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Home made muesli bars…

12 Feb

Who can be bothered paying a bazillion dollars for “healthy”, fancy pants, nuts-hand-picked-from-the-ancient-Peruvian-jungle-by-virgin-maidens-at-midnight type muesli bars that are STILL laden with so much sugar you may as well be eating a snickers bar?

Ummm.  Not me!  Ba-bow.  You can keep your preposterously expensive, mystical miracle bar to yourself while I actually make myself something real and delicious and good for me to eat.

Get stuck into this recipe, it’s truly so quick and easy you’ll be eating it in no time and will find yourself unintentionally channeling Oprah as you say “Wa-ow” between mouthfuls.  And the little piglets will love it too.

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dessicated coconut

1 cup pecans

1 cup almonds

3/4 cup sunflower kernels

1/2 cup pepitas

1/4 cup sesame seeds

3 tablespoons of white chia seeds

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

pinch of salt

2 heaped tablespoons of unsweetened raw cacao powder (I use Blooker cacao)

3 tablespoons butter melted (or coconut oil)

4 tablespoons Rice Malt Syrup.

 

METHOD:

1) If you’re like me and can’t be bothered with chopping, then throw the pecans, almonds and pepitas in a blender or stick mixer and blitz until your own desired consistency is achieved (I like them to be small chunks).  Otherwise chop away to your hearts content.

2) Throw chopped/blitzed nuts into a large mixing bowel with all of the other ingredients.

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3) With a wooden spoon stir all ingredients together until combined.

4) Grease and line a baking tray with baking paper.  Spoon the mixture into the baking tray patting it down firmly to create an even layer.

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5) Place in in a preheated oven of about 150-160 deg C and cook until it starts to brown on top (around 20-25 mins).

6) Cool and cut into bars.  Keep in an air tight container in the pantry or fridge and they will last for a week or so  (and freeze any extra).

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Feel free to mix it up and try all sorts of different combinations with the nuts and spices.  My recipe above is adapted from a nut free version on: http://childhood101.com/2013/04/lunch-box-snacks-fructose-free-chocolate-muesli-bars/

 

Till next time,

this little piggy x

 

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A healthy cupcake…

22 Jan

Well goodness, it’s certainly been a while between posts over here at thislittlepiggyloves… A lot has happened in that time.  Namely, it seems that I now have an awesome little piglet of my very own who, at the ripe old age of two, has in no uncertain terms demonstrated that an adventurous appetite and love of food most certainly runs in the family.  Yesterday when he tried sauerkraut for the first time, he scrunched up his little face at the initial tangy-ness of it all, paused to ponder the pros and cons of the taste sensation, and then decided with gusto that yes he would go back for more.  Sigh.  I love him so.

So with the well being of my little piglet in mind, I have recently been exploring the world of sugarless baking.  To be honest I have never been much of a baker, preferring to cook savoury dishes instead, however the motivation to provide tasty treats for my son that won’t leave him at the mercy of sugar highs has seen me branch out into this realm.  And I must say I have been throughly enjoying unleashing the baking goddess within (I also recently sewed a button back onto a pair of pants, so clearly I have nailed the role of domestic goddess too).

At the moment holding the coveted top spot of “the-worlds-best-cupcake-according-to-thislittlepiggyloves” are these chocolate, coconut & raspberry cupcakes.  They are so delicious you will uncontrollably begin to preach their worthiness to everyone you know (there are now two things I am evangelical about, these cupcakes and of course soda stream).

So dust off your cupcake tins, crank some tunes and get baking. (I truly believe every great recipe needs a great soundtrack, try Nikki Lane ‘All or Nothin’ when whipping these up).

INGREDIENTS:

1.5 cup almond meal

1 cup desiccated coconut

1⁄4 cup unsweetened good quality cocoa powder

1.5 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

125 grams unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla essence

Frozen raspberries (2 in each mini cupcake or 4 in each standard size cupcake)

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 160 degrees (fan forced) or 180 degrees (conventional).

Line cupcake tin with cupcake papers.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

Spoon mixture into cupcake papers, only filling them halfway.  Then place two frozen raspberries in each mini cupcake (or 4 raspberries in each standard size cupcake), before spooning the remaining mixture on top.

Cook in oven for 25 mins.

Makes around 24 mini cupcakes (or 12 standard cupcakes).

photo

Till next time,

this little piggy…x

* for those wanting to read more about the benefits of cooking with Rice Malt Syrup, The Natural Nutritionist says it better than I ever could:

http://www.thenaturalnutritionist.com.au/rice-malt-syrup-the-scoop/

San Choy Bow… with pork of course!

11 May

The weather is warming up here in Los Angeles… The other day I went for a morning hike in Runyon Canyon and by 10am it was boiling, I was sweating up a storm and my face was blotchy and the colour of a tomato (and it stayed that way for at least an hour after exercising, damn you face!).

This indication that full-blown summer is only moments away, inspired me to whip up a light, healthy and delicious dinner the other night… drum roll for San Choy Bow!

San Choy Bow (or Asian tacos as I like to call them) only entered my cooking repertoire about one year ago when I found a super duper online recipe, and it’s been a great addition.  It ticks all the main boxes – the flavours are fresh and pack a punch, it’s very healthy and most importantly, as I continue on my lifetime quest to find a bottomless pot of patience at the end of a rainbow, it’s quick and easy!

So here it is….

San Choy Bow with pork and shiitake mushrooms  (my version of Deborah Hutton’s recipe as found on ninemsn)

Ingredients

4 x tablespoons of organic coconut oil (you can use peanut oil, but I prefer coconut)
3 x cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 x tablespoon ginger, finely chopped
500g pork mince
½ x red onion, finely chopped
8 x shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 x stick celery, chopped
2 x tablespoons raw cane sugar
3 x tablespoons light soy sauce
2 x heaped tablespoons oyster sauce
½ x teaspoon sesame oil
3 x tablespoons rice wine (shao hsing cooking wine) *
1 x carrot julienned
6 x green onions, sliced diagonally
8 x snow peas, julienned
1 x large red chilli, finely sliced diagonally
1 x handful coriander sprigs, leaves only
Washed iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves to serve

*If you find it difficult to find shao hsing cooking wine like I did the other night, a good alternative is 1 x tablespoon of scotch mixed with 3 x tablespoons of chicken stock)

San Choy Bow chopped ingredients

San Choy Bow packaged ingredients

Method

1) Wash lettuce leaves and cover in cold water, soak in refrigerator for 15 minutes, drain.

2) Heat a wok/pan over high heat. Add coconut oil, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 20 seconds.

3) Add pork mince and fry for 3-4 minutes (or until meat turns grey), breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.

4) Add onion, mushrooms and celery and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

San Choy Bow – stage 4

5) Add sugar, soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil and rice wine, cook for 30 seconds.

6) Add carrot, half the green onions, snow peas, chill and coriander and stir for 30 seconds.

San Choy Bow – stage 6

7) To serve, spoon pork filling into lettuce leaves, top with remaining onions and roll up.

San Choy Bow

Hope you enjoy it!

Till next time,

this little piggy…xxx

A sauce-less pasta…

14 Feb

So feeling inspired the other night to flex my invention muscles, I decided to try my hand at replicating a restaurant favourite…

Recently I blogged about a little gem of a restaurant called Little Dom’s (in my post “Keeping it real”) and my obsession with their Rigatoni with House Made Sausage, Fresh English Peas & Ricotta.

Well, I found myself last Friday night in the mood for a bit of apron time, with a little bit of wine, a little bit of new music (cue First Aid Kit’s new album “The Lion’s Roar”) and a confidence that I could smash out the same taste-sensation pasta mentioned above.

Now for those who know me, my lack of modesty here will be nothing new, and for those who don’t, get ready for some unashamed trumpet blowing… but wow wee did I come through with the goods!  (yes there was lots of patting my own back… literally… my right hand reached over my left shoulder and went pat, pat, pat)

It was an absolute winner and super duper easy to make, and the husband gave it the double thumbs up too!

So here it is…

SAUCE-LESS SAUSAGE PASTA (serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

5 x cloves of garlic, chopped finely

6 x fleshy anchovies, chopped finely

1 x teaspoon of red chilli flakes (or to your own liking)

1 x cup of frozen peas

1 x cup ricotta cheese

6 x good quality, pork sausages chopped into 3 cm pieces (I used pork bratwurst sausages and cut each sausage into four pieces)

Olive oil

Cracked pepper

Rigatoni or Penne

METHOD:

1) Cover a small non-stick frying pan with olive oil (4-5 tablespoons), and heat over a medium flame.  Add chopped garlic, anchovies, chilli flakes and cracked pepper and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring (make sure you don’t burn the garlic or chilli).  Turn off heat.

2) In a separate non-stick pan over medium heat, add the chopped sausage pieces, browning all over and cooking through.  This usually takes around 20-25 mins.

3) Bring a small pot of salted water to boil and add the frozen peas.  Cook for 3-5 mins, then strain and set aside.

4) Heat a large pot of salted water and add your rigatoni or penne (cook to your liking)

5) Add the cooked peas to the garlic/anchovy/chilli mixture and warm through on low heat.  You may find that you need to add some more olive oil, just make sure the peas are well coated.

6) Add the cooked sausage pieces to the peas garlic/anchovy/chilli mixture and stir.

7) Once pasta is cooked to your liking and strained, add the sausage/pea mix to the pasta.

8) Portion into bowls, sprinkle over ricotta cheese, and serve.

Pork sausage pasta

Enjoy!  Let me know how you go….

Till next time,

this little piggy…xxx

The C herb…

25 Oct

Ok… I have recently become a little in awe of the herb coriander, or cilantro as they call it here in the U.S.

I picked up an organic bunch of the stuff from the heavenly supermarket Whole Foods (cue angels singing “halleluja”!) (seriously am in love with this supermarket, but more on that later), and found myself absent mindedly chopping it up and whacking it in a simple salad the other night.  Well… cue more freaking angels, as the result was A-mazing!

The salad was as minimal as you can get, but super delicious and it came down to a few quality ingredients.

It consisted of:

Organic heriloom tomatoes, organic cucumbers, organic coriander/cilantro, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cracked salt and pepper.  (On another occasion I also added baby spinach, olives and parmesan cheese, but I kinda like the simpler version better).

Tomato, cucumber and coriander salad

Here in the U.S. organic food is much more readily available, accessible and affordable compared to back home in Australia.  Back in Melbourne I would rarely buy organic vegetables because I just couldn’t justify spending a gazillion dollars on one bag of organic carrots, and watch my husband and my dog (yes he eats carrots too) turn the colour of oompa loompas as we couldn’t afford to buy/eat anything else.

But here it’s a no brainer.  And can I just say, where I have noticed the most difference in flavour is in the heirloom tomatoes.  They are a taste sensation.  So for all the Aussies, if you can afford to take out a second mortgage, organic heirloom tomatoes are well worth the debt!

Another salad that I whipped up last night was an oldie but such a goodie – and whenever I eat it, I always marvel at the freshness of the flavours.  Once again I did use organic ingredients, but I have made this dozens of times back home without and it tastes just as good.

Ingredients/method: 1 x tin chickpeas/garbanzo beans (drained), baby spinach, handful of chopped flat leaf parsley, shaved parmesan cheese, 1 x chopped clove of garlic, juice of 1 lemon, olive oil, cracked salt and pepper.

Chickpea salad with baby spinach and parmesan

And there you have it!  Some easy peasy, super tasty salads that should come in handy for all you Aussies facing a hot summer and for all the Californians where summer seems to have no end!

Till next time,

this little piggy xxx

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