Tuesday, January 24, 2012

{Ricotta Brioche}

I discovered this recipe a while back and today was the perfect weather to make it. Even though it's summer - the weather screams winter baking to the tune of raindrops outside. For afternoon tea on a cool day, instead of baking scones, try this recipe for a twist with your cuppa tea. It's not a quick recipe, but it is a soft and fluffy treat that screams for butter and jam spread on top.


500g Plain white flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
40g Castor sugar (+ 1Tsp)
2 Eggs (~53g) and 1 egg yolk (for the glaze)
160g Ricotta cheese
2 1/2 teaspoons Dried yeast
80-100ml Tepid milk (or more if needed)


1. In a big bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
2. In a small bowl, sprinkle the dehydrated/dried yeast into the milk mixed to 1 teaspoon sugar.
3. Leave for 5 minutes and then stir to dissolve.

4. Make a well in a centre of the flour and pour in the yeasted water.
5. Use a wooden spoon to draw enough of the flour into the yeasted water to form a soft paste.
6. Cover with a tea towel and leave to "sponge" until frothy and risen, about 20 minutes.
7. Beat the eggs with the sugar.
8. Add the ricotta and beaten egg mixture to the flour well. Mix in the flour to form a soft dough.

9. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth, shiny and elastic for about 10 minutes.
10. Put the dough in a buttered bowl, turning to coat evenly with butter. Cover with a tea towel. Leave to rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
11. Knock back the dough, then leave to rest for 10 minutes.

12. Divide the dough into five equal pieces and then roll each piece into a ball.
13. Form a brioche (as on my pictures) with the balls.

14. Place on a baking sheet and cover with a tea towel.
15. Prove until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
16. Preheat the oven to 180° C.
17. Brush with egg glaze (the yolk + 1tsp water) and sprinkle with poppy seeds and sunflower seeds.

18. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until richly golden and hollow-sounding when tapped underneath.
19. Cool on a wire rack.

If the dough is too dry add some more milk or ricotta cheese, but if on the contrary it is too wet, then add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.

Don’t add too much flour though; the dough should not be too dry, but soft.
Any seed of your choice will be fine for sprinkling the rolls.
While the bread bakes, check that the crust doesn't get too brown. If it's the case, then lower the temperature to 160° C.

Lauren x

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

{Carthardic Organising & Introducing the Snack Bar}

Today I had one of those days where I felt like I would have earned a bonus because I met and exceeded my 'KPI's" (in my dreams).

Thanks to the movie 'CARS 2', I managed to tick off three things that have been on my to-do list since Christmas. I managed to re-organise and clean the fridges (the only time having two fridges is a nightmare - double the work), the freezers, and
clean out my plastics cupboard.

"Before" - It's not hard with two boys who like to get and put away things for it to get to this state (I can't stand this!)

How many plastic cups does one family of four need? Major culling happened!!

"After" (*sighs* ...... ahhhh much better!)

Then I decided to cut up carrot sticks for morning tea. Before I knew it I had washed and cut up enough fresh produce to create a "snack bar". Not only does it satisfy the organiser in me, it also doubles as some great incidental word association and learning for my boys (WIN/WIN!).

After the cleaning but before the snack bar. In the right hand fridge door, I decided to put some of the copious bottles to use and create a water bar too. Constant water ready to go and that's all my boys drank all day!

Snack Bar includes: Fruit Salad, Watermelon slices, Mini pears, grapes, celery sticks, carrot sticks, red yellow and green capsicum, snow peas, cheese cubes and little pots of hommus.

The right hand fridge after the snack bar was installed....couldn't get rid of the glare, sorry!

Not only did I find that it helped our boys to eat healthy today, it has helped us too.

Lauren x

Sunday, January 15, 2012

{VERY Healthy Dessert - Sweet Potato Pie}

Well, by now you obviously know I am fasting at the moment, and I had a brain wave for a 'dessert' the other night. I made version one last week, but burned the crust and therefore couldn't get a good idea of the taste and certainly wasn't going to take photos of it like that.

So, today I made version two.....and was SO happy with the result. This is a dairy free, wheat free and artificial sugar free Pie.

- 250g nuts (I used 100g cashews, 100g cashews & 50 g walnuts)
- 2 heaped dessert spoons of nut butter (you can buy all sorts of varieties in the health food isle)
- 2 dessert spoons of maple syrup (could use honey)

- 3 sweet potato (could substitute for pumpkin)
- 1 banana
- approx 80g apple sauce (the jar I had in the fridge had grown into a science experiment [eww] so I used a long life apple raspberry puree I had in the pantry which was 80g - about 1/2 cup)
- 1 dessert spoon of chia seeds (these are very healthy and act as a thickener - more info here)
- 1 dessert spoon cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/4 cup of natural maple syrup (not flavoured syrup or honey)

1. Peal, chop and steam the sweet potato
2. Preheat oven to 150'C
3. In your food processor, grind up the nuts until resembling crumbs. Add the nut butter and maple syrup until it rolls into a ball in the processor and combines nicely.
4. Press into a flan/ tart tin and press into the base and sides to make a pastry-like base.
5. Place in the oven for about 15 mins or until golden. Keep an eye on it, (because time got away from me the first time I made it).
6. Place the sweet potato (once cooked and soft) into the food processor a bit at a time until smooth (don't worry about rinsing it after making the base crust, the ingredients blend together well).
7. Add the other ingredients into the smooth sweet potato mixture and blend together.
8. Place the mixture into the nut crust base.
9. Turn the oven off and place the finished pie into the "dead oven" and allow to 'bake' for about 10 minutes or until filling is firm.

Slice up and serve with fresh berries, pear or other seasonal fruit.
For those fasting, on restrictive diets or those that love healthy food, this is a real treat!

I took it to a family dinner as a substitute for dessert for myself. One person loved the crust, but wasn't keen on the filling (would probably have to add brown sugar or something to the filling to satisfy that one). MANY loved it and I got a lot of positive comments about the attempt to make such a healthy and guilt free dessert. When you haven't had ANY sugar in 2 weeks, it is quite a nice treat!

Lauren x

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

{Cashew & Herb Crusted Salmon}

This is the most simple and delicious meal ad it was GOBBLED up by my hubby, 5 year old AND 2 year old boys! They loved it and it tasted so fancy which is a great trick since it was so simple!


4 salmon fillets
100g of cashews (could use other nuts also like almonds or macadamias)

A handful of fresh herbs (I used basil & parsley - they are fresh in the garden)
1/2 a lime
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 160'C

1. Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz up until sort of like bread crumbs.
2. Add the herbs and squeeze the lime in also.
3. While it's processing, drizzle olive oil in until it binds it together. I used about a few dessert spoonfuls, but just add a little and test as you go.
4. Season and then gently place onto the salmon in an oven proof dish.
Place in the oven for about 20 mins until cooked through.

I stirfried some Asian greens (bok choy and pak choy) with
1/2 a red onion, 1/2 a chili, the other 1/2 of the lime from above, 1 tsp fresh ginger, 2 garlic cloves, corriander stems & 1 TBS sesame seeds.

Once cooked, serve alongside the salmon with fresh corriandar on top - SOOO GOOD!!!

{Chick Pea Patties & veggie stack}

If you are new to the blog you may not know that I have mentioned before about how each year I start January with a 21 day Daniel fast. It is for mainly spiritual reasons and also health reasons too. If you have never done this and are interested, see info here. The basic 'jist' is that I eat only plant based food for 21 days, ergo no meat, no diary, no sugars, no processed food, no alcohol and no caffeine (this is always hard to detox from).

I have shared recipes on here before that I usually eat at fast time in Jnaurary, like
- My ESSENTIAL homemade tomato sauce
- Falafel
- Hommus
- Baked Fish Parcels (fish is not strictly on the fast according to my research unless you need some extra protein for an active lifestyle. I choose to include some during the fast.

The next few posts will be Daniel Fast recipes that are delicious enough to eat all year round!


1 can of Chick Peas
1 can of lentils
1 potato cooked (could also use sweet potato or carrot)
1 handful of mixed herbs (i used basil and parsley as I had plenty in the garden)
1 small onion and garlic clove cooked (not essential but i like the taste)
2 TBL pasta sauce (could use store bought if your not being as 'picky as me')

1. Mash the chick peas, lentils, potato (or similar).
2. Mix other ingredients into it and season with salt and pepper.
3. Form into patty shapes and fry gently.
**i would probably include bread crumbs and an egg when off the fast to help bind it together a bit more. But as long as you are gentle with them, they cook fine**


My favourite way to eat these is in a stack with char-grilled eggplant, capsicum, avocado, the tomato sauce, avocado, hommus and fresh herbs and rocket. YUM!

Lauren x

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

{Homemade Christmas : Yummy Successes & a Failure too}

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you enjoyed some quality time with those you love over the Christmas/ New years period. Such a nice time of year...I just love it.

I have had a few recipes requested so this post is dedicated to the Muesli.

I searched everywhere for a porcelain pen/ texta I'd seen used on a blog to create handmade christmas gifts. Part worked well and part was an epic fail!

The plan was to design and personalize some bowls and include a jar of homemade toasted muesli. These were some we made:

However, even after doubling the drying time on the bowls, the writing came off! To make matters worse, I trusted the product and actually had a recipient of these tell me the next morning. I was furious and hurt. Some gifts I put so much thought into were ruined! I have been in talks with the company and the craft store I bought it from, hoping to find an answer soon. If anyone has had a win or a failure with this technique - please comment!

The muesli however, was a massive HIT!

I have had texts and calls from people who didn't even receive the gift wanting the recipe. So since I kinda made it up, I have spent time figuring out what the recipe was! I love this type of cooking where each batch could be potentially customized to taste or contents of the pantry! Never buying this again!

Ingredients (this made 4 gift jars):
5 cups oats
1 cup pepitas
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup flaked almonds
2 cups of sultanas
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup of shredded coconut
2 Tbl sesame seeds

4T unflavored oil (I used rice bran oil)
100g honey

Preheat oven to 150'C
1. Combine dry ingredients in a big bowl.
2. Heat oil and honey in microwave or saucepan then stir into mixture.
3. Spread onto some baking trays and bake for about 30 mins. You want the mixture to be slightly browned and the fruits to become chewy. Then remove from oven and cool before putting into airtight container.


Lauren x

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