Protein Bliss Balls (using almond pulp from nut milk)

Balls

These sugar free bliss balls are easy to make & great to have on hand for an afternoon snack or just when I need something on the sweet side.

I’ve recently been eating a paleo diet & besides being amazed at how good I feel, I’ve been amazed yet again at what my Thermomix can do for me!  I’ve been able to make so many things myself, rather than buying them, which has not only saved a lot of money, but taste better too.  I’ve made these bliss balls using the left over pulp from making my own Almond Milk, so there’s no wastage.  You can keep the pulp in the fridge for a day or two after making milk, if you don’t have time to make the balls straight away.

Ingredients:
Almond pulp (left over from making almond milk – about 180g)
100g cashews, unsalted
175g pitted dates
25g cocoa or cacao
90g shredded coconut
30g maple syrup or honey
pinch of salt
2 tbsp coconut oil

Method:
1) Add all ingredients to your TM bowl & chop 10-20 seconds speed 8.
2) Scrape down the sides of the bowl & combine a further 10-20 seconds speed 8 (using TM spatula through the hole in the lid if necessary).
3) Roll into balls coat in desiccated coconut (optional)
4) Freeze the balls for at least 30 minutes before storing in the fridge.

Notes:
 I store my protein balls in the freezer, as they don’t need to defrost long before eating.  Once they’ve frozen on a tray or plate, you can store them in a zip lock bag & they won’t stick together.
 
 This is what the almond pulp looks like after it’s been strained through the nut milk bag….
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If you’re a perfectionist in the kitchen like me & prefer ever ball to be the same size, I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop to portion the mixture, before rolling into balls.

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Grape & Basil Fruity Dream

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If you’ve ever been to a Thermomix demo, you’ve probably been wowed by the sorbet!  My favourite comment from a demo so far has to be ‘Oh Caroline….you had me at icing sugar’!

You can also use your Thermomix to make instant soft serve ice cream.  Instead of using ice & frozen fruit for a sorbet, a Fruity Dream is made from frozen fruit, so the texture is more creamy.  By adding the Butterfly Whisk in the last stage of the recipe, you incorporate air, which produces such a light dessert.

This fruity dream recipe is for the adults, as I’ve found kids don’t really appreciate the basil.  It may sound like an odd combination, but trust me, it’s absolutely delicious.

Ingredients:
60g raw sugar
600g frozen red grapes (seedless)
handful of basil leaves
1 egg white

Method:
1) Place sugar in TM bowl, mill 10 seconds/speed 9.
2) Add frozen fruit, chop 10 seconds/speed 8. Scrape down the sides of the bowl & chop again 10 seconds/speed 8.
3) Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg white & chop 10 seconds/speed 8.
4) Insert Butterfly Whisk. Mix 40-60 seconds/speed 4, or until a soft & smooth consistency is reached.
5) Serve immediately or store in the freezer in a container.

 Notes:
 You can use green grapes, however I prefer the colour the red grapes give to the ice cream.
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You can use any frozen fruits or berries to make your fruity dream!

Ruth’s Gingerbread (egg free)

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I’ve always loved to bake, so of course I love to make gingerbread at Christmas time. However, I didn’t have a recipe which I really loved. Last Christmas Eve, my lovely next door neighbour Ruth, dropped in to wish us a Merry Christmas. She gave me a bag of gingerbread biscuits her daughter had made. With my first bite, I told Ruth I must have the recipe! The gingerbread has a rich colour, perfect level of spice & most importantly, the texture is firm, not crumbly, which makes it perfect for making gingerbread houses!

Ruth is in her mid eighties & has lived in the house next door for over 50 years. She said the recipe was packed away in a cupboard, with her oldest recipe books, but she would try to find it. I’ve reminded her a few times & whenever I saw her she’d say “I must find that recipe for you dear”. Anyway, a few months ago, Ruth gave me the recipe. I first converted ounces to grams & then converted the recipe to make in my Thermomix.

This recipe also has no egg, so if there’s an egg allergy or intolerance in your household, you will love this recipe!  To make a full gingerbread house – multiply this recipe by 1.5

Ingredients:

100g Butter, cubed
110g brown sugar
80g treacle
340g plain flour
30g cold water
1 heaped tsp ground ginger
1 heaped tsp ground mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda

Method:
1) Place butter, sugar & treacle in TM bowl, melt 2 minutes/70°/speed 2 (you may need to increase the speed at the start if the butter is cold).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl & melt further 1 minute/70°/speed 2.

2) Add remaining ingredients, mix 10-20 seconds/speed 5 (or until ingredients are combined).

3) Knead for 2 minutes on dough setting.

4) Tip out gingerbread onto Thermomat or clean surface. Use your TM spatula to get the dough out of the bowl. Wrap in glad wrap & refrigerate for 15-20 minutes only. Pre heat oven to 170°C

5) Roll out gingerbread on a non stick mat & cut shapes as desired. Remember not to cut on your Thermomat though!

6) Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely, before decorating or assembling a gingerbread house.

Notes:

Don’t leave the gingerbread in the fridge for more than 20 minutes, as it will be too hard to roll out.

If you happen to leave your gingerbread in the fridge overnight & it’s too hard to roll, you can chop it up into pieces, put in the TM bowl & knead for a minute. Add small amounts of water through the hole in the lid, until the dough returns to rolling consistency.

 

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Monkey Bread

 

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If you love Hot Cross Buns, Monkey Bread is an addition to your Easter feasts that you’re sure to love!  Served warm, in the middle of the table, you’ll be able to pinch off balls of sweet, soft pastry that have been rolled in butter & cinnamon sugar!  Baked in a Bundt tin, it will be a centrepiece on your table that is sure to get your friends & family talking.

You can mix this up a bit too – add some cinnamon & mixed spice to the dough in step 1.  You could also add some sultanas or currants to the dough, so it’s more like a hot cross bun (see notes).  For a dairy free option, you can substitute the butter for coconut cream.   If you prefer a healthier Monkey Bread, check out Quirky Cooking for her Spelt Hot Cross Bun Monkey Bread.

The sweet dough in this recipe is a basic sweet bun recipe, that you can use to make things such as sweet scrolls, finger buns, add fillings or cover with icing or sugar glaze.

Sweet Dough Ingredients:
275g lukewarm water
2 sachets dried yeast (or 5 tsp dried yeast)
550g bakers flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp milk powder (optional)
65g brown sugar
45g soft butter

Ingredients for Monkey Bread assembly:
150g butter
100g raw sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice (optional)

Method:
1) Add all dough ingredients into your TM bowl, in the order listed in the recipe. Mix 40 seconds/speed 3.
2) Knead 8 minutes/dough setting. (it’s best to stay in your kitchen when using the dough setting, to keep an eye on your machine)
3) Transfer dough to a ThermoMat, wrap & let it rest/prove for 30 minutes in a warm spot, or until doubled in size.
4) Once proved, place the dough on your Thermomat or floured surface & knock back the dough with your hands.
5) To assemble the Monkey Bread, place 150g butter in TM bowl, melt 3 minutes/65 degrees/speed 2. Set aside in a small bowl. In a separate bowl, place sugar & spices & mix together.
6) Grease your Bundt tin well, with butter or non stick spray.
7) Pinch off walnut sized pieces of dough & roll into balls.  Roll the balls in melted butter, then in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place balls in your tin, making sure you keep the level of balls even around the tin.  Drizzle over any remaining butter.
8) Cover with a clean tea towel & allow to prove in a warm place for 30 minutes.
9) Place tin into a cold oven & turn on to 180 degrees.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.
10) Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then serve warm.

 Notes:

If you add sultanas or dried fruit to your dough, add them for the last minute of kneading (step 2).

 If you’re having trouble finding a warm place to prove your dough, pour boiling water into your ThermoServer & place your dough on top.  The heat that comes trough the lid will be enough to prove your dough.

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When you roll the dough balls in butter & sugar, keep them at an even level around the tin, as the top of this tin will become the base of your Monkey Bread. 

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This has been proved for a further 30 minutes (I just sit the tin on top of my ThermoServer full of boiling water).  Look how much it’s risen!

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The Monkey Bread has just come out of the oven & smells amazing!  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes & then turn out onto a platter & serve.  This is definitely best eaten warm, as the dough is so light & fluffy, however, my kids have enjoyed a few balls of this everyday for the last few days.  It’s great as a treat or snack – even a few balls in the lunchbox. 

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If you don’t have a ThermoMat, use a stainless steel bowl greased with olive oil & cover with glad wrap instead. 

Sante Biscuits (Choc Chip Cookies)

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I was chatting with a girlfriend of mine recently about sweets & baking, when she told me about an amazing recipe for choc chip cookies.  She’d come across them on ‘Rebecca Judd Loves’ website (yes, Juddy’s wife).   I promised my girlfriend I would look up the recipe & make them in my Thermomix.  I’m so glad I did, because not only are these very easy to make, they are AMAZING!  The cookies are lovely & crunchy.  The condensed milk & coconut really make these cookies very moorish!  On her website, Rebecca explained that this recipe is from ‘Edmond’s Cookbook’, which is very well known in New Zealand & are also known as ‘Sante Biscuits’.

Ingredients:
125g butter, softened
50g brown sugar
50g sweetened condensed milk
5g vanilla extract
125g plain flour
85g desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking powder
170g choc chips

Method:
1) Pre heat oven to 160 degrees C (fan forced).
2) Place butter, sugar, condensed milk & vanilla in TM bowl, mix 20 seconds/speed 4. (If the butter is cold from the fridge, place in TM bowl first & soften for 1 minute/50 degrees/speed 1 – then follow the remainder of step 2).
3) Add flour, coconut, & baking powder. Mix 8 seconds/speed 4. Scrape down sides of bowl & repeat 8 seconds/speed 4.
4) Add choc chips, mix 10 seconds/reverse/speed 2.5
5) Roll into balls & flatten with a fork onto greased or lined baking trays.
6) Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Notes:
I use an old fashioned ice cream scoop to portion my cookie dough.  This ensures the cookies are all the same size & cook evenly.   Just take care towards the bottom of the TM bowl that you don’t scrape it.  I have 3 different sizes of ice cream scoops that I also use for making cupcakes too.

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I never like to waste food, so given I only needed a small amount of condensed milk, I’ve frozen the rest in 50ml portions to make these cookies again.

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Carrot, Almond & Chocolate Cake

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I was at a girlfriends house recently & I was browsing through her vast collection of cookbooks.  I noted that we both had Neil Perry’s cookbook ‘Good Food’.  My friend then told me about an amazing cake from his book.  It’s a carrot & almond cake & as I read the recipe, I noticed ingredients like ground nuts, ground biscuits & whipped egg whites.  Of course I had a light bulb moment & thought, hello, Thermomix!  I made the cake a week later & served it dusted with a generous amount of icing sugar.  It was lovely & of course very easy to make in my Thermomix.    As I was eating it though, I thought it would be even better with some chocolate, so here’s where I’ve tweaked the recipe, along with converting it to Thermomix method.  I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Ingredients:

180g almonds
100g walnuts
230g caster sugar
130g Savoiardi (sponge finger) biscuits
10g baking powder
5 eggs, separated
1 large carrot
15g Grand Marnier or Cointreau
zest of 1 orange, microplaned/grated
1 qty chocolate ganache – 100g dark chocolate & 80g full fat (whipping) cream

Method:

1) Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (fan forced), lightly grease a round cake tin, then line base & sides with baking paper.
2) Place nuts, sugar, biscuits & baking paper in TM bowl, grind 10-15 seconds/speed 9. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
3) Without cleaning TM bowl, add carrot, chop 5 seconds/speed 6. Add Grand Marnier, egg yolks & grated zest, mix 10 seconds/speed 3. Add this to the crumb mixture in the mixing bowl & mix until all ingredients are moistened & well combined.
4) In a clean TM bowl, insert Butterfly into bowl & add egg whites. Whip for 3.5 minutes/speed 3.5

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5) Gently fold whipped egg whites into the cake mixture in 3 batches. Pour into prepared cake tin & bake for 1 hour. When it’s cooked, the top of the centre of the cake needs to feel quite firm to touch.
6) Allow the cake to cool in the tin for at least 30 minutes before removing & cooling on a wire rack. If time allows, let cake cool completely in the tin. You can even leave in the tin overnight covered with glad wrap.  To serve the cake, the top of the cake becomes the bottom, so the bottom of the cake is now the top & flat.

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7) To make the ganache, place chocolate pieces into TM bowl & grate 10 seconds/speed 8.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
8) Add cream, melt 3 minutes/50 degrees/speed 3.
9) Working quickly, pour ganache over the cake & gently smooth up to the edges of the cake.  Very gently give the ganache a push over the edge of the cake, so the chocolate drizzles down the sides.  This must be down quickly though, as the ganache will thicker as it cools.

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Notes:

I had no idea what Savoiardi biscuits were, but I found them in Coles with the sweet biscuits.

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It’s always best to line your tin with baking paper on the base & sides, even if your tin is non stick.  It will give you a much more professional looking cake once it’s cooked, cooled & removed from the tin.

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Flavouring Home Made Yoghurt

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I always have two yoghurts on the go in my fridge – Natural for myself & for coking & then Vanilla for the kids.  If you haven’t done so already, check out my Make Your Own Yoghurt post.

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The most important thing to do first though, is always take 3 tablespoons of yoghurt for your next starter, before you add your flavouring.

Follow these directions to flavour your natural yoghurt.  I make Vanilla yoghurt for the kids, which they love on it’s own.  I’ll then often add to that fresh fruit, passionfruit or make my own berry coulis in my Thermomix (see below).

Vanilla Yoghurt:
Add to 1 quantity (1L) of Natural Yoghurt;
60g caster sugar
10g vanilla bean paste
10g vanilla extract
Stir ingredients well into yoghurt & refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

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Berry Coulis
Ingredients:
200g fresh or frozen raspberries or mixed berries
100g caster sugar
20g freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Method:
1) Place all ingredients into TM bowl, cook 6 minutes/90 degrees/speed 4.
2) If you prefer a smoother coulis, puree 10 seconds/speed 8 after cooking.

Serve coulis once cooled & store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.