Pritikin Survivor

As a child of the 80s who grew up in a conservative protestant home I was scared of many things… ACDC, Dungeons and Dragons, Madonna (and more)… I laugh now, but nearly as frightening as the devil and “his music” was the cholesterol injected food that tasted so good such as white flour, rice and bread (not a fan of the taste and empty calories these days) and the Ohhhh so evil butter, egg yolk and cheese (unless it was the revolting stuff like fat-free cottage). It was maybe 2ish years that we lived on that food, but it felt like forever. To this day; I hate diets and all the fat I lose tends to find me again and bring its friends that is why I am a huge fan of lifestyle changes and making healthier eating and exercise choices fun. Yes we had the Pritikin diet shoved down our throats and lived to tell the story, but in my 20s I had a lot of “unlearning” to do.
I’m not really angry at my parents, they were worried about the junk we ate and Dad needed support when he had to lower his cholesterol so the whole family had to partake of the diet restrictions. Some of the food was not that bad, but we were certainly the weird family in our circles- and that was not a good feeling when all you want to do was blend, in my 30s I don’t mind being outstanding and I look at music a lot differently to the way I did when I was a child.
foccaciaGF Focaccia
I tried the herbs and cheese focaccia bread this week which I took to a party. It was very well received. I made a quarter of my artisan dough into small dough balls and sprinkled herbs and cheese on top. For next time, I will knead some herbs into the bread first, to give it a little more flavour.
Bacon and Cheese
20150209_144517I wizzed some frozen chunks of shortcut bacon in the TB1, 2x Turbo for 2-3 seconds. Scraped some tomato paste onto the dough (1/4 divided into 6 ball shapes)  then dipped each dough ball into the bacon pieces carefully placing them into the slow cooker and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top.
Dairy free custard20150207_191819
I made some DF custard this week and tried it out on some friends who agreed to be guinea pigs, it was a hit, though I added a little too much GF corn flour so it was a bit thick. As you can see by my picture; I still think Passata jars are excellent for storage, but I don’t have much luck getting rid of the macro label.
Recipe 1
500mL coconut milk, 25g Corn flour, 2 egg yolks (I can hear Nathan Pritikin tsking), 20g sugar (or to taste), cocoa pdr or vanilla essence (I made vanilla). 100c, 10 mins, sp 4 or 3 for GSM machine… this was a little too long I noticed it was cooked with about 2-3 mins to go. So you can back off the time a bit. I had very +ive feedback, and my friends were surprised that it was DF… requesting a bounty flavour next time using chocolate flavour.
JuiceBlendz ThermoBlend style
I am not sure how long it takes to blend a juice in the TM31, what I do know is that you can fill the jug with orange halves, wizz it and add coconut milk by drizzling through the space in the lid around the MC… then wizz some cinnamon in and you are done… a crowd pleaser. I can now tell you that it works pretty much the same with the TB1 as with a GSM machine.
Dairy Free(Cheese-less) Pizza… before it was cool 
As you may know, I have been experimenting with some DF along with my GF foods, mostly so I know if I have a DF guest what I could serve that tastes nice. I was thinking about alternatives to dairy this week, my sister went through a vegan phase and bought soy cheese which was very nice (but expensive) and some people are uncomfortable with soy these days. Then I remembered…
I will never to this day forget the look on the youth leader’s daughter’s face when I mentioned at youth group that actually pizza without cheese tastes ok… she looked at me like I was a martian. For some reason the topic came up that pizza without cheese is ‘without’ I am not sure of the context or what we were supposed to learn that day… I learnt that I was weird and not in a good way.
But Mr Pritikin did get something right decades ago that could help people today. I remember Mum telling us that she read that he made a pizza for his kids filled it with heaps of toping held together with egg white (keep the yolk for authenticity in appearance, it’s really not evil food) and they didn’t notice that the cheese is missing (and nor did we).
This would be a problem for your child if they cannot do dairy or egg, but if you are out of nut cheese and lack time to make it, this could work for you.

Brown Basmati and Amaranth grain

junkIn BasmatiFor people who have followed my blogging bread adventures for a while; you may remember that I  liked Amaranth flour as a substitute for sorghum and dreamed of adding brown basmati rice to my bread. A few months ago I purchased a bag of brown basmati rice and was very excited. My dreams were dashed for a while as I cooked some for dinner that night with an Indian curry which was ruined by little woody bits through the rice.
This is not a ratio representation of rice to woody bits, a 2kg (- what I cooked that night) package had about 3x that number of woody bits. The rice has now been milled, is safely in my freezer and in the next few weeks will be turned to bread. There may be different brands of brown Basmati rice available without the woody bits, I think that availability comes and goes. I would love to have had access to BB when I was living back at home for a bit… My parents being diabetic would only eat basmati, I (for health reasons) preferred whole-grains. I had looked everywhere in Rocky Health food stores and Asian store, back then I could have gotten brown Jasmine (which is not available now though how good would that have been in bread?)… I will keep up my search. 
Amaranth flour is available from local health food stores, for around $5-6/500g or the same price for 1kg of grain. I will be testing how well each machine mills the grain in the near future. For some people rice is the more affordable grain, but amaranth being an ancient grain has many health benefits that it can bring to the table.
Thanks Honey for my new ThermoScience banner that links to my Facebook page…

Varomas and Teeny Slow Cookers

SndcakeYou may know that Sand Cake is pretty much my favourite go to recipe. Once I tasted it I decided I was never going back to a packet mix. I always make it Gluten free and have turned it into golden syrup pudding, caramel flavour, cupcakes, lamingtons and strawberry short cake. It is so versatile and this week I turned it Dairy Free chocolate flavour, which I think would also be ok for diabetics too. Served with GF custard, this was a lovely treat.
I had told Honey a while back how delish my mums orange meringue used to be and was delighted when she made some one evening for our relatives that were visiting. Yeek she used fake sugar, it totally did not do the dessert justice. So I wanted a dessert up my sleave for “next time” that also was handy for people who cannot do dairy.
smallCookerMy green grocer ages ago told me about a trick for replacing eggs and fat with apple sauce in cakes and how nice they turn out. I needed to use up egg whites so I just replaced the butter this time, making a 1/2 batch in case it did not work out, so I also wanted to steam them in the varoma so I didn’t have to turn the oven on… To my delight it worked, very well. The batter divided evenly between 2 ramekins and I used the TB1 on 120c for 15 mins. It probably could have gone for a shorter time. If you decide to make this for yourself, please keep an eye on them.

Mini Slow-cooker bread
smlCookAt last I was able to test my smallest slow cooker (1.5L) with bread baking. It worked rather well, though it did get rather humid on the lid, so the crust was a little moist. This may improve with a tea-towel under the lid which I plan to try in the near future. when the bread cooled however the crust was normal and the slices a lovely shape. If I had not had access to my new GF toaster or the sandwich loaf pan this would have been more of a fantastic thing for me, as the slices were quite well-suited to sandwiches… for GF bread that is. Finding that the yeast bread can be made in the slow cooker without a 2nd rise has taken a lot of the headache out of bread-making for me.  I like that the dough can be left in the fridge until needed for up to a week and popped into the slow cooker. I have also frozen some slices in pairs for the forthcoming crazy weeks ahead with TAFE. Once again recipe here

Larger Slow-Cooker Artisan Bread

Artisan bread is simply a miracle I think and the Healthy Bread in 5 minutes recipe writers are geniuses. I thought I was the first person to cook their bread in my slow cooker… Obviously not after reading this today. largeCookerWhich was very timely as I had already put my bread on for a second rise 60 minutes before finding out that it can go straight into the crock pot. This is beyond handy to know, as the 4x with yeast mix can be made up to a week in advance (it’s better tasting the first few days). Depending on your Slow Cooker  you would then just take out a ball pop it in the machine and have fresh bread 90ish minutes later. You could also have the dough ready for pizza, calzones and focaccia.
I have been asked “Will the artisan bread work in a larger slow cooker?” the answer is yes. I took advantage of the Big W 5.5L for $20.00 deal this week. Honey thinks it was because he wanted Pea and Ham soup cooked with a ham bone… we know it was really bought to check out if it was good for cooking bread. While I was at it, I grabbed a cute little slow cooker to test from Woolworths, also $20. As we speak I have 2 yeast cobs in the slow cooker and earlier this week I did a yeast free loaf, which took closer to 2 hours than the 1.5 in the 5.5L slow cooker, but it got there and the results were just as delish.
yeastBreadI also have cooking away in my camping oven a small tin loaf using yeast this time. I think last time I over-did the water and didn’t put in quite enough this time, the crust is looking a little dry. Worried for nothing, it was perfect.
My multi-cooker also arrived this week. I have only cooked brown rice in it so far (high pressure, ready in 14 mins), my toddler nephew was here this weekend he saw the cooker and asked for rice, so we gave it a go. The “keep warm” function kept the rice at the perfect temperature till dinner time when we made sushi with it. I also saved some rice for the next evening when we had tuna mornay (warming it in the varoma as the sauce cooked).
Good news, our Conversion Chart for making smaller Artisan loaves has been uploaded.

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