Thursday, May 26, 2016

Spanish Chickpea & Spinach Stew (Garbanzos con Espinacas)

I totally love my sweets and processed foods, but you only realise how they lack when you eat something that is delicious, nutritious and made of good, unprocessed natural ingredients. I find myself taking a spoonful and sitting up a little straighter, and thinking "Why the heck don't we eat like this everyday?"
It's the type of food that fills you with a sense of nurturing your system. You find yourself thinking on this food often, wanting more of it in the future, yet being completely satisfied and not needing more after a serve. All that processed food leaves you feeling momentarily satisfied, then almost instantly wanting more. It's like a drug. It doesn't fill you.
That's why I usually don't buy cereals for my kids, but give them porridge made on milk instead. After a bowl of cereal, my kids are asking me for snacks. After a bowl of porridge, I don't hear the word snack for a few hours.
This is one of those high fibre, super nutritious and utterly delicious meals that eaves your tummy feeling happy for a long time. If you're vegan or vegetarian, this is also the perfect meal for you and will leave you with a happy face as well.
It's great for meat free Fridays if you're Catholic like I am. (In case you where unaware, we traditionally don't eat meat on Fridays. Fish is permissible.) If you totally need your meat in every meal, shredded roast chicken is perfect in this dish too.
Whip this up and your house will be smelling amazing, with infusions of garlic, onion, paprika and cumin. You can serve with rice or cous cous- pasta would probably go well too! Buen provecho!


2 tbsp oil
2 heaped tsp crushed garlic
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
3 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp brown sugar (optional)
2x 400g tins diced tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
100g baby spinach, stalks removed
1/4 cup almond flakes

Heat up the oil in a large fry pan. Add the onion and cook on medium with the lid on, until almost translucent. Add the garlic and cook, stirring a little, for two minutes.
Add the spices and stir through the onion and garlic mix, careful not to burn these ingredients.
Add tomato paste, combine thoroughly.
Pour in the tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper to your taste. (At this point you can add the optional sugar if your tomatoes are very tangy, or just leave out.)
Turn the heat to low and let the sauce thicken, with no lid on. Stir it from time to time so that it doesn't burn.
Stir in the chickpeas. Lastly, add the spinach and heat until wilted. Garnish with the almonds. Scoop generous serving on rice and enjoy!


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Decorated Heart Sugar Cookies with Gumpaste Roses

This Mother's Day I asked my kiddies what they would like to make for mum, and my eldest daughter pulled out the cookie cutters. Mr 5 pored through a recipe book and pointed out a recipe for sugar cookies-so we got to it. I knew these gorgeous cookies would make the perfect budget friendly gift!
How important is involving children in cooking? I think it's a crucial life skill that needs to be encouraged at a very young age. I've vowed not to let one child of mine leave home without a good set of cooking skills under their belt-and not only the essentials. If you're wondering how to instill a love for cooking in your kids, there's a wonderful guide to cooking skills outlining appropriate cooking tasks listed by age, starting from three years and up. As painfully slow and messy it can be, I always allow my kids to get involved when I'm baking. They're too small to do much yet, but they do love activities like beating, rolling, measuring, sifting, licking the spoon....

BASIC SUGAR COOKIES (Adapted by Love Food pg.16)

115g butter, softened
55g caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 egg yolk
175g plain flour

Mix the butter and sugar with beaters until creamy. Beat in the rind and the yolk. Sift in the flour and mix into a soft dough. Gently knead until smooth, then halve the dough and form into two balls. Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour (or the freezer for 20 minutes)
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).
Grease and line two baking trays. 
Unwrap the dough and roll out on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of about 5mm/1/4 inch. Using a heart shaped cutter, cut out the dough and place the shapes on the baking trays with at least 2cm space between them.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to turn golden.
Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack. When completely cool, ice with royal icing, and decorate if desired.


2 tbsp beaten egg white
175g icing sugar
water or lemon juice, if needed

Place the egg white in a bowl and add a little sugar. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar to make a smooth, thick icing that holds soft peaks. For a thinner, spreadable icing, beat in a few drops of water or lemon juice to get the required consistency. To colour the icing, use a toothpick to add a little liquid or gel food colouring an mix thoroughly.
To ice the hearts, outline the cookies with the thicker icing and allow o ry, then fill in with a more spreadable royal icing. We decorated with a smaller version of these gumpaste roses and store bought edible pearls.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Chunky Cheesecake Chocolate Brownies (flourless-Gluten free)

Dark, fudgy, brownie, with soft gooey chocolate bits dotted throughout a delightfully creamy cheesecake centre-could there be a more moorish brownie recipe out there? This incredibly effortless and elegant gluten free, flourless brownie is sure to woo guests for morning tea, afternoon tea or dessert alike.With its two toned, creamy swirled design on the top, and lines of fudge chocolate brownie pulled through the cheesecake centre, this is simply an irresistible dessert. Best of all, it's also gluten free for those who are intolerant, and also freezes well for the times that you are too busy to bake. It's a new favourite, and has guests clamoring for more. Ooh la la!


12oz (1.5 packet) cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup white sugar
3 eggs
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 175C (350F). Grease a 9in pan, and line with baking paper.
Combine the softened cream cheese with 1/4 cup of the white sugar. an one egg in a mixing bowl. Beat until smooth, then stir through 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Set aside.
In a microwave proof bowl, place the remaining cup of chocolate chips with the butter. Heat or 20 second intervals on high, stirring in between, until smooth and glossy. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, 2 eggs, and baking powder and salt.
Spread half of this mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth so that it covers the bottom. Then spread the whole cream cheese mixture over the top of this chocolate layer. Top with the remaining chocolate mixture (This does not have to completely cover the cream cheese.) Using a knife, swirl the top layer of chocolate into the cream cheese to create a marbled pattern. Cook for 30-35 minutes, or until the sides are firm and the top crinkled. The centre will remain softer than the outer and will firm up on  refrigeration once cool. Cut into squares after chilling, and serve.

NOTES: These brownies also freeze well.