30 January 2012

raspberry clafouti

A great summer pudding that can be enjoyed hot or cold to take advantage of the fresh raspberries in season.


 Ingredients
300g frozen raspberries
2 tbsp plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup reduced fat vanilla yogurt
3 eggs
1/3 cup skim milk
icing sugar to dust


Preheat oven to 180c. Lightly grease a shallow oven proof dish. Place berries in a large bowl, sprinkle flour over berries and toss to combine. Scatter berries in prepared dish.


Combine almond meal and caster sugar in a large bowl. Whisk in yogurt, eggs and milk until well combined. Pour the yogurt mixture over the berries in the dish. Bake for 30-35 mins until set. Stand for 15mins before dusting with icing sugar and serving at once.


If you have never had almond meal before the texture of this dish will be quite grainy. I enjoy it more cold.


23 January 2012

banana pancakes with warm coconut honey and banana and honey smoothie

Remember those amazing macadamia banana pancakes that I tried at the macadamia castle last year? Well here is a banana pancake recipe that can compare. Josh isn't really a big fan of banana but he found these delicious. Especially topped with coconut honey and fresh berries.



Ingredients

Pancakes
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup coconut cream
2 tbsp melted butter
 2 ripe bananas roughly chopped

Coconut Honey
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut cream

Smoothie
2 bananas
1 cup soy milk
2 tbsp honey
3 tbsp low fat yogurt
1 cup ice
ground cinnamon to taste


Pancakes: 
Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl combine vanilla, egg coconut cream, melted butter and bananas and whisk thoroughly to combine and mash up the bananas. Gently whisk the flour mixture into the liquid mixture until well combined. Allow the batter to rest for 5 mins. 
Heat a large pan over a medium heat. Ladle a heaped portion of the batter into the pan cook until golden brown on each side and cooked through. Top with coconut honey and enjoy.


Coconut Honey:
Heat a small saucepan over medium heat and add honey to the pot. Cook for 1 minute before adding the coconut cream and mixing well. Reduce the heat to low and cook for a further two minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm until ready to serve then drizzle over the pancakes.


Smoothie: 
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and enjoy straight away.


18 January 2012

apricot crumbles with spiced ricotta

With the apricot season nearly coming to an end I thought I would cook one last dish with them. This is a healthy yet thoroughly satisfying way to enjoy apricots.


recipe from Women's Weekly The Ultimate Low-fat Cookbook

Ingredients
4-6 large apricots halved with stones removed
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp dried apricots, finely chopped
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp warm water
1/3 cup smooth reduced fat ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cardamom


Preheat oven to 200c. Place fresh apricots, cut side up, on oven tray. Sprinkle with the combined oats, apricots, sugar, honey and water. Bake for 15mins until fruit is tender and oats are lightly brown.


Combine the cheese and spices and serve with the apricots.

.

The honey, sugar and apricot juice caramelise together into a gorgeous apricot flavoured syrup. The ricotta matches the sweet apricots perfectly. I also love the fuzzy feeling skin mixed with the soft melt in your mouth flesh!


15 January 2012

apple and pomegranate ice blocks

I scored big time in the gift department this past Christmas. Especially in the kitchen with new cooking equipment and food goods. 


My Christmas present to myself was an ice block cook book called "Pops!" and of course to go with it some popsicle moulds. 


I'd never tried pomegranate before making these ice blocks. The pomegranate fruit fascinated me with its gorgeous ruby like seeds that are juicy and sweet on the outside with a nutty middle. 


For my first attempt at these "pops" I opted for the easy blended pop version of this recipe. You can find the recipe for these gems here



These popsicles are delicious. The rich juice flavour with random pops of pmegranate seeds with extra sweet juicy goodness what amazing. 



The juice mixture volume in the recipe is enough to make two batches of these icy pops in the moulds that are pictured above.


Perfect for those hot summer days we had in the south east last week!!


10 January 2012

bran, banana and blueberry muffins

With shift work and early mornings I often miss out on a decent breakfast. These muffins are a great idea to have on the run if you are busy around breakfast time.


Ingredients

1 cup oat bran
1 cup SR flour
a pinch of bicarb soda
1 tsp mixed spice
50g brown sugar
2 medium bananas chopped finely 
100g fresh or frozen blueberries
300ml skim milk
50ml olive oil
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 180c. Line a 12 hole muffin pan with muffin cases.
 In a bowl combine dry ingredients. 


In a different bowl mix together fruit and wet ingredients. 
Mix wet and dry ingredients together. 
Divide the mixture between the muffin cases and bake for 20-25mins. 


Remove from oven and cool for 5 mins before removing from the pan.


These are a very filling relatively healthy breakfast on the run.


7 January 2012

coconut apricot and dark chocolate macaroons

Dad's favourite sweet flavours, apricot, coconut and chocolate. These macaroons are a perfect combination of these ingredients.



recipe adapted from Women's Weekly Classic Cookies

Ingredients
2 eggs whites
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain flour
 11/2 cups dessicated coconut
1/3 cup dried apricots chopped coarsely
90g dark chocolate chopped finely
 28 slices of dried apricots


Preheat oven to 150c. Line baking trays with baking paper. 
Beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar beating until dissolved after each addition. 
Stir in the rest of the ingredients in 2 batches. 
Spoon rounded tablespoons of mixture onto the trays. Press an apricot slice into the top of each macaroon before baking from 25mins. 
Gorgeous light treat despite the heavy ingredients. 
You could alternatively use cranberries and white chocolate in exchange for the apricots and dark chocolate if desired.

4 January 2012

caramel peanut hearts

Mum's favourite sweet flavours, caramel and peanut butter. These cookies contain both and are deliciously rich with flavourful goodness.


recipe from Women's Weekly Classic Cookies
Ingredients
125g butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup caramel top n fill
1 tbsp icing sugar


Beat butter, sugar, syrup and peanut butter in bowl of electric mixer until combined. Stir in sifted flour. Cover dough and refrigerate for 30mins.
Preheat oven to 180c. Line baking trays with baking paper. 


Roll dough out between two sheets of baking paper. Cut hearts from the dough. From half of the hearts cut a smaller heart from the centre as shown in the picture.


 Place hearts on tray and bake for 8-10mins. Allow to cool before spreading caramel over the whole hearts and sandwiching as pictured. Sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy!



2 January 2012

colin james fine foods

So there is one place that we visited during our Mapleton stay that definitely deserved its own post. 
Colin James Fine Foods is located on Maple Street Maleny. 
Whether it's their award winning gelati, their fromagerie stocking over 200 cheeses both local and international, their selection of gourmet products or lunch in the cafe you will well and truly be satisfied. 

We had coffee and lunch in the cafe. Josh's coffee milkshake won in the drink department. 


Our ploughman's lunch with a selection of cheeses, meats and other flavours that go so well together that the thought of it is making my mouth water just thinking about it was as you can tell just moorish. Josh was initially disappointed as the focaccias that the ladies sitting next to us got looked amazing as well, but like usual he was biting his words by the end of finishing of his plate then proceeding to ask me if I was finished with mine.


The gelati, ahh, well no wonder it has won a number of awards. 
Josh had a scoop of the hazelnut roche 


and I enjoyed a scoop of the strawberry. 


I highly recommend visiting this place whether its just for a gelati or to choose a gourmet cheese from the fromagerie. 

mapleton stay

Since our last trip to Maleny, Montville and Mapleton I've wanted to go back and stay for a while so that I could get to know my way around the area a bit more. To say that I have fully experienced all that this area has to offer is a lie because I do not believe I have even scratched the surface on all of the great foodie and natural delights of the area. 
However I love sharing my fun with you in the hope that you will go and experience it too!!

This time we drove from the Nambour end of the Blackall Range, where this gorgeous photo was taken looking out over Nambour towards the Sunshine Coast. 


We stayed at the Lilyponds Holiday Park in Mapleton which was comfortable yet affordable. 
The caravan park was dotted with avocado trees which unfortunately weren't quite in season, however when you do stay here during avocado season you are welcome to take advantage of the fresh fruit! 


As the name suggested the holiday park backs onto a lily pond that stretches right to the back of the shops on the main road of Mapleton.


We took a day trip to Eumundi where we paid a visit to the Eumundi Markets which in themselves are worth the trip. Josh went nuts for the miniature pony rides but was disappointed to find out he was over safe height to ride.
Cocoa Chocolat, where you can find an exquisite selection of Belgian chocolates is located here in Eumundi. 


Josh and I taste tasted a passion fruit heart (which was my favourite), a hazelnut pyramid, a hazelnut praline truffle, and a macadamia caramel cone.


A short drive north along the highway took us to the Eumundi Smokehouse. 


From here we purchased smoked chicken breast and smoked chorizo which were an amazing addition to our evening nibbles plate. These meats are delicious and worth trying however if you can't make it to the Sunshine Coast keep an eye out for them at the Jan Powers Farmers Markets around Brisbane as I spotted their stall at the Stones Corner Markets a couple of weekends ago.


After a short drive west we found ourselves in Yandina. This is where we visited Nutworks and the Ginger Factory. Nutworks and the Chocolate Factory is where you can find out more about the macadamia nut, view chocolates and confectionery being made as well as being able to purchase some of the amazing products made at the factory. Here I purchased some assorted macadamia products that are all australian made or grown. The cosmetics lines also caught my eye with most products containing organic macadamia oils. 


Across the road from Nutworks is the Ginger Factory. Admission is free but you will have to pay if you want a tour of the factory. The ginger products on sale are extensive ranging from raw ginger to ginger candies, drinks to ginger marmalades, baked goods and sauces. Josh and I sampled the ginger beer which was amazingly refreshing and some ginger bears. 


Before we ventured back to Mapleton we stopped in at Kenilworth Cheese to finish off our nibbles plate. Their gourmet range of cheddar cheeses went well with the soft Camembert that we had picked up from Maleny Cheese. 


This gorgeous sunset is from the Mapleton Falls look out, around a 5-10min drive from Mapleton. 
The Wompoo walking circuit is worth going on as well. The 1.5km circuit gives a great look at the rainforest as well as another stunning lookout of this gorgeous view.


One last shop that deserves a mention is Bellavista Pizza and Pasta situated on the main road of Mapleton. We tried a BBQ Chicken pizza. As soon as our order was taken we saw them roll the home made pizza dough to size to fit the pan before topping with goodies and cooking until crisp. Great fresh pizza done well, their speciality is definitely the pizza!

If we ventured back north there again I would love to visit Maleny Dairies. Are there any other spots around the Sunshine Coast hinterland worth visiting?