Monday 1 September 2014

Everyday spelt loaf

Is it a fad? Why is spelt getting so much press? I don't know all the answers, but I hope what I do know can help if you need to cook with it too. The gluten in spelt grain is more easily digestible, and more quickly breaks down in water...or stomach acid! It's also more 'fragile' and spelt will seem a wetter grain to cook with - but leave it sticky and wet - it's going to give you a lighter, fluffier finish.

My son's general food sensitivity load is lightened by using spelt instead of normal wheat, so we'll take any gains we can get. I love spelt myself. My mum has a fantastic wholemeal recipe that I shall make her post one day, but here's my everyday loaf, this has slightly larger holes because I have run out of ascorbic acid this week.

What you need:
Proper deep bread tin - worth hunting the internet! I line mine and lightly grease.
100g grain - e.g. mix of buckwheat, oats, millet, teff
400g water
2tsp plus heaped 1/2tsp of yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons of ascorbic acid or 2 teaspoons bread improver
2 teaspoons sugar or honey if you can have honey

590g spelt flour
handful of grains or seeds (I use 2tbsp worth of mixed poppy seeds, quinoa and buckwheat)
45g oil 
1 1/2 tsp salt

What you need to do:
Mill your 100g grain for 1 minute speed 9.
Add the 400g water, sugar, yeast and ascorbic acid. Set for 2 minutes, 50 degrees. Turn the speed to 3 slowly to incorporate ingredients, and then turn down to speed 1.
Leave this mix for a few minutes when finished - at least until it has started to bubble.

Add the remaining ingredients, combine for 12 seconds speed 6. Knead for 2.5 minutes, interval setting, locked lid position.
When finished - keep the mix in the thermomix bowl, and put it somewhere warm and draught free for 35-45 minutes.
When finished, return to thermomix bowl and knead for 5 seconds, interval setting, locked lid position. Tip the mix out onto a lightly greased bench. Return the bowl to the base and whizz for 1 second speed 7 to get any extra mix off the blades, scrape out with a fine-edged spatula.
Combine all the dough with your hands and knead gently into a bread loaf shape. 
Place in the bread tin. Cover the tin with a greased, flat tray. Leave it for 15 minutes in a warm location to start to rise.

When the 15 minutes has finished, place in a cold oven - in the middle. Turn the oven to 190 degrees and set a timer for 40 minutes. It should be golden brown, and sound hollow when you knock it with your fist.
When ready, I allow to cool for a few minutes in the tin, and then turn out quite quickly to a rack to cool. 
Nothing quite beats slathers of fresh butter and tomato and salt and pepper! Yummo.

Thursday 17 April 2014

Puttanesca meets Napoli and runs off with my Barramundi

I really don't know what to call this dish - can I get away with just calling it Really Yummy and Easy Fish? Healthy but doesn't taste like it?

You want a really healthy dinner, but want it to be easy, and not expensive or lots of weird ingredients... and so births this dish. A genuinely low effort 'Tuesday night dinner' or Good Friday fish meal that leaves you with lots of red sauce for some fresh gnocchi tomorrow night....or perhaps some pumpkin and sage ravioli?

I digress.

Back to this dinner. I think any firm white fish would go very nicely, and you could lean more towards the puttanesca and add some capers and possibly an anchovy or two, but reduce the stock paste by half if adding salty anchovies of course. A sprinkle of olives at the end wouldn't go astray. Let me know how it goes for you. Prep time should be 15 minutes and only 15-20 minutes cooking time. Can't quite beat Jamie Oliver for speed (but who is really finished in 15 minutes...reveal yourselves!)

For the Sauce
3 cloves garlic 
1/2 large or one small brown onion
1 carrot cut in 5
1/2 celery stalk 
60g ExtraVirginOliveOil
1 tsp chili flakes
Handful of herbs (mostly parsley and thyme, tiny bit of rosemary and basil if have it)

2 tins organic diced tom's (800g total)
1 Tbsp vegetable stock concentrate 
100g water

 For the vegetables 
2 zucchini peeled into strips
1 carrot peeled into strips
large handful of beans topped and tailed
~125g feta cut into small cubes

 2-4 pieces of fish 
Piece of baking paper

 Seasoning for both the veggies and the fish: 
Dash of EVOO
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp garlic powder if desired
Squeeze of lemon juice

Place garlic in TM bowl and chop for 2 seconds speed 7.
Add chili, onion, carrot, herbs and celery and chop for 5 seconds speed 5.
Add EVOO and cook for 3.5 minutes, Varoma temperature speed 2. 

Add tomatoes, stock and water and blend for 5 seconds speed 7. Cook for 5 minutes, Varoma temperature speed 2. 

 Meanwhile, wet a piece of baking paper, scrunch and place on top rack of Varoma. Place fish on paper and season.
Put all the vegetables in a bowl and season - get your hands in and massage the veggies!

 When the TM is done, place the Varoma in place (with only the fish) and cook for 5 minutes Varoma temperature speed 2. 

The cooking time will vary according the the thickness of your fish. My thin pieces of barramundi took a total of 12 minutes - but thicker pieces would have been 17-20.

 When the fish is half cooked, place the seasoned vegetables in the bottom tray of the varoma and scatter the feta pieces over top. Cook for a further 5-8 minutes (depending on your fish), Varoma temperature, speed 2. 

 To serve - A bed of the vegetables with 2 large spoons of sauce, and then the fish with another spoon or two of the sauce. Extra black pepper and chili to taste.

Thursday 20 March 2014

Buttercream Simplicity

Okay, I am no pin up girl for Cake Decorating Australia, but I do like to express my creativity atop the odd cupcake. I need an instantly stiff icing with no weird ingredients. Actually, I sometimes need it to cater for multiple food allergies also. Is that too much to ask?

So when I discover a recipe that not only makes buttercream quickly and easily, but can cater for gluten free, dairy free, low salicylate, egg free, nut free - I am one happy gal! So Rona from Domestic Diva Unleashed - here's to your genius!

Below are a couple of recipes I have recently tried with two variations on the buttercream icing. I won't write out the whole recipe - please read it on Rona's site.

Caramel Cupcakes

Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Nut and Soy Free, Low Salicylate FAILSAFE
I would love to credit this recipe, but cannot find where I took the original inspiration (it was originally a chocolate cake)and it has taken some twists and turns since!

Grease and flour (sweet rice flour recommended or fine brown rice flour)12 muffin patties.
Set your oven to 190 degrees celsius or 180 degrees for fan-forced.

210g all purpose gluten free flour mix (Or I used 130g Sorghum, and 80g of a combination of tapioca and potato starch plus 1 tsp xantham gum - next time I would use 3/4 tsp)

1/2 tsp psyllium husk
220g white sugar
90g brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
60g vegetable oil
1 tsp citric juice for FAILSAFERS or vinegar if you can
1 tsp vanilla
220g cold water

Weigh in both types of sugar and mill for 3 seconds speed 9.
Add flour, psyllium, baking powder, and salt and combine for 12 seconds speed 5-6 (halfway between the two).

Add the oil, citric juice, water and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds speed 5. Scrape down the sides and repeat for 12 seconds speed 5.

Pour the thick mix into the muffin papers (3/4 full) and when all are poured out you can smooth the tops.

Place gently into the oven halfway up. Check them at 25 minutes, they should be golden brown and spring back to touch. Give them five more minutes if needed. When cooked. Leave them in the oven with the door open for 20 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

For the icing I used Rona's recipe here
My tips:
I mill the sugar for 1 minute speed 10 and then put the entire bowl in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. Make sure you wipe the pins on the underside before relocating it to your thermomix.

For the vanilla icing pictured, I didn't use any milk, just 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla.

The brilliance of this recipe is keeping everything cold enough by cooling the sugar, and by only whipping at speed 4 for such a brief time.

For real butter - I would put it on the bench for the 20 minutes that the sugar is cooling and then put the whipped buttercream back into the refrigerator after mixing.

Spelt Banana and Oat Muffins SUPER FAST

Dairy Free, moderate amine FAILSAFE
This is a variation of my carrot muffins

Line a 12 hole muffin tin and lightly grease. Preheat oven to 190 degrees celsius.

80g oats
100g white sugar
100g brown sugar
130g spelt flour
2 rounded tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 bananas - sliced quite small
1 tablespoon of citric juice (or lemon juice if you can have it)
2 eggs
110g vegetable oil

Weigh oats and sugars into TM bowl and mill for 20 seconds speed 9.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix for 5 seconds speed 5.
Make a slight well in the centre of your TM bowl and add the 2 eggs. Mix for 4 seconds reverse speed 3.

Pull the mix away from the edge of the bowl and add the banana, the citric juice and the oil. Mix for a further 12 seconds, reverse speed 3. DONE! How fast was that?

3/4 Fill muffin pans and cook for 20-25 minutes. They should rise up slightly in the middle, go golden brown and spring back to touch.

Remove from pan to cooling rack as soon as cooked.

ICING: Again - Rona's buttercream is my go to. Here is how to make it a 'lemony' icing for all you FAILSAFERs missing out!
When you mill the 250g icing sugar for 1 minute, add 1 tsp of citric acid. Cool in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Instead of milk, just add 1 tsp of water.