Category Archives: cows milk free zone

Mint Choc Chip Icecream (dairy free)

It might be winter, but that doesn’t mean I have tired of my ice-cream  maker yet! I have been spectacularly bad at posting the homemade icecream I have made, but so far I have made:

  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Raspberry Sorbet
  • Watermelon Sorbet
  • Coconut Cream Icecream

And now, Mint Choc Chip!

I adapted the recipe from David Lebovitz, to make it dairy free. Having experimented with soy milks, soy cooking creams and coconut milks and creams, my best results have been a mixture of good soy milk (bonsoy preferrably) with coconut milk. It allows it to be thick and creamy like ‘real’ icecream, but does not overwhelm the flavour of what you are making.

I have combined a mixture of fresh mint and peppermint essence for this icecream as we decided that however wrong it may be, sometimes you just like the fake flavour! Oh and if you want that ‘natural’ green colour, add some food colouring!

The result was so good! A creamy icecream, full of flavour and I am a little ashamed to say that it did not last a week in our house!

Mint Chip Ice Cream

For the mint ice cream:
1 cup (250 ml) whole (or soy) milk
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream (I used coconut milk)
pinch of salt
2 cups packed (80 gr) fresh mint leaves
5 large egg yolks
A few drops of peppermint essence
For the chocolate chips:
5 ounces (140 gr) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

 1. In a medium saucepan, warm the (soy) milk, sugar, 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream (or coconut milk) , salt, and mint.

2. Once the mixture is hot and steaming, remove from heat and add the few drops of peppermint essence, cover, and let stand for an hour to infuse the mint flavor.

3. Remove the mint with a strainer, then press down with a spatula firmly to extract as much mint flavor and color as possible. (You can also use well-washed hands to do it as well, making sure the mixture isn’t too hot to safely handle.) Once the flavor is squeezed out, discard the mint.

4. Pour the remaining heavy cream (or coconut milk) into a large bowl and set the strainer over the top.

5. Rewarm the infused milk. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then slowly pour some of the warm mint mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.

6. Cook the custard, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. If using an instant read thermometer, it should read around 170ºF (77ºC).

7. Immediately strain the mixture into the cream, then stir the mixture over an ice bath until cool.

8. Refrigerate the mixture thoroughly, preferably overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While the mixture is freezing, melt the chocolate in a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, or in a microwave oven on low power, stirring until smooth. Place a storage container in the freezer.

9. When the ice cream in the machine is ready, scribble some of the chocolate into the container, then add a layer of the just-churned ice cream to the container. Scribble melted chocolate over the top of the ice cream, then quickly stir it in, breaking up the chocolate into irregular pieces. Continue layering the ice cream, scribbling more chocolate and stirring as you go.

When finished, cover and freeze until firm.

Gluten free chocolate torte

We were heading over to a friend’s house to meet their brand new baby boy and to catch up for dinner. The catch? One of us is allergic to dairy (me!) and the other is gluten intolerant (the new mum). I was in charge of dessert and so with many allergies to cater for, I headed towards the gluten free stable: a flourless chocolate cake.

However, I came across this recipe on Bake, Bike, Blog and was practically drooling! It was as suggested, a super rich chocolatey treat and went down very well. It was really moist and I loved the different taste the hazelnuts added to the cake.

Instead of adding berries to the top of the cake, I used some raspberry coulis which was delicious.

Super rich GF chocolate torte
From: Bake, Bike, Blog

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 200g butter (I used nutelex)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs amaretto or almond essence
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 eggs
  • Punnet of berries
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. Preheat oven to 160C. Grease and line the base of a round spring form cake pan.
  2. Melt the chocolate and butter together until smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the chocolate mixture with the cocoa, sugar and amaretto until smooth.
  4. Add the ground nuts and beat until combined.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each one is incorporated into the mixture before adding the next one.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  7. Bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan.
  8. Remove from pan, top with berries and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Chocolate Strawberry Tart

I’m not going to let the fact that I have really BAD photos of this tart stop me from blogging about it. It was just THAT good.

With a sugar cookie crust for the dough, chocolate mousse filling, fresh strawberries on top and then drizzled with chocolate ganache it is seriously indulgent and SO so wrong for you!

I made this for a family do a while back and they just about demolished it… leaving just enough for me to gorge myself on later that night.

The recipe comes from Une-Deux Senses

Chocolate Strawberry Tart
Yields: 1 9-inch tart

Sugar cookie dough, store bought or homemade
Chocolate shavings, for decoration (optional) 

For the chocolate mousse:
100grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 tbsn. water
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
pinch of coarse salt 

For the chocolate glaze:
170 grams bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tbsn. unsalted butter
1/2 tbsn. light corn syrup (omitted because we do not have that here in Aus!)
2 tsp. water 

To make the mousse, combine the chocolate and water in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat the chocolate until it is almost completely melted, siring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth. Set aside and let cool to near room temperature. In a clean, dry bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and salt. Whip on medium speed until stiff peaks form – they should be thick and smooth. Stir the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate mixture. Add 1/3 of the whipped egg whites to chocolate and fold gently to lighten up the mixture. Fold in the remaining egg whites gently just until no visible streaks are left. Spread onto the cooled tart shell and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Top with fresh strawberries.  

 With your prepared sugar cookie dough, press the dough into a 9″ or 10″ tart pan (with releasable bottom). Make sure to go up the sides and that the dough is even all around the pan (about 1/2 cm thick). Bake according to package directions until golden brown all over. The dough will puff up, so while it is still hot, use the back of a large spoon to press down the center of the hot dough to make a well so that you can fill it with mousse later. Set aside to cool completely. To make the glaze, combine all of the ingredients in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir frequently until the chocolate is almost completely melted, but do not overheat. Remove the glaze from the water bath and set aside to finish melting, stirring once or twice until perfectly smooth.

 To assemble, place your sugar cookie tart shell onto your serving plate. Pour about 1/4 cup of the glaze (just enough to cover the bottom) into the bottom of the tart shell and use a spoon to spread evenly across the bottom. Place in the refrigerator to set, about 10 minutes. Once set, spread the chocolate mousse into the tart shell, and top with hulled strawberries (tips pointing upwards). Use the remaining glaze to pour on top of the strawberries, then sprinkle with chocolate shavings and allow to refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set.

(Belated) Hot Cross Buns!

 

Sorry for the belated Easter baking post! Its been a busy couple of weeks! 

Easter for me really wasn’t feeling so Eastery. (Totally a word) As my blog name suggests, I am a MASSIVE sugar junkie and love all types of chocolate so for me, Easter is one big sugar coma, so seeing as I couldn’t eat any chocolate at all this year, I was in a bit of a pouty mood. Particularly when I saw this recipe for Creme egg cupcakes that was just genius! 

It got even worse when I realised I couldn’t buy hot cross buns - in particular the chocolate chip ones that I am so fond of. It never occured to me to actually make my own Hot Cross Buns, but on Good Friday that is exactly what I did. 

 

It was actually a lot easier than I thought it would be – but just a bit time consuming with the various waiting periods to get the yeast to rise. Being a slightly chilly day with a lack of sun, I had no nice warm spot to put these to help them rise, but it didn’t affect the rising too much! 

 

The end result was very similar to store bought hot cross buns – except with more fruit and less mixed spice! Mine were also quite orangey, but hey, the good thing about making your own is that you can make them taste however you prefer! 

I think I will definately be making a repeat batch next year – perhaps even a version with some dairy free chocolate in them to bring back the Easter spirit! 

Hot cross buns

 Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups (375ml) warm milk
  • 2 tsp (7g/1 sachet) dried yeast
  • 1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar
  • 60g butter, melted
  • 1 egg, lightly whisked
  • 4 1/2 cups (675g) plain 00 flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 cup (170g) sultanas
  • 1/4 cup (45g) currants
  • 1/4 cup (50g) mixed peel
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) cold water
  • 1/2 cup (170g) apricot jam
 Method
  1. Combine the milk, yeast and 1 tbs of sugar in a small bowl. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 10 minutes or until frothy. 
  2. Combine the milk mixture, butter and egg in a jug and whisk to combine. Combine 4 cups (600g) of flour, salt, mixed spice and remaining sugar in a bowl. Add the sultanas, currants and mixed peel and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the milk mixture and use a wooden spoon to stir until just combined, then use your hands to bring the dough together. 
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel and place in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.
  4. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 23cm square cake pan. Punch the dough down with your fist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 2-3 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Divide dough into 16 even pieces and shape each portion into a ball. Arrange dough portions, side by side, in the prepared pan. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes or until dough has risen 2cm.  
  5.  

  6. Meanwhile, mix the remaining flour and water together in a small bowl until a smooth paste forms. Place in a small plastic bag and snip off the end. Pipe a continuous line down the centre of each row of buns, lengthways and widthways, to form crosses. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180°C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through (buns are ready when they sound hollow when tapped on the base).
  7. Turn onto a wire rack. Place the jam in a small saucepan over high heat. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes or until jam melts. Strain through a fine sieve. Brush hot jam over the buns. Serve warm with butter, or toasted.  

Spanish Rice

  

There was something just so delicious about this recipe. It was simple to put together, not overly time consuming, but the end result was full of flavour! The only suggestion would be to increase the stock just a touch as I had to keep adding water to the pan until the rice cooked through. Other than that, a really delicious dinner that tasted like more effort than it was!   

Spanish rice 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 red onions, halved, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 3 large fresh green chillies, thickly sliced diagonally
  • 400g (2 cups) long-grain rice
  • 500ml (2 cups) beef stock
  • 1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed, drained
  • 125g (1/2 cup) sour cream
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander, leaves picked
  • I added 500g diced chicken
 Method
  1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook chicken until cooked through. Add the onion, garlic and chilli and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until soft.   
  2. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes or until glassy. Add the stock and tomato and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside for 10 minutes or until rice is tender. Add the beans and combine. 
  3. Divide among serving bowls. Top with sour cream and coriander to serve.    

 

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Source

Good Taste – July 2006

Chicken and spinach currry

 Looking for something new to do with a Roast Chicken? This curry is really simple, quick and easy to whip up and thankfully, also tastes really good. Admittedly, when I first picked out this recipe to make I skim read a little… and totally missed the part that said to include quite a bit of yoghurt. Not wanting a huge stomach ache, I just decided to omit it altogether. And despite being a touch watery (next time I will use some coconut cream) it didn’t affect the taste at all. 

The almonds in this dish really balance out the curry flavour, and I used a mixture of fresh and frozen spinach, because I am a bit of a spinach freak and it seemed like a good idea at the time! All in all, a quick dish that I will make again!  

Chicken and spinach curry 

 

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons korma curry paste
  • 1 1/2 cups Greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 large barbecued chicken, skin removed, meat roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch English spinach, leaves roughly chopped
  • steamed basmati rice, to serve  

Method

  1. Heat a small, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add almonds. Cook, shaking pan gently, for 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted. Remove to a plate.
  2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes or until soft. Add curry paste and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until aromatic. Add yoghurt and 1/2 cup cold water. Stir until well combined. 
  3. Add chicken. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes or until chicken is heated through. Add spinach. Cover and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until spinach has wilted. Spoon curry over rice. Top with toasted almonds. Serve.   

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Source

Super Food Ideas – August 2006

 

Lamb and pumpkin risotto

Ok so ignoring the fact that this picture totally reminds me of brains, this was a seriously YUMMY risotto.

I saw the recipe on Cara’s Cravings blog and thought that the recipe was a little unusual – minced lamb in a risotto? But it had the keyword: Pumpkin – and that totally sold me.

The result was a really delicious. There was a sweetness to the risotto, but the lamb and rosemary pair together so well and the balsamic cuts through the sweetness just enough to balance it all out. I definitely enjoyed this! And will likely be making it again! 

Lamb and Pumpkin Risotto with Rosemary and Balsamic Reduction
8 oz lamb leg, trimmed of visible fat, cubed, and ground in food processor (I just used 500g minced lamb. Not sure if that equals anything near 80z, but its what the supermarket had!)
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (skipped! I love wine in a risotto, but given that so many white wines contain dairy traces, I usually have to buy an expensive bottle to get an untainted wine, and I hate to waste it! I just added a half a cup extra of stock)
2 1/2 cups fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese (used goats milk feta instead)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
balsamic vinegar reduction* (I had a bottle of balsamic that I just drizzled on instead of making it)

In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a simmer. Cover the broth and keep warm over low heat.
In a large heavy saucepan coated with cooking spray, brown lamb over medium heat for a few minutes. Add the onion, and saute until tender, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir to coat. Add the wine and simmer until the wine has almost completely evaporated, about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup of simmering broth and stir until almost completely absorbed, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition of broth to absorb before adding the next, until the rice is tender and creamy, about 25 to 30 minutes total. Remove from the heat. Stir in pumpkin, cheese, and rosemary. Transfer to bowls and drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction. 2 servings. (I got 4 servings… but that may have been because of the extra meat)

(The only thing I did extra was to use the tip from the last pumpkin risotto I made, and did not stir it, but rather just agitated it by shaking the pan. I dont know why, but this totally works to help make the rice creamier.)

Bondi Chai Vanilla and Honey Cupcakes with Cinnamon buttercream

I totally NEVER win anything! I put it down to my extremely common first and last name. But a while back I was fortunate enough to win a packet of Vanilla and Honey Bondi chai from Something by Kate! Its taken me a while to get around to making them, but I finally did!

I made these for an Engagement party recently held for some good friends of mine. They are big chai latte drinkers, so I knew these would be right up their alley! I must confess though, I have NEVER tasted chai before so the entire time I was tasting the batter thinking to myself, I wonder if this is what it is meant to taste like?

No matter though, I really liked these cupcakes! They were sweet and spicy at the same time, and the honey flavour in them went together really well. And I now quite like a chai! (got to use up the rest of the bag!) They did taste better once they had a bit of time to really cool down, and in truth, my buttercream icing failed (note: if you want to make it, make sure you have a very powerful stand mixer as my handheld one is not up to the task) to hold its shape, but a bit of icing sugar mixed in there made it a less runny version and the honey cinnamon taste was a really good compliment to the vanilla chai honey cupcake!

Chai and honey cupcakes

 3 chai spice tea bags
2/3 cup boiling water
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup honey
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup buttermilk
1 large egg at room temperature

Position rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 175C. Line a standard muffin tray with paper liners. In a small bowl, steep the teabags in  the boiling water for 5 minutes. (Or if using Bondi Chai, please put 3 serves of tea in bowl, as per packet instructions.) Discard the tea bags and let the tea cool to room temperature. 

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl combine the honey, melted butter, buttermilk, chai mixture and egg. Add the flour and using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat until just combined.

Divide the batter evenly amongst the muffin cups, filling until about ¾ full. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean (around 15-20 minutes)

Let the cupcakes cool completely (about 1 hour) before icing.

 Basic Buttercream

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar
Pinch salt
1 cup butter, divided into pieces
Cinnamon for flavouring
Dash of honey for flavouring 

In a large, clean, heatproof bowl combine the egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over, but not touching, simmering water. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch – roughly 2 minutes. 

Remove the bowl from a saucepan. Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg white mixture until fluffy, cooled to room temperature and holds stiff peaks, about 6 minutes.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the salt and butter, a few pieces at a time, beating well after each addition. If the frosting appears to separate or is very liquid after the butter is added, continue to beat on high speed until smooth and creamy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the flavouring of your choice and frost away.

Pumpkin risotto

Normally, I find the recipes in the Masterchef cookbook just a little TOO challenging for my skills. As much as I would love to give the croquembouche a go… I just dont really think its in my future! But they did have a really good looking pumpkin risotto recipe in there. Normally when I do pumpkin in my risotto it is as roasted chunks, but this way gives it such a smooth, creamy texture. Needless to say, the boy and I both LOVED this. I added in a shredded bbq chicken to give the boy his meat, but you really dont need it.

Having made this dairy free too (nutellex instead of butter and no parmesan) I can say it kept its uber smooth creamy taste. Seriously people, this is one risotto you have to make.

Pumpkin Risotto

4 cups (1 litre) chicken stock
60g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 ½ cups arborio rice
1/3 cup white wine
200g piece of pumpkin, peeled, seeded and grated
½ cup parmesan, finely grated
50g fetta
Basil leaves, to garnish
Olive oil, to drizzle 

George says that when you’re cooking risotto, don’t stir – agitate! You don’t want to break up the rice grains and create starch. The risotto should be creamy, not starchy. (Never knew this… followed his advice, and yep, definately a creamier taste!)

  1. Bring stock to boil in a medium saucepan with 1 cup water. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until required.
  2. Melt one third of the butter in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic over medium heat until translucent. Add the rice and coat in the butter. Pour in the wine around the edge of the pan.
  3. Add the hot stock mixture a little at a time, just enough to cover the rice. Simmer, shaking the pan occasionally until the stock is absorbed. Keep adding stock in  batches, shaking the rice as it cooks. This will take 20-25 minutes until all the stock is used and the rice is creamy.
  4. Meanwhile combine the pumpkin and half the remaining butter in a medium saucepan. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until very soft. Mash until smooth.
  5. Add the remaining butter to the rice, along with the pumpkin puree and the parmesan. Gently fold through until just combined. Spoon onto a serving plate and crumble the fetta over. Sprinkle with basil leaves and drizzle with olive oil.

Cara’s Amazingly Creamy Pumpkin Penne

I am a bit of a pumpkin freak. I could eat it in every meal and never get sick of it. I constantly lament that we do not have all those fantastic varieties of pumpkin I see on American blogs (oh what I would give to find a spaghetti squash!) so I have to be content with my butternut pumpkin.

I recently came across the Cara’s Cravings blog,  and she is a girl after my own heart! She has so many uses for pumpkin and I am just jealous that she has access to all those crazy pumpkin and squash varieties! (Is it weird to consider growing my own…) and she also tries to make everything as healthy as possible, which is fine by me!

The below recipe was DELICIOUS! I had to leave out the cottage cheese because of my allergy but I substituted by using a touch more pumpkin, goats milk feta cheese and a touch more soy milk. I wasnt expecting this to be so yummy. And bonus points? The boy liked it! The boy who tolerates my crazy pumpkin addiction by limiting me to one pumpkin recipe per week.

I think I will definately be trying out so more of her pumpkin recipes in the near future. (Sorry Ben).

Amazingly Creamy Pumpkin Penne


Ingredients
4 oz penne pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 75gm)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
about 2T chopped fresh sage
2 links cooked chicken sausage, sliced (see note)
1/2 cup low fat cottage cheese (1% milk fat)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup nonfat milk
pinch of nutmeg
5oz torn spinach, thick stems removed
grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese, optional

Directions
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add onions and cook gently for about 10-15minutes, until softened and beginning to caramelize. Add garlic, sage, and chicken sausage; continue to saute.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions.

In a blender, combine combine pumpkin, cottage cheese, and milk. Blend until no lumps are present. Add to sausage mixture in skillet and continue to cook over low heat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg.

Drain pasta and return to pot over low heat. Add sausage mixture and baby spinach, and toss together. Cover for a few minutes to let the spinach wilt. Serve with parmesan cheese, if desired.