• Creamy Porridge with Rhubarb and Yoghurt

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    Today I am full of things I’d like to share. FULL.

    The internet has gifted quite a few gems these past couple of weeks (found via TracyMolly, Emm, Molly and Clotilde), so I am paying it forward with links and love. And at the end, this porridge recipe, possibly my most favourite to date. A “farewell chilly, porridge-encouraging weather” recipe for you to make now, next cool season or whenever you please. I don’t mind a summer porridge, myself, and the stewed fruit component can easily be peaches or plums. Oh, wouldn’t cherries be dear?

    But first, these links. I don’t tend to do posts like these, as I find myself scrambling with thoughts of “AHHHH MORE THINGS TO READ WHY IS THE INTERNET TO FULL I CAN’T KEEP UP!!?!!?”. But, friends, these are truly nice, heartwarming, thoughtful pieces. Plus, I am now officially 83% of my way through The Goldfinch after 23 years of reading (fark, that thing is LONG! side note: I do not appreciate my kindle app countdown) so that means my brain has space for other things, like…

    Beyonce and Jay Z made me cry – their beauty and talent and love. Give me a moment…

    ♥ I so appreciated this article on why cooking sucks. It’s easy to be in our cooking-loving bubble. This is important too.

    ♥ See, I always knew I liked science. Even TED is in on it.

    ♥ This cardamom pound cake. I saved this page for the recipe because, well, cardamom…but then I read the post.

    ♥ What kids from around the world eat for breakfast. Fascinating. South American kids drinking coffee. Gee whiz! ps I think they meant Australia, not New Zealand, right?

    ♥ More science for you.

    ♥ Bill Murray is my favourite. I am SO excited about this movie.

    ♥ I need this bourbon maple sauce.

    ♥ Thank you, Hannah, for the porridge and outfit inspiration.

    ♥ I was over at Milkshop this week with a kitchen playlist. Fun!

    ♥ This quote: “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron.

    Creamy Porridge with Rhubarb and Yoghurt

    Serves 1

    Ingredients
    1/2 cup rolled oats
    1 cup Full Cream Milk
    1 heaping tablespoon Five:AM Natural Yoghurt (I don’t tend to play favourites with my yoghurts, but this beauty is like silk).
    1-2 tablespoons Stewed Rhubarb (see recipe below)
    1 tablespoon Sunflower Seeds and flaked Almonds (or other seed/nut – pepitas,walnuts…)
    Pure maple syrup, to taste

    Stewed Rhubarb Ingredients*
    3 stalks of Rhubarb
    Juice of an Orange (or a blood orange plucked from your parents’ tree, as was my move)
    The seeds of 1/2 Vanilla Bean
    A small piece of Star Anise (I use 1 or 2 small broken pieces when stewing fruit)
    A dash of Pure Maple Syrup

    *note: this makes more stewed fruit than for one serve, but you’ll always want more for things like banana bread and pancakes.

    Method
    1. Place your oats in a small, heavy-based saucepans and soak 3/4 cup milk for 30 minutes. This is necessary to achieve super creamy oats. You can shower and make your stewed fruit while you wait. If you wish, soak them overnight to speed up the morning process.
    2. Prep your rhubarb by washing then slicing it into 4cm chunks. Place the rhubarb, orange juice (and some of the pulp if you like), vanilla and star anise in a small saucepan and heat over low-medium. WHen bubbling, turn the heat down and cook for 5-10 minutes until the rhubarb is soft. Stir carefully every now and then and add a touch of water if required. Taste and add some pure maple syrup if you want a sweet preparation. Rhubarb is very tart and I like it that way, so use only the orange juice to sweeten it. You can add maple syrup or sugar at the beginning if you wish.
    3. After soaking, heat the oats and milk over low-medium heat until bubbling, then turn the heat down to low and allow to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring every now and then to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk towards the end of cooking. Your oats are ready when they’re plump and soft and lovely and you cannot wait any longer.
    4. While the oats are cooking, toast your seeds and/or nuts and re-warm your stewed fruit if you desire.
    5. Pour the oats into a bowl, top with a dollop of yoghurt, a spoonful of stewed fruit and the toasted nuts and seeds. Add an extra drizzle of pure maple syrup if you want a bit more sweetness and a drizzle of milk if you want a bit more creaminess.

    Heidi xo
  • Roasted Carrot Dip and A Garden

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    I remember when my parents bought “the clinic”. I was five years old. It had salmon-coloured walls and on the day they were handed the keys we had fish and chips on the floor of what would become dad’s consulting room. They were both teachers first, and then they both weren’t. Twenty four years on (lordy) and I’m working at the clinic in a more professional capacity than my teenage job of “organising and cleaning”, which I never did very well. I’m on the cusp of a virgo and libra, you see, and while I don’t know too much about star signs, I believe it to be true that I am occasionally orderly and neat, like a virgo, but occasionally the opposite, which I believe to be the libra side of me “balancing” things. At least that’s the way in works in my head.

    In my practice I talk about food with clients and then mum and I will catch each other for chats. Dad usually pops his head around, invariably saying something funny and/or lame, depending on the time of the day and the day of the week. In my observations, the closer to Thursday (his Friday) the weirder his humour. I like Thursdays. Anyway, it’s a pretty rad job, helping clients achieve diets that are nutritious, balanced, appropriate to their goals and health needs and, importantly, enjoyable. Since when did food become such work? There’s no fun in that. I like to help people have fun with their food.

    About a month ago we put in a vegetable garden at the clinic, to further encourage this getting to know and love your food business I keep harping on about. There’s nothing like plucking your own kale leaves or making a salad out of edible flowers to help you see the power and beauty and importance of freshly harvested produce. As I was planting the nasturtium my grandfather informed me that a childhood treat of his was nasturtium sandwiches, made of nothing but bread, butter and nasturtium leaves. Way to go great grandma, playing with edible flowers since the 1930s.

    Mum and I started the day at Bunnings, buying things like a hose reel and a few tools, before heading to the clinic to help Ben and Dad assemble the garden bed. We received a soil delivery then got our hands dirty planting and tidying. Mum had made Rosa’s almond biscotti for a snack, which we ate with my grandparents who had stopped by. Later on my grandpa showed me how to loosen and plant lavender. It was nice.

    On the way home, dirt on our faces and in desperate need of a shower, Ben and I felt it would make sense to visit Target, where we bought pillows and contemplated a hairdryer. We decided against a hairdryer and instead bought fancy pasta and a bottle of wine. And carrots.

    Back home I roasted those carrots and made a dip, which we ate with crackers while sitting outside waiting for our pasta water to boil. I’ve made this dip a number of times and favour it lumped into bowls with falafel, quinoa, chickpeas and roasted eggplant. It is also lovely spread on sourdough toast with avocado, though I wouldn’t think it odd to simply take to it with a spoon.

    Here are some photographs from that day and at the end, a recipe for that carrot dip. Happy weekend, folks.

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    Roasted Carrot Dip

    Ingredients
    800g Carrots
    2 cloves Garlic (large ones if you like a big garlic hit, as I do)
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated Ginger (or more, to taste)
    2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
    2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for the roasting pan
    1 teaspoon ground Cumin
    Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper, to taste

    * Optional: 1-2 tablespoons natural or Greek yoghurt (for a creamier dip)

    Method
    1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Chop your carrots into 3cm chunks and in half lengthways, then place in a roasting pan lined with baking paper. Add the garlic cloves (skin on) and a general glug of olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper and roast for 20-25 minutes, before removing from the oven to toss the carrots and remove the garlic cloves (set them aside to cool). Return the carrots to the oven roast until tender (maybe another 10 or so minutes). Remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
    2. Add the cooled roasted carrots and garlic clove (skin discarded) to a food processor with the ginger, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil and cumin. Blitz until smooth (though I often leave mine a bit chunky), taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Add any yoghurt, more lemon, salt, etc as desired.
    3. Don’t scatter extra cumin over the top (as I did here) in a failed attempt to beautify the dip, but do serve with flax crackers. Store leftovers in an airtight container with a layer of extra virign olive oil on top and consume within a couple of days.

    Heidi xo

     

     

  • Banana Bread with Spelt and Honey

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    I can never have enough bananas in my house. And despite the fact that there is usually a bunch sitting on my bench, always taking too long to ripen for smoothie, soft-serve, butter rum or porridge purposes, I don’t part with them lightly. It’s not uncommon for my father-in-law to request a banana snack when visiting, and my response of “yes, absolutely have a banana”, never comes as fast as it should. Because I need them, you see. There’s always something banana-based to be blitzed or baked, and as much as I adore mulberries, quince, peaches and rhubarb, if I had to choose one fruit I would yell BANANA without skipping a beat. I need to be nicer. Or maybe just buy more bananas.

    Recently I hid bananas from loved ones long enough enough to allow the fruit to age and sweeten perfectly for banana bread. Do you like banana bread? I’d bet confidently on the fact that most people do. It’s cake in loaf form, and is often served without icing or any decoration that would make a slice for breakfast seem inappropriate. About four years ago I went a little nuts on banana bread, ordering it whenever I had the chance, even if it was surely a subpar slice because BANANA! I maxed out, oooooh yeah I did, and bananas were henceforth relegated to other dish duties. Some years later, after easing off the preparation and waiting patiently for the craving to come tumbling back in, it’s time for banana bread once more. And here we are with a very lovely loaf.

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    Spelt flour was a natural addition to the bananas in this loaf, as we know I favour it in baking. Honey, too, as I try to avoid more refined sugars when possible. Googling banana bread recipes that used spelt and honey lead me to a fabulous version on Cookie + Kate, which served as my major inspiration in making this loaf. One Friday morning a few weeks ago, I noticed that the bananas were ready, brown and begging to be baked. And so I clapped my hands and mashed them into bread with extra virgin olive oil. I flirted with the idea of using yoghurt too, but felt I might end up with something too yoghurt cake-like, which, while I dearly appreciate in its own right, was not what I was going for here. So I kept it simple, only a little cinnamon and a touch of vanilla.

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    The result is a loaf that is all the clichés I want in a banana bread and none that I don’t. It has substance, with keen banana chunks and spelt power, but at the same time this is a light loaf, with a fluffy interior and dreamy, pronounced crumb. The crust is sticky, sweet and chewy…

    There’s a lot of goodness here.

    On this morning we served hedonistically thick slices of fresh banana bread with tart natural yoghurt and stewed rhubarb. And in a move that felt so right though was entirely unnecessary, we flash pan-fried our slices in butter. A more humble serving, plain or perhaps with a pat of butter or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, is also lovely. Especially when warm from the oven, but we already knew that.

    Thank goodness for bananas.

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    Banana Bread with Spelt and Honey

    Only very slightly adapted from Cookie + Kate’s Honey Whole Wheat Banana Bread

    Makes 1 loaf

    Ingredients
    1 & 1/2 cups Spelt Flour
    1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    1/2 teaspoon Salt
    pinch ground Cinnamon
    1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    1/2 cup Honey
    2 Eggs
    1 cup mashed Bananas (~215g weight skin off = ~2 medium bananas)
    1/4 cup Milk
    1 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract

    Method
    1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease and line a 21cm x 10cm loaf tin, with baking paper hanging over the edges so you can lift it out easily.
    2. Sift the spelt flour and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and cinnamon and stir to aerate and combine.
    3. Beat the olive oil and honey together in a separate bowl. Add the eggs and beat well. Mash the bananas into the mixture, then add in the milk and vanilla and stir to combine.
    4. Fold the wet ingredients through the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth the surface with the moistened back of a spoon or spatula.
    5. Bake in your hot oven for ~50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted to the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for ~5 minutes before lifting out and cooling on a wire rack for a further 30 minutes before slicing.

     

    Heidi xo
  • Waffles with Bel

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    I met Bel earlier this year at Transition Farm when she was interning. On our first day together we spent the afternoon planting garlic and I thought she was just the coolest. I mean, Bel knits and dyes and has traveled to South America. She also, importantly, appreciates the value of an overhead food shot. We bonded over a love for cake, Molly and radishes with butter and salt. And Waffles.

    Last weekend we had a waffle date at her gorgeous, sunlit home. Bel borrowed Robin‘s waffle maker and prepared Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe for buttermilk waffles (recipe link). We used fennel fronds to grease the waffle maker because that’s what farm folk do. To adorn our waffles we made a maple vanilla cream, which Bel served with sweet berries and almond flakes. And then we sat on the porch and planned future cooking dates.

    I’m so happy you’re here, Bel. Thanks for the waffles X

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    Maple Vanilla Cream

    Makes ~1 cup cream

    Ingredients
    ~1/2 cup Cream (milkfat ~35%)
    1/2 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
    1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (or seeds from 1/3 a vanilla bean)

    Method
    1. Place the cold cream, maple and vanilla in a bowl and whisk using a hand-mixer with a whisk attachment (alternatively use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or go for gold with your hand and a whisk) – whisking until firm peaks as per The Kitchn’s instruction.
    2. Taste and adjust for more maple/vanilla as desired and whisk again as required.

    Heidi xo

     

  • Spring So Far

    During the school holidays this little town we now call home swelled in the heat. It’s starting to really feel like summer. The shops are crowded and it takes five minutes longer for my coffee order to reach my hands. I use that time to engage in people watching, particularly as they linger over the ice-cream counter. I like to guess what flavour they will select. More often than not I’m correct…strawberry for her, coffee for him, definitely hazelnut for this guy. After five years working as a Dietitian (and before that a good few years in hospitality), these “what will they order?” skills have surely sharpened. Though I have always loved inquiring after people’s favourite cake variety/breakfast dish/coffee or cocktail order/pasta shape. These preferences say a lot about a person, perhaps no more so than their choice of ice-cream. It’s food psychology of sorts… “Tell me about that”….no really, please do, I find this stuff fascinating.

    With our footpaths full of people too distracted by their ice-creams to walk in an orderly fashion (or at all), I am being forced to slow down and notice the sun. We’ve been reading more. I’m walking, not running, and watching the clouds. My gumboots by the door have been replaced by flip flops. It’s happy days, folks. Here are some pictures of spring so far, from our corner of the world…

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    I have made seven batches of ice-cream these past two months (a personal best), five of which were of the salty honey variety. There was hence ample opportunity to photograph this most beloved flavour, yet we somehow managed to eat it all without stopping for a single click. I will rectify that soon but for now, go forth and make extra virgin olive oil and coffee ice-cream. And then perhaps try something more fruity, like this cantaloupe sorbet (recipe link) by David Lebovitz. My first venture away from creamy churns to fruity turned out more like a granita, however on this warm Saturday evening is was perfectly refreshing and delicious.

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    Last month my brother and I visited Il Melograno in Northcote, and I shall henceforth be requesting all summer dates take place in this charming shop. Their artificial colour and preservative-free gelato is simply brilliant. p.s. I’ll order the Iranian pistachio flavour, always and forever.

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    Back home, we’re drinking iced coffees like there’s no tomorrow.

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    “Hey Edrolo! You work so hard. Well done! Have a cookie. ♥ Heidi”

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    - a batch of nut butter, oat and chocolate chip cookies (recipe link) for Ben and his work colleagues.

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    Our beach. Blessed.

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    Before.

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    After.

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    As well as ice-cream, sorbet and gelato, I started experimenting with greek yoghurt + berry popsicles.

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    Dipped in a cacao + coconut oil + maple syrup + coconut concoction.

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    Last week I came to the realisation that an uncomfortably long time had passed since I’d baked a pie. On Sunday I rectified this lack of pie situation, which was the same day as KCRW Good Food‘s 6th annual pie contest, which was taking place in LA. Good Food is one of my favourite podcasts, so it felt right to bake a pie that day.

    Working with our present season in Australia, I made a rhubarb and apple pie with a rye flour crust. I used my basic recipe but halved the crust ingredients and employed a smaller dish as it was just us two. I was more than delighted with my 100% rye flour dough, though *humph* I burnt the top outer edge of the crust (I should have covered it better when blind baking). Fellow pie geeks might appreciate the other thing I did differently this time around, which was to roll out and cut the lattice top while the crust was blind baking, and then place the strips back in the fridge, covered, until required. This may be common practice for many but it was new to me, as usually I roll the dough out and place the lattice top directly over the fruit then pop it all in the oven. In the future I will always re-chill my lattice lengths, as the top part of the crust (i.e. the part that wasn’t burnt!) was super crisp, flaky and fabulous.

    For the filling I used two granny smith apples and 3 stalks of rhubarb, though that was a tad frugal. With the fruit I added lemon juice, corn flour, maple syrup and raw sugar and the end result, despite the burnage and too little filling, was just beautiful. I mean, it’s homemade pie…it’s perfect in its imperfection.

    As we sat on the couch eating our slices with heavy spoonfuls of creme fraiche, Ben shared some thoughts pertaining to the frequency with which we should eat dessert. At least every Sunday, he said. Yeah, I agree. More pie, please.

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    But the thing is, Ben and I are both kind of…how do I put it…frustratingly lame in our ability to comfortably consume two courses. That is, we don’t regularly have dessert as we end up stuffed. Oh, flash back to our early twenties and we’d put away two plates of pasta (each) and a small tub of ice-cream like it was no big deal, but these days our appetites, while still keen, do not allow us to pocket such heavy portions without wanting to roll to bed. And our bedroom is now upstairs, so logistically that just won’t work.

    Therefore, on those days when I have a desperate need to bake and eat pie/cake/pudding we have a light dinner. Something like this egg and greens dish below. It’s both nourishing and appropriately portioned to welcome a keen slice of pie. This is the type of food we eat during the week, often over rice or perhaps pasta. Anchovies are a common feature and might sneak in just after the garlic hits the pan. And pinenuts are always welcome.

    I thought I might share more of these “every day” recipes around here, what do you think?

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    Garlicky Greens and Eggs in a Pan

    Serves 2

    Ingredients
    1 small Leek, thinly sliced
    2 cloves Garlic, crushed
    2 very big handfuls Silverbeet, cut into ~6cm pieces (spinach will work)
    A few dashes of Chicken Stock, preferably homemade (I always try to have some on hand to add lovely flavour and depth to dishes)
    4 Eggs
    1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    Optional: a small knob of butter
    Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
    To serve: Parmesan and freshly Basil

    Method
    1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and a small pinch of sea salt, reduce the heat and cook for ~5 minutes until soft and sticky.
    2. Add the butter (if using) followed by the garlic, and cook for a minute before adding the silverbeet. Turn the heat up a little higher and cook for  ~3 minutes, stirring as required to ensure even cooking and adding the stock mid-way through (or a dash or two of water) to allow the greens to steam and absorb some of the stock flavour.
    3. Create four gaps in the pan to allow for the eggs. Crack them into the gaps one by one and cook over medium heat until the eggs are cooked to your liking. If you want the yolk more cooked place a lid over the pan for a minute or so.
    4. Serve the greens and eggs on your plates, then freshly grate some parmesan, scatter some basil leaves and go to town with freshly cracked pepper.

     

     

    Heidi xo
  • Bircher Muesli

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    In all these years I’ve been sharing my food thoughts and recipes it appears I am yet to write about bircher muesli. I’ve made a bircher muesli pancake, for sure, but not the original soaked oats. And with the warmer weather cooling my need for porridge, I took inspiration from instagram and blog lovelies like Anna and made some chilled oats. Here is my usual bircher preparation. While bircher muesli is not something I eat terribly regularly, I enjoy it immensely and appreciate the swift morning meal assembly. Perhaps I should make it more often…

    A quick google tells me that bircher muesli was invented by a Swiss physician, who favoured eating fruits and vegetables and nuts, and saw benefit in a muesli preparation for your morning meal. Right on. I believe the addition of grated apple takes it from regular “overnight oats” to bircher status, however I could be wrong. Apple juice is a common ingredient but I favour milk and yoghurt over juice for a more nutritionally satisfying breakfast. Lately I’ve been buying only natural or Greek yoghurt, ones that are tart and smooth and thick. However I have to say, I believe bircher muesli benefits from a flavoured yoghurt, like a vanilla bean style. You could simply flavour the natural yoghurt with vanilla and honey, but… I don’t know, whenever I make a bircher batch using 5:AM or Jalna‘s vanilla varieties, it is always that little bit more wonderful. So that is what I use when birchering.

    Whatever yoghurt you select, you can always alter the flavour upon serving, adding sweetener if you wish. I even like to make a chai-style version with various spices. This is an adaptable recipe that relies upon a good ratio of wet:dry ingredients and ample soaking time. Freshly toasting nuts or seeds and scattering them over your bircher should always happen. Adding fresh berries or sliced stone fruit in summer is a great idea also. I mean, look at that bowl… Mr Bircher-Benner would be proud.

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    Bircher Muesli

    Serves 2

    Ingredients
    1 Apple (I favour fujis)
    1 cup Rolled Oats
    1 tablespoon Chia Seeds
    1-2 tablespoons organic Sultanas
    1/2 cup Yoghurt (I favour 5:am Vanilla Bean for bircher)
    1 cup Milk

    To serve: toasted almond flakes and fresh berries

    Method
    1. Grate the apple into a large container. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Allow to sit in the fridge, covered, overnight (or at least four hours).
    2. In the morning, serve your bircher muesli with toasted nuts and fresh berries.

     

     

    Heidi xo

     

  • Banana, Peanut Butter and Strawberry Smoothie

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    How fun is this?

    I did not grow up eating PB&J. I was a vegemite girl through and through, thick or thin spread I didn’t care, just give me vegemite. And never with cheese. I still don’t get that combination. I’m in the minority on that front, but that’s cool. Vegemite + butter is all I need to be a…you guessed it…happy little vegemite.

    It will come as no surprise that as a kid I was nuts about peanut butter (that happened, sorry), however if I were to gussy up my PB toast I’d invariably reach for honey or smash a banana on top. Oh, there is nothing quite like peanut butter and banana on toast. This combination was introduced to me by my friend George when I was quite young. I remember making PB and banana sandwiches in her parents’ kitchen after video taping performances which ranged from dancing and miming to songs by Take That, to re-enacting BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, to our own PK commercials. George is now an actress and I make a living talking about peanut butter. So essentially we’re both still doing what we did as kids. I like that.

    Anyway, for years I never thought to pair peanut butter with jam, but it’s a practice I now engage in with delicious regularity. When I saw a milkshake recipe on Green Kitchen Stories‘ website, I knew I would adore it. In New York City last year Ben and I would often wake in the morning craving smoothies, having spent most of our evenings drinking bourbon and eating barbeque. Our favourite smoothie involved dates and peanut butter, and I’m pleased to say I now consistently add a spoonful of nut butter to my smoothies. It is a tasty tasty way to enjoy the health benefits of nuts, while making the smoothie super thick and dreamy. Here is my adaptation on Green Kitchen Stories’ smoothie. George, this one is for you. How deep is your love for PB and banana? Sorry. It’s just that I’ll Never Forget. No, really, I’ll stop. For good. Back for Good.

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    Banana, Peanut Butter and Strawberry Smoothie

    Inspired by Green Kitchen StoriesStrawberry Peanut Butter Milkshake
    Serves 2

    Ingredients
    2 handfuls Strawberries
    2 frozen* Bananas
    2 cups Milk
    1 heaped tablespoon natural** Peanut Butter
    2 heaped teaspoons Maca Powder (optional)

    Optional: add some rolled oats (soaked in milk overnight if you want it smoother) for bulk.

    * Peel and slice the bananas, place in a snalopck bag and freeze for at least a few hours. I like to freeze mine overnight for the morning, or ideally I have a bunch frozen at all times.
    ** Natural nut butters have no added ingredients, just nuts (and sometimes salt). Look for them in the health food shops or aisles of supermarkets, or increasingly next to the more processed peanut butter.

    Method
    1. Puree the strawberries (tops removed) in a food processor until smooth. Pour into the bottom of two glasses.
    2. Puree the rest of the ingredients until smooth. The frozen banana will make a really thick smoothie, which I adore, however if you like a thinner smoothie simply add more milk.
    3. Using the back of a wide spoon placed in the glass over the strawberry layer, gently pour the banana smoothie into the glass (thic should keep the layers separate, which is really just for show).

    Heidi xo
  • Ricotta Hotcakes with Vanilla Cardamom Mascarpone

    What makes a pancake a hotcake and not a pancake?

    It’s a case of cake semantics and the answer, according to my breakfast brain, relates to thickness. I feel that a pancake is the thinner of the two, while hotcakes are…. I don’t know, more… sassy. Hotcakes plump and pert, and while making them I find it best to be bare foot, wearing high-waisted pants and a headscarf, 1940s style. Picture this… you’re standing over the stove, the sun and smell of batter calling sleepy babes to the kitchen as you flip and sip coffee. The hotcakes are piled unreasonably high, ready for hungry morning guests who are sitting at the breakfast bench with a fork in one hand and jug of maple syrup in the other.

    I really like that image.

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    These ricotta hotcakes are everything they should be – light, satisfying and eager for syrup. Really, friends, when not using your ricotta for doughnutting, you should be hotcaking. I recommend serving the hotcakes with strawberries, as above, or a quick compote. At a pinch a good jam will do, swirled through tart greek yoghurt. And while eating you can do as Ben did and read Blindness (woah!) or go my route and linger over a recipe for broccoli with orecchiette by Georgio. Both of these books are superb.

    Beyond yoghurt, these hotcakes do well alongside vanilla and/or cardamom-spiked mascarpone, and I’ve provided a recipe (more of an instruction, really) below. A scoop of something not-so-sweet but creamy is fairly mandatory in this hotcake situation. Then we decorate the not-so-sweet cream and not-so-sweet hotcakes with so-sweet pure maple syrup in true 1940′s North American fashion. It’s so very good. Just tie your headscarf, whisk those egg whites into stiff peaks and get flipping. 

    Ricotta Hotcakes

    Serves 4 (I make a full batch even for just the two of us and will freeze the remaining hotcakes. Just wrap them individually in plastic wrap and pop in the toaster to heat them up).

    Adapted from The Kitchn’s great ricotta hotcake recipe.

    Ingredients
    1 cup Spelt Flour (regular wheat flour is fine too)
    1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
    A pinch of Sea Salt
    2 Eggs, separated
    1 cup Ricotta (I love Nonna Sofia‘s brand)
    1 tablespoon Pure Maple Syrup
    2/3 cup Milk
    Butter, for the pan

    To serve: berries, vanilla cardamom mascarpone (see recipe below) and pure maple syrup

    Method
    1. Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a small mixing bowl and whisk to aerate and combine.
    2. Whisk the egg yolks, ricotta, maple and milk in a separate large mixing bowl.
    3. Whisk the egg whites in a large mixing bowl vigorously (or with a mixer) until stiff peaks form.
    4. Add the flour to the mixing bowl with the ricotta/milk mixture and gently fold to combine. Add 1/3rd of the egg whites to the bowl and carefully fold through, then fold in the remaining egg whites.
    5. Heat a dab of butter in a nonstick pan (or two) over medium heat. When hot, use 1/3 cup to scoop the batter onto the pan. Cook for ~3 minutes until the undersides are golden, then confidently flip with a spatula and cook for another couple of minutes until cooked through. Place the hotcakes on a wire rack so they don’t get soggy (cover with foil if you want to keep them warm) and cook the remainder of your pancakes. Top with berries, vanilla cardamom mascarpone (see recipe below) and pure maple syrup.

    Vanilla Cardamom Mascarpone
    Scoop 250g quality mascarpone into a small mixing bowl (I’ve been loving this brand recently but would love to make my own or find a great local producer – any tips?). Fold through 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean) and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom (I pound green cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle, fish out the skins and then pound again to get the powder).

     

    Heidi xo

     

     

  • Still Porridging

    I’m still porridging while I can. This morning it was carrot cake flavoured. With coffee, black and strong, as always.

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    Today I’m smiling about…

    ♥ Skype dates with friends.

    ♥ The fact that I am now halfway through The Goldfinch. That sucker is long. According to the kindle app on my idpad I have 19 hours to go. I’m not the fastest reader so I feel like it’s mocking me. But I am loving the book and feel very protective of Theo.

    ♥ The air smelling soft and sunny as we move further into Spring. Even though there was a mad storm last night, I woke to a rainbow.

    ♥ A particularly stellar banana bread recipe that I will be sharing with you soon. I danced in the kitchen multiple times after it came out of the oven yesterday. First upon slicing the loaf and noticing the crumb (so good!!), then again when breaking a piece in half to share with Ben and once more when eating a thin slice plain followed by a thick slice with butter.

    ♥ The bounty of goods my brother bought me for my birthday. I used the maple syrup on my porridge today and am diving into the Brazil nuts whenever snack o’clock rolls around. My brother, watching my selenium intake since 2014.

    Have a great day, friends. I hope it’s soft and sunny and full of selenium. And tell me, what did you have for breakfast today?

    Heidi xo

     

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil Ice-Cream

    Well, this had to happen, right? I’m mad, positively obsessed, with both extra virgin olive oil and ice-cream. Blending the two just made sense.

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    This month in My Mindful Kitchen I wanted to mention my favourite olive oil producer. I’m just nuts about olive oil. And what’s super swell is that it is such a healthy food, specifically extra virgin olive oil. What I’ve taken from my research on olive oil is that extra virgin olive oil is liquid gold. It is processed quickly and carefully, in a way that retains its rich health benefits, which include stellar antioxdant and anti-inflammatory power. Light and other olive oils are more refined, they’re blended and less healthful. Extra virgin olive oil is pure olive juice – it’s where the goodness is at – and more information is coming out saying that, indeed, you can cook with olive oil at a higher heat than previously thought. The tip is to buy a top quality, freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil with a good fatty acid profile, then store it in a cool, dark place. I am such a fan and use it daily in my cooking, drizzling on salads and pasta dishes and now… ice-cream.

    Australia produces great olives and I love to support local, so always buy Australian-made olive oil. It helps to ensure it’s fresh, too, which, as I mentioned, is important in ensuring you get the most health benefits. We have beautiful extra virgin olive oils in my region on the Mornington Peninsula, but honestly they’re too expensive for my consumption habits. As a treat I’ll serve Green Olive’s extra virgin olive oil with local bread and a sprinkle of sea salt and be in heaven, but daily? It’s my tin of Cobram Estate. And that is what I used to make this ice-cream for my birthday last week.

    Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oil is fresh, affordable and readily available, so it’s my number one choice.  They have a garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, which is great for individuals following a low FODMAP diet, and they have an organic variety, which I’m keen on. Though I would like to learn more about the growing methods of olives and sustainability, so if you know of a sustainably grown Australian olive oil that is quite affordable, please let me know. I wrote about extra virgin olive oil on my dietitian practice website a couple of months ago, so check that out if you’d like, but for now let’s get to the ice-cream, shall we?

    This recipe for extra virgin olive oil ice-cream is by David Lebovitz and is found in his book The Perfect Scoop. There’s so much to like about this recipe, notably the subtle grassy flavour highlighted as keenly as you wish by a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to serve. Whilst eating this treat at the dinner table after a birthday meal of beef cheek and ricotta gnocchi, my brother articulated an ingenious idea of scooping this ice-cream into fresh brioche rolls, the classic Sicilian breakfast. I intend on doing this promptly. For now, there’s a bowl, a spoon and a glug of liquid gold.

    Extra Virgin Olive Oil Ice-Cream

    Recipe link, by David Lebovitz.

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    Heidi xo