Friday, April 18, 2014

Megan's Dinner Rolls, et al

This recipe came about due to lots of experimentation with dinner rolls. When I finally got the recipe where I wanted it to be, I realised it would translate to a variety of different types of rolls.
The recipe makes a small quantity - 9 dinner rolls, hot cross buns and scrolls, 6 finger buns and flat hamburger buns. It's quick and easy, so a couple of batches can be made at once.

It's not what I'd call a tremendously healthy and nutritious recipe, but it's certainly better than buying rolls. I'll continue experimenting with adding seeds and using some wholemeal wheat and spelt flour.
For now, since it's Easter time and I'm making Hot Cross Buns, I'll continue with the white flour recipe.

I leave the dough to do its first rise in the Thermomix bowl, but this isn't necessary. I prefer to do this as, one, I won't forget it and two, I know when it's risen enough as the MC pops up. I'm fortunate to have two bowls, so I can always use the second bowl if the first is occupied.

Master Dinner Roll Recipe
The Bush Gourmand

225g warm water
45g instant milk powder (or use 250g warm milk to replace water and milk powder)
1 Tbsp dried yeast
2 Tbsp Rapadura sugar + 2 extra for sweet buns
1 tsp salt
60g soft butter
380g strong unbleached bread flour (spelt flour works fine)

1. Place water, milk powder, yeast, sugar and salt into Thermomix bowl and mix on speed 2 for 10 seconds. Leave for one minute.
2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on dough setting for 4 minutes.
3. Leave to rise in bowl until MC starts to pop out.
4. Add any remaining ingredients for the type of roll or bun you're making and shape as required. Use a silpat mat if necessary.
5. Place in baking tin and cover with a clean tea towel.
6. Leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size. This can take 2 to 2 ½ hours in winter.
7. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 200C oven.

Dinner Rolls

Shape dough into 9 small balls and place into 20cm square tin. Continue as per Master Recipe and bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 200C oven.
Cool on a wire rack, keeping the rolls together. Or, place into a basket that's lined with a clean tea towel to keep warm for the dinner table.

Hot Cross Buns
Add with flour:
2 Tbsp mixed spice (I blend 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp mixed spice, ¼ tsp nutmeg and ¼ tsp ground cloves)
Once proven in bowl, add 1 cup mixed fruit and knead for a further 20 seconds or so to incorporate.
Cut into 9 even pieces and shape into a ball. To do this, cup hands around a piece of dough and continue pushing dough to the underside until the top is smooth and round.
Place into a 20cm square cake pan and allow to rise. When nearly ready to bake, heat oven to 200C and make piping mixture.

Piping Mixture
1 Tbsp plain flour
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp macadamia oil

Mix together in a small bowl. Place into a small ziplock bag and cut a tiny piece from one corner. Pipe horizontal then vertical lines on the rolls to make the crosses.
Bake for 20 minutes or until they are nicely golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Try to keep in one piece.
Glaze if desired.

2 Tbsp Rapadura
2 Tbsp water

Place in a small saucepan and stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for 20 seconds. Use a pastry brush to brush over warm rolls.

Flat Hamburger Rolls

Make the master recipe.
Divide dough into 6 and shape each into a ball. Place into a large shallow sided (about 2 cm, enough for rolls to rise) baking tray and press down, making sure there’s plenty to space between each bun. Cover with a silpat mat or well greased foil. 
Place another tray on top of the mat and prove as per instructions. Use 2 tea towels to cover completely.
Bake with tray still on top.

Finger Buns

Make the master recipe, adding the extra sugar.
Divide dough into 6 even pieces. Roll each into a ball, then flatten and roll up to make a sausage shape. Place into a medium sized oven dish or tray, so they have a little room between them, to prove.
Bake as per master recipe. 
Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Place icing ingredients into Thermomix with butterfly attached.
Blend on speed 2, then increase to speed 4 until creamy.
Ice buns and then sprinkle with coconut.

1 ½ cups icing sugar
100g soft butter
1 Tbsp milk
Natural pink food colouring, optional
Desiccated coconut, optional


Make master recipe.
Shape dough into a rectangle on a silpat mat. 
Brush dough with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar 
Roll dough up from long end into a log. Cut into 9 pieces and place into small square baking dish.
Continue as per master recipe.
Mix icing ingredients together. Leave scrolls for 10 minutes to cool a little, then pour over.

Spice Mixture
60g butter, melted
100g rapadura or coconut sugar
1 Tbsp cinnamon

1 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp hot water
1 tsp vanilla

I'd love to see photos of your creations from this recipe on The Bush Gourmand Facebook Page.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Sugar - Sweet Poison?

Sugar seems to be the word on everyone's lips (and on their tongue and sliding down into their stomachs) lately. The leaked release of the World Health Organisation's draft report on the effects of sugar on health has sparked debate once again.

When we say the word 'sugar', we all think of the white or brown crystally stuff pictured above. This is actually called sucrose and is a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. Read on for further explanations.

Pictured above is semi refined sucrose, or raw sugar. It comes from pressing the sugar cane and then mixing it with lime. It's then evaporated and spun in a centrifuge to produce the crystals.  This is then further refined to produce white sugar by using sulphur dioxide to bleach the crystals. These are then filtered through carbon to remove the molasses (where the actual nutrition lies) content.

Sugar is a dietary carbohydrate, the main source of energy for our body. The body can use protein to a limited extent and will use fat when no carbohydrates are available. Carbohydrates exist in many other forms and are actually sugars. Confused? Don't be, it's not terribly complex at all. Let me explain briefly.

Monosaccharides (meaning one sugar molecule) are the simplest form of carbohydrate. They are glucose, fructose and galactose. Combinations of these three form disaccharides (two sugar molecules) . Glucose and fructose make sucrose (table sugar); glucose and galactose make lactose (milk sugar) and glucose and glucose makes maltose (occurs naturally as a part of starch digestion in the body and can be produced through malting of grain such as barley).

Polysaccharides, therefore are made up of many molecules of glucose, sometimes with the other monosaccharides all strung together and are known as complex carbohydrates. Just as there are three types of monosaccharides and disaccharides, there are three types of polysaccharides. These are simply known as glycogen, starch and fibre. Still with me? Good....

Glycogen isn't found in food, it is manufactured in the body and stored in the liver and muscles. It is made of many glucose molecules linked together.  When you are needing energy, it is this glycogen that is broken down by enzymes to release glucose into the bloodstream.
Muscle cells also store glycogen, but hoard it to use during exercise. Glycogen holds water and can only be stored for short periods of time. Less than a day when the body is at rest and a few hours during activity.

Starch, on the other hand, must be obtained from plants as plants store glucose as starch.

By eating a plant, our body converts the starch into glucose for our energy needs. Starches are found mostly in grains and in plant foods such as tubers and legumes.

Fibre also comes from plants.

It is obtained from eating the whole plant - e.g. whole grain flour rather than white grain flour. The body doesn't break down this type of polysaccharide, so no energy is obtained from dietary fibre. However, it is vital to the health of our digestive system.

There are two types of fibre - soluble and non soluble.
Soluble fibre either dissolves in water or forms viscous gels and is easily fermented and broken down by the natural bacteria in the colon (bowel). They help to maintain a healthy bowel. When this natural bacteria are no longer present due to poor eating habits or illness, the body doesn't deal with soluble fibre very well. Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease are two conditions where this may occur.
Insoluble fibre does not form gels or dissolve in water and is less easily fermented in the colon.
Some starches are classified as dietary fibre because they escape the digestion process and are broken down in the colon. Insoluble fibre assists with bowel movement and prevents such conditions as diverticular disease.

Now, what do we need all this different form of sugar for? The main role of carbohydrates are to provide the body with glucose for energy. Starch is the main form of glucose provision, but the monosaccharides (simple sugars derived from the disaccharides) can also provide glucose if it is needed.
Brain cells, other nerve cells and developing blood cells prefer to use glucose for energy.

When sufficient carbohydrate intake has met the body's energy requirements, guess what happens if you consume more? The liver can only hold a certain amount, as mentioned previously, so it has to deal with this excess by breaking down those glucose molecules into smaller ones. These are then put together into another compound - fat.  The little fat molecules then travel through the blood stream to be deposited in fat cells in the tissues throughout the body. Fat can be stored for years in the body's fat cells.

Still reading?

Okay, so we need carbohydrates, but we need the complex ones more than the simple ones, because they provide other components that our bodies need such as protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.
When we compare the carbs in white sugar to an equivalent amount in kidney beans, dates and apricots, we have the following data:

Excuse the crappy Google Docs chart. It took me a long time to get it to even show up, let alone look good too.

If we add fibre into the above chart, the results would show the high amounts in the dates, kidney beans and apricots with 0 for sugar. Therefore, white sugar provides our body with empty calories. Lots of glucose to provide instant energy, if that's what you need, but no nutrients or value in any other way.

Fibre also helps slow down the processing of carbohydrate, so though dates and apricots are high in carbohydrate, the fibre content prevents quick assimilation of the glucose content. Energy is released slowly over a period of time. Glycaemic Index is a way of measuring the how quickly blood sugar (glucose) levels rise after eating a particular food. It doesn't take into consideration the amount of carbohydrate actually consumed. This is measured by multiplying the GI of the food by the carbohydrate content of the serving. Thus, a food like watermelon may have a high GI, but it has a low GL. You need to eat a lot of it to obtain a large amount of carbohydrate.

Eating well is all about choosing carefully. If you have a sweet craving at 4pm, do you choose a sugary processed biscuit or cake or a couple of dates and some watermelon or apricot? Cool drinks would probably have to be one of the worst choices a person can make when choosing a beverage. There are over 9 teaspoons of processed white sugar in a can of Coca Cola which is 11% of a person's daily requirement of carbohydrate with no other nutritional benefit.

That's probably enough information to be assimilated in one blog post. In the next post, I'll discuss ways to sweeten your foods in a far more healthy way than with processed white sugar.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Online Shopping Plug

Yes, this is a shameless plug for an online shop. I wouldn't promote it if I didn't think it was worthy of my business, let alone your business.

I'm talking about iHerb. I first learnt of the company from fellow Naturopathy students who buy all their supplements there. I've so far placed three orders and have been very pleased with the service, delivery and price. It is based in the US, but has a huge range of products including supplements, nuts, dried fruits, cacao products, coconut oil etc. Much as I like to keep my money in Australia, sometimes it just doesn't make financial sense as even postage within Australia is more expensive than from the US. Crazy, I know....

There are many reasons that I prefer to shop at iHerb. There is a huge range of products. Each product has customer reviews, medical and nutritional fact sheets and comprehensive data. The iHerb website also has links to medical and natural health databases. Freight is via DHL and is fast and very reasonable (around $11 for a reasonable sized order). Orders are also discounted when they are over $60 US. When you check your shopping cart, the total cost is listed in Australian dollars.

To make it worth your while to place an order, here's a link that will generate a discount for you on your first order. Coupon Code

Or, just click the banner at the top right hand side of the page to redeem your online shopping coupon.

My favourite products so far are: Sedona Labs iFlora,  Kirkman Labs Magnesium Glycinate, Navitas Naturals Raw Organic Cacao Powder, Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar and something new I'm planning to try when it arrives, Navitas Naturals Cacao Paste.

Do let me know if you use my code to receive a discount. I'd be interested to know what you like to buy at


Monday, February 3, 2014

Food Plans, Diets, Dietary Restrictions etc...

I've been in absentia from The Bush Gourmand blog for a while as my studies have kept me occupied over the Christmas break and into the New Year. As most would know, food holds a great deal of importance in my life and I love learning about different foods, cooking styles, diets (not the weight loss kind, more of the eating plan style) and how food heals.

One unit of study, in particular, kept me busier than others as it revolved around food and health.  The Applied Food of Medicine module also incorporated four practical sessions where a cook showed us how to prepare and cook a variety of different ingredients.  During this time, I also attended a Raw Food Class at Radiant Being in Albany where I took home a few ideas.

Immersing myself in the incredible variety of food plans and diets over this time has led me to explore the following: The Paleo Diet, Low FODMAP, Raw, Vegan, LCHF and the Wholefood Diet. A brief explanation of each of these follows.

Paleo is based on the concept that Palaeolithic Man was amongst the healthiest of early man. The diet of the Palaeolithic was vegetable and meat protein based. No grains are included in this diet - the theory being that our digestive system wasn't designed to absorb grains.

Many experts have discounted the theory, stating that archeologists have discovered remains of grains in the stomachs of ancient Palaeolithic peoples. Others say that the diet is nutritionally fairly sound, but has nothing to do with the cave man.
My take is that I don't hold with any diet that removes an entire food group. Grains are a valuable source of phytonutrients, B Vitamins, minerals and fibre. They just need to be prepared correctly. See my post, Grain Pain for more information.

Low FODMAP was developed by Dr Sue Shepherd in 1999 after her PhD research revealed that limiting Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols in the diet helped those suffering from IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  The theory is that this collection of molecules found in foods can be difficult to digest by some people. They then pass through the digestive system undigested until they reach the large intestine. The bacteria which normally live there then ferment/digest these sugars and create all those nasty symptoms that IBS presents. 
Many fruits and vegetables are removed from this diet due to their high fructose, lactose or sugar alcohol levels.

For those diagnosed with IBS, I'm sure they're willing to do anything to reduce the symptoms, so this could be a lifesaver for many IBS sufferers. For those who self diagnose, they risk cutting out foods with valuable nutrients in their diets.

Raw is pretty self explanatory with the rule that nothing must be heated over 40C. The theory is that live enzymes in fruits and vegetables are destroyed by heating. Many foods are dehydrated to obtain a texture that is palatable and to provide some variety. Many recipes are ingenious, using soaked flax and chia seeds to bind seeds and nuts together for a type of cracker that substitutes as bread.

I can't imagine what it must be like to subsist on a completely raw diet.  Just the organisation and preparation alone would be difficult. I found the flavours way too intense, with many foods marinated in tamari, a wheat free soy sauce. I believe that my family's diet has plenty of raw food in the way of fruits, salads and nuts without having to go the whole raw food journey.

Vegan diets are totally vegetarian with no animal products at all. This includes eggs, honey and dairy products.
I had quite a discussion about this on Forum Thermomix with a person who decided to put her family on a vegan diet for a month. If you have time, have a read here. Some people have deleted their comments for some reason. As I've said in my comments on the forum, removing an entire food group in my opinion, isn't a smart move. Valuable nutrients are found in animal products and our bodies were designed to consume these. Here's a brief excerpt of one of my comments: 

"Sometimes removing dairy products will make people feel much better. A lot of people are intolerant to either the casein or to the lactose in milk. I think a balanced diet should include a little animal protein, a lot of vegetable protein, some grains (prepared properly - soaked, fermented or sprouted if possible) and plenty of good fats, including animal fats.

I don't like diets that remove an entire food group. Humans are omnivores and our digestive systems are designed to manage all types of foods, unlike gorillas and horses. 

The issue of poor digestion and assimilation often comes about when we eat foods that haven't been prepared correctly or that are highly processed. There's nothing wrong with going vegan for a month. It can be quite de-toxing, just as eating raw for a week can be. But, all my studies indicate that it isn't good to continue such a diet. Perhaps it lowers the incidence of bowel cancer, but so does a good omnivorous healthy diet. Unfortunately, not too many people understand what this actually entails!"

LCHF stands for Low Carbohydrate High Fat and is probably one of the better options out of all the ones I have looked at so far. The fats that are recommended are the highly saturated animal fats and coconut oil as well as the monounsaturates such as avocado, macadamia and olive oils. PUFA's (polyunsaturated fatty acids) are out of the diet due to their tendency to be highly processed during extraction and the fact that constant reheating and cooling (as in the deep fryer of a fast food restaurant) creates cell-destroying trans fatty acids. The low carbohydrate part of the diet refers to high GI foods such as sugars, white rice and white flour.

In my opinion, this isn't too bad for a person who is healthy and not carrying a lot of weight. It could be abused easily by the use of too much fat and too little of the healthy carbohydrates such as good sugars (maple, rapadura etc), good wholegrains etc. I certainly agree that we should avoid PUFA's and use good fats in cooking and food preparation. I also agree with the reduction of processed starches such as white rice.

Wholefood Diet is one in which there is little or no processing involved. The ingredients used are complete. For example whole grains, whole brown rice, raw, unprocessed sugars, unpeeled fruits and vegetables. Good fats are included as are full cream dairy products, raw honey and free range eggs. The diet advocates organic produce over supermarket produce. This depends on people's economic situation and availability of organic foods. A Whole Foods Diet encourages fermentation and soaking of more difficult to digest foods such as grains.

This is my preferred diet over all others that I've investigated. It incorporates aspects of the Raw Food Diet and the LCHF diet without being as restrictive. It can be difficult to follow all the time due to many factors such as availability, preparation time and family food preferences. (My nearest and dearest still prefers commercial biscuits, jams, ice cream and chutneys over home made. It's the addiction of salt and sugar.)

For those trying to lose weight, this would be the way to do it. Of course, portion control is important, but simply removing processed food from the diet will make a huge difference to the way the body deals with the foods eaten. Once processed sugars, (particularly High Fructose Corn Syrup) processed starches, processed sauces, jams, dressings and processed take away foods are out of the equation, the body will begin to heal. Once the healing process takes place, weight loss can begin, followed by more energy, stronger immunity and a general well being.

Even removing some processed foods can make a difference. Start by not buying any take away chips and making your own instead.

Home Made Chips or Wedges

Cut a couple of whole potatoes into wedges or chips and steam, simmer or microwave until just cooked.  Heat dripping, coconut oil, ghee or duck fat (or a combination if you like!) in a narrow, deep saucepan.  Use either a frying basket or a slotted spoon to place chips carefully into hot fat. Cook until nice and golden and crisp. Drain and sprinkle with sea salt. Enjoy straight away. 
Obviously, enjoy your home made chips every now and then, not with every meal.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Grain Pain

As a grain farmer, it is in my best interests to promote grains as a part of a healthy diet. However, when people ask me about weight loss, the first thing I say it to try a gluten free diet for a while.

My reasoning is, that the Western Diet relies far too much on wheat. It is in everything from custard powder, cornflour, seasoning mixes, soup mixes etc. It isn't so much that wheat is a problem, it's the fact that it isn't prepared correctly for our bodies to assimilate the proteins it contains, known collectively as gluten. As the name suggests, gluten is the glue that holds everything together when wheat flour is used to make cakes, bread, biscuits and sauces.

Gluten is a generic name for the proteins found in a specific sub-group of grains - the Pooideae family of grasses. Wheat, oats, barley & rye belong to this grass family. Each grain contains a different type of protein, for example rye contains a protein called secalin and oats have a protein known as avenin.
Gluten from wheat is actually a composite of two proteins - gliadin and glutenin.

Wheat proteins can be particularly difficult for some people to digest. Around 1% of the population cannot have any gluten in their diets at all due to a condition called coeliac disease which is an immune reaction to proteins found in wheat, barley, oats, triticale and rye. The tiny finger-like villi in the large intestine (bowel) become inflamed and flattened, leading to malabsorption of nutrients and a host of symptoms including bloating.

When people are overweight or eating the wrong sorts of foods - eg highly processed (generally the two go together), the villi in the bowel can be compromised. They may be clogged, blocked and even laying down flat so that nutrients aren't getting to all the tissues and organs in the body that need them. Consequently, many systems begin to fail and various conditions raise their ugly heads - gallstones, arthritis, IBS, type 2 diabetes, ulcerative colitis, gout and a host of other conditions and diseases.

Are you still reading? Good on you! Here's a couple of pictures to break up all the verbosity.

Healthy villi

Damaged villi

Therefore, removing gluten from the diet for a month or so can make a real difference to the body. The villi need to be in great condition in order to digest grains efficiently and gain the benefit of the vitamins (particularly the B vitamins), minerals, phytonutrients and fibre that they provide for ultimate health.

Once the body begins to recover and a whole foods diet is being followed, the villi will recover and begin to do the job they were designed to do. The body begins the recovery process and many people find that conditions they've lived with for years disappear. This is when whole grains can be added back into the diet.

By whole grains, of course I mean the complete grain - the bran which is the outer layer, the endosperm which is the inner layer and the germ, the heart of the grain. All these work together to assist with digestion of the grain. The germ of any grain will not survive nutritionally  for very long outside the grain. The endosperm will also lose a significant percentage of its nutrients when the outer bran is removed.
White flour is simply the endosperm of the grain that is left once the bran and germ are removed. Many healthy breads and bread mixes add back the bran and germ after milling. I find this amusing. Pull it all apart, allow some of it to break down and lose its nutritional value, then put it all back together and call it healthy.

The best way to prepare whole grains for better assimilation and digestion is to soak, ferment or sprout them. Both nuts and grains contain phytic acid in their outside layer. Phytic acid can bind with key minerals needed from the nut or grain so they are less available to the body. Soaking, fermenting or sprouting grains in particular will also allow enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to not only neutralise the phytic acid but also break down and release the complex starches and proteins within the grain to allow for easier digestion.

 Sue Gregg of Sue Gregg cookbooks has developed some fantastic recipes using what she calls 'blender batters' using a two stage process. The grains are soaked in an acid medium ( usually whey but lemon juice is adequate) for 12 to 24 hours and then blended to a smooth batter. Eggs, flavouring and rising agents are added before baking.
There is no need to use whole unground grains, either. You can just as easily use whole grain flour and soak the batter. Just click for my Coffee Cake recipe and Blender Batter Waffles.  Both are also delicious, though both of these are wheat free.

I am now the proud co-owner of a fantastic Skippy Grain Mill and will be experimenting soon with grains from our farm. Naturally, I will be making the flour and soaking it as a batter. Check in again soon!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blender Batter Coffee Cake - Wheat Free

I've just received all of Sue Gregg's recipe books. If you don't know who Sue Gregg is, she's an advocate of whole food cooking and teaches people how to cook the whole foods way.
She encourages soaking of grains a la Sally Fallon, another whole food champion.

When using whole grains, the outside of the grain, or bran is still intact so the grain is far more nutritious. However, there is a belief that the bran contains phytic acid which can cause malabsorption of certain minerals, particularly calcium. Therefore, soaking in an acid medium is recommended to break down this substance.
Soaking also makes whole grains easier to digest. Ancient peoples always soaked grains prior to using them for flour.
The problem with this method is that you generally need to start either first thing in the morning or the night before. I'm getting used to this as we've been incorporating more legumes into our diet, so each night before I go to bed, I stop and think.....'do I need to soak something before I turn in?'

This particular recipe only needed a three hour soak, so I played with it yesterday. Sue Gregg tends to use one flour whereas I like to blend together a mix of different ones. You can muck about with the blend to suit yourself or what you have in the pantry. Rolled oats, brown rice, kamut, quinoa would all be nice. I've used barley in this recipe and barley does contain gluten. However, the type of gluten in barley is much easier to digest than that found in wheat.

Her recipe used almonds and rolled oats for the topping, but I had some leftover pecan topping, so I just used that.
Oh, and there's no coffee, it's a type of cake, like a Tea Cake.

Pecan Coffee Cake
Blend on highest speed of blender or food processor until reasonably fine. (This took about two minutes in my TMX):
150g pearled barley
50g buckwheat
25g amaranth
25g millet

3/4 cup yoghurt or soured milk and 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup warm honey

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
pinch salt

80g rapadura or coconut sugar
50g toasted pecans
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For the batter, grind the grains and seeds in food processor or Thermomix until fine, about two to three minutes on high speed.
Add the liquid ingredients (except eggs), blend for a few seconds and leave to sit in a warm place for about three hours. I just left the batter in the Thermomix bowl. You could put it in the Thermoserver.

Meanwhile, make the topping by blending ingredients until crumbly. Set aside.

When ready to bake, preheat oven to 165C and grease and line a 20cm round or square tin.  Make sure lining goes above tin so you can pull cake out using lining. If you tip it upside down, the topping will go everywhere. (ask me how I know....)

Blend the batter for a couple of minutes. This will make the batter lovely and smooth since the grains are now soaked. Add the eggs to the batter and blend another minute or two. Add blended rising agents and spices and mix to incorporate.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle topping over. Press topping in gently with palm of hand. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until cake springs back when gently pressed. Remove to a wire rack.

Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Home Made Soy Milk

Soy Milk isn't everyone's cup of tea, so to speak, but I've been having it in my tea and coffee for over 20 years now.
The Spring of 1994 was a very bad year for hay fever and I suffered badly. My hay fever didn't dissipate once Summer came. It went through to Autumn and Winter. After trying a few doctors who wanted to prescribe cortisone, I finally visited a Naturopath.

Back then (sounds like forever ago!), Naturopaths weren't considered to be health professionals by the government so there was no health rebates available.
Janelle immediately revised my diet and I was basically on a detox for 6 months. No dairy, no wheat, no yeast, no sugar, no alcohol. It was incredibly hard as there just wasn't the foods or ingredients readily available, especially where I lived. I lost about 5 kilos and I wasn't particularly big anyway.
But, my hay fever went away! I haven't suffered from hay fever in all that time. Maybe the occasional sniffle, but nothing to worry about....except for this year, but that's another blog post.

Since that time, I reintroduced all those items back into my diet but have found I'm not particularly fond of dairy anymore. I just can't stomach cow's milk in my tea and coffee and rarely eat cream. I like a little cheese and eat a lot of yoghurt, though!

Over the years I've been buying soy milk in the UHT cartons. There's only a couple of brands that I like and one of those is Vitasoy Vitacafe. I don't know how many of these little containers I've left at various places in all that time. I'd take one with me wherever I went so I could enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

I have given some thought into making soy milk, but all the recipes I found were labour intensive and made litres of it at a time. However, recently I discovered that I could have been making it in my Thermomix all this time! I discovered that I have the book with recipe in it after browsing a Facebook page that I enjoy, Thermobexta.

The recipe comes from the Thermomix book, A Taste of Asia. I've changed it a little, so I believe I can post the recipe here. It's absolutely delicious. I also use it in my smoothies.

The okara that's left over can be used in vegie Burgers, meat loaf, sausage rolls etc.

Soy Milk

100g organic Soy Beans, soaked overnight in filtered water with either lemon juice or whey added
400g boiling filtered water

Add drained beans and water to TM bowl and blend on speed 8 for 1 minute.

600g water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp maple syrup (or 1 Medjool date, de-seeded)
pinch salt

Scrape down and add remaining ingredients and cook for 10 minutes on 90, speed 2-3. Skim foam from the top.
Cook a further 2 minutes on 100, speed 2. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't boil over.
Cool to about 60.
Strain through muslin or a nut bag into a glass bottle. Refrigerate.

Keeps for about 4 days.