hazelnut mocha friands

When you want to make ice-cream, you use egg yolks. But what happens when you make a lot of ice-cream? I know you want to say ‘diabetes’, or ‘your teeth fall out’ or ‘enjoy the new gym membership’, and while they are all viable possibilities, most of the ice-cream I make is shared around enough to avoid me sitting on the couch with the spoon in the tub.

hazelnut mocha friands

So, what happens when you make a lot of ice-cream? You end up with a truckload of egg whites, begging to be whipped, shaped, baked, or all of the above. And it just so happens, if I don’t start using these frozen egg whites in my freezer soon, I won’t have room for much else in there, so friands it is! Not that I’m complaining. My mum has a fear of these little buttery cakes, god knows why, because they are simple to make and you can’t stuff them up (unless you forget to grease your tin – in which case, just eat them right out of the tin, in the most ladylike manner you can fashion). The egg whites need only be lightly whisked, or you can use your kitchen mixer, but they don’t need to be tough, mountainy peaks like you would need when making meringues.

hazelnut mocha friandsThey are guaranteed to be moist with the amount of butter that goes into them, and they are super versatile because you can freeze them and warm them up for a later date, or of course serve them hot out of the oven, if you are lacking in the self control department (guilty as charged). Today I’ve chosen to walk on the dark side, and gone with an old recipe using cocoa, freshly brewed coffee and hazelnut meal. You can’t go wrong. If you don’t have a friand tin, feel free to use a cupcake/muffin tin and use liners to save you from having to grease it. If you are wanting to make these gluten free, substitute the flour for your favourite gluten free flour blend.

hazelnut mocha friands

hazelnut mocha friandsΒ (adapted from The Baking Queen) – makes 12

you’ll need…

  • 6 egg whites
  • 120g hazelnut meal
  • 180g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 230g icing sugar, sifted
  • 80g plain flour (or gluten free flour to make gluten-free)
  • 1 shot fresh espresso
  • 1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder

here’s what you do…

  1. Preheat oven to 180C and butter/grease friand tin or muffin tin and set aside. In a clean bowl, lightly beat egg whites with a whisk (or stand mixer) for about 2 minutes.
  2. Using a big metal spoon, fold in hazelnut meal, melted butter, icing sugar and flour, until combined.
  3. Mix together coffee and cocoa powder with a dash of warm water. Pour mix into batter and fold through gently until just combined.
  4. Spoon mix evenly into tin and pop into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until friands are firm on top. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out.
  5. Enjoy.
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hot cross buns

sticky cinnamon hot cross buns

Hooray! It’s hot cross bun time. Really, it could be hot cross bun time any time of the year if you make them yourself, but you’d assume the novelty would surely wear off. Not me – I could eat these morsels of deliciousness all year round. These certainly bring back a rush of childhood memories of cold mornings and bedsocks, sinking my teeth into these toasted treasures. Although, I only ever preferred the fruitless versions, and of course, the highly coveted choc chip ones (I’ll be making them soon enough). These really aren’t all that difficult to make, and you can work on your biceps and triceps throughout the 10 minute kneading time. You really can’t beat homemade; you know the ingredients list won’t read like a junior high chem lab checklist, and the absolute joy that comes from getting your hands in dough and licking the spoon when making the cinnamon glaze is next to none.

hot cross buns

little hands make light work

Fluffy, spicy, warm and sticky, they allow the most comforting smell to waft through the house when you open that oven. Slather on a spread of lightly salted french butter, watch it ooze into the crevices in the cut-in-half-bun and ensure you have a fresh pot of tea on the go – preferably something rich and dark. Rooibos tea pairs well with the heady spices and the sticky cinnamon glaze – be sure to reduce the glaze on the stovetop, unlike the recipe says. Otherwise, you have a watery liquid which simply runs off the buns, or makes them soggy, and you don’t want to undo the work your oven did in creating such beautifully bronzed tops.

hot cross buns

hot cross buns (adapted from SBS Food site)

Makes 12 – requires 2 hours proving time

you’ll need…

  • 2 tsp dried instant yeast
  • 500g plain flour (preferably strong, high gluten, bread flour)
  • 80g rapadura sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 300ml milk
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 large, free range egg
  • 140g sultanas or currants
  • 30g mixed peel (I omitted as the stuff at the shops was full of unnecessary nasties)Crosses
  • 2 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 2 tbsp iced water
  • Glaze
  • 1/3 cup rapadura sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 150ml water

here’s what you do…

  1. Sift together yeast, flour, sugar, salt and spices.
  2. In small saucepan, gently heat milk and butter together over low heat (don’t let milk boil) until butter has just melted.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat egg lightly.
  4. Add milk mixture to flour mix and mix thoroughly, then add egg and mix to form a dough.
  5. Work in the dried fruit and peel (if using).
  6. Turn the dough out onto floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, or until dough is no longer sticky (great tutorial on how to knead here). Place into lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in warm spot to prove for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  7. Once dough has risen sufficiently, punch down dough, measure dough, then divide evenly by weight into 12 portions. Place close together, in 3 rows of 4, on tray lined with baking paper.
  8. Cover again with cling wrap (or with clean tea towel) and place in warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size and very light in weight.
  9. Preheat oven to 220C (200C fan-forced). To make crosses, mix flour and water to form thick paste (add more flour/water to adjust if necessary). Spoon into ziplock bag, cut tiny bit off the corner and pipe mixture onto buns to form crosses (do this slowly so the crosses ‘hug’ the curves of the bun).
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until buns are nice and brown.
  11. To make the glaze, place all ingredients in small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thick, then paint over buns with pastry brush whilst still hot.
  12. Enjoy.
spiced apple and kale salad with poached chicken

spiced apple + kale salad with poached chicken

I love kale. Partly because its ridiculously good for you (antioxidant rich, anti-inflammatory, cousins with broccoli and cauliflower) but its versatile, and doesn’t mind being hurled into a smoothie or lovingly massaged to become part of a salad such as this one. It’s the latest ‘in’ thing. Love it, or hate it, but I urge you to do the former. Sure, kale does require a bit of extra TLC in the prep department, but don’t let that put you off – kale stays super crispy in the fridge, so you can make a double batch and this baby will keep smiling for at least a couple of days. No reason not to eat healthy, right? Except if you’re going through a break up, in which case, put this down and arm yourself with the nearest chocolate brownie. Shhh, it’ll be our little secret!

This juicy number is from the latest Woolworth’s food mag, which I don’t read often but this one stood out. Super simple, tasty, full of anti-inflammatory turmeric, quercetin-rich (good for your allergies), and a little bit exotic, there isn’t much this salad can’t do except maybe read you a bedtime story. Here, I’ve topped it with shredded, poached chicken for a super-healthy protein punch.

spiced apple and kale salad with poached chicken

spiced apple and kale salad with poached chicken

spiced apple + kale salad (adapted from the Woolies Fresh Mag)

you’ll need…

  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 tbs avocado oil (I used EVOO)
  • 2 apples (I used Pink Lady’s)
  • 1/2 bunch kale, tough inner rib of stalk removed and leaves shredded
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped roughly
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 tbs currants (I used sultanas)
  • mint and parsley, to serve
  • poached chicken breast, if desired
here’s what you do…
1. whisk lemon juice, honey and curry powder together, then slowly add in oil. season.
2. quarter, core and slice apples thinly, then toss in dressing to prevent browning.
3. drain dressing on top of sliced kale in large bowl, and massage for 3-4 min or until kale is softened. add in pecans, spring onions, celery and currants and toss to combine.
4. add apple and herbs (don’t be shy with the herbs), finally topping with poached chicken
if using poached chicken, here’s how you do it…
1. place chicken breast in saucepan (if its accompanying a salad, I normally work it out to be 1/2 chicken breast/person). cover with stock (and any other flavourings you desire i.e. spices, herbs, lemon etc) and bring to the boil
2. once boiling, cover with lid and take off the heat, letting it sit for 25 min.
3. check your chicken is cooked – should be slightly pink, lovely and moist! you can then shred or slice it on top of your salad. enjoy!