Fried Rice

Itchin' Kitchen

‘The best dinner in the whole world of ever time’ …. This is how Will describes my fried rice.  So nice when you get something right!!

This is a fairly regular feature on our menu because; it’s a meal that everyone loves, is easy to make, can be easily adjusted to cater for allergies, you can make most of it in advance, you can make it in bulk, it freezes well for emergency dinners later on and it is a muuuuch healthier option than the Fried Rice you’d get in a restaurant! What is not to love?!

  • 2 cups brown rice*
  • 4 cups of finely chopped veggies (peas, corn, carrots and bean shoots are our regulars)
  • 200g sliced mushrooms
  • 3-4 diced chicken thighs
  • 6 rashers short cut bacon, diced
  • finely grated, fresh ginger, to taste
  • 1/2 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (Massel for a…

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Banana Muffins

These are such a favourite in our home – today we have 7 kids after school who need to be fed, do homework and get out again, dressed and ready for 4 jujitsu classes in under an hour. Simple and filling is required!!

Itchin' Kitchen

I may have gone slightly overboard in my excitement to see bananas for $1.50/kg at the markets the other day … I came home with 30 of them!!!! Eek … too many even for us, and we eat about 8 a day in this house!

So banana inspired baking it is!

These muffins are super easy to make, they are moist and sweet, lightly sweetened with honey, they freeze well for lunchboxes, and best of all – my little people love them!

See below the recipe for a Coeliac friendlyoption and a nutritionally boosted version too.

  • 300g flour (I use like a rye/oat combination or half wholemeal and half white spelt)
  • 2tbsp chia seeds (black are great, but white hides better!)
  • 2.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 4 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 4 tbsp melted Nuttelex/Vegan butter/tasteless coconut oil
  • 1 large, very ripe bananas
  • 10 tbsp milk of choice (I love…

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Spinach and Basil Pesto

Pesto is such a yummy addition to so many meals, but with pine nuts and parmesan being a standard in most recipes, it’s normally not an option for us.

But this year my both my basil and my spinach are growing great guns so I was inspired to make a pesto that would use our fresh produce and be safe.

  • 1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 packed cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt flakes
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (50g)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (40g)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (40g)
  • 50g extra virgin olive oil

Dry fry the seeds in a hot frying pan. Keep a close eye on them, stirring regularly, as it only takes a couple of minutes for them to go golden brown.

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Add all ingredients, except the olive oil to your blender/processor/thermal cooker and process until quite fine (speed 8, 6 secs, scrape down and repeat).

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Process again as you slowly drizzle the oil through the top opening of the machine (speed 4). Process until oil is well combined.

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Use immediately or freeze in ice cubes for future use. Makes about 1 cup.

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Some ideas for use:

  • Rub onto chicken pieces or salmon before baking
  • Add in a handful of sun-dried tomatoes at the processing stage and stir through pasta (Especially awesome if you top with some crispy bacon and home made garlic croutons!)
  • Fold through some cream cheese (soy based or dairy) or a ripe, mashed avocado as a great dip.
  • If you enjoy the Parmesan flavour that a lot of pesto has, add in a tbsp of Nutritional Yeast

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Enjoy 🙂

Yoghurt – soy and dairy

We go through quite a lot of yoghurt in this house.

All 6 of us enjoy it, so it is a standard dessert with berries, we use it to make pizza dough and scrolls, plus cakes, smoothies and fruit icy poles and the kids all like to take it to school.

To cut down on costs we used to buy in large tubs and spoon into our reusable squeezey pouches. But it is still not cheap, and unless you are buying plain natural yoghurt, then it is full of sugar and flavourings, which I don’t love!

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Soy yoghurt in Ellie’s Lunchbox – We’ve been using these Sinchies containers for over 5 years!

The push for me to make my own was when I realised that 350g of the soy yoghurt that Ellie eats was costing almost $4 but I could buy 1L of Soy milk for just over $2 – Yikes!

I did a bit of research and found that I could buy a non-dairy culture as a starter online. This is the one I use, from Green Living Australia. It was about $22 to buy, but contains enough starter to make 100L – not too bad!!

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You can use the non dairy starter to make dairy yoghurt too – but their Dairy Starter does a better job as they work at slightly different temperatures.

The starters do need to be kept in the freezer.

I adapted the instructions from  Green Living Australia to make a couple of recipes that suit our family.

If you don’t have access to the starter, you can use simply use 1 heaped tablespoon of your last yoghurt into the milk at the same point the started would go in then whisk it to combine it evenly and continue on with the rest of the steps as per the recipe.

The simplest way to go is to use UHT milk because it has already been heat treated. If you want to use fresh milk then you will need to heat the milk to 90C for 8-10 minutes and then allow to cool to between 37-42C before adding the culture. This allows only the bacteria that you want to culture to be left over.

You will need an accurate cooking thermometer for this recipe. A digital candy thermometer is ideal (they cost under $15 in most big Supermarkets)

Dairy Yoghurt:

  • 1L full cream UHT milk
  • 1/3 cup milk powder (optional, but gives a thicker yoghurt)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional, we don’t use it for the dairy milk)
  • 1 dose starter culture

In a large saucepan place the milk, sugar (if using) and powder and whisk to ensure even distribution.

Heat on a gentle heat until it reaches between 41-43C. Remove from heat and tip in culture. The amount required is very small!

this quantity of powder is enough starter for 1.5L!
this quantity of powder is enough starter for 1.5L!

Whisk again to ensure even distribution.

The idea now is to keep the milk mix at this temperature for the next 18-24 hours. I use both the Easiyo container and my regular thermos (warmed with boiling water before tipping the yoghurt in) – both work equally well. An Electric yoghurt maker is a fancier option but essentially does the same job of keeping the mix at a stable warm temperature.

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After about 18-24 hours, check to see that the yoghurt is set, flavour it as you wish and then store in a clean container in the fridge for up to 10 days. We tend to leave the yoghurt plain in the fridge and then flavour it as we choose when we’re serving to allow for more variety – and for no flavour when we’re using it in dough.

If you have tummy difficulties with lactose, then leave the yoghurt fermenting for the full 24 hours and the bacteria will have eaten almost all of the milk sugars (lactose) and you will essentially have a lactose free yoghurt.

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The sugar is optional in dairy milks since there is already lactose available to feed the culture, however, adding a simple sugar increases the carbohydrate available for the culture to eat and improves the end result. Green Living Australia say that the sugar is used up by the bacteria and won’t be there in the end.

Soy yoghurt:

  • 1L soy UHT milk** (opt for the no added sugar, organic version if you can so you can control the quantity of sugar)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 dose starter culture

**I buy a ‘protein rich’ Soy milk which has the bean content upped to 21% and it makes for a really amazing thick yoghurt – much closer to the store bought variety!

In a large saucepan place the milk and sugar and whisk to ensure even distribution.

Heat on a gentle heat until it reaches between 37-41C. Remove from heat and tip in culture. The amount required is very small!

Whisk again to ensure even distribution.

Place in Thermos/Easiyo container and follow same storage and flavouring guidelines as for Dairy yoghurt.

The sugar isn’t optional when you are making soy yoghurt as the soy bean doesn’t have the same natural sugars to feed the cultures.

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The enrich the calcium content you can add a few drops of calcium carbonate before tipping in to the thermos, which also helps with giving a thicker yoghurt.

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To get a Greek style yoghurt you need to strain the end yoghurt through a nut milk bag.

Enjoy!!

Salted caramel shake

Such a delicious breakfast treat for a hot morning …. or for lunch on any given day for my littlest miss and mister!

It packs quite a few calories but it will keep you full for the whole morning because of the protein and fibre.

You will need a good high powered blender/processor for this recipe. I’ve made it in my Nutribullet and Bellini and both work well.

  • 500ml cold milk of choice (my favourite is unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1 large frozen banana
  • 2 medjool dates, pitted
  • 4 tbsp rolled oats
  • 2 heaped tsp sunflower seed butter (here)
  • good pinch of pink Himalayan salt
  • 8 ice blocks
  • OPTIONAL – 1 tsp maple syrup (I tend to leave this out for me)

Place the oats on the processor and blitz until fine (Speed 9, 8 seconds)

Place the banana, syrup (if using), salt, seed butter and about 25mls of milk in the processor/blender and pulse a few times.

Scrape down the sides. Then while the processor is running, add in the dates one at a time. Process for a further 20 seconds (Speed 4 during the addition then up to 7 for 10 seconds).

Add in the rest of the milk and the ice blocks (through the chute whilst running) and process until well combined and fairly smooth. (Speed 6)

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Serve immediately.

If you’re using a bullet style blender, use half of the ingredients in each of 2 large cups.

*I’ve recently been using cow’s milk as my husband’s taste preference. I use 1/4 full cream milk and 3/4 cold water.

Serves 2

Enjoy 🙂

Mulberry Jam

I should start this post by saying that I am a total jam novice …. this is my first ever go at making jam but it was much less scary than I thought and it tastes so yummy that I am inspired to make more.

I am very fortunate that my parents-in-law have a sprawling, very heavily laden mulberry tree in their backyard, so picking over 2kg of berries to have a go was very easy (and fun!).

I have made this one with quite ‘Christmassy’ flavours so it is another great gift to give for teachers  (or even those great Aunts and second cousins once removed that are really tricky to buy for 😉 )

  • 1.3kg Mulberries
  • 1.5kg jam setting sugar (made by CSR, it already has some pectin in it)
  • finely grated zest of 2 large oranges
  • 1 heaped tsp of ground cinnamon
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 8-10 glass jars, scrubbed clean

Wash berries and drain very well. Remove any obvious stems and place in a large saucepan.

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Crush with a potato masher. How much you crush depends on how smooth or lumpy you like your jam … I like some lumps so I didn’t mash too much.

Tip in the zest, juice and cinnamon and mix well.

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Turn on the stove to a low heat and add the sugar.

Stir continuously over low heat, until ALL of the sugar has dissolved.

Turn up the stove to a high heat and bring to a rolling boil. And continue the boil for 4 minutes.

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Remove from the heat.

During these 4 minutes boil the kettle and soak the jars and lids in the boiling water. Dry the outside of the jar with a clean tea towel.

As soon as you have removed the jam from the heat, use a jug, like a pyrex style measuring jug to scoop out the jam and pour it into the jars. Please be very careful with this part … it is a really hot mixture and you will need to protect your hands.

Fill the jars, place the lids on and immediately invert them. Allow them to stand upside down for an hour. This allows the jars to reseal and keeps them airtight.

Then turn the jars up the right way and wipe them … it is a messy process! Allow to cool and set overnight – don’t put them in the fridge as you might crack the glass. Only use jars with a plastic lid if you are going to use it straight away or if you have jam seals underneath.

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You can easily decorate the jars to give as gifts. We did a pretty label and some glossy red and green bows. They look great!

Delightful!
Delightful!
He has waited a looong time for this jam!
He has waited a looong time for this jam!

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Lemon Drizzle
Retro Mummy inspired me to go the rustic look with the baking paper and I love it!

I enjoy reading Retro Mummy’s blog and we have been loving her recent cake recipes. I adapt them to be dairy and egg (and nut when required) free and usually they turn out really well. The best so far has been the Lemon Drizzle Cake. You can see Corrie’s recipe here. I made my cake in my KitchenAid and loved using fresh lemons from our tree, saving them from ending up as balls for my kids to play with in the garden! I have a feeling that this cake would even cope with being gluten free as well – the flavours are so good.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • grated lemon rind from 2 lemons
  • 125g Nuttelex
  • 1tsp vanilla essence/extract
  • 2 eggs equivalent of No Egg, made up with water and mixed well.
  • 3/4-1 cup soy milk (or whatever milk you can have – coconut milk might work really well) I had a juicy lemon so didn’t need as much milk.
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup or 55g desiccated coconut (I used shredded and it was good!)
  • 1½ cups/250g SR flour

Drizzle icing

  • juice of 3 lemons (2 would be enough if they were as big/juicy as the ones off my tree)
  • 1½ cups icing sugar
Method
  1. Cream the butter, lemon rind and sugar until thick and creamy.
  2. Add in vanilla and combine.
  3. Add in No Egg mixture, milk and juice of 1 lemon and mix until creamy.
  4. Add in flour and coconut and mix until well combined and creamy and fluffy. I’m not sure why mine went super fluffy but I did leave it for a little bit to attend to children so I think the No Egg really got working like eggs. Worth being distracted for!
  5. Pour into a lined cake tin and bake for about 40 minutes in a 170C/340F oven.
  6. While cake is cooking combine the icing sugar and juice of two lemons in a bowl. Leaving it for a while ensures any icing sugar lumps are dealt with by the juice.
  7. When cake is cooked, remove from tin and leave to cool
  8. Drizzle icing over the cake. I drizzled the icing over while the cake was still warm, like Corrie suggested. I think it absorbs it better too.
  9. Enjoy while still warm – mmm mmm!

Results

5 thumbs up and lots of ‘more’ signing from Miss Emmalyn!