Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Greek Cheese Pastries - (I Quit Sugar - well nearly )



Got more than I bargained for when I decided to try and take sugar completely out of my diet. Massive headaches, migraines, blurred vision and nausea - but that was a long time ago. My doctor at the time told me I was too crazy; "get some fruit into your body and the pains will stop", he told me - and he was right of course.

But now there are new ways to quit sugar and I've realised that if I do it slowly and readjust some of my recipes, it may not be THAT bad. But I've got to thinking what drives us to eat such sweet meats? From what I've read it appears that once you start eating something sweet, the high you get from that tells your brain to eat more, so you get onto that vicious cycle - the more you eat, the more you want.

So I'm trying to do it bit by bit - yes I still have the occasional craving for a sweet treat and sorry Sarah Wilson I will continue to eat the odd fresh date, but I am trying to rid myself of the cakes, biscuits, ice cream, chocolate and hidden sugars in any packaged foods. I'll just have to go back to my kitchen and try out new ways of cooking without sugar or honey.  I hope you will stay with me for the journey.

So when I long for a piece of cake - I just dip into the Hummus instead! Bwahhhh!

Now these incredibly tasty pastries have no sugar, so I am happy to start with these. I've served them with a fresh Greek Salad (minus the Feta) and I think they make a delicious meal. Hope you enjoy them.

Anyone got cake recipes without sugar or honey???



GREEK CHEESE PASTRIES

Ingredients - Makes enough for 4 people

2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 lemon, zested
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 sheets filo pastry
200g feta cheese
250g cottage cheese
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 egg beaten
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbls plain flour
grated nutmeg
1 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
2 tbls finely chopped coriander
Vegetable oil


Mix together feta and cottage cheese, yoghurt, egg, garlic, flour, grated nutmeg, lemon zest, juice and coriander. Keep a little coriander for serving.

Take 5 sheets of filo pastry and brush with melted butter.

Divide the mixture between the sheets of filo, spreading it on the long side of the rectangle of pastry. Leave enough at the ends to roll up, tucking in the sides.


Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

In a non stick fry pan heat oil and fry each pastry until nice and brown, turning over once. This will only take a few minutes. Now cut each one into 2 pieces and serve with a wedge of lemon and a sprinkling of chopped coriander.

  









Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Plum Cake






Thanks a lot weather for turning cold on me. Just because it is autumn doesn't mean it has to be wet and cold. Okay so we have had a few sunny days and I have to admit that I've been away to Melbourne and then spent an entire 2 weeks in my garden doing a big renovation project. 

I'm dreaming of some fab warm sunny days, sipping tea on the verandah and watching the glorious leaves changing colour. So damn and blast I just have to make a cake, even though I 'm trying to give up sugar.

Plums are on their last legs and we will just have to be content with apples and pears and citrus fruit until the whole darn weather recycles itself and comes back to spring.

Fabulous time of year (if it stops peeing with rain). I've done a quick scout of my neighbourhood and I've brought you the best of the autumn show.




Here are some Fabulous Facts about Deciduous Trees.

 - Leaves fall off trees in winter because a layer of cork grows across the leaf stalk gradually cutting off its water supply.

-  Physiological changes in the leaf produce outstanding autumn colours.  Short, warm days and cool nights produce pigments which develop into the wonderful autumn colours. Carotenoid pigment gives yellow, orange and brown and bright reds and purples are from anthocyanin pigments. 

Red and purple leaves are actually caused by the presence of sugars from sap that is trapped inside of the leaves.

- If you live very close to the Equator, you will not experience autumnal colours.

- Plums are an autumnal fruit and you should find the last of them in the shops now.

So dash out and buy a few because this may be your last chance this season to make this cake.






PLUM CAKE


Ingredients


1/4 cup (60g) caster sugar
115g butter
1 cup (125g) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
4 plums, pitted and quartered
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Rice Malt Syrup
pinch salt
1 - 2 teaspoons caster sugar

Preheat oven to 170º fan forced.

Beat sugar and butter together until nice and creamy.


Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.


Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a small bowl and gently incorporate into the creamed mixture.


Pour batter into a greased springform cake tin, approx 20 cms in size.


Place the quartered plums, cut side up into the batter, pressing down slightly.
Sprinkle  the plums with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.


Bake in a preheated oven for 40 - 50 minutes.

Cool for 5 to 10 minutes then take out of the tin and cool completely on a cake rack or serve warm with yoghurt.

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Monday, 10 April 2017

Vanilla Plums, Rice, Sugar and Olive Oil


Things I have learned this week!


1. Rice contains arsenic! I am gobsmacked! Maybe you knew this already. If you are a not a big rice eater then eating small amounts of rice should be fine. However, to make it safer, soak rice in water overnight, drain the water and discard it and then use fresh water to cook the rice. Arsenic will be drawn out of the rice and into the water  you are discarding making it much safer.


2. Never use olive oil in non stick pans. Use grape seed oil, avocado oil or bran oil. This will enable your non stick pan to stay pristine for ever. Olive oil will burn on your non stick pan rendering it useless. Thank you George! ( I read this on the box of my new George Colombaris pan) How come I didn't know this?


3. Quitting sugar is like giving up smoking. The thought of it is way more difficult than actually doing it. I am on day 6 of a sugarless diet! But, I did buy a jar of Rice Malt Syrup which contains no fructose and I tried it in my coffee. It tasted OK but it wasn't sweet.

4. Sweet cooked fruit in season does not need added sugar. If you add sugar out of habit to your food, stop and think 'do I really need this'.

5. Volunteering for something takes less time that you think and is a great way to meet new people and learn about your local environment.

6. Plums are one of my favourite fruits.

So I had better let you have my favourite plum recipe that is so simple you wonder why you have never tried it before. (Ssh, it contains no sugar either)


VANILLA PLUMS





Ingredients

1 kg ripe plums, any kind will do
1 vanilla pod
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup water

I feel a bit of a fake posting this recipe - if you can even call it that! 

1. Wash and cut the fruit into quarters removing the seed.

2. Add to a large pan with water, cinnamon stick and the seeds from the vanilla pod.

3. On a low heat cook plums until they are soft and thick, about 15 - 20 minutes. 

4. Take off the heat and cool. Remove the cinnamon stick. 

5. Serve warm or cold with ice cream, custard, yoghurt or by themselves.

See I told you it was really easy.


Did you know? The plum is related to the almond, peach and nectarine.Plums are called 'drupes' something with a hard stone at the centre, from the Latin word 'druppa' meaning 'over ripe olive'. (I think this must be because the olive has a hard stone in the centre). If you are a linguist and know more about this, can you leave a comment please.

Phenols are also found in plums and prunes (dried plums); they function as antioxidants - plus they aid in helping the body to absorb iron. And finally they are high in vitamin C. What a clever thing nature is.