Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pumpkin and feta tarts

PUMPKIN AND FETA TARTS

Ingredients
1 tbsp Olive Oil (if roasting pumpkin)
500g small cubed pumpkin - I prefer Kent variety (you can roast or boil*)
1 sprig of fresh rosemary, dewooded and chopped fine
200g Feta, crumbled (I use a creamy feta from Tasmania)
1/3 cup Finely Grated Parmesan
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
6 Sheets Filo Pastry
80 g Butter, melted
2 tsp Poppy Seeds
Salt and Pepper to taste

nb: * if you boil the pumpkin, when you mash it down you will need to add 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs to soak up some of the moisture.

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Lightly grease a 23cm (base measurement), loose-bottom fluted flan tin.
2. Place pumpkin (small cubes if roasted, mashed if boiled), rosemary, parmesan and feta into a bowl and mix well. Add in lightly beaten eggs. Season to taste.
3. Lay out filo on the workbench and cover with a clean, dry tea towel, then a clean damp tea towel. Take 1 sheet of the filo, keeping the others covered, and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another sheet and lay on top of the first sheet at right angles. Repeat with another sheet, laying it diagonally across the second sheet. Repeat with another, laying it at right angles to the third sheet. Brush the 2 remaining sheets with butter, and lay on top, again at right angles. NB: Do not do this stage too early or your filo will dry out!
5. Lift pastry stack onto the flan tin making sure it is centred. Gently press into the tin, leaving excess pastry overhanging. Spoon filling into pastry and gently smooth the surface. Fold overhanging pastry to cover the pie. 6. Brush with butter and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until crisp and golden brown.

I ended up making 4 small filo tarts. I had heaps of filling left over and no more filo, so I then made a big pie with puff pastry, as well as a pumpkin and feta sausage roll.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spinach Torte

SPINACH TORTE
Ingredients
1 tbsp Olive Oil
4 Spring Onions, sliced
400g Baby Spinach Leaves
300g Fresh Ricotta
150g Feta, crumbled
1/3 cup Finely Grated Parmesan
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
6 Sheets Filo Pastry
80 g Butter, melted
2 tsp Sesame Seeds

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced). Lightly grease a 23cm (base measurement), loose-bottom fluted flan tin. 
2. Heat olive oil in a large, deep frying pan and add spring onions. Cook over medium heat for 2 mins, or until soft. Add half the spinach leaves and cook, stirring, until wilted. Add remaining leaves and cook until wilted.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool. Take handfuls of mixture and squeeze out excess liquid over the sink or another bowl. Tease out the mixture with your fingers to loosen and mix in ricotta, parmesan, eggs and feta.
4. Lay out filo on the workbench and cover with a clean, dry tea towel, then a clean damp tea towel. Take 1 sheet of the filo, keeping the others covered, and brush with melted butter. Repeat with another sheet and lay on top of the first sheet at right angles. Repeat with another sheet, laying it diagonally across the second sheet. Repeat with another, laying it at right angles to the third sheet. Brush the 2 remaining sheets with butter, and lay on top, again at right angles. NB: Do not do this stage too early or your filo will dry out!
5. Lift pastry stack onto the flan tin making sure it is centred. Gently press into the tin, leaving excess pastry overhanging. Spoon filling into pastry and gently smooth the surface. Fold overhanging pastry to cover the pie. 6. Brush with butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until crisp and golden brown.

I am doing a savoury Pumpkin version of this tomorrow, and a sweet pumpkin version of this on the weekend, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Bacon and Egg Toast cups

Bacon and Egg Toast Cups

Ingredients
Unsalted butter, room temperature
12 slices sandwich bread
6 whole rashers of bacon
1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 small eggs
salt and pepper

Method
1) Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced).
2) In a large skillet or frying pan, cook bacon over medium heat. Under-cook slightly, the bacon will continue to cook once in the oven.
3) Trim the bread of all crusts and lightly butter one side.
4) Gently press into each muffin cup (12 cup tin). There will be pointing bits sticking up (see end product picture above).
5) Lay one bacon slice into each cup (on side around edge of circle) and sprinkle with a pinch of shredded cheese.
6) Crack one egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper, to taste, then bake until the egg whites are just set, about 15- 20 minutes.
7) Run a knife around cups to loosen and serve immediately.
Delicious and so easy to make!

Corn and bacon Muffins

Corn and Bacon Muffins
Ingredients:
6 rashers of bacon 
1 large brown onion
120 ml milk
2 large eggs
60g melted butter
1 can corn kernels (410g)
300g Self Rising flour, sifted
1cup Grated Cheddar Cheese 
1 tsp of paprika powder
Salt to taste




Method:
Preheat oven at 200C. (180C fan forced)
Grease muffin pan.
Fry bacon and onion till lightly browned. Toss in drained can of corn, stir on heat for a minute then set aside to cool.
Whisk milk, eggs, and melted butter till well combined
Add bacon mixture and most of the cheese, mix well.
Add in flour and mix till just combined (do not over mix, batter should be lumpy)
Spoon into muffin pan.
Bake for 20mins.
Stand for 5mins before serving.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Not good for the hips, but tasty anyway!


Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie




Ingredients
1 ripe banana
1 heaped tablespoon of peanut butter (unsalted!)
1/2 cup yogurt (plain or vanilla)
1 tablespoon of honey (optional)
3 – 5 ice cubes or crushed ice
dash of nutmeg (optional)


Method
Peel the banana and put into a blender.
Add the peanut butter, yogurt, ice and honey.
Blend till smooth – the ice cubes should be broken up. Serve decorated with a dash or nutmeg!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Marshmallow Snowmen

Marshmallow Snowmen



Another easy one for the kids!


Buy some wooden skewers and cut down to size (approximately length of 6 marshmallows). Snip off the very pointy bit.
Thread on 3 marshmallows leaving just a tiny bit of the remainder point visible.
Dip into melted white chocolate. Allow excess to dribble off.
Roll in coconut (I use mix of desiccated and shredded), being sure to also get underneath and top of head.
Place on a tray lined with baking paper and place in fridge to set (approximately 1/2hr).
While they are setting, use a mixture of liquorice to make the hats. Here we used Liquorice all sorts cut in half,  then shaped with an apple corer. The top hat coming from tube liquorice. All glued together with white chocolate.
Take snowmen out of fridge and tap off excess coconut.
Using a fudge edible decorating tube (as well as red and green gel edible decorating tube), decorate with eyes, nose, smile and buttons.
Put a smear of melted white chocolate on bottom of the hats and pierce onto the small portion of skewer visible on top of snowmans head.
Lay back down on baking paper tray and return to fridge.
When set, place in cellophane bags and seal with a ribbon.




nb: The fudge and gel pens don't effing set properly. So don't use them if you are putting into cellophane bags because it ends up a bloody mess!
Next time I will use melted dark chocolate, and melted coloured white chocolate and pipe it on.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More meals under 250 calories

Egg and green Bean Salad - Total of 229 calories
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and quartered
80g green beans, blanched and sliced
1/2 baby cos lettuce, washed and torn
4 baby roma tomatoes, quartered
3 radishes, sliced
25g reduced fat cheese (30%), cubed
1/2 lebanese cucumber, sliced
Drizzle with citrus dressing (see recipe below)


Chicken and Avocado Salad - Total of 239 calories
60g Skinless chicken breast, cooked and sliced
1/4 small avocado, sliced
1/2 lebanese cucumber, peeled into strips
1 tomato, cut into thin wedges
1 cup baby rocket leaves
4 snow peas, shredded
2 asparagus spears, steamed and sliced
1/2 cup of cooked pasta (any shape)
Drizzle with apple and balsamic dressing (see recipe below)


Lean beef, chickpea and sweet potato salad - Total of 233 calories
1/2 red capsicum, cut into strips
125g can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
3 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves
1 cup mixed asian salad leaves
50g lean beef, cooked and sliced
80g sweet potato, peeled, cubed and cooked (boil or steam)
(this goes well with the apple balsamic dressing, but the calories from dressing have not been included above)


Citrus Dressing - total calories per serve 37.5 calories
Whisk together 1 teaspoon orange zest (fine), 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed orange juice, 1 tablespoon fresh sqeezed lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon EVOO, 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard and 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley.


Apple and Balsamic Dressing - total calories per serve 27 calories
Whisk together 1 tablespoon 100% apple juice, 1 tablespoon balsamic viegar and 1 teaspoon dijon mustard.


Salmon and cream cheese crackers - Total of 242 calories (halve serve for half the calories)
4 vita-weat crackers (original) (90 calories)
2 tablespoons Philadelphia extra light cream cheese (52 calories)
50g smoked Tasmanian salmon (100 calories)
fresh dill sprigs


Breakfasts


Special K with strawberry and nut - Total of 250 calories
3/4 cup of Special K
1/3 cup of skim milk
2 large strawberries, sliced
1 tablespoon low fat ricotta
1 tablespoon pistachios, unsalted and chopped


Special K with mango and passionfruit - total of 228 calories
3/4 cup of special K
1/3 cup of skim milk
1 mango cheek, sliced
Pulp of 1 passionfruit

Ungingerbread House

This is super easy and a good Christmas craft to do with the kids...
My eldest made this one

Then we made a heap more a few days later for all the kids coming to the Christmas Party.
Ingredients
2 100s and 1000s biscuits
3 Tina wafers, any colours
2 Iced Vovo biscuits
2 Mint Leaves
2 Liquorice Allsorts
Icing sugar
A little water
12cm piece of card covered in Christmas paper/Aluminium Foil.


Make the icing by putting some icing sugar in a  bowl and adding water a bit at a time until you have the right consistency (thick, but very slightly runny paste). Put into a small ziploc bag and seal. Then snip off one small section of the corner.


Place the 100s and 1000s biscuits pink side down and ice along their short edges. Attach 2 wafers to one biscuit and then press the other biscuit onto the wafers to make the four walls.
Allow the icing to set.


Ice along the bottom edges of the walls and press onto the cardboard base.
Cut the last wafer in half, making two triangles, ice the long edge and press onto the top of the back and front walls.
Allow the icing to set.


Place the Iced Vovo biscuits pink side down and ice along the short edges. Press iced sides onto the triangle wafers and make the roof.
Allow the icing to set.


Then, basically, stick whatever lollies and sweets you want onto the board/surrounds. And then dust with icing sugar for 'snow'.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD). 15 snacks/meals under 250 calories!

So, For the next month I am supposed to be doing a VLCD in order to reduce the size of my massive liver (I have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease NAFLD).
I am supposed to be doing it on 2 optifasts a day (they average out at around 150-200 per shake), and one meal of up to 250 calories.
Groan. I hate the word DIET!
So, to help me in my endeavours, I have made a list of 15 snacks/meals under 250 calories!


Meals under 250 calories
* 1 poached egg (80 cal), 1 slice of wholemeal toast (91 cal), 1 cup of fresh strawberry halves (39 cal), and a cup of coffee with skim milk (15 cal). 
Tot = 225 calories

* Cream of mushroom instant soup (103 cal), 1 slice wholemeal toast (91 cal). 
Tot = 194 calories

* 2 cups cucumber (32 calories), Saidoun pita pocket (121 cal), philidelphia extra light 20g (26 cal), 1 cup cherry tomatoes (27 cal). 
Tot = 206 calories

* 4 Saos (157 cal), 10g lurpak lighter (54 cal), vegemite (11 cal). 
Tot = 222 calories

* 1 tub Bulla low fat cottage cheese (170 cal), 1 125g serve of pineapple in natural juice (71 cal). 
Tot = 241 calories

* 1 tub Bulla gherkin cottage cheese (186 cal), 5 captains table water crackers (64 calories). Tot = 250 calories

* 2 Ryvita (70 cal), 4 Laughing Cow light cheese pieces (114 cal), 1 small apple (45 calories). Tot = 229 calories

* 100g Black Swan skinny hommus (183 cal), 2 small carrots (64 cal). 
Tot = 247 calories

* 1 avocado (125 cal), 1 slice wholemeal toast (91 cal). 
Tot = 216 calories

* 3 bocconcini (185 cal), 1 large tomato (36 cal). 
Tot = 221 calories

* 1 x 95g can Sirena tuna, drained (113 cal), 225g sliced beetroot (137 cal). 
Tot = 250 calories

* 4 thin style rice cakes (94 cal), 75g old el paso roast capsicum salsa (56 cal), 1 medium banana (99 cal). 
Tot = 249 calories

* 1 tub mini tzatziki Copperpot (71 cal), Saidoun pita pocket (121 cal), 1 small apple (45 cal). 
Tot = 237 calories

* 3 Weetbix Kids (159 cal), 200ml Pura Light start (88 cal). 
Tot = 247 calories

* 2 cups Campbells tomato soup (180 cal), 1 coles bake at home mini roll (53 cal). 
Tot = 233 calories


Please note that individual calorie counts may vary from brand to brand. Ones provided here are general (unless brand is stated).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup


Ingredients
1 litre (4 cups) beef stock
1 litre (4 cups) water
4cm fresh ginger, peeled, grated
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons kecap manis
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
6 green spring onions
2 cups fresh coriander leaves
200g bean sprouts
400g packet rice vermicelli noodles
250g beef eye fillet, thinly sliced
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
2 fresh long red chillies, finely sliced
Crispy fried shallots (garnish)


Method
Place stock, water, ginger, sauce, juice, star anise, cinnamon, in stock pot and bring to boil. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain into a heatproof bowl. Return stock to pan with half the spring onions, coriander and sprouts.
Place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water. Stand for 10 minutes. Loosen with a fork. Drain, rinse and drain well.Divide among serving bowls.
Place beef and brown onion on top of noodles in bowls. Bring stock to boil again. Ladle over beef and onion.
Combine remaining spring onions, coriander and bean sprouts in a medium bowl. Add chilli and fried shallots. Divide over top of soup before serving.