Tag Archives: vanilla

Feeding the Funky Bunch: Healthy Apple Crumble

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Apple Crumble is one of my all time favourite deserts. I was visiting my friend K recently and she served me this delicious, healthy apple crumble from Wholefood Simply. What a fantastic recipe and what a great blog! I’m really enjoying looking through the recipes and deciding which ones to try making myself. Inspired, I have made my own version of a healthy apple crumble and it is so good. I made this for the kids to have when they got home from school and they absolutely devoured it. You can serve it on it’s own, with homemade custard or natural pot-set yogurt.

Healthy Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • 4 granny smith apples, quartered (peeling optional)
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 90g walnuts
  • 50g rolled oats plus an extra 2tbs rolled oats set aside
  • 60g butter or solid coconut oil, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp salt (I prefer pink salt)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 20g rapadura

TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C
  2. Place apples, lemon juice and vanilla seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod in TMX
  3. Chop 5 sec, Sp 4
  4. Tip chopped apple into baking dish (I use a 1L pyrex dish)
  5. Place walnuts, oats, butter or coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, rapadura and vanilla from other 1/2 pod in TMX
  6. Mix  3-5 sec, Sp 6
  7. Pour crumble over apple mixture
  8. Ingredients should come together like a crumble mix. If you blitz too much it will become more of a paste. Either way it will still work out fine. Just pour or spread crumble mix over the apple as best you can
  9. Sprinkle 2tbs rolled oats over finished crumble
  10. Bake 30mins

Non-TMX Method

  1. Pre heat oven to 180C
  2. Dice apples into small pieces or pulse in food processor until chopped
  3. Mix through lemon juice and vanilla seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod by hand
  4. Tip chopped apple into baking dish (I use a 1L pyrex dish)
  5. Place walnuts, oats, butter or coconut oil, salt, cinnamon, rapadura and vanilla from other 1/2 pod in food processor and pulse to a crumble consistency
  6. If you don’t have a food processor, chop walnuts by hand and mix with other ingredients until you have a crumble consistency. You may need to rub the butter or coconut oil in with your fingers
  7. Pour crumble over apple mixture
  8. Ingredients should come together like a crumble mix. If you blitz too much it will become more of a paste. Either way it will still work out fine. Just pour or spread crumble mix over the apple as best you can.
  9. Sprinkle 2tbs rolled oats over finished crumble
  10. Bake 30mins
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Feeding the Funky Bunch: Raspberry & Apple Cupcakes

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I baked these gorgeous little cupcakes for afternoon tea today and my friend G is dying to get her hands on the recipe, so here it is! Originally from a Woman’s Weekly Cookbook, these little cakes are really moist and tasty. They freeze well for lunch boxes and make a great after school treat.

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Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 225g (1 & 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 100g (1/2 cup) milk
  • 150g fresh or frozen raspberries (I’ve only ever used frozen)
  • 200g apple (approx 2-3 apples) – peel and quarter apples for TMX, peel and dice apples for non-TMX

Thermomix Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced
  2. Place 165g raw sugar in TMX and blitz 3 sec, Sp 9 to form caster sugar
  3. Add butter and vanilla essence and cream with sugar 20 sec, Sp 4
  4. Add eggs and beat 20 sec, Sp 4
  5. Mix in flour and milk in two batches – 125g flour, 10 sec, Sp 3; 50g milk, 10 sec, Sp 3; 100g flour, 10 sec, Sp 3; 50g milk, 10 sec, Sp3
  6. Scrape down bowl and mix for a further 6 sec, Sp 4
  7. Use a spatula to help pour the mixture into a separate bowl – don’t scrape too diligently as the apple will help clean the TMX bowl
  8. Place peeled and quartered apple in TMX and chop 3-5 sec, Sp 4
  9. Use a spatula to scoop apple into the bowl with the cupcake mixture and stir through well by hand
  10. Add raspberries last and gently stir through until just mixed (don’t mix too much or the raspberries will bleed throughout the mixture)
  11. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbs/40ml) patty pans (makes 24)
  12. Bake 25-30 min
  13. Allow to cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool

Non-Thermomix Method

  1. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla essence by hand or with electric mixer until pale and creamy
  2. Beat eggs in one at a time
  3. Stir in sifted flour and milk in two batches – 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup milk
  4. Stir in peeled and diced apple
  5. Add raspberries last and gently stir through until just mixed (don’t mix too much or the raspberries will bleed throughout the mixture)
  6. Spoon into cupcake size (2tbs/40ml) patty pans (makes 24)
  7. Bake 25-30 min
  8. Allow to cool in cupcake pan for 5 minutes before placing on wire rack to cool

Homemade: Best Strawberry Jam Ever

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I’ve tried making strawberry jam in the thermomix a few times now using the EDC recipe, but despite all my efforts and even adding extra cooking time, I don’t seem to be able to get a nice thick jam. I make a delicious strawberry sauce, but a very runny jam. Just recently my friend A mentioned she tried Tenina’s recipe for Strawberry and Vanilla Jam, and that it worked out perfectly. I tried it myself on the weekend and oh my goodness it was amazing. Thick, jammy jam, but not sickly sweet and very quick and easy to make. I made 3 batches and the recipe worked every time. I also did one batch and increased the ingredients and cooking time as below, plus a few tweaks to the method, and it still worked out beautifully. The original recipe makes about 600g of jam, and the revision below makes about 900g.

Ingredients

  • 600g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 300g sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 green apples, pips removed and sliced with skin on
  • Vanilla seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Method

  1. Place all ingredients in TMX and cook on Varoma, 55 min, Sp 1 with simmering basket on top of lid instead of MC
  2. Check the consistency of the jam by placing a spoonful of jam on a cold plate; if it wrinkles when pushed the jam is ready
  3. If not cooked, cook on Varoma for a further 10 min, Sp 1 and check again. Repeat until desired consistency is reached
  4. Place MC in lid and blitz 10 sec, Sp 9
  5. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal while hot

Sterilising Jars

Recycle used jars or buy new glass jars for your preserve. Wash the jars and lids thoroughly in hot soapy water, rinse well and air dry. Alternately wash them in the dishwasher. Then place clean jars on a clean tray in the oven at 100C and allow to dry out for 15 min. Pour hot jam into hot, sterilised jars and seal with lids immediately. As the jam and jar cools the lid will be pulled in to form a seal. The lid of the jar will ‘pop’ when opened. You can also purchase plastic film seals for your jars that go over the jar before the lid is put on. I’m sure you can buy them elsewhere but I get these ones from Coles ($1.83 for a 24 pack). They are handy if your jars have been reused numerous times and the lids are getting worn.

Peek in my Pantry: Vanilla Beans

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I love scraping the vanilla seeds out of a fresh vanilla pod. They smell so wonderful and have such fantastic flavour. I am often disheartened by the ridiculous price of vanilla beans in the supermarket or even specialty store, and the fact that they are often so dry with very few seeds inside when you split them open. Well, I have the solution to both of those problems. Beautiful, fat, shiny, delicious vanilla beans at a very affordable price delivered to your door. e-bay. Yes, you read it correctly, e-bay.

I had read about ordering spices and vanilla beans through e-bay on a few blogs and decided to give it a go. There are quite a few e-bay stores selling them. I’ve bought through The Spice Mill with no problems at all. I haven’t ordered any other spices or spice mixes from them but I think I will in the future. They state that their spices and spice mixes are pure spices, no additives, preservatives or fillers.

How about the price? I ordered 12 vanilla beans from The Spice Mill for $13 including postage within Australia. To buy 12 vanilla beans from the leading supermarkets you’ll pay at least $45! and they won’t be anything like the gorgeous ones you’ll get delivered to your door. The beans come packaged in a high-quality, thick zip lock bag and mine have always arrived in perfect condition.

Once you have your fabulous vanilla beans, kick that vanilla essence, vanilla extract and vanila paste to the kerb and use fresh seeds or make your own vanilla essence and vanilla sugar. Plus, of course, you can scrape out the seeds and add them directly to your cakes, ice creams, custards, panacottas … yum!

Homemade: Vanilla Sugar

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To make vanilla sugar, I three-quarter fill a clean glass jar with raw sugar then place all my used vanilla pods in there to flavour the sugar. Once the seeds have been scraped out of the vanilla pod, simply poke it into the sugar and shake around a little. Over time the vanilla beautifully flavours the sugar. I particularly like using this sugar when making custard or a fruit crumble.

Usually I spoon out the sugar, leaving the vanilla pods behind then use as is or blitz in the TMX on Sp 9 for 3 sec to make vanilla castor sugar. Once there are 3 or 4 pods in the sugar I will start a new jar, eventually discarding the old vanilla pods. Alternatively you can make vanilla icing sugar. After the vanilla pods have been in the sugar for a few days you simply place the whole lot (sugar and pods) in the TMX and blitz on Sp 10 for 15 sec. Delicious!

Homemade: Vanilla Essence

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It couldn’t be easier to make your own vanilla essence. Simply grab a clean jar and fill with brandy or vodka, depending on wether you want that brandy flavour or prefer a more tasteless alcohol. Add 3 vanilla beans, split down the middle and cut in half. Leave the jar in the top of your pantry for 6 weeks, shaking once every week. That’s it! Use as you would store-bought vanilla essence, but without any nasty additives or preservatives.