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Follow Me On My New Blog – Healthy Home Cafe

Dear All

Thank you so much for following this blog, trying out my recipes and letting me know how they turned out

I have now decided to go a different way with my blogging and have set up a new blog that incorporates meals as well as snacks, so will no longer be adding new content to this blog

Please check out my new blog at Healthy Home Café

Thank you

Caroline

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Muffin Tops

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Recently I saw some new baking trays to make muffin tops!  Being a Seinfeld fan, I chuckled as I reminded myself of the muffin top episode.  So this morning I was making muffins and thought it may be fun to bake them in a shallow tray to just make muffin ‘tops’!  To cut a long story short, I used my old patty pan tins (which reminded me of how portion sizes of food have increased dramatically!) and they turned out quite well.  I have to agree with Elaine (from Seinfeld) that the top of the muffin really is the best part! Enjoy 🙂

Blueberry Banana and Apple Muffin ‘Tops’

Makes 36 ‘tops’

3/4 cup wholemeal self raising flour

3/4 cup white self raising flour

2/3 cup brown sugar (you may be able to use a bit less as they were quite sweet)

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 large green apple, finely diced

2/3 cup frozen blueberries

2 eggs

1/4 cup low fat Greek yoghurt (I use Black Swan available in Woolworths)

1/3 cup low fat milk (I used soy)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 over-ripe banana

You will need at least one 12-hole patty pan tin that you will need to grease with a little oil (and use 3 times!)

Preheat oven to 175 degrees

In a large bowl, sift together the flours, then add sugar, chia seeds, blueberries and apple.  Stir to mix well and coat the blueberries (this is supposed to stop them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins)

In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs, then add yoghurt, milk and oil.  Whisk until well combined.  Add banana and mash with a fork before ‘mixing’ it in (it will be lumpy which is fine)

Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix until JUST combined.  Remember with muffins not to over-mix or they become tough!

Plop mixture into prepared tins and bake for around 12 minutes, until they feel firm when you press them lightly

Leave for a few minutes before popping them out and eating at least a few while they are still warm! Mmmmm!

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Sour Cherry & Ricotta Strudel

We are lucky enough to live around the corner from Paesanella, which is just the most delicious cheese shop.  One of my favourites from there is their fresh ricotta – I can’t tell you how scrumptious it is.  You can buy it in 1kg lots, but I prefer the 2kg tub as it makes me think of new and interesting ways of using it up.  Of course, one of my ultimate favourites is just spreading it, straight from the tub, on fresh sourdough bread, perhaps adding a few slices of fresh tomato and some freshly cracked black pepper….delish and very YUM!!

So the other night I had some ricotta in the fridge, also a packet of opened filo pastry and some morello cherries in the pantry.  I started to think that that sounded like a good combination and strudel came to mind.  I googled to get an idea of some similar recipes but couldn’t find anything that grabbed my attention, rather just some ideas for quantities and how not to do the strudel!

So I improvised, and this is what I came up with….

Sour cherry and ricotta strudel

Serves 8

  • 250g ricotta
  • 1 large egg
  • 50g honey
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 sheets filo pastry
  • 20g melted butter or oil
  • 1 tablespoon breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 of a 670g bottle of morello cherries, drained

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.  Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper

Mix together ricotta, egg, honey and cinnamon until mixture is smooth

Lay out 2 sheets of filo pastry on top of each other with the long end facing you. Brush with a little of the melted butter or oil and sprinkle with ½ tablespoon of breadcrumbs.  Place another 2 sheets on top and repeat with butter/oil and breadcrumbs.  Place the remaining two sheets on top.

Cover half of the filo pastry closest to you with the ricotta mix, leaving about 2 cm free on the sides.  Cover the top of the ricotta with the morello cherries. Starting from the long side facing you, fold the pastry over the ricotta, tucking the ends in slightly and then proceed to roll the strudel up. 

When fully rolled, transfer the strudel to the baking tray and bake in the hot oven for 18-20 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm, preferably

Note: instead of using cinnamon, next time I may try a little lemon or orange zest mixed in with the ricotta 🙂

Per serve 148 calories/620kJ

or using low fat ricotta 141 calories/592 kJ

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My 4 ingredient Quick & Easy Creamy Pumpkin Soup

As much as I love to cook, and cook from scratch, I do appreciate a good tasty recipe with not too many ingredients and no fussing about!  A recipe where for only a few minutes of chopping and blending a good amount of delicious food is produced.  This pumpkin soup is a staple recipe of mine that I make often as it fits in this category – it is soooo incredibly quick and easy and it is very yummy.

Pumpkins are one of my favorite vegetables when cooking as they go in virtually anything, sweet or savoury – muffins, cupcakes, casseroles, curries….and who doesn’t like pumpkin soup!  I love butternut pumpkin as the flesh is not too hard so it is easy to cut and most of the time you don’t need to take the skin off which saves time and adds extra fibre (doesn’t a dietitian love that!).  Pumpkins are in season right now which is why the price has come right down.  My butternut pumpkin (weighing nearly 2kg) cost only a little over $1 which makes for a very cheap soup 🙂

This would be a great snack for kids after school at this time of year as not only will it help to warm them up, it is a great way of getting extra vegetable serves into them!  Of course a larger serve makes a great lunch with some wholegrain or sourdough toast topped with a lean protein like chicken, tuna, salmon or low fat cheese.  This is what we had for lunch today and it was delicious.  Enjoy 🙂

Creamy Pumpkin Soup

Makes 10 snack sized servings (320g per serve = 1 1/3 cups approx)

  • 1.75kg butternut pumpkin (= 1.6kg pumpkin after discarding seeds etc)
  • 2 medium sized brown onions
  • 1.2 litres stock or water + 1 heaped Tablespoon Massel stock powder (vegetable or chicken)
  • 1 cup evaporated milk – the light and creamy one

Cut pumpkin in half just above the bottom bulb shaped bit

Cut off the hard top bit that was attached to the plant, then without taking the skin off, roughly chop this section of the pumpkin.  The smaller you cut it will cut down on the cooking time.

Cut the very bottom off the bottom bit that has the seeds in it, then chop it in half lengthways, then in half again (so it is now in quarters).  Using a spoon you can now easily scoop the seeds out.  Again without skinning it, chop all four sections roughly.  Add all of the pumpkin to a reasonable sized pot = one that can easily hold approx 3 1/2 litres of soup.

Chop top and bottom off onions and cut into quarters.  This is the easiest way to peel them.  Place peeled onions in pot.

Add stock or water and stock powder to the pot, place lid on pot and over a high heat bring to the boil.  Once at boil, turn heat down to a simmer and with the lid still on, continue to cook for 15-30 minutes depending on size of pumpkin (larger sized pumpkin pieces will require longer cooking)

Blend either in food processor or with hand blender.  When smooth, add evaporated milk and stir thorough.  Taste and add a little salt or pepper according to your requirements.  Some fresh chopped herbs like parsley or coriander can also be sprinkled on top.

   Per serving  –  103 Calories    6g Protein   

1g Fat   0.8g Saturated Fat    16g Carbohydrate   3g Fibre   

120mg Calcium (that’s more than 10% of the daily requirements for most of us!)

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Tamari Sunflower Seeds

 

I do love a savoury snack and these are really yummy – a great alternative to potato crisps and any of those other high fat savoury snacks

I see Tamari Almonds for sale everywhere now, so I thought I would try the same idea with sunflower seeds.  I love sunflower seeds as they have a mild, nutty flavour and I include them in a lot of my baking – cakes, biscuits, bread, muesli etc.  They are a great source of lots of important nutrients, minerals and vitamins such as:

  • vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and is good for your skin
  • plant sterols like the ones they now extract and add to food (margarines, cheese, milk etc) to help lower your cholesterol
  • magnesium which is important for strong healthy bones and energy production.  It also helps nerve and muscle cells to function properly, preventing muscular cramping and headaches
  • selenium, a trace mineral which many studies have shown to reduce your risk of cancer
  • protein which can help to keep you full for longer
  • polyunsaturated fats – for this reason they are quite high in calories and also are best stored in the fridge to prevent them from going rancid

Tamari is a Japanese style soy sauce.  I find it has a more interesting flavour and isn’t quite as salty as normal soy sauce.  Many people think it is wheat free, however you will need to check the label to determine this.  The one I used was Kikkoman’s tamari which is not wheat free.

These tasty seeds are delicious on their own, but can also be included as part of a trail mix or sprinkled on salads or vegies like steamed green beans.  They are very quick and easy to make,  just note that the serving size is quite small – 2 tablespoons only. Enjoy 🙂

Tamari Sunflower Seeds

Makes 8 serves

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon tamari

 Preheat oven to 150-160 degrees (moderate temperature) and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Place sunflower seeds in a bowl, pour over tamari and mix well

Tip onto the  lined baking tray, spread out evenly and bake in moderate oven for 30 minutes, stirring once after 15 minutes to ensure they toast evenly

When toasted, cool, then place in an airtight container.  They keep for around 2 weeks

Note – not all my sunflower seeds are coated in tamari as I originally tried 2 tablespoons of tamari with 1 cup seeds.  This was too strong so I mixed in another cup of seeds in after they were cooked!

Per serve (approx 2 Tablespoons, 20g) = 109 calories

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