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Spiced Banana Bundt Cake November 05 2017, 0 Comments

There are so many reasons to love this bundt cake. A tried and true recipe, which bakes up perfectly every time and slips right out of the pan. Giving you all of the definition and rich color you could want in a bundt cake with a little something extra...FLAVOR!

I love the look of bundt cakes, but I am almost always disappointed by the lack of flavor, with most recipes relying on vanilla or simple citrus for taste. This bundt cake is filled with warm spices, sweet bananas and has a gorgeous crumb. It is so simple and quick to prepare. If you can make banana bread, you can bake this beautiful spiced banana bundt cake! 

DRY INGREDIENTS:

 - 2 cups whole wheat flour

 - 1 cup all purpose flour

 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon

 - 1/2 teaspoon ginger

 - 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

 - 2 teaspoons baking soda

 - 1 teaspoon baking powder

 - 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

 - 1 cup brown sugar

 - 1/2 cup caster or granulated sugar

 

WET INGREDIENTS:

 - 1 cup unsalted butter (two sticks, room temperature) 

 - 2 large eggs (room temperature)

 - 4 large, overripe bananas

 - 1 cup Greek yogurt (room temperature)

 - 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract (we use Oaktown Spice)

 

METHOD:

Generously grease your bundt pan with melted butter or cooking spray.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

Sift your flours, spices, salt, baking soda and powder together into a medium bowl.

In your stand mixer (or a large bowl using a hand mixer) cream the butter at medium speed until pale and fluffy.

Add your sugars and beat for a few minutes until smooth. Mix in your vanilla, then add your eggs one add a time until fully incorporated.

Reduce your mixer speed to low and beat in your bananas until creamy. 

Add your flour in two parts, alternating with the Greek yogurt. With each addition, mix until just incorporated. Overbeating will cause your bundt cake to be dense and rubbery. Scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure all of your ingredients have combined.

Pour the batter into your bundt pan and smooth out the top. Tap your bundt pan on the counter to reduce bubbles and place in your oven on the center rack.

Bake for 60-70 minutes or until your cake tester (or a toothpick) comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes, then place a cooling rack on top and invert your bundt cake for easy removal. It should slide right out onto your wire rack. 

This cake is a prefect tea time treat, goes beautifully with your morning cup of coffee and makes an incredible dessert when served warm with a scoop of ice cream or fresh whipped cream. 


Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate Marble Bread March 06 2015, 0 Comments

When bright, beautiful blood oranges make their way into our local market it is a wonderful omen.

Winter is coming to an end.

Don't get me wrong, I love waking up to a sparkling, snowy wonderland and drinking cinnamon tea in the evenings under a cozy blanket, but I enthusiastically welcome the inaugural flowers of spring and the warm sun on my formerly golden face. Normally the first bundle of blood oranges are made into a batch of our blood orange and ginger pirouettes. However, this morning I was craving chocolate and thought a twist on the classic combination of dark chocolate and orange would do the trick. 

 Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate Marble Bread

DRY INGREDIENTS:

2 cups organic wholemeal flour

3/4 cup organic sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/3 cup organic cocoa powder

WET INGREDIENTS:

3 large organic blood oranges

3 tablespoons organic coconut oil (melted) plus a bit more to grease your pan

2 egg whites

 

METHOD:

 

 1. Preheat your oven to 350F (170C) and grease your bread pan.

 

2. Zest and juice your blood oranges into your stand mixer or large bowl. You should have about a cup of juice. 

 

3. Add your melted coconut oil to your orange juice and mix well to combine. Then add your egg whites and mix thoroughly. 

 

3. In a medium bowl, sift your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then add your sugar and whisk to combine.

 

4.  Add your flour mixture to your blood orange juice mixture and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides of your bowl and stir in any bits that haven't made it into your mixture. Then transfer a little over half of your batter into a small bowl.

 

5. Add your cocoa powder to the batter in your mixer and mix to combine.

 

Make sure to read this next step carefully.

6. Using a soup spoon or tablespoon, drop heaping spoonfuls of batter into your bread pan, rotating your batter in a checkerboard pattern. One drop light batter, one drop dark batter, making three drops across and five or six drops down. Using a cake tester or toothpick, swirl your batter until it looks marbleised. Take care not to over stir. 

 

7. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until your cake tester comes out clean and your bread is pulling away at the edges slightly.

  

8. Remove your bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, then tip over to remove and leave on a rack until cool completely.

Once cool, slice and serve. 

We love this bread as a weekend brunch treat with fresh berries and COYO natural yoghurt or for dessert, drizzled with melted dark chocolate and topped with Booja-Booja vanilla ice cream. 


Dairy Free Cane Sugar Free Salted Caramel Sauce February 09 2015, 0 Comments

Not too sweet and slightly salty, this rich salted caramel sauce goes well with just about everything.

You only need five natural ingredients to make delicious dairy-free and cane sugar-free caramel. This recipe makes a little over a 1/2 cup of caramel, but will not be quite as thick as traditional dairy and cane sugar caramel. 

 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar (we use Biona)

4 tablespoons water

1 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 

2 healthy pinches of sea salt 

 

Method:

1. Add your coconut sugar and water to a small sauce pan and bring to a slow boil, whisking occasionally to melt your sugar. 

2. Once your mixture has reached a boil, whisk in your coconut milk, vanilla extract and salt.

3. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Watch your mixture carefully to ensure it does not burn or boil over. 

4. Once your caramel is a rich golden brown colour and has thickened slightly, remove from heat and allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes before serving. Your caramel will keep in the fridge for a week (if you can stop yourself from eating it all in one go!) in an airtight container and can be served cool or warm. 

We like to put this caramel on almost anything. Try it drizzled over banana bread, farm fresh green apples, sticky toffee pudding or ice cream. 

Organic coconut sugar is unrefined and made from the liquid nectar of the coconut blossom. Coconut palm sugar is a low GI sweetener with a glycemic value of 35, compared to regular cane sugar, which is typically GI 68. 


Healthy Asian Chicken Salad November 14 2013, 0 Comments

I've been told to stop calling this my lazy day lunch. I suppose it is a bit too much effort to really be referred to as a lazy lunch, but it is just so simple and delicious. I like to make this salad the day after we have roasted a chicken for dinner, having saved the breasts for this lovely, easy meal. For a vegetarian or vegan salad, simply omit the meat.

 Serves a hearty lunch for two or 4-6 small, side dish portions

 

INGREDIENTS

Dressing:

 2 tablespoons organic coconut or grape seed oil

1 tablespoon organic rice wine vinegar

tiny splash of sesame oil

1 teaspoon organic soy sauce

1 teaspoon organic, freshly grated ginger

2 teaspoons organic honey or agave

the zest and juice of 1 washed, small organic orange

1 garlic clove, very finely minced

1 tablespoon organic cold milled golden flax seed (flax seeds add Omega-3 essential fatty acids and fibre to this dish)

a pinch of coarse sea salt (we like to use pink Himalayan) 

black pepper to taste

 

Salad:

2 roast chicken breasts

1 very large handful purple kale (rinsed, dried and torn) 

1 very large handful organic green kale (rinsed, dried and torn)

1 small head of organic butter lettuce (you guessed it, rinsed, dried and torn)

(feel free to substitute any healthy greens you have on hand)

a sprig of fresh organic mint and coriander, finely chopped

3 large organic carrots sliced finely

1/4 cup organic cashews, roughy chopped

1/4 cup organic peanuts, roughly chopped 

 

1. To make your dressing: In a medium size bowl, vigorously whisk together your dressing ingredients and season with salt and pepper. You can also use your food processor or blender, but why dirty more dishes?

2. In a large bowl, toss your greens (and purples), carrots, cashews and peanuts.

3. Drizzle on your dressing, toss well and serve immediately.

 

This dressing also makes a lovely marinade for chicken, seafood and BBQ steak.


Winter is on its way October 25 2013, 0 Comments

Autumn has arrived and we couldn't be more excited. Sure, we love the warmth of the summer sun, the sand between our toes and an occasional Mojito, but we welcome the falling leaves, crisp October air and getting to use the "something warm would be nice" excuse for a second cup of hot coffee in the afternoon. However, with Autumn comes the dreaded cold and flu season. We can attempt to avoid the tube for a few months and run from sneezing strangers, but sometimes that common cold is inescapable. 

Any physician will tell you the key to avoiding colds and flu is keeping your hands clean. Wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes and always keep a good antibacterial gel handy. If you don't already know the nasty truth about most store bought hand sanitizers, please take a little time to research the effects their active ingredients, Triclosan (a chemical used in wastewater treatment and pestisides) and ethanol (pure Ethanol Alcohol.)

Although washing your hands throughly with soap and water is best, this natural, plant-based hand sanitizer is a safe and effective way to help prevent illness. 

This simple recipe is made with essential oils, organic aloe vera and spring water and makes one 60ml/2oz travel size bottle.

Note, it is always wise to be mindful of the senstivity of your skin when using new products.

 

Ingredients and method:

 

60ml/2oz glass or recycled, durable plastic bottle 

 

2-4 drops of the following four oils essential oils:

Cinnamon

Clove

Rosemary

Eucalyptus 

5-10 drops of lemon oil

About 2 tablespoons Organic Aloe Vera

Natural Spring water

 

1. Pour/squeeze your aloe vera into you chosen container.

2. Add your essential oils.

3. Fill the remainder of your container with water.

4. Shake, apply to hands and rub together until absorbed.

  

And now, just in time for All Hallows' Eve, some good, old fashion folklore:

This mix of essential oils is often referred to as Thieves or Burglars blend. It is based on the legend of the four thieves, said to be sons of herbalists, who were captured and charged with robbing dead and dying victims of the plague. The thieves were offered leniency for their crimes in exchange for the secret of how they resisted contracting infection. They told of a special concoction of aromatic herbs and spices they applied, drank and inhaled before and after committing their crimes.

Mystery and historic intrigue aside, studies have determined that several essential oils, including cinnamon, rosemary, clove, lemon and eucalyptus, effectively fight bacteria; specifically six Staphylococcus varieties, including the dreaded MRSA, four Streptococcus strains and three Candida strains. 

Additional info:

 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1693916/

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166445X06003407


Chouquettes October 22 2013, 0 Comments

For me, these sweet little choux pastry puffs bring back the loveliest memories of Paris. Staying in a flat above a boulangerie-pâtissière meant waking up every morning to the smell of warm butter and flaky pastries. My husband and I couldn't resist filling a paper bag with crisp, airy and dangerously easy to eat chouquettes to snack on while we wandered the city. 

 

This recipe makes about 20-25 chouquettes

240ml (1 cup) water

1/2 teaspoon salt (We use Himalayan Rose Pink Salt)

2 teaspoons sugar (We use Tate & Lyle golden caster sugar)

90g (6 tablespoons) organic unsalted butter, cut into small pats
140g (1 cup) sifted organic AP flour

4 large organic eggs at room temperature. Separate one egg. You will use the yolk for your wash and the white for your dough

See note above: 1 egg yolk, whisked with 1 teaspoon of almond milk (or your favourite milk) to make a wash

sucre perlé (Pearl or Nib sugar) for sprinkling. You can find this coarse sugar at most specialty food stores or French markets

     

    Method:

    1. Preheat the oven your oven to 220c (200 fan or 425f) and line a baking sheet with your silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

    2. In a medium saucepan heat your water, salt, sugar, and butter. Stir occasionally until the butter is melted and your liquid is nearing a boil.

    3. Do not remove from heat. Pour all of the flour into your pan and stir rapidly using a wooden spoon, until the mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.

    4. Allow your dough to cool in a mixing bowl for about two minutes or until lukewarm to the touch.

    5. One at a time, vigorously stir in the 3 eggs and 1 egg white with your wooden spoon until smooth and shiny.

    4. Using a pastry bag, pipe walnut size mounds of dough onto your baking sheet. Flicking the bag at the end will help to keep your chouquettes from having a pointed top.

    5. Brush the tops of each mound with your egg wash then sprinkle your coarse sugar on top. Be generous with your sugar, as it will give a sweet crunch and appealing look to your pastries. 

    6. Bake for 35 minutes or until puffed and well-browned. If your oven browns one side of your pan faster than the other, you can turn half way through. HOWEVER, resist the urge to peek! Opening your oven door can cause the chouquettes to deflate due to the drop in temperature. 

    If you would like to fill them with cream, simply poke a small hole in the side of your chouquettes after you take them out of the oven to let the steam escape and to keep them crispy enough to hold your filling. Using a piping bag and small tip, pierce the bottom of you chouquette and fill.

    Chouquettes are most delicious right out of the oven and best eaten the day they are made.


    A Spoonful of Coconut Palm Sugar? October 01 2013, 0 Comments

    Made Without, Double Chocolate and Carrot Cupcakes

    We have to be honest, we love sugar. It's sweet, tasty and it makes many things oh so much better. Humans have been chewing on, cooking and using sugar cane to sweeten for thousands and thousands of years. However, the modern diet, health issues, allergies and other concerns have sent us searching for something else to stir into our coffee, sprinkle over our muffins and bake into our cakes. 

    There are many sugar substitutes out there, and like anything else, we recommend doing your research and finding the best option for you. We have an amazing "made without" menu, full of delicious cupcakes, muffins and cookies. To bake these goodies we use unrefined coconut palm sugar, honey, maple syrup, blue agave and xylitol. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like more information about our sugar-free sweet treats. 


    Made Without August 31 2013, 0 Comments

    Following a gluten-free diet to manage celiac disease or gluten intolerance can be very difficult, but we don't believe it should keep you from the things you love. All of Megpies' decadent cupcakes and delicious muffins can be "made without" as well as some of our tempting cookies. We use gluten-free flour and rising agents produced by Doves Farm, who have worked closely with gluten free groups, sufferers and nutritionists to develop their award winning gluten-free products.

    Our "made without" treats are baked lovingly with gluten-free ingredients, kept separately from our traditional flours and baking tools. However, they are made in the same kitchen as our traditional baked goods, therefore we cannot officially certify them as gluten-free. Please get in touch if you would like more information about our ingredients or baking techniques. 

     


    Our Ingredients July 16 2013, 1 Comment

    We choose our ingredients thoughtfully. Megpies is a huge supporter of local farmers and organic, responsibly sourced products.  We believe that the finest ingredients make the finest muffins, cookies and cupcakes.  

    To give our cupcakes, muffins and cookies the perfect crumb we use Doves Farm organic flour. Doves Farm is family owned, based in Berkshire and dedicated to producing high quality, organic products. We use both traditional wheat flour and a gluten-free blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize and buckwheat.  

    We use less sugar in our treats than most. Our sweetness come from Tate & Lyle who are fully committed to ethically sourcing the finest sugars and reducing the impact their business has on the environment.

     When substituting sugar, our baked goods are sweetened with agave, xylitol, coconut palm sugar or maple syrup.

    Nielsen-Massey have been crafting vanilla products for over a century, examining all of their vanilla bean by bean to ensure each bean meets their high standards. That is good enough for us.

    Megpies' flavours come from fresh local farmers' fruit, the finest chocolate, rich and aromatic espresso, fresh organic citrus, sweet and salty caramels, ethically sourced exotic fruit and special finds from Megs' travels.