Potato and Almond (or Sunflower/Sesame) Crackers

Potato and almond crackers (2)-001
I love snacking on crackers packed with seeds and crunchy goodness, but alas the MaMT kids turn their noses up at any crackers that are remotely ‘seedy’ (although Miss 13yo absolutely loves Five-Seed Bread!?).  For me, the more seeds, the better.  The same goes for soups and stews, the chunkier the better.   I just love all that crunching and munching!
Anyway, this recipe is one I’ve tweaked around with.  These crackers are really plain, so they suit my fussy peeps and are exceedingly moreish!
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Mill 10 seconds / speed 9:
  • 200g slivered, flaked or blanched almonds – I have also used sunflower seeds, but they don’t taste quite as nice – add a little more seasoning perhaps.  Sesame seeds might be another alternative, but I haven’t tried yet.
  • 50g linseeds
  • 1/2 tsp white peppercorns ((optional, for extra zing, or use dried thyme or rosemary)
Add and sift 6 seconds/ speed 6:
  • 100g potato starch or arrowroot (or cornflour, if not grain-free)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
Add and blend 5 seconds / speed 6, until bound together nicely:
  • 30g olive oil 
  • 100g cold water (add more for binding, if necessary)
Knead for 20 seconds then tip out on a sheet of greaseproof.  Form into a ball and if time, place in fridge for 20 minutes or so.  I’m usually in a rush so don’t bother.
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Split the dough into two and roll out one lot on the greaseproof with a piece of cling wrap on top, until as thin as possible.  Peel off the cling wrap and set this aside for the moment. Pick up the greaseproof with the rolled dough and pop onto a suitably sized baking sheet.  Set aside while you grab another piece of greaseproof and repeat with the other half of dough.
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Score the dough into squares or rectangles and sprinkle with a few sesame seeds, if desired.
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Bake at 220degs / 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and carefully turn the crackers over (use tongs if you don’t have asbestos fingers like me).  They should be easy to pull apart where scored, so I tend to separate and spread the crackers out.  Bake for another 5 minutes.  Remove and break away the ones on the edge as these will have cooked more than the middle section.  Pop the middle section of crackers back into the oven while it cools, or for a few more minutes, if you’re going to continue using your oven for something else.
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Cool and enjoy on their own or with your favourite dip!

ABC Mousse with orange and wheatgrass

Les' tweaked avocado mousse

ABC (Avocado, Banana, Chocolate) Mousse with orange and wheatgrass

Well, I have to admit, my all-time favourite chocolate mousse is Quirky Cooking’s raw chocolate mousse/semi-freddo, but I only tend to make it as a special treat now.  Instead, and given the virtues of the very versatile, creamy, Vitamin E rich and good fat containing avocado, I like to make a mousse with this and use fresh fruit to sweeten, rather than dried fruit with its concentrated sugars.

Wheatgrass has also popped up on my radar a few times of late, but it’s usually in smoothie recipes.  I don’t really ‘do’ smoothies.  However, on spying a wheatgrass smoothie recipe in the March 2015 issue of the Thermieliving magazine, I looked at a couple of the ingredients (banana and orange), and started thinking, ‘hmm, add some cocoa/cacao powder), combined with an avocado, and you have yourself a nice mousse’!  Thus, the inspiration for this recipe.  I didn’t add any further sweetener for the first couple of tries.  I liked it, Mr MaMT ate it without complaint, Miss 13yo liked it,  but Mr 16yo didn’t.  However, on the latter occasion, I added about 6 drops of stevia liquid (which I picked up in Oz a few years ago and is rapidly nearing its use-by date now) and, et voila, it gave it the perfect lift!  Otherwise, you could just add some rice or maple syrup for that extra edge.  If you’re not nut-free, a tablespoon of nut butter also goes down quite well.

Breakfast or dessert?  Here it is:

Add to the TM bowl and whizz up for 10 seconds / speed 9:

  • A handful or about 100g small ice cubes
  • Zest of an orange (peeled off using a veggie peeler, avoiding the white pith)

Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Add and whizz up 10 seconds / speed 9:

  • The flesh of the orange used earlier – peel it, discarding the white pith – about 150g
  • 1 average sized banana (about 100g)
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados (about 250g)
  • 30g cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or extract, if that’s all you have)
  • 2 tbs wheatgrass powder (ensure the packaging is labelled gluten free)
  • 6 drops stevia liquid* OR rice/maple syrup to personal taste – start with 1 tbs and add to desired sweetness range
  • 1 tbs nut butter (optional)

Scrape down the sides and continue blending for another 30 seconds or more, using the TM spatula to assist, until smooth and creamy.

Serve in small ramekins (makes 6-8 portions) and decorate with desiccated coconut, or chopped nuts, if not nut free.

You won’t need more than one serving, as it’s very filling!

stevia

*2-3 drops of stevia liquid is approximately the sweetness of 1 tsp sugar

Stevia price

Not cheap, but you don’t need much of it. I’ve had this 30ml bottle on the go for 18 months!

 

 

Savoury flapjacks for lunch and/or snacks

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It was such a joy to come across a gluten free cafe last month when we accompanied Mr MaMT on one of his business trips, during the hols.    The owner of the cafe was a nutritional therapist and told us that she liked to put together a healthy, nutrient dense lunch menu at reasonable prices – which was just what we needed when we were on our travels!
Anyway, this savoury flapjack is inspired by the ‘seed jack’ Miss 13yo chose with her large plate of chopped salads, and it’s now something I regularly make and add to my 16yo boy’s lunchbox for a protein punch.  Plus I tell him the zinc from the seeds will help his hormonal skin! 😉.  Miss 13yo might take a slice for her lunch with some side salad and Mr MaMT and I also enjoy a slice with our lunch-time soup, as opposed to the usual bread … Very versatile!
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Mill 10 seconds/ speed 9:
  • 200g mixed seeds (I use a mixture of pumpkin/ sunflower / chia / linseed / sesame)
Set aside.
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Add to bowl and chop 3-5 seconds / speed 6:
  • 200g strong (organic) cheddar, cut into 1cm cubes.  (On one occasion, I even used up some halloumi as no-one would eat it otherwise)
Set aside with the seeds
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Add and give them 3-4 turbo blasts until neatly chopped:
  • 200g roughly chopped mixed veggies (I use cabbage, onion and carrot)
Add and mix 10 seconds/ reverse / speed 4:
  • 2 eggs
  • Ground seeds
  • ‘Grated’ cheese
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder (opt)
  • Mixed herbs of choice
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric (opt)
Give the mix a manual stir with the TM spatula, if necessary, then pop into a greaseproof lined 25 x 20 cm tin (approx) and bake 20 minutes / 200 degs
Remove from tin with the baking paper and once cooled a little, cut into 8 rectangular portions.
Refrigerate or freeze and add to your kids’ lunchboxes, as required.

Chunky Pork and Veggie Chilli

Chunky Pork chilli-002

A chunky pork chilli, inspired by this recipe recently.  I’ve added and taken away, tweaked to Thermie standard and absolutely loved every minute I was eating it!  Went down well with the rest of the family too …

Add and chop 3 seconds / speed 7:

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 red pepper/capsicum, quartered
  • 1 fresh red chilli (or use 1/2 tsp chilli powder with the other dry spices)
  • 2 garlic cloves

Add and cook 5 minutes / 100 degs / reverse / speed 1:

  • 500g pork fillet, free range if poss, diced into 2cm cubes
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Add and cook 15 minutes / 100 degs / reverse / speed 1:

  • 400g can chopped tomatoes*
  • 400g can chick peas, drained and rinsed*
  • 250g sweet potato, peeled and diced into 1-2cm cubes
  • 40g tomato paste
  • 1 tbs stock paste
  • 20g balsamic vinegar

Add and cook 5 minutes / 100 degs / reverse / speed 1:

  • 400g can of kidney beans, (or other beans of choice) drained and rinsed

Taste and add further seasoning, if required.

Serve with brown/white basmati or cauliflower rice and a side salad.  Very hearty!

Alternatively, you could serve up with corn chips or cornbread.

Tips:

* My family are pretty fussy when it comes to lots of chunky veggies in a dish and Mr MaMT won’t look a chick-pea in the eye, in its natural state, so I tend to whizz up a can of plum tomatoes and chick peas before I start and just set aside to add later with the sweet potato etc.

Mixed Spice

I seem to use a lot of mixed spice of late, I think because I’m always making Quirky Cooking’s baked bean sauce (without the meat and I purée it, then add cooked beans to it at the end), as Master MaMT loves beans on toast for brekkie.  Well, what better way to set up a 16 yo for the day?  Miss MaMT partakes occasionally, but she’s less of a creature of habit.  Anyway, it means I’m ‘bean juice making’ a few times a week and going through mixed spice like no business – then there’s Christmas baking to think of!

Mixed Spice-001

Anyway, while I was in the supermarket recently, I had a quick squizz at the ingredients and thought “I have all of these ingredients at home; I don’t need to buy this!”.  Away and went and this is what I did (although I made a double batch):

Popped a jar on top of my electronic scales (more accurate than Thermie for the smaller amounts) and measured in:

  • 20g ground cinnamon 
  • 20g ground coriander
  • 2g carraway seeds (grind down first in a pestle and mortar, if you wish)
  • 3g nutmeg powder
  • 3g ginger powder
  • 3g ground cloves

Popped the lid on the jar and shook to mix in the spices.  Job done!

Chocolate Pumpkin Slice

Chocolate Pumpkin Brownie (1)-001

Well, I’ve had this pumpkin slice on the go for some weeks, so much so, I can’t remember where I got the original idea from.  I think an American site somewhere.  Anyway, I’ve just had to tweak and refine it a little more, but the family love it, even with my toned down sweetness.  Add extra sweetener to taste, if you think you need it.  Make it nut-free by using rice milk and coconut oil.  For a grain-free idea, see tips at the end.

Mill 1 minute / speed 9:

  • 210g grains – I use a mix of brown rice+millet+jowar+buckwheat – use all rice, if you wish!

Add and sift 6 seconds / speed 6:

  • 60g potato starch
  • 30g tapioca starch/flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Generous pinch salt

Set aside

Mill 10 seconds / speed 9:

  • 100g chopped dates (or medjool, if you prefer)
  • add in about 50g of the flour mix – makes for a finer mill of the dates

Set this aside with the rest of the flour mix

Add and blend 20 seconds / speed 6:

  • 600g butternut pumpkin puree* (sweet potato would be good too)
  • 50-80g maple or rice syrup, depending on where you are on the sweetness scale!  For us, less is more …
  • 120g almond milk
  • 70g almond oil (or macadamia/coconut oil)

Add and blend 10 seconds / speed 5:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla vanilla/extract

Add and blend 15 seconds / speed 5, using spatula:

  • 300g gf flour and 100g date mix
  • 60g cocoa powder

Give the mixture a good manual mix with the TM spatula

Pour into a lined brownie tin

Bake at 175degs f/f 30-35 minutes (test if cooked, using a skewer in the middle and if it comes out almost clean, you’re done!  Gently pull away the greaseproof and cool on a wire rack.

Serve as is, with yoghurt, cashew vanilla custard, or simply spread with a chocolate avocado frosting:

Whizz up a few times until smooth on speed 3-4, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between times:

  • 1 large and very ripe avocado, de-skinned and de-stoned
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (sorry, forgot to measure in grams)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (ditto)

Tips: 

*  If you have frozen pumpkin puree in ice cube blocks, throw them into the TM bowl and heat 5 minutes / 37 degs / speed 2 to defrost and then proceed with adding the remaining wet ingredients and blending.

For a grain-free alternative:

Mill 130g buckwheat and add 20g tapioca flour and 50g coconut flour + the other dry ingredients and sift. Also add an extra egg or you could try 1-2 portions chia gel.

In the grain free version that I’ve subsequently tried, I used some orange purée instead of pumpkin purée and found I had to cook for an extra 15 minutes. This may have been due to the fact that I baked it in a loaf tin as well. Just use a skewer inserted in the centre to test and add extra cooking time in 5 minute increments, as required. Even if there’s still a little ‘moistness’ on the tip of your skewer – this is fine. It just adds a bit of a fudgey texture.

Allow to completely cool and firm up before slicing. 😝

Chocolate Pumpkin Slice with Cashew Custard

Easiyo Dairy Vanilla Yoghurt a la Thermomix (TM31)

Easiyo (2)
I ‘hear’ alot of talk on various Thermomix FB pages and forums about Easiyo yoghurt makers and how good they are.  However, I’ve always managed to make dairy yoghurt very easily and successfully using a TM31, a pyrex dish, Thermoserver and airing cupboard, so I’ve resisted adding another piece of kit to my kitchen.  I’ve had a bit of a clear-out and re-organisation of late, anyway, as I just can’t bear burgeoning cupboards
 😉
 Now, my teen son is very fond of the old vanilla yoghurt and even though I’ve tried a version of natural home-made yoghurt, adding a little maple syrup and vanilla powder to replicate the commercial version, he refuses to eat it, instead asking for the bought stuff!  Humph.   OH and DD, on the other hand, prefer the home-made option …
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Anyway, whilst browsing for something else in a store a few weeks ago, I spotted the Easiyo yoghurt mix and I thought ‘hmm, I wonder if …’  So, without further ado, I bought a pack of the vanilla mix, came home, found a method on the Thermomix Forum on how to make the pack go further (using the Easiyo flask method, mind you), cracked open Thermie and away I went, off in experimental mode again.  Well, here’s the result after 10 hours:  a lovely thick and creamy vanilla yoghurt.  Yay!  It does seep out whey after you’ve spooned into it, but no worries, I just save it and throw it into the next Thermie concoction, be it bread, cake or soup!
Easiyo

Easiyo Vanilla Yoghurt

Before I get to it, for an authentic vanilla yoghurt, I simply take:
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then add and mix in:
1/2-1 tsp vanilla powder
1-2 tbs maple syrup, or to taste
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For the Easiyo mix method, however:
🙂
 Add to TM bowl and mix 10 seconds / speed 7:
  • 115g Easiyo yoghurt mix (half a 230g packet, basically) – I used the vanilla flavour, but there are other flavouring options available, of course – I’m keeping the remaining culture in the freezer to maintain its freshness
  • 75g milk powder (helps make it creamier)
  • 900g water
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Set for 10 mins / 37 degs / speed 1
Easiyo prep (3)

Set for 10 minutes / 37 degs / speed 1

Meanwhile, boil the kettle and add about 1cm boiling water to a Thermoserver or thermal insulated lidded dish of some kind (Indian stores often stock them; something like these🙂
Easiyo prep (2)

Add about 1 cm boiling water to the bottom of the Thermoserver

  • Take a pyrex dish that fits into your thermal server and sterilise in the meantime – I just add water to it and microwave for 8 mins while the yoghurt mixture is gently heating.
  • After sterilising, carefully tip out the boiling water from the Pyrex dish and insert into the thermal server containing the 1 cm water in the bottom.  NB:  I’ve started to discard this water though and I don’t think there’s much difference, but with the Easiyo yoghurt makers, you retain the warm water in the thermal container.  I always pop my thermoserver into a quilted bag and wrap in a towel, then place in the airing cupboard.  Works for me.
  •  When the yoghurt mix has finished heating, pour into the Pyrex dish, pop on the thermal server lid, wrap up in a towel and place in a warm spot for about 10 hours.
Easiyo prep (1)

Insert sterilised pyrex bowl into the Thermoserver -and pour in the heated yoghurt mix – NB: The water level in the Thermoserver will rise up to about half-way of the pyrex dish

“Easi” – 1L vanilla yoghurt; no need for the extra flask and I get to spread the cost of the yoghurt mix!  Not my ideal way of making yoghurt, as I prefer the natural, fresh milk version – but hey, sometimes, needs must!  Cost for 1kg vanilla yoghurt:  £1.55, which is more or less the same price for a 450g commercial pot of same!
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For a subsequent batch, I made soya milk from some old soya beans I didn’t realise I had, and made yoghurt with it from the original batch of vanilla yoghurt.  It wasn’t quite as thick and creamy, but it wasn’t runny either.  It also tasted rather good!  I’ve never had soya yoghurt before, so it surprised me!
Meanwhile, I dehydrated the soya-vanilla pulp …
Soya Flour

whizzed up the dehydrated soya milk pulp for 1 minute / speed 9 … et voila, about 200g soya flour

… and used to make some *healthy* millionaire’s shortbread biccis!
Soya millionaire's biccis (1)

… and they were oh so yummy!

 😉