Happy Wife, Happy Life…

Over the weekend my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary!

Every time I think about it, I have to pinch myself, 40 years… thats a life time.. thats longer than my life time… Mr Lid and I just celebrated 8 months of marriage- my parents have been married 50 times longer than us!

So for such a special occasion we had a family picnic on the beach, not just any beach, it was the beach where we as kids spent most of our summers as it was where my Grandma and Granddad used to live, on the hill over looking the water, it is a place that has such strong memories for me, family, summer, food… Which really made it a lovely afternoon, the kids running in the water and playing in the sand (well crushed up shell), the adults drinking bubbles, catching up and eating way too much food.

For such a relaxed Summers day I thought what better sweet treat for dessert than a Hazelnut meringue.

Light and slightly chewy, smothered with a layer of dark chocolate to give a bit of bite, soft juicy slightly tart Strawberries and lashings of vanilla whipped cream- layer it all together and you have a wonderful dessert to share with friends and family.

Hazelnut Meringue

5 Large Egg Whites at room temperature (I like Free range egg whites)

275g Caster Sugar

2tsp Cornflour

160g Toasted Hazelnuts- (shells removed, cooled, chopped)

Heat oven 120-130c fan forced

Prepare the trays for the meringue before starting- I drew two large rectangles on baking paper to fit my trays, lightly grease trays and place baking paper drawing side down (you will still be able to see the outline- you just wont get pen/pencil in your meringue)

Whisk whites in a large clean dry bowl till firm/stiff peak (when the whisk is removed the whites should stand to a peak without falling over).

One Tablespoon at a time whisk in the sugar, till glossy, when rubbed between two fingers you should no longer feel any graininess of the sugar.

Fold in cornflour and Chopped Hazelnuts till well combined.

Once the meringue is ready divide onto the two paper lined trays and gently push mix to the edges of your drawn outline.

Make sure the meringue is even.

Bake 40 minutes then swap the trays over so that they cook evenly, bake for another 40 min, turn the oven off, leave the door slightly open and leave to cool. I keep my meringues in the oven till I need them- just make sure the kids don’t play with the knobs, or your husband doesn’t try to make you dinner and ruin your meringues!

To finish off my meringues I melted some dark chocolate and covered the two flat sides of the meringue (carefully turn the meringues over, peel off the paper)

Next layer vanilla whipped cream and sliced strawberries (or any berries) carefully place the second meringue chocolate side down on top of the other meringue. Cover the top with more cream and berries and chocolate if you like.

This is great for a crowd or if you are feeling fancy you can make individual meringues and layer them for a amazing dinner party dessert (if making small meringues the cooking time will vary).

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Made this morning- scone by the afternoon

I had a hankering this morning for scones.

I was meeting my sister and her soon to be three year old twins at the park for a play then a coffee- what situation is more suited to turn up to with freshly baked scones than this?!

These scones were not your ordinary scone, they were AMAZING- even if I do say so myself! And if you cant take my word for it then take my Mums- because she also loved them.

Those of you who know my Mum know she is a straight shooter who is not afraid to say what she thinks whether its nice or not- and today it was very nice- so nice she told me to take them all home with me when I left or she would eat them all, and that would be bad for the diet!

They were practically good for you as I made them with Extra Virgin Coconut oil instead of fatty butter, they were sweetened with unrefined molasses sugar and had glorious chunks of dark chocolate and tart dried cranberries dotted through the moist and crumbly layers, perfect for a mid morning snack with a hot cuppa .

Vegan Scones

3cups Plain Flour

2Tbs Baking Powder

80g Extra virgin Coconut oil- hard

1/2cup packed Molasses Sugar

Pinch of Salt

With finger tips rub the above ingredients together till there are no lumps of oil (it should look like bread crumbs). This can also be done in  the food processor.

I used Dark Chocolate chunks and Dried Cranberries but you could use white chocolate, dried cherries, orange zest, dates- anything your heart desires.

Mix flavourings into the dry mix and stir till mixed evenly.

Lastly add Rice milk (or any milk you like- almond milk would also be good, or coconut milk) slowly until the mix starts to come together- how much milk – enough so that when you fold to combine no dry flour is left at the bottom of the bowl- if you make it too wet- add some more of the magic mix -too dry add more milk.

Turn out onto a lightly floured bench and cut into 8 portions.

Put onto grease proof paper and bake 180c till a skewer comes out clean- 20-40minutes.

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And I’m Spent… Grain

Over the weekend Mr Lid had his first attempt at a full brew of beer, this meant several hours of crafting equipment needed to extract malt sugars from a selection of grains for his beer instead of buying it in a tin and adding to water.

Long story short we were left with what is called spent grains. For anyone reading this who is not an all-grain brewer, spent brewers grains are the residue left after the sugar has been removed from the grains in the wort-making process. This is almost always malted barley, but can also include corn, wheat, rice, or other cereals. It consists primarily of grain husks, pericarp, and fragments of endosperm, and mainly consists of proteins and carbohydrates.

This stuff is great for compost, or making dog biscuits- but seeing as we have three cats and not dogs I wanted to find another way of using up this stuff.

After googling ‘spent grains’ I found a million recipes for bread, but over the weekend while Mr Lid was brewing I was baking bread and I was over the kneading and eating of the stuff!

I had a play and ended up with these most yummy things…

Apricot and white chocolate cookies- full of grains there keep you full for HOURS.

Spent grain ANZAC cookies

I also mixed some into a tomato pasta sauce I had made to use as a meat substitute for Lasagna- it was hearty and oh so filling!

Apricot & White Chocolate Cookies

1/3 cup Peanut butter

2 Tbs Oil

3/4 cup Golden syrup

1/3 cup Milk

1 tsp Vanilla

1 1/2 cups Spent Grains or Cooked Quinoa

2 cups Flour

1tsp Baking Soda

Pinch of Salt

1/2cup Dried Apricots (you can use anything)

100g White Chcolate (2 rows, you can use dark choc, nuts more fruit)

Combine all ingredients, mix well. Form tablespoons of the mix into balls and place on a grease proof paper lined tray.

Bake 200c 15-20min till slightly golden, cool on wire rack.

These are yummy and very filling- great for the kids lunch boxes!

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Spent Grain ANZAC cookies

190g Spent Grains

125g Flour

115g Desiccated Coconut

200g Brown Sugar

60g Golden Syrup

125g Butter

1tsp Baking Soda

Mix all dry ingredients. Melt butter and golden syrup in the microwave. Mix golden syrup mixture with dry ingredients.

I like to bake in a tray at 140c for 40min, then I cut it into fingers and turn over to caramelise other side for another 30min, cool on wire rack.

You can bake as round cookies 140c 40min (they do spread)

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If you could eat Debbie Harry… I bet she would taste like this…

Sometimes inspiration is found at the weirdest times…

On Friday we are heading away on a wee holiday, some real relax time before I start back at work the start of September.
Looking through the fridge today I know I have to use up all the odds and ends before we go because our house sitter won’t clean out our fridge- that’s my job – sad face

There has been 3/4 of an avocado just sitting there for around two weeks now- I have tried to entice MrLlid to have it on his toast in the mornings with marmite but alas he is a butter fan…

So again it’s up to me..

Mmm fudgie brownies is what I have a hankering for but alas no dark chocolate in the house- for a change! Typical!

We do however have white chocolate- of which I am not the biggest fan- too sweet… unless… its mixed with peanut butter… Light bulb moment!

Love those!

White chocolate and peanut butter blondies with avocado instead of butter! Drool

White Chocolate & Peanut butter Blondies

125g Coconut Flour

1tsp Baking Powder

100g Mashed Avocado

150g Peanut Butter- I used crunchy

165g/ 1/2 cup Brown Rice Syrup

2 Eggs (large)

1tsp Vanilla

100g White Chocolate- cut into chunks

As easy as mixing everything together, putting into a lined 8″ square tray, smoothing out and baking.

170c 25-30min

I melted about 100g of White Chocolate and mixed in 2Tbs Peanut Butter and smeared this over the brownie- yum.

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Better than Bread.

I am unsure of anything that is better than a deep dark rich moist fudgy chocolate cake with a hint of orange.

I am sure that a healthy gluten free deep dark rich moist fudgy chocolate cake with a hint of orange that uses up last nights cooked Quinoa is better.

Thanks right, its full of good protein, great fats, no gluten or dairy and packed full of flavour!

Quinoa Chocolate and Orange Fudge Cake

2 cups Cooked Quinoa

5 Eggs

1/4 cup Honey

1/2 cup Agave nectar (if you don’t have any use Honey)

1 cup Orange pulp

(left over from making orange juice- or boil whole oranges for 2hours topping up water regularly cool in the water, strain and blend)

1/4 cup coconut oil melted

1/4 cup Rice bran oil (can use Coconut oil instead)

1 cup Cocoa powder

1/2 cup Coconut Flour

1Tbs Baking Powder

pinch Salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl till well combined. Pour into a lined cake tin and bake 180c 45-60 min. Best to check after 45min- if skewer is not coming out clean bake for longer- I trust you)

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Almost better than sex

I Love chocolate bars.

In saying that, they hate me, so I never buy them.

Those boxes of bite size bars are fun and a great way to just have a taste, if you can stop at just one.

I have really been enjoying trying out recipes for making chocolate bars at home- healthier versions.

I came across this homemade Twix recipe and WOW I can not stop eating them- although it tastes more like a caramel peanut crunchy chocolaty thing than a Twix.

It keeps great in the freezer- and when eaten frozen it is chewy and wonderful.

Bars of yumness

Base

1/4 cup Rice Syrup (found in a health food store)

2Tbs Peanut butter

1tsp Vanilla essence

Pinch of Salt

1 1/4 cups Puffed Rice Cereal

Mix all the wet ingredients together and heat till it bubbles and is melted together, add the Rice Cereal and mix till well combined.

Tip into a grease proof paper lined tray, with wet hands spread to cover the base of the tray. Put in the freezer to firm up.

Date Caramel

1 1/2 cups Pitted Dates (if hard, cover in hot water till soft then strain)

1Tbs Peanut butter

1Tbs Milk/ or Almond milk (you may need more)

Pinch of Salt

Place all Caramel ingredients in a food processor (or you can use a blend stick) and blend till rather smooth- you may need some more of the milk to help it blend, carefully spread over the base and put back in the freezer.

Chocolate topping

2 Rows of Chocolate (I like to use Dark 72%)

1tsp Melted Coconut oil- optional

Melt on medium power in the microwave till smooth- use the back of a spoon to spread over the Caramel layer.

When the Chocolate is almost set cut into small bars. Store in the freezer and eat, everytime you walk past the freezer.

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http://ohsheglows.com/2012/10/25/homemade-crispy-twix-bars/

Are you are a dunker, or not?

On a cold afternoon sitting at home drinking a warm cup of tea is almost perfect. Almost.

Whether you are a dunker or not a cup of tea and a bikkie  go together like a match made in heaven.

Although packet biscuits are full of processed sugars and cannot compare to home baking.

What is better than home baking, that uses up leftovers from dinner the night before?! NOTHING!

As a twist on the classic ANZAC biscuit using a mixture of cooked Quinoa, Coconut oil and Almond meal make these biscuits chewy, nutty and almost good for you.

Quinoa & Almond cookies

100g Cooked Quinoa- cooled

70g Flour

70g Almond meal

100g Brown Sugar

30g Golden syrup

60g Coconut oil

1/2tsp Baking Soda

Mix all dry ingredients together. Heat Coconut oil and golden syrup till melted. Mix golden syrup mix with dry ingredients till combined.

Drop spoonfuls on a lined baking tray spaced far apart- as these spread- alot.

Bake in a preheated oven 140c for 40min till golden. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack.

I had none at home but if you substituted a gluten free flour blend for the flour these would be gluten free.

Eat wrapped in a blanket on the couch with a hot cup of tea.

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I am entering this in Sweet New Zealand which is just something I stumbled across and think is a great idea!

This month it is hosted by Sweet and Brains a lovely blog which can be found here- http://sweetsandbrains.wordpress.com/

 http://sweetsandbrains.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/sweet-new-zealand-25/

Wish me luck!!