Bara Brith (“Speckled Bread”)

Bara Brith
I first made this cake for St David’s Day on 1 March.  While not a Public Holiday, people in Wales and those of Welsh origin, celebrate the life of their patron saint, St David, who died on this day in 589.  In bigger cities, this might include food festivals, concerts and street parties, with lots of traditional Welsh foods on offer.  Bara Brith is literally Welsh for ‘speckled bread’.
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Now, Mr MaMT will be attending a client’s board meeting in Swansea, South Wales, in a couple of months and has requested I make this ‘loaf’ to take along with him.  Eek, the pressure will be on to make sure it’s up to standard!
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This is a lovely moist loaf cake and the secret lies in soaking the dried fruit in strong tea the evening before;   Soaking the dried fruit in tea and a little bicarb added, makes it very juicy, giving way to the moistness of the loaf and ensuring it keeps well.
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Place in a bowl, cover and leave overnight:
  • 300g mixed dried fruit (raisins)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (this tenderises the fruit skin and makes it softer and more digestible by breaking down any tough fibres and producing a moist, rich taste).
  • 300g warm black tea (you could even try rooibos, or green tea even)

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Next day …

Grind 30 seconds (give it an extra 30 seconds if you wish) / speed 9:
  • 40g linseeds 
  • 110g buckwheat*
  • zest of an orange (use veggie peeler to avoid scraping in the white pith)
Add and ‘sift’, 6 seconds / speed 6:
  • 50g coconut flour* (or use 150g almond meal)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
 (*300g almonds can be subbed for the buckwheat and coconut flour and only require 10 seconds’ grinding)
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Add to the bowl and blend 10 seconds / speed 5:
  • 150g ripe bananas 
  • 1tbs maple or rice syrup, optional – adjust to suit your sweetness threshold, or leave out completely.  If bananas are very ripe, extra sweetness may not be required.
  • 2 large (or 3 smaller) eggs
Add and mix 10 seconds / speed 5:
  • Flour mix
Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add and set to closed lid and knead (or speed 5 / reverse) for 10 seconds.
  • Soaked fruit and soaking water
Give it a good manual mix with the TM spatula if need be.
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Pour into a grease proof-lined loaf tin, smooth out and bake 1hr at 170degs, fan-forced.  Test with a skewer and if not fully clean when inserted, cover the loaf with some foil and cook for a further 15 minutes.  Re-test with the skewer.  It should also be firm to touch on top.
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then extract and leave to cool further on a wire rack, before slicing.
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Enjoy plain or with a slathering of butter, if allowed!
Yummy!

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!

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.

Banana Bread/Loaf, grain-free

Banana Loaf (4) Banana Bread-Loaf

I like to use coconut flour where I can in recipes, as I always seem to have ample supply of it from my coconut milk making.  You don’t need much of it, but you do need to balance out the moisture levels, as the coconut flour soaks it up.  The bananas and eggs in this recipe have that covered though.  However, my lot aren’t particularly keen on full coconut flour versions of breads etc, as the baked goods always turn out somewhat denser and wetter.  Hence, I’ve started using buckwheat as a nutritious complement and it works really well with the coconut flour to stabilise the end result.  Buckwheat is a seed – so I believe – passes as grain-free.  See here for a list of grain-free flours, which are of course always gluten free.

This recipe, inspired by this non-Thermomix version, makes a good brekkie bread, which, at the moment, is my brekkie of choice, with a slathering of nut butter!

Tips:

  • For a full grain-free version, you could substitute the buckwheat and coconut flour for 220g almonds – just blitz for the last 10 seconds when milling the linseeds. May need extra cooking time (bake for an hour, covering with greaseproof or foil for the last half?)
  • Also, to help put some air into this bread: separate the eggs and whisk the whites, after sifting the flour mixture – see prompts below

Grind 30 seconds / speed 9:

  • 30g linseeds
  • 80g buckwheat

Add and ‘sift’, 6 seconds / speed 6:

  • 40g coconut flour (or 120g ground almonds)
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon + some all spice and/or ginger spice, if you wish

Set aside

(Here you could separate 3 eggs and whisk up the egg whites – ensure bowl is completely clean, insert the butterfly then set for 3 minutes / 37 degs / speed 4 – set aside in another bowl to fold in at the end on speed 4)

Add and melt 1 minute / 50degs / speed 1:

  • 30g coconut oil

Add to the bowl and blend 10 seconds / speed 5, scraping and repeating for another 5 seconds:

  • 300g ripe bananas (about 3 large bananas or 4 small ones)
  • 1tbs maple or rice syrup, optional – adjust to suit or leave out completely. If bananas are very ripe, extra sweetness may not be required
  • 3 large eggs (or egg yolks, if using separated egg method)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice

Add and blend 10 seconds / speed 5:

  • The flour mix

(If using the separated eggs method, fold in whisked egg whites at this point – few seconds / speed 4 until combined) 

 Pour into a greaseproof-lined loaf tin, smooth out and sprinkle with some slivered/flaked almonds, if you wish, and bake for  35 minutes / 170degs, until firm to touch on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack and slice when cool.

My current loaf is still  beautifully light and moist after a couple of days.  I’ll see how it goes for a few more and then freeze …

Banana Bread-Loaf (1)

Seedy Chocolate Fridge Slice/Bites

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This is a little gem inspired by a recipe in The Medicinal Chef book (fabulous fridge cakes).  It takes minutes to prepare, so it’s a good one to prepare at night or first thing and to have with your morning coffee or afternoon tea …

Add to TM bowl and give 4 quick turbo blasts, scrape down the sides of the bowl then turbo once for 1 second and set aside:

  • 30g linseeds
  • 30g pumpkin seeds
  • 20g sunflower seeds
  • 20g sesame seeds
  • 60g goji berries
  • 50g dates/figs
  • 20g cacao/cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs (10g) carob powder (optional)
  • 1-2 tbs (10g) desiccated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
  •  Pinch sea salt

Add to bowl and melt 3 mins / 37 degs / speed 2, or until liquefied:

  • 60g coconut oil

Add to bowl and blend 5 seconds / speed 7 / scrape and repeat, so that you have a firm paste:

  • chocolate seed mixture

Press into a lined tin 10 x 10 cms and smooth out.

Add to bowl and chop with one (or two) short turbo blast(s):

  • 20g walnuts (for nut-free, substitute for sunflower seeds)
  • 20g craisins/dried cranberries

Sprinkle the fruit/nut mix over the top of the chocolate mixture, score into bite sized squares and freeze for 1/2 hour or refrigerate for 3 hours and then keep in the fridge.  Nom, nom, nom.

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Lamingtons – Gluten free, grain free, dairy free, refined sugar free

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This is a recipe adapted from I Quit Sugar.   I was asked to convert it to a Thermie version, which I did quickly, but I haven’t had time to re-test, so please excuse the roughness!  Any feedback welcomed until I have a moment to make again and tweak …
Makes about 24 pieces.
Preheat oven to 180ºC / 170ºC fan-forced.
Grease a 3cm deep, 20cm x 25cm baking pan.  Line with baking paper.
Add to bowl and mill / 10 seconds / speed 9, then set aside:
  • 125g flaked/slivered almonds
Add to TM bowl and heat / 37deg / 5 minutes / speed 2, or until the oil is mostly melted:

  • 120g coconut oil (use butter if you’re not dairy free)
  • 100g rice malt syrup (use maple syrup or honey, if you wish, but you may not need quite so much)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder

Insert butterfly and add, one at a time over about 1-1.5 minutes / whisk on speed 4 with MC off, until you have a nice fluffy mix:

  • 4 eggs

Now add gradually through the MC cup hole, until well combined, and you have a lovely smooth yellowy batter / approx 1 minute / speed 4 (no higher!).  You may have to scrape off excess flour from the butterfly and mix for a few more seconds:

  • 125g almond meal, set aside from earlier
  • 15g (about 1/2 cup) coconut flour
  • 2 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • 100g almond/coconut milk (or preferred milk)

Pour mixture into your prepared baking pan and smooth out the surface.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Stand in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

If you can, let the cake cool for a while on the wire rack.  Otherwise, if you’re in a rush, make the icing while the cake is standing in the pan for 10 minutes …

NB:  We found the amounts for the icing in the original recipe to be not quite enough, so I’ve increased the amounts here by about a quarter …

Add to the bowl and mix at 50degs / 1-2 minutes / speed 2, until smooth (you may need to scrape down the sides in between):

  • 120g boiling water
  • 70g rice malt syrup
  • 25g coconut oil
  • 20g raw cacao / cocoa powder

Cut the cake up into squares

Dip one piece of cake in the icing, covering all sides.  Shake off any excess, then toss in some coconut (Tip:  sprinkle half a cup of coconut at a time onto a plate – to avoid ‘chocofying’ the coconut too much:

  • 1.5 cups desiccated coconut

Place onto a clean plate and repeat with the rest of the cake slices.  Stand for an hour, or until set.

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For a different spin on the traditional lamington for those who may not be keen on coconut, you could try coating the chocolate sponge in some crushed mixed nuts (add to clean TM bowl, insert the steamer basket and turbo a couple of times).

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Other tips:

Save and use up any left-over ‘chocofied’ coconut in a granola!