Lemongrass Ginger cordial

Cordial is not a regular feature in our house, but as a treat at a birthday party, or mixed with sparkling water as a non alcoholic drink, it’s pretty special to have your own home made, and home grown option!

We had abundant lemongrass this year, so we have made a huge batch of Thai curry paste, propagated more for next year and shared loads with our community but we still had more left – we decided to go with some deliciously fragrant cordial!

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups raw sugar
  • 6-7cm root of ginger
  • 8 stalks of lemongrass

Place the water juice and sugar in to a large saucepan, mix well and place on the stove over a medium heat. (In your Thermal cooker place on 90C Sp 1)

Grate the ginger and cut and bruise your lemongrass.

Add both to the liquid mix and turn heat up to bring to a rolling boil. (Increase to ST temp for a few minutes until boiling)

Stir regularly.

Turn heat down to a gentle boil for 10 minutes (decrease to 90C).

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Remove from heat but allow to sit for a further 30 minutes – 1 hour to steep and cool, before sieving the solids from the liquid.

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Pour the liquid into a sterilised glass container and use as you would any cordial. This one is particularly delightful with lots of ice and a few mint leaves on a hot summer day!

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Will last a couple of months in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Grilled Mango Crumble

Fruit based desserts are my favourite!

I love chocolate and sweets as much as the next person but there is something about the amazing natural sweetness and huge variety in fruit which makes it such a delight… And when you can pick the fruit from your own backyard it is so much the sweeter!

We picked our first backyard mango for the season a couple of days ago and I wanted to do somethinga little special with it. I guess this is like a faster, deconstructed version (MasterChef come at me 🤣) of my favourite apple and berry crumble

  • 2 tsp vegan butter melted/light tasting oil
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats OR shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup puffed rice OR GF rice bubbles
  • 1/3 cup almond meal OR plain flour of choice
  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp extra coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup mixed pumpkin and hemp seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon/mixed spice
  • 2 large fresh mango cheeks
  • Yoghurt of choice (dairy and coconut both work well with the flavours)

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Mix together all dry ingredients and stir through melted butter until well combined.

Tip into a medium hot frying pan, and toast, stirring regularly, until golden brown and crunchy. Then remove from the heat.

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‘hedhehog’ your mango cheeks by scoring deeply in a grid pattern, down to the skin, but not through.

Hold the edges of the mango and push up in the middle to pop up the squares.

Sprinkle each with 1/4tsp of coconut sugar.

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Place mango under a hot grill. Watch it carefully! Allow the sugar to melt and start to caramelize. This only takes a few minutes.

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Remove from oven, top with crumble mix and serve with a dollop of natural yoghurt.

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Serve immediately.

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Enjoy 😊

Cranberry & White Choc Muesli Cookies

My big boy has been having a tough time lately. So when we have an afternoon at home (which is rare!) he is pretty keen to spend one on one time with me.

Pre-teens often don’t want to sit and talk in a formal, eye contact kind of way … so cooking and working along side each other provides a really good opportunity to talk and try to sort somethings through.

Today he asked to make cookies. We’d tried a white choc cranberry cookie from the shops recently but they were SUPER sweet and his tummy didn’t feel so great after them (probably would have been ok if he had one and not three though!!)

So we adapted our regular choc chip cookies and came up with these beauties.

  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup spelt flour (half wholemeal) OR 1 1/4 cup GF Flour plus 1 tsp psyllium
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats OR shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp GF baking powder
  • pinch pink salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup white choc chip (which ever suit your diet – Sweet William is a winner for us)
  • 150g vegan butter, melted (but not too hot or it will melt your choc chips!)
  • Optional: zest of 1/2 an orange, finely grated

In your food processor or thermal cooker place the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, oats and cinnamon. Blitz to a coarse flour (speed 8, 8 secs)

Add in the cranberries and seeds and mix again until combined (Speed 4, 6 secs). Blitz for longer if you want less obvious ‘bits’

Add in the butter through the chute at the top whilst mixing (on Speed 4) and mix until well combined (about 10 seconds)

Add in the chocolate and mix until just combined (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

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Form a teaspoon full into a ball and spoon onto a lined baking tray, allowing space to spread. Press down gently.

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Cook in a preheated moderate oven for 14-15 minutes.

They will be soft when you remove them from the oven. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

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Makes about 20.

Enjoy!!

Frozen yoghurt ice creams

I don’t remember any family from my childhood that didn’t have Tupperware icy pole moulds!

There are loads of different moulds you can buy now, but whichever you choose to use, they are fabulous for making simple, healthy, tasty, waste free desserts.

This recipe is very flexible. Make it more or less creamy depending on the amount of yoghurt you use. It’ll be less ice creamy and more of an icy pole if you leave out the banana and switch to other fruit.

In our freezer we had a heap of mango left over from a self picking expedition where we went slightly (*understatement!) overboard! And then we had 2 bunches of our homegrown bananas ripen very quickly so we’d peeled and frozen them too. So when we were after dessert these were a no-brainer!

  • 4 mango cheeks, frozen or fresh (tinned peaches or apricots are a great alternative here)
  • 2 medium frozen bananas
  •  approx 400g of yoghurt of choice (dairy, soy, coconut and almond all work well)
  • Optional: 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Put everything in a high powdered blender/bullet/thermo machine and blitz until very smooth. If you’re using a thermo machine, make sure you drop frozen chunks of fruit through the top on to already spinning blades. Start at Speed 4 and then work up to 8 for a smooth finish.

Pour into your moulds. This quantity fills 12 of the Tupperware moulds pictured.

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Stick in the freezer for 4 hours, or until frozen.

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Enjoy!

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P.S. Our Dairy and soy yoghurt recipe is linked above, but if you can have tree nuts, and you want yo buy your yoghurt, we have recently found a GF, DF almond milk yoghurt that is really yummy

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Roasted Tomato Confit

It’s that time of year again and our summer garden is bursting with juicy, red gems! Time to get preserving 🙂

Itchin' Kitchen

We have had such a lovely abundance of cherry tomatoes this year. But then we have had some crazily inconsistent weather – and tomatoes don’t like inconsistent watering …. so we picked a load that had split. Gr. What to do?

I remember my host family in France (from a loooong time ago) had all kids of amazing confit jars (confit is French for preserved) in their cool basement. Lots of meats and veggies to get them through a snowy, regional winter. Since I couldn’t bear to waste these little gems, I decided to have a go at my own confit with my little red gems.

You’ll need:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • fresh herbs (I use basil, rosemary and thyme)
  • garlic olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash and pat dry your tomatoes. Remove little stems.

Place in a lined baking dish.

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Tear herbs and scatter around the tomatoes. Drizzle very generously with…

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Maple, banana and cinnamon Weetbix slice

We share supper in the evening after church each Sunday.

This week it was my turn on roster. I always try to make sure that I cater for as many food allergies and intolerances as I can so that, at least sometimes, those who might otherwise be left out can join in.

This recipe was a hit – free from gluten, eggs, dairy, nuts, soy, legumes and also vegan… but delicious enough that the non-food allergy folk enjoyed it and several requested the recipe. Winner!

Weetbix slice was a childhood favourite – a regular feature in our school lunchboxes. I’m sure the slice came about as a budget-stretching way of using up the inevitable crumbs at the end of the pack!
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The gluten free version of Weetbix is made with sorghum and although I’m not the biggest fan of the original as such a nutritious cereal, it fits our allergy requirements, my kids are excited and I’m pleased to be able to use them in baking!

  • 160g vegan butter, melted
  • 6 weetbix, crushed (regular or GF)
  • 1 cup plain flour of choice (I use spelt or the White Wings GF blend)
  • 1 rounded tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup flaked quinoa (or rolled oats if it suits you)
  • 2 tbsp each flax seeds and hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 medium overripe banana

Mix together all dry ingredients (Sp 4, 8 seconds).

In a separate bowl mash the banana well, add in the maple syrup then pour in the melted butter and mix until well. (Butter in first, Sp 3, 100C for 60 seconds, then add in remaining wet ingredients and use Sp 4, 20 seconds, scrape down and repeat if required)

Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and fold together until well combined (Sp 3, 15 secs).

Press firmly into a lined baking tray (mine was 20x20cm).

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes.

All to cool and then ice with maple icing – made with 1 tbsp soft vegan butter beaten into 2 tsp of maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon and several tbsp of pure icing sugar (add more as required to reach your desired consistency).

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Slice and store in airtight container in the fridge. Makes 16-20 slices.

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Ready to share

Enjoy 🙂

P.S. I’ve had a query about replacing the banana … simply switch it out for about 1/3 of a cup of apple sauce … add a teaspoon more at a time if the mixture seems too dry.

Simple Cinnamon Granola

Mmmmmm granola. Fabulous crunchy texture that adds interest to breakfast.

It is so versatile and you can really load it up with great stuff to boost your fats and protein – nutrients that are missing from most store bought cereals!

I do make a yummy crunchy granola (that you can find here) but I was after an even quicker and more simple granola that I could make in bulk and have on standby in the pantry for everyday breakfast (or dessert!).

I am conscious that it is really easy to eat sweet granola, so for another option, I am using cinnamon here instead of a sweetener (although there is an option to add more sweetness if you are so inclined!). Cinnamon is so light and fragrant that it works well to give the perception of sweetness without the sugar.

I make this one in a double batch, but the ingredients listed below are for just a smaller single batch.

See below the main recipe for ideas on making this granola Gluten free and Grain free

  • 1 cup rolled oats**
  • 1 cup mixed seeds (or nuts if you like) – I love a mixture of pumpkin, sunflower, flax and hemp seeds.
  • 2 tsps good Olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • OPTIONAL: 2 tsps honey/maple syrup

Mix together dry ingredients.

Sprinkle with cinnamon then mix well to evenly coat.

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Drizzle over oil and mix well to evenly coated. If you’re adding honey or maple syrup, drizzle it over here, together with the oil – it helps to spread further if it is warmed first.

Place under a hot grill and bake until  golden. Shake the tray several times during

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Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

**To make this one coeliac friendly, use a mixture of puffed rice and shredded coconut, in whichever ratio you like best. For grain free use a mixture of buckwheat groats and coconut flakes.

Throw it in your yoghurt, eat it with milk or with some stewed fruit – my favourite is with yoghurt and a few berries!

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Enjoy 🙂