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I have subscribed Delicious magazine since March this year and this is the first recipe I am making from it. It’s taken four months but here it is. This recipe is Ben O’Donoughue’s recipe from the March 2012 issue, and when I first looked at it back in March, it didn’t strike me as particularly appealing, but after re-reading this issue a week ago, I paused at it for a long time and decided to give it a go. I think the recipe caught my eye because the pancake is made from rice and coconut milk, which I’d never seen before. The chickpea and sweet chill combination also sounded pretty enticing! The pancakes are also pretty easy to make, which is remarkable coming from me, seeing as I am not adept at the flipping action.

I have adapted the recipe to suit the items I had in the pantry.

Crispy rice pancakes with potato and chickpeas
Serves 4

1/2 cup cooked long-grain rice
1 cup plain flour
1 cup coconut milk
2 potatoes, peeled, cut into 1.5cm pieces
1 tbs sunflower oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp ginger
200g canned chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 cup frozen peas, blanched, refreshed

Place the rice, flour, coconut milk and 1 cup of water in a food processor and whiz until smooth. Transfer to a jug, season with salt, then cover and set aside to rest for 30 minutes.

Place potato in a pan of cold, salted water. Bring to the boil over medium-high heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until just tender. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a frypan over medium-high heat. Cook cumin, stirring, for 1 minutes or until fragrant. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes until onion starts to soften. Add ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add potato and chickpeas and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until potato is just golden. Add tomato and peas, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season, then remove from heat and keep potato filling warm.

Heat a lightly greased pan over medium-high heat. Ladle 1/2 cup batter into the pan, spreading it with the back of the ladle. Cook for 2 minutes or until golden underneath. Spoon one-quarter of the filling over half the pancake, then use a palate knife to turn the uncovered half of the pancake over the filling. Slide onto a warm plate.

Repeat with remaining batter and filling to make 4 pancakes. To serve, drizzle with sweet chilli sauce.

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I find that muesli bars a a quick way to satisfy a rumbling stomach. The only problem is, with the amount of sugar in some of the commercial muesli bars, they should be classified as candy bars. Having said that, I’ve eaten my fair share, and I can’t believe it has taken this long to dawn on me that I should make my own. However, after seeing this recipe, I was enlighted, and proceeded to make healthy, delicious muesli bars without any artificial flavourings and ingredients which I don’t know how to pronounce. These are great for breakfast and as a snack any time of the day.

My recipe is based on Laurie’s
recipe on Carpe Season. I have adapted it to suit what I had in the pantry.

Homemade Chewy Granola Bars

Makes 8 square bars

INGREDIENTS
1 1/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cups corn flakes
1/3 cup plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tablespoons flax meal
1 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1 cup dried fruit ( I used dried apricots and dates)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup maple syrup (I’m a fan of 100% pure maple syrup)
1/4 cup peanut butter (I used natural peanut butter – ie 100% peanuts)
1/4 cup water

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 180c.

Line a square baking tin with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, including the nuts and dried fruit. Mix with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the maple syrup, peanut batter and water. If the peanut butter is a little stiff, heat the mixture in a saucepan until melted. Pour the wet ingredients over and dry and stir with a wooden spoon.

Pour the granola mixture into the prepared baking pan and press it down with a spoon. Place into the oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes.

The granola bars will keep for a couple of days in the fridge.

Ever since I saw the chocolate cherry cupcake recipe in Nigella Lawson’s The Domestic Goddess, I’ve wanted to make my own healthy version – who am I kidding, how can chocolate be healthy? For those who have been reading my previous posts, you will notice that I seem to have an aversion to butter. Let me come clean: I have nothing against butter – I love my crossaints and pastries, but I work in a sedentary job 5 days a week and my exercise consists of walking half an hour or so per day. This is obviously not a good combination, which is the reason I try to follow a healthier diet. This also allows me to experiment using different grains, nuts and seeds in my baking, which is perfectly suited to my cooking habits, because I never follow a recipe to a tee.  
Instead of cupcakes, I made a loaf – because loaves are so much healtheir than cupcakes, am I correct? The recipe that I based my version on called for oats, so I did include it, but I won’t be doing that soon again – when incorporated with the wholemeal flour, it made the loaf very dry and crumbly. I used Coles brand dark cooking chocolate, which turned out quite well, but milk chocolate would work just as well. From Nigella’s comments about the cherry jam, it seems to be difficult to find in Great Britain, but luckily for us, the cherry jam was quite easy to find, and I used Bonne Maman cherry jam.

You will notice that this is a similar recipe to the Berry linseed loaf , and I am using it again, because it uses only one bowl, which means less cleaning afterwards!

Chocolate and Cherry Loaf
Makes 1 medium sized loaf

1/2 cup EVOO
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup soy milk (regular milk is fine)
1 1/2 cup SR Flour
100g dark chocolate (melted)
1/2 cup cherry jam

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested.

I recently bought a packet of linseeds from the supermarket, so on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, I decided to include it in the cake to see what the taste will be. I had never seen linseed in baked goods before, except in bread, so it was interesting to experiment. I didn’t know much about linseeds, except that it needs to be ground in order for the goodness to be released. After intense session of research some googling, I learn that it contains abundant levels of omega 3 oils (which is usually found in fish) and also high dietary fibre.

As I was baking it, an alarming thought crossed my mind – if the oil component of the linseeds was so high, would that change the flour-sugar-fat ratio of the loaf? Images of the loaf pooled in oil flooded my mind. To my relief, it was just my imagination going overboard, and I can happily continue to substitute the flour components of recipes with ground linseed without worry!

For those who are unfamiliar with linseeds, it is important to grind the linseed as you use it, as ground linseed can easily become rancid (because of the omega oil content). Ground linseed should be stored in the fridge/ freezer for a maximum of 6 weeks.
Whole linseed last for 1 year when stored in a dark, cool and dry area.

Berry and linseed loaf
Makes 1 medium sized loaf

½ cup EVOO
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup berries (any berry is fine)
½ cup soy milk (plain milk is fine)
1 cup wholemeal SR Flour
1/4 cup ground linseed

1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Line the base and sides of a loaf pan with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together.
3. Pour mixture into prepared pan.
4. Bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested.

Hello friends! It has been such a long time since my last post. But lately, I have been doing some weekly baking and I am so excited to share this with you.

I have long been an avid reader of Smitten Kitchen. Some how, Deb is able to make me feel like making whatever she is writing about RIGHT THIS MOMENT, even if it involves Banana bread crepe butterscotch pancakes 8am in the morning. 

A recipe that caught my eye was her recipe for Apple Sharlotka, which is a Russian apple cake. Don’t be intimidated by the Russian heritage – there is nothing foreign about the process. It was unbelievably simple and delicious. Dare I add healthy to the list, as it doesn’t contain any butter? 

You may notice that the top of her cake is all knobbly with apples, while mine is quite smooth. This effect will depend on whether you pat the batter down into the tin. As you can see, I forgot, but luckily, no harm done.

Here is her recipe.

Apologies for the teeny picture – it was taken with my HTC Explorer. I should have believed the reviewer when they said that the quality of the photos is not as good as other smart phones. Galaxy S III here I come!

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