Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cracker Biscuits

The other week I tried my hand at making my own rice crackers.  Although they were quite different to the bought ones you can get, I thought they were a very tasty change.  It is also really nice knowing you aren’t eating all those artificial colours and flavours that can sometimes be hiding in the packet biscuits.  So this week I thought I would make some other cracker biscuits.  The good thing about these is you are only limited by your imagination for flavourings.  You can try different grains like quinoa, millet or rye, different toppings like poppy seeds, sesame, garlic granules or different flavoured salts.  Let me know what variations you can come up with – I’d love to see your photos!!

Cracker Biscuits

Ingredients

100g chia seeds (or substitute with other grains)

20g sundried tomatoes (not in oil)

200g bakers flour

1 teaspoon salt (or stock concentrate)

120g water

20g salt flakes for topping

Method

Pre heat oven to 180°C

Place chia seeds and sundried tomatoes into thermomix bowl and grind for 30 seconds on speed 9

Add flour, salt and water and knead on interval speed for 1 minute 30 seconds

Take about ¼ of mixture and place on an oiled silicone mat and roll out until approximately 1 – 1.5mm thickness (the thinner you can get them the crispier they will be)

Cut into shapes and place on a baking tray covered in baking paper.  Sprinkle with ¼ of the salt flakes and lightly press them into the dough

Bake in oven for about 15 minutes until golden.  Allow them to cool on a rack which will help them crisp up.

Repeat the process for the rest of the dough mixture (while one is cooking you can be rolling and cutting the next batch)

Serve with one of my yummy dips

Serves: 80 crackers

Approximate calories per serve: 10

By |February 28th, 2013|Dips and Nibbles|1 Comment

Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip

We have a veggie garden that we are quite excited about, although it hasn’t really been producing much more than my herbs lately.  But happily, we had some very cute little eggplants growing so I decided to use these in a dip (there wasn’t enough for much else unfortunately!!)  when we had friends over the other night.  It is also quite low fat so that can only be a good thing if you are anything like me and love dip and bickies!!!

Middle Eastern Eggplant Dip with crackers

Ingredients

500g fresh eggplant

1 clove garlic

small bunch of coriander

2 tablespoons of tahini

60g lemon juice

50g natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon cumin

Method

Preheat oven to 200°C.  Place eggplant on a tray and bake for 50 minutes, until cooked and soft.  Cut in half and cool for 10 minutes.  Scrape out soft flesh and set aside (discard skin)

Place garlic and coriander in thermomix bowl and chop for 4 seconds on speed 6

Scrape down sides of bowl, then add eggplant, tahini, lemon juice, yoghurt, and cumin and chop for 5 seconds on speed 4

Serve with vegetable sticks or try my home made crackers or rice crackers

Serves: 9 (2 tablespoons per serve)

Approximate calories per serve: 25

By |February 28th, 2013|Dips and Nibbles|1 Comment

Steamed Dumplings

When I first got my thermomix, we had just returned from a holiday to Beijing, so one of the first things I made was the delicious steamed dumplings we had been enjoying on our holiday. These aren’t  the doughy ones, they are light and healthy you will need to make a lot as you wont be able to stop eating them!

Steamed Dumplings

Ingredients

4 spring onions

2 cloves of garlic

55 g bamboo shoots

300g pork mince (or mince your own first)

10 g Chinese rice wine

¼ teaspoon white pepper

¾ teaspoon sesame oil

30 fresh wonton wrappers

Method

Mince pork if using pork steak (close lid and turbo 3 – 4 times).  Set aside

Place spring onions, garlic and bamboo shoots into bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 5

Add pork mince, Chinese rice wine, white pepper and sesame oil and select closed lid then press turbo 3 – 4 times to combine

Place 1 wonton wrapper on bench, brush edges with water then place 1 teaspoon of mince mixture in the middle of the wrapper, then fold wonton wrapper in half to make a triangle.  Fold the top corner over, then twist the side corners once and fold to the opposite side to enclose the filling.  Use extra water to stick the edges together if needed.  You can work with a few wrappers at once to save time.  I laid out 6 wrappers, brushed them with water, placed mince in the middle of each wrapper then folded each one.

There are heaps of different ways of folding the dumplings and it is probably easiest to do a search on “folding wonton wrappers’ on the internet to find a style that suits you.

As you finish each dumpling place them on the Varoma tray in a single layer.  You will probably need to use the Varoma dish as well.

Once all dumplings are wrapped, add 900g water in bowl, place lid on top without MC, place Varoma tray and dish on then Varoma lid on top.  Set for 15 minutes at Varoma Temperature on speed 4

Once cooked, place on a serving tray and serve with a dipping sauce.  I have some delicious dipping sauce recipes here, or you could try your own.

Serves: 30

Approximate calories per dumpling: 30

Honey Soy Dipping Sauce

I made some steamed dumplings on the weekend, and tried a few dipping sauces to serve with them.  These are so quick and easy to make in your thermomix.  When I made mine I added all of the ingredients to the thermomix, but have since thought it would work better to do the chopping and then add this to the sauces in a separate bowl.  This will avoid the frothy appearance of my sauce, but still keep it delicious!

Honey Soy Dipping Sauce

Ingredients

2 teaspoons sesame seeds

2 spring onions

1 tablespoon coriander

1cm fresh ginger

1 tablespoon honey

20g lime juice

20g sesame oil

20g soy sauce

Method

Place sesame seeds in thermomix bowl and toast for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1.  Set aside.

Place spring onions, coriander, ginger and honey in bowl and chop for 15 seconds on speed 4

Place lime juice, sesame oil and soy sauce in a separate bowl, add spring onion mixture and sesame seeds and stir to combine.

Serve with steamed dumplings.

Approximate calories per bowl: 303

By |February 28th, 2013|Dips and Nibbles, Sauces and Spreads|2 Comments

Cappuccino

The other day I thought I would try out the cappuccino in the thermomix.  I have a nespresso coffee maker so usually use that when I want a coffee, but Pete has been complaining lately that the coffee isn’t strong enough for him.  Although this coffee took a bit longer to make compared to the nespresso one, it was a nice change, and probably something I would make for friends after a dinner party.

Cappuccino

Ingredients
Chocolate (I used a few squares from a block of chocolate)
3 Tablespoons Instant Coffee Granules
1000g Low Fat Milk
Liqueur to taste (optional)

Method

Place chocolate in bowl and grate for 7 seconds on speed 8.  Set aside

Placed coffee, milk and liqueur in bowl and cook for 7 minutes at 80°C  atspeed 4, then 20 seconds at speed 8 to froth the milk

Pour coffee into mugs and sprinkle with grated chocolate

Low fat milk works best and creates the most froth

Serves: 4

Approximate calories per serve: 140

By |February 28th, 2013|Drinks|1 Comment

Mini Bacon and Corn Quiches

This is another lunch box/after school snack I made this week.  I think the home made pastry really improves the flavour of these, and it is so quick to do in your thermomix.  But if you really don’t want to make it yourself, then just buy the frozen short crust pastry.

Mini Bacon & Corn Quiches

Ingredients
Pastry
200g plain flour
100g chilled butter
¼ teaspoon salt
50 – 60g chilled water
Filling
300g cheese
½ brown onion
200g bacon
10g oil
3 eggs
150g cream (or evaporated milk for a healthier version)
125g super sweet corn
salt & pepper

Method

Pre heat oven to 200°C

To make the pastry:

Place flour, butter and salt in thermomix bowl and mix for 10 seconds on speed 6, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs

Set dial to closed lid positon

Add 50g water and knead for 20 seconds on interval speed to form a dough.  Add more water if needed.

Turn mixture onto a floured silicone mat and knead lightly.

Roll into a ball and cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for about 15 minutes.  (I started making the quiche filling while the pastry was in the fridge)

Once chilled you can roll it out to about 2mm thickness and cut with a cookie cutter or glass so each piece is just a bit bigger than a patty pan tin hole.

Once all holes are filled, place in oven for about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and press into holes to remove any air bubbles (I use a small ladle). Set aside.

To make filling:

Place cheese in thermomix bowl and grate for 8 seconds on speed 4

Rinse bowl, then add onion and bacon and chop for 5 seconds on speed 5

Add oil and cook for 5 minutes at 100°C on reverse + soft speed. Set aside

Rinse bowl and allow to cool (this is when I removed pastry from the fridge and rolled it out, which gave time for bowl to cool)

Place eggs, cream and salt and pepper in bowl and mix for 15 seconds on speed 2

Fill partly cooked pastry cases with bacon mixture, add some corn and top with cheese.  Carefully pour egg mixture on top and place in oven for about 30 minutes or until golden.

Serves: 24

Approximate calories per serve: 150

Pikelets

On the first day my daughter went to kindy, her friend had pikelets for morning tea and I got serious lunch box envy!  Is it ok to want what a four year old is having???  I think I must have had a bit of a deprived childhood as I don’t EVER remember having pikelets cooked for me or my brothers, so when I saw pikelets in the other lunch box I had to make sure my daughter was not as deprived as I was.  So that afternoon we made pikelets together!  My beautiful boy was pretty happy with them too!

Pikelets

Ingredients

20g butter
140g SR flour
Pinch salt
40g sugar
¼ teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
1 ½ MC sour milk (if fresh, add 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1 egg

Method

Place butter in thermomix bowl and melt for 40 seconds at 50°C on speed 4

Add remaining ingredients and mix for 30 seconds on speed 5

Heat a non stick pan on medium heat and either grease with a little dob of butter or a spray of canola oil.  Place spoonfuls of pikelet mixture onto pan, and when bubbles appear turn over and cook the other side.

You can serve these with jam and butter, but we had them plain.

Serves: 25

Approximate calories per serve: 35

**Just in case you need reminding – MC is the clear Measuring Cup on the lid of your thermomix

Chicken & Vegetable Sausage Rolls

If you are anything like me, then you are already trying to think of new and interesting goodies the kids can have in their lunch box, which is on the healthy side, but will make them happy too.  I have decided to cook a new lunch box /after school snack each week that I can freeze, so there is always a selection of healthy(ish) food for lunch boxes or when friends pop over.  This is the start of my baking adventures!

Chicken & Vegetable Sausage Rolls

Ingredients

1 carrot
½ – 1 zucchini
½ red onion
bunch of parsley
500g chicken skinless boneless chicken thigh
70 g fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs (or two slices of bread to be made into breadcrumbs)
1 egg (plus 1 extra egg lightly beaten)
5 sheets frozen puff pastry
Sesame Seeds

Method

Place chicken and parsley into thermomix bowl and in mince 10 seconds on reverse speed 8.  Repeat if needed.

Add carrot, zucchini and onion and chop 3 seconds on speed 5

Add minced chicken, breadcrumbs and egg and combine for 20 seconds on reverse speed 5

Place just thawed puff pastry sheets on a bench and cut in half.

Divide chicken mixture into 5, and then place half lengthwise along the centre of each piece, and repeat with other side.

Fold over pastry to make a roll, and ensure seam is underneath.  Repeat with remaining pastry and filling

Cut rolls in half and then into thirds (so you have 6 small sausage rolls from each roll)

Place rolls on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Cut a slit into each roll and brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if using)

Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until rolls are lightly browned

Serves: 60

Approximate calories per serve: 65  

Storing Ginger and Garlic

I seem to be using a lot of ginger lately, and have discovered if you tightly wrap fresh ginger in plastic wrap then place it in the freezer, it will last for much longer, plus be easier to peel and grate.

Garlic is another one that stores well in the freezer.  I just break up a bulb of garlic and place it in a Tupperware Antarctica container.  The cloves can then be used as needed, and the papery skin is easily removed.

By |February 20th, 2013|Hints and Tips|1 Comment

Fruity Moroccan Lamb

This is a great meal to prepare either in the morning, or the evening before you need it.  You could probably do the whole cooking process in your thermomix, but I liked the idea of slow cooking in the oven (and it worked perfectly to put it in the oven then take the kids to swimming lessons – when we got home dinner was cooked!).  The lamb just melts in your mouth, and the apricots and dates are nice mix to give a bit of sweetness to the whole dish.

As I was typing out this recipe I realised I forgot to add the chickpeas to my casserole!  Oops!!  I don’t think it mattered too much, and truth be told the kids where probably happy about it, but I definitely would have liked them in there!!  Also, don’t be put off by the number of ingredients and the length of the method – this really is a quick and simple dish – especially if prepared earlier in the day.  The initial preparation takes less than 30 minutes, then you simply place it in the oven for about 1 ½ hours.

Fruity Moroccan Lamb

Ingredients

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1cm piece of ginger
20g olive oil
500g diced lamb
1 tablespoon Moroccan seasoning
1 orange
300ml water
2 teaspoons stock concentrate
400g can chickpeas, drained
70g dried apricot
70g pitted dates
150g green beans
35g pistachios
fresh coriander
1 cup couscous
2 teaspoons stock concentrate (extra)
natural yoghurt to serve

Method

Pre heat oven to 160°C if you are cooking it now, or if this is being prepared in the morning pre heat oven as needed

Place apricots and dates in thermomix bowl and chop 3 seconds on speed 5.  Set aside

Place pistachios in bowl and chop 2 seconds on speed 6. Set aside

Peel half of the orange and place rind in bowl and grate 5 seconds on speed 9. Set aside

Place onion, garlic and ginger in bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 7

Scrape down sides of bowl, add oil and saute for 3 minutes at 100°C on speed 1

While the onion mix is sauteing, use a bowl to coat lamb in Moroccan seasoning

Add lamb to thermomix bowl and cook for 6 minutes at100°C on reverse speed 1

Juice orange, and add juice, grated orange rind, water and stock concentrate and cook for a further 6 minutes at 100°C on reverse speed 1

Place contents in a covered oven-proof casserole dish and either place in oven if cooking straight away, or allow to cool and place in the fridge.

When placed in the oven, cook for approximately 1 ¼ hours.

Add apricots, dates, green beans and chickpeas and cook in oven for a further 15 minutes.

While this is happening, boil kettle and place couscous in a bowl and add extra stock concentrate with 1 cup of boiling water.  Stir, then cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  Fluff with a fork

To serve, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and coriander, and add a spoonful of natural yoghurt to each plate.

Serves: 4

Approximate calories per serve: 720

By |February 20th, 2013|Main Meals|1 Comment