Curry Mayonnaise Dip with Raw Veggies

This is the quickest and easiest dip to make, as well as being really tasty. I know that it sounds strange to serve it with raw veggies – but trust me. Raw broccoli with this dip is especially nice. I usually serve it with raw broccoli and dutch carrots with the stalks trimmed for aesthetic purposes. Try it – you’ll love it!

warning: this stuff is addictive!

Curry Mayonnaise Dip

Ingredients:
  • 1 ½ cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Few drops Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • Vegetables of your choice (broccoli, dutch carrots, cauliflower, beans, mushrooms, celery, capsicum etc)
Method:
  1. Prepare vegetables, they can be served raw or steamed for a minute or so
  2. Combine all curry mayonnaise ingredients and place in a small bowl to serve

Eleanor x

Advertisements

Thai Sweet Potato & Chickpea Patties

I absolutely love having friends over for dinner, it’s probably one of my most favourite things to do. I was lucky to have my favourite pair of sisters around to our apartment for dinner over the weekend, both of them being vegetarian.

My mum is also a vego (as well as being a rockstar cook) so I grew up eating a lot of yummy vegetarian meals. For my mum’s birthday last year I complied all of her favourite recipes which I typed up and printed out to make her very own recipe book.

As such, I happen to have access to all of my mums amazing recipes on my laptop. Which is where I found this yummy little pearler. She has made it for the family before but with tuna instead of chickpeas (she’s one of those vegetarians that still eats seafood, which I don’t get. Don’t fish don’t have feelings too?). Anyway, mum had a note on her recipe that said that you can replace the tuna with chickpeas to make it suitable for vegos, so that is just what I did. And it was ever so yummy! Feel free to try either version, or come up with something else to substitute!

yum!

Thai Sweet Potato & Chickpea Patties
Serves 6
Ingredients:
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed or chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 gold sweet potatoes, steamed and well mashed (alternatively pumpkin)
  • 400g tin chickpeas, mashed (alternatively tuna in spring water, drained and flaked)
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce (plus extra for serving)
  • A few shakes of garam masala
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Flour and extra garam masala
  • Olive oil, for frying
Method:
  1. Combine onion, garlic, ginger and ¾ of the coriander in a large bowl
  2. Add potatoes and stir to combine
  3. Add tuna and combine
  4. Then add sauce, spice and egg yolk and mix
  5. Form into balls using salad spoon and toss in flour seasoned with extra garam masala
  6. Refrigerate or freeze 10 – 15minutes
  7. Shallow fry in olive oil
  8. Serve on a bed of salad with sweet chilli sauce and coriander to garnish

Enjoy!

Eleanor x

Chocolate Ice Cream with Homemade Honeycomb

Being a keen baker and consumer of all things sweet, I managed to nab my parents’ ice cream machine a couple of years ago. When I first got it I went sufficiently nuts creating far too much ice cream in a short space of time for any sane individual to consume. I may have been slightly ice-creamed out as I haven’t made any since then..about a year ago! Maybe it has something to do with it finally being summer, so I am slightly more inclined to snack on something cold.

I’ve also been meaning to make honeycomb from scratch for a while now too so I figured I may as well kill two birds with one stone!*

I found the honeycomb recipe here.

Chocolate and Honeycomb Ice Cream

Homemade Honeycomb

Ingredients:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons bicarb soda

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper
  2. Melt the caster sugar and golden syrup together in a saucepan over medium heat
  3. Swirl the pan occasionally until the sugar dissolves (don’t stir with a spoon otherwise it will go grainy)
  4. Let the mixture come to a boil and develop a deep golden brown colour (not too dark though, or it will taste burnt)
  5. Take mixture off the heat and immediately add the bicarb soda
  6. Mix thoroughly with silicone or metal spoon until combined – it will bubble and froth and expand in size and resemble foam
  7. Pour straight into lined tray
  8. Let it sit on the bench until set (mine took 20 minutes but it may take longer if your kitchen is humid – or you could pop it in the fridge for a while to firm up)
  9. Once set, break up into desired size pieces (I crumbled mine into fairly small pieces for the ice cream)
  10. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place – any moisture will cause the honeycomb to become soft

have your bicarb soda measured and ready to throw into the pot as soon as your mixture is ready

i let my mixture get slightly darker than this before removing from heat

the mixture should foam up like this once the bicarb soda is added

it's hard to get the mixture to sit nicely, but don't worry - it will set and then you can break it up into bite size pieces

honeycomb crumbled and ready to be added to the ice cream!

 

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (dutch process preferred)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups full cream milk
  • 3 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of honeycomb (optional)
Method:
  1. Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl
  2. Stir to combine
  3. Add the milk
  4. Mix on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoas and sugars are dissolved (1-2 minutes)
  5. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla
  6. Pour into ice cream machine and follow directions from manufacturer
  7. Add in 1 cup of honeycomb about 5 minutes before the mixture is done
  8. Transfer mixture into airtight container and store in freezer
  9. You may have to let ice cream soften for 15 minutes before serving
  10. Sprinkle excess honeycomb over ice-cream before serving

adding the honeycomb to the ice cream mixture

Please be advised that success with the honeycomb requires a cool temperature and good quality ingredients. A lot can go wrong with it otherwise. Make sure there is no humidity, that you are using good quality bicarb soda (McKenzies brand is recommended) that is not too old and that you let the golden syrup and caster sugar boil for long enough to achieve the deep golden colour, but not too long so as to burn the mixture. If you have any troubles, remember what you did and feel free to ask where you went wrong.

Good luck!

Eleanor x

*no birds were harmed in the making of this ice cream 🙂

Watermelon and Vodka Summer Cocktail

If you have been following my posts, you will be ever so aware that I am mildly obsessed with my brand new juicer and have been experimenting with lots of yummy juice recipes. Over the weekend I was keen to try making a cocktail fro fresh juice and decided the perfect fruit to juice for a sunny weekend sip was watermelon. The recipe below is a but rough, as I was making it up as I went, so feel free to tweak it to your taste and make sure to try it and add anything you might need. I accidentally (I swear!) poured a teensy bit too much vodka in my jug to begin with but just countered it with more lemonade and it turned out fine.

Fresh Watermelon, Cucumber, Mint, Lemonade & Vodka Cocktail

  • 1/4 watermelon
  • 1/4 cucumber
  • 8 mint leaves to juice + garnish
  • 1 cup lemonade
  • 1/3 cup vodka

the most divine summer cocktail

 

Happy Sipping!

Eleanor x

Confession: I Murdered a Mango

Let’s begin with the homicide that occurred in my kitchen this morning, shall we?

It was a quite Sunday morning, I awoke early to head across the road to the park – dumbbells in tow – for my Tough Mudder training.

All was well (apart from feeling physically ill from training) and I truged my way back up to my apartment with my mind on one thing: MANGO. Yesterday, after celebrating Ethiopian (or, Orthodox in general) Christmas at my boyfriend’s mothers house, I was given a bag full of food – injera, siga wat, mesir wat, basil, rosemary, strange cup-a-soup stuff and the mango.

christmas lunch leftovers for last night's dinner

So, anyway, I was given a mango and had plans of juicing that baby for my post-training morning juice. Now, my brand new, shiny, whizz bang juicer may be brand new, shiny and whizz bang but unfortunately the juicing of a mango in this machine first requires said mango to be peeled and pitted. “Sure thing! No worries! Easy done!” I thought. Little did I know what was to come…

I have never peeled a mango in my life. There, I said it. Weird, I know. I have long been impressed by the skilful way so many of my friends a family members slice up a mango all too casually into to enviable little cubes, like this…

Mango, манго - дары тропиков

oh, perfect little cubes, how you taunt me!

Now, I have observed this technique in passing and I thought I had it down. How wrong I was. I started by cutting my mango in half. Only to encounter the giant mother of a seed in the middle. Yes, I knew it was going to be there, but when I got to it I was stumped. “How do I get those nice little semi-circle “cheeks” from which I gracefully slice my perfect little cubes?”, I pondered. I was then left to rip off the skin of the mango, crudely scraping the sweet, orange flesh from the thick outer layer. My next dilemma: “How on earth do I get the fruit off that goddamn seed?”. Try as I might – or should I say, scrape as I might – I had very little luck removing the flesh from that whale of a seed (I mean really, they charge us for that? Mangoes are pricey as it is!).

And thus, at approximately 8:54am on Sunday, January 8th 2012, a murder was committed in my kitchen. The crime scene was not a pretty sight…

mango murder

ALAS! All hope was not lost. From the ashes of a brutally murdered mango rises the almighty juice. Some kiwi and strawberries were willing to sacrifice themselves as well and later persuaded an apple and a pear to join their humble pursuit.

20120108-195137.jpg

The end result: juice perfection

So, while my mango made the ultimate sacrifice – it all worked out for the best. He’s in a better place now – aka “my belly”.

Eleanor x

Note: I found this video on YouTube far too late. I now realise that (attempting to) cut it in half was possibly the worst decision ever made. Instead, one should cut the mango twice. On either side of that mother of a seed.

You learn something new every day, don’t you?

My Baking Secrets

Baking – like all forms of cookery – is a food science. If you get the ingredients or the proportions wrong, you can spoil the outcome. That is why it is important to always follow a recipe and only improvise if you know the food science behind any substitutions or additions you choose to make. Throughout my years of baking I have encountered every problem you could come across – from burning everything and cakes failing to rise to finding uncooked mixture in the middle of a cake and (worst of all) finding a whole cooked egg inside a cake. Below are a few of the little secrets that I have found to fix my baking blunders – and greatly enhance the flavour, texture and looks of my final products. I will add more hints to this list as I come across them.

Butter

Make sure butter is softened before using to bake. Especially when creaming with sugar. It is best to keep the butter that you use for baking in the cupboard, not the fridge. Or if you insist on storing it in the fridge due to weather, be sure to leave it out on the kitchen bench for about an hour to soften before cooking with it.

Always use full fat butter, none of this “lite” business.

Unsalted Butter is best for sweet baking, as in butter cakes etc

Lightly Salted or Regular Butter is best for savoury baking and recipes with chocolate or caramel as it enhances the flavour

Milk

Milk, like butter, is best used at room temperature when baking. If you use cold milk (and I’m sure you have in the past) you’ll notice that as soon as it comes into contact with the creamed butter and sugar – it will turn lumpy. Of course, it’s not reasonable to leave milk in the cupboard, so I suggest you measure the amount the recipe calls for and leaving out for 30 minutes or so before using it in your baking.

Again, full fat, full cream milk. Not skim!

Eggs

Once again, room temperature is best. Most recipes are written for large eggs, too, so keep that in mind when shopping for ingredients.

Flour

If possible, use good quality flour.

Always sift your flour when the recipe calls for it (hell, even if it doesn’t). You’ll avoid yucky little clumps of flour in the final product and it will make your mixture lighter and smoother.

Sugar

In baking, caster sugar is the most commonly used as the size of the sugar crystals dissolve well and allow for light and fluffy cakes. If a recipe specifies caster sugar, don’t be cheeky and use normal white sugar instead – it won’t work.

Vanilla

Most recipes out there with vanilla in them will usually call for vanilla essence. If you can afford it, using vanilla extract will improve the taste. It’s all I use now, I refuse to use essence – it’s just not the same. I bought a 200mL bottle in August and still have about a quarter of it left – and I’ve been baking a lot.

Oven

If you can find one, it’s a great idea to grab a thermometer and test out your oven’s temperature. People often blame their ovens for ruining their baking – but it could just be that the temperature you’re setting on the dial isn’t actually right. Test out the temperature and mark your oven dial for future reference.

 

I hope this helps! Please leave a comment if you have any questions. Happy baking!

Eleanor x

Watermelon, Pear, Cucumber, Grape and Mint Juice!

That’s right! And it was GOOD! I used:

  • 1/4 of a 1/4 watermelon (I bought a quarter slice of watermelon and chopped off a quarter to juice..I guess that makes it one sixteenth? Ugh, math. Who needs it? Just use some watermelon!)
  • 1 pear
  • about 1/4 of a cucumber (ever so many quarters!)
  • 10 grapes
  • 3 leaves of mint

and it's pink! bonus!

I’ve basically been throwing together any fruit I have in the fridge so far and crossing my fingers and toes that it is drinkable.

Please, do share your recipes with me! It may end badly next time..I have broccoli in my fridge….

Eleanor x

Yummy Smoothie Recipe

Today I decided to use some fresh juice to make myself a smoothie. I just juiced up all my fruit (in my shiny new juicer) and then blended it together with a banana – and that’s it! No need for milk, yogurt, ice cream, sorbet or any of those nasties that often get added to smoothies that you buy from the juice bars. Just fresh, healthy fruit! Speaking of which though, I need to get a bit more adventurous with trying more veggies in my juices/smoothies.

20120105-084910.jpg

kiwi, strawberry and apple juice blended together with banana for a yummy smoothie!


Do you have any good smoothie or juice recipes with fruit AND veggies? I’d love to hear them!

Eleanor x

Dark Choc-Chip Fudge and Toasted Walnut Cupcakes

My boyfriend was casually flipping through my Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook a couple of days ago and came across this recipe. After reading the recipe and the ingredients list, I knew it would be a winner. He made a quick call to his work mate and his decision was confirmed (he loves taking my cookies and cupcakes into work for his colleagues – and himself!) and I wrote up my shopping list. These cupcakes are incredibly rich, enjoy responsibly*

Dark Choc-Chip Fudge and Toasted Walnut Cupcakes

Dark Choc-Chip Fudge and Toasted Walnut Cupcakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 225 grams unsalted butter
  • 500 grams dark cooking chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups soft brown sugar. firmly packed
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C  and line muffin tins with cupcake papers
  2. Spread the walnuts over a flat biscuit tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes
  3. Allow to cool, then chop
  4. Put butter and chocolate in a metal bowl and place over a large saucepan of simmering water
  5. Stir continuously with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon until melted and well combined
  6. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
  7. Add brown and white sugar to cooled chocolate mixture
  8. Stir until well combined
  9. Add the whisked eggs and vanilla extract
  10. Stir until well combined
  11. Add the sifted flour, salt, chopped walnuts and chocolate chips
  12. Stir until well combined
  13. Divide mixture between cupcake papers
  14. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  15. Wait 45 minutes before icing

i didn't have a metal bowl, so just used a small pot over a large one

this is what firmly packed brown sugar looks like

mix mix mix

baked cupcakes ready to be iced!

Caramel Sauce Icing

This is the same icing used for the Sticky Date Cupcakes – and it is delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams butter
  • 2/3 cups soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup golden syrup
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 8 cups icing sugar

Method:

  1. Combine the butter, sugar, golden syrup and cream in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat
  2. Stir occasionally with a flat-bottomed wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved
  3. Turn heat up to high and boil for at least 5 minutes (keep a watch on the pot – don’t let the mixture get too hard!)
  4. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
  5. Add half of the sifted icing sugar to the cooled caramel mixture
  6. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes of until light and fluffy
  7. Add remaining icing sugar and beat for a further 3 minutes or until light and fluffy and spreadable
  8. Add extra cream if too dry or extra icing sugar if too wet

use a non-stick saucepan and stir continuously

if mix gets any darker than this, stop. recipe says boil on high for at least 5mins but i would recommend something between simmering and boiling - otherwise it just hardens and is unusable

mixture should run off spoon smoothly

We had a beautiful dove perch itself on our balcony while I was icing my cupcakes. He was sitting there happily for over half an hour when I looked up from what I was doing and called out to my boyfriend that our dove had gone. Five minutes later my boy calls out from the study that it’s back – and was wandering about our living room! He even waddled over to the kitchen before I registered what my boyfriend was saying! Luckily we ushered him out of the house with no dramas 🙂

out little friend - surely doves coming into your house are good luck, right?

Eleanor x

*responsibly: always maintain a healthy diet and exercise regime and enjoy things in moderation! 😉