Thursday, 11 December 2014

Light Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce

2 weekends to go before Xmas - Arrgghh!! Who's ready? Not me! We have a crazy day lined up, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

With the festive feasting set to begin soon, I have come up with this light chocolate cake which is perfect for your weekend baking in the lead-up to Xmas when you are probably starting the 'social circuitry' but not wanting to start over-indulging just yet. 

I can't even remember what the occasion was that we made this for - most likely the birthday of some stuffed toy or other knowing my kids...I'm beginning to wise to their ways though. They seem to discover that some various creature requires a birthday every time they feel like baking cake! And in their gorgeous eyes, baking cake equals licking spoons for 'taste testing' and then being allowed dessert which is not just a given around this house. 

This cake is easy to make, contains simple ingredients, and is light in both taste and texture. The recipe is free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and refined sugar. Serve with a strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries to make the most of this gorgeous seasonal fruit that's around at the moment, or you can ice it with your favourite icing to make it more of a traditional celebration cake. 

Light Chocolate Cake

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

3/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/2 cup chia seed meal (ground up chia seeds - you can use them whole, but they will add more texture to your cake if whole)
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips!)
pinch of salt
6 eggs
2 bananas, well mashed
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cake tin with baking paper
2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cacao powder, chia meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cacao nibs or chocolate chips). Give it a whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, honey, bananas, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold the wet mix in, ensuring that all ingredients are well combined. 
5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tin.
6. At this point, I seem to have lost my brain and not taken note of the cooking time on my recipe. Ummmmm.... Ok start with 30 minutes, check to see if the centre of the cake is firm (not solid, but not mushy either), and keep baking in 5 minute increments until the cake is cooked. I will update the recipe next time I make this one...there will no doubt be another birthday to celebrate very soon!
7. Once cooked, cool the cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. 

You can either serve the cake warm with some delicious ice-cream, coconut ice-cream, or the yummy strawberry sauce that we had it with (simply chop up about 1 cup of fresh strawberries, and heat over a low heat in a small pot until the juices are released and the pulp has broken down. Add sweetener to taste (I used honey, about 1 tbsp, but you can choose your favourite sweetener and adjust the quantity to suit. It will also depend on the sweetness of the strawberries you use). Give it a bit of a smush with a fork, and either leave it as is with some tasty strawberry chunks, or you can give it a blitz with a blender or stick blender to make a smooth sauce. 

Top with fresh strawberries to garnish, serve, and enjoy!!


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Beef Fajitas with Guacamole, Salsa, and Cashew Sour Cream

So a few weeks back I was lucky enough to receive a pack of beautiful organic meat from the wonderful Callum at Quality Meats. This New Zealand company provide a fantastic range of quality, organic meat products that they deliver straight to your door - it couldn't be easier! My package arrived well packed in a chiller box so I could pop it straight in the freezer.

So the other night I pulled out the Angus Beef Schnitzel to make some Fajitas. My daughter had requested Mexican for dinner, so Mexican it was (mostly due to having the schnitzel in the freezer, and an abundance of capsicum in the fridge as they're been on special lately)!

This is a nice a nice easy mid-week dinner, and all the elements can be made ahead to make things even more simple. It is also easily adapted to suit both kids and adults (I just take out the meat from the pan before adding the extra veges that they reject, and before I add the chilli), and can be made either standard with regular tortillas, gluten free with gluten free tortillas, or grain free with coconut wraps or homemade tortillas (here's one idea for a recipe for some tortillas).

Add in whichever veges you fancy, wrap it all up with yummy sauces (we had guacamole, salsa, and 'sour cream' made from cashew nuts), and dig in!

Doin' it for the kids...mexican beef (no chilli) with
lettuce and carrot, sauces served separately. Served on
gluten-free tortillas

All the fillings on and ready to roll - served on grain free
coconut wraps

Get in my belly!! (just saw Austin Powers last night -
couldn't resist saying it!

Beef Fajitas with Gaucamole, Salsa, and Cashew Sour Cream

Gluten-free, option for grain-free, dairy-free, option for nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free
500g Organic Angus Beef Schnitzel, thinly sliced into long strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1/2 red capsicum, sliced into long strips
1/2 yellow capsicum, sliced into long strips
1/2 orange capsicum, sliced into long strips
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp coriander flakes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder (optional)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water or stock
2 tbsp coconut oil (or your preferred cooking oil)

1 cup shredded lettuce
1 packet of tortillas or coconut wraps

1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp diced red onion
1/4 cup diced cucumber
2 tbsp diced jalapenos (optional)
juice of 1 lemon or lime
salt and pepper

2 ripe avocados
juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 lime
salt and pepper
couple of drops of hot sauce (optional)

Cashew Sour Cream (recipe based on one by Dr Libby)
1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked for half an hour in water (not compulsory but makes a smoother cream)
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime

Directions:1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and spices (cumin, coriander, paprika) and fry for a couple of minutes until beef is just starting to loose it's pinkness, but not cooked all the way through. Remove from pan and set aside. (at this stage you can set aside a portion for the kids if you are serving to vege-particular children!)
2. In the same pan, heat the second tbsp of oil. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, capsicum, and zucchini. Cook until just starting to soften, add tomato paste, water or stock, and chilli if you're using. Add the meat back in and mix well to incorporate flavours. Cook until meat and veges just cooked. Remove from heat.
3. To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
4. To make the guacamole, mash the avocados to the consistency you like (some prefer it still a little chunky, others like a smooth guacamole), and add in the lemon, seasoning, and chilli if using. Mix well to combine.
5. To make the cashew sour cream, drain the water from the soaked cashews (you can just use them raw if you didn't have time to soak), and pop them in a blender or food processor (I use a magic bullet here as it's a good small size). Add the lemon juice, lime juice, and salt and blend until a smooth sauce is formed. If the mix is still very thick, add a little more lemon juice or a tbsp or 2 of water to thin it out

Pop your tortillas on a plate, add a couple of spoonfuls of beef mix, then top with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Roll it all up (this is always the hard part!) and EAT!!!

 - For the kids ones, I also grated some carrot to add to their fajitas instead of the other veges, as they are not fans of capsicum or zucchini.
 - If you can tolerate dairy, feel free to use regular sour cream if you prefer