Full Little Tummies is a special place for me to keep the recipes and tips that I am collecting on my journey to improving the nutrition of my family, whilst caring for our beautiful planet. I invite you to check in every now and then and see what is new on my blog.
I love checking out photos of other food bloggers kitchens and thought it was about time I shared some photos of my "pudding and dumpling kitchen". The reason I call it that is because before we bought this house in the country we owned a new house in suburbia. The new house had a shiny black and white kitchen and I hated it (really hated it!!). To me it was a "stir fry and sushi" kitchen - just not me at all. My country kitchen is full of warm blackwood tones and beckons me to bake loaves of bread, stews topped with dumplings and of course puddings. Everything I love to cook for my family!!!
Here are some photos:
A big gate to keep my mischievous toddler out.
Thermie poised for action.
My Pudding and Dumpling Kitchen.
The view from one of my kitchen windows last month.
I must apologise for not having day-time photos of my kitchen with natural light. The problem with day-time photos is that during the day my kitchen floor area is always covered with toys and general "busy boy" clutter. :-)
Forumthermomix would have to be the most friendly and helpful forum on the Internet. It is so lovely to pop on there and check out new recipes, recipe reviews, thermomix tips and of course catch up with forum friends.
I recently came across a review for the Everyday Cooking Beef Stroganoff recipe and found some very tasty tweaks (thanks Kathryn as they are mostly your tweaks). Here is an absolutely divine version of this old family favourite. It is thick, creamy and delish!!!
1 onion peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves peeled
100g bacon rashers chopped into chunky strips
500g diced rump steak
250g Swiss brown mushrooms sliced (strictly no button mushrooms allowed)
2 tbsp tomato paste
100g white or red wine (I prefer red)
1 tbsp TMX vegetable stock concentrate
2-3 tbsp cornflour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp homemade Worcestershire sauce
150g sour cream
1 tbsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
pinch dried thyme
1 tsp organic dulse flakes or Himalayan salt
fresh chopped parsley to garnish
Drop garlic onto blades running at speed 7.
Add onion and chop at speed 5 for 2 seconds. Scrape down sides.
Add butter and bacon and cook for 3 minutes at 100 degrees on reverse speed 1.
Add remaining ingredients, except parsley, and cook for 20 minutes at 100 degrees on reverse soft speed.
Garnish with parsley and serve with mashed potatoes or fettuccine.
Next month nutritionist and life coach Cyndi O'Meara is visiting Tassie and if you haven't been to see Cyndi before I would really recommend attending one of her talks. In her book "Changing Habits, Changing Lives", Cyndi advocates throwing away packaged food and getting back to basic cooking. She is not into low-fat, low-calorie diets but instead promotes healthy living. Although I agree with my funny and rather sceptical friend that it is somewhat difficult to accept health advice from a "peroxided" guru, I do like her book and find it very down to earth. One chapter in particular is read often in this household - chapter 14 titled "Milk - Are You Getting Too Much".
Our family now has a reduced dairy diet which really does go against everything that I have been taught throughout my life regarding healthy eating. Reducing our children's dairy consumption and instead focusing on plant-based calcium sources that are readily absorbed by their little bodies was a huge decision for my husband and I and required a great deal of research and thought. Although we are firm in our reduced-dairy belief, every now and then I need the reassurance that reading Chapter 14 provides.
Here is an extract from this well worn chapter:
"Do we really need cow's milk? Aren't mammals best raised on milk from the breast of their own species, then weaned? If cow's milk is so right for us why do dairy companies push the low fat version so hard, and why is moo-less milk making such inroads?
The dairy industry wants us to drink milk and consume other dairy products, so their advertising leads us to believe that it's healthy and makes us feel good. But don't be fooled - drinking modern milk and consuming modern dairy foods is not the answer to good health. It is interesting to note the five highest dairy-consuming countries in the world have the highest incidence of osteoporosis.
But what about the food pyramid? Isn't dairy a main food group? Well, here's something you probably don't know: the food pyramid that is supposed to show us how much of each food group to eat wasn't designed by doctors or nutritionists or a health department, but rather the American Meat Packers as a marketing tool to increase the sales of meat and, therefore, their profits. How scientific is that?
Why is it that we need to consume large quantities of dairy food, when our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate none? Why is it that more modern hunter-gatherers (such as Australia's indigenous peoples) consumed no dairy foods, yet were fit and healthy people with strong bones?
Cyndi recommends reducing dairy consumption as much as possible and including other sources of calcium in our diets. She also recommends buying dairy products that have been tampered with the least, for example raw or unhomogenised milk as opposed to homogenised milk. Actually on that subject did you know that our bodies absorb more fat from homogenised milk than we do from butter or cream? :-)
Kathryn's peanut butter choc chip cookies have been receiving rave reviews on forumthermomix, so of course I had to give them a go. I whipped them up while my little men were eating their lunch today and they are easy and delicious. I loved making the peanut butter fresh in the TMX for the recipe (freshly cracked nuts and no added nasties). Here is my naturally sweetened spelt version of these cookies:
Well "Bangers and Mash" is a little fib because often I don't mash my potatoes, but it is very easy to do if you are partial to mash.
This is an all-in-one meal to satisfy all of those thermomix users who crave the occasional meat and 3 veg feast (namely my husband.) It is simple and quick and whilst possibly not in the running for any culinary awards is still a very tasty meal. For those of you who have never steamed sausages in your varoma - don't be scared to give it a go. I was once a VERY big sceptic too.
Bangers and Mash in a Tasty Onion Gravy
6-8 organic lean-beef sausages - each pricked with a fork several times
500-750g potatoes peeled and cubed (2-3 cm cube)
assorted sliced vegetables (carrots, beans, broccoli florets etc)
1 small onion - peeled and quartered
1 clove garlic - peeled
2 swiss brown mushrooms (optional for extra flavour)
600g good quality beef stock
Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
2 tbsp cornflour
Place the onion, garlic, mushrooms (if using) and butter into the TMX bowl and cook for 3 minutes at 100 degrees, speed 4.
Place sausages in lightly greased varoma dish (ensure they are not covering all of the vents).
Place vegies in varoma tray (once again check the vents).
Place the chopped potatoes into the rice basket.
Add stock, salt and pepper to the TMX bowl (I am generous with the pepper).
Place the rice basket into the TMX bowl and cook for 10 minutes at varoma temperature on speed 4.
Fit the varoma dish and tray onto the lid. Cook for 20 minutes at varoma temperature on speed 4.
Remove the varoma and rice basket (the sausages and vegies are ready to serve). Carefully remove the TMX lid (fat pools on the lid) and skim any fat from the top of the gravy mix inside the TMX bowl. There isn't generally too much fat if you use lean sausages.
Add the cornflour and cook for 2 minutes at 100 degrees on speed 4 to thicken the gravy.
If your sausages pop out of their skins, just pull the skins completely off before serving.
To make mash you need to remove the gravy and rinse the TMX bowl (don't fuss too much about it though). Check that the potatoes are cooked until almost falling apart. If they are not cooked enough add them into your bowl with some milk and cook a little longer. If they are fully cooked add your butterfly, potatoes, some milk and a dob of butter. Mix on speed 3 until they reach your desired consistency.
Steam homemade meatballs or small rissoles for an easy variation. Jamie Oliver makes quick meatballs by squeezing out blobs of meat from quality spiced sausages. He says life is too short to roll them into neat little balls and he likes them looking "rustic". I really love Jamie!
Last week was difficult. I suffered from a brief bout of insomnia (thankfully only 4 nights), but with two busy little boys to care for it was a struggle. I totally lost my thermie-cooking mojo and resorted to survival-mode cooking (thankfully using my thermomix and not packages). It was certainly no-frills cooking at our house last week.
This week I am really trying to get myself back into cooking and today I set myself a personal challenge to inspire me. This morning the boys and I wandered around the garden (which I must admit is rather sad looking at the moment) and gathered up a big basket of home-grown produce - all to be used in some way today!!! We found some baby beetroots, spinach leaves, a head of broccoli, a few spring onions, some basil leaves, an egg, some celery stalks and a few battered looking apples.
Feeling inspired once again (home-grown produce is so inspiring) I headed into the kitchen and whipped up a loaf of three coloured bread (recipe from the A Taste of Vegetarian Thermomix Cookbook) using spinach and beetroot as the colourings. While the bread was baking I threw some vegies into the thermomix (including spring onions and celery from the garden) and made up a jug of Maddie's delicious vegetable soup with bacon and pasta (topped with fresh basil). Needless to say lunch was hugely appreciated by my family and the left-overs will make another lovely lunch again tomorrow.
Three Coloured Loaf before Baking After Baking
Bacon, Pasta and Vegie Soup
I still have the apples, egg and broccoli left to be used today though. I am thinking a naturally sweetened apple teacake will make good use of the apples and egg. The broccoli will most likely be steamed with some other veg and teamed up with some local organic sausages for a tasty dinner. I will post my thermomix sausage meal soon as it is very easy and quite yummy.
Now I'm off to have a rest while my boys are napping. :-)
We are making the most of the long weekend and are heading away for a night at my parents beach house. I am of course running late but just had to post a photo of this yummy cake I made for my Mum's birthday today before heading out the door. I couldn't help myself and made another torta caprese (using my tweaked recipe). I love the combination of almond and chocolate. Mmmmmmmm.
As Mum won't be reading this today (no internet at the beach house) I can tell you all about the exciting present that we have bought for Mum this birthday. Mum loves photos (especially of her beloved grandchildren), so we bought a family photo shoot gift voucher with the talented Angela Craze from InspireTas. Ange has taken photo's of our boys before. Check out this beautiful photo of our two little boys hands. Just beautiful!!! Hold tenderly that which you cherish . . .
If you only ever soak one type of grain in your cooking preparation, let it be oats. Oats are an extremely nourishing grain and are packed with B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, but they are unfortunately also very high in phytic acid (higher than almost any other grain). If the phytic acid in oats isn't broken down (eg soaked overnight at cool room temperature with an acid medium) it can combine with minerals in the intestinal tract and block their absorption into the body. Over time this can lead to bowel problems, mineral deficiencies, bone loss, an increased risk of certain mental illnesses and other serious problems.
Many people enjoy eating rolled oats for breakfast on a daily basis (often muesli in summer and porridge in winter) and have no idea that this "healthy breakfast" may in fact be harming their bodies. This is not a reason to avoid oats, but merely a reminder that oats are not meant to be a "quick" meal and require some basic planning and preparation.
When making porridge the addition of a soaking step can be quite simple. The oats can be soaked overnight at cool room temperature in tepid water (with 1 tbsp of acid medium added per cup of oats). The soaking water can be discarded the next morning or used as cooking water. The soaked oats will cook quite quickly, so cooking times will need to be reduced. Many people find the lemon juice and vinegar acid mediums too sour for use with oats and prefer to use whey, cultured buttermilk or yoghurt. If the oats still taste too sour with one of those mediums they can be rinsed thoroughly and drained before cooking.
My soaked granola recipe is a healthy way of enjoying oats in a muesli-type form. Bircher muesli is another healthy way of eating muesli providing that you add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to the wet bircher mix before soaking overnight (roughly 1 tbsp of lemon/lime juice per cup of oats). If the mix is too sour, the oats may need to be soaked overnight in water and lemon juice and then rinsed well in the morning before adding the other bircher ingredients.
Preparing oats for baking is a little more involved, but still easy enough to manage though. Here is a recipe that produces nourishing crunchy oats that can be added to your cookie, slice and muesli bar recipes:
Crunchy Soaked Oats
4 cups rolled or steel cut oats
4 cups warm water
4 tbsp of acid medium (whey, lemon juice, yoghurt or cider vinegar)
Pour oats, water and acid medium into a large bowl and mix well. Cover with a tea towel and leave to soak at cool room temperature for 12-24 hours (24 hours is best with oats).
After the soaking time spread the oats quite thinly on baking paper placed around your dehydrator trays (you may need to discard a little soaking water). Use your highest setting and dehydrate until completely dry (5-12 hours) or for longer if you only have 1 setting. You can also dry the oats in the oven on a lined tray at a very low temperature.
When the oats are dried break them up into pieces or place them in a food processor (or thermomix) and gently break them up into little oat-size pieces (use reverse speed in a thermomix).
Enjoy adding these to your baking!
You can use as many cups of oats as you like, but you need to stick to the above ratio. For example 6 cups oats, 6 cups water, 6 tbsp acid medium.
I prefer yoghurt or whey as the acid medium in this recipe - each to their own with taste preferences though. :-)
I have a couple of friends who are quite interested in buying a thermomix and we often discuss the wonders of TMX together. When we are talking about my TMX though I often find it difficult to convey how wonderful and amazing I truly believe my little machine to be. It is difficult to sum up in words the difference that my TMX has made to our meals, our health and our life-style. I thought perhaps a good way to share this would be to take my readers through the planning and preparation of a meal and the way in which my TMX assists me in this.
The idea for our meal tonight came several weeks ago when I was doing our monthly shop at the supermarket. I was waiting in line at the check-out and was flicking through a magazine when I noticed a very yummy looking photo of a Mexican Vegetarian Stack. I checked out the recipe thinking that it may be something that I could convert to TMX and was stunned to read that it contained all packet items. A jar of salsa, a can of refried beans, a packet of tortillas, a bag of grated cheese, blah, blah, blah. I was just appalled!
So when I was doing our menu plan for this week and checking out my "A Taste of Vegetarian" thermomix cookbook, I was rather intrigued to see a recipe for a Mexican Vegetarian Stack. I looked at the ingredients and noted the fresh garlic, chilli, capsicum, zucchini, corn, spring onions etc etc etc and immediately scribbled it on my list. Now that was a Mexican Vegetarian Stack that I would actually want to feed to my children!!!!
So tonight I made the dish and it tasted delicious. The cheese topping was a little funky with the spring onion and parsley colouring, but tasted very nice all the same.
These were the basic steps (outlining the role of my TMX):
I made the spelt tortilla dough in the TMX. It took about 3 minutes in total to make and used only freshly milled whole grain spelt flour, unbleached organic white spelt flour, butter, Himalayan salt, homemade aluminium-free baking powder and water. None of the nasty preservatives that store-bought tortillas are so notorious for.
I then chopped the stack topping in the TMX (cheese, garlic cloves, spring onions and parsley). That took 3 seconds and then I set it aside. I could have used store-bought grated cheese, but block cheese is free from the harmful anti-caking agents.
I then started to make the mix. I programmed the TMX to chop and saute the onion, chilli and garlic. During that 3 minutes I started rolling the tortillas.
I added the other veg, legumes and spices to the TMX and the TMX cooked them for 25 minutes. While the TMX cooked and stirred I cooked the tortillas, helped my toddler with his potty, folded some washing, drew a racing car and checked my emails.
I then assembled the stack and baked it for 10 minutes. I set my TMX self-washing, then gave the bowl a quick rinse and stuck it in the dishwasher.
Having the TMX working away in my kitchen is truly like having another set of hands helping me. Sometimes I go and do other things while the TMX is cooking our tea and sometimes (like tonight) I use the extra time that the TMX has given me to make extra food for our family from scratch. Making the tortillas tonight gave me enormous satisfaction. Knowing that my family weren't consuming the 8-12 preservatives and additives normally found in store-bought tortillas (2 of which are known to be harmful to children's normal growth and development) makes me very happy.
I hope this has given you all a little insight into life with a thermomix. I realise that they are extremely expensive, but for our family the investment has already been worth every cent. And yes I do know I should be a consultant and sell them. :-)
This food journey that I have undertaken in the past twelve months has certainly taught me a great deal and I have basically learnt to question everything and trust nobody when it comes to sourcing food for my family. It is sad I know, but the food industry is often so preoccupied with profit that they care little about the "products" they are creating or the people that will be consuming them.
Throughout my journey one website has really struck me as a fantastic place to find honest and helpful information regarding food and that is the Weston A Price foundation. Despite the foundation being American-based I believe they do a fantastic job of dispelling modern myths regarding food production and consumption for all of us. There is information on basically all of the food-types on the website and here is a little sample for you from their website:
Some myths and truths about fats and cholesterol
1) Myth: Heart disease in America is caused by consumption of cholesterol and saturated fat from animal products.
Truth: During the period of rapid increase in heart disease (1920-1960), American consumption of animal fats declined but consumption of hydrogenated and industrially processed vegetable fats increased dramatically. (USDA-HNI)
2) Myth: Saturated fat clogs arteries.
Truth: The fatty acids found in artery clogs are mostly unsaturated (74%) of which 41% are polyunsaturated. (Lancet 1994 344:1195)
3) Myth: For good health, serum cholesterol should be less than 180 mg/dl.
Truth: The all-cause death rate is higher in individuals with cholesterol levels lower than 180 mg/dl. (Circulation 1992 86:3:1026-1029)
4) Myth: Animal fats cause cancer and heart disease.
Truth: Animal fats contain many nutrients that protect against cancer and heart disease; elevated rates of cancer and heart disease are associated with consumption of large amounts of vegetable oils. (Fed Proc July 1978 37:2215)
5) Myth: Children benefit from a low-fat diet.
Truth: Children on low-fat diets suffer from growth problems, failure to thrive and learning disabilities. (Food Chem News 10/3/94)
6) Myth: A low-fat diet will make you "feel better . . . and increase your joy of living."
Truth: Low-fat diets are associated with increased rates of depression, psychological problems, fatigue, violence and suicide. (Lancet 3/21/92 v339)
7)Myth: To avoid heart disease, we should use margarine instead of butter.
Truth: Margarine eaters have twice the rate of heart disease as butter eaters. (Nutrition Week 3/22/91 21:12)
In the winter months when it is too wet and windy to be outside in the garden, I love to be in my kitchen baking. During the week I often make the most of the hour when our boys are napping to whip up something tasty and wholesome. It's on Sunday afternoons however when my Hubby entertains our boys that I really enjoy having some time in the kitchen - bliss. I think perhaps it's the promise of our Sunday night puddings that sweetens the child-entertaining deal so nicely.
Sunday night pudding has become a bit of a family tradition and during the week I can often be found flicking through my collection of old cookbooks in readiness for Sunday's treat. The making of puddings for our family has become a little more challenging for me since we discovered that our eldest son is intolerant of refined sugar. By refined sugar I am referring to raw, white and brown sugar and also golden syrup (all of which are very refined). Our son can tolerate a small amount without physical discomfort, but moderate-large amounts of refined sugar (normal amounts really) cause extreme and prolonged hyperactivity, stomach cramps and then of course exhaustion for the poor little possum.
What do I use to sweeten our puddings then? Well, for some people I'm sure the answer to that question would be very simple and they would just use one product for everything (eg honey or perhaps rapadura). Being the shocking sweet-tooth that I am however the answer for me is a little more complicated and really depends on what type of sweetness I am wanting for a particular recipe. I will give you a few examples of the sweeteners I use:
I use stewed apple puree in many of my basic cake recipes (and some pudding recipes) and am able to cut out half of the butter and sugar from my recipes with that substitution. It is a very nifty little trick.
I sometimes use rapadura as a direct substitute for refined sugar in puddings, although I tend to use a little less of the rapadura as it is quite expensive.
If I want a super-sweet tasting pudding I add a pinch of stevia powder with my rapadura, as rapadura has more of an earthy sweetness. Stevia is quite heavily refined though so I don't use it often.
When replacing golden syrup in pudding recipes I use a combination of pure organic maple syrup, apricot jam (homemade and rapadura sweetened) and a little water.
I like to use honey for my breakfast baking (muffins etc), but I really don't like to use honey as a sweetener for my puddings (it tastes too healthy for me).
Hmmmmmm. All this talk about puddings is certainly making me feel hungry for something sweet. Thank goodness it is "pudding day" tomorrow. Tomorrow's pudding will be very simple as my family have requested a repeat of last week's effort. This easy and extremely delicious saucy apple pudding recipe is based on achookwoman's caramel apple pudding recipe from forumthermomix. I modified it a little to make it wheat-free and free of refined sugars. It is just divine!!!
Saucy Apple Pudding
3 large apples (golden delicious or granny smith - peeled, cored and sliced)
1 free-range egg
80g non-homogenised milk
120g organic white spelt flour
1 tsp aluminium-free baking powder (I make my own in my TMX)
40g pure organic maple syrup
1 tbsp homemade apricot jam (rapadura sweetened)
200g hot water
Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Prepare apples and place in greased dish.
Grind 100g rapadura in TMX bowl for 10 seconds on speed 9. Set aside.
Add butter to TMX bowl and melt for 2 minutes, 80 degrees on speed 2.
Add milk, egg and ground rapadura and mix for 10 seconds at speed 4.
Add flour and baking powder and mix for 30 seconds at speed 4.
Scrape mixture over apples and rinse TMX.
Place 80g rapadura, maple syrup, jam and hot water into TMX and mix for 3 minutes, varoma temperature at speed 3. Pour over pudding batter.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until brown on top. Delish!!!
I am of course wondering if this would work as a soaked whole grain khorasan or spelt pudding. Will keep you all posted on that one. :-)
I love having bread rolls in the freezer to pull out for a quick lunch or to accompany a bowl of soup or chowder for an easy dinner. These are our favourite rolls at the moment. They are tasty, light and freeze really well.
220g organic spelt or khorasan grain
150g organic rye grain
300g tepid water
2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Himalayan salt
280 g organic unbleached bread flour
3 tsp dried yeast
1 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp chia gel
20 g rapadura
2 tsp organic dulse flakes
6 tbsp of organic seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, linseed etc)
Mill the spelt/khorasan and rye grain in the TMX for 1 minute at speed 9. Leave for 5 minutes with the lid off to cool down and then repeat the milling for another minute. Pour into a jug or bowl and sit on TMX lid. Weigh in 300g tepid water and measure in organic apple cider vinegar. Mix well and leave covered at room room temperature for 7-24 hours (24 hours is best).
After the soaking period measure 100g water and the salt into the TMX bowl and program 2 minutes, 37 degrees, speed 2.
Add 50g of the unbleached bread flour and the yeast into the bowl and mix for 10 seconds on speed 2.
Add the remaining ingredients (except for the seeds) and knead for 2 minutes.
Check the dough consistency and add a little flour or water if necessary.
Measure the seeds into the TMX and knead for another minute.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and leave in a warm place to rise. Alternatively you can leave the dough in the TMX to rise, but the cleaning can be a bit difficult.
Form the rolls (approx 90-100g of dough per roll) and place on an oiled tray or breadmat. Sprinkle with oats or seeds if desired and gently press them on. Leave to rise in a warm place for a further 20-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bottom of the rolls sound hollow when tapped.
You can use more grain and less bought flour but you may have to use a bread improver or acid.
I haven't had great success with this dough in a loaf.