Five Minute Carrot Mug Cake

If you haven’t seen the five minute chocolate mug cake by now, then I don’t know where you’ve been!? My favourite version comes from the talented Lorraine at Not Quite Nigella (she also has an amazing recipe for a five minute peanut butter chocolate chip cookie… just sayin’ ). The other morning I was faced with a desire to use up some carrots and also eat a hot breakfast. Google came to the rescue with this surprising Two Minute Breakfast Carrot Cake. Breakfast? Cake? Hmmm.

The recipe turned out to be almost sugar free, totally egg free and easily adaptable to be gluten and dairy free. AND I had all the ingredients in my pantry. Winning! I have never been known to follow a recipe though, have I? I decided to make it sugar free (remove the sultanas and coconut if you want fructose free), and add in a little extra nutrition with some oats and chia. Here is my version of the recipe I found here:

Five Minute Carrot Mug Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs flour (all purpose or gluten free alternative)
  • 1 Tbs natvia
  • 1 Tbs rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbs rolled oats (optional)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1 Tbs Oil (I used macadamia)
  • 3 Tbs milk (or dairy free alternative)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup shredded carrots
  • 1 tsp sultanas (optional)

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Method

  1. Combine the dry ingredients first, then add the wet ingredients and the carrots and sultanas, stirring to combine. If you want to make this a super quick breakfast you can prep all the dry ingredients and all the wet ingredients in separate bowls and store them in the fridge overnight, then throw it together in the morning.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a small microwave safe bowl or a mug (I used a ramekin)*.
  3. Microwave for 2 minutes on high**.
  4. Eat!

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*This recipe was enough for me to make two small single serve cakes. I had one for breakfast, Paul scoffed half of the other one and declared it “not bad” (high praise from this skeptic of my random cooking experiments) and I ate the other half for afternoon tea.

**Note that microwaving times may vary. My cake was cooked well well at 1 min 30 seconds.

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How good does the banana ice cream look with the original recipe? Dairy free, no added sugar and looking divine. I must try that when I have some very ripe bananas (a rarity in this house).

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Would you try this cake? What vegies need using up at your house?

Pizza Dip

pizza dip

Pizza what now? Yes, pizza dip. I’m pretty sure I can blame Pinterest for dragging me into this cheesy pile of oh-yeah-baby. I saw it and I had to have it. It was love at first sight and then I was committed after one bite.

You could twist this recipe however you like. Think of your favourite pizza and do that. I have a thing for chilli right now, so a Mexican twist would rock my world. Jalapenos and dried chilli flakes, anyone?

Pebble helped to make this. And when I say help, I mean she stood up at the bench with me and asked about all the ingredients and what I was doing. She got to sprinkle some cheese and stir some dip. That’s all it takes to make her happy. From whoa to go it takes about 7 minutes to assemble. And about another 15 minutes in the oven to heat and grill to perfection. Perfect for kids to help with, because it doesn’t take too long, and I’m sure they’d love making their own version.

I first served this up at a little family gathering. My family are not known for their timid appetites and this dip was like a red flag to a raging and very hungry bull. Seriously it took five minutes to go from golden, melting perfection to…

pizza dip

I made the dip in advance, shoved it in the fridge and it transported very safely and easily to our family gathering an hour away. I used a fridge bag with a freezer block to keep it happy (are there proper names for such things? Fridge bag? Freezer block? You know what I mean?).

So, how do you make it? Read on…

Pizza Dip
(adapted from Closet Cooking)

Servings: depends on how hungry you are and what else you are serving! As a party dip with lots of other food on the table it can feed over 12 people easily. If you’re serving my family then it might only stretch to 6. Just sayin’.

Ingredients

  • 500g cream cheese (that’s two Philly blocks)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1.5 cups pizza cheese (a blend of mozzarella, parmesan and cheddar)
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 cup pizza cheese, grated (extra)
  • 100g pepperoni, sliced
  • 1/2 green capsicum, diced
  • 2 tablespoons black olives, sliced

Directions

  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, and pizza cheese and spread it across the bottom of a pie plate (I used my quiche dish).
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and olives.
  3. Bake in a preheated 180 Celsius oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top (about 15 minutes).

This dip is heavenly served hot with fresh bread that is slightly warmed in the oven. A nice crusty baguette torn into chunks works well.

Oh, hey, you’ve got a little pizza dip on your chin. No need to thank me.

Do you have a wowser of a crowd pleaser that you pull out for parties? Do tell!

Winter Minestrone with Cheesy Scones

winter minestrone and cheesy scones

I have been sick lately – just your boring, run of the mill sick. Cough, cold, sore throat, achey body. Boring. I finally went to the docs and got prescribed some medicine, but what I really felt like was a natural boost. I found myself on the door step of Nourished Kitchen (thanks to the heads up from Sarah Wilson in her new I Quit Sugar Cookbook) and this perfect cold and flu antidote – Winter Vegetable Minestrone.

I tweaked the recipe a tiny bit. If you’re looking for the cleaner, greener, gluten free version, then go to the original. My version is the ‘Mummy is sick and needs soup today” kind. Of course I needed cheesy scones on the side too…

Winter Vegetable Minestrone Soup

  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 cup macaroni noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup frozen chopped onion
  • 3 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian herbs
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 2 handfuls green beans, diced
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 box frozen chopped spinach portions
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese to serve
  1. Boil the pasta until tender, and set aside.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium-high flame until melted and sizzling. Add frozen chopped onion and fry until fragrant and translucent. Add minced garlic, chopped carrots, chopped celery, cubed butternut squash and diced green beans frying with the onion until fragrant.Stir the dried Italian herbs into the mixture of vegetables.
  3. Pour 2 cups of stock into the pot, taking care to scrape the pot with a spatula to dislodge any flavourful bits of vegetables. Stir in crushed tomatoes and frozen spinach portions. Simmer the broth for thirty minutes or so.
  4. Stir in the cannellini beans and cooked pasta. Generously season the soup with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat, cover and allow it to sit for approximately five to ten minutes, allowing the flavours to meld. Serve with parmesan cheese and cheesy scones.

Cheesey Scones

I literally threw these together, barely measuring. You can’t go wrong!

  • 3 cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 45g butter
  • 80g grated cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup softened butter and extra grated cheese for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in butter and stir in cheese.
  3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, then mix to a soft dough. Add milk if it is not soft enough. Place on a floured surface and kneed lightly.
  4. Pat dough out to approx 2cm thickness. Cut into rounds using a floured cutter (or the nearest small glass).
  5. Spread the softened butter on top of the scones and sprinkle with extra grated cheese.
  6. Place the scones on baking paper on an oven tray and bake in the oven for approximately 15 – 20 minutes, or until tops are golden.

Serve up your soup in the most retro serving dish you can find – I used the very same bowl that my mum used to serve us minestrone when I was a kid. It made this soup that much more comforting.

What do you like to feed yourself when you’re sick?

Grateful: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

So, I’ve been kinda sick and kinda overwhelmed with stuff and there’s been very sad stuff happening to a friend of mine. This week I’m keeping my grateful simple. Sometimes, when the chips are down, you just gotta be grateful for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. To my peanut butter loving Lady, these are for you x

I went to a 1st birthday party on the weekend and one of the guests brought these along (Hi Caryn!). Nom, nom, freakin’ NOM. Seriously addictive AND gluten free. Not that I need to worry about gluten, but doesn’t it sound healthy? Yeah… don’t be fooled.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 x 375g jar peanut butter
1 cup dark choc chips
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract/essence
1 egg

Mix it all up with a mixing implement. I used a fork, but what evs. TRY NOT TO EAT IT ALL before you splodge balls of it onto a baking paper lined cookie sheet. I used a spoon to create balls and pressed them flat with a fork. Bake them in a moderate oven for 10 – 12 minutes, or until just golden brown. Leave to cool for 5 minutes – they are very fragile at first – then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or eat some warm. With a glass of milk.

These are soft, salty-sweet and so very, very moreish. You have been warned.

What’s your favourite cookie? I think these might be mine…
What are you grateful for this week?

p.s. If y’all follow my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages you may have noticed that sugar is back in my life. For now. To be continued….

Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

I love Jamie Oliver. I love his cook books, I love his TV shows, I just love him to bits. I saw Jamie Oliver make this Dauphinoise* on his 30 Minute Meals show, and knew that I’d have to give it a try. It was so simple but had a few little extra touches that turn a good old fashioned potato bake into something fancy.

I’ve made this three times now. Once for friends with the whole 30 Minute Meals shebang, where it rocked their socks off. Once for Potato Day, a potato themed celebration with friends (oy, my guts hurt at the end of that day…). And once for family over Easter, with roast shoulder of lamb and roast pork belly (thanks Nanette!). Each and every time it has been a crowd pleaser.

BUT. I can’t just leave a good recipe well enough alone. To me, this needed bacon. Sorry Jamie, but it’s true. And I’m sure if he’d allowed himself a couple more minutes he would have thrown some bacon in there too. Without further ado, I give you Jamie’s Dauphinoise, with Bacon, adapted from here.

Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

(that’s potato bake to you + me)

Parentals, pay heed to the tips in blue.

6 rashers middle bacon, chopped
1 red onion
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
1 nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic
1 x 300ml tub of single cream
4 anchovies in oil
Parmesan cheese
2 bay leaves
a very small bunch of fresh thyme

Tell your partner-in-parenting that you’ve got far too much to do and that they’ll need to look after the kiddo while you prepare food for the hoard.

Put a frying pan on over high heat and fry off bacon until almost crispy. Peel and halve the red onion. Wash the potatoes, leave their skins on and slice in the food processor with the onion (I used my V-Slicer cos I don’t have a food processor …. did the world just collectively gasp?). Tip into a large sturdy roasting tray (approx. 35 x 25cm) and season. Grate over¼ of the nutmeg, crush in 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic and pour in 225ml of single cream.
Tear in the anchovies and finely grate over a large handful of Parmesan. Add the bay leaves, pick the leaves from a few thyme sprigs and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Use your clean hands to quickly mix and toss everything together, then put the tray over a medium heat. Pour in 200ml of boiled water, cover tightly with tin foil and leave on the heat.

If you’re not doing the whole 30 Minute Meal shebang then pour yourself a glass of wine, peruse Instagram, and give the tray of potatoes a shake occasionally so nothing catches. Be on guard to look flustered and extremely busy if the partner-in-parenting  passes by.

After about 15 minutes, remove the tin foil. Finely grate over a layer of Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining thyme sprigs with oil, scatter on top and put into the oven on the top shelf to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve, or allow to cool to a manageable temperature before transporting to your hungry hoard.

While everyone is praising your amazing cooking skills make sure you loudly talk up the amazing support of your hard working partner-in-parenting, without whom you could not so fantastically duplicate the efforts of Sir Jamie. Toast Sir Jamie.

*Google tells me that Dauphinoise is French for potato gratin. So yes, this is essentially a recipe for Potato and Bacon Potato Gratin. I’ll have to ask you all to pardon my French.

Have you served up a crowd pleaser lately?