Thursday, September 27, 2012

I'm officially a Weight Watcher. For now.

Ugh. I bought my Thermomix a week or two after Very Little Miss was born so that I could make food for the family, fast. Well yes, it's been fast - a little too fast, because I've been cooking up carbohydrate laden food and treats with the speed of a bat out of hell and this baby weight I've accumulated is going nowhere, fast. Very Little Miss is now ten weeks old, so I've decided that today is the day I need to start paying better attention to what I'm putting into me. I've bought a lovely Leona Edmiston dress to wear while we are away and I'd kind of like to wear it, rather than squeeze myself into it. Here it is... isn't it pretty?

Today I signed up for a 14 day free trial with Weight Watchers online. My goal is to lose 9 kilos. The best thing that I've discovered so far is that I can punch in the ingredients of an entire recipe, tap in the number of servings and - voila - I have the number of points in each serving.

I'm also going to start a Couch to 5k running program. It is safe to say that so far I've mastered the Couch part of the program! I really can't run to save my life, so I'm a little skeptical that I'll be running 5k in 8 weeks.

So, for each recipe I post for the next few weeks, you'll find the weight watchers points per serve, and I'll update my progress as I go. Hopefully this will keep me honest!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mini savoury quiche

I had a dilemma this morning - the cupboard was bare. The fridge was looking pretty grim too. No bread, so no sandwiches for Miss 1 1/2's lunch. Today is a preschool day, so I couldn't face the prospect of dragging the kids in and out of the car anymore than I absolutely had to. I found some eggs, a bit of broccoli, half an onion, ham and some cream, so I decided (with thanks to the shortcrust pastry I have in the freezer) to make some mini quiche for lunch and hope for the best with Miss 1 1/2. Regular and Thermomix methods are below.

Serves: 24 mini quiche
Food Critic Rating: Miss 1 1/2 ate two for lunch with some rockmelon. Miss 5? Forget it! I won't even bother because pastry just isn't her thing. My hips wish that pastry wasn't my thing, but sadly it is... I've now had to hide them in the back of the fridge so that I'll stop eating them!

3 sheets shortcrust pastry, defrosted
2tsp olive oil
1/2 brown onion
handful of shaved or sliced ham
small floret of broccoli
handful of grated cheese (cheddar or parmesan)
4 eggs
1/4 cup cream

Regular method:
Preheat oven to 180 - 200 degrees.
Finely chop onion, broccoli  and ham.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, stirring until onion softens.
Add broccoli and ham to pan, cook for around 4 minutes until broccoli softens slightly. Allow to cool a little.
Lightly beat egg in a jug and whisk in cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut 24 circles from pastry using a glass and place in lightly greased patty pan trays.
Divide ham mix between pastry circles and sprinkle with a little cheese.
Carefully pour egg mixture into each pastry circle.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until quiches have set and are golden in colour.

Thermomix method:
Preheat oven to 180 - 200 degrees.
Place onion and oil in thermomix bowl and chop for 5 seconds on speed 6.
Saute at 100 degrees for 2 minutes on speed 1.
Add broccoli and ham and chop for 10 seconds on speed 6.
Cook at 100 degrees for a further 2 minutes on speed 1. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool a little.
Lightly beat egg in a jug and whisk in cream. Season with salt and pepper.
Cut 24 circles from pastry using a glass and place in lightly greased patty pan trays.
Divide ham mix between pastry circles and sprinkle with a little cheese.
Carefully pour egg mixture into each pastry circle.
Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until quiches have set and are golden in colour.

A work in progress...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Easy Banana Bread

I love this Banana Bread recipe. My Mum used to make this for us, and I make it for my girls - it's simple to make, really delicious and a great way to use up a couple of over ripe bananas. Another great thing is that I always have the ingredients in the pantry, and now that I've converted the recipe for the Thermomix, it's even quicker to make. Regular instructions and Thermomix instructions are below.

Serves: Makes one loaf
Food Critic Rating: Naturally Miss 1 1/2 loves this - it's sweet. Miss 5 is also a fan, but if cheese and biscuits are on offer instead, she'll go with them. The Chef prefers this recipe made with wholemeal flour.

1/4 cup / 65ml milk
1 tsp lemon juice or white wine vinegar
2 ripe bananas (over ripe is even better!)
1 cup / 200g sugar (raw or white)
2 cups / 340g self raising flour
2 eggs (lightly beaten if not using thermomix)
60g butter (I use low fat margarine and it works perfectly)

Regular method:
Combine milk and lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes.
Peel and mash bananas.
Add bananas, sugar, sifted flour, lightly beaten eggs, softened butter and combined milk and lemon juice. Beat on low speed until combined and then beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake in a slow 150 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours

Thermomix method: 
Place milk and lemon juice in the thermomix bowl and set aside for 5 minutes.
Add bananas, eggs and butter and mix for 5 seconds on speed 4.
Add flour and sugar and mix for 20 seconds on speed 5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a further 5 seconds on speed 5.
Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake in a slow 150 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Best ever pikelet recipe

Miss 1 1/2 adores pikelets and they make a quick and easy snack, so when I saw a half carton of buttermilk in my fridge this morning I decided that she was in luck. I love this recipe - it's quick, easy, low in sugar and the pikelets are beautifully light and fluffy.

Serves: Makes approximately 20 pikelets
Food Critic Rating: These are an all round family favourite, but Miss 1 1/2 goes crazy over them.

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 lightly beaten egg

Place sifted flour and sugar in a medium bowl.
Combine beaten egg and buttermilk and then add to the sugar and flour, using a whisk, until a smooth thick batter forms.
Drop level tablespoons (this is the trick to keeping an even size) into a lightly oiled, heavy based frying pan. When bubbles begin to form on the surface, flip over and cook until golden brown.

Miss 1 1/2 enjoying morning tea

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce

I'm not sure where this recipe originally came from, but my cousin gave it to my Mum by way of a handwritten note, and Mum passed a copy on to me to try in the Thermomix. It wasn't cheap to make because limes are so expensive here at the moment - 4 limes cost me over $6 - but it has a beautiful flavour, so I'll definitely be making this again when limes are cheaper. I used this as a dip with celery and carrot over the weekend, and it will be great to use in a stir-fry. The regular cooking instructions and a conversion for Thermomix users are below.

Serves: This made approximately 3 - 4 cups and should be stored in the fridge.
Food Critic Rating: Miss 5 didn't try this - I know she doesn't like chilli, so I didn't bother. Miss 1 1/2 loved it as a dip with crackers. The Chef was impressed with the flavour, although less impressed with the price of limes!

1 full head of garlic
6 long red chillis
2 kaffir lime leaves
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
zest of 4 limes
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp soy sauce

Regular method:
Puree all ingredients except the sugar in a food processor until finely chopped and resembling a rough paste.
Add sugar to paste in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
Increase heat and bring to the boil. Allow to reduce until mixture resembles a gel like texture.

Thermomix method:
Chop garlic, chilli, lime zest and kaffir lime leaves on speed 9 for 7 seconds.
Add water, vinegar, fish and soy sauces and mix on speed 5 for 10 seconds.
Add sugar and cook on 100 degrees at speed 2 for 60 minutes, removing the measuring cup half way through cooking. To check sauce will gel, pour a teaspoon into a cold dish - when ready, the sauce will thicken into a gel like texture.
Pour into sterile jars. When opened, store in the fridge.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thermomix Thursday: Ham & Cheese Pizza Scrolls

Ham & Cheese Pizza Scrolls
I've been playing around with different scroll recipes since our Thermomix made its arrival in the household, and I'm finally happy with this one. I like using whole wheat because I feel like I deserve extra 'good mum' points for using it, and the dough is really easy to work with. You can add any pizza style filling, or make classic vegemite and cheese scrolls using the same method. I whipped these up between breakfast and a feed for Very Little Miss, so they get extra points for being quick, but are so delicious that I've now had to hide them because they won't help me lose this baby weight.

Serves: Approximately 15 scrolls
Food Critic Rating: These received a big thumbs up from Miss 1 1/2 who inhaled two for lunch. Miss 5 ate hers, but said she would have preferred a vegemite sandwich. Crazy kid. The Chef was impressed.

100g whole wheat grain
250g bakers flour
180g warm water
1 sachet of dried yeast (7g)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon oil (I use rice bran oil, but any would do)
1/2 tub of tomato paste (or to taste)
100g ham, shredded (or to taste)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (or to taste)

Mill whole wheat grain for 1 minute on speed 9.Add bakers flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix together for 5 seconds on speed 3.
Add water (make sure it's warm) and oil, mix together for 6 seconds on speed 8.
Turn dial to closed lid position and kneed (interval speed) for 2 minutes.
Remove dough and wrap in a silicon baking mat or place in an oiled glass bowl covered with glad wrap to prove for 30 minutes. I use a Bosco Baking mat - it's fantastic, slightly larger and approximately half the price of a Thermomat.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and roll the dough into an approximate 30cm x 30cm square.
Spread tomato paste over the dough and evenly cover with ham and cheese.
Starting at one end roll the dough up so that you have a log shape and cut into 2cm slices using your spatula.
Place the rolls flat and closely together on your baking mat or on trays lined with baking paper, sprinkle with a little extra cheese and allow to prove for a further 10 minutes.
Cook for approximately 14 minutes.
Eat - they are delicious eaten warm out of the oven!

Roll the dough into a 30cm x 30cm square
Place the rolls closely together to bake
Cover with tomato paste, ham & cheese