Monthly Archives

July 2011

Banana Choc Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

July 31, 2011

One lazy Saturday afternoon few months ago, I was reading one of my favourite blogs, Joy the Baker. Joy is pretty much the coolest, rock star cook around. I’ve made a number of her baked delights in the past, such as these Pumpkin Spiced Pancakes and this Pumpkin Walnut Bread – what can I say, Joy and Pumpkin go together.

So there I was, cup of tea in hand, browsing her insatiable recipes. And then it happened… I cast my eager eyes upon her Milk Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes, and I fell completely and utterly in love. I will never look at pancakes the same way. I adore them even more, if that’s possible. Can you blame me?

And so for breakfast that very next day, inspired by Joy and her choc chip pancakes sent straight from the heavens, I made my own verion. They. Were. Delicious. Yet I was not 100% happy with them, texture wise. After a few Sunday morning trials I can now present you with my final, texturally improved version.

I put my own little nutritious spin on them – I cut the butter, added more fibre and less sugar… the usual. And I also added banana, because, who doesn’t love the divine, sweet duet of chocolate and banana? Actually, I know a few of you really dislike banana, so I’m sure to this rhetorical question you in fact answered, “um, ME!” If that’s the case, simply omit the banana and leave out both the extra tablespoon of flour and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder. That should do the trick. And I won’t judge you for your dislike of banana…well, maybe a little.

At least we can all agree on the beauty that is, the choc chip pancake…

Banana Choc Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Inspired by Joy the Baker‘s, Milk Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes

Serves 2-3, makes 6 medium-large pancakes

Ingredients

1 cup and 1 tablespoon Wholemeal Flour
1 ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1/3 teaspoon Salt
½ tablespoon Light Muscovado Sugar (you can use brown sugar, if you wish)
1 cup Buttermilk
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 large very ripe Banana
1 tablespoon Dark Choc Chips (feel free to use a little more or less, depending on your mood)
1 tablespoon Milk Choc Chips
Butter to grease the pan
Pure Maple Syrup and/or Lemon Wedges to serve

Method

1. In a large bowl sift the flour (but add in the flakes leftover), baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon.
2. In a separate smaller bowl, beat the egg and then mash the banana in with the egg. Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
3. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and fold together, making sure you gently scrap the bottom of the bowl to get all the flour combined with the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and fold once more until just combined.
4. Heat two large non-stick pans over low heat and grease them lightly with butter. Check the pans are hot by flicking water over the pans – if the water dances, they’re ready!
5. Ladle the mixture onto the pans to make 6 medium-large pancakes. Cook until bubbles appear in the mixture and the bottom is golden. Flip with a spatula and cook until golden on both sides. Keep any pancakes that are ready warm on a plate covered with foil.
6. Once all your pancakes are cooked, serve with maple syrup and/or lemon wedges.

Enjoy your Banana Choc Chip Buttermilk Pancakes with the weekend papers…or with Monopoly, which is exactly what we did last Sunday, when it was decidedly too wet to leave the house to get the papers.

Heidi xo

A Convent, a Chicken and 40 Cloves of Garlic

July 28, 2011

The Abbotsford Convent Farmers’ Market

Last Saturday Ben and I visited the Abbotsford Convent Slow Food Farmers’ Market with my parents. It was my first time visiting this lovely, earthy, unassuming market, with local produce that is undoubtedly fresh – as displayed by the dirt still very much covering the cauliflower at the first stall. I love that, I like my veg rustic. Straight from the ground.

Beyond the beautiful produce there were stalls selling hot porridge, soups and free-range grilled meat sandwiches. The aromas were incredibly enticing on this decidedly frosty morning, and left me almost (almost) lamenting my breakfast at Three Bags Full earlier. I jest, I could never lament Black Sticky Gingerbread – yes, I ordered it for the fourth time out of my five visits to Three bags Full these past 2 months…what of it?

Here I am at the market with my beautiful mum, buying some delightful Daffodils…a little bit of sunshine during this biting Winter – and I’m not talking about the flowers 😉

While we were at the market Ben and I picked up some heavenly Wholegrain Sourdough Rolls from The Convent Bakery. They were so delicious, the best I have had in a long time. We enjoyed them later that day for lunch, alongside homemade Broccoli Soup (Ben’s favourite) and Goats Cheese. Perfection.


Back to the market…

We also bought a bunch of gorgeous Brussels Sprouts and my absolute favourite vegetable, Cavolo Nero. Cavolo Nero, also known as Tuscan Cabbage, is a type of Kale, and is a powerful antioxidant and full of many vitamins and minerals. I sautéed these fantastically nutritious leaves with garlic and chilli flakes that evening, yet the Brussels Sprouts…well, I saved them for Sunday.

Roast Chicken for Sunday Dinner

Sunday was a bit of a stay-at-home whirlwind. Ben had been working with me all day, getting everything ready for my upcoming USA trip. He even missed his beloved basketball to stay and help keep me sane, teaching me how to use my ipad *blush*. I wanted to reward him with a beautiful dinner using a favourite recipe of ours. Truth be told, come dinnertime I was so far into my planning, Ben actually made our dinner. My man has been supremely amazing lately, with me being very busy getting all organised and with all my different jobs I’m currently doing. Here he is, making the dinner I planned for him…my bad. The sentiment was there though, right?

Self-imposed guilt trip over.

Our beloved recipe, which I planned on making, is Valli Little’s Chicken with 40 Cloves Garlic (recipe link). Yes, you read that correctly. 40 cloves. Forty.

It’s amazing. It’s the first and only Roast Chicken recipe I have used, and every time I make it I am thrilled with the end product. I’d like to try another recipe soon, to develop my roasting skills, as this one is not exactly your traditional roast chook. Yet I still feel I can tick it off my list…well, maybe a half tick (see this post for details on my list of food fears I wish to conquer and dishes I desire to make for the first time in 2011). I implore you to try this roast chicken recipe. It creates a superbly moist bird that just melts. And the sauce…I have no words. It’s a completely easy recipe to make, to boot.

For those beautiful farmers’ market Brussels Sprouts, I selected another of Valli Little’s recipes, her Brussels Sprouts with Crispy Pancetta (recipe link) – what can I say, she’s my never fail lady. We didn’t use almonds or breadcrumbs, and instead Ben added Fresh Peas along with the pancetta. He also used French Butter. On the weekends I tend to relax my views around saturated fats and butter – a generous slither or two here and there is fine with me and my lifestyle. And honestly, I think the butter really made this recipe. True story. This dish was utterly divine. Yes, I used the words Brussels Sprouts and divine in the same sentence.

We served the chicken and brussles sprouts with super crispy Roasted Kipfler Potatoes. I find the key to perfect roasted potatoes (other than using duck fat, but that’s just not going to happen on a regular basis) is to firstly use kipfler potatoes. Their waxy, buttery goodness just cannot be surpassed in my books. I will halve them (or quarter them if they’re large) and pop them on a baking paper lined tray, along with a handful of garlic cloves (skin on). I then give everything a quick spray with spray olive oil, before scattering with fresh rosemary, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. I then pop them into a hot hot oven, preheated to 200-220 degrees Celsius. In 25-30 minute they’re pure potato perfection.

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And that was the meal that I made for my amazing man…oh wait, that’s right… Either way, it was delicious. So scrumptious, so comforting, so much love.

Heidi xo

Street Market Eats in Bangkok

July 25, 2011

Ben and I have seen little of Bangkok, yet we absolutely love the city. That doesn’t make sense, let me explain…

We love the bustling pace yet laid-back nature, the heat and humidity, the smells, the noises, we love it all. Yet we’ve seen very little of the actual tourist places in Bangkok. Every time we visit, we prefer to spend as little time there as necessary, rather dash straight to the bus station and begin the 7 hour journey to Baan Dada. Generally, an overnight stay is mandatory, and so we head out for some Street Eats and maybe do a little MBK shopping – hello $20 shoes.

One day I’m sure we’ll schedule ourselves to arrive in Bangkok with enough time to visit the Temples, Museums and such, yet we’re quite happy doing our thing – wandering around the streets, soaking up the everyday sights, sounds and smells, and simply being buzzed that we’re in Thailand, about to see the kids again. I must say, on our first visit to Bangkok in 2009, Ben surprised me with a day at the Thai Blue Elephant Cooking School, for my birthday. It was fantastic, the best overseas cooking school experience I’ve had to date.

Our favourite night market is Sukhumvit Soi 38. It’s not flashy and it’s pretty small, but every night at around 8pm it comes alive with aromas that make you want to park yourself on a plastic stool and never leave. Here is a snapshot of our latest visit in February this year.

Eagerly awaiting a dish we had been reminiscing for 15 months…

Pork Satay Skewers, with the best satay sauce ever. It’s deliciously spicy, with some enthusiastic peanut chunks, and also fairly thin – hence why I spilt it all down my white top…this is not uncommon practice for me.

After our mandatory satay stop, we headed to another personally well loved street restaurant on the opposite side of the market.

Here we ordered Tom Yum Goong, Pad Krapow Moo and Pad Thai. Unfortunately the latter two were a bit lack luster, certainly compared to our beloved Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi version. Yet the soup was lovely – look at that chilli and those little bobbing mushrooms!

Lemongrass Lemonade for refreshment…it tasted a little too fresh, if you know what I mean. Which I don’t exactly….it was just a bit ‘off’ for me.

What was next?…Oh yes, dessert, from another fabulous, very popular street stall selling none other than Mango Sticky Rice. All I have to say is, “mmmmmHmmmmm“.

It was as delightful as it looks – sticky, sweet, luscious heaven, with slabs of the plumpest, most dreamy mango I’ve ever eaten.

*sigh*, I miss Thailand.

Soi 38 is a great place to get a Thai street food fix, especially for satay, soup and sweets. You’ll see locals picking up bags of food on their motorbikes, before scooting home for dinner with family – usually with a baby haphazardly strapped on. Tourists are certainly becoming aware of this little market, but it’s not overrun, which I like.

The street food is one of my favourite things about Bangkok, and Thailand in general. Honest and self-assured, exciting yet comforting – it’s a wondrous thing, one that you must be sure to experience at least once in your lifetime.

Heidi xo

Blueberry Greek Yoghurt Pancakes

July 22, 2011

Last Saturday morning I woke up early and hungry…what’s new? As I lay in bed cocooned in my doona, my eyes still resting closed, I contemplated my breakfast. We were having family over for lunch at 12, so I knew that a robust morning meal was not a good idea. I wanted something that was both light, and which would undoubtedly represent the weekend. And what is more ‘weekend’ than pancakes?

These pancakes came about due to a lack of buttermilk and an enthusiastic amount of Greek yoghurt in my refrigerator. You see, ordinarily I go for buttermilk pancakes – they’re fabulous and I’m happy. This time, I embraced my Greek yoghurt overflow and made Greek yoghurt pancakes. With blueberries – because I’m never short of frozen berries.

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This recipe creates pancakes that are not overly sweet, so you may appreciate the drizzle of maple syrup upon serving, as I did. They’re also quite moist due to the ratio of flour to yoghurt, so flipping them perfectly is a challenge – just be confident!

I love how light these pancakes are – they’re not kilojoule heavy and are really very healthy, yet you still get that special pancake feel. But my very favourite thing about these pancakes is the aroma when cooking…something about the Greek Yoghurt working together with the flour and heat to create golden crispy cakes from the pan…uhhhh, it’s a heavenly thing.

Blueberry and Greek Yoghurt Pancakes

Serves 2, makes 4 medium pancakes

Ingredients

1/2 cup Wholemeal Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 pinches of Salt
2 heaped teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 egg
5 heaped tablespoons Greek Yoghurt, plus extra for serving (I used Black Swan No-Fat Greek Yoghurt)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1-2 tablespoons Blueberries (depending on how berry-licious you like it), plus extra for serving – fresh or defrosted
Pure Maple Syrup, for serving
A squeeze of Lemon would also be lovely when serving

Method

1. Sift the flour, baking soda, salt and brown sugar in a medium bowl.
2. Whisk the egg in a small bowl and add it to the flour mixture, along with the Greek yoghurt and vanilla extract.
3. Fold the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients.
4. Add the blueberries and gently fold through a final time.
5. Heat two non-stick pans over low heat – if you don’t have two pans simply use one pan to cook two pancakes at a time and keep the cooked pancakes warm on a plate by covering them with foil. Grease the pan lightly with butter.
6. Test whether the pan is hot by flicking a little water on it, if the water dances, the pan is ready.
7. Use a ladle to spoon the mixture into the pan to make 4 pancakes.
8. When bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes and the bottom is golden, flip them – be careful, this is a moist mixture so they won’t be well formed and will be a little tricky to flip perfectly.
9. Cook until golden, and serve with a spoon of Greek yoghurt, extra blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup.

You should probably make Greek Yoghurt Pancakes with Blueberries this weekend. Like, right now. Just remember to inhale when they’re cooking…

Heidi xo

Super Green Pesto

July 19, 2011

I’m really enjoying my work with Melrose. Creating recipes is something I truly love, and I am so excited to have this opportunity. My aim is to create interesting recipes that are a little out of the ordinary but that you would undoubtedly want to make and eat!

So when I was handed a container of Melrose Organic Essential Greens Powder, I instantly knew I wanted to mix things up. The powder contains barley and wheatgrass powders, chlorella and spirulina powders and some lime flavour. Yep, all that goodness makes for one big hit of antioxidants, protein (with spirulina and chlorella being complete proteins), Omega 3 Fats and loads of vitamins and minerals. Usually it’s consumed in smoothie or juice form, but I tried to think outside of the box. I wanted to avoid baking with it, as overheating will reduce the nutrient content of the powders. Instead I looked for other ways to use the powder while still keeping it fresh and delicious. What is fresh and delicious?…and green?….ahuh!…

Pesto!

Fabulous.

And thus, the Super Green Pesto was born.

I loved the idea of jazzing up one of my favourite pasta sauces. And then I thought, why not take it one step further and make pesto that’s both nutritious and lower in kilojoules than your regular oil-heavy pesto. Yes please!

I looked to avocado, another magical green ingredient, and water to make a moist paste, rather than being overenthusiastic with olive oil. I also decided to use both pine nuts and almonds in my pesto, as I really loved the almondy versions I tasted in Italy.

Feel free to add more or less of whatever ingredients you favour, just be sure to taste as you go to get the flavour balance just right. You can certainly add more Greens Powder, yet beware it has a strong flavour, which will throw the balance off and make it taste less like a true pesto. If you’re fine with this, and are keen for more green goodness, then go for green! The suggested serving size for Greens Powder is 1 teaspoon per person.

Super Green Pesto

This recipe requires a hand blender

Serves 6

Ingredients

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (55g) Pine Nuts
20g Almonds
1 medium clove Garlic, crushed
100g fresh Italian Basil
75g Avocado (be sure to test the avocado first to make sure it’s a good one!)
3 teaspoons Melrose Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons (4g) Melrose Organic Essential Greens Powder
2 heaped tablespoons (20g) good quality Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/3 teaspoon Sea Salt

Method

1. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a heavy-based pan over low heat. Watch them carefully, you don’t want to burn them. Place them in a small bowl.
2. Repeat the same process with the almonds.
3. Add the toasted pine nuts and almonds to your blender, along with the crushed garlic, basil, avocado, olive oil and water. Blend until smooth.
4. Add the essential greens powder, parmesan and salt. Pulses until incorporated.
5. Taste and adjust as you desire. If you enjoy a thinner pesto, add a little more olive oil. Add more salt if you feel it needs it. If you want more green powder goodness, add in more!

Store in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator, with a layer of olive oil to cover the top of the pesto. Use within 5 days.

Serving Suggestions
• Add your pesto to hot pasta, drizzle with a little olive oil and mix to incorporate. Serve with extra grated parmesan if you wish. For a more substantial meal, add a handful of diced, steamed asparagus and sliced, grilled chicken breast to this mix (adding more pesto if required).
• Spread onto toasted bread and serve with poached eggs for breakfast.
• Use the pesto as a spread on a fresh salad sandwich.
• Use as a salad dressing with Melrose Extra Virgin Olive Oil – it would go beautifully with a big leafy green salad.
• Use as a dip with Omega Brazil Nut Crackers (recipe to come).

Go Green.

Heidi xo

Ben Made Steak and Heidi Made Crumble

July 16, 2011

Last weekend Ben and I were both feeling a bit off, kind of fluey. That’s the rule, right? It’s Winter, it’s chilly, we’re both super busy…so then you get sick. I suppose it’s better to be forced to slow down and rest in Winter than in Summer, when infectious sunshine and bright blue skies positively forbid you from staying in.

In light of this prevailing fluey feeling, we made sure that our weekend was very low-key. We ran a lot of errands, I did some work from home (nestled firmly on the couch with a cup of tea in hand) and we saw family for lunch – it was one of those weekends. It was nice. We also attempted to get me ready for my USA trip in *gasp* less than 2 weeks, starting off with finally booking my accommodation in San Francisco.

It will be no surprise that we spent Saturday night in. But it wasn’t a sad event, not at all. We had a date not only with each other, but with our trackies, some comfort food, the couch and Harry Potter. In the chilly Wintertime this can be quite the perfect Saturday night.

Ben Made Steak

Ben was craving Rib Eye Steak with Mashed Potatoes with Chives and Garlic Butter. For real. That’s precisely what he told me. So that’s precisely what he made, along with grilled Broccolini. When the man has a vision you let him cook. It always turns out amazing…he’s good like that.

Ben cooked the Rib Eye beautifully, it was absolutely delicious. He even did that trick with tin foil on the bone, and used cooking string. Oh so pretty.

To make the garlic butter, he used proper French butter – slithers of which we save for special occasions…surely Rib Eye and Harry Potter calls for such a fancy indulgence, tracksuit pants or not?

It was heavenly.

Heidi Made Crumble

For dessert I decided to make a crumble – what could be more comforting and Winter appropriate than a warming, sweet, wholesome fruit crumble? Ok well self-saucing pudding would also fall into this category, but I made that a couple of weekends ago. It was definitely time for a crumble.

I have such fond memories of my mum’s apple (sometimes with rhubarb) crumble, she would always make it so scrumptiously perfect, without a recipe. Just like that. I’ve tried this technique myself but have not had such luck, it always lacks the deeply delicious flavour of my mum’s crumble. So I decided to turn to one of my favourite cookbooks of late, Super Natural Everyday, for some wanted guidance. I recalled a recipe for a Tutti-Frutti Crumble that looked divine, and went straight for that when my crumble craving took hold.

I made Apple and Strawberry Crumble based on Heidi Swanson‘s Tutti-Frutti Crumble (recipe link). And I have to say, it’s my new favourite crumble recipe.

I used 4 large granny smith apples and a punnet of strawberries instead of Heidi’s Tutti-Frutti combination, simply because they were the first fruits I stumbled across at the market. I also used water instead of wine and light dairy spread in place of butter. As an afterthought, next time I will cut down the content of sugar added to the fruit – it was a little too sweet for me.

What I loved about this crumble is how the strawberries, together with the cornflour and sugar, cooked down to become like a sticky, sweet, gooey jam….oooh it was utterly delectable. I had never before used strawberries in a crumble and I have to say I’m a little obsessed with the idea now. I’m already planning on making this Apple and Strawberry Crumble again for a family lunch at my place today. It’s delicious, fairly healthy (besides the eager sugar content) and aesthetically gorgeous – the poppy seeds create a beautiful flecked appearance, in stark contrast to the vibrant fruit. Just lovely.

Served with a scoop of my favourite light French Vanilla Ice-Cream, this crumble made for a completely delicious, comforting dessert.

While snuggled on the couch we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, in anticipation of seeing Part 2 last night. Ben and I are big fans of the Harry Potter books, although we were late to the party and only read them in 2009 during our overseas trip.

Crumble, a movie and a doona, what could be more comforting?

I might just stay in my trackies a little longer…it’s terribly appealing during this weather. And considering last Saturday was one of my most favourite evenings in a while, I think I’m on to something.

Heidi xo

Sunday Sardines at Demitri’s Feast

July 13, 2011

Last weekend Ben and I went to Demitri’s Feast for Sunday brunch. It had been months since our last visit, where I swooned over Semolina Pancakes, and the time before that, when I fell for Backlava French Toast. This time, call me crazy, I was craving something savoury. Sardines, in fact. Sunday Sardines.

Sardines are incredibly good for you, being full of vitamin D and the Omega 3 fats EPA and DHA. I really should eat more oily fish… the aim is to eat two to three serves of per week (oily fish being salmon, tuna steaks, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines and anchovies) and I know I don’t quite eat this much. So when a sardine craving rolls around, I roll right along with it. Even if it is before noon on a Sunday, when by all normal accounts I should be eating pancakes

Once we secured a little table in the courtyard out the back, I ordered a Skim Latte, which was perfect, as always. Ben went for something a little different, a European-Style Thick Hot Chocolate. Not quite as good as the ones we delighted in on our two European adventures, but it was still a really yummy thick hot chocolate.

Here they are, my sardines. Not just any sardines, these were Sardines with Saffron Sweet and Sour Peppers on Toasted Sourdough, with Parsley and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We also got a Poached Egg to go on top for some extra deliciousness. The saffron peppers were lovely and sweet, not so sour, and a truly beautiful accompaniment to the sardines. Oh and the extra virgin olive oil was supremely delicious – the generous drizzle was very welcome.

The other dish we got was Smashed Avocado with Free Range Bacon and Confit Cherry Tomatoes, plus a Poached Egg. This bacon was incredibly scrumptious, superb, and their tomatoes were also really yummy. As was the Baker D. Chirico bread.

Everything was all round delightful, really. Ben and I happily shared both dishes. We’re never disappointed when we feast at Demitri’s.

On the way out I grabbed a take-away skim latte – it was Sunday after all. This cute, personalised take-away cup made it all the more delightful.

Thanks for the Sunday Sardines, Demitri.

Heidi xo

Thai Pancake Dream

July 11, 2011

You know those foods that are just so ridiculously good, it shatters your very foodie foundations. With one bite, you undoubtedly think that there is something completely wrong with the World, as you cannot believe that every single person is not eating this very same food at this precise moment (or all the time for that matter). So good that it surely is a dream, that this food wholly represents the phrase “too good to be true?”… Do you know the type of food I’m speaking of?

Nutella Crêpes fall into this category. Especially ones eaten hot, from a street vendor in Paris take-away style, so it’s all folded up and the nutella warms, melts and oozes in every direction, leaving you certain that you’re experiencing something decidedly erotic.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

Well, Thai Pancakes are no different. Call them the Nutella Crêpes of the South East. These babies are bubbling, batter, bliss, folded with banana, sweetened condensed milk and sprinkled with sugar. Yep. It’s too good to be true, remember?

Oh, and it contains egg. The egg is key. To some it sounds strange but be sure to get the egg. It creates a beautiful textural crunch and provides that delightful eggy flavour that accompanies baked goods. Here’s David Thompson’s recipe from his amazing cook book, Thai Street Food (link) – so you can make it yourself!

The best Thai Pancakes are at the Sangkhlaburi Street Market. I know, I know, it’s a long way to travel, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Whenever Ben or I would head into town from Baan Dada, we’d make a beeline for this stand – hoping, praying that they were there, flipping and folding pancakes. Sometimes they weren’t. And on those times that I was forced to go back to the home pancakeless, a little part of me died inside. This is possibly a bit dramatic, but definitely a bit true.

They’re really just so good – like a dream…a sweet, soft, crispy dream.

Oh, and they cost 15 Baht, which is like 50cents. I know.

Now tell me that’s not too good to be true…

Heidi xo

Pier Provedore

July 8, 2011

Gorgeous food, lots of laughter and a lovely, lingering dip in the hot springs…indeed these are the makings of the perfect day. Last Sunday I spent the afternoon with six lovely ladies, indulging in a whole manner of girly delights.

My beautiful friend, Denita, is getting married very soon, and I am honoured to be one of her bridesmaids. On Sunday De and her bridesmaids met for some Hens Day Fun. From Mt Eliza we headed down to Flinders, enjoying the scenic drive to what is one of the most beautiful corners of the world.

Lunch at Pier Provedore

Once we arrived in Flinders we headed straight to Pier Provedore, somewhere my mum frequents and that I’m always keen to visit. It’s such a gem – clean, French Country set-up and keenly stocked with beautiful, quality produce. The baguettes, cakes and pastries are absolutely delicious – with Baker D’ Chirico breads on offer you know you’re in good company. They also have a wonderful breakfast menu as well as soups, pasta, pies and more.

The coffee (skim latte for me) was fabulous, really really good.

Emma and I ordered the Beef Burgundy Pie. It was just divine, positively the best pie I have ever had. The pastry was flaky and buttery, but not too heavy. The meat was perfection, utterly melt-in-your-mouth and the sauce was beautifully rich. This dish was rustic, delicious, heavenly.

I loved the little garden salad with avocado and a sprinkle of walnuts. I always like a bit of jazz in my salads.

Harriet ordered the Beef Lasagne, which she thoroughly enjoyed.

De ordered Poached Eggs with Spinach and Tomato, on Rye Sourdough. It looked terrific, and De was super happy with her order. Well done to De for stepping out of her comfort zone and not ordering the Muesli! It was tough for her, she’s a muesli addict – next time, De 😉 Mel ordered the same as De, and Taryn ordered the Frittata. Everyone was really happy with their food, it was all just wonderful.

We had such a lovely time, buzzing with excitement as we ate and chatted all things bridal and travel. De is getting married in New Hampshire, America, in 6 weeks! So it’s not long until we’re all on a plane heading over to the USA. It seems too good to be true…

Here I am with the radiant De and Harriet.

De bought all her bridesmaids little boxes filled with treats, along with a lovely card and a travel checklist (note to self, tick off the checklist – I leave in only 3 weeks!!) How sweet of her.

In the box was a beautiful lip balm…

…an eye mask, as modelled brilliantly by Harriet…

…and a bracelet which we’ll wear with our bridesmaid dresses. Emma is wearing the bracelet here, I snapped her as she took pics herself – we’re all a little obsessed with hipstamatic and instagram. I am in love with the bracelet, now all we need to do is figure out our hair and shoes!

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After our meal we headed off to The Peninsula Hot Springs. I had never been to the springs before, so I was very keen for our visit. We were in the public baths, and although it was very crowded, we had a nice time. Our conversation tended to dominate whichever pool we were in, but we didn’t care – how often are you Happy Chatty Hens?

After spending time in the baths, steam room and sauna we felt super cleansed but also really drained! We sat in the cafe, shared some flourless orange cupcakes and toasted De! (I toasted with a fresh carrot, celery and pineapple juice – so fantastically hydrating)

Thanks to Em for organising such a lovely day. We all had a wonderful time, and it was great to see De so happy. Even though she’ll be moving over to America for the immediate future, and we’ll miss her terribly, we’re all so excited for her. And at least I know she’ll be back in February for my Wedding…

Heidi xo

Date Pecan Coffee Balls

July 5, 2011

Datey-Nutty Balls seem all the rage right now. I’m happy to roll with it 😉 They are incredibly delicious…

I made these delicious, fudgy delights for the looooooong walk Ben and I did back in November 2010 (see details here). Well, I didn’t quite make these balls, per say. The day before the walk I was really just fumbling around with high energy, nutritious ingredients, as I knew I wanted something delicious, healthy and light as a snack for the walk. So I whipped up some date balls that were similar to these but not as good. They were quite sticky and a little NQR. The recipe certainly needed tweaking.

Well here it is, my improved recipe. I made these for a Healthy Snacking Demonstration I did a few months ago (where I also made these Healthy-No Bake Cookies). These balls are super easy and rather yummy, if I do say so myself. Along with a bundle of good nutrition, they provide you with a beautiful burst of rich fudgy flavour. They taste like an indulgent truffle, but are completely and unabashedly nutritious.

You can really go to town with the flavour additions, everyone has their own preference. There are many similar recipes flying around the internet these days, so you can have a search for ones that play to your tastes. I have my eyes on Hannah’s recipe next (link).

I have made these date balls plain, with ground coffee and with desiccated coconut. I have also used almonds in place of pecans. I personally love the coffee flavoured ones best, as does Ben. So that is the recipe I have put up. If you dislike coffee, then omit this ingredient and either leave them plain or get creative! Play to your preferences… You may like to roll the balls in flaked almonds, or perhaps add a dash of coconut oil to the mix. Try a touch of cocoa for a chocolate flavoured ball. Yum.

If you roll them in desiccated coconut, they start to resemble a rum ball. Maybe adding a little rum to the mix would cement this fact… Yes, I think I may make coconut flavoured rum date balls for Christmas presents this year. How very festive.

Nutritionally, they come in at around 250kJ per ball (that’s for a small ball), and they provide you with some natural sugar and fibre. The chia seeds give you a little more fibre, as well as some protein and healthy fats – albeit in very small amounts (to increase the serve simple add more chia seeds).

Did I mention they are incredibly easy to make? Well, they are. Easy, healthy and delicious. How fabulous is that?

Date Pecan Coffee Balls

Makes 10 balls

Ingredients

110g (~6) Fresh Dates (not dried)
1/3 cup (~43g) Pecans
2 teaspoons Almond Meal
1/3 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons Chia Seeds
1/3 teaspoon Ground Coffee
*optional – Desiccated Coconut, for coating

Method

1. Cut along the dates and remove the pit.
2. Place the pitted dates, pecans, almond meal and vanilla extract in a hand blender and whizz until the nuts are very finely chopped and the mixture starts to clump together.
3. Add the chia seeds and the ground coffee and pulse a couple more times to incorporate the seeds and coffee.

4. Moisten the palms of your hands with water, grab a small portion of the mixture (~1 heaped teaspoon) and roll it into a ball. Place on a plate and repeat until all the mixture is gone.
5. If using coconut, roll the balls in the coconut, lightly coating them.
6. Enjoy as a snack, or with a cup of tea or coffee following a meal. Store in an airtight container.

Heidi xo