Traditional Hot Cross Buns

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Hi all,

Today I bring you a delicious hot cross bun recipe from The Cook and Baker just in time for Easter – lucky you!!

Hot cross buns are definitely one of my favourite things about this time of the year and as a kid I would always look forward to tucking into some warm buns after school.

I’ve always thought that they would be so hard to make, until last year when I actually tried making some dark chocolate cranberry ones and to my surprise they weren’t actually as difficult as I had always imagined! The only downfall is that they just take a little longer to prepare than most things with all the resting of the dough but all the wait is definitely worth it when you finally eat them fresh out of the oven – so good!! And they are definitely so much better than the store bought ones so it’s not that bad after all!

This year my mum made the more traditional variety of buns laced with spices and dried fruit rather than the chocolatey version I made last year. I’m sure even those who fall into the choc chip hot cross bun lover’s club will also like these. They are perfect warm and slathered in melting butter or however else you may like them.

Just remember that because these are made fresh and don’t contain any preservatives etc. they do go stale very quickly. So try to eat as many as you can in the first day you make them (I’m sure you’ll have no trouble with this)!! Or if you think you aren’t up to the challenge just freeze some for later.

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Recipe

Traditional Hot Cross Buns

Makes about 18

Ingredients:

  • 200g sultanas
  • 250 ml Earl Grey tea, strong and hot
  • 250 ml skim milk
  • 10g dried yeast
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 860g strong (bread) flour
  • 2 tablespoons mixed spice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 85g butter, softened
  • 130g dried apricots, diced
  • 4 tablespoons plain (all-purpose) flour & 1 tablespoon caster sugar – for piping paste
  • 110g caster sugar – for glaze
  • Butter, to serve

Method:

  1. Soak the sultanas in the tea from 30 mins, then drain thoroughly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  3. In a medium saucepan, warm the skim milk and 200 ml water to 30 degrees C on a thermometer, then remove from heat. Add the yeast, sugar and egg and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Set aside.
  4. Sift together the flour, mixed spice and salt into the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Add the softened butter and the yeast mix. Knead on a low speed until just incorporated. Turn the speed to medium and mix for 8 mins. Add the fruit and knead until all fruit is evenly distributed through the dough, approximately 1 – 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Form a ball, and place the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, then cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place to prove for approximately 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6. Divide into 18 equal pieces and roll into taut balls. Place on the prepared tray, allowing room for spreading. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, leave in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes until doubled in size.
  7. For the piping paste: in a small bowl, mix the flour with the sugar and 60 ml water until smooth. Fill a piping (icing) bag with the paste and pipe crosses on top of the buns.
  8. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown and the buns sound hollow when tapped on the base.
  9. To glaze: in a small saucepan, dissolve the sugar and 50ml water and bring to the boil. Brush this glaze over the buns.

Notes:

  • Best eaten on the day or can be toasted up to 2 days later.
  • Eat with lashings of butter!
  • Original recipe from here.

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Happy Easter! I hope you all enjoy the day whether you celebrate it or not. It is a holiday so remember to relax and treat yourself a little. All your hardwork will not be undone from one day of bad eating or whatever it may be that concerns you.

Tanisha xx

 

 

Cacao and Coconut Bliss Balls

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These are my fail-safe bliss balls.

I make them all the time because they’re so bloody easy to make that you really cannot go wrong (and they also taste good too)!

Plus they’re good for you.

What more could you want?!

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These are best eaten when they’re refrigerated and are perfect for snacking on when you’ve got the munchies!

Enjoy!

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Recipe

Bliss Balls

Makes approx. 8

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, plus more for rolling
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 medjool dates, torn

Method:

  1. In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients. If the mixture is too dry you may need to add a tablespoon or two of water.
  2. Roll the mixture into balls using your hands, then roll in the extra desiccated coconut.
  3. Refrigerate the balls.

Notes:

  • This recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.

Recipe based on Raw Chocolate Almond Balls

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Tanisha xx

 

Mum’s Apple Crumble

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It’s Mothers Day after all, so I feel as though I should post one of my mums best recipes: the humble crumble – I did not plan that (just saying)!

Autumn is well under way here in Perth and things are really starting to cool down. Which means that all things food are starting to heat up!

One thing, I love about winter is the food. I adore a good curry, soup, risotto, or warm cake or pudding. But one meal in particular stands out, and that would have to be my mums crumble! That has to be one of my favourite desserts ever (only behind cheesecake)!! Especially when it’s paired with homemade custard – now that’s next level!

I have posted a crumble recipe before but that was more of a healthy, modern crumble recipe by Donna Hay, however, this one is very traditional. The only thing different to most of the recipes you guys make at home is that I decided to use Amy’s Grains instead of oats in this recipe to add a little bit more of some wholegrain goodness in there!

This recipe is solely my mums so I owe all the credit to her. She is one of those people who just chucks random estimated amounts of ingredients into a recipe and it always seems to work out just perfectly. I seriously don’t know how she does it because if I tried that it would not end well, let me tell you!! As a result, the quantities of the ingredients in this recipe are merely a guide and crumble is a fairly forgiving recipe so do not stress out too much if you don’t have the correct amount of ingredients!

Nonetheless, happy cooking!

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Recipe:

Mum’s Fruit Crumble

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 apples*
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons caster sugar*
  • Cinnamon quill (optional)
  • Vanilla bean (optional)
  • ¾ cup Amy’s Grains or rolled oats*
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • ½ cup coconut
  • 125 grams chilled butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Peel, core and chop the apples. Place them in a casserole dish, along with the cinnamon quill and vanilla bean, and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake in oven until softened but not soggy – about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients together. Rub the butter into the dry mixture with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add more butter if need be.
  4. Once the apples are cooked pour over crumble mixture and return to oven.
  5. Cook for 30 minutes until golden brown and crunchy.
  6. Serve with homemade custard or some ice cream!

Notes:

  • * Apples can be substituted for most other seasonal fruits. I recommend pear, nectarines, plums, apricots, rhubarb or berries.
  • * For a softer more fudgier crumble topping use brown sugar. Caster sugar creates a more crunchy topping.
  • Just a little reminder that you can get 20% off anything on the Amy’s Grains and Eating Fit website with my promo code AMYe7ec.

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Also, I’d like to wish a very big Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there! I hope your day was as wonderful as this crumble is!!

 

Tanisha xx

Deliciously Healthy Banana Bread

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Let me tell you that I’ve been working on this recipe for soooo long. I’ve put blood, sweat and tears into creating a healthy recipe for banana bread that doesn’t have the texture of a rock, doesn’t taste so bland it’s like paper, doesn’t have any crazy weird ingredients in it, and actually tastes and looks like a normal banana bread.

So yeah, here it is. Please, do enjoy.

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Recipe

Healthy Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup good quality olive oil or coconut oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ½ cup milk*
  • 2 tablespoons Greek or natural yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
  • 1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
  • ¾ cup plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup chocolate chips or walnuts (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Grease or line a bread baking tin with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil, maple syrup, milk, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract until combined and smooth. Whisk in the mashed bananas until the mixture is mostly smooth – there may still be some lumps from the bananas.
  3. In another mixing bowl, combine both the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour this dry mixture into the wet banana mixture and stir until evenly combined. Be careful not over mix the batter but be sure to get rid of all the little pockets of flour.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth over using a spoon or spatula to make sure the top is flat and even. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 30 minutes or longer.

Notes:

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This is the kind of recipe that you keep with you for all your life. And then you give it to your kids when they grow up, and they give it to theirs, and they give it to theirs……I think you get the picture.

There’s nothing super out of the ordinary about this recipe that makes it stand out from any other but it’s just one of those ones that always seems to work and tastes good too, so you can’t help but keep it.

Nearly everyone has their own recipe for banana bread and everyone thinks theirs is the best, and rightly so, because everyone deserves to think that for at least something.

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Anyway. Onto the ‘lowdown’:

As there is no sugar in this recipe I highly recommend that you use bananas that are so black they’re almost rotten. Sounds gross but it works. Trust me. Remember I tested nearly all the variations on ‘healthy banana breads’ there are so I’m pretty sure I know what I’m talking about!

Also, because of the no sugar situation this banana bread isn’t overly sweet, which makes it perfect for breakfast and topping with all the sweet things!

I would also like to note that wholemeal flour is a little bit hard to work with at times. I find it tends to make things a little bit tougher than your normal flour. So that is why I have used a combination of wholemeal self-raising flour and plain flour so that you can have an incredibly moist and fluffy banana bread with all the additional health benefits. Winner winner chicken banana bread dinner!! But if you do happen to make this recipe with just the wholemeal flour and it turns out okay, give me a buzz!

Lastly, the chocolate chips are optional but NECESSARY!!!

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Tanisha

Berry Frozen Yogurt

Super refreshing snack or dessert for summer! Naturally sweetened and made from the goodness of yogurt, berries, honey and mint!

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Happy Valentine’s Day lovers!

How very typical of me to bring you an astonishingly pink recipe on this stereotypically pink (or red) day! But seriously, I didn’t plan it like that, it just kind of happened. I guess it was fate, or maybe it was meant to be. That’s the power of Valentine’s Day people. I’ll just stop now.

Fellow Aussies, I don’t know if you heard but Perth has been having a MAJOR heat wave this week. We had 3 days in a row that were 42 degrees C or higher!! And to top it all off, this week was our hottest in 80 years or something like that.

Now, I love summer and the heat (I’m pretty sure I’ve told you before) but this is just mental. You basically can’t do anything until 6:30pm unless you want to die of heat exhaustion or severe sun burn (that may be a slight exaggeration, but I really do feel that there is a chance of the latter happening to some my very fair-skinned friends), or get up at like 4:30am or something and who’s gonna do that?! That’s right no-one – except for maybe all the early morning swimmers out there, which sometimes includes me, you guys rock!

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Mine started melting a little bit because I did not freeze it for long enough!

Thankfully, the weather is starting to cool down now and it’s only meant be 32 degrees C today. Perfect for a lovely Valentine’s day picnic by the river, or the beach, or the park….

But for now here is a deliciously refreshing recipe I wish I had a few days ago….

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Recipe

Berry Frozen Yogurt

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 x 500g tub natural or Greek yogurt
  • 1 x 500g packet of mixed frozen berries
  • 3-4 tablespoons runny honey
  • A few sprigs of fresh mint
  • 150g fresh blueberries (optional)

Method:

  1. Put 4 small glasses in the freezer to chill.
  2. Meanwhile, make the frozen yogurt by putting the yogurt and frozen berries in a large food processor. Whiz until smooth, then add the honey and mint, and whiz again until everything is combined.
  3. Take the glasses out of the freezer and divide the fresh blueberries between them. Spoon the frozen yogurt over the fresh berries and serve with another sprig of mint if desired.
  4. Store in the freezer and take out 15 minutes to defrost a little bit before serving.

Notes:

  • This recipe can easily be halved, as I did.
  • Any combination of frozen berries will work.
  • This recipe is from ‘Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals’.

 

Tanisha xx

Homemade Applesauce Recipe

The perfect sweetener, binder or add-in for many homemade recipes. Plus it’s healthy, refined sugar-free and super easy to make!

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Never in the world did I think I would be posting a recipe for Homemade Apple Sauce but here I am…..

To be honest apple sauce is not something I use a lot in my cooking. It’s just not really that popular at all in Australia. However, I have heard that it works well in baking and is also very popular on American food blogs, particularly one of my favourites, Sally’s Baking Addiction.

The other day she posted a very delicious looking recipe for apple cinnamon muffins (you’ll here more about those soon enough) and of course it called for 1/3 cup apple sauce. Now I could have just substituted it with some more oil or mashed banana but the fact is, its just not going to be the same, is it?! So I looked in the fridge and realised that we actually had a lot of apples, which is weird for summer but I guess it was meant to be!

I was actually so amazed at how easy this applesauce is to make. Like, seriously, why haven’t I done this before?! I’m 99.9% sure that just about anyone could make it without fail. Actually I’m 100% sure. Please, do yourself a favour and make it now. I have no doubts that it probably tastes and IS a lot better than the store bought versions.

Personally, I think this apples sauce is sweet enough as it is so I opted out of using any sugar or sweeteners and instead added some cinnamon and lemon zest for an extra dimension of flavour.

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Homemade (Unsweetened) Apple Sauce Recipe

Makes about 1 ½-2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 large apples, chopped into chunks
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • Water

Method:

  1. Heat a medium-sized saucepan over high-heat.
  2. Place the apples, cinnamon and lemon in the saucepan and cover with enough water so that the apples are fully submerged in it. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes or until the apple chunks are soft and tender to touch. Drain water through a sieve or colander.
  3. Place the apple chunks in a food processor and blitz until the mixture becomes smooth.

Notes:

  • Freezes well for around 5 months, give or take.

 

So, what can apple sauce be used for?

  • Try these Wholesome Apple Cinnamon Muffins or any other muffin really.
  • In banana bread or cakes.
  • In porridge or overnight oats.
  • In an apple pie smoothie.
  • As a binder in apple granola.
  • Maybe in apple cinnamon pancakes.
  • In biscuits/cookies!
  • Alongside roast pork.

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Yeah. I think I got most of them. But I’m sure there’s many others. Can you think of any?? I need as many ideas as I can get….

 

Tanisha xx

Mothers Day Feast

IMG_3980 (1)So, after much deliberation (not really, read: procrastination) I finally bring you the post I mentioned last week about my Mothers Day Feast.

Now, if you have absolutely no idea what I am talking about then, here, let me fill you in. So last week, on Mothers Day (obviously) I cooked my family and I a massive lunch to share. It turned out really well so I was intending on posting all the recipes the same day but I never got round to it. So what better time to do it then now, when I have mounds of study and homework I should be doing instead….oops!!

The first recipe I bring you guys is this Chicken Pie. It was the main component of our lunch, and was super tasty and filling.

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Walker Family Chicken Pie

Serves 4 – 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg chicken thighs, sliced
  • 1 each onion and carrot, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 2 leeks (pale part only), thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup (50g) plain flour
  • 1 cup (250ml) thickened cream
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbs chopped tarragon
  • 150g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken stock (estimate)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ sheets puff pastry

Method:

  1. Heat a fry pan with a little olive oil. Place the chicken thighs in the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until just browned. Add some butter to the pan and cook the leeks for 4 minutes, season. Repeat with mushrooms.
  2. Place chicken, onion, carrot, bay leaves, leeks, Dijon, tarragon and mushrooms in a large saucepan covering with chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour. Set aside for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a 3cm-deep, 26cm x 30cm baking dish.
  4. Add flour and cream to the chicken mixture and place in the prepared dish. Lay pastry over, pressing edges to seal and crimping with a fork. Brush pastry with egg, then bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp, and filling is hot.

Notes:

This recipe is adapted from Delicious Magazine May 2015 Issue.

 

The second component of our meal was roasted potatoes. In our family we usually have these beauties about once every two weeks or so, and we never really follow a recipe as such, so I’ll provide you with Jamie Oliver’s recipe. His version are very much similar to what we do at home, with simple flavourings such as salt and pepper, fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary, and a big glug of olive oil….they sure are a winner!

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Our main meal would not be complete without a wholesome salad. Instead of the light, fresh salad we would normally have, I found a recipe for this zucchini, sweet potato and haloumi salad on Taste.com and thought it would be great for this cooler weather…and boy was it!

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Roasted Sweet Potato, Zucchini & Haloumi Salad

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 550g sweet potato, peeled, cut into 1.5cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 70g (1/4 cup) low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 250g light haloumi, cut into 1.5cm-thick batons
  • 4 (about 900g) zucchini, peeled into ribbons
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves, chopped, plus extra leaves to garnish
  • 1/2 cup continental parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachio kernels, toasted

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C/170°C fan forced. Place sweet potato on a lined tray and drizzle with half the oil. Season and toss to combine. Roast, stirring halfway through cooking, for 30 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a bowl. Season.
  3. Preheat a barbecue or chargrill on medium-high. Spray haloumi with olive oil. Cook, turning, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  4. Combine zucchini and remaining oil in a bowl. Season. Chargrill zucchini, in 2 batches, gently tossing, for 1-2 minutes or until just tender. Combine sweet potato, haloumi, zucchini, chopped mint and parsley in a bowl. Drizzle with yoghurt mixture. Sprinkle with pistachio and extra mint.

Notes:

I got this recipe from here.

 

Of course this lunch was not complete without dessert. So, what a better way then to complete the meal with nothing other than the humble crumble (wasn’t even pre-prepared!). Crumble is the ultimate dessert in my family, and as I have mentioned earlier in one of my previous posts, it also happens to be my downright favourite dessert. It’s perfect anytime of the year but is a particularly good way to make great use of the seasonal apples and pears in abundance around this time of the year. This particular recipe is a little different to the usual, as it doesn’t include any oats, but is still great and quite healthy. Also, it can easily be made gluten free by omitting the self-raising flour and adding more almond meal, or just replacing it 1:1 with any other gluten free flour. Enjoy!

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Pear & Coconut Crumble

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 5 beurre bosc pears
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 125g pitted dates, chopped
  • 1/3 cup (75g) self-raising flour
  • 1 cup (100g) almond meal
  • ½ cup (70g) slivered almonds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • To serve (optional):
  • 300ml double-thick cream
  • Good quality ice cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
  2. Peel and core the pears, rubbing the flesh with half a lemon to prevent them from going brown. Cut into thin wedges, then place in a 22cm round baking dish. Add the dates, 1 tbs coconut sugar, juice from the remaining lemon half and 2tbs water, and toss well to coat. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes or until just tender.
  3. Meanwhile, to make crumble, combine butter, flour, almond meal, almonds, cinnamon and remaining ¼ cup (35g) coconut sugar in a bowl.
  4. Remove foil from baking dish and stir pears to coat in syrup. Sprinkle crumble over pear mixture, then return to oven and bake, uncovered, for a further 20 minutes or until crumble is dark golden and pears are tender.
  5. Serve warm with double-thick cream and/or ice cream.

 

Notes:

I served mine with Connoisseur Caramel Honey Macadamia ice cream but it would go great with vanilla ice cream, cream, or even custard.

This recipe is from Delicious Magazine May 2015 Issue

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As well as beautiful food, we had a beautiful table setting thanks to my awesome grandma and flowers from our garden. I hope everyone else had a great day as well and treated their mums well.

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Tanisha xx