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FEED ME FRIDAY

MUMBO JUMBO

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

When I was at high school, my rather elderly English Literature teacher (and Band Master) used to say “rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb” rather often. Whenever I see these bright pink stalks  in the supermarket I think of Mr Maughan, but I’ve never really researched the origins of his strange expression. It turns out that he was commenting on our inability to speak in a decipherable language! To use this expression means as the listener, you can only hear confused noise, plenty of mumbo jumbo. As a parent with school-aged children, I reckon I know what he was on about…

You may have never thought about it, but Rhubarb is actually a vegetable. It’s most unusual amongst vegetables as it’s treated like a fruit! Rhubarb is low in natural sugar contains some oxalic acid which makes it unpleasant to eat unless cooked. Even then, it tastes very bitter unless sugar is added. In this recipe from Donna Hay, we also add vanilla bean and orange for mumbo jumbo goodness.

RHUBARB300g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped

1 vanilla bean, split

1/2 cup (110g) super fine caster sugar

1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind

1/4 cup (60mls) orange juice

2.5 cups (375g) self-raising flour

1 cup (175g) brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup (125mls) buttermilk

1/2 cup (125mls) vegetable oil

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour

2 tablespoons Demerara sugar

40g unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place the rhubarb, vanilla bean, sugar, orange rind and juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 6 minutes or until soft. Set aside to cool slightly.

While the rhubarb is cooling, make the crumble topping.

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a large bowl. Add the egg, vanilla extract, buttermilk and oil, and using a butter knife, mix until just combined. Spoon into 12 x 1/2 cup capacity well-greased muffin tins. Top each with the rhubarb and spoon over the crumble. Cook for 20 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool for 2 minutes in the tins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes 12.

Enjoy ~ Fleur xo

 

Rhubarb Collage

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MUST HAVES AND MUST SEES

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Muffins rounded

We’ve just returned from a divine 5-day break in Bali and it’s straight back to school. Plus we’ve gone from balmy weather to cyclonic winds in Sydney. So, with plant pots smashed around me and our gates hanging dangerously off their hinges, I’m taking refuge in the kitchen.

We all need inspiration to get back on the wagon and I’m looking to nutritionist Lola Berry. I have both The 20/20 Diet Cookbook (she lost 20 kilos in 20 weeks!) and The Happy Cookbook, both of which represent a fun approach to good eating. Her dishes are all about eating real foods that are as close to their natural states as possible = feeling full for longer. Who doesn’t want that? I certainly can’t afford a pantry full of seemingly ‘healthy snacks’ (that are still fairly highly processed) so I try to make my own. These muffins have received a full 100% rating from my family, so please let me know how their fare in your household. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is “hippy” or “rabbit” food, we’re a pretty normal family who also enjoy lasagne and tacos!

300g (3 cups) almond meal

2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder

4 eggs, lightly beaten

125ml (1/2 cup) coconut oil, melted

80ml (1/3 cup) almond milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 vanilla pod, split & scraped

80ml (1/3 cup) maple syrup

60g (1 cup) shredded coconut

300g (2 cups) blueberries, fresh or frozen

extra shredded coconut to garnish or granola (as I’ve done)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a 12-hole muffin tray (next time I’ll use baking paper squares as my oil spray didn’t quite work).

Combine the almond meal and baking powder in a large bowl and mix well. Add the eggs, coconut oil, almond milk, cinnamon, vanilla seeds, maple syrup and mix thoroughly until lump free. (Work quickly so the coconut oil doesn’t solidify). Gently fold through the shredded coconut and blueberries.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray. Sprinkle with a few shards of coconut or granola and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool slightly and enjoy. Lola suggests cutting one in half while still warm and spreading with almond butter.

f you LOVE this plate as I do, it’s designed by Leah Jackson and available from High Swan Dive in Newcastle – a must-see if you’re visiting the Hunter. For more inspo, visit the Hunter Hunter blog.

Enjoy ~ Fleur xo

Posted in Feed Me Friday, NEW Season Snippets | Comments Off on Must haves and must sees

 

EASTER FARE

Saturday, April 4th, 2015

Carrot

 f you live in Sydney as I do, today is a perfect day to bake…the weather is horrific. Sadly we have very dear friends visiting for a week from Perth and the northern beaches are not turning on their best. We’ll have to have plenty of fun indoors, instead, starting with this awesome cake. Now, the Gourmet Traveller have it pictured as a layer cake and it looks stunning. However, I made it into two separate cakes – one for us to sample and one for our friends. If you really want to impress I’d suggest the layer cake! There are NO claims to health benefits here, apart from the obvious small amount of fruit and veg, so just relax & indulge.

300g coarsely grated carrot (2-3 carrots)

200g plain flour (1.5 cups)

160g each of caster sugar and brown sugar

120g shredded coconut (not dessicated) or coconut flakes

100g oats blitzed in a food processor

2.5 tsp baking powder

2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground ginger

1 tsp finely grated fresh nutmeg

Finely grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon

200g sour cream

100ml almond oil or any other vegetable oil

3 eggs

Roasted chopped hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts, which ever nuts you enjoy

 

Frosting

30g butter

30g brown sugar

2 tsp golden syrup (I think I did 2 tablespoons!)

100g sour cream

450g pure icing sugar, sieved

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease two 22cm diameter springform cake tins and line with baking paper. Stir carrot, dry ingredients, rinds and 1/2 tsp sea salt in a large bowl to combine and make a well in the centre. Whisk sour cream, almond oil and eggs in a separate bowl until smooth, add to well and stir to combine. Divide among prepared tins, smooth tops and bake , swapping tins halfway through cooking time. Bake until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean (45 mins approx). Cool in tins for 15 mins, then cool completely on a wire rack.

For salted butterscotch frosting, melt butter in a saucepan over low heat, then stir in sugar and golden syrup until smooth and the sugar dissolves. Bring to the simmer and stir continuously with a whisk until slightly thickened (1-2 mins). Stir in the sour cream to combine, then remove from and stir in icing sugar until smooth. Stir in 1.5 tsp sea salt flakes and set aside to cool to spreading consistency (15-20 mins).

Spread half the frosting over the top of each cake, then stack on top of one another. Scatter with roasted nuts.

Keeps well at room temp under a cake dome for 2-3 days.

Here are some more graphics from the cutting room floor!

Enjoy ~ xo

 

Carrot 2

Alex&Ant

 

Posted in Feed Me Friday, Life in the Alex&Ant Family | Comments Off on Easter Fare

 

CRACKLES FOR CRACKERS

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

My ocean-loving Zac turned 9 today and his nickname is ‘Crackers’.  He requested that I make chocolate crackles to take to school, “the way I do them”.  It suddenly occurred to me that some of you may not have tasted this recipe. Yep, there’s more than one way to crack a crackle! Once you make these, you’ll never go back to using copha. This recipe may come in handy for Easter too.

200g dark chocolate, chopped (I use 70% as the bitterness is countered by the golden syrup)

100g butter

1/3 cup (115g) golden syrup

4 cups (140g) puffed rice cereal

 

Place the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until melted and smooth. Place the cereal in a bowl with the chocolate mixture and mix well to combine.

Spoon into small paper cases. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Makes around 45.

 

Choc Crackles

 

Posted in Feed Me Friday, Life in the Alex&Ant Family | Comments Off on Crackles for Crackers

 

PERFECT PICK-ME-UP

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Balls fini.jpg

Yes, I’ve jumped on the wagon and bliss balls are my new thang! Not only that, but I’m enjoying a Paleo diet of sorts (I don’t do anything hard core). Pete Evans has released a book based on Paleo ‘Healthy Everyday‘ and Irena Macri’s ‘Eat Drink Paleo‘ is worthy of its sell-out status. If you need a very quick summary, a Paleo diet is eating nutrient-dense, whole, unprocessed ingredients including lots of protein and healthy fats. It excludes pro-inflammatory, nutrient-void foods such as grains, processed sugars and unhealthy vegetable and seed oils.  Reported and known benefits include improved metabolism and digestion, increased energy levels, sustained weight loss, improved sleep, mental clarity, clearer skin and an overall sense of wellbeing. In my personal experience, I’ve never been LESS hungry between meals. When you are peckish, my bliss ball will give you an injection of good, raw energy. There are loads of recipes out there so experiment with some additions such as spirulina and maca powder.

Ingredients

Balls intro.jpg10 organic Medjool dates, pips removed

handful of organic sultanas

handful of activated walnuts (or other nuts)

heaped tablespoon of cacao powder

1 teaspoon chia seeds

splash of vanilla extract

tiny splash of water, if necessary

organic shredded coconut for rolling

whizzed air-popped popcorn for rolling

 

Method

 

Put dates, sultanas, nuts, cacao powder, chia seeds and vanilla extract in a small hand blender, food-processor thing. If the mixture combines well and isn’t dry, you don’t need any water. Roll balls in coconut or popcorn (however I’ve discovered this loses its crunch) and refrigerate.

Enjoy 1-2 per day. They will be consumed long before the suggested use-by date of 7 days!

If you’re interested in this style of eating you may also really enjoy the blog, My Darling Lemon Thyme.

Fleur xo

Posted in Feed Me Friday, Life in the Alex&Ant Family | Comments Off on Perfect Pick-me-up

 

BERRY GOOD SLICE

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Quick, easy, delicious and comforting, this coconut berry slice is a winner.  My Mum used to make this for us, but this version is a Bill Granger recipe.  It’s ideal for the lunchbox but sophisticated enough for an afternoon tea!

Slice Collage.jpg

Ingredients:

BASE

125g unsalted butter

60g (1/4 cup) caster sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

185g (1.5 cups) plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

60ml (1/4 cup) milk

FILLING

175g (1/2 cup) yummy berry jam (I used Hanks)

250g (1 cup) raspberries or mixed berries – frozen or fresh

TOPPING

100g unsalted butter

5 tablespoons caster sugar

2 eggs

225g (2.5 cups) desiccated coconut

60 g (1/2 cup) plain flour

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

To make the base, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and stir to combine. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and stir in with the milk. Flour your hands and press the base evenly into a greased and lined 30 x 20cm tin. Spread the base evenly with jam and sprinkle with the frozen berries. *At this stage, I put the slice in the oven for 10mins so the base crisps up a little, Bill Granger doesn’t!

To make the topping, cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until combined. Stir in the coconut and 1 tablespoon sifted flour, then stir in the remaining flour. Spread the topping evenly over the berries.

Bake the slice for 30 mins or until golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 1omins. Cut into rectangles.

Makes 20.

Enjoy ~

Fleur xo

 

Posted in Feed Me Friday | Comments Off on Berry Good Slice

 

LUNCHBOX LOVE

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

slice Collage effects

Have you fallen back into a routine as yet? We’ve had a big start to 2014 with Olive starting kindy and Zac moving into the Junior school from infants. Now there are two schedules on the fridge and two lunch boxes to fill, not to mention that I’ve taken a full-time job for the 1st time in around 8 years! Fill. Full. Frazzled.

Thankfully there are certain recipes you discover that are a lifesaver. I’m not overly precious about what goes into my kids’ lunch boxes, but I feel better knowing that the sweet fix is homemade. This Chocolate & Coconut Slice is super easy and incredibly moreish.

1 cup self-raising flour

1 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup dessicated or shredded coconut

125g unsalted butter

School polaroid

 

ICING

1/2 tsp butter

Approx 2 tbsp hot water

1 cup icing sugar

1 tbsp cocoa

2 tbsp dessicated coconut

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 16cm x 26cm slice tin. Sift flour and cocoa into a mixing bowl. Add brown sugar and coconut and mix well.

Melt butter and add to dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork. Press mixture firmly into the slice tin. Bake for 20-25 mins (exact time will depend on your oven). Remove from oven and ice while still hot.

For the icing, heat butter and hot water in a small saucepan until butter melts. Stir in icing sugar (sifted) and cocoa. Stir constantly over low heat until it takes on a pouring consistency. Pour over hot slice and sprinkle with extra coconut.

Yum!

 

Posted in Feed Me Friday, Life in the Alex&Ant Family | Comments Off on Lunchbox Love

 

BAKED BLISS

Saturday, December 21st, 2013

Panforte collage

This treat is so perfect as a gift or to serve with coffee when friends drop around. Keep one wrapped in cellophane or in a gorgeous tin in case you’re put on the spot for a gift!  My version is not too sweet, not too fruity and not too spicy, plus it keeps for up to 2 months in an airtight container. Even peeps who claim to dislike Panforte will LOVE this version, I promise. Make a few this weekend!

Chocolate Panforte –

100g dried figs, chopped, and select dried fruit – see 1st line of method.

75g glace ginger, chopped

200g hazelnuts, lightly roasted, skins removed

125g macadamias, lightly toasted

225g plain flour, sifted

35g cocoa, sifted, plus extra to dust

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 cup honey

200g caster sugar

125g dark chocolate, chopped

2 tbs Pedro Ximenez sherry, plus extra to soak.

I start this recipe by chopping the dried figs and glace ginger then soaking them in a slosh of Pedro Ximenez, for at least 1 day. On occasion, I’ve also added a pack of dried cranberries/plums I found at my local supermarket, but I wouldn’t go too crazy with your fruit selection. Don’t forget that glace ginger (there’s also a yummy crystallised version called, ‘Naked Ginger’) is an acquired taste and less is more with regards this pungent ingredient! Note that I’ve adapted this from another’s recipe – it’s in the current Delicious magazine if you need a more exacting approach.

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Line a 20 x 30cm cake pan with baking paper or individual cake tins also work well (but you’ll need to adjust the baking time).

Combine the figs/dried fruit, ginger, nuts, flour, cocoa & cinnamon in a large bowl.

Place honey and caster sugar in a pan over low heat and bring to a simmer. Take off the heat and stir through the chocolate until it melts and creates a luscious, velvety treacle! Pour over the flour & fruit mixture and add the tablespoons of Pedro Ximenez. It’s also worked for me to substitute Maggie Beer’s Seville Vino Cotto which is an aromatic syrup from Seville oranges and complements the Pedro Ximenez (in which the fruit is soaked). It should be quite tough to mix everything together, Panforte does mean ‘strong bread’ so you don’t want it to be runny. Plop it into your pan (it won’t pour) and press in with your fingertips for a dense spread. It doesn’t rise, so fill the pan to the desired height.

Bake for 1 hour (less for smaller pans) or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan, then turn out and dust with cocoa. Cut into thin slices or little cubes to serve or wrap.

Enjoy ~

Fleur xo

 Posted in Feed Me Friday, Life in the Alex&Ant Family | Comments Off on Baked Bliss

 

YOU SAY TOMATO…

 Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

 Veggie Patch Effects

 A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.  Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.  ~P.J. O’Rourke.

I think this quote is hilarious, especially given the popularity of pineapples in recent homewares and fashion collections. They must be the royalty of the fruit world at the moment! Here at Alex&Ant, we’re celebrating a couple of other popular choices – apples and cherries. However, we’ve also had some fun with the humble tomato. I’m always drawn to market gardens and the great pursuit of ‘who can grow the largest …’ so I’ve created our very own royal show to present our Veggie Patch collection.

Of course, 1st place ribbon goes to our divine fruit & veg inspired prints celebrated in beautiful dresses and singlet & bloomer sets.  All Alex&Ant exclusives, the handle of the fabric is wonderfully soft and light.  Your tot will not only look a peach (combining my fruit) but she’ll be super comfortable in the Summer heat.  Growing at a stockist near you (or online) very soon!

Enjoy ~ Fleur xo

 

Fruit & Veg effects

Posted in Feed Me Friday, NEW Season Snippets | Comments Off on You say tomato…

 

I LOVE A FARMER’S MARKET

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Farmers Collage

What a lovely morning I had with Olive, today, visiting the Beaches Farmer’s Market in Warriewood (NSW).  I think if it were a regular occurrence I could stock up on amazing bread, fruit, veg & free range meats as the highlight of my weekly shop. However, I always gravitate towards the boutique producers and end up with a random selection of goodies that do not constitute a meal!

Today we bought some honeycomb & nougat rocky road (no marshmallows) because the morsel we tried was amazing and the seller was very charismatic. I spent $4.50 on a wheat free biscuit which was delicious but a little expensive and to add another sweet treat to the mix, Olive ate a cinnamon scroll. Then I got a clue and thought about dinner, but by that stage our money was tight. A special of two bulging packets of free range beef sausages almost made me feel frugal – I knew I could throw together a yummy sausage pasta bake with what was already in the house. Here it is, in all of its simplicity…

Chop an onion and fry until transparent. Remove the casings and chop the sausage meat into small chunks and add to pan – I used approx 8 snags. Cook until lightly browned then mix through a couple of grated carrots and perhaps some diced celery.  Add a heaped tablespoon of tomato paste and cook for 3 mins, half a tall bottle (750mls) of passata and around 1 cup of vegetable stock, plus a good swig of balsamic vinegar. Another option is to add Dijon mustard to taste or curry powder and a dash of coconut milk to serve with rice. Who doesn’t love a mild curried sausage dish? Cook for 15 mins or until somewhat reduced. Boil your pasta shape of choice, drain and add to the base of a lasagne dish. Spoon the sausage mix over the top and sprinkle fresh thyme – you can add this during the cooking process also. Add another layer of pasta then cover with a basic béchamel and grated cheese. Bake in the over for around 20 mins or until browned on top. Improvise all you like…

Enjoy ~ xo

Farmer's 2 Collage

Posted in Feed Me Friday | Comments Off on I love a Farmer’s market

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