Misty Water-coloured Memories…of French Toast

November 2014 – Recipe Redux Theme

A Food Memory For Which You Are Thankful

In the US, November marks the Thanksgiving holiday. But many of us are especially thankful for food memories we have shared with friends or relatives throughout our lives. Was it a special meal you ate as a child? Or, maybe it was a food you grew and harvested with your own children. Please share one of your favourite food memories and the healthier “redo” of the recipe.

So hard to narrow it down…my food memories are a bit of a blur. My dad is the cook in the family, mum never, ever enters the kitchen, so I have my dad to thank for my passion for cooking and food. In saying that, dad and I do not share a passion for nutritious food, so my memories consist of donuts and french toast at breakfast time! Not the best start to the day..

I’m putting a healthy spin on a usually sugar-laden,  low-fibre and high GI french toast recipe. By using naturally sweet ingredients such as cinnamon and vanilla, less sugar is needed. Incorporating more fruit will also naturally sweeten the recipe too. This means lower kilojoules overall and less of the processed stuff! Switching a boring white loaf of bread to a wholemeal sourdough means more fibre and also lowers the GI load = staying fuller for longer and not having crazy spikes in blood sugar = win 🙂

French toast doesn’t need to be bad for you. If made using this recipe, it’s actually quite a nutritious breakfast. Fibre and carbohydrates from a good quality bread, protein from the eggs and a good source of calcium from a side serving of the yoghurt dressing. Plus your getting in a serving or two of fruit 🙂 Just use an olive oil spray in a non-stick pan to fry the bread – sorted!

I got a little excited and made a vegan caramel sauce too..couldn’t help myself! It was delicious. But it uses a lot of dates so ups the sugar content significantly. This recipe is just as good without the caramel sauce, but if you are feeling decadent then go for it!


 

Stuffed French Toast with Caramel Sauce

(serves 2)

4 x slices wholemeal bread

2 x eggs

1/4 x cup milk (soy, dairy, rice)

1 tsp x vanilla extract

1 x banana

1 x tsp cinnamon

olive oil spray

Jalna low-fat vanilla yoghurt

Caramel Sauce

8 x medjool dates, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes

200mL x milk (I used macadamia)

1/8 x tsp salt

1/2  x tsp lemon juice


Soak dates in boiling water for half an hour

Whisk eggs, milk and vanilla in a shallow dish

Mash banana and cinnamon in a bowl

Spread two pieces of bread with banana mash and top with another piece of bread so you have a sandwich

Soak each sandwich in the egg mixture (about 5 minutes for each side)

Spray a pan with cooking spray and heat up

Using a spatula, carefully place one sandwich in the pan and cook each side for about two minutes or until golden brown

Put the first piece in a warm oven while the second is cooking

stuffed

For the sauce…

Drain the dates

Place dates, milk, lemon juice and salt in a food processor

Blend until smooth

Add more milk if you want the sauce a bit thinner

caramel

To serve… 

Slice each sandwich on the diagonal and top with caramel sauce

Serve with a side of vanilla yoghurt

 french toast

This one went down a treat. A good option for weekend brunch if you have some time on your hands and a willing participant to feed. In the spirit of Thanksgiving…thanks to my dad for the Recipe Redux inspiration! Enjoy xxx

Grananananola

If you’re wondering how to say the title, think of the old banana ad with the ‘make your bodies sing’ tune – that’s what i had in mind.

Not that we really use the term granola in Australia, it’s more of an American thing. Think toasted muesli instead, it just doesn’t role off the tongue as easily, is all.

So I don’t eat toasted muesli at all really, ever. I like it but it’s so hard to find one that is not loaded with sugars and oil that I just stopped looking. And on those rare days when you go into an organic health food store and do find a half decent one, they charge you $20 for it. Don’t buy into the hype! It’s so simple to make at home, and you can put all your favourites in and not have to worry about picking out those annoying cranberries or pumpkin seeds 🙂 Just kidding, I love cranberries and pumpkin seeds!

Here is a version I made a couple of breakfasts ago. I’m not going to lie, I left it in the oven a bit too long and burnt it. But once I picked out the extra crispy bits, it was really, really tasty. You could leave it untoasted if you’re worried about the oil, but I used barely any so I wouldn’t worry!

This batch got me about three serves, and it didn’t last long. Serve it with milk and banana, or put it in a glass with berries and yoghurt. Tip: food in glasses always, always taste better 😉

Keep it in an airtight container if for some reason you don’t eat it all at once!

 

granola tray


 

Home made Granola

1 cup traditional rolled oats

1/4 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds

1/4 cup dried fruit

1/4 cup coconut flakes

1 TBS honey

1 TBS coconut oil

a good pinch of salt

1 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 180C

Throw all of your dry ingredients into a big bowl and mix around.

Heat up your coconut oil until it’s liquified

Heat the honey a little too so it’s easier to pour

Pour the honey and oil over the dry ingredients and get your hands dirty

Make sure everything is mixed up

Spread it onto a baking paper lined tray

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes but watch it carefully!! You want it to be golden brown

Allow to cool before eating


granola glass

Like I said, this recipe is really adaptable, put what ever you like in it.

Almonds, pecans, dried figs, apricots, nutmeg, sultanas, dried mango, puffed grains, sesame seeds, chia, the list goes on!

If you are a fan of breakfast cereals and mueslis, then I really recommend giving it a try and making your own. Not only is it a lot cheaper, but you are getting a lot less sugar, fat and salt! Breakfast cereals are notorious for hidden ingredients, and a lot of the time people think they are choosing the healthy option, but it’s not so healthy at all. So: best option, make your own, or if  you still want to buy something, go for an untoasted natural version 🙂

Ripponlea Food & Wine

Melbourne Sunday Brunch [MSB] in Ripponlea over the weekend. I’ve lived down the road for a year and never been to the Ripponlea Gardens, one day it will happen. For now, we can make do with Ripponlea Food & Wine.

Good all round breakfast menu, coffee was decent, food was good! I had multigrain with poached eggs, beetroot relish, avocado, goats cheese and dukkah. mmm can’t say no to dukkah (a spice mix made with sesame seeds, crushed nuts and cumin, just incase  you were wondering!).And I’m not usually a big fan of beetroot but this relish was good! Click here to check out the rest of their brekkie menu.

The interior was really rustic and service was lovely too. Eloquently described on their website as “eclectic ambience” which I would happily agree with. Good service is under rated these days. Coming from a hospitality background it’s so welcome to get a genuine smile!

My partner in crime had The Ripper, which is like their version of a big brekkie. It was impressive to say the least. Wait for it. Berkshire bacon – thyme buttered mushrooms – cherry tomatoes – smashed avo – poached eggs – sourdough toast – potato rosti. I heard it went down a treat.

I was also eyeing off their walnut and fig loaf with almond butter. But the angel on one shoulder won the battle and I kept right away from that gloriousness. I guess I have an excuse to go back now.

 

 

[I just realised that I don’t have any pretty pictures to show you. Apologies. I can’t bring myself to take photos of my food when I am out in public. Confidence issues. I’ll work on it.]

 

Hope everyone gets to enjoy a bit of sunshine today 🙂 xx

Ripponlea Food & Wine on Urbanspoon

Shakshuka

Oh my days! I remember it like it was just yesterday. I was at the farmer’s market in Perth and it was breakfast time. My friend asked if I had ever had Shakshuka.

‘Huh?’

Shakshuka is a middle eastern dish of baked eggs in a spicy tomato sauce. There are a million variations on it, and it’s another one of those dishes that keep popping up on breakfast menus all over Melbourne.

It was usually something I ate only when I was out and about, but i had the ingredients on hand one morning so thought I’d give it a go. I ended up getting a little carried away and made my own flat bread too…it was a total shame that no one was around to see the finished product because it really was impressive! I added chickpeas instead of the usual chorizo that most versions have, (sorry to be a downer), and it worked, go figure 😉

All up, a great breakfast option packed with protein from the eggs and the chickpeas, and also a good way to get a serve or two of veg in early in the day. Sometimes it can be hard to get your five serves of veggies in every day, so when you get a serve in early with your brekkie it makes it a lot easier! Try having a green smoothie with a bunch of spinach, or making an omelette with mushrooms and capsicums so that you can get a head start and you’re not stuck with a plate of salad for dinner!

 

shakshuka

 

Shakshuka

1 tsp of olive oil

1 tin of diced tomatoes

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped

1/2 a brown onion, finely chopped

1/2 red capsicum, finely chopped

1/4 tin of chickpeas

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

2 eggs

fresh parsley


Flat Bread

1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour

1/4 cup of warm water

pinch of salt

1 tsp of olive oil


To make flat bread. . .

Flour goes in bowl, add salt

Make a well in the center and add oil and water

Use your hands to form a dough

Knead the dough on the bench for a few minutes then break it in two

Use a rolling pin/bottle of wine to roll out your bread

Heat up a pan until hot

Place flat bread on a pan and flip it over when bubbles form

Then cook for another minute and done!


For shakshuka. . .

Heat up the oil in a fry pan

Add the onion and cook slowly until soft but not too brown

Add garlic and spices and cook for another minute

Add in tinned tomatoes, capsicum and chickpeas and cook on a simmer for five minutes, give it a stir every now and then

Make two wells in the pan, crack each egg and slowly put them in the tomato sauce

I get impatient here and put them under the grill to cook the eggs faster (about 5 mins depending on how you like your eggs done), or you can put a lid on the pan and cook them until set

Sprinkle with parsley

Eat from the pan!

‘The It’ Recreation

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PANCAKES! Need I say more? Pancakes would have to come close to one of my favourite foods…I have fond memories of family trips to The Pancake Parlour when we were younger, drowning in a sea of chocolate fudge and maple syrup. My tastebuds have matured slightly and i go for The It nowadays (seriously, I know the entire menu like the back of my hand), but The Pancake Parlour is definitely one of those once in a while special occasion treats these days!

Now that I know better in terms of nutrition..and now that i am old enough that I don’t have mum and dad paying for my breakfast.. I more often make my own pancakes at home. So there was this one phase last year when i fell for the ‘carbs are the devil and i must stay clear of them at all costs’ trend…and I avoided wheat for a while. The positive aspect being that I discovered this simple, healthy recipe for banana pancakes. I first found out about them from pilates legend Cassie Ho from Blogilates, and have been making them ever since.

 

1 x ripe banana

2 x eggs

2 TBS x LSA (linseed, sunflower seeds & almond meal) or you can use oats

Pinch of cinnamon

Throw it all in the food processor and whizz away until smooth. The batter should be fairly thick, if it’s too runny add in some more LSA.

Use a non-stick pan and spray it with cooking spray, or use a teaspoon of coconut oil to coat.

Use about 1/4 cup batter per pancake, pour it in the pan, wait till the bubbles appear on top and then GENTLY flip over. Be careful coz the little guys are delicate!

I usually get about 4 pancakes from this. Stack ’em up and top with greek yoghurt and blueberries. Yum!

 

So just a heads up, they are not going to be your regular delicious pancake stack from The Pancake Parlour with caramelised banana and buttered walnuts, but they are a super healthy, really quick way to get your pancake fix in for the day 🙂 and they taste pretty good!

The Inaugural Porridge Post

I feel like every healthy foodie blog has a post about porridge. It’s true isn’t it? Porridge is awesome.

I used to do the ol’ banana and cinnamon combo..which is amazing don’t get me wrong, but I’ve found a new love, which is deeellllish!

You’ve probably seen the Uncle Toby’s ad raving about the super food power of oats. Oats contain beta-glucan which is a type of fibre that has been shown to decrease cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can be a cause of cardiovascular disease, and can be responsible for the build up of plaque in our arteries which is obviously no good.. So eat your oats!

I know people don’t like to get up early in the morning to make time for brekkie so I understand if you like to put your oats in the microwave for your porridge…but I really think that stove top is best guys! Takes a little bit more love but it’s worth it.

 

1/2 cup oats

1 cup water

2 dried figs, diced

1 green pear, diced

1 pinch cinnamon and nutmeg

1/2 cup soy milk or other milk of your choice

Cook oats in the water over a medium heat, keep stirring so the bottom doesn’t burn

Add fruit and spices

Cook for about 5 minutes or until thick and creamy, you might need to add water if it’s a bit dry

Put it in a bowl and then pour the milk over the top and throw in some toasted walnuts!

 

So the idea is you cook your oats in water first and then add the milk in later so the milk doesn’t burn 🙂

IMG_0718

The Best Worst Situation

Today I am making the best of a bad situation. Negative: I lost my job. Positive: I have a potentially unlimited number of hours ahead of me to begin my new project. Result: first blog post!

I’ve been playing with the idea of a blog for a little while but, to be honest, there is something strangely terrifying about publishing written work to a mass of unknown people on the world wide web.

Anyway, so it begins; this little baby of mine is a culmination of good food, good nutrition and good eats around Melbourne. I’m soon to graduate from my Masters degree in human nutrition so thought it was about time I put it and my love of food to good use.

My most recent adventure took me to a little cafe in Malvern called Fergus. I knew this place was a winner when i realised i had been staring at the menu for 15 minutes madly trying to decide which option i was leaning towards the most. I love a good menu. See most of the time, the fewer options the better, because i am terribly indecisive. And as a vegetarian this usually isn’t a problem (the old 50/50 choice of pumpkin risotto or vegetable lasagne ring a bell?) but at Fergus this was not the case. i had plenty to choose from!

Long story short: quinoa pancakes with poached apples and mascarpone. Quinoa, that trendy little guy that no one knows how to pronounce (it’s keen-wa), is popping up everywhere – but this was the first time i’d seen it in pancakes, so i was pretty damn excited to say the least. I am not usually one to jump on the superfood bandwagon, but i do love my quinoa, pretty much because it is a complete protein, which means it contains all the essential amino acids we need. Complete sources of protein are usually animal based, so basically, quinoa is a vegetarian’s best friend 🙂

Anyway, who cares about quinoa – back to the pancakes: so they were delicious. I thought they would use flakes but the whole grain was used which gave them a nice texture. My favourite bit was the mascarpone (I won’t say anything about the nutrition profile of mascarpone because it’s pretty dismal) but gosh it’s tasty, especially when they use proper vanilla beans. yummmm.

Yeah i’m going back to this place soon, can you tell?

Fergus on Urbanspoon