Things in Jars

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These are for the rushed ones. The breakfast-in-the-car eaters. The early-start- endurers. The I-don’t-have-time-for-breakfast-but-damm-I’m-hungry’ers.

They say you shouldn’t eat on the run. They say you should sit down, meal on a plate, focus completely on the food, chew each mouthful ten times. Swallow, then take a breath before your next bite.

They don’t know how funny they are.

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Keep all your glass jars. The standard sized ones fit into your car cup holders and so are perfect for eating on the run without a food-in-car mishap. Take in mouthfuls during red lights. Sip between pathetic releases of the foot brake during the maddening shuffle of peak-hour traffic. It’ll keep you from mouthing expletives at the other drivers. A hunger cure and road-rage cure in one.

Once you are done, you can pop the lid on and deal with the smell later when you have to wash the thing after it’s been in the hot car all day. Keep all your glass jars and dedicate a shelf to them. Buy things in glass jars just so that you can finish it, wash it out and use it for meals on the run. The pasta sauces, the peanut butters, the honeys and the jams. Ask relatives for their glass jars. They’ll think you’re cuckoo and it’s mostly worth it.

Then make one or two of these options, either the night before or in the morning. A couple of these need a fancy-pants food processor, but some need very little equipment. Each recipe makes one serving, but you can easily double them to set yourself up nicely for the next 2 days. As you are rushing out the door, grab the jar of yum, grab a spoon and GO GO GO!

Jars to spare? Use ’em for nut butters, piquant quick mango picklelemon curd or apple & ginger relish.

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Thing 1: Mango Avocado Whip (freezes well)

1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango flesh
1/2 avocado
1/2 cup milk of choice
1-2 scoops protein powder
Handful of baby spinach, washed
1/2 tsp vanilla powder or paste
Seeds of 2-3 cardamom pods or ¼ tsp cardamom powder (optional)

Place all ingredients in food processor bowl, blitz until homogenous mixture. Top with coconut, berries, nuts, seeds, chocolate or whatever tickles your fancy. To turn this into a smoothie, add a little more liquid (milk, coconut water, water).

Tip: Place the ingredients (apart from milk and avocado) in small snap-lock bags and freeze in single serves, ready for blitzing in the morning.

Thing 2: 1 Minute Pesto Eggs

2 eggs
1 tsp pesto of choice
Small handful baby spinach
Oil (optional)
Shredded cheese (optional)

Spray or brush the bottom of the jar with oil (optional, makes for easier cleaning). Place eggs and pesto in jar and whisk with a fork or small whisk. Fold through baby spinach leaves. With lid off, microwave on high for 40 seconds to start with, then another 20 seconds. Sprinkle a little shredded cheese over the top before the second microwaving session if desired.

Thing 3: Choc, PB and Banana Smoothie (freezes well)

1 ripe banana
1 heaped dessert spoonful peanut butter
1 tbsp raw cacao or cocoa powder
1-2 scoops protein powder
¾ cup milk of choice

Place all ingredients in food processor bowl, blitz until homogenous mixture.

Tip: Peel and freeze and bananas that are in danger on over-ripening before they are eaten, to use in this recipe later.

Thing 4: Anne’s Overnight Oats

2 tablespoons of chia seeds (white or black)
½ cup rolled oats
One decent-sized ripe banana
¾ cup milk of choice
1/2 tsp cinnamon or vanilla (optional)
Honey or other syrup to serve (optional)
Fruit, seeds, nuts, shredded coconut, chocolate chips to garnish (optional)

Mash banana in jar. Add chia seeds, oats, milk and cinnamon/vanilla. Stir well. Store in fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight. Top with toppings of choice and sweetener. If using.

Adapted from a recipe by Anne who writes here.

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Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Granola

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It began with the subtlest of signs.  A hole in a paper bag from which plain flour poured when I was shifting things around to look for something.  A perfect circle the size of a ten cent piece that I convinced myself was a tear.  I cleaned up the mess, found what I needed and thought nothing more of it.

Then on another day, another hole……..this time in the wholemeal flour bag.  And another pile of flour underneath to clean up.  On the other side of the pantry, there were tiny holes nibbled into the bag of pepitas.

Nibbled!

By tiny teeth!

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It was then that we noticed the scattering of tiny black pellets.  After all, when you’ve been busy scooting around on tiny feet and munching your way through a pantry full of food, nature will inevitably call and a trail will be left behind.

Feeling somewhat invaded and unclean, we set out the humane traps.  They were not lured by the bread that we offered on the first two nights, not the sweet piece of dried coconut that we tried next.  Predictably, it was the cheese that did it.  Not the holey Swiss cheese that attracts cartoon mice, but a small piece of Grana Padano…….the expensive kind.

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Once both the tiny furry terrorists were caught and released in the park down the road, Mum and I set about on our cleaning mission.  It was a much needed push to spring clean the pantry.  Old ingredients and those that were blessed by rodents were thrown out, shelves were wiped down, and glass jars were filled, labelled, and arranged in height order.

Ingredients that I had purchased and forgotten about were rediscovered.  An afternoon of experimentation led to a rich, chocolatey granola, low enough in sugar to make it ok to eat chocolate in the morning.  I used some unsweetened cocoa mass that was uncovered in the mouse hunt, and added rice syrup for a slight sweetness.  You could do the same, or just use 70 or 80 % dark chocolate.

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Chocolate, Cranberry and Pistachio Granola

Get:

1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
80g dark chocolate (I used unsweetened cocoa mass + 2 tsp rice syrup)
2 tbsp cashew or macadamia nut butter
1 tbsp protein powder or milk powder (optional)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries, roughly chopped

Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 C.  Spread the coconut and sunflower seeds out on an oven tray and toast in the oven for 7-8 minutes, or until the coconut has turned a light brown.  Spread the pistachios on a seperate tray and roast until they have gained a little colour- they may take a bit longer than the coconut and sunflower seeds.  If making the nut butter from scratch, this is the time to roast those on a separate tray.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 20-30 second bursts (use a large bowl either way).  If using cocoa mass, stir in the rice syrup well.  While the chocolate is warm, add the coconut oil and nut butter, cinnamon and salt, and stir well.

Add the other ingredients and toss until they are all well coated in chocolate.  Place the bowl in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Remove from the fridge and crumble with your fingers.  Store at room temperature for up to 3-4 weeks or in the fridge for longer. Eat with milk, nut milk, yoghurt or on it’s own!

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Aussie Apple, Berry and Yoghurt Breakfast Jars

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What I forgot to mention in my first blogiversary post is the lovely, warm community of bloggers that this little hobby-whatsit has opened up to me.  And what I deliberately left out, partly because I’m only just getting a taste of it and it seems almost too good to be true, and partly because they really are just a bonus, are the experiences I have been opened up to in the world of food.

Last weekend was a perfect combination of both if these fringe benefits, as I and a few other food bloggers headed off on a day trip to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.  There, in a town called Bilpin, we got to visit some beautiful apple orchards and meet the growers who bring some of the sweetest, juiciest apples to our fruit bowls.

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There is a joy in being able to trace the food we eat from its beginnings, through its journey and finally onto the table.  At Saliba Fruits, second generation farmers Joe and Lily Saliba welcomed us warmly and took us through the process of apple farming.  We first meandered a little through the orchards, admiring the squat, fruit-laden trees in their fruit-bat proof netting like babies in a nursery.  What got us all a little bit excited was what we dubbed the ‘apple day spa’, a conveyor belt system where the crisp red globes were first washed, dried, polished, hand-sorted and packed into baskets for market.  And when we found out that the little guys actually get their own sunscreen to protect them from the harsh Aussie sun?  Well, we were positively gushing!

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From there, we visited Bilpin Springs Orchard, a pick-your-own farm.  Cedric greeted us and led us around more apple trees, as well as trees laden with lemons, peaches and navel oranges.  He told us about the farm’s preference for organic farming methods whenever possible.  He explained to us how to choose a good apple and what to avoid.  He then set us loose among the trees and armed with baskets, we set about picking to our heart’s content.

Around us, families were doing exactly the same.  Parents filled baskets while their city-slicker kids revelled delightedly in the fresh air and wide open spaces interrupted only by trees whose branches were weighed down by things you could eat.  It was good, clean, safe and inexpensive fun and something I would recommend to anyone.

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A satisfying day in all, and made even more so by the armfuls of apples that we all went home with.  It turns out an apple a day really could…you know, do what they say, as the little guys are packed with vitamins and minerals that help lower the risk of some chronic diseases.  Their skin especially is rich in poly-phenols and antioxidants, which we all know is a good thing.  Aussies, look for the Aussie Apples sticker as not only are they home-grown, but they are seriously delicious fruit.

Breakfast is an important meal for me and not only does it have to be filling, but also tasty and transportable, given my tendency to be running late at all times, to everything!  These breakfast jars incorporate apples, berries and yoghurt, making them an anti-oxidant and protein party in a jar.

I was a guest of Aussie Apples, Saliba Fruits and Bilpin Springs Orchard.  This is not a sponsored post and my opinions are my own.

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Apple, Berry and Yoghurt Breakfast Jars

Makes 2 generous serves

Get:

2 small Aussie Apples, diced small
1 tsp coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup frozen berries of your choice
1/2 tsp + 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp rice syrup or honey
Greek yoghurt (about a cup)
Small handful pepitas
Small handful shredded coconut

Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 C.  Place the pepitas on a tray and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, or until they have swelled.  Add the coconut and bake for a further minute or so until it has browned slightly.  Toss both in a bowl with 1/4 tsp cinnamon.

In a non-stick sauce-pan, warm the coconut oil.  Add the apples and cook for about 5 mins.  Add the berries, syrup, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and vanilla extract.  Stir and cook on low-medium heat, covered for 5-7 mins or until the apples are tender.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

In jars or glasses, layer first the fruit layer, then the yoghurt, then fruit again, then yoghurt.  Top with the toasted pepita and coconut mixture and drizzle with any leftover sauce from the fruit mixture.  Remember to take a spoon and eat in the car whilst stuck in traffic.

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A Crumble for Comfort

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I had serious arguments with myself before I finally made my mind up to post this recipe.  After all, who needs yet another recipe for baking fruit covered in a simple flour and oat mixture?  Especially when we are solidly in spring here in Australia, decidedly not a time for hot baked desserts.

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What finally convinced me to post was the reminder that this blog is as much for me as it is for the ten or so of you who regularly read it.

It is a place for me to chronicle my recipes, so that when I am old and senile, I will still be able to whip myself up a quick dessert, a dhal that tastes like home or my palak paneer.

As soon as I remember where I left my glasses so that I may read the screen.

It is a place for me to share my thoughts, memories and experiences.  To excitedly show you what I whipped up in my kitchen that made us happy over here.  I decided that perhaps a classic recipe with some equally sweet memories attached is the perfect thing to share in this, my corner of cyber-space.

All that and the fact that I had some sad, softish looking apples trying to die a slow death in my fruit bowl which simply had to be used up.

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I learnt the original version of this from a housemate during my time in Glasgow.  We were interns then, poor for both money and time.

As interns, our days were a blur of hospital duty, scrubs and pagers.  There were weeks of nightshifts where day became night and night was day.  A unique form of jet-lag without the fun parts like aeroplanes and cocktails by the pool.  Amidst it all we did all we could to absorb information from our seniors while attempting to appear knowledgeable in front of the students.

We ate when we could and coming home to a prepared meal was a luxury we never took for granted.  The local pub knew us well as making our way further afield to eat out in the city was a trip we seldom had the time or energy to make.  Piled into a big house together, we found that sharing meals was the most economical, not to mention most enjoyable way to go about things.

When my housemate made this crumble, an enormous dish of this would stretch to be both dessert and breakfast for several days.  During the busier times, it might have served as dinner as well.  We would store it in the cooled oven, which in the Glasgow winter was not too different from a fridge in any other place.

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You can make this your own as I did.  I usually use Granny Smith (green) apples but just about any apple will work.  The blueberries do that thing they do, exploding in the heat and covering everything rather dramatically in their purple juices.  Feel free to use whatever berries you like, or even raisins.  The crumble can only be enhanced by add-ins such as shredded coconut, pecans or hazelnuts, but I quite enjoy the way pepitas swell with hot air and go all crunchy.

Apple and Blueberry Crumble

Serves 6-8 for dessert or 4 hungry interns for dinner

Get:

For the fruit layer:

6 apples
1 punnet blueberries
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar

For the crumble:

3/4 cup wholewheat plain flour
3/4 cup quick oats
3 tbsp pepitas
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 & 1/2 tbsp rice syrup, honey or brown sugar
1 & 1/2 tbsp butter
8 cloves

Make:

Preheat the oven to 160 C.

Core and dice the apples to a 1 1/2 to 2 cm dice.  In a mixing bowl, mix the apples, blueberries and the rest of the fruit layer ingredients so that the fruit is well coated in the other ingredients.  Distribute the fruit mixture evenly in a medium sized deep ceramic dish.

Place all the crumble ingredients, apart from the cloves, in the same bowl.  Use your (clean) fingers to massage the butter and syrup into the other ingredients.  Stop when it is well mixed to a moist crumble consistency.

Scatter the crumble mixture evenly over the top of the fruit mixture.  Dot the cloves into the crumble.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 40-50 minutes until the apples are soft and yeilding.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, cream or Greek yoghurt. The latter is probably a more sensible option if you are having leftovers for breakfast but if you opt for ice-cream it’ll be our little secret.

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Scrambled Eggs, Indian-Style

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Hello there….I was wondering when you’d arrive.  I thought I’d make us some breakfast, although I think most normal folk would call this brunch-time.  I hope you like eggs?

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Sit on that stool and chat to me while I chop these tomatoes.  I’ll pour you some orange juice.  Oh yes, you can grind those spices if you feel like it.

What’s that?  No, no it’s easy.  Just a sizzle of spices, a stir fry of some veggies and then the eggs.  It’s the sort of thing that’s done on a tiny kerosene stove in a stall on Juhu beach on a balmy Mumbai evening.  Then the whole fragrant, spicy, steamy  mess is piled onto some buttery bread to be devoured standing up amongst a crowd.

There, it’s done already.  Butter that toast, will you?  I’ll get you some cutlery but it really is better just to use your fingers, Indian style.

So then….tell me what you’ve been up to……

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Egg Bhurji (Indian-style scrambled eggs)

Serves 2 with toast

Get:

1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp butter + more for bread
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 small green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
1/4 – 1/3 capsicum, diced
4 eggs
Salt
1 tomato, diced
Small handful coriander, chopped
Bread, toasted and buttered

Make:

In a large non-stick pan, dry roast 1/2 tsp cumin and the coriander seeds until fragrant.  Grind to a powder with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.  In the same pan, melt the butter and add 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds.  When the seeds have popped, add the spice powder and turmeric, frying for a couple of minutes on low-medium heat.  Add the chillies and onion and fry until the onion is softened.  Add the capsicum and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/4 tsp salt.  Add the eggs to the pan and stir continuously to scramble.  When the eggs are half-cooked, add the tomato and more salt according to taste and stir until the eggs are fully cooked.

Sprinkle with fresh coriander and serve on buttered toast.  Dousing with chilli or tomato sauce is optional but recommended.

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Quick Masala Soda Bread

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There is a pot of soup bubbling away on the stove and you are just a little bit proud of yourself for coming up with a way of finishing off that crusty loaf that you bought a few days ago.

And you are just a tad excited about tearing off chunks of said loaf and dipping them into that incredible soup you’ve just made.

Then you open the bread bag and you pull out the remainder of the loaf. 

Is it just a bit harder than you remembered? No matter, it’s probably soft in the middle

Say, what are those teeny tiny bluish dots on the cut surface of said bread? You know the ones.

Now did you pick up this bread two days ago on the way home from work?  Or perhaps a week ago just after your gym session?

For a second you wonder if maybe you could just work with this here.  You contemplate slicing off the fungal colonies and acting like it ain’t no thing.

Don’t be judging now………..we’ve all been there.

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Then the Voice of Reason (VOR) in that brain of yours (it turns out she’s still there) speaks up.  In one swift move the half loaf is in the bin and you are all souped up with no-where to go.

The shops are closed by now and it’s too cold to go out anyway.  ‘Proper’ bread-making with all that kneading and rising is out of the question- you are so hungry that you’re likely to eat the dough raw and give yourself bloat.

So now what?

VOR tries to make up for things by suggesting you try and make that Irish soda bread you’ve been meaning to try and make.  You take her advice but not being able to help yourself you throw in some spices and Indianise it a little. 

What you end up with is a super tasty and crusty loaf that takes less than an hour to make. 

Good one, VOR!

No yeast?
Don’t get your knickers in a knot…..this thing uses bi-carb soda which everyone has, right? Right.

This bread is the bomb.  It makes soup dinner when previously it was just soup.  And in the morning, you may just want to toast it and slather it with some good butter or cream cheese.

If an Irish person and an Indian person got together and had a baby, that baby would be this bread.  Actually the only Irish-Indian baby I know is way cuter than this bread but I’m sticking to my metaphor all the same.

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Masala Soda Bread

Modified from BBC Food

 Get:

1 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp chilli powder (less if you prefer)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

 Make:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

Toast the cumin seeds in a small pan until fragrant.

Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk.  Stir until just combined.  The dough should be quite moist but not sticky.  Add a little more buttermilk if it is too stiff. With clean hands, on a floured surface, bring the dough together kneading very lightly until it is a flat ball.  Place in a skillet or tray lined with grease-proof paper  Make 2 deep indentations in the dough in a cross shape.  Sprinkle a few more cumin seeds over the top if desired.

If you would like a softer exterior, cover loosely with foil.  For a crusty exterior, leave uncovered. Bake for 30-40 mins until baked through.  You can test this the way you would a cake- by passing a clean knife into the centre.

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Fructose-free Baking: Coconut Cake Bars

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Ok, it’s been just over a month since I finished the 8-week I Quit Sugar program (read about that here and here) and I have to say that I have slipped, like once…..or twice….or thrice.  I have had a couple of binge days where no amount of self cajoling has kept me away from the dark chocolate and nothing but a brownie will do.  And I have had those days where that gorgeous fudge that that client has brought in simply can’t be ignored.

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But you know what? I don’t actually feel that guilty. I guess firstly because I never intended to be completely sugar-free for life.  I always knew I’d re-introduce the S-word back into my life in the form of the (occasional) treat and while recently I seem to have stretched the definition of ‘occasional’, I have certainly noticed some changes in my attitude to sugar.

For one thing, my tastes when it comes to sugary treats has refined and while it seems nothing will cure me of my chocolate obsession, I seem to be able to resist the cheap, sugar-laden ‘confectionary’ type chocolate.  I previously would have crammed any cocoa-related substance indiscriminately into my mouth at break-neck speed, just in case all the chocolate factories in the world happened to burn down in the next five minutes.  But now, I seem to very partial to high quality dark chocolate……the good stuff, as any addict would say.

I can also quite happily walk past a bag of lollies or a pack of biscuits without turning into a human vacuum cleaner and have also been able to resist many cakes and such without too much drama.

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Then there was that weak moment, or succession of moments,  when I came home from a Saturday at work madly craving a chocolaty treat.

That evening, after discovering an Adriano Zumbo brownie packet mix in the cupboard, the mixture may or may not have met with a couple of eggs and some butter and made its way into the oven.

Thirty- five minutes later, about a quarter of the pan may or may not have disappeared.

It’s my word against the brownies’ so I guess we’ll never know how it all happened.

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Aside from struggling a little with the transition from ‘sugar-detox’ to ‘just treating myself to the good stuff every now and then’, the other thing I struggled with is not being able to bake while I was trying to detox.  So I’ve been playing around with some fructose-free recipes and hit up my stash of cookbooks to see if I could modify an existing recipe.

I dug out a squat, fat little book called ‘500 Cookies’ by Phillipa Vanstone and found a recipe called ‘Coconut Wedges’.  I tweaked some things, added some saffron (it’s the Indian in me) and came up with something that I will call Fructose-free Coconut Cake bars.  If you don’t mind the fructose, you can of course use any other syrup such as honey, maple-syrup or golden syrup.

These little dudes are like the anti-brownie.  While brownies are the good stuff, these bars have the stuff that’s good for you.

These are dense, crumbly little numbers, somewhere between a cake and a bread, that you could totally get away with eating for breakfast.  They of course, also make a great healthy snack which I suspect is their original intention.

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Fructose-Free Coconut Cake Bars
Makes 12-15
Adapted from ‘500 Cookies’ by Phillipa Vanstone

Get:

1/4 tsp or generous pinch saffron strands
1 tbsp milk, warmed
3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2  tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bi-carb soda
1/2 cup rolled or quick oats
1 1/2 cup shredded or desiccated coconut + 1/4 cup extra
1/2 tsp all-spice
1 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
3/4 to 1 cup rice malt syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

Make:

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

In a small bowl, add the saffron strands to the warm milk and stir until the milk is coloured. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the flours, baking powder and baking soda.  Add 1 1/2 cups coconut, the oats and all-spice and mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the oil with the syrup.  Whisk in the eggs, vanilla and milk with saffron.  Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and stir through gently until just combined.

Pour the mixture into a 30cm x 20cm baking tin and smooth out evenly.  My mixture didn’t fill the entire tin and there was about 2 inches empty at one end.  Sprinkle extra coconut over the top.  If using desiccated coconut to sprinkle, do this about 5-7 mins into the baking process so it doesn’t burn.

Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12-15 mins.  Test by inserting a clean knife or skewer into the centre of the cake- if it comes out clean, it’s done!
Allow to cool and slice into bars, about 7 cm x 4cm.

Notes:

Ok, so the saffron is a luxury and very nice but probably optional.

Vanilla extract has a little sugar in it.  If you need this to be completely fructose free, use vanilla powder or the seeds from 1/2 a vanilla bean.

If you don’t have coconut oil, a neutral oil such as vegetable oil should work.

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On a roll

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I am a bit of a novice on the bread side of things.  I mean, I love the stuff, it is possibly even my favourite carb.  I would indulge in crusty, soft centred white bread all day if both my gastrointestinal tract and my waistline were more accommodating.  But when it comes to actually baking it?  Well, let’s just say my bread resumé is a short one.

So knowing this, you would assume that I would keep it very simple, right?  Like, find a good recipe, read and understand it and follow it to the last gram?  Like, bake a few text-book loaves before I got too adventurous?

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Well if you think I’m that sensible, you clearly don’t know me too well.  We have to work on that.  Coffee next week?

Find a good recipe I did……Joy of Joy the Baker, one of my favourite blogs, posted a recipe for Cream Cheese Cinnamon Rolls which I had mentally bookmarked some time ago.  I finally had a chance to try it.  But follow it to a tee?? I don’t think I’m actually capable of that.

I had to spice it up, make it savoury and of all things, healthy.  Wholemeal flour……whaaaaat??

I had to fill it with a tangy coriander and dill pesto conjured up entirely in my own brain.

Then on a whim, I threw in some feta I found hiding unassumingly in the fridge.

Did I get away with it?  You bet your savoury scrolls I did!

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And the best thing is, you can too.  The possibilities for variations are drool-worthy.  Olive bread with an olive tapenade and rosemary filling? I am all over that like a rash!  Pepita bread with spiced pumpkin puree filling? Why not!

Like all bread, this one takes a little time and elbow grease.  It is left to rise while you vacuum the floors or go out for lunch or write your next blog post or whatever it is you do when you have to wait two hours for something.  Then after you cut the scrolls, you ignore it again for two hours while it rises again.

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But all the effort is well worth it.  At the end of it all you will have eight perfect, filling scrolls for a picnic, breakfast or to pack for lunch.  And you will be glad you kneaded, waited, kneaded again and waited again.

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Wholemeal Coriander and Dill Scrolls

Dough recipe adapted from Saveur October 2008 via Joy the Baker

For the Filling:

Pesto:

1 cup (packed) fresh coriander, leaves and stalks
1 cup (packed) fresh dill, leaves and stalks
1 large or 2 small garlic cloves, peeled
3cm piece fresh ginger
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
10 raw cashews
1 tbsp cumin seeds

Other ingredients:

Zest of 1 lemon
40g feta
1 tbsp cumin, toasted

For the Bread:

1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 (7g) package active dry yeast
pinch sugar
1/2 cup milk at room temperature
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups plain wholemeal flour, sifted, plus more for kneading
3/4 teaspoon salt
100g butter, melted, plus more for the pan

Make:

Toast all the cumin (2 tbsp) in a small pan over medium heat until slightly browned and fragrant.

In a large bowl combine yeast, pinch sugar and 1/4 cup water heated to 45 degrees C (a bit warmer than body temp if you do not have a thermometer).  Stir to combine and let sit until frothy and foamy, about 10 minutes.

Add egg, egg yolk and milk.  Whisk until well combined.  Add the flour, 1 tbsp toasted cumin and salt and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough just begins to come together.  Knead the dough for 3-5 mins.

Add the melted butter and continue to knead for about 5-6 minutes.  The dough will be a little wet and sticky.  Remove the dough from the bowl and grease the bowl.  Place the dough back into the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel.  Leave in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.

While the dough rises, make the pesto.  Combine the pesto ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and whizz until it reaches coarse paste consistency.

When the dough has doubled in size, place it onto a heavily floured work surface.  Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky, adding more flour as needed.  Knead for a few minutes.

Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into an oval of about 7 millimetre thickness, about 20cm x 30cm.

Spread the pesto evenly over the dough.  Grate the lemon zest finely over the top of the pesto.  Sprinkle 1 tbsp cumin seeds and crumbled feta evenly over the top.

Grasp hold of one long edge and roll as tightly as possible until it is one long roll

Place dough roll seam side down on a cutting board.  Using a sharp, thin knife, trim off the uneven edges.

Cut the roll into 8 equal slices.  Place the slices, cut side up and evenly spaced in a greased high-edged metal baking pan.  Cover pan with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours

Heat the oven to 190 degrees C.  Uncover the rolls and bake for 30-35 mins, or until a clean knife inserted into the bread comes out clean.

Notes:

For the second rise, Joy suggests that you could also leave the scrolls in the baking tray in the fridge to rise overnight.  The scrolls should be taken out of the fridge 15 min before baking.

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