Category Archives: Cooking

Thermomix Sugar free Tomato Chutney

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I volunteered a while back to make some chutney for a local fundraising event. I had never made chutney so I was not too sure how I would go, but I backed myself and ended up making the most delicious tomato chutney. I know I sound a little conceited, but damn, that was good chutney!

I used raw sugar for the fundraiser chutney but I thought that I should have a go at making my own sugar free version. It worked out splendidly. This is the recipe I used.

Tomato Chutney (adapted from here)

Ingredients

•200 g red onion- peeled and quartered
•1000 g ripe tomatoes
•250 g Granny Smith apples-, peeled, cored & chopped into quarters
•60-80 g Natvia (depending on how sweet you like your chutney)
•200 g apple cider vinegar
•1/2 teaspoon allspice
•1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
•1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•2 whole cloves
•100 g sultanas
•2 teaspoons salt

Method

1. Peel the tomatoes by scoring the base of each tomato with a cross and either

  • placing in a large bowl and covering with boiling water, and leave for 5 minutes. Or,
  • Cover the blades in your bowl with water and place the tomatoes in the varoma and heat for 10-12 minutes, Varoma Temp, Speed 2

The skins should easily peel away from the cross at the base. Chop the peeled tomatoes into quarters.

2. Place the red onion and apple into bowl and chop for 5 seconds, Speed 6. Set aside.

3. Place tomatoes in bowl, chop for 5 seconds, Speed 5.

4.Add all other ingredients, including the apple and onion, and mix for 3 seconds, Reverse, Speed 4.

5. Cook for 60 minutes, 100 degrees, Reverse, Speed 1-2 with the basket on top of the bowl instead of the MC to prevent splashes

6. Increase temperature to Varoma, and cook for another 20 minutes, Reverse, Speed 1-2.

7.Test the consistency of the chutney by spooning a tablespoon of it onto a dish, then place it in the fridge for 5 minutes. If it’s still too runny, keep cooking at Varoma for 5-10 minutes and check again.

8. Place into sterilsed jars.

Note for those wanting to use sugar instead: The original recipe calls for 300 grams of raw sugar in place of the Natvia. Unless you like really sweet chutney, I would cut the 300 grams down to 200 grams, as this is still sweet.

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We are eating this chutney with everything. I especially love it on toast with cheese. Last night we had it with our steaks. Yum! Excuse me while I go get myself another spoonful.

Overnight Oats

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Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, but if I am not organised it can be the meal I end up missing. I have posted before about some of my time-saving breakfast ideas (you can read about them here) but my quick breakfast love of the moment is overnight oats.

This yummy breakfast can be made whatever way you fancy and days in advance. They are super quick to put together and are the ultimate ‘on the go’ breakfast food. But what I love most about overnight oats is that they are healthy, but taste oh so naughty!

These are the two I made yesterday for the boys and I – Raspberry and Coconut and Peanut Butter and Banana (banana to be added). You can see they were attacked before I could even take a picture!

Overnight Oats

I love opening my fridge and seeing these little bottles of yumminess waiting to be devoured in the morning.

Overnight Oats

There are some amazing overnight oat recipes that I am dying to try, so I have created a little Pinterest board. If you are wanting some overnight oat inspiration click on the link here.

How about you go whip yourself up a batch right now?

Meal Planning and Organising Recipes

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Life has been crazy about the Crooked Household and it is set to get crazier.

We have just had the inside of the house painted and the outside is soon to start. With that came A LOT of cleaning, redecorating and the implementation of some new organising systems. A bit of hard work, but a lot of fun for someone like me. I hope to share some of the changes  with you soon.

I am returning to part-time work shortly so lots of planning is underway so that it all goes smoothly. And so came about the topic of today’s blog post – meal planning and recipe organisation. I know that if I want to avoid ending up a frazzled mess that I need to have this sorted. So today, with the kids away at daycare and school, I sat down and planned my attack. Here is my planning thus far…..

1. What types of meals do I need?

I am lucky that with my teaching timetable that I only have one full day of teaching per week, the rest of the days I have to be in for morning or afternoon classes. This gives me some time for meal preparation, but I really want to avoid being stuck in the kitchen. So I need easy and quick meals and some good slow cooker and freezer meals. I also need a good freezer load of lunchbox treats for the boys.

2. Gathering the recipes

I keep most of my recipes on Pinterest. I have written about that here.

Using Pinterest to organise recipes 2

I also have quite a few Thermomix and Jamie Oliver cookbooks which are perfect for quick and easy meals.

Normally I am all for conserving paper, but until I have this ‘Working Mum’ thing under wraps, I thought it best to print or photocopy our most used recipes. This way they are easy to find, especially for hubby should he be on cooking duty.

3. Meal Planning

I am pretty happy with how I meal plan so that will be left as is.  I plan out what we will eat for dinner on the weekend and pin-up the recipe names on a magnetic board inside the pantry.

Meal Planner

You can read more about this here.

3. Storing the Recipes

I have broken the recipes up into categories – Baking, Breakfast, Easy Meals, Slow Cooker and Freezer Meals, and placed them into folders.

Organising recipes

These folders will sit in the kitchen in this nifty organiser I picked up from Kmart.

Organising recipes

Lots of other space for organising ‘things’ there. Exciting! Or,  perhaps tragic?

So there is one planning task ticked off the ‘To Do’ list.

Stay close by the blog in the next few weeks. I have lots to show you.

 

Easter Weekend Baking

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I hope you all had a very enjoyable Easter. The four-day weekend was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and indulge in some extra special treats. This year I chose just a few sweet things to make over the weekend and they were more than enough. I though I would share what I created with links to the recipes.

Firstly, the most decadent baked caramel filled cheesecake. I will be making this again very shortly. We all loved it!

Easter Baking

My own take on Cinnamon/Snickerdoodle Cupcakes. I love anything cinnamon.Easter Baking

 

Easter Baking

The kids decorated their own cupcakes with the decorating kits I picked up at Kmart. They had lots of fun.Easter Baking

Easter Baking

Easter Baking

And what Easter would be complete without Hot Cross Buns? These are mini ones I made in the Thermomix.Easter Baking

What treats completed your Easter?

Homemade Ice Cream: No Churn, With and Without the Thermomix

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Since the Thermomix has joined the Crooked Household, we make nearly everything we eat using  just the basic fridge and pantry ingredients. However, after nearly 2 years of Thermomix ownership, I had not attempted to make traditional ice cream. We had made sorbet and cheat’s ice cream using frozen yoghurt or milk and fruit, but not that delicious creamy stuff.

We very rarely buy ice cream, there are just too many nasties in the store-bought stuff, so being able ‘healthify’ a treat was a great option.

The recipe I used was for traditional ice cream from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. It is so simple, quick and super delicious!

Homemade Ice Cream - Thermomix

To suit everyone in the household I removed the sugar and instead added a little Natvia (stevia) to sweeten. Next time I might try maple syrup.

To store this delicious concoction in, I purchased these Retro Kitchen containers. A 1 litre container and a set of 4 mini ice cream tubs. So cute!Homemade Ice Cream

Since this little adventure I have been looking into other ice cream recipes, in particular the no churn ones. It seems that the secret ingredient is condensed milk, which I have been wanting to make from scratch in the Thermomix (see recipe here). I am going to one or two of the following recipes a try over the Easter season. You don’t need to have a Thermomix for these recipes, just a hand beater or food processor.

No churn Vanilla Ice Cream 

Caramelised White Chocolate No Churn Ice Cream

Nigella’s Coffee No Churn Ice Cream

Here are my two monkeys enjoying their first taste of homemade ice cream. It got the thumbs up from them. Homemade Ice Cream

Do you make your own ice cream? I’d love to try your recipe.

Amazing Hot Cross Buns

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I LOVE Hot Cross Buns.  Unlike others who groan at their appearance in the supermarket on Boxing Day, I am excited.

In the past I have had a few attempts at making my own, but I have never been able to master the texture.  They have either been too dense or too dry.

Last week though I made the best Hot Cross Bun I have EVER eaten! They were light, soft and perfectly spiced. Full of fruit and delightful with some butter.

After hearing it’s amazing reviews, I used the recipe from the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook. Making them in the Thermomix made the task so simple – all the more reason to bake them all the time. If you don’t have a Thermomix there is no reason why you can’t make these in a stand mixer or with good ol’ elbow grease. You can find a version of this recipe here.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

To make these little baked goods healthier for my family, I used spelt flour and stevia to sweeten.  Quirky Cooking also makes some healthy substitutions to this recipe which you can see here.

Seriously, if you like Hot Cross Buns, go make this recipe – NOW. You will not be disappointed!

Cheat’s Sour Dough

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A few weeks ago I tried to create my own sour dough starter.  Things seemed to be progressing well then something went wrong. My starter started to stink and failed to rise, although it bubbled nicely. I decided to toss it – a tough decision as I had invested a fair bit of time into it.

Sourdough Starter

After trying to research what went wrong, I realised that even the ‘experts’ give contradictory advice. So I have decided that for the moment, sourdough is a little too ‘high maintenance’ for me.

However, I have wanted to get into creating my own bread to enjoy on the weekends, in particular spelt loaves with little added yeast.

The first loaf I made was Alyce Alexandra’s Cheat’s Sour Dough. This loaf looks and tastes like a sour dough but instead uses just 1/4 teaspoon of yeast to do the rising.

It was really simple to make using the trusty Thermomix.  I followed Alyce’s instructional video which I found on You Tube.  If you don’t have a Thermomix you could certainly whip this loaf up in your food processor.

The dough proved overnight and although wet and sticky, took very little effort to shape. It needed to be baked for 30 minutes, perfect for breakfast.

Cheat's Sourdough

Cheat's Sourdough

And this is what my baby looked like…..

Cheat's Sourdough

Instead of using baker’s flour, I used spelt flour. This messed with the texture a little. Next time I will try of combination of both these flours. I also stuffed up the oven temperature but this was the Little Loaf that Could. The bread had a great crust and sour taste.  While it tasted lovely freshly baked, I enjoyed it most toasted.

I had my slices with smashed avocado and the sweetest heirloom tomatoes. My boys had it hot out of the oven with butter and honey. Delicious! So delicious I didn’t even have time to photograph a slice before the family devoured it all.

But don’t worry, I am going to make it again tonight, ready to bake first thing Saturday. I will stand guard with a camera and a wooden spoon(to rap thieving fingers) to ensure a picture of the first slice.

Have a great weekend.

 

What Ya Been Cookin’?

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I’ve been locked away in the kitchen trying to get a jump on some cooking today. On the agenda – afternoon tea for the hungry kids, something yummy for weekend morning teas, tonight’s dinner and an experiment. Take a look…..

This is so yummy! Garlic, herb and cheese pull apart.  I used my favourite bread recipe, ripped off little balls of dough and dipped them in melted herb and garlic butter. I placed them in a cake tin to rise again before sprinkling with cheese and baking.Herb, garlic and cheese pull apart

Master O is in love with lamingtons at the moment. I made half the recipe in a doughnut pan, the other in a lamington tin. Messy to make but oh so worth it.

Lamingtons

This is Jamie Oliver’s Pork Meatloaf with spaghetti Sauce. I couldn’t wait to taste this at dinner time, so I sliced a small bit off for my lunch. A-mazing! The meatloaf has feta in it and the spaghetti sauce is lovely and rich. This will become a favourite in the Crooked Household.

Pork Meatloaf

Finally, I have always wanted to have a go at making my own sourdough bread. Today I took the first step in creating my own starter. He is equal parts wholemeal spelt flour and water. Fingers-crossed this little fella works.

Sourdough StarterWhat cooking adventures are you up to this weekend?

Freezer Cooking: Quick, Kid Friendly Lunchbox Snacks and Midweek Meals

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My eldest starts school this week so I have been making a few lunchbox snacks to keep in the freezer. As I am also anticipating a lot of exhausted and hungry afternoons, I thought it might be best to get together a few kid friendly meals that I could whip out of the freezer if I needed to.  Here is what I made….

Cheese and bacon scrolls and cinnamon scrolls, ready to defrost and bake.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Fruity Pikelets.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

Bliss balls.

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

And for dinners…..

Kid size lasagne,

Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

and pumpkin arancini balls.Kid Friendly Freezer Meals

This bit of effort should save me some trouble in the next few weeks. Whoo-hoo!

I also have dozens of other lunchbox recipes and ideas I want to get around to trying out.  I have been pinning madly so that I don’t loose them! If you want to gather some inspiration, or grab the recipe for any of the things I made above, take a look at my Lunchbox Recipes Pinterest page.

Have a great week.

Great Festive Cookie Recipe

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The other day I headed to the shops in an effort to finish all of my Christmas shopping.  The whole expedition went wonderfully.  I was focused, determined and fuelled by coffee. Well maybe I wasn’t 100% focused, because this little unplanned, but severely cute item, jumped into my trolley.Christmas Cookies

I mean with all the festive cooking that goes on around here, how could I not have a cute Christmas mug and snack plate?

One little festive treat I whipped up to enjoy on my new plate is this super easy and tasty cookie.

The recipe is not new. Last year I posted about the Cookie Jars that I gave to friends and neighbours. You can read about them here.

Christmas Gifts in a Jar

We so enjoyed these, I have baked them several times throughout the year.  But, now that the green and red m&ms are back, I had to make these cookies – Christmas style.

Christmas Cookies

Ingredients**

  • 1  1/3 cup Plain Flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup christmas m&ms
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup butter (room temp)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 deg Celsius (160 deg celsius – fan forced)
  • Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and combine
  • Add egg, butter and vanilla and mix until the ingredients come together
  • Roll heaped tablespoons into balls and place on a lined cookie tray
  • Bake 10-12 minutes

**These measurements are Australia metric. 1 cup = 250 mls, 1 tsp = 5 mls

Christmas cookies

Now it is time to sit back and enjoy one of these while my boys sleep off an active morning at the park. Yum!