My Last Post, but it’s not the end :)


 

This post underlines my bendibenri blog.  It has been over a year since I documented my adventures in the kitchen in this blog, however that doesn’t mean things have been quiet where experimenting with food is concerned.

I have since moved over to vegetarianism  although I could call myself vegan, but I’m sure that some animal products sneak themselves into food when I eat out – and those I cannot control.  That said, putting a label to my eating habbits doesn’t feel right because they are often judged in so many ways.  The truth, in short is, I want to live a predominantly plant-based diet which is highly alkaline forming to help me achieve optimum health, sustain good energy levels and help prevent sickness.  This new start, I feel, warrants the creation of a new blog to enable me to keep motivated and stay absorbed in one of my biggest loves – food.   I’m so excited about it and have so many recipes I’d like to share that my meat-eater friends also give their thumbs up to.

If like me you are in to eating for good health please join me.  I’d love to hear from you and your views and opinions.

www.turningalkaline.wordpress.com

 

20 min Asparagus & Pesto Risotto


This was my first attempt at making risotto without assistance from my wonderful rice cooker.  The recipe was one from Jamie Oliver‘s 20min meal iPhone app where the directions are so easy it’s ridiculous at how beautiful it tastes.  If you love risotto like I do, then try this one out! yuuuummmmm…..

RECIPE AND DIRECTIONS FROM JAMIE OLIVER’S 20 MINUTE MEALS iPHONE APPLICATION

Asparagus and Pesto Risotto (2 servings)

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium bunch – Asparagus
  • 2 heaped tsp – Pesto (home-made is best)
  • 1 sm – red onion
  • 1 stick – celery
  • 2 knobs – Butter
  • 150g – Arborio rice (Japanese rice also works well)
  • 400 ml – Vegetable stock
  • 25g – Parmesan Cheese
  • 100ml – white wine (use a nice one)
  • splash – olive oil
  • pinch – sea salt (I didn’t use any)
  • black pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Pre-heat your oven to the lowest setting & place your plates in the oven to warm
  2. Place a large saucepan on a low to medium heat.  Peel the onion & trim the celery stick then finely chop them
  3. Add 1 knob of butter to the hot pan with onion, celery, a splash of olive oil, and a splash of water.  Cook over a low heat for around 5 mins, stirring occasionally, until soft.  Meanwhile…
  4. Bring the stock to the boil in a medium saucepan, then turn the heat down to low.
  5. Snap the woody bases off the asparagus and add them to the saucepan of stock.  Slice the remaining tender stalks up to the tip then leave the tip whole.  Put to one side.
  6. Finely grate the Parmesan.
  7. Once your vegetables are very soft (but not browned) add the rice to the pan.
  8. Stir & fry the rice for a minute until translucent, then add the wine and keep stirring until all the wine has absorbed by the rice.
  9. Turn the heat under the rice up to medium then add a ladle full of hot stock, avoiding the asparagus stalks – these are there to add flavour but not to be eaten!
  10. Stir constantly and continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, waiting for the rice to soak it all up before adding the next ladle full.  Continue until you’ve used tow-thirds of the stock.
  11. Once two-thirds of your stock has been added, stir the sliced asparagus and tips to the rice.
  12. Keep adding the stock until the rice if just cooked and the risotto has a nice oozy consistency.  If you run out of stock, use boiling water.
  13. Take the pan of risotto off the heat and stir in your teaspoon of pesto and half the parmesan.  Cut your lemon in half then squeeze in a little juice.
  14. Taste the risotto and season with salt and pepper (if you need it).  Cover the pan with a lid.
  15. Divide the risotto between the two warmed plates.  Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan and top each with a dollop of pesto. DONE!

Blueberry, Blackberry & Soured Cream Cake with Cheese Cake Frosting


Distracted from the books again, but this time in the shape of an amazing cake recipe from the BBC GoodFood website.  This recipe is full of all the right things, but far from healthy, although I do trick myself into thinking a cake like this is good for you… it does contain fruit after all.  Anyway, what’s life without a little indulgence ehe?

This recipe is super easy and looks really pretty too, but most of all it tastes…well…find out for yourself, I swear you WILL love it :P oooo and the cream cheese and soured cream frosting with those beautiful little berries as they pop in your mouth….mmmmmhmm….

I wish I had made this cake in the morning to capture an image in the best of the day light, but artificial just had to do as I was definitely not going to let this little beauty tease me until morning.

You can find the recipe here.  The only adjustment I made was reducing the sugar  from 175g to 100g and used half blueberries, half blackberries. The tanginess of the blackberries really balanced out the sweetness of the frosting making it very moreish.

Banana Breakfast Muffins


Last night was a strange one…  Awoken at about 2am, soaking from head to toe and covered in what looked like spangly spiders.  I also remember frantically searching for the light switch saying something (not sure what though) to scare the spiders away….ewwww…it makes me shiver thinking about it.

My head is possibly trying to adjust after all the assignment writing those past few months, or it could be the research methods philosophy I am trying make sense of.  However, I put it down to the head and foot massage I gave Andy last night to relieve him of the stress he was swimming in due to a presentation he has to do today.   Lucky Andy, he slept right though the night, which, for him, is strange.  His energy must have transferred over to me during the massage, but he doesn’t seem to think that’s true.    Anyway, to relieve myself of the light trauma from last nights spider hallucinations, I  decided the perfect solution was to bake cakes for breakfast, just something quick, so thanks to my trustworthy banana cake recipe it saved the day :P well, so far…

Hot from the oven…I forgot how good they tasted…would you like one? (by the way, I know what you’re thinking, “is that all she can cook?” … it’s not honest…it’s just that they’re sooo quick to make and absolutely satisfying).

No chocolate this time, and a little less sugar too…oh yeah, and I used half and half wholemeal and plain flour…the healthier option :P

Hummingbird Cupcakes


 

Wow! It has been a while, but now I’m back. I am absolutely consumed by my MSc, but more about that another time. What is important is my return to the kitchen. What better way to inject life into my passion for food and baking than experimenting with yummy Hummingbird cake recipes. My wonderful friends Ali n Ali bought me the cookbook for Christmas quite conveniently a little before Mrs Ali’s 30th birthday celebrations :P . A great excuse it was too to make some gorgeous red velvet cupcakes and chocolate ginger cupcakes topped off with cream cheese frosting (mmm…yeah… I know they don’t fit into the whole healthy cooking theme I have going here, but it was for a 30th birthday after all). Anyway…My first attempt didn’t go quite to plan, possibly due my uncontrollable need to change every recipe I try out. However, take 2 and 3 were actually not too bad, maybe not as beautiful as those by the experts in Hummingbird bakery, but they did taste pretty good (well, Andy and I thought so anyway).


Chocolate and Ginger

Ingredients:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 2og cocoa powder
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 40g unsalted powder
  • 120g whole milk
  • 1 tblsp ginger preserve (this was my addition :P – I really couldn’t resist)

Directions: pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C (325 degrees F) Gas 3

  1. put the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a free standing electric mixer with a paddel attachment and beat on slow speed until you get a sandy consistency and everything is combined.
  2. Whisk the milk, egg and vanilla extract together in a jug, then slowly pour out about half into the flour mixture, beat to combine and turn the mixer up to high speed to get rid of any lumps.
  3. Turn the mixer down to a slower speed and slowly pour in the remaining milk mixture (scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula). Continue mixing for a couple more minutes until the mixture is smooth. Do not overmix.
  4. spoon the mixture into paper cases until 2/3 full bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 -25 min (if using large muffin cases) 15 min (if using small fairy cake cases). Leave cakes to cool on a wire rack then decorate as you please.

Red Velvet

Ingredients: MAKES 12

  • 60g unsalted butter at room temp.
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 10g cocoa powder
  • 20 ml red food colouring
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120 ml butter milk
  • 150g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp white wine vinegar

Directions: pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C (325 degrees F) Gas 3

  1. Put the butter and the sugar in a free standing electric mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on medium until well incorporated
  2. in a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, red food colouring and vanilla extract to make a thick, dark paste. Add to the butter mixture and mix thoroughly until evenly combined and coloured. (scrape mixture from the sides of the bowl). Turn the mixer down to slow speed and slowly pour in half of the buttermilk. Beat until everything is well incorporated. Repeat the process until all the buttermilk and flour have been added. Turn the mixer to high and beat until you have a smooth, even mixture. Turn the mixer to a low speed and add the salt, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. Beat until well mixed, then turn up the speed again and beat for a coupe more minutes
  3. Spoon the mixture into paper cases until 2/3 full and bake in a pre-heated oven for 20 – 25mins (LARGE) 15 min (small)

And the best part, not just a 30th b’day party, but a fancy dress party!! :D

♡ Chilli Chocolate Slices ♡


White chocolate is marketed by confectioners a...

Image via Wikipedia

Chocolate is my vice, especially on days like these when you have to study.  I will do anything to put me into a mindset to open a 700 page textbook.  Luckily I don’t have to look too far.  A bar of 75% chocolate is all it takes for me.

My morning net search took me to my new favourite food blog ‘My Darling lemon Thyme’ where I found a scrumptious looking chilli chocolate slice recipe.  I can’t wait to try out more of her mouth watering recipes.  Take a look, I’m sure you will all agree.

Like any recipe I want to try out without pre-planning, there are always ingredients you never have.   In this case, I had already finished off the last of my blueberries over breaky so I used some dried fruit, and I have also never bought tapioca flour before so I used 1 1/2 tablespoons of corn flour.  There seems to always be substitutions on hand so the baking commenced and the results were just as I had expected, utterly satisfying.  Now where is that textbook of mine?

Information and image taken directly from My Darling Lemon Thyme’s blog;

chocolate, chilli and blueberry slice
This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be dairy-free by using margarine in place of butter and by making sure you use a good quality dark chocolate that’s dairy-free. I used trade aid dark chocolate. As I’ve mentioned before, get to know your chillies. I used 1 whole long chilli, but you may want to go for less or more depending on how hot you chillies are and how hot you want the end result. If you eat wheat, substitute the rice and tapioca flours for 3/4 cup plain flour or spelt flour.  Makes about 20 slices

  • 200 g dark chocolate, chopped
  • 125 g butter/ margarine
  • 1/2 cup muscovado sugar (or use soft brown sugar)
  • 1 long red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen/ fresh blueberries
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/ ground almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (white rice flour is fine)
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat your oven to 15o degrees/ 275-300 f. Grease yourself a slice pan about 20 x 20 cm. Line the base and sides with baking paper and make sure about 2cm of paper extends up and over the edges of the pan.
Melt chocolate, butter, sugar and chilli together in a small saucepan over low heat. Pour into a large bowl and set aside for 10 mins to cool slightly. Gently stir in flours, almond meal and eggs until combined. Fold through blueberries. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth off the top with the back of your spoon/ spatula.
Bake 35-45 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave to cool in the pan before cutting into small squares, dusting with cocoa powder and devouring! Or if you have some serious restraint, hold off eating till tomorrow.
NB If using fresh berries I’d say they would take about 30-35 mins. If using Frozen like I did, allow a little longer – mine took 45 mins to cook.
Heavily adapted from a little women’s day cookbook called “Family favourites – easy biscuits and slices”.

Manly Banana Cinnamon Cupcakes



Here you will find my yummy banana loaf recipe in the shape of little manly style cupcakes.  I was going make a traditional cup cake recipe with all the frills and a variety of flavours, but I didn’t!   Instead, I settled on, in my opinion, the perfect sponge.  They are like mini banana loaf buns, however, this time I topped them with a chocolate & cinnamon cream cheese frosting for added naughtiness.  They do look a little manlier than your usual cup cake, don’t they?  So that’s who I made them for, a newly turned 30-year-old man. Welcome to my world!

Happy Birthday Tom!!

Ingredients:

  • 113g butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup sugar (granulated, caster, or mix in some demerara, whatever you have to hand)
  • 1 cup self raising flour (I couldn’t find self raising here in Japan so used all purpose)
  • [1.5 tsp baking powder & 1/2 tsp salt] – if you use all purpose
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 medium, very ripe bananas
  • Handful crushed walnuts
  • 1 tsp heaped cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  • 1 bar of chocolate (broken into small pieces)
  1. Pre-heat oven to 130 degrees
  2. Grease a muffin tray with butter or marg
  3. Mash the bananas with a sturdy fork or blend in a blender
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
  5. Mix together the mushy bananas.
  6. Mix in the sieved flour and spices
  7. Mix in the chocolate raisins and crushed walnuts.
  8. divide evenly between muffin holes and bake for 40 minutes
  9. check for they’re by piercing the center of a cup cake. If it comes out clean, cool at room temperature then decorate as desired.