Friday, 15 February 2013

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

We’ve been on a healthy dessert kick recently. I saw this recipe on  and knew we had to make it. I recall once splitting a slice of polenta cake at a Pizza Express with my Mother-In-Law and it was delish. This recipe is just like that--tart from the lemon with a hint of sweetness and a few bursts of blueberries. Plus healthy, but it doesn’t taste like it. That’s the best kind.

I did adapt the recipe slightly (Spiderman says this is a pathological trait with me--I can’t cook without a small tweak) 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Cake

You need:
1 cup rolled oats, pulsed into flour
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal (I used fine polenta)
1 TB baking powder
½ tsp sea salt
Juice of 2 lemons (1/3 cup)
Zest of one lemon
¼-1/3 cup sugar (I used ¼ cup Light at Heart--half Demerara sugar half stevia-- which is as sweet as ½ cup sugar)
½ cup “milk” (she used almond milk I used Oatly)
1 flax egg (1 TB ground flax mixed with 3 TB hot water and allowed to jell for a few minutes)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup frozen blueberries (she used ½ a cup blueberries but for me I wanted more so I just dumped the whole punnet in there)

How to do it:
Note: she cooked hers in a cast iron pan that she preheated in the oven and it took half as long as mine did in my 9 inch ceramic pie pan that was not preheated. We once tried to preheat the ceramic pan and then spoon cold dough with frozen blueberries into it and the pan exploded. Not fun. So I’ll give directions for both kinds of pans.

1. In a food processor, pulse your oats until they resemble flour. Then briefly pulse in the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Pour into a large mixing bowl

2. Add the rest of the ingredients--minus the blueberries--and mix until well combined.
Note: mine was a bit like a science experiment--the baking soda and the lemon made a fizzing noise when I mixed them. That was the fun bit!
3. Stir in the blueberries.

4. EITHER take out your hot cast iron pan and add a TB of oil and pour it in and swirl it around to grease the pan OR do like I did and grease your not preheated pan well with some oil.

5. Pour the mixture into the pan.

6. If you are baking in the preheated cast iron pan she said bake it for 15-20 minutes until centre is set. If you are baking in the not preheated  pan then bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set.

7. Let cool before slicing into wedges.

8. Optional: glaze with ¼ cup sifted icing sugar and a drizzle of “milk” to make it
glaze-y. It hardens into a sweet crackle top that is a nice contrast to the tartness below.

The second best bit after the fizzing is this:
When you’ve eaten a few wedges it looks like PAC-MAN!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

C is for Cookie (and Chickpeas)

Recently we had a meeting at church where we were required to provide tea and goodies for all those attending. On occasions such as this is my job to provide something vegan and gluten free so others like me can enjoy a treat along with everyone else. I know from experience how sad you feel (and hungry) when everyone else gets homemade baked goods and there is nothing for you. So I made a batch of my secret ingredient cookies. Don’t look at me like that. These are rich and moist and  like tiny bites of cake and very morish.

C is for Cookie (and Chickpeas)

Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1 tin chickpeas drained and well rinsed (I find tinned ones to better for this than home cooked ones--you want mushy ones not firm ones)
1.5 TB liquid sweetener--maple syrup, agave, whatever--I used golden syrup
1.5 TB rapeseed (canola) oil
¼ tsp blackstrap molasses
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 flax egg (1 TB flax meal mixed with 3 TB hot water and allowed to gel for a few minutes)
1/3-½ cup brown sugar  (I used Tate and Lyle Light at Heart which is half Demerara sugar half stevia--¼ cup = ½ cup sweetness)

Mix all this in your food processor.

Then blend in
¼ cup gluten free flour. Not the kind with starch--just flour. I used buckwheat. You could probably use wholemeal pastry flour if you don’t need to be gluten free.

Spoon into a bowl and mix in
2-3 TB chocolate chips, 2-3 TB dried cranberries and (optionally) 2-3 TB sunflower seeds.

Then form into walnut sized balls  and bake for 15-18 minutes. Mine were really moist inside at 15 minutes--like eating raw cookie dough (which is not that bad…) but at 18 minutes were brown on the outside and cooked in the middle like little cakes. It made 15 cookies.

They were snaffled up by everyone--not just special diet people so I know they were good.

Now go make them yourself.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Sneaky Snake

I had a weird dream last night--Spiderman would say when did I not have weird dreams--but this one was doozy.

I was at school, minding my business on the way to the photocopier when I spied 3 large black snakes slithering down the corridor. I quickly moved in for a closer look and I could see the mark on the back of their neck and recognised that they were COBRAS. Cobras! In school! Oh No!

Bravely, I grabbed a push broom and managed to herd them into the music room and slammed the door. Then I sent someone to tell the office to phone the police and another person to find the caretaker to lock the door. I could see the cobras rolling around on the floor with some recorders and felt very frightened.

Whilst I was waiting for the caretaker several children came up and asked to be let in to the music room to retrieve their musical instrument. "YOU CAN'T GO IN THERE BECAUSE THE ROOM IS FULL OF COBRAS!" I shouted. No one else seemed to be taking this as seriously as I was. I made a sign and taped it to the door that read:

Just then our secretary came to tell me that the police told her to phone the London Zoo and so she had. As I was waiting for some experienced herpetologist from the Zoo to arrive several more children came by and asked to enter the music room. By now the snakes were all coiled around the Djembe drums. "NO!" I shouted. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE! THERE ARE COBRAS IN THERE!"  Then a child pointed through the window and said, "Well if I can't go in, how come Will can go in?" To my horror I noticed a boy from year 4 in the music room. Oh dear God--I had locked the boy in with the cobras! He was "off with the fairies" as they say--completely oblivious to the danger. "WILL!" I hissed (the irony of why I was whispering to avoid being heard by snakes was not lost on me--the hissing made me feel rather like a snake myself which made me all shivery)and I finally got his attention and managed to get him out of the room unharmed.

Just then someone from the Zoo arrived with a tube of anti-venom and a hook and a large bag. He was in there several minutes before he came and told me that these were, in fact, ROBOT COBRAS, not real ones. I was shocked and embarrassed by the fact that I had been fooled, but he kindly said, "Don't worry Miss, they were startlingly realistic. Anyone not a professional like myself would have been fooled."

Then I woke up. So yeah...just a normal night for me. But I did say to Spiderman, "I wish I could have found out who was controlling the robot cobras" and he replied:

(which cracked me up)

So yeah, just an average day for us as a married couple. Sweet dreams!