Everyday Small Things


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Face ya Food: Chocolate peanut butter cupcake bites with peanut butter frosting

These cupcakes are based on the cake recipe that started me off on bean baking (baking with legumous beans as a gluten free, high protein alternative)– I’ve played it straight, messed with quantities, gone Black Forest, chillified it, red-velvet-and-cream-cheesed it, made it as muffins… it’s never failed me and it’s spectacularly easy.

Today being Independence Day, peanut butter cups seemed appropriate. Packed with fibre, protein and good fats, and super-cute to boot. Love.

peanut butter cupcakes

Chocolate peanut butter cupcake bites with peanut butter frosting

Makes: 40-50 cupcake bites

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20-40 minutes  – oven or cupcake maker

Dietary: Gluten and dairy free, contain eggs.

Before you start: These cupcakes are super-easy if you have a food processor, a bit harder if you’re using a blender, and can’t be done with a stick blender (or no blender at all). I adapted them, over several stages, from a cake recipe on another blog; I’ve made the cake several times as a layer cake and also as muffins and it’s always amazing. I’ve halved the quantities for these mini-mini cupcakes but just ask if you want the muffin/cake recipe.

These really are bite-size – the mini cupcake cases I got were so small I think they probably held half the capacity of my (brand-new-had-to-use-immediately) mini-cupcake maker’s pockets – if you find bigger mini-muffin cases they’ll easily be twice the size (though still dinky) and of course make half the quantity. For the sake of your sanity, do, do use cases.

Ingredients

Cupcake mix

  • 1 cup cooked OR ¾ can black bean, drained and rinsed very well
  • 3 small eggs
  • ½ Tbsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsps coconut oil
  • ¼ + 1/8 cup maple syrup, honey or agave nectar
  • 4 Tbsps cocoa powder
  • 3 Tbsps natural peanut butter
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ Tbsp water

Peanut butter frosting

  • 80gm natural peanut butter
  • 80gm coconut oil
  • 100gm unrefined cane powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Tiny pinch sea salt
  • ½ Tbsp liquid – soy milk and/or lemon juice (I like a bit of lemon juice to make it a bit tangy)

 Directions

Cupcakes

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/170°C OR turn your mini cupcake maker on. Line mini cupcake trays or lay out cases beside cupcake maker.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine all cupcake ingredients.
  • Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.  The batter may seem thin, but that’s okay. Taste-test it before pouring:  add a bit more cocoa or a bit of extra black beans to your taste.
  • Use a teaspoon to carefully fill cupcake cases two thirds full and:
    • Oven: bake for 7-10 minutes on the middle rack until the tops are springy. Check them at 5 minutes in case your oven cooks fast. (Note: If your oven has a top element, place a tray or sheet of baking paper on the rack above them after 4 minutes to stop the tops from overcooking). Remove the cupcakes from the oven, cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan and cool completely before decorating.
    • Cupcake maker: carefully but quickly place a filled cupcake case in each pocket; close lid and cook for seven minutes, until tender and springy. Remove quickly with a silicone spoon and leave to cool, fill up the machine again and repeat until you run out of cupcakes.

Frosting

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Beat with an electric beater for five minutes then leave in the fridge until cupcakes are cool. Whip again quickly with a spoon to soften before frosting.
  • Decorate each cupcake with a small blob of frosting (blob, scoop, swirl or pipe it on!) – you don’t need much as the frosting is very sweet and not entirely necessary – they’re pretty tasty plain. If you prefer, just dust with a bit of icing sugar before service. Store in the fridge overnight. Note: you can also frost just before serving.

Please try these out and let us know if you think they are as fabulous as we do!


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Face ya Food (New Foodelicous Feature): Introducing Francis

 

I would like to introduce an incredible friend of mine who is going to do a regular recipe feature on EverydaySmallThings.  She has so much energy and I find her whole approach to holistic health really inspiring.  Try out her recipes and give us feedback – we’d love to hear if you love them as much as we do.  I could go on, but I think she can introduce herself…bio pic

I’m Frances, a lover of many conflicting things – food and fitness, eating thrifty but eating well, shopping local but eating around the world, and of course all baked things but not the muffin-top that goes with them…

Thanks to a terrifyingly wholesome upbringing, a chronic incapacity for sitting still for longer than an episode of Arrested Development and a strong stingy streak, I got into cooking. And thanks to the best purchase of my life – my first London bike – I got into fitness. The gym came next, and, inevitably, reviewing and revising my diet.

I’m lucky (and I know it!) because aside from not really liking milk,  I have no real diet issues – I’ll eat pretty much anything, but while I don’t adhere to any particular eating plan, I usually choose to cook healthy. And with friends who run the range of allergies and food preferences, I’ve also learned a fair bit about cooking (and baking!) around people’s diets.

Basically, it’s a challenge, and it’s fun. Face your food. Try to make it better. Bake with beans. Experiment with egg substitutes. Pack protein into a breakfast muffin and bring a spare to work for a friend who didn’t have time for breakfast. Eat treats that will actually do you good. Happy days.


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(Cook) Book Review: Gweneth Paltrow’s “It’s all good” is really ALL GOOD

imageCookbook Gweneth Paltrow 3

Eight reasons why I would recommend this book:

1.  Healthy & Clean food

All the food in this book is exactly the type that I like to eat.  Clean.  Fresh.  Seasonal.  Low GI.  High Protein.  Not highly processed.  Lots of low-gluten options.  And most of all really tasty!!!  Gwyneth and her friend/co-author Julia Turshen must have really tried and tested these recipes-Thanks G & J.

2.  Normal, easy to find ingredients

So far I have known every ingredient and can also buy them all in my local supermarket!  Necessity!
3.  Never-fail basic recipes 

I’ve found as I have been introducing new ingredients such as quinoa into my diet I have had a lot of mishaps.  Lets just say there has been a lot of uneaten quinoa that has landed in the bin!  But they have included detailed recipes to make ‘perfect’ versions.  Simple and easy to follow too.  The most useful to me, in case you hadn’t guessed, is the Quinoa recipe.  I actually like the stuff now 😉

Other basic recipes include:  Stocks, Go-to recipes like tomato sauce, Soaking almonds and goji berries, pickles, sauces and cooking eggs three ways – among a few other recipes.

4.  Covers everything

There is a recipe for almost every occasion.  Dinners during the week.  Celebrations.  Food for kids.  Drinks.

The chapters are well organised into morning time, salads, soups, birds and meat, fish, vegetables, grains, drinks, kids’, sweets.  And as you’ll see below these fit well into the weekly menu plans!

There are comments and explanations on how to convert to metric too!

5.  Foreword by an actual expert

Sometimes in these celebrity cookbooks, the foreword is by another celebrity friend about how great they all are.  But alongside the forewords by Gweneth and Julia there is one by Dr Habib Sadeghi and Osteopathic physician.  OK so that doesn’t necessarily make him the most expert of dietary experts but he does provide a clear and useful explanation as to the benefits of this type of diet.  He links the scientific medical understanding of modern diets with different religious views of food.  Personally my views of food  have been changing from a love/hate relationship with this stuff that can make me fat/skinny to a more holistic view of food fuelling and empowering my body to be happy, healthy and strong.  This links in with the spiritual idea the doctor discusses.  So I learned a few new things and appreciated having some background information from a real scientific expert.

image

6.  Weekly Menu Plans

There are four weekly menu plans linked to recipes in the book.  They include a body-builder, detox, family-friendly and a vegan week.  I love a menu plan I must admit.  I really search for inspiration during the week.  Also I try to get my food organised on a weekend and these plans can just save so much time.  Additionally for some reason I find I am more likely to try cooking something I wouldn’t otherwise… and this is the best way to find new favourite meals!  Yay and we all love a favourite meal!

7.  Suitable for different dietary needs

If you have specific dietary needs then they have tried to help by clearly labelling each recipe with little icons to identify each recipe as suitable for an elimination diet, vegan diet or as a protein-packed meal.
8.  Looks great!

The book has a really great feel.  Some funny, random photos of Gwyneth don’t seem to stick out like a sore thumb somehow.  The food looks delicious and inviting and the recipes are easy to follow!

Overall I really recommend this read.  I didn’t really want to like the book as much as I did,  but it is getting a lot of cooktop time at the moment so it really is all good!

What is your favourite cookbook?  Why?


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Foodelicous: Chicken & Mango Salad

Paleo Mango Salad 3Paleo mango salad 1Paleo cashew nut Paleo mango salad 2

This is a variation of a salad I found in the recipe book from this Paleo blog.  It’s delicious, so thought I’d share it with you.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast – poach in water for 20 mins.  Let it rest before pulling apart.
  • Handful of salad leaves (I love rocket, watercress & spinach)
  • Fresh herbs x lots.  I’ve used flat leaf parsely and coriander
  • Cashew nuts – small handful.  Toast in a frying pan if you like until they just go golden brown.
  • Mangetout (snowpeas)
  • Avocado x half
  • Mango x half

Dressing – Play around with this but I used:

  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 tspn Walnut oil
  • 1 tspn Sesame oil
  • Good squeeze of lemon or lime or better both
  • Salt + pepper to taste

Chop it all up.  Eat it all up!  Yum yum yummy!!!!  Let me know what you think! xo

P.S. Do you love my awesome retro brown kitchen bench!  Oh yeah hot dig!


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Everyday Small Things: Ice Cream Vans

Ice cream sundae Ice cream yum

One of my favourite summertime tastes is soft serve ice cream.  One of my favourite summertime sounds is our local ice cream van.  He comes around with his music on every evening in summer.  He drives to every street in our block.  We allow ourselves to go out once or twice over the season 1) we don’t really need the extra calories and 2) he typically only reaches us at about 9:15 pm as it’s not dark here until almost 11pm.  Well I’m in bed by 9:30 pm… I’m a girl who needs my 8 hours sleep!  And early rises for work necessitate this.  But we went out the other day with our neighbours.  It is such a nice way to meet people on your street – his brief visit helps to bring the community together a little bit!

My favourite flavour would have to always be chocolate with nut sprinkles.  Lots of chocolate.  Sometimes cone.  Sometimes tub.  That can be a tough decision.  Oh and don’t forget the flake!!!!!!  This is a variation of a 99 – a British tradition.  One cone + One serve plain soft serve ice cream.  My cousin first introduced this to me on a hot summer day in London when I first arrived.  Where did the 99 get it’s name from?  I thought it got it’s name from costing 99 pence (even though they are often a little more these days).  Actually I just googled it and found an article on BBC news.  Click here is you want to know more and the real reason behind the name and tradition!!!!

I tried to find my ice cream truck’s song on youtube for you.  Here is a link to lots of other ice cream truck songs (I’m going to go out and try and record the song if I can and I’ll add the post).  Each song brings back a really vivid, happy memory from my childhood.  It’s fun to do things as an adult that you used to do as a child.  Maybe one day when we have children we’ll get to do that all the time.  But for now, with just the two of us it is a fun little adventure that made us smile a lot!!

Did you grow up with an ice cream van?  What memories do you have?  What is your favourite flavour of all time?


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Happy, Healthy, Strong – Foodelicious

Cafe culture – great tasting grub!

Melbourne CoffeeMelbourne Coffee really is superb folks – it has bought my Coffee Diva back out.

Melbourne is known for being full of coffee (and sometimes food) snobs.  But geez the food really is good!  Don’t get me wrong, in the UK you can get great food, but it can be harder to come by.  And just because it has the word ‘organic’ on it doesn’t seem to ensure the food is actually of a quality as it does in Melbourne.  I actually saw on the news here a report about Aussies who’ve set up a cafe in Paris, making Australian-style coffee which is really taking off.  I’m off to Paris in a few weeks for the French Open (gee I know life is tough), so I might go check it out.  I’m generally a caffeine-free-zone (again related to headaches/migraines), but couldn’t help myself recently.  My first Melbourne coffee stopped me in my tracks walking across the busy Flinders Street in Central Melbourne.  Aargh the Coffee Diva was back!

There is a few new cafes here in Brunswick that I’ve visited.  One is called Milkwood and one is Eastern Elevation.

One of my key goals in terms of getting Happy, Healthy & Strong is improving my relationship with food.  It has become my Foodemy (that did seem to work better in my head when I combined food and enemy.. maybe that’s just me?!)  I’m in a food rut.  Sick of cooking it.  Sick of buying it.  Sick of sharing it.  Why is that I wonder?  [Possibly something to do with the window that won’t shut and the long winter we’ve had?…).

Eggs & smash

Poached Eggs on Broadbean and Mint Smash at new cafe Milkwood – so good I went back today for lunch!

Anyway, it has been really nice to share some meals out that feel really nutritious and nurturing rather than heavy and greasy!

I’ve also been thinking about having a crack at Paleo when I get home.  I already know that I’m really not a carbs girl (well I love bread.. but I need a 30 minute nap after eating it).  So when I’ve been out for a meal here I’ve been a little nervous because sometimes all there is on offer is a meal based around carbs that I know will send me to sleep – not what I want to be happening at the end of my meal when I want to catch up with my friend who I haven’t seen in years.  So I’ve been really greatful that many meals offered have been based more around pulses, protein & freshness which suits me much better.

What’s the nicest thing about food where you live?