Beetroot Dip

 

Many commercially available dips can be high in fat, high in calories and contain fillers like breadcrumbs as well as undesirable  preservatives, acidity regulators, extra salt and even sugar.

Dips are really easy to make yourself, especially if you have a food processor, and beetroot dip is one of the easiest as it has only 3 ingredients.  It is also one of the cheapest if you use homebrand beetroot (75c per tin in Woolworths and a product of Australia) and this beetroot dip is low in fat, especially saturated fat.

When eating dips, one of the traps can be what you serve them with.  Many savoury style biscuits are very high in fat and so is the trendier dipping choice, lavoche.  I prefer to use vegetable sticks (VERY low in calories!) or pita crisps which are quick and easy to make yourself (watch for upcoming post).  Just dry bake sliced pita breads in a moderately hot oven for about 20 minutes.

I encourage you to give this a go as it is deeelicious.  Enjoy 🙂

Beetroot Dip

Serves 8

  • 1 x 425g tin sliced beetroot, drained
  • 2 Tablespoons tahini
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish cream

Place beetroot, tahini and horseradish cream in food processor and process until smooth.  That’s it!!

Per serve 55g = approx 3 tablespoons = 56 calories 🙂

Served with 1/4 large lebanese bread = approx 120 calories

 

 

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Cornbread…yum!!!

It may be hard to believe considering my track record of posting many, many sweet recipes, but I actually prefer savoury foods over sweet.  One of those savoury foods which has always intrigued me is cornbread.  For some reason I have been on a mission to try to find a great cornbread recipe (during which time I have found many terrible ones)…and I think I finally have found it 🙂

Cornbread is very common in American cuisine, more specifically south or southwestern cuisine where it is often served with barbecued meats or chilli con carne.   Cornbread can be baked, steamed or fried.  These different cooking techniques will dramatically change both the taste and texture of the finished product.  Sometimes it can be so sloppy it is eaten with a spoon!  However I prefer the baked style which is also known as a quick bread = a bread which is quickly made since it doesn’t contain yeast. 

Some cornbread recipes I have tried in the past have been quite dry as the cornmeal or polenta used in it has a dry and gritty texture, but this also helps to provide cornbread with the lovely crunch.  With this recipe I added zucchini and used buttermilk (1/2 yoghurt, 1/2 milk)  to provide a little extra moisture.  I also added some fresh red capsicum as I think it teams really well with corn.  Roasted capsicum could be used instead.  Other ideas for more flavours to add are cold roasted pumpkin, crumbled fetta and/or fresh basil.  I think I will try all of those next time and make them into individual sized muffins.  They would be a great picnic food.

This recipe made 1 x 8 inch (20cm) square tin.  It is very easy to slice so can be slice quite thinly (or thickly of course).  It lends itself to spreading butter on it, but try to resist the urge as it is not necessary and will only add many extra unnecessary calories and saturated fat.  It is lovely warm straight out of the oven on its own, and I can imagine serving it with some delicious homemade tomato & basil or pumpkin soup….mmm. Enjoy 🙂

Cornbread with zucchini and capsicum

  • ½ cup wholemeal self raising flour
  • ½ cup white self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 Tablespoons castor sugar
  • 1 medium zucchini (150g) grated
  • ½ cup diced red capsicum
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I used half yoghurt, half milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 egg

 Line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 170 degrees.

Into a large bowl, sift flours and baking powder, add salt, polenta, sugar, zucchini and capsicum.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together egg, buttermilk and olive oil, pour into dry ingredients and stir through until well mixed. 

Pour into prepared tin and bake for 30 mins approximately, until firm to touch on top. 

Leave to cool in tin for 5 minutes, then place on rack to cool.

Would easily slice into 24 pieces with each piece having:

312kJ = 74 calories

2g protein, 10g carbohydrate, 2.5g fat with only 0.5g saturated fat and 0.7g fibre

Oops, I forgot to add that it is a little odd putting sugar in a savoury bread, however I have tried it with and without and it definitely has a better texture WITH the sugar.  The end result is in no way sweet.

I also do not usually add salt when cooking but this is another time when it makes such a difference in bringing out all the lovely flavours of the bread.  It is only a small amount after all and would be a lot less than what is in regular bread 🙂

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Anzacs made with Olive Oil

Staying on my healthier biscuit theme, I love anzacs and always thought of them as a healthier choice, I guess due to the oats.  Of course the first time I made them I quickly realised that they weren’t so ‘healthy’ but that certainly didn’t stop me from continuing to make and eat them!

In the past I’ve tried to make an anzac with less sugar and butter, but they have never come close to the deliciousness of the original.  So I decided not to bother for a slight saving of calories and fat!

Thinking outside the square this time, I chose to just try reducing the saturated fat by using oil instead of butter and this seemed to work.  This version also has slightly less sugar than the original recipe and an increase in fibre from using wholemeal flour.

Note that this does not cut down the calories, just reduces the saturated fat – however this is important for everyone, and especially important for those with high cholesterol.  Regardless, these biscuits are very moreish.  Enjoy 🙂

Olive Oil Anzacs

Makes 20

  • 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sandy brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons olive  oil
  • 2 teaspoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Line 2 flat trays with baking paper.

Sift flour into a medium sized bowl.  Add oats, coconut and sugar.

Place golden syrup and oil in small saucepan and heat until bubbles just start to appear on the surface.

Add boiling water and bicarbonate soda and stir until well mixed through.

Quickly pour into bowl with dry ingredients and mix through thoroughly. 

Shape heaped teaspoons of mix into balls and place on trays, flattening well.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown.  When cooled, if there are any left, store in an airtight container.

Original recipe – each 14g biscuit has 65 calories, 3.7g fat, 2.6g saturated fat, 3.7g sugar, 0.5g fibre per biscuit

New version – each 14g biscuit has 64 calories, 3.7g total fat, 1.4g saturated fat, 3.1g sugar, 0.8g fibre

I figure that is an improvement!

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Chocolate Pecan & Cranberry Biscuits

It’s been a while between posts, but this one was worth waiting for as it’s time for a chocolate fix!

It is quite difficult to make a low fat biscuit as compared to a cake or muffin where you can use fruit purees in place of fat.  Using fruit purees in a biscuit significantly changes the texture of a biscuit however and makes it more cake-like.  This is not good!  It is also difficult to make a low fat biscuit without some butter due to the flavour and texture that butter provides a biscuit.  I was able  to cut down the amount of butter used however (important to lower saturated fat content) by using half oil and this seems to work well 🙂  I also managed to cut the sugar back a little in these, however again cutting back too much does affect the quality and makes a not-so-nice biscuit.

So after many trials and tribulations this version of delicious chocolate bikkies were a hit at work so I am confident you will enjoy them also.

They are a lovely little crisp biscuit with an increase in fibre (from using 1/2 wholemeal flour) and of course the reduced fat and sugar content as compared to a regular chocolate biscuit.  They are also rather quick and easy to make – they take around 10 minutes to mix up and I manage to do them all in one bowl (less washing up!!).  Once cold, store the biscuits in an air-tight container.  If you don’t want to cook all the mix at once it will keep in the fridge for 5 days (well covered so the mix won’t dry out) or you could try freezing it for a week.  Allow to completely thaw before baking. Most of all – Enjoy 🙂

Chocolate Pecan and Cranberry Biscuits

 

Makes 28 biscuits

  • 60g (¼ cup) butter, soft/room temperature
  • ½ cup (80g) sandy brown sugar
  • 2 Tbspn white sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¼ cup Dutch cocoa powder 
  • ¼ cup pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (craisins) or raisins (chop if large) or use half and half

Preheat oven to 170 degrees.  Line 2 biscuit trays with baking paper

In a large bowl and with a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar and oil until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

Sift together both flours and cocoa. Add the pecans and craisins and stir to coat (this will evenly distribute the pecans and craisins through the biscuits). Tip flour mix into butter mix and stir through until well combined.

Place heaped teaspoons of mixture on biscuit trays, this is easiest done using 2 teaspoons – one to scoop out the mixture and the other to scoop the mix off that teaspoon onto the baking tray.  Flatten slightly and  leave a little room between each biscuit (this is important to help with even baking). Bake for 12 minutes.  They are actually best cooked one tray at a time in the centre of the oven.

Do not over-bake as they can become tough or dry.

Each 20g biscuit has 83 calories and 1.5g saturated fat

Compared with a standard chocolate biscuit (also 20g) which has approx 100 calories and more than 2g saturated fat

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Zucchini, Walnut & Cranberry Loaf

I fully embrace any way in which you can increase your vegetable intake so this sounded like a good recipe to try – plus I got a heap of cheap zucchinis recently so was looking for something to do with them other than make soup!

This cake in many ways is similar to a carrot cake (so I may try it with carrots next and will let you know how that goes).  Zucchinis make a good base for a cake as they are pretty tasteless, however they add plenty of moisture.  Walnuts add a great crunch as well as being a good source of the essential omega 3 alpha linolenic acid and dried cranberries add a nice tartness (even though they are covered in sugar!)

This cake is very moist so it keeps quite well and is not too sweet.  I urge you to try it.  Enjoy 🙂

Zucchini Walnut and Cranberry Loaf

Makes 14 serves

  • ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour
  • ¾ cup white self raising flour
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • A pinch of nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 ½ cups (200g) grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar

Line a loaf pan with baking paper.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Sift together flours, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a medium sized bowl.  Add walnuts and cranberries and stir to coat with flour mix.  Add zucchini and set aside.  In another smaller bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla.  Add oil and sugar and whisk well. Pour egg mix into flour bowl and fold through until thoroughly combined.  Plop into prepared pan and smooth top.

Bake in oven for 30-35 mins until firm to touch.  Note that this cake doesn’t rise very much when cooking.  Wait until cool before cutting. 

This mix can also be used to make individual cakes or muffins

Makes 14 yummy slices at 150 calories each

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RSPCA Cupcake Day

Monday the 16th August was RSPCA Cupcake day.  People all over Australia were encouraged to bake delicious cupcakes and sell them with all takings going to this fantastic organisation.  So of course I had to get involved, especially since the RSPCA is my number one charity.

Wanting to do something a little special I googled for ideas and found these  little piggies  on the RSPCA cupcake website and pupcakes from a blog called rasperri cupcakes which includes all the steps on how to make them – how easy.  I thought were sooo cute that I had to try making both of them and this is how they turned out…

To make the cupcakes I started with my favorite cupcake and icing recipes from Women’s Weekly

I made the up the decorations for the piggie cakes following the photo from the web.  Added rose colored food dye to the icing and used mostly pink marshmallows for the nose and ears, until I ran out and had to use apricot ones (see below)! I sliced musk sticks to top off the nose and chopped up licorice for the eyes.

For the pup cakes I followed the instructions on raspberri cupcakes, however I used smarties for the eyes instead of choc chips, I added ears (half a marshmallow like the pigs) and instead of fairy floss (where do you buy that stuff??) I used shredded coconut.

Making these cupcakes was a lot of fun and made me feel good that I was contributing to this fantastic organisation, however they did take a long time to decorate, so I won’t be doing them again any time soon (well, at least for a year, until cupcake day next year!)

And they tasted deeeelicious!

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Japanese Pancake – Okonomiyaki

Last Sunday the weather was so lovely that my husband and I decided to be tourists in our own city and went for a wander through The Rocks.  Of course we couldn’t miss walking through the market there and worked up quite an appetite doing so. 

There were plenty of food venders there to choose from and we set about finding a ‘healthy’ snack option.  That was when we saw these delicious looking pancakes being made.  Even though we frequent Japanese restaurants, I had never seen these pancakes before.  Called Okonomiyaki, there were 4 varieties to choose from – chicken, beef, seafood or vegetable.  All were chock full of vegetables and you know what a fan of vegetables I am, so that was it, decision made.

Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese style pancake that is made with a batter, shredded cabbage, other fresh grated/sliced vegetables & some type of meat/seafood – batters and fillings vary between the different regions of Japan. 

According to wikipedia, the name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”.  Normally they are served topped with mayonnaise, a Japanese style barbecue sauce and are sprinkled with bonito flakes which appear to ‘dance’ as they move around in the heat rising from the pancake.

The one we ordered contained chicken as well as a stack of vegetables and we asked for only a little of the bbq sauce on top.  It was so yummy I couldn’t wait to try making them at home.  So after googling for ideas, I set about assembling my own version this afternoon, copying the vegetables in last weeks version (but you could pretty much use whatever you like – whatever is in the fridge) but omitting the chicken, and they turned out great.  Quick, easy and oh so healthy with all of those veggies tucked inside.  They were so tasty that they didn’t need any sauce or topping.

They make quite a decent sized snack which fills you up, but doesn’t leave you feeling heavy.  Perfect!

Please, Enjoy 🙂

My version of the Japanese (Vegetable) Pancake “Okonomiyaki”

  • 1/6 of a cabbage, shredded (about 3 cups)
  • 1 cup green beans, sliced into 3cm lengths
  • ½ small red capsicum, sliced
  • 1 zucchini, halved lengthways and sliced thinly
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup water (supposed to be dashi, but I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tspn Massel vegetable or chicken stock powder (for flavour since I didn’t have dashi)
  • pepper

In a large bowl mix together all of the chopped vegetables

In a smaller bowl, whisk together eggs, then gradually add flour.  Add water slowly and when fully mixed in and smooth, add stock powder and pepper.  Pour onto vegetables and mix well

Heat a small non-stick pan (with a matching lid – I used a saucepan lid) over low heat. Add a small amount of oil (1/2 tspn approx) and swish around to spread across base of pan. Using a large spoon, spoon about 3/4 cup of mixture into pan and flatten slightly with the back of the spoon.  Place the lid on the pan and cook over low heat until golden brown about 3-4 minutes.

Carefully flip pancake over and cook other side for 2-3 more minutes.

And there you have your delightful, delicious, chock full of veggies – japanese pancake ready to eat 🙂

Each pancake has 160 calories, 8g protein & 6g of fibre

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