Cacao Beetroot Cake

As far as I’m concerned, the more veggies you can get in, the better. And this cake, well, unless you’re extremely picky, you wouldn’t know there’s a vegetable in it. I haven’t made it for ages and, true to form, I’ve altered the original recipe yet again.

I had leftover rice and almond milk pulp to use up, and for once I decided to go with spelt flour instead of the usual (heavier, gluten free) buckwheat. This recipe is almost fool-proof so if you wanted to use a plain gluten-free flour go for it; I can pretty much guarantee it will still turn out.

The biggest difference for me this time however was using raw beetroot. The recipes usually call for ‘cooked mashed beetroot’ but you see, apart from now owning a Thermomix that will virtually pulverise the tough root veggie, I concluded that it would cook during its 40-50 minute sojourn in the 180ºC oven environment. It seems to have worked.Food Fervour

So for this amazingly moist healthy ‘choccy’ cake, I used: 1 medium-large beetroot, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, ¾ cup coconut sugar, ¾ cup coconut oil, 2 eggs, 1¼ cups spelt flour (actually I used ½ cup almond & rice milk pulp + ¾ cup spelt, and it worked) 1 teaspoon baking powder (bicarb soda), ½ cup (or a fraction more!) cacao powder, ½ teaspoon sea salt and ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg.

beetrootFirst you’ll need to grate your beetroot (I hope you’re not wearing white?!) unless you have a Thermomix or other very high powered blender or food processing appliance (because I buy organic beets I didn’t peel it). Thermie users, I chose speed 5-6 for about 15 seconds, stopped to scrape down the bowl & repeated once more.

For the manual cooks, you’ll need another bowl to thoroughly blend the moist ingredients (vanilla, sugar, oil and eggs) then add the beetroot to the mix (or vice versa). Thermomixers can add the ingredients directly to the bowl with the beetroot in it and blend for 20 secs at speed 5-6. Scrape down afterwards.

Now, I know most chefs & cooks prefer the dry goods to be pre-mixed but I usually never do this because I’m lazy: I hate creating more washing up (with extra bowls). I prefer to substitute this action with prolonged ‘elbow-grease’… in other words, add all the ingredients individually then mix the crap out of that cake batter until it can’t possibly be anything but well-blended. With a wooden spoon this equates to a fair bit of energy consumption and perhaps some lactic acid build-up in the muscles of your stirring arm. With electric beaters (does anyone even own them anymore?) food processors or Thermomixes it’s a piece of cake (excuse the pun). Chuck in all the remaining ingredients (flour, bicarb, cacao powder, salt & nutmeg) then mix, mix, mix! (Thermies, a couple of 20 second hits around speed 5-6, with some scrape downs, should do fine).

Don’t panic if your batter seems too liquescent (runny)… that’s exactly how mine was. Believe me, it solidifies as it bakes but the result is ridiculously moist! Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin and bake in a moderate oven (180ºC) as previously mentioned, for 40-50 minutes. A knife or skewer inserted should come out cleanly when it’s done. Let it cool for about 5-10 minutes before turning it out of the tin… because its so moist you’ll risk it falling apart while hot.Food Fervour

Now this could be enjoyed on its own because it is so moist but I pimped mine up with some of my homemade chocolate ganache (find that recipe here) and shredded coconut.

Yarrrrrm!

 

Turmeric & Cumin Mushrooms

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These mushies are so addictive that I’ll eat them with my dinner as well as breakfast!

I have this ‘thing’ with turmeric: it’s so ridiculously good for you (anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-ageing, anti-almost-every-disease-under-the-sun) that I’ve become quite motivated to find ways to get more of the stuff into me… without a huge deal of effort! In order to avoid cooking up a huge Indian curry every time I feel the ‘need’ for some, I started grating the bulb directly into and onto different foods.

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I originally liked grating turmeric over eggs

I find it quite enjoyable with egg, whether grated directly over poached or boiled, or added to a scramble or omelette mix. But one morning recently, whilst frying up some mushrooms to eat with some scramble, it dawned on me to try pairing them up with the turmeric instead. Since I usually always cook with coconut oil, and I tend to relate turmeric to Indian cuisine, I decided to try adding cumin as a balancing flavour.

Well, dang! I was blown away. Now maybe it’s just me, but the fact that I cooked and ate them twice in a space of 36 hours suggests that I was hooked!

It’s so simple it’s ridiculous. For a single serve you’ll need about a cup of roughly chopped button mushrooms, coconut oil, turmeric & cumin (fresh is best, but powdered will still do). Oh, and some (Celtic or Himalayan) salt to taste…

Whack a couple of tablespoons of the oil in a frypan over medium heat, then add about a teaspoon of each spice (more if you wish – especially the super-cool super-spice turmeric). Stir it up for a minute then throw in your mushies. Keep the coconut oil beside you, since they suck up the fat like there’s no tomorrow so you’ll more than likely need to add a bit more along the way. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, adding a good dash of Celtic or Himalayan salt to taste, and serve immediately, scraping as much of the flavour from the pan onto your plate as possible, too! Deeeelicious 😀

 

Healthy Fried Brown Rice

Fried Rice rarely features in my diet, and you wouldn’t catch me dead buying it from a takeaway joint. But on the odd occasion, when I’m not so fussed about consuming a decent amount of starchy carbs… like tonight, after a couple of drinks with some girlfriends… I may be inclined to cook some up as an alternative to takeaway; a ‘healthy junk food’ option.

With some pre-cooked brown rice already in the fridge, this was a pretty easy cook-up for a slightly inebriated person. There’s a fair bit of variety in fried rice recipes but they pretty much all consist of rice, veggies and some protein, seasoned with ketcap manis (a thick, sweet soy sauce). So I happily pulled out almost every vegetable in the fridge, some eggs & bacon, garlic, ginger and a little turmeric to boot. Because of its sugar content however, ketcap manis doesn’t feature in my pantry, so I use Tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce) instead and hardly notice the difference.food fervour

The following makes 2 serves: 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil for frying, 2 lightly beaten eggs, 1 small carrot (diced) 1 finely chopped garlic clove, 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 8 chopped mushrooms, 1 heaped tablespoon finely diced bacon, ½ teaspoon fresh grated turmeric, ¼ red capsicum (diced), 1-1½ cups cooked brown rice, 2-3 tablespoons Tamari (or to taste) 8 thinly sliced snowpeas, ¼ cup shredded red cabbage, ¼ cup broccoli florets, 1 large shallot (thinly sliced)

Firstly cook the ‘omelette’ by adding the beaten eggs to some of the oil in a frypan over a medium-low heat for approximately 2-3 minutes (until just set). Remove from the pan and set aside. Increase the heat to medium, add some more oil, the carrot, garlic & ginger, and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring. Add the mushrooms & bacon (more oil if needed at this stage) and cook until the mushrooms have softened. Add the turmeric and capsicum next, stirring for another minute before adding the rice, Tamari, snow peas, cabbage & broccoli. Stir fry for another 3 minutes, then roughly chop up the reserved omelette, adding it with the sliced shallot for another minute. Serve immediately.

Experiment with your ingredients. If you’re unsure what to use, Google a few recipes for ideas. You almost can’t go wrong!

 

Turmeric Egg on Toast

I just rushed in from a resistance training session, and had to rush out again in minutes, so how was I going to re-fuel? Since it’s winter here, I’m loathe to make a protein smoothie in my Thermomix because it’ll chill me from within.

The quickest, warmest, high protein, healthy fats replacement is a boiled egg on toast. I boiled the jug ala Jamie Oliver style, popped the egg and water in a small saucepan and let the stovetop catch up while I pulled out an avocado and the frozen (gluten free) bread slice ….when I saw it. The frozen Turmeric bulb. How would that go with egg? Turns out: ….brilliantly.food fervour

I smashed half an avocado on the toast, spread the egg over the top, then finely grated turmeric over all of that. With some Himalayan salt (I love salty eggs) & the slimmest drizzle of olive oil, it tasted DIVINE. And I just upped the nutrient density and anti-inflammatory properties of my post-training fuel, with minimal effort.

Up there for thinkin’, down there for dancin’!

 

Hot Brekky in a Hurry

Working on a Sunday is never really fun, I mean, who wants to rush around on Sunday? I wasn’t starting work until 9:30am but I usually like to leave myself about an hour to get there. I’d been up for awhile drinking tea, messing around, when I realised it was close to 8am and I had to start getting my lunch ready. With about half an hour up my sleeve, I knew I’d easily have time to make a black quinoa salad, thanks to my beloved Thermomix.

It only takes 18 minutes…plenty of time! While I was chopping up the veggies I wanted to add to the salad, I was inspired to make myself a hot breakfast – after all, I had heaps of time, right? I mean, with Thermie taking care of lunch I had all this time to fry up some stuff….right?

Oh dear. Talk about multi-tasking! Even with my lunch veggies ready to add to the quinoa in the last 4-6 minutes, I was really pushing it. But I did it, and it was super wholesome and very tasty even though I inhaled it!

Somehow I managed – within 45 minutes – to prepare a quinoa salad, an apple & coconut chia dessert cup, do ¾ of the washing up, cook and eat the following super nutritious (and filling) hot brekky before leaving for work:

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Smashed fried eggs atop mushroom & capsicum Hash with (gluten free) avocado toast

Pop about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, then chop up 8-10 mushrooms and ¼ capsicum. Throw them straight in the pan then de-stem and roughly chop up 3 kale leaves. Stir the mushroom & capsicum Hash then grab 2 eggs, ½ avocado and prep your toast by sitting it in the toaster so it’s read to go (I use gluten free bread).

Add the kale to the Hash and stir until it has wilted (a couple of minutes, tops). Start the toaster then serve up the Hash, returning the pan to the stovetop, adding a little more coconut oil and breaking the eggs into the pan. Spread the avocado over your toast (on the plate with the Hash) then with the spatula, roughly scrape the frying eggs from the pan base, tearing and smashing them up as you tip them on top of the Hash. Season and get stuck into this messy but highly nutritious and satisfying breakfast.

So, Pancakes…

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Cinnamon Buckwheat Pancakes with Vanilla Brazil Nut Cream, Cacao Avocado Mousse & Berries

They are the quintessential sweet tooth’s Sunday breakfast. I always thought they were too much work…until about a year ago. When I got my little ‘Magic Bullet’ blender, the elbow-grease factor became zilch. And really, in terms of ingredients, they have never been a difficult option.

I am not coeliac, nor am I even gluten intolerant, but I have discovered enough about the stuff to want to cut it from my diet. In the event that the information I have is incorrect, I choose to avoid it for no other reason than the amount it bloats me (and you really have to give the stuff up, then consume it again to notice the difference).

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Coconut pancake FAIL

So my pancakes of choice are made with buckwheat flour (now that I have my Thermomix, I’ll be milling my own, yippee!) but I have experimented with a few different kinds. Coconut doesn’t work so well for me (see pic) but quinoa is nice, if a little bitter. There is so much fun to be had, mucking around with a basic pancake recipe!

This Sunday just gone I created the gourmet feast you saw above, based on cinnamon buckwheat pancakes. If anyone wants to spoil their mother this Sunday (Mother’s Day) you may want to pay attention as I divulge recipes for three parts of the meal, over the next few days. Just to confuse, I’ll start here with the pancakes, even though they’re last likely to be the last thing you’ll create.

Pancakes really are too easy. The ratio is pretty much 1:1:1. One cup of SR flour, one egg & one cup of milk. And that will feed two people (since I’m only one I halve the amounts – which makes the pancakes a little more ‘eggy’ – but I don’t mind, more protein for me!) So my buckwheat pancakes demand thus:

1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 teaspoon bicarb soda, 1 egg, 1 cup milk (I used almond this time) Oh and one hefty teaspoon of cinnamon….since cinnamon pancakes

Pop your frypan on a medium-low heat, drop in some coconut oil and blend the pancake ingredients well. Drop a small amount of batter in first, to make your ‘tester’.  If that bubbles, turns easily and browns nicely, go for your life with the rest! Stack on one plate or if you’re ‘particular’ about them remaining really warm, you’ll have needed to preheat your oven on a low temp so you can shove them in there as you cook. (Thermie peeps can chuck them in a ThermoServer…ain’t nuthin’ goin’ cold in that thing!)