Dec 27, 2010

Christmas Part 2

Time for cake!

So I gave you guys a sneak peak at what I had lurking 'round my kitchen the few days before Xmas and now you get see the whole lot! And more!
Last year I made my first raw christmas fruit cake and much to my LOVE of it, this year I made it again.

Isn't it just beautiful? (If I dare say so myself) But this year I decided to go one step further with it so everyone could try it, and made a second lot into tiny mini-christmas-cakes. All individually topped with a cinnamon maple pecan. I was really happy to find that everyone liked them as much as I did (provided they were fruit cake lovers in the first place of course).

I also tried out these babies - Raspberry Belgium Chocolates (a recipe I got from here) And they melt in your mouth! I do love the look of chocolate covered truffles (and go gaga over Heather's ones) but to be honest, I don't really get alot of enjoyment out of making them. A few here and there for sure but I've got to give it to Heather - these morsels take alot of time and patience - something I didn't have alot of left come Christmas Eve when I was still in the kitchen creating all these gems.

Then there were rows and rows of chocolate-peanut brownies with cashew frosting...

Mini fruit mince tarts (raw too) made from an oat and nut crust and filled with an ooey-gooey-yummy-scrummy date, apple, spices, etc filling! Ooh baby! These were delicious!

And then the Piste resistance. RUM BALLS. Ever since I can remember I have ADORED rum balls. Everytime I hear those tantilising words - RUM BALLS - my taste buds take me straight back to when I was younger. It was what I always bought from the bakery - any bakery, every bakery! So when I decided to make a raw version (with added rum of course) it had to be perfect!

It had to be moist and slightly chewy... with a cake-like texture though... a subtle melt-in-your-mouth and chocolate overtone with a distinct delicious rum scent... I had a look at a recipe for some inspiration but it was so far from where my taste buds were reminiscing. I had to add some cacao, taste it... still not right, add more oat flour for the 'cakiness'... a bit of this, a bit of that, let it chill and taste again...

And Oh My Golly Golly Golly Gosh.

Ladies and gentlemen we have a WINNER! Perfection! WOW!
(I'll admitt I kept most of these babies for myself) And then I arranged all my little gems into into about a dozen different shaped and sized boxes for gifts.

There's also rum truffles floating in a few boxes (not raw but definatley vegan) as my sister and mother are die-hard fans and I would be beated up if I didn't make them. Not cake-like at all but imagine pure rum chocolate ganache. They are divine. And ever so rich.

There are also some raw marzipan balls dusted in cacao. Here's one bigger box for one lucky man...

So after my smoothies, big green salads, and morning workouts, I definatley deserved to have my cake and eat it too! Infact... I'm still eating it ;)

And So this is Christmas (Part 1)

What a weekend!
I've gotta tell you guys, I had a blast but WOW am I exhausted. I spent 2 1/2 days in the kitchen BEFORE Christmas even began, making truffles, rum balls, raw fruit cakes, marzipan balls, salads, dressings, and more.

But it was all very much worth it. Mum's place on Christmas morning was perfect. Four Fischer girls in the kitchen singing and dancing to Hanson and Mariah Carey Christmas carols like old times (it's been years since we've all been together). My stepdad and step brother got up, danishes were being heated in the oven, my "eggnog" was getting whizzed in the blender and we were all filled with ooey gooey yummy Xmas morning cheer.

With brekkie sorted we spread out across the living room floor to rummage through our xmas stockings and see what Santa brought us ;) talk about spoilt rotten! One by one each pressie was opened as we oohed and ahhed over what everyone got one another. A few hours passed and before I knew it I had to be dressed and out the door for lunch with Brock's family. Simple salads, more pressies round the tree, and afternoon tea breaks outdoors before packing up and heading off again, this time for dinner at Dad and Gails.

There were 12 of us all up and again it was great to see everyone. These days Christmas is sometimes the only time of the year we all get to share a meal together around the table.

So down our end of the long decorated table we had all the salads... starting with my favourite. Gail buys the BEST tomatoes I've ever had. Simply drizzled with a light balsamic, a delicious olive oil and peppered with pungent basil leaves. Each ingredient compliments the other so perfectly.

Fresh green rocket with sliced soft pears and a tangy lemon drizzle.

Avocado halves topped with a delicious tomato salsa made from beauties picked straight from the garden

And a great big garden salad

And then Boxing Day rolled round. Very possibly my favourite day of the year. I was back at mums place at 9am to start prepping all the salads before aunties, uncles, cousins and more starting arriving just before 1pm. But it wasn't until 2pm we all sat down with loaded plates and began digging in.

I made capsicums stuffed with a mushroom, mung bean, mustard seed, sage, lemon stuffing

A vietnamese kelp noodle salad with delicious flavours of lime, chilli, coriander, lemongrass and more

A quick apple and sprout salad dressed with agave and apple cider vinegar

A greens cabbage pomegranite salad that my auntie made

And the grand spread -

I LOVE Boxing Day celebrations. Dare I say it means more to me than Christmas Day. It's all about family, sharing, eating, drinking, laughing, catching up, watching the cricket (and asking for explanations every year). There's so so much to do in prep for the day but we always pull it off. And this year was particuarly special as all the Fischers and all the Gemmels were present, having had probably 5 or 6yrs where at least one or two of us have been overseas.

One other thing I LOVE and what you've all been patient waiting for, are the XMAS TREATS I tempted you all with in my last post. So I will reveal ALL in the next post.

Until then...

Keep eating your Xmas leftovers :)

Dec 24, 2010

Christmas Cheer is near

Ok so I'm getting reeeeeeally excited now! Not that I wasn't previously, but now... XMAS IS TOMORROW GUYS! And I cannot wait!

But before I dive into all the festivities, fun, unwrapping presents, sharing hugs, and FOOD I wanted to make mention of the latter; FOOD and what it conjurs up around this time of year.

Lately I've seen so so many articles in magazines and in emails floating around about party-proofing your diet, and keeping trim this festive season. Sometimes I shake my head at the things mentioned, but on the whole I think it's a really good thing to have a look at, as research has shown that the few kilos that we sometimes (easily) put on over Xmas time can make huge changes in our systems - slowing down our metabolisms for one - and these things can lead to negative changes for life.

The key to continuing with the "healthy" (which I put in inverted commas is because everyone's definition of the word if usually very different) balanced diet we usually have throughout the year is simple - STICK TO BASICS. The basic things that work for you and make a difference for you, so when there's loads of temptations going round you don't go nutts for it all to only later feel ill (and possibly beating up on yourself a bit - I know I do).

So BASICS. For me it's starting the day with a smoothie (or a brekkie bowl). Filling up on fruits, superfoods, and whatever else I fancy throwing in so I know I can soldier on and feel great from word go.

Or have it in a bowl like you all know I love to do...

It's making a big green salad for at least one meal incase the other falls to pieces.

It's also having at least one tasty "healthy" food, that you love, that's really good for you, that you will actually be excited about eating, no matter what. Like today - I'm in the kitchen all day surrounded by cacao and nut butters making sweet treats so I said to myself "Christie you're gonna have a whole head of celery today" (easy for me coz I LOVE the stuff). So knowing I've had that makes me feel good about my day so far, and not so ill if I do indulge in taste testings :)

So when tomorrow rolls around (and Boxing Day here too when all the relos come on over), remember to tap into what you know works for you.
I'll be having powered-up smoothies, lots of fresh water, big green salads, and choosing at least one delicious vegie for the day when I feel like snacking.

And then without a doubt I can have my cake and eat it too!! :)

Here's a sneak preview...

These are the pie cases for my raw fruit mince pies that currently look AMAZING!

And these babies are miniature raw fruit cakes.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night xx

Dec 22, 2010

Chocolate Stuff

Ok so where have I been? Nowhere. Absolutley nowhere.

But I have been making chocolate stuff so that makes up for everything else :)

As I write this up I'm at home whilst the cicadas make noise outside signalling Summer is here! They are my favourite sound. I'm swapping in between Bon Jovi and Michael Buble's Xmas carols, singing along and sipping on a delisciously cool refreshing thai young coconut. YUM!

So I've been working each day as per usual. Finishing up all college work in preparation for Graduation (which has now passed so YAY I've graduated with a Diploma of Transpersonal Life Coaching)... Organising other stuff for my last college weekend. Running around buying and making Xmas pressies. SEEING MUSE AND BON JOVI LIVE!!! Which were both AMAZING by the way... Muse's mosh pit was everything I wished for. Their light show incredible. Sound magical. And they played my ffav songs I was hanging out to hear.
Bon Jovi on the other hand - I can now die a happy girl having heard and participated in Living On A Prayer LIVE in a stadium of 40,000+ people! The grin did not leave my fave from the minute we parked the car until I got home into bed. Long time fan. Loved every second of it!

Matthew Bellamy on piano, Dominic Howard on drums, and Christopher Wolstoneholme on bass guitar.

Matthew Bellamy. Mmm. Doing what he does best.

But back to FOOD STUFF! My blog has suffered from a lack of attention due to my attention being directed everywhere else! But my kitchen hasn't. Although my camera has. Again. So not alot of pretty pics.

The past little while I've been sprouting alfalfa and chickpeas so I've experimented with a raw chickpea hommous that I had wanted to do for a while. Off the top of my head after making cooked hommous for years I threw all this in a food processor:

About 2 cups sprouted chickpeas
2 big tbps tahini
2 cloves of garlic
good pinch of sea salt
tiny drizzle of olive oil
filtered water to get it moving - more or less depending on how you like your hommous

Blend it all until it smells divine and then dunk fresh mushies in and eat asap! Yum!

Brock SURPRISED me with some VEGA Complete Wholefood Health Optimiser which literally made me jump out of my skin with excitement!

I have wanted to get this stuff for soooooo long, and can't get it online, can't get it sent here, and was resulting to getting an American friend to bring some for me when she next came to visit (I'm sure alot of other bloggers down under have wondered how to get their hands on some). So you could imagine my excitement!! I immediatley made myself some with water as the recommendation suggests, but found it to be very sweet so since then I have been throwing it in my smoothies with everything else - bananas, acai, cacao, maca, hemp seeds, protein, etc and I'm loving it!

AND... MAMMEE SAPOTES!! I've been looking forward to these babies since November last year when I tried my very first one. Brock and I were on the lookout whilst up in Darwin (check out the other amzing fruits we had here and here) but found them here when we returned and have been eating them ever since! If you've never had one before and can imagine soft flesh like avocado with a sweet potato/pumpkin pie flavour... that's the best description I can give.

As for the Xmas treats I spoke of last post... well tomorrow I get to throw myself into and take over mum's kitchen for 2 days. I've been looking forward to it for weeks now. KITCHEN FUN! My kitchen is tiny and at mum's there's so much natural sunlight and I can crank the stereo... ooh I'm itching to start!

In the meantime if you want to whip up something really really quick for small pressies, or for yourself, try this STUFF. I made it for some of the peeps I work with who always love my food creations, and they thought it should be called "Christie's Stuff". Enough said apparently. There need be no name as "Christie's Stuff" ,to them, was enough to know it would be amazing. Love those guys.
So, call it Christie's Stuff, or Chocolate Heaven as I first did. I'm not so keen on that name anymore though. Fudgy Goodness perhaps? You guys try it and let me know your suggestions.

So here it is:

6 tbsp coconut oil
6 tbsp agave syrup
4 tbsp cacao powder

Sieve your cacao powder to get rid of any lumpy bits. Melt your coconut oil, and mix all three ingredients in a medium-sized bowl until well combined (a whisk works well).

This "stuff" is amazing poured ontop of ice cream as it turns into ICE MAGIC! I suppose you could try it on bread like Nutella too. But my fav - eaten straight from the jar. OMG! I once made it with raw honey as I didn't have agave and this works well too although at first it doesn't mix so well. To fix that little problem, set your "stuff' in the fridge and then stir it all later once it's thickened.

So let's hope I'm back up to speed now. College is over. I'm not working for just under 2 weeks. In fact I'm going up the coast with Brock for 10 days after Xmas which will be really good to get away and chill for a bit. Tomorrow starts my 2 days of KITCHEN FUN at mum's place. My sister comes home for 2 days. And then it's XMAS! YAY! I love it!

Merry Christmas guys :)

Dec 11, 2010

Is it time for Christmas treats yet?

This is a box of goodies that went out from my kitchen last Christmas. Every year I write my list of people to make treats for, the list of recipes I want to try, all the ingredients I need, roll my sleeves up, kick everyone out of the kitchen for an entire day or two, and get to work (or PLAY rather).

I LOVE this time of year - although need to remind myself of that when things start to get hectic with college ending, planning needed to be done, more babysitting hours whilst still working 5 days a week... and then Christmas shopping, prepping and planning all the goodies I want to make, and then of course finding the time to make them!

Alot on my plate at the end of another year, but like I said, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

So before things get more hectic I wanted to share some tasty recipes you can make for loved ones as the festive season begins.

I can't let you in on the recipes I'll be doing this year (yet) as I havn't tested them myself! But I will show you a really easy recipe from last year -

Banana Snowballs

5 dried bananas
2 cups raw nuts (combo of almonds and pecans taste great)
2 cups medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp vanilla or 1 vanilla bean
shredded coconut

Start by chopping your dried bananas into small pieces. Then grab out your food processor and throw your nuts in, pulsing until they're in little pieces. Add your chopped banana bits, your medjool dates and your vanilla and whizz it all together so it's combined well.

Have a quick taste test and add anything else your taste buds might fancy - more vanilla? Dash of cinnamon? Then get spoonfuls of your mix, roll it into balls, and then into your coconut.

Have fun in your kitchens guys. More Xmas recipes to come!