Monday, January 19, 2015

Dr Libby Weaver's beetroot chocolate mudcake

This cake packs all the divine flavour of a traditional chocolate cake but is so much more beneficial for your health. The beetroot aids in liver detoxification processes, the psyllium is a great source of dietary fiber and the selenium from the nuts is a potent antioxidant and a nutrient vital for thyroid function. Enjoy in small slices, as these powerhouse ingredients support elimination!


For the cake mixture:
  • 2 cups brazil nuts
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 3 medium beetroots (beets), peeled and grated
  • 4 fresh medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup currants
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husks, ground
For the icing:

  • 1 cup raw cashew nuts, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
  • 100g (3 1/2 ounces) cacao butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon tamari

For the cake mixture:
  1. Grind the brazil nuts in a food processor, then set them aside in a bowl.
  2. Combine the dates, currants and maple syrup in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until smooth.
  3. Blend the date mixture with the ground nuts and the grated beetroots in a large bowl.
  4. Add the coconut, cacao powder and psyllium husks to the bowl and stir them in until blended with the date and nut mixtures.
  5. Scrape the blended mixture back into the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the ingredients are well combined and finely textured.
  6. Line a cake tin with baking paper and spread the batter evenly over the bottom. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until firm to the touch.
For the icing:
  1. Gently melt the cacao butter in a small saucepan then allow it to cool.
  2. Combine the cashews, cacao powder, maple syrup, lemon juice and tamari in the bowl of a food processor or Vita-mix blender and process until the nuts are well ground.
  3. With the motor running, pour in the melted cacao butter and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Spoon the icing over the cake and refrigerate until the icing is set, about 15 minutes.

Rick Stein's Beef Stroganoff

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes  

Ingredients: 675g/1½ lb beef fillet, preferably cut from the tail end
65g/2½oz unsalted butter
1½ tbsp paprika (hot Hungarian, if you like a little subtle heat)
1 large onion, very thinly sliced 350g/12oz button mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tbsp sunflower oil
300ml/10fl oz soured cream
2 tsp lemon juice
small handful of parsley leaves, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Cut the steak into slices 1cm/0.5in thick, then cut each slice across the grain into strips 1cm/0.5in wide. Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the paprika and onion and cook slowly until the onion is soft and sweet, but not browned. Add the mushrooms and fry gently for three minutes. Transfer the mixture to a plate and keep warm. Using the same pan you cooked the onion mixture in, heat one and a half tablespoons of sunflower oil until very hot. Add half the fillet steak and fry quickly, seasoning and turning it as you do so, for just over one minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the oil and steak. Return the onion mixture to the pan and pour in the soured cream. Bring to the boil and simmer for a minute or so, until thickened. Return the steak to the pan and heat very gently for one minute - the beef should not be cooked any further.

Stir in the lemon juice and parsley and serve with the matchstick potatoes.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Food Stuf: Beef stir-fry

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

I stuck to my meal plan on Wednesday and made the beef stir-fry. Jef hates the term "stir-fry" as he says we are not actually frying anything, so in my household I call it "stir-cook".

200g sliced beef (I used rump this time around)
1 sliced onion
1 carrot
1 or 2 cloves chopped garlic
1 bunch silverbeet
2 courgettes
1 T cooking oil
A few dashes of fish sauce
A dash of soya sauce

I chopped the carrot up into thin sticks, sliced the courgettes diagonally ('cause that's how my dad always does it) and put them into boiling water to poach for a bit.

Heat the oil in a large frypan or wok, throw in the garlic and sliced onion, toss a few seconds to get some caramelisation happening. Then in goes the beef and pepper and toss until still pink. Remove from pan.

Put a bit more cooking oil into the pan and throw in the drained poached vegetables. Stir until they get a bit of colour, then in goes the silverbeet, stirring and allowing to wilt. When all vegetables are at the perfect consistency for you add the beef back into the pan and stir through. Season with fish sauce and soya sauce.

Kien loves the sauce, and will eat the beef, carrots and courgettes mixed with sauce and rice.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Adventures in meal planning - week of 9 January 2012

One of this year's good intentions is to be more organised for evening meals, instead of the usual panic just before I leave work to pick Kien up from daycare and oh-what-am-I-going-to-feed-him palava that ensues as I'm racing down each supermarket isle baffled by the myriad of options. So as it is already Wednesday what a perfect time for me to be doing our meal plan for the remainder of this week, being the first of my adventures in meal planning. This means I can also tick Monday and Tuesday off as being "achieved", after the fact.


Rice and BBQ wings (from the supermarket "Ready made dinners" isle)


Hopeway Restaurant for Beijing style skewered meat.


Beef stir-fry with silverbeet, carrots, courgettes (all from Kien's Granddad and Margaret's garden in Whangarei), ginger, garlic and onions.


Beef tacos


Thai green chicken curry with vegetables (either takeout or I'll make if I have the energy)


Leftovers from lunch at Dad's


Meatballs and fresh garden salad.

Man, that was hard work. Hopefully this meal planning business will get easer as each week progresses.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Food Stuff: Thai Chicken and Vegetable Curry

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 4-8 hours

It has been a while since I had a home-made curry. I have many pots of curry paste in the fridge, and they will be expiring soon if I don't use them up. Luckily I can use this recipe with variations in vegetables and the type of paste to use, i.e. red, green, yellow etc. Each type of paste has its own unique flavour and spiciness. I have a bad habit of making my curries a tad spicy for Kien, but by now he is used to his Mama doing such things and is pretty good with spice.

I organised an inpromptu kids dinner on Tuesday, and I served this curry up with Jasmine rice. It was a hit!

700g chicken drumsticks (only because that's how many fit in a single layer)
1 onion
1 carrot
1 potato
1 kumara (sweet potato)
1 or 2 cloves garlic
2 T curry paste (it was red curry paste this time around)
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g can coconut cream
2 cups mixed vegetables (freesh or frozen)

Chop the hard vegetables up, throw them into the cooker. Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer over the vegetables, followed by chopped onion and garlic. Mix tomatoes with curry paste and pour over the top.

I cooked mine on slow for 8 hours, but you can also cook on high for ½ the time. Half an hour before consumption turn the slow-cooker to high, pour in the coconut cream, mix through, and add the mixed vegetables on top. Put the lid on and allow the vegetables to heat through.

I made it easy for serving by tearing the meat off the bones into chunks so the kids could feed themselves.

Food Stuff: Banana and blueberry muffins (with hidden vegetables)

I did a lot of searching around the internet for The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious recipes that were really simple and easy - who's got time for anything else? I tried a number of recipes, and in the end I decided to use those as inspirations for this one. It really is dead easy, and so long as you have a supply of frozen fruit and vegetable purees in the freezer you are good to go (if you have a child like mine who did not progress quickly to whole foods then you will always have a supply of purees handy!).

Preparation time: 10 minutes or less *
Baking time: 25-30 minutes
Makes ≈ 24 mini muffins.


¾ cup of wholemeal flour
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
5 T soft brown sugar
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 ½ cups mashed bananas (works out to be about 2 large bananas)
4 cubes vegetable (whichever you fancy), 1 cube fruit **
½ cup blueberries (I use frozen)

Preheat oven to 180° C. Spray muffin molds with cooking spray. In a large bowl beat sugar and oil together. Add eggs and beat well. Then beat in bananas and purees.

Add flour mix and blueberries to the wet mix. Fold in until just combined - do not over-mix (muffins will turn out dense and horrible).

NOTE: don’t worry, the mixture is supposed to be loose and wet.

¾ fill muffin molds with mixture, and bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out cleanly.

Let cool in molds for 5 minutes, then turn muffins out. Best served warm.

*A little planning goes a long way for me. To save time with the actual assembly of ingredients before baking I do a little of the preparation beforehand – like when I have a few minutes to spare in the evening when Kien is in bed. I put the measured flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a container. I put the frozen cubes of vegetables and fruit purees in a cup and they can thaw out overnight in the fridge.

**I make fruit purees like apple and pear by chopping up pealed fruit and microwaving them with a bit of water at the bottom of a bowl until tender – about 10 minutes on high using my little microwave. For vegetable purees I buy whatever is in season such as brocolli, zuchini or cauliflour. I steam the vegetables until still firm but not hard (al dente – although I’m not sure the Italian term can be used for vegetables). I use a stick bender to puree the fruit or vege, and freeze in ice cube trays.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Food Stuff: Beef Stroganoff (inspired) with pumpkin

Preparation time: 5-10 minutes
Cooking time: 4-8 hours

Another day where I am running around trying to suck the marrow out of every ounce of time I have on my day off. So the slow-cooker was back in action with my beef stroganoff (inspired) with winter vegetables.

I picked up some beef that was on special from the supermarket on my way home from work the night before.


600 grams stewing beef, sliced
1 onion
1 carrot
500 grams pumpkin
3 T tomato paste
½ cup water (or white wine)
A small can of coconut cream

Chop the hard vegetables up, throw them into the cooker, put the beef layer in next, then sliced onion on top. Mix tomato paste with water or wine (season as desired) and pour over the top.

I cooked mine on slow for 8 hours, but you can also cook on high for ½ the time. Half an hour before consumption pour in the coconut cream.

My dinner served up with mesclun salad. Kien likes his food all seperated at the moment so I fished out some pumpkin and carrots and threw some vegetables on the plate as well.

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