Sunday, June 17, 2012

Apple and cinnamon wholemeal muffins

This recipe developed out of a desire for afternoon tea and a need to use up the growing collection of barely eaten apples (courtesy of a toddler whose eyes are often bigger than his stomach) in my fridge. These muffins are substantial, full of fibre and low in sugar and fat. Fortunately, they are also tasty and I love the way they fill my house with the tantalising fragrance of apple and cinnamon as they bake.

Apple and cinnamon wholemeal muffins

Makes 12  

3/4 cup rolled oats
400ml skim milk
2 cups wholemeal plain flour
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
2 tablespoons honey
2 or 3 apples, cored and finely diced (skin on) - enough to make 1 and 1/2 to 2 cups

Combine oats and skim milk in a small bowl. Leave to soak for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Lightly grease a non-stick 12-hole muffin tin with butter or oil.

Meanwhile, sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add brown sugar and stir well to combine. Make a well in the centre for the wet ingredients.

Add egg and honey to with the soaked oats mixture. Beat lightly with a fork to combine. Pour into the dry ingredients and, using a spatula, fold gently together until just incorporated (do not over mix or the batter will become tough). Gently fold in diced apple. Spoon mixture evenly into muffin tin.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes before gently loosening muffins from the tin.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fresh rice paper rolls with marinated tofu, vegetables and quinoa

These rolls were inspired by a dinner at Nourishing Quarter - a gem of a restaurant in Redfern where you can enjoy tasty, wholesome, vegetarian Vietnamese food and feel like you are in Nanna's sitting room. Nourishing Quarter marry clean, Vietnamese flavours with ancient grains, like quinoa and they cater very well for food intolerances. The recipe below can easily be made gluten-free by substituting the soy sauce with tamari.

Fresh rice paper rolls
Makes approximately 8 large rolls or 16 small rolls

1/2 cup quinoa
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
2-3 iceberg lettuce leaves, rolled and shredded
100g marinated tofu, finely cubed (I use 2 cakes of Japanese flavoured Soyco Tofu)
2-3 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
2-3 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
2-3 tablespoons peanuts, toasted and crushed
2 spring onions, chopped
Vietnamese-style dressing (recipe follows)
rice paper sheets for fresh spring rolls

Place quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover with tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and leave for a further 10 minutes. Remove lid and allow to cool for 5 or more minutes. Gently fluff up grains using a fork.

Meanwhile, prepare other filling ingredients as listed above. Gently toss together with the quinoa and dressing in a large bowl.

Fill a shallow, flat dish with hot water. Soak one rice paper sheet for a few seconds until soft and pliant. Carefully lay out on a clean, flat surface and place 4 tablespoons (for large rolls) or 2 tablespoons (for small rolls) of filling in the centre of the sheet. Fold the left and right sides of the rice paper over the filling, bring the bottom side up and over to make an envelope of sorts, then, keeping gentle pressure on the covered filling to ensure a firmly packed result, roll upwards to seal the spring roll. Repeat with remaining filling and rice paper sheets.

Serve rolls with a simple hoisin dipping sauce, made by diluting a small amount of hoisin sauce with an equal quantity of water and mixing with a smaller amount of sweet chilli sauce.


Vietnamese-style dressing
1/8 cup light soy sauce (can substitute tamari for a gluten-free version - use less and adjust to taste)
1/8 cup lime juice
2 teaspoons caster sugar
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 small clove garlic, bruised

Combine all ingredients in a small jar and shake until caster sugar is dissolved. Taste for a balance of salty, sour and sweet flavours, adjusting quantities as required.