Monthly Archives: December 2012

Blueberry Smoothie

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The holiday season is still in full swing, but now that Christmas is over we can start to cut back on some of the excess.   A good way to start is to begin the day with a berry smoothie.  They taste so good it’s kind of amazing that they are healthy!

blueberry smoothie ingredients

Recipe

  • 1 c blueberries (or raspberries – fresh or frozen)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 c Greek style yoghurt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 c milk – or enough to create the right consistency

Toss it all in a blender – whiz it up, serve and enjoy!  A filling and delicious breakfast that will keep you going for hours!

blueberry_smoothies

Merry Christmas 2012

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New South Wales, far south coast, Christmas Day began with the shrill cries of black cockatoos, heralding a cloudy/rainy day.   Then the morning chorus of bird calls began. It is gentle at that hour – I know the hour – 5.10am – because my son was awake, and using every ounce of willpower he possessed to, a) stay awake, and b) not wake anyone else until an ‘acceptable” time.  Eventually, it must have seemed like many hours to him but it was in fact only 5.40am, I heard him wake up his sister in the loudest whisper – “Merry Christmas We Are Allowed To OpenThe  Presents In Our Stockings Be Quiet Every One Else Is Sleeping!!”.

MerryXmas2012The day was indeed cool overcast and drizzly.  Perfect for my planned traditional turkey meal.  With only a small group to feed, the Christmas meal was so easy.  Not the mountains of food I remember from my childhood in the States where the turkey would cover a small table all by itself – but then we did have many more mouths to feed.

The real effort for the Christmas meal was in the cake. Fruit cakes and puddings are the Australian tradition and Wal loves a fruit cake. They are costly and time consuming to make it but worth the effort – rich and flavoursome and completely decadent.

Xmas_cake2012

Jen’s Fruitcake Recipe

Fruit mince

Fruit mince can be made a few weeks ahead. I like some tartness in my fruit mince, so I use fewer raisons and sultanas than in most recipes, and substitute other dried fruits. Fill the measuring cups generously!

  • 750 g dried dates, chopped
  • 1 c sultanas
  • 1 1/2 c currents
  • 1 3/4 c dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 c dried apples, chopped
  • 1/2 c dried pears, chopped
  • 1/2 c dried blueberries
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries, halved
  • 1 c decent quality brandy (I use 1/2 c standard brandy, and 1/2 c cherry brandy)

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Transfer to air tight containers and set aside to marinate until required.

xmas_fruitmince2012

Fruit cake recipe

  • 9 c prepared fruit mince
  • 250 g butter, softened
  • 1 c raw sugar
  • 1/2 c raspberry jam
  • 4 lg eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 3/4 c plain flour
  • 1 t mixed spice
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 t ground cloves
  • 3-4 T brandy or rum, extra

Double line a 23cm (9 in.) spring form cake tin with baking paper, and preheat oven to 160C.

Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat in.  Add vanilla.

Mix dried ingredients together. Stir the fruit and combined dry ingredients in alternating batches into the mixture. Spoon into the prepared tin and tap on the counter a couple of times to remove any air pockets.  Smooth over top with wet fingers or wet spoon.

Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours, or until a skewer comes out clean.  Remove from oven and immediately pour brandy over the cake, concentrating on the edges, and any cracks in the surface. Leave cake in the tin, cover the top with more baking paper and wrap in a large towel, and leave to cool.  You can leave it this way for a number of days.

Icing

  • 1 1/2 c sifted pure icing sugar
  • 3 T butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
  • milk

In a small bowl, beat egg white until soft peaks form.

In a medium sized bowl beat sugar, butter and 2 T milk.  Add egg white and beat until well mixed and smooth.  Add milk, half a teaspoon at a time until you have the desired texture. Ice and decorate the cake as desired.

For extra extravagence, serve with cream whipped with honey, cinnamon and vanilla!  Think hard about the gym as you eat – maybe that mental exercise will help!

Xmas_cakecut2012

And to finish off our Australian Christmas we had a very rare and special visitor in the garden – an echidna!  Merry Christmas!

Xmas-echidna

Beet and Yoghurt Dip

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PinkRunnersUp2012_JG2

Well the summer soccer season is now officially over – which reduces our soccer commitment to only 4 days per week! Yay.

Summer soccer didn’t end quite as well as the boys had hoped, with a disappointing loss in the grand final. So our beautiful boys, competitive spirits dashed, fought tears through the medal ceremony.

Thankfully we had a party planned for them afterwards. True to form, the boys had their runners-up medals safely stashed (not so disappointed they would risk losing them!), and were in the backyard knocking around a soccer ball within moments of arriving.

Spirits revived!

My contribution to the event was dips and nibblies, and I couldn’t resist making something pink. This dip is actually from my sister Salsa, and is truly delicious as well as healthy. I often make it to use in salad sandwiches for work/school day lunches.

 

Beet Dill Dip

Recipe

  • 450g can beets
  • 1 sm clove fresh garlic
  • 1 c Greek style yoghurt
  • 1 T finely chopped fresh dil

Finely grate beets, and crush garlic. Place in medium bowl with yoghurt and dill and mix well.  Refridgerate until slightly set. Serve with fresh chopped vegetables, chips, lavash bread or crackers.

Beet Dill Dip 2

Simple Chicken and Broccoli Tandoori with homemade Tandoori Paste

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I love tandoori.  It has to be one of the best inventions of Indian food (and there are so many).  So many thing taste good with tandoor, and it is also so easy to prepare – even when you make your own paste.

I found this tandoori paste recipe on http://refashionista.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/recipe-all-purpose-tandoori-paste/, and it is quick and incredibly delicious.

Tandoori Paste Recipe

  • 1 t saffron strands
  • 2 T boiling water
  • 2.5 T fresh garlic, finely crushed
  • 1/4 c fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 2 T lime juice
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1/8 t cayenne powder (you can play with the chili and cayenne depending on heat tolerances)
  • 2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 2 t salt

tandoori_ingredients

Soak the saffron strands in boiling water for 10 minutes. Combine with remaining ingredients, and grind using mortar & pestle (or small blender) until smooth.

Tandoori Paste

Chicken and Broccoli Tandoori

I wouldn’t claim that this is an authentic recipe! but it is fresh, healthy, tasty and quick!

  • 1 large double chicken breast, cubed
  • 3/4 c Greek style yoghurt
  • 3 T tandoori paste
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 med head of broccoli, cut into florets
  • 150 g green beans, chopped
  • olive oil for sauteeing
  • 3 T fresh basil, finely chopped

Place chicken, yoghurt and paste in bowl and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

tandoori_chicken_marinating

Saute onions in a large pot until just becoming translucent.  Add vegetables and saute for further 2 minutes.  Add chicken and cook on low heat, stirring frequently.  Add water if necessary.  Keep tabs on the chicken because the breast meat cooks quickly and will dry out even though it has been marinated.  Add basil just before turning off the heat.  Serve immediately with steamed rice.

tandoori_chicken