The secret to a scrumptious orange poppyseed muffin lies within a good orange. One that is sweet, aromatic and picked at the height of the season. I came home from work one day with a dying urge to make a whole load of orange poppyseed muffins. Pretty random and impulsive but I guess we women are like that somehow. The urge was like an insect bite that needed a hell of a good scratch. With every passing minute, I got more and more angsty so I ventured down the road to my local supermarket and bought two oranges. Much to my dismay, the only oranges that were available were imported all the way from the USA. All the way from the other side of the planet! Needless to say, they didn’t taste all that great and those muffins could’ve been better. Still tasty but you know, what would you rather have? A sandwich or a piece of cardboard?
The second secret is a good recipe. I have been on a hunt for a good orange poppyseed muffin for a very, very long time. The search ends here for now. These muffins are fabulously moist and soft and bursting with flavour.
RAW CACAO TRUFFLES
Everyone loves a naughty treat. But for some of us with a waistline to watch, a naughty treat does not always end too well. These truffles are bordering naughty but they are so jam packed with antioxidants and healthy fats, they get to get away with it.
Actually, I lied. The only reason I make these is they’re dead easy to make. It ignites the 5-year-old and big fat lazy bear in me. The last time I tried making regular chocolate truffles, I nearly covered the entire kitchen in chocolate. I don’t mean to say these won’t leave a speck of grime on your hands. They will, but at least you won’t need a fire brigade to hose down the entire kitchen once you’re done.
The Housemate is a rather peculiar being, for he does not like chocolate. Or more specifically, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. As a result, I have started experimenting with white chocolate. I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the fairer chocolate as I have always found them far too sweet for my liking. I am, however, hooked on all things white chocolate and raspberries.
So, in order to cater for The Housemate (and myself), I made this raspberry and pistachio white choc rocky road. It’s slightly naughty and will fondle your sugary taste buds without being a total sugar whore. Giving it a drizzle of dark chocolate will tone down the sweetness …which then causes a major problem, it becomes too delicious!
FLOURLESS HAZELNUT CHOC CAKE
At first, the concept of a flourless cake seems ridiculous. How can you have a cake that’s got no flour in it? It took me a long time to grasp the idea and understand what it was all about (though to be honest, I’d never been all that bothered). It turns out it’s pretty much a sponge cake that has nut meal in place of regular flour. I felt I’d been lied to when I first found out. Where’s the magical unicorn dust?!
This recipe is the ultimate flourless chocolate cake! Fairly easy to make and goes down a treat. It’s almost like mud cake, but far less sickly. I recommend making your own hazelnut meal by first toasting your hazelnuts and grinding them up finely. If you can be bothered, run your meal over a fine sieve to remove any chunky bits, unless of course, for some strange reason, you like your cake bitsy.
You can replace caster sugar with brown sugar. However, you may lose the wonderful crispy top crust.
Some days, when the lazy bug strikes, all I want for dinner is something really quick and simple. The less fuss and brain power required, the better.
On days like these, it’s easy to resort to fast food or instant meals that are laden with nasty grease and hidden ingredients. It doesn’t always have to be the case. Throwing together a tasty burger is surprisingly effortless. It’ll actually take you less time to make this than to get in the car and drive to your nearest drive-thru or take-away.
There is also a general notion that healthy eating is expensive. It really isn’t. This meal for two only comes up to $4 – about as much as a bottle of Coke in Australia. I can go on and on about how amazingly healthy and cancer-proofing the spices and chickpeas in this recipe are but I’m sure we’ve heard it all before.
HOMEMADE HAZELNUT MILK
I remember, just about a year ago, I was gleaming with pride when I bought my first ever carton of organic almond milk from my local supermarket. I thought it was going to make my morning smoothie take me to heaven and back on a magic carpet ride. Boy, did my hopes crash quickly when I opened up my carton and poured out its content to discover this gross pale, watery slop. Horrified, I quickly turned the carton around in search for the ingredients list and this was what I found:
Ingredients List: Filtered Australian Water, Organic Almonds (3%), Organic Agave Syrup, Organic Sunflower Oil, Salt.
97% water! Holy smokes, who in their right mind would call that milk? If anything, it should be called bloody expensive almond-flavoured water. It was so disgusting it went straight down the sink. From there on, I vowed to never buy shop-bought nut milk ever again.
I have always heard about how wonderful and simple Italian cooking is but it never truly dawned on me until I visited Italy and saw it all for myself. Good olive oil, sweet tomatoes, fresh herbs and garlic. That’s all it takes to make a piece of bread or pasta so incredibly delicious.
“Very fresh ingredients simply prepared is what good food is all about.” – Antonio Carluccio
Bruschetta is the Italian way of using up old bread. Nothing goes to waste, especially not bread. The bread is thickly sliced and lightly toasted before it is topped with fresh tomatoes, vegetables, cheese or cured meat. Usually served as an antipasto, this tomato bruschetta makes a refreshing, light lunch or mid-afternoon nibble.
In hot sunny Perth where it is not unusual for temperatures to soar to 40ºC in summer, the sweet juicy tomatoes and uplifting scent of fresh basil provide a much welcomed relief.