Category Archives: Cooking

Cooking Tomato Sauce

My kitchen has been a hive of activity this week. So much fresh produce has been processed, cooked, frozen, bottled and eaten. It is such a great feeling to wake Monday morning to a pantry and fridges laden with fresh produce (thanks to my bulk buying of fruit and veg last weekend) and a crisper full of greens and herbs from Dad’s garden. But it also means a very productive week needs to happen to make use of it all.

After a few batches of lemon and lime butter were made, it was time to use a case full of beautiful, ripe tomatoes, so tomato sauce of all varieties has emerged from my big pot on the stove. Apart from my usual tomato ketchup (with spices and plums added to the tomatoes) the family favourite is this tomato pasta sauce which I now have about 9 litres of, either in bottles in the pantry or in my freezer.

I’m not much of a recipe follower so I just filled the pot about 3/4 full with quartered tomatoes, then added a whole heap of fresh herbs – basil, oregano and parsley, along with some garlic, celery, onion, carrots and a bit of water. It bubbled away for about an hour, I suppose, then I blitzed it into a sauce consistency. Yum. Yum. Yum. Especially served by the bowl full with hot sourdough bread to accompany it, or over roasted spuds with parmesan sprinkled on top or ….. well the list goes on.

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Spicy Nuts

Christmas Cooking 7

Moroccan Spiced Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups Almonds (soaked overnight)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric

Toss all ingredients and dry in dehydrator overnight (or a low over for a few hours).

 

Salt and Vinegar Almonds

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Almonds (soaked overnight)
  • 50 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Salt

Toss all ingredients and dry in dehydrator overnight (or a low over for a few hours).

 

Mexican Pepitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pepitas (soaked overnight)
  • Juice of 2 – 3 limes
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp salt

Toss all ingredients and dry in dehydrator overnight (or a low over for a few hours).

 

Christmas Cooking

Almond Shortbread

Christmas Cooking 8

 

Ingredients:

  • 220g Almonds
  • 90g Rapadura Sugar
  • 110g Cold Butter

Blitz Almonds in Thermomix until fine. Add other ingredients until combined.

Press into small muffin or chocolate moulds. Bake at 180C for 15 – 20 minutes, watch carefully so they don’t burn. Leave them cool completely in moulds.

 

These are decadent, rich and buttery – a perfect Christmas time treat.

Christmas Cooking

Celebration Cake – Raw, Dairy & Gluten Free

Christmas Cooking 3

 

Base

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups Macadamias
  • 1/3 cup Dates
  • 1/4 cup Cacao Powder
  • 1/4 cup Cacao Nibs

Blitz macadamias, dates and cacao powder in Thermomix until moist and beginning to clump together.

Add Cacao Nibs and blitz for a couple seconds until just combined.

Press into pie tin and refrigerate for about an hour.

 

Filling

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Cashews
  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 cup Dates
  • 3/4 cup cacao butter melted (or I used coconut oil)

Blitz all ingredients until silky smooth.

Pour over base and refrigerate (or freeze) for at least 2 hours (or a few days if needed).

Top with fresh fruit or berries before serving.

 

A bit of confession time… This photo is of the cake in my freezer at the moment ready for Christmas day. But I made extra which became our breakfast yesterday morning. It was delicious – why not have cheesecake for a Saturday morning breakfast I say. It was met with cheers for all the family and topped with lots of fresh fruit, Yum… That’s all….

Christmas Cooking

 

Chocolate Ginger Balls

Christmas Cooking 1

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Dried Dates
  • 2 Tbsp Cocao Powder
  • Pinch Salt
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dried Ginger
  • Coconut for rolling balls in

Blitz all ingredients in Thermomix until moist and beginning to clump together. Roll into balls.

The challenge with these is trying to save some for the upcoming family celebrations. I’ve already made many batches and managed to squirrel some away in the back of the fridge out of sight (I best go check they are still there…) I have many little hands (and some bigger ones) who are rather fond of these balls of deliciousness. The past week I’ve kept a little glass jar of these in my handbag – a ‘just in case’ snack and I like this idea. A longer-than-planned stop in town is made much more pleasant with the little ones when I can produce a jar of these.

Note: Recipe is adapted from the ‘Date Squishies’ in Food We Love by Tania Hubbard

Christmas Cooking

Christmas Day Salad

Christmas Salad

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (or any greens) – cut into ribbons
  • Beetroot Salad
  • Sesame Seeds (or pine nuts) – toasted
  • Bocconcini (or fresh mozzarella or feta cheese)

Beetroot Salad Ingredients:

  • 1 large Beetroot (peeled and quartered)
  • 3 large Carrots
  • 1 small Green Apple (quartered)
  • Dash of Olive Oil
  • Dash of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Approx. 1 tsp Rapadura Sugar

Blitz beetroot salad ingredients in Thermomix; 3 – 4 seconds, speed 5.

Assemble salad in happy Christmas colours.

 

Christmas Cooking

Apricot Treat Balls

Christmas Cooking 2

 

Apricot Treat Balls

Ingredients:

  • Cashew Nuts (equal amounts)
  • Dried Apricots (equal amounts)
  • Coconut (to roll in)

Weigh then blitz Cashews in Thermomix until fine. Add an equal amount of Apricots (don’t overfill thermomix – half full is about the maximum for this – do a few smaller batches if you need). Blitz for about a minute, or until the mixture becomes moist and begins to clump together. Roll into balls and toss in coconut.

 

This is so simple and the ingredients are pantry staples for me. My typical test of a new ‘recipe’ is to give it to my husband (who has more ‘standard’ taste buds than me, I think – but then what is normal anymore?) and get his opinion before he knows what is or isn’t in it. On this occasion he just grinned and said, it’s a Christmas Apricot Ball. Success. I will add a disclaimer that we don’t eat all that much sweet food anymore, so we enjoy the natural, delicate sweetness and flavour of the apricots and nuts (it’s not a condensed milk type of sweetness).

Edited to add: When chatting with my Mum, she was telling me about her latest kitchen concoction – basically what I had just made but she used macadamias instead of cashews and added a bit of coconut to the mix.

 

Christmas Cooking

Healthy Christmas Cooking – Gluten, Grain and Dairy Free

Christmas Cooking

With an intention to eat ‘clean’ in this family, Christmas always seems to be a bit perplexing when it comes to food. All those Christmas goodies, yet what are they made of? All through the year we eat a pretty healthy diet based on good, old-fashioned, wholesome, natural food (and very little ‘boxed’ food at all). We eat mostly gluten free, often grain free, and generally limit dairy and no preservatives or other number nasties. But Christmas time comes around and with it the obligation, or so I feel, of making yummy, horribly unhealthy morsels of sickening sweetness. So this year it’s been my goal to create Christmas yummyness out of the ingredients I usually stock in my pantry – yummy and healthy Christmas treats.

This week I’ve been busy in the kitchen along with my trusty Thermomix and thought I’d record some of my creations here – who knows, they may inspire you to try them out or at the very least I’ll have a good recipe stash to find again next year.