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!
- 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!
I love cakes that are moist and dense and rich, cakes that you can chew. So I love cakes using almond meal. This cake isn’t too heavy or fudgelike, but it has a wonderful texture that you can enjoy with the flavour. The almond flavour may be a bit strong for many kids, so I think of this as an adults cake. The brandy flavour is subtle so you can skewer the cake when it comes out of the oven and pour more brandy over the top – it can easily take another 1/4 cup without getting soggy.
- 250 g butter, at room temperature
- 1 t almond essence
- 1 c raw caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 c self raising flour
- 2 c almond meal
- 1/2 c brandy
Line a 23cm springform pan with baking paper. Preheat oven to 160C.
Using a large mixing bowl, beat butter, essence, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift flours over butter mixutre and beat in. Add almond meal and brandy, and stir until well mixed.
Spoon cake into prepared pan, and smooth top with a wet spoon or spatula. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Stand pan on rack to cool before turning out.
- 200 g butter at room temperature
- 3 c icing sugar, sifted
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/4 c milk, or enough to acheive the desired consistency
Beat butter, icing sugar and vanilla together, gradually adding milk until the icing reaches the desired texture.
Serve the iced cake with a generous helping of fresh berries. Generously serves 12.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens, December 2009, p44.
I have a sister, I’ll call her Salsa, whose diet has become very restricted. She has cut so many things from her diet: most meat, all sugar, anything processed, anything with preservatives, etc. So many delicious things gone. Hers is actually a diet many of us would like to follow, or aspire to, but just can’t acheive due to the level of sacrifice required. Salsa changed her diet for health reasons, which is a powerful motivator, and because of this she very rarely cheats.
Sugar is one of the biggest no-no’s in Salsa’s diet. Such a big thing to rule out – sugar is in so many foods. So many delicious indulgent foods. Because Salsa doesn’t have the time or the inclination to bake sweet treats just for herself (and because I am so impressed by what she is doing), I always make an effort to bake something sweet for her when I see her. I always use as many organic ingredients as I can find, and I only use 100% pure Mimosa Honey direct from the producer in country NSW.
Using honey in baked goods can be tricky. It is denser than sugar and moist so you need to counter those factors when baking muffins or cakes so they don’t turn out heavy and gluggy. These muffins are very light, and the dates and blueberries offer some delicious extra sweetness and texture.
- 2/3 c wholemeal self-raising flour
- 1/2 c plain white or spelt flour
- 2 1/2 c bran
- 2 t baking powder
- 4 T butter
- 1/4 c honey
- 1 egg
- 1 c milk
- 2/3 c dried dates, chopped
- 2/3 c fresh blueberries
Line 12 muffin capacity muffin pan with muffin cases. Preheat oven to 190C.
Sift flours and baking powder into large bowl. Add bran and mix well. Measure milk into small bowl. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter and honey together. Pour butter mixture into milk and whisk. Add egg and whisk again. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and add dates. Mix slightly. Add blueberries and mix gently until just combined.
Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until skewer inserted into muffin comes out clean. Best served immediately with butter and honey.
The holidays are over. Back to school means making lunches in the mornings for Wal and the sprogs, and lunches need treats for recess. I realise that the treat is the most important feature of the lunch so I try to ensure a bit of variety. A small piece of this bread will fill them up but the raspberries give it a lightness. And in the morning panic (mornings are frightful in our house, no matter how early everyone gets up…) it is quick and easy to slice and wrap and slip into the lunchbox. Of course the coconut bread is also good for breakfast, afternoon tea, or any other time you want to pull out something yummy to get you going or to enjoy with tea or coffee.
- 290 g softened butter
- 180 g sugar
- 140 g self raising flour
- 280 g plain flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t cinnamon
- 60 g almond meal
- 1 c buttermilk
- 1 c fresh or frozen raspberries, plus a few extra for decorating.
Beat butter and sugar until light and pale in colour. Add sifted flour, baking powder and cinnamon 1/3 at a time and mix well. Fold in almond meal and buttermilk and mix til well combined. Add raspberries and mix in carefully. Pour into lined loaf and decorate generously with extra raspberries. Cook at 170C for 50-60 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean. Serve with or without butter. The bread is lovely toasted too.
I love muffins. They are quick and easy to make and cover a whole range of moments when you need something sweet. You can put fruit in them or use wholemeal flour and claim they are a wholesome healthy treat. The other benefit is that the muffin dough doesn’t taste good, so you are never tempted to sample (or over sample) it as you go.
I put these muffins into the wholesome category because they have a generous quantity of blueberries in them, and everyone knows that blueberris are a superfood. This is one of my grandmother’s recipes and they are really good. You know those muffins you get with the sweet crunchy crumbly top? Well this is one of those kinds…
- 3 c flour
- 2 c sugar
- 1 T baking powder
- 225 g butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 c milk
- 1 t vanilla
- 2 T melted butter, extra
- 1 3/4 c blueberries (can use fresh or frozen)
Mix flour, sugar and butter until in crumbs. Put 1 cup of the crumb mixture aside in separate bowl. To other mixture add eggs, milk and vanilla. Mix with wooden spoon til just mixed. Gently add blueberries. Fill muffin cups. Melt butter and pour over set aside crumb mixture. Toss with a fork til mixed. Sprinkle on top of muffin batter. Bake at 170 C for about 18-20 minutes – will be golden brown. Makes 15 good size muffins.