Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Ginger, cinnamon apple chips

My Excalibur deydrator is almost 2 months old now, and in my own tradition of getting the most out of all kitchen gadgets bestowed onto me, (although I must admit that some have gone into retirement since my Thermomix came along), my dehydrator has been working very hard indeed!. . .  I have been busy soaking, activating and/or dehydrating nuts, seeds, grains, fruits, vegetables and making my own raw crackers, sweet biscuits, granola, fruit leathers and so on :) Of course, a bit of trial and error has been involved, but this is an evolving list as I experiment with and become more familiar with my machine and all it can do . . sound familiar? :) But what a team my Thermomix and Excalibur are making so far! Here is a quick and fun recipe which highlights this relationship. If only my thermomix could slice the apples too! Aren't they pretty?! 

I employ the thermomix to make a lemon, ginger dipping solution for the apple slices. The natural acidity and vitamin C content of the lemon juice combined with icy cold water helps to prevent enzymic browning which will work to retain the light, bright colour of your apple slices very successfully (see photo above) . . . the fresh ginger will give the apple chips a lovely zingy taste . . . and married with cinnamon, this is a gorgeously aromatic flavour combination. 

1kg Pink Lady apples, unpeeled (organic or soak in a vege-fruit wash & scrub well)
juice of 1-2 lemons (about 80g)
40g fresh ginger, peeled - or more if you like a strong ginger zing! 
250g icy cold filtered water
3 tsp ground cinnamon (or grind your own from cinnamon sticks!)

1. Add fresh ginger, lemon juice and filtered water to the TM bowl and blend on speed 9 for 30 seconds with the MC cup in place. 

2. Turn each apple onto it's side on a chopping board and with a very sharp knife (I like to use a ceramic knife), slice the apple into rounds of about 1-2mm thickness so that the core creates a star shape in the centre, (or use a mandoline if you have one). Discard the very top and bottom slices. The apple seeds should fall out when dried, so don't be concerned with leaving them in. 

3. Add the apple slices to a large bowl, and as you do so pour over a little of your lemon and fresh ginger juice at a time. Ensure that all slices of apple are fully immersed or dipped before you remove them to lay out on dehydrator trays. 

4. Lay your apple slices out on dehydrator trays and sprinkle with cinnamon. I like to use a small sieve for a finer sprinkle :) Set your deydrator to 135°F (57°C) and dry for about 24 hours or until crisp. This drying process will also generate a beautiful perfume for your home :) 

Voila! Gorgeous, wholesome, sweet and zingy cinnamon apple chips which your children will adore I promise :)

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Friday, 15 February 2013

Chicken & vegetable sausage rolls with spelt pastry

I adore this recipe, so much so I am even a little hesitant to let you all know about it :)  But it's a bit late now to be precious about my recipes!!  It does make my day when somebody leaves me a little comment down below, so please don't be shy if you are enjoying something here on my blog. . . . .

I pull out either this recipe, or my pork and beef sausage rolls for birthday parties, and they are always a hit :) I always have sausage rolls on hand in my freezer and regularly serve them up for a quick, easy and nutritious evening meal for my girls who devour them with veggie sticks or their favourite steamed veg on the side :) 

I have made several adjustments to this recipe over the years, my most recent is to add TM made stock paste, which adds a deliciously rich flavour to all of my dishes, plus I love to make my own rough puff pastry rather than use the commercial variety. It is very easy to make in the Thermomix if you haven't tried before, and it just adds something very special to a homemade sausage roll. Please let me know what you think :)


185g white spelt flour
190g wholemeal spelt flour
300g unsalted butter - I buy unsalted to avoid commercial salt then add Himalayan
1.5 tsp Himalayan (or sea salt)
150g filtered water, chilled
3 tsp lemon juice 

1 sml sweet potato, peeled & thickly sliced (about 250g)
80g fresh wholegrain homemade bread, broken into pieces 
30g tasty cheese, cut into chunks (optional)
1 large clove garlic
1 sml handful your choice mixed fresh herbs, e.g. parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano
1 sml or half a large onion, quartered
1 medium carrot, cut into chunks
1 sml zucchini, cut into chunks
600g thigh or breast chicken, skinless, cut into 1-2cm cubes
1/4 tsp each of dried sage, cloves and nutmeg - I like to freshly grind my nutmeg & cloves
good grind black pepper
2 tbsp TM tomato sauce (ketchup)
1 tbsp TM chicken or vegetable stock paste
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

To finish:
1 large egg + a little water
poppy seeds, to sprinkle

1. First follow the EDC rough puff pastry method to make 1.5 x qty batch of spelt rough puff pastry using the proportions of ingredients listed above. Make this ahead, wrap well in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use. 

2. Peel and slice sweet potato into 2cm thick rounds and place in the Varoma dish. Add 400g of water to the TM bowl and set the Varoma dish into position. Steam for 15 minutes at Varoma temperature on speed 1. Set aside the sweet potato and rinse and dry the TM bowl.

3. Add fresh bread, tasty cheese (optional), garlic and fresh herbs to the TM bowl and chop on speed 7 for 5 seconds. Decant into a bowl. 

4. Add onion, carrot and zucchini to the TM bowl and chop on speed 5 for 5-10 seconds or until evenly  chopped.

5. Return the breadcrumb cheese and herbs mixture and add the cubed chicken, sweet potato and all remaining ingredients to the TM bowl and chop on speed 6-8 until finely minced and well combined. You will need to use the spatula to assist. Stop mixing to scrape down the bowl once or twice. 

6. Remove the slab of puff pastry from the fridge and slice in half, then in half again so that you have four equal sized pieces. Keep aside one quarter and return the remaining pastry to the fridge to keep cold. Roll out the pastry piece on a floured surface or your TM mat, to a rectangular shape of about 15 x 45cm, and 2mm thickness. 

7. Spoon a quarter of the mixture along the centre of the pastry. Turn one side over the filling and roll, seam side down, brush the edge with a little milk or water to seal. I like to then cut each roll in half and then lift each piece off the TM mat onto a chopping board, so that I can use a serrated knife to carefully cut each roll into 6 equal pieces. This creates a clean cut which doesn't flatten your sausage rolls as you cut which can happen if you use a blunt knife, (or use a butter knife on the mat so you don't slice it up!) 

8. Using a sharp knife, cut diagonal slashes into the tops of your little sausage rolls, glaze with a whisked egg and water wash, then sprinkle with poppy seeds. Repeat with the remaining pastry and filling, making 48 sausage rolls in total.

9. When you're ready to cook the sausage rolls, pre-heat oven to 220°C and bake on prepared oven trays for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Serve with Thermomix tomato sauce (ketchup). If freezing to reheat later, cook until the pastry is just cooked through or lightly golden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. I like to freeze the sausage rolls in a single layer and when frozen solid, later transfer them to ziplock bags for easy storage. 

You can reheat your chicken & vegetable sausage rolls straight from the freezer. Just preheat your oven to 180°C and cook for 15 minutes or until piping hot. 

variation ideas
  • for a nutritional boost use chia seeds in place of about half of the fresh bread or add some to the puff pastry!
  • I usually mix up my fresh herbs according to what I have on hand. I'm really enjoying growing our own thyme, basil and rosemary quite successfully on our balcony these days . . . I love just thyme in a sausage roll and rosemary goes really well with it too!
  • If you have Quirky Cooking's chicken stock paste on hand, this is the better stock paste choice for any chicken dish in my opinion. Thanks Jo! :)

no thermomix?
Prior to owning a thermomix, I would make this recipe using my food processor. I would buy ready-made puff pastry but no more! All pastries I have made in my thermomix turn out amazing, so I will never look back :)

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