Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sweet Cheat Sheets continued...

As promised, here is the easiest chocolate chip cookie recipe ever. It's crazy how little goes into making these tasty morsels, which are perfect for last minute drop-ins or morning/arvo tea invitations. Or just to keep children quiet. This recipe is very effective for both. They also have no flour, so you could call them gluten free, which totally makes them healthy. *Wink wink*

Cheats Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
3/4 cup raw caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line baking tray with paper. 
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and roll level tablespoons onto trays (or just drop spoonfuls onto the trays as I do), 2cm apart. Flatten slightly.
Bake 8-10 minutes until golden. Allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Sweet cheat sheets...

Here are a couple of cheat sheet-style recipes, which require minimal effort for maximum taste! The first is a scrumptious lemon slice, perfect for the warmer weather we've been having where you don't feel like anything too heavy. Having said that, it's quite rich so small slices are the way to go... I made this for morning tea with my grandmother, then left the rest for her - mainly so the lads and I didn't eat it all!

Lemon Macadamia Slice

1/2 cup condensed milk
125 butter, melted
250g plain sweet biscuits
1 teaspoon lemon rind
1 cup dessicated coconut

1 3/4 cups icing sugar (I used low GI sugar cane icing sugar)
3 tablespoons lemon juice
30g butter
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped

Heat condensed milk and butter in a saucepan, stirring gently until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. 
Crush biscuits finely and add lemon rind and coconut. Add butter/condensed milk mixture and stir well. Press into lined slice pan and refrigerate for one hour.
To make the icing, mix the icing sugar, butter and lemon juice until smooth and creamy. Add some milk or water if too thick. Spread over base and sprinkle with macadamias. 

Coming up next, the ultimate cheat's chocolate chip biscuit recipe...

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Got milk?!

Why yes, yes I do. And a milkman. That's right, I've reverted back to the 1950's Everyday Baker and got myself a milkman. 
Last week, a young man came knocking at my door telling me about Aussie Farmers Direct. Now unfortunately for that young man (I'm guessing from his pitch that he may have been on commission), it was crazy hour and I had two screaming lads in tow, so I turned him down. As I told him, I wanted to do some research. So after perusing the Aussie Farmers Direct website, I decided to sign up, place a weekly order and try them out. 

Waking up and opening the front door in the morning after the first delivery was exciting. I loved that someone had delivered our milk (and yoghurt and cheese) in the early hours of the morning and I could just grab the cooler bag and bring it inside without having to converse with any strangers. 
My order of local Harvey Fresh milk (my favourite brand is Bannister Downs but they only come in small pouches and are not one of the Aussie Farmers Direct suppliers), WA beef and chicken, Australian-made dairy products, many organic, were perfectly chilled ready for the fridge. 
My second dairy order didn't go so smoothly. They forgot my cheese and yoghurt, but, unlike other delivery services I've tried, after I let them know I received a personal text message from the franchisee apologising and asking if I would like the missing items delivered the next day. I was happy. 

So I'm sticking with my new milkman. The service is fantastic and I love the fact we're supporting an independent company with good intentions rather than one of the big supermarkets. Plus, I'm also trying their fruit and veggie service. While I still love going to the markets, it's not always possible so this is a great option.  

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A treat fit for a lady

The Everyday Baker household is dominated by boys. Which isn't a problem, I'm not a girly girl by any means. But this is my version of getting all girly, these are the perfect little lady biscuits which I like to enjoy with a cup of tea, while my lads simply like to inhale and destroy them in a big chocolatey mess. They are a great biscuit to show off with and they are relatively easy to whip up, I find it easier to pipe them as I can't be bothered rolling a million little balls and try to get them somewhat even. 
The salt in these sounds odd, but it cuts through the sweetness and is divine.

Chocolate Salted Creams
125g butter
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup coca
2 tablespoons custard powder
1 egg
1-2 tablespoons milk

100g butter
1 cup icing sugar
50g dark chocolate, melted
1-2 teaspoons sea salt flakes

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius and line two trays with baking paper. 
Place butter, sugar, baking powder, flour, cocoa and custard powder in a mixer (enter the trusty Kitchenaid mixer) and mix until crumbly. Add egg and milk and continue to mix until it binds together. If you're rolling into balls, it should be firmer but if you're planning on piping it, add more milk if needed.
Using a star nozzle (well I did, but whatever you've got is fine) pipe twenty cent piece sized balls onto the trays, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 12 minutes and allow to cool on rack.
To prepare icing, cream butter in a mixer until smooth and creamy and add icing sugar, melted chocolate and finally the salt. 
Sandwich together biscuits with icing and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee, like a lady. 

Thursday, 7 November 2013

And the chia cook-off continues...

Lucky I bought the 1kg tub of chia seeds. My experimenting in the kitchen with chia has graduated from sprinkling some seeds on top of cereal and muffins, to this:

Next time I plan on trying this pudding with caramelised banana on top. Both lads loved it, particularly the little lad (although his was served minus the chocolate).

Blueberry Chia Pudding
3 cups milk (I'm going to try with coconut milk next time!)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup chia seeds 
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen 
Dark chocolate, to garnish

Place the milk, vanilla and maple syrup in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil, just head to infuse the milk with the vanilla (you'll see the black floaty bits in the milk when it's done) - about 5 or so minutes. 
Stir in the chia seeds. 
Get five or six glasses (depending on the size) and place some blueberries in the bottom of each. Pour over the chia mix and refrigerate until set, ideally overnight but at least four hours is good. Grate some dark chocolate over the top to serve. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

From little things, big things grow...

Well that was certainly the case with The Chia Company. One man's vision to make an impact on a global scale, led farmer John Foss to the chia plant. Chia is the richest plant based source of Omega 3, dietary fibre, protein and antioxidants. John is largely the reason that chia has become something we all know about and can buy at any decent store.
He started off trialling growing chia in Kununurra (in WA's north), perfecting the growing process before attempting to grow the business itself. Then the marketing side kicked in. It's obvious both of those aspects have been a raging sucess, as The Chia Company is now the world's largest chia producer.
The company is also the only of its kind to manage from farm right through to the finished product, offering full product traceability, with the ability to track from shelf right back to the exact paddock that particular crop was grown in.

So what do you do with chia? Here in the Everyday Baker household, we love the stuff. We generally sprinkle it on our cereal in the morning, for a little extra goodness. But lately I've also been incorporating it into some recipes as well. It doesn't have a very strong flavour, which makes it ideal to add to sweet or savoury dishes to bump up the nutritional value. I took the Pretty Darn Good Muffin recipe and turned them into Pear, white chocolate and chia muffins.

Pear, White Chocolate and Chia Muffins

1 cup plain white flour
1 cup wholemeal or spelt flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar (I use raw caster sugar)
2 pears, sliced thinly (I use the mandolin side of a grater)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
80g butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 natural yoghurt
3/4 cup white choc bits
2 tablespoons chia
Heat oven to 165 degrees Celsius (fan forced) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with papers.
Mix flours, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl, whisking gently to mix before stirring in sliced pear and white chocolate.
Place egg, vanilla, butter, milk and yoghurt into a jug and whisk together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon, until just mixed. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins and sprinkle with chia, bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. 

More to come on the chia front...