Image

Dr Mosley’s Eggplant Brownies

Hello everyone.  These delicious brownies are from Dr Michael Mosley’s Clever Guts Diet book so I take no credit for them whatsoever.  I was lucky enough to attend a talk he did last week in Perth and his book was part of the package I purchased.  I try not to jump on diet bandwagons, but his makes so much sense and is nothing crazy or onerous.  In fact, most of the things he suggests are things I am already doing or eating (so I feel fairly smug ha ha).  Do visit his website and read his book if you are interested in improving your health and feeling better in general.  You may lose some weight too, although that’s not the focus of the diet (it’s just an added bonus).

Anyway, I have recently given up sugar (sort of…I fall off the wagon regularly) and, because of this, have not been craving as much sweet stuff.  That’s not to say I don’t want it at all – we ARE talking about me, after all – but I have been less inclined to raid the cookie jar at work and haven’t been wandering around the house at night trying to find something to eat after dinner.

These brownies are yummy.  You would never know they have eggplant in them and hardly any sugar (none added – just dates).  They are really moist and fudgey and will satisfy any sweet tooth and the most fussy chocoholic.  Do try them 🙂

Ingredients

  • medium eggplant (200 g), peeled and diced
  • 150g dark chocolate (minimum 70 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces
  • 60g coconut oil
  • 60g soft pitted dates, diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 80g almond meal

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Steam the eggplant for 15 min­utes until it’s soft. Put it in a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate and coconut oil. The warm eggplant will melt the chocolate and oil. Add the chopped dates and salt. Using a hand blender or a food processor, blitz the mixture until it’s smooth. By now it should be cool enough to add the eggs and baking powder. Blitz again for another minute or so, then mix in the ground almonds. Spread the mixture onto a medium-sized baking tray lined with baking  paper and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. It is cooked when a knife comes out clean.

Cut into squares to serve.

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

IMG_4897

Advertisements
Image

Easy Chocolate Truffles

Tomorrow is my Mum’s 70th Birthday.  I decided to make her birthday cake, as you do, so she would have something to offer guests when they came to visit her (she’s having several little soirees to stretch her special day out).  Cue much culinary disaster and chaos. Everything I tried to do tonight ended in failure.  To start with, I couldn’t find my kitchen scales so couldn’t make the cake I had wanted to create, then I spilled sugar all over my bench, then the cupcakes I made were horrible and inedible.  Finally I decided to make truffles because I only had a few ingredients left and couldn’t bear having to bake anything else.  I had seen truffles made with only a couple of ingredients, and not needing butter or cream, so I looked for a recipe that would suit and – hey presto! – Slice of Kitchen Life  came to the rescue with this easy-peasy truffle mix.  I have adapted it slightly but it is still the basic recipe and principle of the original.  They’re made with water, which goes against everything we all know about cooking with chocolate but, trust me, it works!

img_4202

INGREDIENTS
  • 200g dark (70% cocoa solids) chocolate
  • 6 tablespoons espresso coffee (cooled to room temperature)
  • 2 and ½ tablespoons maple syrup (at room temperature)
  • Two Tablespoons Crunchy Peanut Butter (the 100% peanut kind -not the kind made with added oil, sugar etc)
  • To serve:
  • Sifted cocoa powder and / or dessicated coconut for rolling truffles in
 
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, gently melt the dark chocolate.  I usually take it off the heat well before it is full melted and then just keep stirring until it’s all melted down.  The residual heat in the bowl will do the work for you, and then you don’t end up with burnt choccy!
  2. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the liquid coffee and begin gently stirring with a silicone spatula. As the liquid is incorporated, the chocolate will seize and thicken.
  3. Add the maple syrup, a spoonful at a time and again, gently stir until the mixture is smooth, glossy and thick.  Stir in peanut butter.
  4. Chill the truffle mixture for at least 45 mins – 1 hour. It will continue to thicken as it chills which will make handling a lot easier.  Be patient – it seems like it isn’t working at first but then – voila! – it suddenly hardens and you’re good to go.
  5. Measure out a generous teaspoonful of truffle mixture at a time, and roll into a smooth ball in the palms of your hands.
  6. Roll the balls in sifted cocoa powder or coconut until well coated, pop into mini-cupcake papers, and store in the refrigerator until serving.

This recipe makes about 15-18 truffles, depending on how large you like ’em!  They are very rich so smaller is better.

I’m so relieved something worked out tonight.  My kitchen looks like something exploded and I have melted chocolate all over me, the benches and the floor, but hey, your Mum only turns 70 once, right?  I wish I could have made her something a bit more spectacular but hopefully she will appreciate these anyway.

Happy Birthday Mum – I love you very much xxx

img_4207

Image

Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies

We had a morning tea at work this week, to farewell one of our longest-serving staff members.  For twenty three years TM has worked diligently and cheerfully, always going the extra mile and making sure everything and everyone is organised and looked after.  I have only been at the organisation for just over three years, but in that time she has been such a support to me and I will miss her terribly.  I don’t even want to think about her not being there when I arrive in the mornings.  The place will seem very empty without her presence – even on the days she’s not there, she’s still THERE, you know?

So, as is mandatory for all morning teas, cakes, biscuits, quiches and slices were baked and brought in for everyone to share.  I made my Date & Almond Slice, and also tried a new recipe for Chocolate Cheesecake Brownies, which I hadn’t made before.  They turned out really well.  Very moist and moreish and easy to make.  Everyone enjoyed them so I am glad I tried something new, and will make them again.  I tend to make things I shouldn’t really eat (ie things with chocolate or nuts in) – my theory being that I won’t indulge too much myself.  This is a fallacy.  I eat half the batter before it even goes in the tin and then keep taste-testing the baked product.  Pathetic.  I’m sure my kidneys hate me.

Anyway, the brownies were delicious – I did modify the original recipe slightly as I felt it had too much sugar in it (I left out about a 1/3 cup from the chocolate batter, but I am giving you the original amounts here).  The recipe comes from Baking Bites – a lovely foody blog with lots of yummy recipes, baking advice, kitchen gadgets and more.
Please do visit their site – you’ll find lots of inspiration 🙂

IMG_3840


INGREDIENTS

Brownie Batter
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, chopped
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecake Batter
8-oz ricotta cheese (I used smooth)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with baking paper.
Prepare brownie batter: In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Stir in cocoa powder until well-incorporated. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Whisking steadily, pour chocolate mixture into sugar mixture. Stir until smooth. Stir in flour and salt, mixing until ingredients are just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan and set aside.

Prepare cheesecake batter: In a medium bowl, beat ricotta cheese, sugar, flour, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A sharp knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
Cool in the pan completely, then refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into small squares (or large squares if you’re a piggy ha ha)

IMG_3846

Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.

Enjoy!

And to TM, I say a fond farewell – you will be missed more than I can say x

Image

Easter Treats

Just an extremely quick quickie post today, showing you what I made for my workmates for Easter.  I wanted to photograph it nicely and make things look all prettified and classy…but that didn’t happen, so here’s a picture of the little baggies I made, sitting
un-artistically on a colleague’s desk.

I bundled up little bags of chocolate-covered peanuts (“Bunny Poo”) and some Easter eggs (“Bum Buts” – an Aussie slang term for eggs), made up a little label and bunged it all together in a white paper bag.  Not fancy, but I think it was cute enough.

Hope you have a delightful Easter weekend, regardless of your religion and beliefs.
I, for one, am just looking forward to some days off and time at home.  It’s supposed to be a bit cool and murky, weather-wise, so time spent snuggled up inside sounds good to me, even if I am bemoaning the start of the colder weather and already wishing it was Summer again.  Hopefully I will get some crafting done and just chill, de-stress and rest.  I foresee some sleeping-in in my very near future ie tomorrow, most likely.

Eat lots of chocolate for me!

🙂

IMG_2950

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

Little Box of Echeveria (and sneaky snacks)

I have gone from hardly posting at all to posting A LOT this week.  It won’t last, I’m sure.  Get it while it’s hot!

Potted up this little ceramic box with a bunch of Echeveria pups I had propagated.  One of my colleagues at work is turning the big 7-0 this week and I wanted to get her a little something for her office.  I had planned on buying an orchid, but the shops only seemed to have enormous ones that were out of my price range, so I decided to pot up a few succulents for her in a nice pot.  Found these weeny square ceramic pots at Bunnings for less than $4.  I was going to put in a few different varieties of succulent, but then I decided to just use the echeverias, although there are several different colours.  They will eventually grow to big for the pot but for a little while they will be happy enough.  It annoys me when plant pots are made with no hole in them for drainage.  I realise the do this so that water doesn’t leak out all over your precious heirloom tablecloth or whatever, but still… I just put a load of gravel or other free-draining material in the bottom to prevent any root-rot.

It’s cute – I hope she likes it.  Everything makes her sneeze and cough, so I had to get something that wouldn’t flower heaps or have lots of pollen.  I figure I am pretty safe with these little guys.

IMG_0445

I’m also making some chocolate oat cookies (these) to take to work for everyone to share.  I hate to admit it, but I ate half of the batter before it even made it to the oven.  Because I am an idiot.  Who shouldn’t eat chocolate. Le Sigh.  Sometimes, my brain switches off.  Actually, more truthfully, most days it doesn’t switch on in the first place.  I have been trying to be good lately and not eat bad stuff but it is a losing battle.  I didn’t go for a walk today so can’t even say “at least I exercised”. I wanted to have lost a couple of kilos by the time my annual renal appointment came up at the end of the month, but it looks like I will have to wear the same sheepish, guilty expression I always have when I see my specialist.

Well, I am heading into boring “I am fat” territory and don’t want to subject you to that yawn-fest, so I shall go.

Hope your day has been happy and guilt-free.  Or FULL of guilty pleasures.  Yeah, that sounds much more fun!

🙂

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

I have been eating a lot lately.  Bingeing, you might say.  Whether it is to fill an emotional void or just because I am a pig with no self control, I can’t say.  I don’t generally keep “bad” food in the house because I will just eat it.  Rapidly. With no thought to the size of my thighs or any other part of my expanding body.

Today I had my niece’s 1st birthday party to go to.  I was severely hungover (not from alcohol, I don’t drink – it was from some medication I take to ease neck pain and headaches and last night I took a big dose because I just wanted to sleep) and very dopey and unmotivated.  Last night, I had predicted my inevitable last-minute dash to the party, so I had baked some cookies. Easy cookies which take no brain power whatsoever to make.  I added chocolate to the recipe because I am currently also going through some sort of brain fog, whereby I forget that I’m not supposed to eat chocolate (because of my kidneys).  Besides, the cookies were for the party, not strictly for me alone, so I could cheat and eat some batter and pretend it was ok.

The cookies are yummy and turn out really well, even if your oven is rubbish like mine.  The wholegrain porridge oats mean they are super healthy (you can lie to yourself like I did) and should be eaten with abandon.

IMG_6905

Easy Chocolate Oat Cookies

150g Self Raising Floour
150g Wholegrain Quick Oats
150g Dark Brown Sugar
150g Butter
2 Tablespoons Golden Syrup
100g chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
In a saucepan, melt butter, sugar and golden syrup together until sugar is dissolved.
Stir in dry ingredients until all combine. Chocolate will probably melt into mixture but that’s ok!

Spoon mixture onto baking tray and form into rounds.

Bake for approx 20 minutes.  Let cool on trays.  Store in airtight container.

Voila!  Eat and go on a diet tomorrow!

🙂

Brownie Bake-Off

Brownie Bake-Off

A group of librarian friends in Sydney are having a brownie bake-off.  Recipes are being tweaked, samples scrutinised and ingredient lists zealously protected.  I’m unable to eat chocolate any more due to my renal condition (it’s a cruel universe indeed that forbids the all-healing goodness of chocolate) but I am known for my brownies.  I used to bake them a lot – for every family gathering, craft sale, birthdays and just-because days.  I haven’t made them for over a year now – it’s no fun whipping up a batch of these little beauties unless you can dip into the batter and help yourself to the baked finished product.

However, I am happy to share the recipe with all of you. It’s a fool-proof one and never fails me.  Give it a try – you’ll be glad you did (and so will anyone else whom you deem lucky enough to sample it).  Just be warned though – you WILL have to make these again and again.

 

CHERRY RIPE BROWNIES

125g butter
200g brown sugar
2 eggs
5 tablespoons cocoa, sifted
3 tsp cherry brandy essence (or vanilla essence)*
100g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 bars of Cherry Ripe, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (can use pecans or almonds or mixture of nuts)

Preheat Oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Over low heat, melt butter in a medium sized saucepan.  Remove from heat and mix in cocoa powder, sugar, essence and eggs.  Sift flour and baking powder and add to mixture with chopped nuts and Cherry Ripe.  Stir until combined.

Pour into a 20cm square cake tin, lined with baking powder.

Bake for approx 25 minutes.  Do not over-bake. Check at 20 minutes – brownies are better undercooked.  A skewer inserted into the middle should come out just clean.  Let cool in tin and then dust with icing sugar before cutting into squares.  

* Cherry Brandy Essence is available in the Cake/Baking section of the supermarket.  It’s not essential but it does amp up the flavour!  Substitute real Cherry Brandy if you like – experiment!