Monthly Archives: August 2013

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Black Bean Brownies

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So here it is (drumroll please), my first guest blogger! How exciting. My good friend Em makes these gorgeous black bean brownies which are a healthy treat that the whole family can enjoy. They are an absolute hit with the kids and are packed with nutrients. Great for an after school snack or in their lunchbox, and yum for everyone else too!
Black beans are considered a ‘superfood’ because they are packed with a rare combination of protein and fibre which is great for the digestive system, the cardiovascular system, and for regulating blood sugar. This protein-fibre combination is not found in fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, nuts, seeds or seafood. Only in legumes, including black beans.
Em says “These are fantastic, always moist and chocolatey, and without a hint of the goodness of the beans hidden within. They can be made dairy free using milk free chocolate. I have not tried to make gluten free but I believe the plain flour can be replaced with a GF option”.
Preparation: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 20-30 minutes
Black Bean Brownies
Ingredients
  • 250g (3/4 cup) cooked black beans*
  • 100g (1/2 cup) oil (Em uses rice bran oil or vegetable oil)
  • 2 eggs
  • 20g (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 110g (2/3 cup) rapadura
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 100g chocolate, divided in two
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 50g (1/3 cup) cup plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt

*How to cook black beans

  • Firstly soak your beans overnight (or for 8 hours) in a large bowl with plenty of clean water, then drain the beans (discarding the water) and rinse well
  • Cook black beans on the stovetop using My New Roots method by placing 1 cup of beans and 3 cups water in a large pot, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer, cooking beans until tender (approx 45-60min).
  • Cook black beans in the TMX using Tenina’s method by placing them in the simmering basket in the TMX, then filling the bowl with enough water to just cover the beans. Cook 30 min, 100C, Sp 3.
  • Cook black beans in the pressure cooker using Em’s method by placing 1 cup of beans and 3 cups of water in the pressure cooker and cooking for 20 minutes.
To make the brownies: 
TMX Method
  1. Pre Heat oven to 180C
  2. Melt half of the chocolate (50g) and set aside
  3. Put the other half (50g) into TMX bowl and chop 3-5 sec, Sp 5 and set aside
  4. Place black beans and oil in TMX and blend to a paste 2 min, Sp 7
  5. Add eggs, cocoa powder, rapadura, vanilla extract and melted chocolate, mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  6. Add baking powder, flour and salt, mix 20 sec, Sp 4
  7. Add the chopped chocolate and mix 10 sec, Rev Sp 3
  8. Pour into a well greased and/or lined brownie tin (approx 20cmx20cm)
  9. Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes – Em says “My oven is a big old gas oven without a fan and therefore everything takes a while. The brownie should be matte at the sides and shiny in the centre, it should still be slightly soft in the centre”.
  10. Allow to rest and then cut into cubes
  11. Enjoy!
Non-TMX Method
  1. Pre Heat oven to 180C
  2. Melt half of the chocolate (50g) and set aside
  3. Break or chop the other half (50g) into small pieces (Em says “I usually do this in the food processor before beginning the remainder of the recipe”)
  4. Using a  food processor or blender,  blend the black beans and oil to a paste
  5. Add eggs, cocoa powder, rapadura, vanilla extract and melted chocolate, and mix until well combined in a food processor or by hand
  6. Add baking powder, flour and salt, and mix until well combined in a food processor or by hand
  7. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until just combined in a food processor or by hand
  8. Pour into a well greased and/or lined brownie tin (approx 20cmx20cm)
  9. Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes – Em says “My oven is a big old gas oven without a fan and therefore everything takes a while. The brownie should be matte at the sides and shiny in the centre, it should still be slightly soft in the centre”.
  10. Allow to rest and then cut into cubes
  11. Enjoy!

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Casserole Base

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This is my recipe for a basic casserole base. It creates a delicious gravy to cook meat and vegetables in. I generally cook this casserole base then pour half into my slow cooker, add my meat (for instance diced beef or lamb) and vegetables chopped into large chunks (for instance carrots, pumpkin, zucchini and frozen peas), then pour the remaining base over the top. Served with mashed potatoes it makes a delicious winter meal.

You can easily prepare this casserole base ahead of time and add it to your slow cooker straight from the fridge, or cook it up in the morning and pour into the slow cooker hot. If you’re leaving the slow cooker to cook for a whole day (at least 8 hours) you can add the casserole base cold and use frozen meat. If you have less time (approx 6 hours), I’d advise adding the casserole base hot and using defrosted meat.

 

Casserole Base

 

 

Ingredients

  • 25g butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1tbs tomato paste
  • 2tbs plain flour
  • 400g tin of tomatoes
  • 2tbs thermomix vegetable stock concentrate 
  • 200g (1cup) red wine
  • Cracked black pepper

Thermomix Method

  1. Place garlic, roughly chopped onion, celery & carrots, and butter in TMX bowl
  2. Chop 3-5 sec, Sp 5
  3. Cook 100C, 5 min,  Rev Sp 1
  4. Add tomato paste and flour
  5. Give a quick stir with the spatula
  6. Cook 100C, 2 min, Rev Sp 1
  7. Add tinned tomatoes, stock and wine
  8. Cook 100C, 10 min, Rev Sp 1

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Finely chop garlic, onion, celery & carrots by hand or in food processor
  2. Place pan over medium heat and melt butter
  3. Add chopped garlic, onion, celery & carrot
  4. Cook for 5 min, stirring regularly, until softened
  5. Add tomato paste and flour
  6. Stir over medium heat for 1-2 minutes
  7. Add tinned tomatoes, stock and wine
  8. Stir gently until well mixed and simmer on low heat for 10-15 min, until sauce thickens

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Vegetable Mornay with Sage & Red Onion Crumb

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This recipe is one that has evolved over the years and is now a great, reliable midweek family meal. It makes a large serving for 4-6 hungry adults and the leftovers (if you have any!) are delicious the next day. It is a dish that can easily be prepared ahead of time and them popped in the oven when you’re ready. If you want to add meat, shredded roast chicken can be mixed through. Alternately you can add the chicken raw but cut it into very small pieces (2cm cubes) and double check it is cooked before eating.

Vegetable Mornay

Ingredients

  • 200g button mushrooms chopped
  • 1/2 cauliflower chopped into florets
  • 1 broccoli chopped into florets
  • 1/2 red onion
  • handful of sage leaves
  • 60g butter (10g & 50g lots)
  • 150g breadcrumbs

TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 200C
  2. Make béchamel sauce and set aside
  3. Chop mushrooms and place in large bowl
  4. Steam cauliflower and broccoli (I do mine in the Varoma – 25 min, Sp 1, Varoma Temp – I like my vegetables quite well cooked, but steam for less time if you prefer them firmer)
  5. Allow cauliflower and broccoli to cool on Varoma trays so that most of the liquid evaporates off
  6. Place red onion & sage leaves in clean TMX bowl
  7. Chop 5 sec, Sp 5
  8. Add 10g butter, scrape down the sides and cook 100C, 5 min, Sp 1
  9. Add breadcrumbs, 50g butter and salt & pepper, then cook 100C, 2 min, Sp 1
  10. To assemble, add cooled, steamed cauliflower and broccoli to bowl with mushrooms
  11. Mix through béchamel sauce and season generously with salt & pepper
  12. Transfer to large baking dish (I use a 1.6L pyrex dish)
  13. Spread red onion & sage crumb on top
  14. Bake 40 min at 200C

Non-TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 200C
  2. Make béchamel sauce and set aside
  3. Chop mushrooms and place in large bowl
  4. Steam cauliflower and broccoli (I steam mine for 25 min – I like my vegetables quite well cooked, but steam for less time if you prefer them firmer)
  5. Allow cauliflower and broccoli to cool uncovered so that most of the liquid evaporates off
  6. Finely chop red onion & sage leaves
  7. Melt 10g butter in a small saucepan over medium heat
  8. Add onion and sage, and stir gently until onion is transparent
  9. Add 50g butter and allow to melt
  10. Turn off the heat and stir through 150g breadcrumbs
  11. Season crumb well with salt & pepper
  12. To assemble, add cooled, steamed cauliflower and broccoli to bowl with mushrooms
  13. Mix through béchamel sauce and season generously with salt & pepper
  14. Transfer to large baking dish (I use a 1.6L pyrex dish)
  15. Spread red onion & sage crumb on top
  16. Bake 40 min at 200C