Fiesta Friday #25! Happy Birthday to Me

I must apologise for missing the festivities last week.  This week disappeared with alarming speed, partly caused by the busyness caused by my birthday.  I was taken out for lunch twice, had cake at the office, and a surprise drop-in by my team.  This was particularly lovely, as we are a National team, and are scattered over 2000km apart, in two different States.  These are the gorgeous flowers they surprised me with – aren’t I spoilt?

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To keep with the theme, my contribution to this week’s Fiesta Friday is my birthday cake.  Even though it is a healthy cake, or ‘Fun Free’ as we call it, it still went down very well amongst my chocaholic workmates.  I hope you enjoy a little bit of indulgence, sans the guilt!

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Angie from A Novice Gardener is the force behind the party, and this week’s event is co-hosted by Hilda @Along The Grapevine and Julianna @Foodie On Board – thanks lovely ladies!  If you would like to join the party – click on any of the links in this paragraph to find more info.

”Fiesta

 

 

Banana Chocolate Mudcake with Gooey Chocolate Icing – from Quirky Cooking

A Thermomix recipe

Cake

Ingredients

  • 200g ripe bananas
  • 150g gluten free flour
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarb soda
  • 30g raw cacao powder
  • 60g coconut sugar
  • 70g coconut oil
  • 140g coconut milk
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • ½ tsp natural vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 C. Line 12-hole muffin tray with cases
  • Place all mudcake ingredients into mixing bowl and mix until smooth
  • Fill muffin cases approx. half full and bake 25-30mins or until skewer comes out clean
  • Allow to fully cool before icing

Icing

Ingredients

  • 100g raw cashews
  • 3 fresh pitted dates
  • 20g raw cacao powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g pure maple syrup
  • 20g filtered water

Method

  • Grind cashews for 10 seconds, speed 9, until fine
  • Add remaining ingredients and mix at speed 6 for 30 seconds
  • Scrape down, add a little more water if needed, and mix another 30 seconds until smooth
  • Spread over cake and decorate with strawberries if desired

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Notes

The recipe is originally for cupcakes, but can be made into a full size cake by doubling the recipe and cooking for 50 mins.  I found this to be a bit heavier and denser than the cupcakes, so would probably stick with the smaller size in future.

The strawberries were my addition – after all, who doesn’t like strawberries and chocolate together?

Fiesta Friday #22! Green Tea Smoothie

Happy Fiesta Friday!  This week’s event is hosted by Margy and Sylvia – thanks lovely ladies!  Angie from A Novice Gardener, is the creator and instigator of this weekly party precinct, for which this is my third attendance.  The fellowship and connection with other fabulous bloggers from those weeks has been fantastic, and I am looking forward to another great time. Please come and join the party – click on any of the links in this paragraph to find more info.

”Fiesta

As I’m from the land Down Under, 4th July isn’t the celebration of patriotism currently underway in the USA.  I’m more than willing to join in your celebrations though :).  Alas my offering for this week’s party is not red, white or blue – rather it’s green.  A lovely, lip-smacking green smoothie.  What better way to join in a party than to lift a glass, give a clink, then sip (or slurp as the case may be) away.  This beverage has the added bonus of being ridiculously good for you too, so you can imbibe as freely as you would like.  I hope you enjoy!

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Original RFD Recipe – Green Tea Smoothie (serves 2)

This recipe does take some forward planning, though I usually have the frozen ingredients in my freezer as staples.

Ingredients

  • 250 ml cold green tea
  • 1 tart apple (eg Pink Lady), cored and diced
  • 1 sprig fresh mint
  • 2 good handfuls baby spinach (approx 1 cup)
  • Chunk fresh ginger, approx 1cm x 2cm, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Lebanese cucumber, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, ends trimmed, sliced
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2/3 cup frozen (fresh) pineapple
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled, seeded and quartered
  • 1/2 lime, peeled and quartered

Method

  • Make green tea in advance and allow to cool
  • Wash and chop fruit and vegetables
  • Place tea in blender or Thermomix
  • Add spinach and mint
  • Add remaining ingredients
  • Blend until smooth and creamy (Thermomix – 1 minute speed 8)
  • Pour into tall glasses or Mason jars, garnish with additional mint and enjoy!

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Notes

If you aren’t accustomed to drinking green smoothies, you may find some of these ingredients utterly bizarre.  I did too until I sampled smoothies that included things like zucchini and avocado.  These both add a lovely creaminess to the smoothie, and I rarely make one without one or the other. 

The cucumber, lime, ginger and pineapple all provide a tangy, tropical freshness, as well as being packed full of nutrients.

This blend is a little tangy – if you would prefer a milder flavour, try omitting either the lemon or lime, or adding a tablespoon of raw honey.

I like my smoothies nice and thick – if you would prefer a thinner drink, simply add more liquid.

 

Fiesta Friday #22 – Turkey Salad with Green Goddess Dressing

Those long hours I mentioned last week most definitely came to pass, and there are 2 more days of them.  Hence I am running late to the party this week – apologies fellow Fiestarites!

I have a confession to make.  Turkey is not a big thing in Australia.  We don’t have Thanksgiving, and our traditional Christmas meat is a leg of ham and piles of seafood.  Up until recently, I had only had processed sliced turkey on sandwiches.  I may have had real turkey meat once or twice before in my life.  I can hear the gasps from the American visitors from here!

Well, I will give it to you – turkey is well worth the rave reviews, and I’m ashamed that it’s taken this long to discover it.  I’ve been having it in all manner of ways lately, usually once or twice per week.  As this is a new venture for me, I welcome any tips and ideas on your favourite turkey dishes 🙂

As always, Fiesta Friday is brought to us by Angie at A Novice Gardener, and is this week’s #22 is co-hosted by Foodbod and Butter Basil & Breadcrumbs.  There are some fantastic people in attendance, so please join the party – click on any of the links in this paragraph to find more info.

”Fiesta

I mentioned recently one of my newest recipe book purchases – and that is saying something, as recipe books are a bit of an obsession for me – Pete Evans’ Healthy Every Day.  I’ve been working my way through it, and this week’s party salad is an adaptation of one of his stellar recipes.  So grab a plate, pile on some of this yummy salad and top with a generous dollop of the dressing and enjoy!

Ingredients

Salad (amounts are per serve)

  • 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
  • Tablespoon flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 royal gala apple, cored and finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 slice organic turkey ham, diced
  • 1 tablespoon activated walnuts, roughly chopped
  • Generous dollop of dressing

Dressing (serves 2-4 depending on how generous you are!)

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 125ml extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Salad

 

  • Place spinach leaves in bowl
  • Add parsley and apple and toss lightly
  • Top with turkey
  • Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper
  • Add dressing to taste and top with walnuts

Dressing

  • Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender and process until well combined
  • With the motor still running, slowly pour in the oil and process until the dressing thickens and the herbs are finely chopped

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My Notes

My dressing didn’t emulsify properly, so it was more like a pesto than a lovely creamy dressing – it was still delicious though!

Fiesta Friday #21! Fun Free Jamdrops

I can’t believe that another week has passed, and also that I have been so lax as to not post since last Friday.  The end of the month is always very busy at work, but June is compounded by being both a quarterly performance month, plus end of financial year.  Some long hours are on the way!

And what better way to get through the grind, and survive those extra mind-bending hours than with a sweet treat?  My plate for this week’s Fiesta Friday contains some delectable little biscuits based on an Australian favourite – the Jamdrop.

Jamdrops are essentially a shortbread biscuit, where the dough is rolled into a ball, flattened and a dimple placed in the middle which is filled with jam prior to baking.  They have been a favourite of mine since childhood, but with our dietary restrictions, they had been relegated to the memory drawer. I like nothing better than a challenge though, and finding a version of jamdrops to fit with our ‘Rawleotype‘ restrictions is a pretty big one!

The challenge – create a dairy free, gluten free, egg free and refined sugar free version of jamdrops.  Hmmm – time for the thinking cap to go on.  My colleague’s daughter has dubbed this type of baking as ‘fun free’, as all of the fun ingredients have been taken out.  They may be fun free, but the end result was still darn tasty!

I digress though.  In case you have not yet come across it, Fiesta Friday is a weekly celebration created by the amazing Angie A Novice Gardener, and is this week’s #20 co-hosted by Foodbod and Foodie On Board.  It’s all about sharing ideas, activities, recipes and mixing and mingling.  A delightful way to spend your Friday!  Please come an join the party – click on any of the links in this paragraph to find more info.

”Fiesta

I’ve mentioned one of my new favourite sites is Elana’s Pantry.  Well you can thank her for the inspiration for these little gems.  Her Linzer Heart recipe gave birth to my jamdrops, with a few tweaks.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon himalayan salt
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract (sugar free)
  • 4 or 5 fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar

Method

  • Combine almond flour and salt in a bowl
  • Make a well in the centre and add the grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
  • Stir until well combined
  • Form dough into a ball and chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes
  • Remove the strawberry hulls, and dice into small pieces
  • Place strawberries into a bowl and sprinkle the coconut sugar over them; set aside whilst the dough chills
  • Roll the dough into balls, roughly walnut size, then place onto a lined baking tray
  • Flatten the balls to about 1cm thick
  • Using your thumb, place a small dimple in the centre of each biscuit
  • Place a few pieces of strawberry in each dimple
  • Bake biscuits at 180 degrees Celsius for 5-10 minutes until golden

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Note

These biscuits do not keep well due to the fresh fruit, so they are best eaten on the day they are made.  A perfect party plate!

I made these before discovering there are actually sugar-free jams available (I am very new to this sugar-free thing), so next time I will try traditional jamdrops.

Lemon and Flaxseed Muffin Recipe (Gluten, Egg, Dairy & Sugar Free)

imageInspired by the success of my gluten free baking from Elana’s Pantry, I attempted to create my own recipe for muffins.

I’ve always loved muffins.  They’re such delightful, well-sized portions of yumminess.  And the flavours are endless!  They also freeze well, so until I embarked on my raw food journey, I always had a batch of muffins in the freezer for a quick snack.

I truly wasn’t sure how these would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised.  They still have a light texture, and whilst not overly sweet, they are still sweet enough to enjoy.

If you give these a try, please let me know how they turn out!

Lemon and Flaxseed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour (I used Orgran)
  • 1/2 cup coconut nectar
  • 15 drops of liquid stevia concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder
  • 140 grams pure apple puree (must be puree, not sauce, and sugar free)
  • 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3/4 cup nut milk
  • 3 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

 

Method

For Thermomix:

  • Place all ingredients in the bowl and mix on speed 3 for 5 seconds, then up to speed 6 for 20 seconds

For traditional method:

  • Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and combine
  • Place all wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk together
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and add wet ingredients
  • Mix until just combined – don’t over-mix
  • Spread mixture evenly between 12 muffin cases and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180 C, until a skewer comes out clean

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The Big Experiment – First Batch of Gluten Free Baking

imageI went a little mad and did a huge batch of baking last weekend, trying out some of the new gluten free recipes I’ve collected.

There was a mixed bag of results, which I will share with you over the next few days.  Overall though, I’m pretty happy with how they turned out – especially my own modified recipe, which I was sure would wind up tasting like glue!

On the menu were:

  • Quinoa and chia flatbread
  • Muesli scones
  • Fig Newtons
  • Butter cookies
  • Lemon and flax seed muffins

All recipes were gluten, dairy, egg and processed sugar free.  And all perfectly edible, though some yummier than others!