisins.

*I didn't add sugar when I baked mine and the bits without dates or chocolate were a little bland therefore I suggest adding a few tablespoons of raw sugar
**The cookies can even be gluten-free if GF rolled oats are used!
***I added peanut butter to half a batch but there wasn't much difference in the final texture so..save your calories!=)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Just in time

I was lucky yesterday to get some blueberries for $2.95 a punnet at Coles and while the Driscolis strawberries next to it looked absolutely stunning, all big, red and juicy, I much preferred the cheaper alternative: blueberries. And, I really really NEEDED to bake some blueberry muffins, it was a craving and went hand in hand with this month's Sugar High Friday-sweetsweet cravings.

Blueberry muffins have always struck me as quite American. Don't know why, don't know how I got that notion but the American kids on TV always had blueberry muffins for breakfast or for tea and their moms always seemed to have a fresh bucket of blueberries on hand, ready to whip up those gorgeous little gems. So I asked my mom when I was a kid, to get the Betty Crocker blueberry muffin mix and I was hooked. Then I outgrew Betty Crocker, the kick wasn't there and moved onto making my own blueberry muffins from scratch and they were amongst my first baking successes, then I had Candida and then I grew up and decided that copious amounts of sour cream and oil in my muffin mix just didn't cut it. Then I fell back in love when I made them healthier for me meaning: gluten-free and dairy-free.

Now, I'm happy. =)

Vic's Gluten-free, dairy-free Blueberry Muffins (makes 12)
1 cup rice flour (use the finest grind you can find, I get mine from Asian supermarkets)
1/3 amaranth flour (If unavailable, use rice flour instead)
2/3 cup potato flour
2 tsp baking powder (gluten-free)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xantham gum
*Sift all together

1/3 cup safflower/canola/sunflower oil
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 eggs
1 cup vanilla flavoured soy yoghurt
250g blueberries
2 tbsp soy/rice milk
3 tbsp raspberry jam, warmed
*Whisk eggs in a bowl until fluffy, slowly add in sugar and oil and whisk madly until fluffy
*Add (A) into egg mixture alternately with soy yoghurt and milk
*Fold blueberries and raspberry jam through and spoon into prepared muffin tin
*Bake at 170 degrees celcius for 18-20 minutes or until skewer inserted comes out clean.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gluten free and lovin' it!

Hey guys, just thought I'd give you guys a heads up and let you know that I am attempting to cook more 'proper' food. Like you know, the main meals and that kinda stuff and I'll be blogging about those adventures too. I still believe that dessert is the whole point of the meal (DUH!) so don't worry, the sweets will keep on coming. =)

Trying to be gluten-free has increased my curiosity in other food and other alternatives so here's what I had for lunch today.

Warm Quinoa (keen-wah) for lunch

1/4 cup quinoa
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup soy milk*
1/4 large packham pear, diced
1/2 tbsp linseed meal
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp raw sugar
2 tbsp granola/muesli (optional)
fruits of choice (I used strawberries)**

1) Mix all ingredients except for the last two in a small saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. To check that quinoa is cooked, the quinoa grain should be transparent with a tiny white center. Remove from heat

2) Add in 3 tbsp soy milk and stir in granolo/muesli if using and fruit.

*I use the sugar-free asian type of soy milk because it's made from water and milled soya beans whereas the kind that is sold by vitasoy and all has weird ingredients like safflower oil and malt extract.

**I want to try adding bananas, blueberries, mangoes and coconut. =) Should be yummy. Omit the muesli if you are gluten intolerant

DINNER! I was itching to get home from work to try these little babies out! Again, taken from my trusty Stoneage Fusion by Lisa Elks and adapted to what I had on hand...

Broccoli, Purple Sweet Potato and Carrot fritters (makes 4)

1 cup finely chopped broccoli, lightly steamed
1/3 cup grated carrot, heated in the microwave for 50 seconds on high
1/2 cup mashed purple sweet potato (ordinary is fine but not as sweet)
2 big tbsp rice flour
2 big tbsp buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1/2 cup soy milk
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

1) Mix flours and baking powder together, add in egg and milk and whisk to combine
2) Add in mashed sweet potato and mix well, add in broccoli, carrot, parsley, salt and pepper
3) Heat a skillet sprayed with olive oil spray and place 2 1/2 heaping tablespoonfuls for eat fritter, fry until browned then turn over and cook further. Serve with vinaigrette*

*Mix 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, dash of salt and juice of half a lime.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Walnut Chocolate Roughs

I'm awful when it comes to resisting chocolate, it almost makes me feel incomplete without it really. But I know I'll feel terribly awful if I did eat dairy much worse, chocolate, so I decided to make Walnut Chocolates but substitute the chocolate with this amazing dark gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate. Lo n' Behold, the chocolates didn't work out. Here's why...

I was supposed to roll teaspoonfuls of a walnut paste (made from processing 100g walnuts, 1/2 cup icing sugar and 2 tsp egg whites) into balls and then dip them into the dark chocolate but the walnut paste mixture seemed too dry and kept falling apart when I tried rolling it over and over again. But I had already melted the chocolate and I couldn't waste a perfectly fragrant walnut mixture so I dumped all of the walnut paste mixture, 3/4 cups of wholegrain rolled oats and 1/3 cups sweetened shredded coconut into the chocolate and mixed them all together, dropped them by rounded tablespoonfuls on a baking sheet and let it sit til it set. YUMMMYYY...

Walnut Chocolate Roughs

1 portion walnut paste (recipe below)*
3/4 cup wholegrain rolled oats
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut (I use McKenzies)
100g dark soy chocolate
chopped apricots, pawpaw, orange peel, crushed almonds**

1) Mix all together and drop by rounded 1/2 tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet and place in fridge to set.

*Walnut Paste:
100g walnuts
1/3 cup icing sugar
3 tsp egg whites

1) Process walnuts until finely ground
2) Add in icing sugar and egg whites and process until a moist paste like mixture forms, chill in the fridge for 15 minutes

**These ingredients are optional, they're just additions I thought I might add if I had them on hand...I'm especiall inclined towards the orange peel. =) JAFFAS!

Have fun guys!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Good food makes me happy...

So far my liver detox has been going good, well I claim it's a liver detox but I'm not really following any hard and fast rules. What I've been doing is avoiding all red meat (which is easy), avoiding things I'm allergic to (wheat, dairy, gluten) and trying to not eat when I'm really not hungry. So far I'm going...pretty well. Stocked up my fridge with fruits (CUSTARD APPLES and HONEYDEW!) and soy milk and soy icecream. I'm a happy girl!

My sister has this 'Stoneage Fusion' recipe book/file by Lisa Elks and it's been my diary for the past few weeks- I absolutely adoreADOREadore it. Everything in there sounds delicious and superdooper healthy, with tons of helpful substitutions and zillions of low-fat, low-allergy recipes that a girl like me needs! Which is very encouraging as well since i loveLOVE food and cooking. =) So, I've made her banana muffins a while back and this time I decided to try something NEW! the best thing about her collection of recipes is that all the ingredients are very easily available in ANY health food store.=) Here's an adaptation to her 'Beautiful Rice and Amaranth Muffins'

1 cup rice flour
1 cup amaranth flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum (or guar gum)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp bicarb soda
4 tbsp soy milk
1 large jar of baby food 'pear and banana' or 'pears' (Heinz has it)
1 cup stewed pears*
1 banana, mashed
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp raw sugar

1)Whisk eggs, honey, sugar and oil together until light and fluffy
2)Add in baby food, stewed pears and mashed banana
3)In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients (rice flour, amaranth flour, baking powder and xantham gum)
4)Combine bicarb soda and soy milk together, set aside
5)Add 1/2 or dry ingredients into oil mixture, followed by soy milk and finish with the remaining dry ingredients
6)Spoon into muffin tin and bake at 200 degrees celcius (fanforced: 190) for 10 minutes then lower to 180 (fanforced: 170) for an extra 15-18 minutes.

*Stewed pears:
-You can use pear halves in natural, unsweetened syrup instead
-to make your own: Dice one large peeled packham pear and place in a pot of simmering water with a little lemon juice and cinnamon. Cook until soft and tender. Drain and use as directed.

Apologies for the lack of photos but they aren't the most photogenic muffins, they keep well and taste awesome when warmed. =)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Liver Detox

My previous post has emphasized on the point that I am now way past my orginal weight and health because I've been gorging myself on wheat (I am wheat-intolerent) and dairy (I am slightly lactose intolerent) and all other things that are going to clog up my arteries. So, while my mom is now reading up on heaps of material about Magnesium and its health benefits, I have started on my new 'phase'. Okay, phase makes it sounds bad, I was meaning to say 'interest'. THE LIVER! I've decided to do a detox to ease the stress I am feeling due to the recent binge and I really do want to feel 'cleaner' hahahahhaa, so yes! I'm trying to do a semi liver detox, a full blown on is too straining and I underestimate my determination to follow through. So I'll start on a smaller hill and see how it goes. =)

Mommy left for home today, so now I'm all alone. Never imagined I'd feel THIS homesick since I've been looking forward to all the stuff I can accomplish this holiday but nonetheless, spent the entire day crying and wishing my mom was still here. I'd drag her on a walk right about now then binge on soy icecream after. But walking along just didn't feel nice today so I did something else that makes me feel happy- being in the kitchen!

Whipped up a luscious thick smoothie for dinner and watched snippets of Ugly Betty, Grey's Anatomy and BB07. I feel slightly better now, and sleeepy. Here's a rough idea of how the smoothie went! Try it out when you need something luxurious feeling but not too evil on your health.

Tofu Smoothie (serves you, and you only: don't share!)
1/4 pack of silken tofu
6-8 strawberries
1 1/2 bananas*
1/2 apple juice*

1) Mix all in a blender and BLENDDD!
2) Sit in front of the teevee, accompany smoothie with a large handful of dry roasted, unsalted cashews. =)

* I used 1 fresh banana and 1/2 frozen so I didn't add ice, you might want to add crushed ice
* I only had this apple, lemon & lime juice in my fridge, so try it with whatever juice you want to, and you may add more juice if it's too thick coz I didn't really measure the juice.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

This is what happens when...

SORRY GUYS, I WILL BLOG 'FOOD STUFF' SOON! Just thought I'd drop a note to say I'm not dead.=)

This is what happens when...
my mom visits me
both of us have an insane love for food
we have sweet teeth (i obviously inherited mine from her)
it's getting coolllldddd
we love all sorts of cuisine
we live to eat


yeap, No recipes today, no photos today, just an update! I'm getting fat!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Sugar Sugar how you get so fly

You all know I've got an addiction problem. I normally don't talk about it much but observe me and you'll notice it straight away. Geez, I'm soooo transparent. I went for lunch at the Conservatory at Crown today and omg, I made a bee-line for the dessert spread. So there were a substantial number of cakes and desserts, a deconstructed lamington (sponge cake covered in chocolate topped with dessicated coconut layered with whipped cream and jam), blood orange mousse cake (the blood orange flavour wasn't strong, just tasted like orange to me), lime custard (I liked this one, a layer of lime jellylike thing atop a creamy rich custard), dome shaped tiramisu and some others. Oh yes, bread and butter pudding but veryvery disappointing. The pudding wasn't warm to begin with and the custard had no vanilla beans or brandy or anything whatsoever. But I had one thing I looked forward to the entire time...

Ohwell, what can I say. When I'm in control of the sprinkles and all, it's just toooo hard to resist. Sorry I haven't been posting any recipes and that but I've been busy shopping and eating my heart out. I promise I'll get back into action soon so keep reading!=)

And, Mom and I decided to get somethin decadent from Laurent (a swanky looking joint with heaps of layer-upon-layer of sublime little cakes) so I got me a chocolate thing and I know, it's so dumb to forget what it's called but I'll try describing it. It had a Gianduja chocolate layer centered with a light whipped chocolate mousse-like layer and a sponge and...I'm not doing a very good job. Maybe because I was slightly disappointed with the cake because it tasted really...normal. Good quality for sure but still normal. I don't remember much of it... Maybe we made a bad choice. It was gorgeous though! The best part I must say would be the Pistachio Macaroon I got on the side, now that I remember. Chewy and crunchy and sticky, just like how a good french macaroon should be, but better- I heart pistachio. =)