Healthy Energy Muffins

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I simply cannot live without carbs. Back when I was sixteen I tried being on a diet that consisted of zero wheat products and it was a miserable few months. Of course, I lost weight, but I also lost a part of my humanity.

I have to start my mornings with some or other wheat product otherwise I will feel like something is missing in my life (I’m not even exaggerating – no wheat = a foul mood) and after successfully uncovering the delicate art that is the perfect chiffon cupcake, I decided to tweak the recipe to make it something I could eat every day. Every. Single. Day.

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And boy, did I tweak it. The thing about a chiffon cupcake is that it’s loaded with protein and good fats due to the large amount of egg present. I threw in some honey, lessened the sugar content, added some acai berry powder, cinnamon and split the flour content so that it was half chickpea flour and half normal cake flour. To my delight, the cake actually held and puffed up beautifully. If I understand correctly, the key is in the egg whites. Don’t f*ck ’em up.

Healthy Energy Muffins

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 cup chickpea (or any gluten substitute) flour
  • 3 tbsp ground cinnamon powder
  • 1 tbsp acai berry powder
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1/2 tsp tartaric acid (cream of tartar)
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • 1/3 cup honey (preferably natural and healthy honey)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC. Line two 12-cup muffin pans with cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift the cake flour, chickpea flour, cinnamon, acai berry powder, baking powder and salt together three times.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until semi-stiff peaks start to form. Gradually add the tartaric acid in and beat until very stiff peaks form.
  4. In another large bowl, beat the egg yolks, cold water, olive oil, sugar, honey, vanilla extract, and flour mixture together.
  5. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites. Mix until JUST combined – DO NOT OVERMIX.
  6. Spoon into muffin pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not bake them for longer than that because they will continue to cook when you remove them from the oven and leave them to rest.
  7. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before you take them out of their holes. If you don’t let them rest, they will collapse.
  8. Enjoy and be in a happy mood for the rest of the day!

Recipe Source: My Brain

Totoro Cookies

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 I am obsessed with Totoro. I have a Totoro phone cover, I recently purchased a Totoro Halloween costume, I have Totoro-themed slippers and a giant dust spirit hanging on my satchel.

I bought these cookie cutters on Amazon and loved the whole minimalist vibe they had. Obviously, if you have the time and patience, you can go on and add the eyes and chest fur but I actually prefer them without eyes and whatnot. I made one with eyes and fur and the eyes looked like boobs (which is a debatable no-no).

The recipe is the honey cookies I made a while ago and I was struck with how well they held their shape. While I absolutely LOVE sugar cookies, they really aren’t very healthy, but these honey cookies are made with extremely healthy ingredients, and so I was very pleased to have found an alternative to sugar cookies.

Naturally, because of the way these cookies are structured, you eat the ears first before you consume the body (the ligaments are assumed to exist). You can flavour the darker colored dough with any flavour really. I personally love matcha-anything (who doesn’t?!).

This dough is supposed to get shinier the more you knead it. Towards the end it’s supposed to be just dry enough that it can be rolled out without any cracks, but moist enough that you can still describe it as a “wet” dough.

A good cup of green tea and one of these adorable delights is perfect before a good ol’ afternoon nap.

Totoro Cookies

INGREDIENTS

  • 80g olive oil
  • 120g honey
  • 30g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g cake flour

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line a baking pan with baking paper.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the cake flour and matcha powder until combined.
  3. In a large bowl, beat the oil, eggs, honey and sugar together with an electric mixer (or a whisk – it’s just harder work and less accurate)
  4. Pour the cake flour mixture into the wet mixture and mix until combined.
  5. Knead the dough until it feels elastic to the touch.
  6. Roll the dough out until about 1/2 a cm or less thick. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and let them cool completely before removing from pan.

Recipe source: My Brain

Matcha Chiffon Cupcakes

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For some reason, all of my best creations come from failures. I had originally planned to make a matcha chiffon cake for Mother’s Day, but seeing as I was making it on a day that was dedicated to her, my mother was fussing over perfecting the baking process. So after I had placed the batter into the cake tin, my mother springs over, snatches the tin and promptly drops it on the floor.

We decided to salvage what was edible and placed the batter into muffin pans and see what happens.

I’d peered into the oven every now and then and was devastated to see that they appeared to be sinking in the middle. ALL THOSE EGGS. I could have made a freaking frittata. I decided I’d crumb ’em and turn them into cake balls if they sunk (I always have a solution). However, to my utmost surprise, these matcha beauties rose into the highest and most magnificently even peaks. Not only was the cake itself beautifully soft and moist but aesthetically, they also looked super yummy.

My dad had 3 in a row (he has magical no-weight-gain genes). As someone who is quite insistent on portion control, I liked the fact that I could eat an entire cupcake and not feel guilty, as opposed to eating an entire slice of cake (there probably isn’t that much of a difference. I am perhaps slightly OCD).

For those of you who don’t know, chiffon cakes are basically a cross between a sponge and angel food’s cake. It requires a crap load of eggs that need to be separated (thank you Masterchef Australia for teaching me how to split eggs the real way – sans equipments), and is rather temperamental. Sometimes you think you did everything perfectly and it decides to sink or you get a rubbery doughy layer at the bottom, which I like but isn’t technically accepted.

Whatever. It’s cake. I’d still eat it. *shrugs*

Matcha Chiffon Cakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsp matcha powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 7 eggs, room temperature and separated
  • 1/2 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup cold water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 160ºC. Line muffin pans with cupcake liners (about 30 cupcakes).
  2. In a small bowl, sift cake flour, matcha, salt, and baking powder three times.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, beat egg whites until firm peaks start to form. Slowly sprinkle the cram of tartar in and beat until very stiff peaks form. Or just hold the bowl upside down above your head – the perfectly beaten egg whites will not move.
  4. In a larger  bowl, beat the egg yolks, castor sugar, olive oil, vanilla extract, water together. Slowly beat in the flour mixture.
  5. Transfer the egg whites to the egg yolk mixture and gently fold the egg whites in. DO NOT OVERMIX. This is the most critical part of the entire baking process. If you overmix them, the cake will not rise.
  6. Pour mixture into cupcake batter and bake for 10-15 minutes (or until toothpick comes out clean).
  7. Remove from cupcake pans and leave to chill completely before icing.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Food Network

Master Wholewheat Bread Machine Recipe (Butter-free)

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I love bread. You read these articles on the web about “trigger foods” that set off binging – back in my binging days, I used to be very capable of eating an entire loaf of bread in one sitting.

Gross, I know.

I have this deep, inexplicable love for bread crusts… I find it very strange when people don’t eat the crust. It’s chewy, crunchy, toasty… What more could you ask for!? The best thing about the bread this recipe yields is that the crust is crunchy while the inside beautifully soft and moist.

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I cannot emphasize how many times I’ve tested this recipe out until I worked out one that I was really satisfied it. I still ate the batches that tasted crappy-ish, but you know. I’ve got standards.

And…because I’m also obsessed with healthy nourishment…this is one fail-proof wholewheat recipe that you can technically flavour in any way you like. I threw in some goji berries which stained my dough that beautiful golden colour. This works with either a bread machine or hand kneading, but the step-by-step instructions to the two are completely different. I’ll post both in this blog post.

Carbs ahoy!

Master Wholewheat Bread Machine Recipe (Butter-free)

INGREDIENTS

  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 200g wholewheat flour
  • 40-45g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp active yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 40-45g olive oil
  • 200ml lukewarm water

INSTRUCTIONS (BREAD-MACHINE)

  1. In a separate bowl, mix the two flours and sugar together.
  2. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg and oil together.
  3. The following instructions are really important and should be done in this order! First – pour the warm water in.
  4. Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the surface over the water.
  5. WAIT FOR THE YEAST TO SINK TO THE BOTTOM.
  6. Using the same sprinkling method, sprinkle the flour carefully over the yeast layer. Do this carefully because you don’t want to just throw an entire mound of flour in. This affects the way the dough rises.
  7. Drizzle the egg-oil mixture over the flour mixture.
  8. The basic setting (primary) on any bread machine will work just fine for this recipe. Nothing fancy!

INSTRUCTIONS (KNEADING)

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease or line a loaf baking pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the two flours, yeast and sugar together.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, water and oil together.
  4. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the egg-oil mixture into it. Combine the dough until sticky and just combined.
  5. Lightly flour a surface, throw the sticky dough and begin kneading. Knead for about 10 minutes, or until the surface gleams and is a smoother texture.
  6. Place in a bowl, cover with cling wrap and leave in a warm place to rise until double in size.
  7. After it has risen, take it out and knead for a further 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
  8. Place in the lined or greased loaf pan and leave it in a warm place to rise until it has increased in size again.
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-32 minutes OR until it is golden brown on top and passes the toothpick test (where you stick a toothpick/baking stick in to the dough and if it comes out clean, it’s ready).
  10. Remove from oven and leave it to rest until the pan is cooled.
  11. Remove from pan and leave to rest until completely cool.
  12. Slice up and serve… :-)

Recipe source: My brain

3-Ingredient Chili Oil

One of my mother’s achievements while raising me was “training” me to eat really spicy food. Granted I was also a glutton so whatever she ate I demanded a taste of it too, but my mother truly didn’t care whether or not my palette could handle the heat. She would prepare spicy dishes and I would just have to suck it up and eat it (or go hungry – which never happened).

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So – I love my chili oil. Every now and then my mother will haul out a massive saucepan, chop up who knows how many chilis and moments later the kitchen would be filled with the wonderful aroma of cooking chilis (followed shortly by violent sneezing). We grow our own chilis in our garden (I think they’re cayenne pepper chilis) to which my beagle Socks has recently taken a partiality to. We’ve had to cage the chili plant up because they are now her new afternoon snack/natural laxative.

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(The picture of innocence… Pfff.)

Simple and tasty, I decided that I had time to spare and bought some chilis from the local Chinese market and went to work cutting them up. Because I did not remove the seeds from the chilis, these chilis retained their beautiful spicy punch. It took about half a day to make, and now I have chili to last me a good three or so months.

3-Ingredient Chili Oil

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups olive oil
  • About 3-4 cups chopped cayenne pepper chilis (fresh)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Mix everything together in one large saucepan over low heat. The oil should not bubble and plop too excessively (that’s dangerous).
  2. Cook until the chilis have changed from their fresh vibrant colour into one with a yellow-ish tint.
  3. Leave to cool before packing.

Recipe source: My brain