Category Archives: Recipes

{DIY} Sweet Meringue Valentine Kisses by Gillian

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I was gushing when Gillian sent the photos through of this sweeter than sweet DIY for valentines day. I confess, it has been a while since I have spoiled my taste buds to the sweetness of a meringue and I dare say, when I finish this little blog, I will be off to my kitchen to bake…its been a while and I could do with the ‘therapy’ of making something for my little Valentines Lily and Oscar….and I dare say, neither of them have been treated to a Meringue before…that I know of! Maybe I should post them both up to Gillian’s place for a week…let her spoil them with her amazing sweet delights, it would certainly be a credit in the book of life experiences ūüôā

Meringue

Ingredients:

4 egg whites (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
220g caster sugar
125g white chocolate
Edible glitter (optional)
Small amount of fondant or shop bought sugar hearts

Method:

Place egg whites and salt in a clean bowl.  Beat with electric mixer until soft peaks form.  Gradually add sugar a tablespoon at a time.  Once the final spoonful has been added continue beating for 3 minutes until sugar has dissolved.  The best way to check if sugar has dissolved is to rub a little of the mixture between your fingers.  If it’s grainy, continue to beat for an additional minute.

Line a tray with greaseproof paper.  You can pipe or spoon the mixture onto the tray.  Leave a  2cm space between each meringue.

Bake in oven for 1 ¬ľ hours, at 100 degrees celcius.¬† Allow to cool in oven.

Melt white chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each bust until completely melted.  Dip the tip of each meringue into the chocolate and sprinkle with edible glitter (any sprinkles would be fine)

Finally top with small fondant hearts or the sugar ones found in the supermarket.

Follow Gillian’s sweet creations and fabulous styling on Facebook:¬†http://www.facebook.com/crumbsofcomfortcakedesign?fref=ts

 

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Setting the menu for children’s parties: A healthy approach PART 2

 


 

This weeks blog is a follow on from Part One posted last week, where Naturopath Brooke Jenkins gives us the tips on balancing some healthy options onto our children’s party menu. This week, Brooke takes us through the beverage menu, provides tips on serving allergy conscious foods and shares her recipe for a¬†wheat, dairy, egg and sugar free cake!

 PART 2

Drinks

While water may not be the most appealing drink for a birthday party, it really is the most preferable. Try serving water with funny straws or in colourful cups. Add more colour by making ice cubes from carrot or beetroot juice!

An excellent alternative is coconut water. Slightly sweet and very refreshing, kids love the taste of this nourishing drink.

Fruit juices should always be watered down and avoid products with additives, preservatives and added sugar. Also, consider the type of juice, as some children may be sensitive to some fruits like orange or strawberry.

Cordial is another drink option that is best avoided due to its high sugar content and its potential to exacerbate symptoms in asthmatic children. Soft drinks should be completely avoided and are considered inappropriate for children.

Allergy

An important thing to consider when organising your party menu is whether you need to cater for any children with allergies or intolerances. 90% of food reactions are caused by milk, eggs, peanuts, treenuts ,wheat, soy, fish and shellfish and while some of these allergens are easy to avoid, others can be hidden in foods that you may not realise are present.

It is important to communicate with parents to understand what foods need to be avoided. Ask about allergies or dietary requirements on party invitations and discuss menu suggestions with parents. Ask lots of questions, knowing as much information about the allergy can help you to be discreet  and make sure everyone feels included.

Be aware that when preparing allergy free foods that extreme care should be taken not to cross contaminate. Thoroughly wash all utensils, bowls and chopping boards. You may also need to dedicate special plates and cups to avoid cross contamination.

Preparing low allergenic foods is especially challenging, since alternatives are often very processed foods with little nutrient value. Here is a recipe for a birthday cake that is made with natural, wholesome ingredients that everyone can enjoy.

Vanilla and coconut cake (wheat, dairy, egg and sugar free)

1 1/2 cups white spelt flour

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup brown rice syrup

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup rice milk

1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

Raspberry icing

1 cup coconut oil, warmed

1/4 cup of raspberry pulp*

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbs sunflower seed butter

  1. Preheat oven to 180¬į and grease a 20cm (8 inch) round cake pan and line with baking paper
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a medium sized bowl. Add the coconut and stir till combined
  3. In a small bowl, add the vinegar, vanilla, brown rice syrup, coconut and rice milks and coconut oil and mix together. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour into prepared cake tin
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely
  5. To make the icing, blend all ingredients
  6. Cut the cake in half, horizontally using a serrated knife and place base on a cake stand. Spread with half of the icing, top with cake top and spread remaining icing over cake

* to make raspberry pulp, place 3 cups of raspberries into a saucepan and cook down until it is very thick and pulpy. It should reduce down between 1/4 ‚Äď 2/3 cup.

For more information about Brooke Jenkins, with lots of inspiration for healthy eating for children http://brookejenkins.com/

Photo by red elephant creative, blossom straw printable by Penny Lane Studio

 

 

Setting the menu for children’s parties: A healthy approach PART 1

I remember when baby number one came into our world, as most Mums do, I laid out plans in my mind for the best start to life, starting with his health. A quick and nimble fellow from the beginning (crawling at 5 months and fast crawler at that), I limited his sugar intake to, well practically nil for the first year of his life.

Fast forward and my friendship formed with Naturopath Brooke Jenkins. Whilst chatting to her about kids parties, I asked the big question, is there a more healthy approach to planning our children’s parties? Of course when she forwarded me this article for the red elephant blog I was blown away at what there is to offer….as for the message, I love that we are still allowed to have our cake and eat it too, by adding or substituting just a few dishes at our parties we can have the traditional sweets and balance it out with a few not so sugary alternatives.

The recipes listed are also great for snacks for your little (and big) ones.

PART ONE

When its time to celebrate, we relax our food rules and enjoy things we don’t usually eat every day. Party foods are often sugary, processed foods with lots of fake colourings and non-food ingredients, but enjoying food at a party doesn’t need to be a fake-food affair. Its easy to prepare and serve a menu of nutrient dense wholefoods that everyone can enjoy.

Here are some exciting and appetising ways to provide nutritious food at your child’s next party!

Something substantial

Dedicating a time for everyone to eat together can be a good way of making sure kids have something substantial before or inbetween all the snacking and party games. Whether you’re having a BBQ or serving some simple sandwiches or salads, this is a good opportunity to introduce some protein, which will keep the kids feeling fuller for longer and not constantly snacking on party food (whether its healthy or not).

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sausages, chicken or home made rissoles

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Sandwiches or wraps: chicken and salad, tuna and avocado or hummus and salad

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Rice salad: cooked brown rice, tempeh, mixed, diced vegetables and tamari dressing

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Mixed raw vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, zuchinni, celery and carrot sticks

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Vegetable ‘chips’: cut sweet potato into chips, coat in olive oil and a little salt, bake on a baking tray in the oven at 220¬į for 40 minutes. Serve with hummus

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† BBQ’d corn on the cob. Serve with butter and parmesan for a delicious side dish

Healthy snack alternatives

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Colourful fruit platters

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Fruit skewers can look as fabulous as they taste, but always consider the age of the children before you end up with a bunch of kids running around with sharp sticks!

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Healthy brownies (see part two next week for a recipe)

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Pikelets with sugar free jam

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Rice crackers with hummus

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Cheese cubes and chopped raw vegetables

Healthy banana ice cream (pictured. This is good, its really good, and toddler approved!)

Blend frozen bananas with a little milk of your choice until a creamy consistency is achieved. You can also add some raw cacao powder to make chocolate ice cream or some frozen strawberries to make strawberry ice cream.

Store your ice cream in the freezer until its time to serve. Allow a few minutes for it to soften and then scoop it into little bowls or ice cream cones for serving.

Ice blocks

You can be as imaginative as you want! There are so many combinations and flavours to experiment with. Here are a few favourites, each flavour makes 6 ice blocks:

Banana coconut

1 banana, cut into chunks

1/2 cup coconut milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Blueberry apple

2 cups blueberries

1/3 cup apple juice

1/3 cup coconut water

Watermelon lime

2 cups blended and strained watermelon juice

1 lime, juiced

Cucumber mint

2 cups blended and strained cucumber juice

1/2 cup of chopped mint steeped in 1/2 cup hot water, strained and cooled

1/3 cup coconut water

  1. Place all ingredients for ice blocks in a blender and process til smooth. Add a little water if necessary
  2. Pour into ice block moulds and leave to set overnight (or at least 8 hours)

Stay tuned to the blog for part two next week which includes a great cake recipe and some ideas for party drinks.

For more information about Brooke Jenkins, with lots of inspiration for healthy eating for children http://brookejenkins.com/

Spoons pictured by red elephant creative.

Okay, whilst I was pregnant, I ate ALOT of Rocky Road, you could have put me in a bath of it, and I still wouldn’t have been able to get enough…(lets not talk about the ‘baby kilo’s’), so when the very talented Gillian Brown from Crumbs of Comfort Cake design shared with us her no fail, scrumptious and oh so versatile (with allergy free alternatives in the notes) recipe…well, lets just say it will be a Rocky Road trip this weekend….
Here is Gillian’s wise words for her very own Rocky Road Recipe….
‘I personally¬†find Rocky Road of of the most versatile recipes that can be customised to each clients table and dietary needs.¬† Below is one of the multitude of combinations I use.¬† I find if I stick to the ratio of ingredients ie choc/nut.coconut/marshmallow/dried fruit it doesnt matter what combination I use it’s always a winner!¬† It has become one of my biggest selling items, due in fact to the chocolate I use.¬† People come back to buy it by the tray long after their event!’

Gillian’s Gourmet Rocky Road

250g Marshmallows
100g crystalised ginger
150g pecans
50g shredded coconut
400g chocolate РI have recently changed from callebuat to Felchin which is simply divine.  But any decent chocolate is absolutely fine.
Method
Melt chocolate in a bowl over pot of simmering water.  Altenatively you can melt it in the microwave by heating in 30 second bursts.  Stiring after each burst.
I simply snip all ingredients with scissors and place in a large bowl, then pour over melted chocolate and mix.  place in a lined lamington tin and refrigerate for and hour.  Slice with warm knife.
Obviously this is a small recipe so just increase it to your needs.  My standard tray takes 5 times this recipe!

Tips:
The key is to experiment with flavours.  Rocky Road can be nut free, gluten free, and dairy free.  Check labels as many high cocoa chocolates are naturally dairy free.  Also the ingredient wheat glucose syrup, is infact gluten free.  This is because, although derived from wheat, the production process (ie it is so highly processed) removes ALL traces of gluten.
For more: ‘like’ Gillians page¬†http://www.facebook.com/crumbsofcomfortcakedesign
Photos supplied by: Mel of Musie J Photography: www.facebook.com/musiejphotography

DIY Friday Recipe: The Yummiest moistest egg free chocolate cupcakes

The yummiest egg free and super moist chocolate cupcakes

The yummiest egg free and super moist chocolate cupcakes

¬†I made these a while ago when I was out of eggs, and I just keep coming back because the recipe is so ¬†super easy and the cakes so deliciously moist, even a day or so later. So….whilst it is on the old blog, I just HAD to share the recipe on the new blog…its just so good!

Cupcakes:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. baking cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. water
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1 Tbs. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla

Icing:
6 tablespoons butter, soften
3 tablespoons milk or soymilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
food coloring (optional)

Method: Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well. Fill paper-lined muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Bake at 350¬ļF for 25-30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes and remove from pan. Makes 12.

For icing: In a bowl, beat together the butter, milk/soymilk and vanilla until smooth (about 3 minutes). Add in confectioners sugar; beat very well until smooth, adding more if necessary to achieve desired consistency. Add in food coloring (if desired) and mix well.