Archive | December, 2013

Paleo macadamia Salted caramel

24 Dec

 

 

 

 

One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is sitting on the concrete out the front of my grandma’s house with a hammer and a bag of macadamias, balancing the nuts precariously on the cracks in the concrete then hitting them with the hammer. Trying to put just the right amount of pressure to crack the shell without smashing the nut is an art form.

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Macadamias are such a summer treat here in Australia so when I found this recipe I knew I just had to make it and amidst all the naughty Christmas treats that are laden with gluten and refined sugar it is something a little more Paleo friendly.

I came across this recipe via Pinterest (where else?) .

It comes from Kitsa’s Kitchen and she called it Macadamia Christmas Crunch.

 

 

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This recipe is so simple it’s silly.

1 cup of raw honey

250g butter or ghee

1 cup macadamias

salt

Place the honey and butter in a saucepan together and boil. According to the recipe it should reach toffee stage, however I found the honey just did not heat the same way sugar does and mine never made it to that stage. If yours does great, if not don’t worry.

Now add macadamias, I used plain macadamias, I think they might have been ever so slightly roasted as they didn’t have the waxiness fresh out of the shell nuts have. Also add some sea salt, a teaspoon or two, whatever your taste is.

Pour it into a lined tray. I added more nuts to mine as I didn’t think there was enough and I sprinkled some more salt on top

Then pop it in the fridge until set.

DSC_1133Mine was more like caramel than toffee and melted easily out of the fridge. They were completely unsuitable for taking to work to share with my workmates as they melted and stuck to the plate during the drive and then needed to be pried off the plate with a knife.

They are much better suited to a little soirée at home where they can be served directly from the fridge.

Now let me tell you about how they taste.

Pure, buttery, melt in your mouth bliss, with a kick of salt and the delightful creaminess of the nuts. I dare you to try and stop at one, I couldn’t.

These could possibly be the best caramels I have ever tasted, honey makes a far superior caramel to sugar. I am disappointed though that I could not get it to boil hotter so that it was more of a cruchier texture more like peanut brittle, that would have been perfection.

 

Gingerbread Part Two

23 Dec

I make gingerbread bikkies most years. I don’t have a go to recipe, I usually do something different every year.
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This year I used the Iced Ginger Cookie recipe from the Sweet Treats from the Lime lounge Cafe book

Ingredients

125g butter

100g brown sugar

1 egg yolk (I added a whole egg as well)

90g golden syrup

2 1/2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarb soda

3 1/2 tsp ground ginger

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Method

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line tray with baking paper.

Beat butter, sugar and egg yolk until creamy

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Add syrup and beat again.

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Sift flour, bicarb and ginger and fold into mixture.

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At this point the mixture was very crumbly and not coming together like dough should (see the above picture) so I added an egg and beat it all until it was beautifully smooth (the picture below).

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The recipe doesn’t insist on it, but I did refrigerate my dough for about 30 minutes before rolling and cutting shapes.

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The recipes suggests baking them for 30 minutes, but I suggest 15 minutes, and definitely no more than 20.

Cool them on a wire rack.

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I used a store bought royal icing to ice the bikkies. I just piped simple patterns on to them as I was doing it late at night and just couldn’t be bothered with anything elaborate.

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The Minimen took them to daycare to share with their classes.
They both gave them the thumbs up.
I really liked this recipe, it made a lot of crisp little mouthfuls of ginger yumminess.




Gingerbread Part One

22 Dec

I love Christmas time. I love baking new things and old favourites.

Gingerbread is a festive favourite, This year I made both a cake and biscuits. This post will be dedicated to the cake.
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I had never made or tasted gingerbread cake before but the picture in this recipe drew me in and made me believe I needed to eat it.

         Treacle Gingerbread

125g butter, chopped
2/3 cup (160ml) treacle
1/3 cup (70g) dark brown sugar
2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
1/2 cup (115g) chopped glace ginger
1 1/2 tbs ground ginger
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup (125ml) buttermilk
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  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 8x30cm bar pan with baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter, treacle and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until butter melts and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  3. Combine the flour, glace ginger, ground ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in a bowl. Add the eggs, buttermilk and treacle mixture and stir until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the surface.

  4. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing a whisked 2 egg whites until they were fluffy, then added about 2 cups of icing sugar and 1 tbs flour and the juice of 1 lemon.

I decorated the cake with a cute little snowman and tree I bought from the supermarket.

The cake tasted delicious, however it was a bit on the dry side. It was really quick to whip up, which I love.


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Drop,back tomorrow and I’ll share the cookies I made!

 

Stained Glass Christmas Decorations

10 Dec

christmas decorationA few months the Minimen were right into craft activities, so I have been really looking forward to Christmas and all the great things we could make together.

However, things haven’t turned out the way I had pictured in my head. Their interest in craft has waned and I have been left to make by myself.

A couple of days ago I made these cute stained glass decorations using just some  clear coloured pony beads and an egg ring.DSC_1083

First I turned my oven on and set the temperature for the hottest setting.DSC_1086

I placed some baking paper on a tray and tipped the beads into the egg ring in a single layer. You could also use any metal biscuit cutter to make your decoration.DSC_1090

I put them in the oven for about 20 minutes. After this time the beads were soft but not fully melted. I pressed down on them with the back of a spoon to squish them together more.DSC_1098

It easily removed from the egg ring and the plastic hardens up really quickly once out of the oven.

There were little gaps where I was able to thread some string to tie it to the tree.DSC_1097

I really like how it turned out, I was hoping that the different colours would melt together more, maybe they would if I wasn’t impatient and had left them in the oven longer…..that might be an experiment for another day.DSC_1096

The great thing about these decorations is that you don’t even have to put them away after Christmas. Enjoy them all year round by hanging them in a window to catch the light.

 

An easy Wreath to make with the kids

3 Dec

 

Despite the title of this post, my kids did not help make this in any way I was told when I asked if they wanted to help “No, Mum. You can do it all by yourself”

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I recently found this cute wreath via Pinterest.

 

This is the site it is from. It is in Hungarian, Google will translate it for you, but the photos are pretty self explanatory so you don’t really need it.

All you need is used toilet rolls, green paint, red beads and glue

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I used 11 toilet rolls. I started by cutting each one into 5 pieces and painting inside and outside green.

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Then using a glue gun I glued the 5 pieces together to form this flower shape.

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Once I had made all the flowers I glued them together to make 1 small wreath, using 5 flowers and one larger wreath, using six flowers.

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I placed the smaller one on top of the bigger one then glued some red beads on, and there you have it. A simple Christmas wreath!

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Paleo vanilla cupcakes with not so paleo strawbery icing

1 Dec

This week both my blender and food processor have given up on me. I am quite beside myself with grief.

Fortunately my mixer works just fine, so to console myself I made some delicious paleo vanilla cupcakes using this cake recipe from Paleo Fondue.

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They have the not so paleo addition of white choc chips, they are also iced with not so paleo buttercream.

and since white chocolate goes so well with strawberries I added fresh strawberries into the butter cream, which is simply butter and icing sugar.

imageThe buttercream is decadent and tastes just like strawberry heaven.

The cake is moist and fabulous, it uses a combination of arrowroot and coconut flour which I think is a good combination. I have only used arrowroot by itself previously and I find it can have a bitter aftertaste, the addition of the sweet coconut flour masks this and although the raw flour had a distinctly coconut flavour, I couldn’t detect that in the baked cake. It also has both coconut sugar and honey, I think one of these would probably be enough sweetner as the cake is super sweet and caramely.

This will definitely be my new go to vanilla cake recipe.

 

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