cakes & desserts

raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb

30th April 2017

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This garden breathes beautifully of our time here……

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and deeply grateful of the gifts it has given……

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raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb

Makes 10 muffins.

A recipe I make often based on this Plum Millet Cake, the sweet almond crumb adds a delicious crunchy texture which contrasts nicely with the sourness of the raspberries. These muffins are tender, fragrant and light.  The maple syrup can be replaced with ½ cup brown sugar; you will need to increase almond milk to ¾ cup instead of ¼.  

I made my own muffin liners by tearing up  12 x 12 cm square pieces of baking paper and pressing them down into the tray – if you grease the tin before hand the liners behave nicely.  If you don’t have a muffin tin, this recipe can also be made as a cake, may need to increase the baking time.

for the quinoa:

¼ cup/50g quinoa, washed

½ cup/125ml water

for the almond crumb:

cup/30g flaked almonds

2 Tblsp/15g brown sugar/coconut sugar

2 Tblsp maple syrup

for the cake:

1½ cup/210g whole spelt flour

1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder

¾ cup/185ml maple syrup

¼ cup/60ml plus 2 tablespoon mild tasting olive oil/melted coconut oil

¼ cup/60ml almond milk

1 Tblsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp fine rock salt

150g frozen/fresh raspberries

to cook the quinoa:

Drain and rinse quinoa.  Place in a small pot, add ½ cup water and salt.  Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium – do not cover as this eliminates any impurities.  Simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until the water has evaporated.  Turn off the heat; cover and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing up with a fork.  Measure out 1 cup/130g cooked quinoa, set aside.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Fill a muffin tray with 10 liners.

prepare the almond crumb:

In a small bowl place the flaked almonds, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine and set aside.

to prepare the cake:

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.  In a medium jug, whisk together the maple syrup, olive oil, almond milk, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and the cooked quinoa. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture then pour in the wet, and using a rubber spatula, stir until well combined.  Fold in the raspberries – be careful not to over-mix.

Scoop the batter into muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.  Spoon a teaspoon of the almond crumb on top of each muffin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.  Take the muffins out of the tin and place them onto a wire rack to cool. Serve with a generous dollop of greek yogurt.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

kaseri bath – sweet upma

12th February 2017

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Satyam, sivam and sundaram.

Truth, sacredness, and beauty are three most important characteristics seen through the universe. They come from the Eternal Truth and are contained in everything to a greater or lesser extent. Happiness takes shelter under their protection.  Violence can utterly spoil them.  When we intentionally violate these qualities we violate Truth. It is therefore our duty to preserve and maintain them.

~ The sacred Tradition of Yoga – Dr Shankaranarayana Jois

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A recipe shared by our teacher last year as part of  The Jivana Yoga Diploma, we are fortunate to be graced with their presence here in Portugal.  Their presence in our home and lives leaves a profound effect on our daily existence and our practices become that little bit more concrete and established on this yogic path.

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Kaseri Bath – Sweet Upma

Serves 8 – 10 small servings

Kaseri Bath is especially recommended for Yoga practitioners.  It calms the mind and keeps it fresh.  It may be used by all constitutions.  Kaseri Bath can be served as part of a main meal and it is especially recommended to be served with Upma or Idli.  Best served warm, it is the Indian tradition to start with the sweet first.  Depending on the type of sugar used, the taste and colour may vary. Instead of bananas, apple or pineapple can be used.

ingredients :

1½ cups/350ml warm water

1 pinch saffron – approximately 15 threads

6 cardamom pods  – ¼ tsp ground

3 medium-sized bananas – approximately 200g chopped

10 pieces raw cashew nuts

10 pieces raw almonds

1 cup/165g semolina

½ cup/125ml ghee – liquid

¼ cup/35g raisins/sultanas

¼ tsp fine rock salt

1 cup/205g light brown sugar 

preparation :

Measure out the 1½ cups water and place the saffron threads to steep for 15 minutes, while preparing the rest of the ingredients.

Peel & cut the bananas into 1 cm pieces.  Cut the almonds into 3 pieces and the cashew nuts into 2 pieces.

Remove the hard shell from the cardamom, and place the small black seeds in a mortar and pestle, grind into a fine powder.  Set aside.

Over a medium heat, pour the ghee into a medium-sized skillet/bandalei, add almonds, cashews and semolina.  Stir continuously for approximately 10 minutes, or until the cashews have turned golden-brown in colour.

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Pour in the saffron water, add the raisins, chopped banana and salt. Stir continuously for approximately 3 minutes.  Add the sugar, after about 30 seconds of stirring the Kesari Bath will become considerably more softer and liquid in consistency, and then will thicken slightly again. 

This process will take approximately  2-3 minutes, of continually stirring; or until the sugar has dissolved.  While stirring, once you feel the Kesari Bath is thicker in consistency and starts to slide away from the pan – it is ready.  Turn off the heat, stir in the cardamon powder, mixing well. 

Allow the Kesari Bath to rest for a minute and for the flavours to deepen.  Serve warm.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

blackberry – acai popsicle

2nd September 2016

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A gorgeous coloured blackberry sorbet in celebration with the season, with the added benefits of acai – a recipe for the Holmes Place magazine; an ongoing concept of ‘super foods ‘ throughout the year.

‘Acai is a rich, deep purple fruit which is similar in shape to a grape and has a mild chocolate-y berry sweetness. These berries grow in huge clusters near the tops of palm trees, which grow in the Amazon rain forests. Each Acai berry contains just 10% fruit and pulp and a large seed, which has no benefits, so harvesting this fruit is laborious since the tree has no branches and each cluster of berries needs to be cut and brought down manually in order to preserve the fruit and pulp.  Within the nutritional pulp and skin, Acai berries are packed with antioxidants, amino acids, fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. It helps to increase your antioxidant levels, boosts your energy levels, supports your immune system and helps to promote a healthy digestive system.’

There are three basic ways to add acai to a recipe: acai powder, acai juice and acai frozen smoothie packs. Here, I choose to use the powder which is more widely available and which has been freeze-dried instantly to preserve the active components and is not overly processed. The powder can be added to smoothies, juices, home-made ice creams, sprinkled over your morning porridge, or added into raw treats.

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~home~

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Blackberry-Acai Popsicle

Makes 9 small popsicles

If you don’t have blackberries, try a different berry variety, blueberries, raspberries or even strawberries.  For a creamier sorbet, replace the apple juice with coconut cream by refrigerating a tin of coconut milk, & scooping out the white thick cream on top.   If you don’t have access to acai powder, it can be easily omitted. 

ingredients:

3 cups fresh blackberries, washed

2 medium ripe frozen bananas

½ cup unsweetened apple juice or fruit juice of choice

2 teaspoon acai powder

2 Tablespoon natural sweetener of choice (coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey)

preparation:

Wash the berries and place in a high-speed blender or food processor, along with the peeled frozen bananas, apple juice, & acai powder.  Blend until smooth and creamy, stopping if you need to push the fruit down with a rubber spatula.  Taste, and add sweetener, if required.  Blend again to incorporate the sweet.

Spoon or pour into your popsicle holders, & freeze until firm or enjoy as is, for an instant treat.  When ready, pull the popsicle out of their moulds by running them under some warm water. 

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References – https://www.victoriahealth.com/editorial/facts-and-myths-about-acai-berry

Goodness shared by Stacey

mango passionfruit sorbet

6th August 2016

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I photographed this before I left for our holiday. We travelled for almost 2 days and a bit, arriving in a bit of a daze – a haze. Finally, with our feet on earthly ground and toes in the sand.  The jet lag is HUGE, but worth every moment of breathing in all these scents and sounds which are so familiar.  The early, early mornings are my most favourite, most alive, sitting out on the deck, watching the sky change its colour from black to blue to pink to orange – so brightly. And with it all, along comes the eerie call of the curlew, followed by a kookaburra and then the screech and squawk of the white-crested cockatoos.  Australia is a beautiful country.

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Glorious days, white sands & soft, glowing, clear skies.

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mango passionfruit sorbet

Serves 6

This is incredibly quick & easy, with a remarkable end result of a golden-coloured smooth, refreshing sorbet for these hot Summer days or as a light evening treat to end a meal.

ingredients :

650g/3 heaped cups fresh ripe mango (2 large mangos)

6 – 8 passionfruit

2 Tblsp mild-tasting honey/maple syrup (optional)

preparation:

Peel & chop the mango flesh into large chunks and place in a bowl.  Run your hand over the seed to remove as much of the mango pulp and juice as possible.  Place the pulp and the honey into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.   Set aside.

In a medium jug, half the passionfruit and scoop out the pulp.  Pour the mango puree into the jug and stir to combine with a spoon.

Transfer the mixture to an ice-cream maker and churn for about 25 – 30 minutes, or to the manufacture´s instructions, until frozen.  The sorbet will be soft.  Transfer to a container, cover and freeze for at least 3 hours or until completely frozen.

When ready to serve, allow to soften outside for 15 minutes before scooping into bowls.  Garnish with leaves of fresh lemon verbena and bright, edible flowers.

If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, freeze the cut mango until solid.  Place in a blender with the honey and blend until smooth.  Stir in the passionfruit pulp and place in the freezer until it just starts to harden around the edges.  Whisk vigorously with a fork to break up any ice crystals, then freeze until firm.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

rhubarb raspberry rye crumble

28th April 2016

rhubarb raspberry rye crumble

I love how the Rhubarb plant emerges out of nowhere, uncurling from the ground into huge umbrella-like leaves and vibrant stalks that are a welcome site in a garden when it is in the in-between season stage.

A few tips when harvesting rhubarb :

Rhubarb is mostly harvested in Spring and early summer.  The stalks are crisp and tastier earlier on; as the season progresses stalks become woody and tough.

I recommend not to harvest any stalks during the first years growing season, to allow your plants to become established.  By the second year harvest for a week or two, and by the third year you can harvest for a 8 – 10 week season.  To keep the plant strong, pick a few stalks at a time, as you need them, and pick when they are 12 to 18 inches long, always leaving at least 2 stalks per plant to ensure continued production.

To harvest, tug each stalk downwards with a gentle twist at the base of the stalk rather than cutting it.  Be sure to compost or discard the leaves as they are poisonous and should never be eaten.

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In Ayurvedic Medicine, rhubarb is often given to children and the elderly in combination with ginger root for stomach troubles of all kinds. It has astringent properties which tone the gut and helps remove waste while the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial qualities help in healing an inflamed intestine.

close up

rhubarb raspberry rye crumble

Recipe from Tara O´brady – Seven Spoons

Serves 8 – 10

`There does appear to be a lot of sugar; both raspberry & rhubarb are sour; and the amount of sugar keeps it all in balance´.  The original recipe uses tapioca flour; I found better results with corn flour.  I have also made this using half the rhubarb and replacing with apple, the results were also delicious.  By far the best fruit crumble I have made to date and has become a favourite.  As requested by certain family members I increased the streusel topping.  Nothing beats the rich, heady scent of baking raspberries that will fill your kitchen.

streusel topping :

¾ cup (172g) unsalted butter, softened

¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar

¾ tsp fine-grain rock salt

1 ½ cup (165g) old-fashioned rolled oats

¾ cup (97g)all-purpose flour

½ cup (75g) rye flour

¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp flaked almonds

¾ tsp cardamom powder

filling :

900g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1 cm pieces

565g raspberries, fresh or frozen

juice from ½ lemon

¾ cup (150g) light brown sugar

¼ cup corn flour/tapioca flour

¼ tsp fine-grain rock salt

1 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 190 C/375 F.  Grease a  13 x 6 – inch baking dish with butter.

to make the topping :

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy, around 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and turn the speed to low.  Sprinkle in the oats, flours, almonds, and cardamom; let the machine run until the ingredients are incorporated and the mixture starts to gather into a rough streusel, 3 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Keep in a cool spot or covered in the fridge while you organise the filling.

A few times I made this the streusel topping became quite doughy rather than flakey when mixing; it wasn´t a problem as once it sits in the fridge for a bit it is easy to break up with the fingers and crumble over the top.

to make the filling :

In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, raspberries, lemon juice, sugar, corn flour, and salt.  Split the vanilla bean down its length, scrape the seeds into the bowl, and then add the pod as well.  Fold everything until the corn flour disappears.

rhubarb filling

Tip the fruit into the prepared baking dish, including any collected juices.  With clean hands, crumble the streusel over the filling, in haphazard and uneven heaps.

Place the dish on the prepared baking sheet and bake until the juices are gurgling with large bubbles and the topping is golden brown, 50 minutes or thereabouts.

Cool on a rack for 30 minutes before considering eating.  Serve warm or cold, with vanilla ice cream or thick yogurt.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

citrus coconut cupcakes

20th March 2016

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When we lived in Israel, we were very fortunate to be surrounded by citrus orchards, and now here in Portugal, we have our own line of orange and lemon trees that extends down the driveway.  Each Winter, the trees are abundant and I am struggling to make use of all those oranges.  I managed to boil and freeze a dozen for this recipe, and twice weekly, I fill a basket full to last us through with fleshly squeezed juices in the mornings.  I peel and chop bowls full, to offer to class after yoga practice.  I have also been making big pots of marmalade jam to last us through the year.  Scooping it up and serving it on home-made bread to warm and brighten these damply, chilly days.  But still, so many end up on the ground.

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orange blossom mandala

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citrus coconut cupcakes

makes 12 cupcakes

Recipe adapted from Amy Chaplin’s – ‘At Home in the Wholefood Kitchen’.

Deliciously flavoured orange vegan cupcakes.  The boiled whole orange, then blended with the wet ingredients, gives these cupcakes a clean, vibrant and refreshing flavour.  The coconut gives them a crusty outside and moist, light crumb inside.  I love to serve them with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt and a drizzling of maple syrup for a sweeter cake.

I have also made this as a cake and drizzled it lavishly with lemon-zested icing.

ingredients:

1 ¾ cups whole spelt flour

1 ½ tsp aluminum-free baking powder

¾ tsp  baking soda

1 ¾ cups, dried unsweetened, shredded coconut, divided

1 medium navel/Valencia orange, boiled

1 cup maple syrup

¼ cup plus 2 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp rock salt

1 Tblsp vanilla essence

strips of lemon & orange zest to garnish, optional

to boil the orange:

Place a whole orange in a medium pot, cover with filtered water, then bring to boil over high heat.  Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 – 50 minutes or until soft.  Remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

You can also boil a few oranges in advance and freeze them for up to three months.

to make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners and set aside.

Grind ¾ cup dried coconut in a food processor for 1 minute.  Add the whole spelt flour, baking powder and soda to the food processor, and blend to combine.  Place into a medium bowl and add the remaining dried coconut.  Set aside

Cut the boiled orange into quarters, remove any seeds, and cut each piece in half.  Place in a food processor, add the maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and vanilla.  Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.  Pour into the flour mixture, and use a rubber spatula to stir until just combined; do not overmix.

Distribute batter among lined muffin tray, filling them almost to the top.  Place in oven, bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes in the tray.  Remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, serve with thick Greek yogurt, a drizzling of maple syrup and garnish with strips of citrus zest.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

Gillians six-minute carob cake

5th January 2016

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While staying with Gillian, I had the honour and privilege of spending time & cooking together with her in her exquisite kitchen.  I left fulfilled and inspired along with a favourite book tucked into my suitcase and together with a bundle of recipes.  This is one of them, which we cooked together for Christmas Eve dinner. It is a celebratory cake which Gillian bakes for all birthdays, celebrations and special occasions. Sometimes using cocoa powder instead of the carob powder, and in Summer decorated with fresh strawberry slices, and in Winter, Pomegranate seeds.

Gillian possesses a divine talent for cooking, a grace which flows through her to create a perfect balance of tastes, leaving a feeling of deep satisfaction and contentment.  Each dish is created with such pure intention and ease – a delight for the senses.

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A few more photos of our trip – still on Paul & Gillian’s idyllic property.  I spent almost a week there, and it felt like a retreat. Waking early, painting in silence, morning tea by candlelight. Then just as the light started to change, I would bundle myself up, camera in hand, and venture out of my warm, little room walking the surrounding forest, breathing in the silence, and soaking up nature’s soft beauty in the morning golden light.

side view chocolate cake

Gillians six-minute carob cake

Recipe adapted from ‘Enlightened Eating’ by Caroline Marie Dupont

A fast and delicious treat that can be mixed right into the baking pan.  The recipe says that it is not necessary to grease the pan, but I have not been brave enough to try that.  Carob is a naturally sweet, nutritious little gem.  The taste of carob does vary – I prefer using a lighter variety.

For best result, I make this cake the day before and keep in the fridge.

ingredients :

1½ cups whole spelt flour

cup unsweetened carob powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup coconut sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)

½ cup good quality olive/sunflower oil

1 cup cold water

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 Tblsp vinegar – I use apple cider vinegar

to make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

Grease a 8-inch square pan or a 8-inch round baking pan.

Mix together the flour, carob, baking soda, salt, and coconut sugar in the greased baking pan and stir to combine.

In a large measuring jug, measure and mix together the sunflower oil, water and vanilla extract.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the baking pan and mix batter with a fork or small whisk.

choco cake in the making

When the batter is smooth, add the vinegar and stir quickly.  There will be pale swirls in the batter where the baking soda and the vinegar are reacting.  Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.

swirling batter

Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.  When cooked, remove from oven, set aside to cool completely and then, refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Start to prepare the glaze while the cake is baking.

carob glaze

elias frosting

I love this glaze, so simple with minimum ingredients.  What is created is a thick (because of the coconut oil), pourable glaze with no nasty sugars or powders.  The coconut oil is liquid when heated, and solidifies when in contact with the cold – because of this it plays the important role in thickening this glaze.

ingredients :

2 Tblsp cold-pressed coconut oil, melted

cup maple syrup

cup carob powder

preparation :

Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan, then turn off the heat.  Add the maple syrup and carob powder. Mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth.  Set aside to cool.

Remove the cake from the fridge, drizzle over the glaze.  When ready to serve, decorate with strawberry slices or pomegranate seeds and sprinkle with dried shredded coconut.

elias with cakeGoodness shared by Stacey

Baked by Gilllian

Decorated by Elias

vegan strawberry-filled Hanukkah doughnuts (sufganiyot)

10th December 2015

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This is the first year I have made these ‘sufganiyot’.  They were requested for dessert after the lighting of the candles.  Hanukkah is my favourite celebration, with the evening ritual of light, candles and all that wonderful fried food, which I tend to avoid throughout the year.

I enjoy living with a conscious choice of eating and preparing healthy, clean food, but I still enjoy some of the more indulgent foods from time to time.  I appreciate food and through my lifestyle, I have gained a deeper understanding of how food affects my physical, mental, emotional health, and in turn, my meditation practice.

With that in mind, I have also come to understand that anything made with heart-felt gratitude, pure and good intention, and shared with like-minded loved ones, feeds the mind, body and soul and leads us to a higher consciousness.  Even when there is deep-frying and powdered sugar involved!

Magic is involved when dough hits hot oil.  It is a miracle right before your eyes – you will understand when you make these.

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strawberry jam filled doughnuts

makes approximately 20 doughnuts 

I find when deep-frying the doughnuts, it is best to deep fry in a cast-iron pot, as it keeps the oil at an even consistent temperature.  

This is a good site to judge how hot the oil should be without the use of a temperature thermometer.

I aimed for a smaller doughnut but you can make them as small or as large as you wish.  If wanting to make the doughnuts in stages, or to make only a few, prepare the dough, divide and refrigerate half of the dough overnight.  Bring the dough to room temperature the next day, which will take about 30 minutes, and proceed with the instructions below.  

for the wet ingredients:

1 Tblsp chia seeds

3 Tblsp water

¾ cup nut milk (room temperature)

3 Tblsp oil of choice

1 Tblsp vanilla extract

for the dry ingredients:

250g white spelt flour

100g whole spelt flour

50g/¼ cup light brown sugar

1 Tblsp dried yeast

½ tsp Himalayan salt

1 bottle canola, sunflower or peanut oil for frying

for the filling:

½ cup strawberry jam

powdered sugar, for sprinkling

preparation:

In a medium bowl, combine the chia seeds, water and nut milk.  Stir to combine and set aside for twenty minutes.  Once the chia seeds have gelled, add the oil and vanilla extract, then whisk to combine.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand-mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, sugar and sprinkle over the dried yeast.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7 – 10 minutes, until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, turning several times to coat entirely with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a nice warm area in your kitchen, until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

 

Once the dough has risen, give it a quick knead and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1 centimeter thickness.  Using a 2-inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 20 (2-inch) circles, dipping the cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Re-roll scraps until the dough is used up.

Line a baking tray with a clean kitchen towel and place the circles onto the towel.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffy, 20 – 30 minutes.

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When ready, heat a few inches of oil in a large cast-iron pan until it reaches 340F/170C or a scrape of dough sizzles upon contact.  You don’t want it too hot as you want to allow time for the doughnuts to cook through.  Fry in batches of 4 or 5 (depending on the size of your pot), turning once, until golden, for approximately 30 seconds on each side (the doughnuts will float and fry quickly and puff up).  The doughnuts may flip over by themselves, but some may need help.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towels to drain.

To fill them – When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, use a chopstick to poke a hole in the side and rotate it to create a space for the filling.  With a piping bag or small zip-lock bag with the corner cut, squeeze a good helping of strawberry jam into the doughnuts and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  The doughnuts are best serve immediately.  Happy Hanukka!

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Goodness shared by Stacey

apple almond & oat slice

8th October 2015

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The clouds opened up and gave us an offering, and now, this moment we are soaking up the rain, sun and light..
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and feeling truly blessed in seeing all this sweet unknown…

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apple almond & oat slice

makes one 9-inch square slice 

Another recipe from Amy Chaplins – At Home in the Whole food Kitchen

Leave the skins on the apples as they give a beautiful red blush to the slice.  I have tried this with many fruits – my favourite being the apple and freshly picked small plums.  If using small plums or cherries there is no need to saute them,  just toss them in the maple syrup and vanilla before placing them on the oat slice.  

ingredients :

1 Tblsp extra virgin coconut oil

4 small red skinned apples, core & cut in ½ inch slices

4 tsp vanilla extract, divided

cup plus 1 tablespoon maple syrup, divided (or liquid sweetener of choice)

1½ cups regular rolled oats

1 cup dried shredded coconut

1½ cups almond meal

½ cup barley/whole wheat spelt flour

1½ tsp aluminium-free baking powder

½ cup extra virgin coconut oil

2 Tblsp unsweetened apricot or jam of choice

preparation :

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Line a 9 x 9-inch square cake pan and line with parchment paper, covering bottom and about an inch up sides; set aside.

Warm coconut oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.  Add apples and saute for 5 minutes or until golden in parts.  Stir in 1 tablespoon maple syrup and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and continue cooking for another 6 to 8 minutes, lowering heat if apples begin to brown.  Cook until apples are soft but not falling apart.  If they’re still firm, reduce heat to low, cover skillet, and continue cooking for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

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Add oats to a food processor and blend until finely ground.  Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in the almond meal, flour, coconut and baking powder.  In another bowl, whisk remaining maple syrup, remaining vanilla and oil.  Pour into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Lightly press batter into prepared cake pan and bake for twelve – fifteen minutes.  Remove from oven (leave oven on), and arrange apples 4 in a row over surface of slice, leaving a ½-inch border around edge.  (I only had 3 big apples so I improvised and ended up with 3 rows, the smaller apples work better in slicing and the overall look).

Lightly press apples into the cake and return to oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool.

To make the glaze, place jam in a small pot over medium heat and stir until melted, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and use a pastry brush to lightly brush glaze over surface of apples.  Cut into squares and serve with vanilla ice-cream or thick yogurt and a sprinkling of toasted almonds.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

peach pie

20th August 2015

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This was another post sitting in my drafts just before I left for our Summer holiday, using those luxuriously delicious, rose-scented peaches from this tree.

Perfectly ripe, with a few organic, nature-loved and blessed blemishes.  I was reluctant to make this, as it seemed a shame to cook them, but there were so many of them.  And of course, all at once, and they needed to be used.  It was delicious.  And for me, pie is such a luxurious comfort food and all the more made better, with home-grown produce.

It has been a good year in our small orchard, with more still to come.

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a summer peach lattice-top pie

for the dough

350 grams flour (I used 200g white & 150g whole-wheat)

1 tsp salt

½ cup sugar

200g unsalted pure butter

100mL very cold water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

for the filling

770 grams of roughly chopped peaches (Use peaches that are not too ripe)

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

 cup light brown sugar

4 Tblsp of cornstarch

to make the dough :

Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix.  Cut the butter into hazel-nut size pieces and add to the flour, making sure all the butter pieces are well coated with the flour.  Cover and place in the freezer for a minimum of an hour or overnight.

In a food processor with a S-blade attached, add the very cold flour and butter, and process for 20 seconds (the mixture should resemble fine meal).

Stir the vinegar with the very cold water,  and pulse in short bursts.  The dough will still look crumbly, but if you press it between your fingers, it should become smooth.  If the dough is too dry and is not coming together, add iced water, a tablespoon at a time.

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface.  Gather and press the dough together to form a unified mass.

Cut the dough in half and put each half on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Loosely cover the dough with plastic. Using the wrap as an aid (to avoid warming the dough with your bare hands), shape the dough into a disc.  Wrap each piece tightly in the plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to 24 hours.

to make the filling :

Halve each peach, remove the pit, and slice each half into roughly 2 cm chunks.

Put the peaches into a large bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice.  Sprinkle the sugar over the peaches and toss gently to mix.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or overnight.   Transfer to a colander, suspended over a bowl to collect the juices; you should have almost 1 cup of liquid (if the peaches sit for several hours, you’ll have 1½ cup of liquid).  Mine sat overnight, so I was left with a lot of juice.

Pour the juices into a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Boil the liquid to reduce it, swirling until it’s syrupy, about 10 minutes; it should reduce to to ½ cup, depending on how much liquid you started with.  Set aside to cool for 1 – 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, transfer the peaches to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of cornstarch have disappeared.  Pour the reduced peach juice over the peaches, tossing gently.  Set aside to cool.

Rolling out the bottom crust : Remove one of the disc of dough from the fridge.  If it is very firm, let it sit at room temperature until it’s pliable enough to roll, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Using a rolling-pin,  roll the dough between two pieces of lightly-floured cling film, and roll out into a circle, an inch bigger than the pie dish.  Butter a pie dish (mine was 26cm diameter) and line with the pastry, and leave an even over hang around the edge.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Remove the other disc of dough from the refrigerator and let it sit until pliable enough to roll.  Roll the dough between two pieces of lightly floured cling film, into another circle.  Leave whole, or cut into strips, no more than an inch thick.  Use a ruler to cut about ten x ¾ inch wide strips lengthwise.  You may have to join the shorter ones together.  The ruler helps to measure and cut a straight edge.  I used a fluted pastry wheel to get a crimped edge.

Take the pie shell from the fridge.  Stir the peach filling a few times, then scrape it into the pie shell. Arrange five strips of dough evenly over the filling, starting with a long strip for the center. Gently fold back every other strip (the second and the fourth) to a little past the center. Choose another long strip of dough, hold it perpendicular to the other strips, and set it across the center of the pie.

Unfold the two folded strips so they lie flat on top of the perpendicular strip.  Now fold back the strips that weren’t folded back last time (the first, third, and fifth ones).

Lay a second perpendicular strip of dough about ¾ inch away from the last one.  Unfold the three folded strips.  Fold back the original two strips, set a third perpendicular strip of dough ¾ inch from the last one, and unfold the two strips.

Repeat on the other side with the two remaining strips: fold back alternating strips, lay a strip of dough on top, and unfold. Remember to alternate the strips that are folded back to create a woven effect. Trim the strips to a ½-inch overhang.  Lift the edge of the bottom crust over to enclose the top, rolling inwards and pressing to make it adhere.  Crimp or flute the edges if you like.

Lightly cover the assembled pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. After 30 minutes of chilling, set an oven rack on the lowest rung and put a foil-lined baking stone or baking sheet on it.  Heat the oven to 215C/425°F.

When the pie has chilled for 1 hour, brush the lattice with the milk and sprinkle on the sugar.

Set the pie directly on the baking stone or sheet. Bake until the juices are bubbling over (the bubbles should be thick and slow near the pan edges), approximately 30 to 35 minutes.

Let the pie cool on a rack until the juices have thickened, approximately 3 hours.  Enjoy with homemade vanilla ice-cream or thick Greek yoghurt.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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