Rub a Dub Dub

Food for you and the people you love

Making Every (little) Bite Count + A Smoothie

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Yep it’s been a while since I posted – I’ve literally gone back to this post a million times and in amongst a seriously torturous Anatomy and Physiology subject, a trip interstate, 14 weeks of morning sickness (yep, there’s another little one on the way!) and the emergence of the very stubborn and independent personality of our almost 2 year old, I just couldn’t find the time to get it out. And I’d love to say it won’t happen again but…well…we’ll see how we go.

I have however been giving the blog a lot of thinking time. I don’t intend to make this blog about parenting, rather I aim for it to be more of a discussion on nutrition and good food. But because I am studying nutritional medicine and have a child, nutrition and parenting are a natural focus for me. So every now and then, I think I might begin to share a few things we have learned about encouraging our child to eat food that we think counts. Everything we have learnt/tried/failed with/succeeded with has been due to overheard discussions in a playground, or chats with family or friends, or read in books, searched on the internet or just through dogged persistence. And if you’re as interested in getting your kids (or yourself for that matter!) to eat well as we are ours, then perhaps one or two things shared here might give you some help too.

In addition to a tiny bit of food-related parenting stuff, I would also like to begin to bring in some of the things I am learning about nutrition (only briefly, as I am sure not everyone is as interested in this stuff as I am). All of this will largely be in the same format as previous posts just with a few extra bits of stuff thrown in here and there. As usual I’ll continue to share recipes that we have developed for our family that I believe are really nourishing and have been tasty to our toddler’s little palate (most of the time). And for those that read the blog for the food only I’ll put the recipe first so you don’t have to wade through the parenting stuff! Let me know what you think.

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Immunity smoothie

It has surprised me to learn that many of us don’t get the recommended servings of Vitamin E (an immune boosting anti-oxidant). Sunflower seeds are natural Vitamin E powerhouses (check them out here , here and here for the nutrition nerds and for other recipes, look here and here). Pop a tablespoon of them in a smoothie and you’re getting close to half your daily Vitamin E needs. I find smoothies one of the easiest ways to ensure kids get a few servings of fruit, veges and plant protein. They are quick and I can make double or triple and we can feed the whole family. We make them fresh, for the longer you leave them, the quicker they lose nutrient value.

Serves: one big one and a little one

1 x small knob of ginger, peeled and chopped (leave it out if it’s too much for the little ones)

2 x kiwifruit, peeled

1 x pear

3/4 – 1 cup spinach or silverbeet, roughly chopped

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp almond butter

1 tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tbs hemp seeds, hulled

4-5 ice cubes

1/2 – 1 tsp raw honey (optional)

Blend or process all ingredients until smooth. Consume immediately.

And as far as the getting kids to eat stuff bit goes….

I’m not an expert in child psychology nor in child nutrition (although one day I hope to be closer to the second one) so these comments are not meant to be taken as advice, rather just a discussion about things that (usually) work for us. Our beliefs and approaches to Raffaella’s eating are largely a summation of experience and tips we have been given along the way so I believe it’s only fair to pass some of it on!

 Well, for us it can best be described as a work in progress. It is made more challenging sometimes by the philosophical choices that we make regarding her diet and the fact that she is a toddler…enough said. Raffi and I remain vegetarian however we try and give her fish twice a week. Dario eats meat occasionally but not in front of Raff. This may change in the future…who knows. In my belief the most important thing, as always, has been to meet all nutritional requirements of her growing body effectively through whole foods, healthy fats and a low to no processed sugar intake. I believe this is the healthiest diet she can possibly have and nothing so far has swayed my opinion on this.

At this stage we don’t give her any processed sugars or takeaway food (although I will buy the occasional organic toddler food sachets if I’m desperate). I give her the occasional home baked good (now sometimes with cocoa/cacao in it) and we now give her honey, agave and coconut sugar in small quantities. Avoiding commercial sweets and icecream gets harder all the time but it is really important to us.

Some things that have helped to encourage her to eat well so far have been:

1. Eating food together, as a family, when possible. Matching up schedules (when Raff heads to bed at 7pm) doesn’t work for dinner time but we try to eat lunch and breakfast together most days. Modelling good food eating works wonders.

2. We try not to overwhelm her with food. For some reason a big plate of food seems daunting to her and she can reject it without giving it a go. We give small portions and add more as she goes.

3. We try hard not to focusing on the food. Ever said to a toddler ‘How about you try some of the broccoli’ and have them not even touch it? Once she knows it’s something we place emphasis on, the more likely she is to not give it a go. It can be hard but it often works.

4. We try our best to give her a plate with several options – i.e. I may have made some brown rice cooked in stock with sweet potato and squash but while I cooked the rice I steamed one or two small florets of broccoli, cut up some fresh cucumber and a few small slices of cheese. It seems to takes the focus off one item (similar to the big plate concept I mentioned in point 2) and it lets her pick and choose, giving her autonomy over her meal and how it’s eaten. Rarely does she not try a little bit of everything.

5. Encouraging Raff to be involved in food preparation is extremely successful and rewarding for all of us. I bring it to her level and we regularly do (clean!) floor cooking. Sometimes this happens.

Floor cooking 1

Floor cooking 2

But it’s worth every spill.

And keep trying, if it’s important enough, you’ll work it out together eventually!

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Little Chocolate Orange Cakes

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We have a little fruit bat for a daughter (or so my Dad likes to say). And Dad’s totally right – she has this insatiable appetite for anything fruit related and has done so since we started her on solids. We should be grateful that she loves fruit so much but sometimes it gets just a little out of hand. She learnt the word ‘fruit’ before she learnt the majority of others including ‘more’, ‘no’ and ‘park’. And at almost two years old let me tell you, those words are very commonly used. Two days ago Raff and I were sitting having the umpteenth post-nap orange and it occurred to me that Raff makes a fair point – a nice cool, sweet, fleshy orange is close to unbeatable. I naturally went to other things that I consider to be almost unbeatable and I ended up thinking very quickly about chocolate. And there began this blog post.

Enjoy, I hope you’re having a lovely week.

P.S. I’m also getting a friend to try a gluten and dairy free version of this so I will update this post when we have another recipe ready!

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Little Chocolate Orange Cakes

80gm unsalted butter

100gm good quality dark chocolate (70% or more)

½ cup natural Greek yoghurt

1 cup coconut palm sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

zest and juice of one orange

1/3 cup olive oil

 100gm whole spelt flour

180gm almond meal

¾ tsp baking soda

¼ cup dutch process cocoa (or regular cocoa or raw cocao if you can’t access dutch process)

 

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter and dark chocolate together gently in a heavy based saucepan over a low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate large bowl, combine spelt flour, baking soda, cocoa and almond meal and whisk to break down any lumps. Add orange zest and coconut sugar, mix until combined.

Add the Greek yoghurt to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Add the egg and egg yolk and mix well. Stir in the orange juice and oil.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the chocolate and yoghurt mixture stirring until just combined.

Divide into greased muffin pans/cupcake pans – the batter should makes about 15. Bake for 10-12 minutes. They can be taken out while they a little underdone if you like your cakes denser just make sure it is cooked through and not still liquid in the centre of each cake. Remove from the oven and cool in the tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

I dusted them with coconut flour to take the photos but I don’t think it is necessary flavour-wise.

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Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweet Potato Soup

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So, Canberra thought Autumn was totally over-rated and jumped straight to Winter temperatures. It does this every year. Luckily the one reminder of Autumn are the leaf colours. How beautiful. I can’t help but get out there and photograph it.

Peace Monument 2 May 2013

Autumn Final 1

So I was at the markets on Saturday and rocked up to this stall, and asked about the price of the lovely looking ginger down the end and the guy politely said…’oh they aren’t ginger honey, they are Jerusalem artichokes’. He thought I was an even bigger idiot when I let out this tiny little half-embarrassed half-totally-excited gasp and said, ‘Oh man, I’ll take a bag of those.’ This is just a little warning to make sure you can spot the difference between Jerusalem artichokes and ginger from a distance and if you can’t, at least think of a better comeback than I did. So, three bucks a for a family-sized bag of Jerusalem artichokes – organic ones too! Screw finding the ginger, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

 With the temperatures the way they are at the moment, I inevitably went to making my first blogged soup! I made a few versions the first time and consequently went back the following week and purchased more for a revisit and revise. Poor D and Raff….

So. Much. Soup.

But I have to admit – if I do say so myself – this soup is so so great. And worth the pre-roasting. If you are lucky enough to come across Jerusalem artichokes, I recommend giving this one a go – alternatively if you can’t find them and you still want to make this soup I think you could happily use parsnips instead. Or maybe just try this, or even this!

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Jerusalem Artichoke and Sweet Potato Soup

300gm Jerusalem artichokes, scrubbed and cubed

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed (about 500gm)

5-6 sprigs fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, skins removed

1 medium onion, roughly chopped into wedges

2 kifler potatoes (only if you can get them, otherwise just use any sort), peeled and diced

3 tbsp olive oil

1 medium leek, sliced

3 1/2 cups vegetable stock

salt

marscapone cheese for serving

Combine garlic, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichokes, thyme, onion, a few pinches of salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Spread on a roasting dish and cook for 45 minutes at 180°C or until soft but not brown.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the leek and potatoes for 4 minutes or until the leek has softened. Add the stock and the roasted vegetables, bring to the boil and return to simmer for ten minutes or until the potato is cooked through.

Remove from the heat. Puree and serve with a generous dollop of marscapone cheese or natural yoghurt.

Peace Monument 5 May 2013

Throw Another Vege Skewer on the Barbie, Love

BBQ Leaves

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For the non-Australian reader, believe me, that title is hilarious. Just so you know.

Ah, vegetarians: the barbeque pariahs. Centre stage at a good old Aussie bbq are fat pork sausages in bread with tomato sauce, chicken skewers with Moroccan seasoning and of course…the piece-de-resistance…the 400gm T-Bone. Well I for one intend to rally against it! Or at least at the next bbq eat my side salad very moodily.

For as long as I’ve been a vego I’ve always felt a little left out at bbqs. Vegetarian fare is often relegated to the ‘side dish’ space and it totally sucks because I have a weakness for all things char grilled (meat excluded of course).

This is where my amazingly wonderful family-away-from-family come in. And they never fail to embrace the vego and never ever fail to impress in the food department.

Dario and I have only been Canberra residents for a few years. It’s a pretty transient place with a notable portion of the population originating somewhere other than Canberra.

As we are away from home, for us and for many it means that you find yourselves adopting another family. And boy do we have a good one! Our feelings about this have become even stronger after having Raffaella – having people around to show your kid what love is all about is, in my books, essential.

So what does this have to do with bbqs? For me, bbqs are synonymous with family gatherings. As kids, the Sunday arvo barbie on the beach or in the park was as common for us as a commoner in Commonsville. On a side note, it’s fascinating too that you can pretty much arrive at any public park across Australia and there will be a 95 percent chance that it will be equipped with one or more free or very low cost public bbqs. We have just come to expect it.

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And our most recent bbq was an example of why I love our Canberra family so much. When I sent the email invite out I considered requesting a meat-free event – let the revolution begin! According to Dario this was apparently ridiculous, so instead we went with ‘a minimal amount of animal-origin fare’.  But that part of the email was super-moody I swear. The result was a table lovingly donned with all things plant-based. Quinoa salad, zucchini and funnel chanterelles, chocolate cake, satay on vege skewers, and strawberry tart. God I love these people.

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And one member of the family has so generously shared their own recipe. And let me tell you, we are in the presence of greatness. I’m in the process of getting this guy to work with me on a more extravagant post but for now you will have to be content with this totally delicious teaser.

Chargrilled Vege Skewers with Mango Satay

2 tsp toasted Cumin seeds

1 tsp toasted Coriander seeds

1 – 2 sticks of lemongrass

350g raw peanuts

a good handful of coriander leaves

3  small dried chillis

3 – 8  large fresh red chillis

1 inch knob of ginger

1 spring onion

3 cloves of garlic

juice and zest of 3 limes

½ a french (red) shallot

¼ white onion

2 tomatoes (peeled is best, but with skins is fine if you can’t be bothered)

½ a mango

1 270ml tin coconut cream

2 – 4 tsp of soy sauce

You can really go two ways with this, you can take the traditional route and use a mortar and pestle or you can put it all in a blender or food processor. Using a mortar and pestle will take longer and make lots of mess but will give you a better flavour in the end.  Crushing and grinding will usually get you quite a bit more flavour as it releases a lot more of the juicy, oily goodness from ingredients like these.  You will also end up with a slightly different, perhaps more rustic texture in the finished product.  Using a food processor will also give a great flavour, however and is much quicker and easier.  Both methods give wonderful results, it just comes down to how much time you have and how messy you want it to get.

If using a mortar and pestle, add the ingredients one at a time in the order they’re listed, grinding them before adding the next.  The idea is to start with the driest ingredients moving onto the more fibrous.  This works really well as the dry ingredients are rough and course and help you tear up the fibres in the next lot.  Keep adding the rest one at a time, progressively moving through to the wettest ingredients.  You want to end up with a slightly crunchy, fairly liquid paste.

If you’re using a food processor or blender, just throw all the ingredients in and pulse slowly.  The key here is to keep an eye on the consistency.  You don’t want it pureed as the small chunks give it its satisfying texture.  You also want to make sure it doesn’t turn into peanut butter, so add some water if it’s getting too gluggy and thick.

Heat a large frying pan at a low-medium heat with just a dash of peanut oil, and when warm add the paste.  You want to slowly fry the paste which will draw out all the oil in the peanuts and develop the flavours.  Fry until all the paste has changed colour into a darker, more shiny brown.  You should also start to see a film of ‘flavour’ start to form on the top.  Depending on your pan this could take from 10 – 30 minutes.

Finally pour over chargrilled skewers of mushroom and zucchini, or a fresh salad of tofu, fresh carrots, green beans, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Garnish with beansprouts and sprigs of coriander.

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 BBQ FINAL

A Wedding, a Birthday and a Cheesecake

Matt and Katie Photographers 1

April, I love you. I mean, well, sometimes I don’t like you but well, ok I do really love you. As far as April weather goes…well that’s the reason why I sometimes don’t like you but I’m open to negotiation. I’ve grown to love like put up with manage be ok with the cold. And I guess there are some nice things about the changing of the season (yes, April is the beginning of the cold weather for us folks down here). Dusting off my winter swing coat, catching the eye of the person passing me who is grimacing from an unusually brisk wind and knowing you’re both in it together, nipping quickly outside to grab what’s left of the basil to grind up and freeze as pesto, reacquainting myself with soups and hardy frost-surviving herbs (thank you God for rosemary), immune boosting citrus (it’s as if we were meant to eat it..) and a little plate of decadent dessert and a tea while curled up under a blanket reading a mag. And winter farmers markets. I don’t know why I find them so awesome as they are the same markets that we go to all year round…I guess maybe I give kudos to every person who is willing to be out in negative degree temperatures because they believe it’s important to be there.

Also this April, I was also fortunate to be featured in Mint Design Blog for which I was absolutely tickled pink. You can get the recipe to my Rosewater and Yoghurt Cheesecake right here. Thanks so much to Ellie for waiting patiently while I negotiated my way juggling two assignments, Easter holidays and an increasingly independent 20 month old.

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And finally, I love April the most for two reasons. Three years ago in April I married the love of my life. May we have many more wonderful years together my darling. And twenty-eight years ago in April, Dario’s mother and father celebrated the birth of the youngest of their four children. Wishing you a wonderful birthday this week D.

I’m yours always my love, and thank you God for April.

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle – Dante Alighieri

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Ps. Like the wedding photos? Yeah I thought you might. Check out Matt and Katie – it’s these talented people who get the credit for making this post look so good!

Shoo Fly Buns

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Welcome to south west Queensland, Australia. Some of my most treasured memories of childhood holidays are here and we were here again this Easter. This time we stayed with my aunt and uncle. You know how you hear about those brave souls who pack up their lives living in funky terrace townhouses in the inner suburbs and move a zillion miles away to a small place in the country to find a quieter lifestyle making woodfired artisan breads? Well these guys did, and staying here is like a retreat.

You get to wake up from the best, quietest sleep you’ll ever have to fresh sourdough, tomatoes, eggs and silverbeet from the dewy autumn garden. You hit on every pastoral cliche really…cutting flowers to put inside or watching your child frolicking (well, thumping) through the garden to visit the cows or pick herbs for lunch. If you need nuts or millet or raw cocoa you just head out to the industrial-sized pantry out near the big rain water tank. And while I am most definitely a coastal girl at heart, it’s just my kind of place. Maybe it’s because you can’t beat fresh baked bread or waking up to a big breath of country air. Or perhaps the microbakery that is now in full swing is run by two of my favourite people.

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I would give the bakery, Chalala a plug and claim that I don’t receive anything in return for doing so but that isn’t entirely true. Every time we leave we drive away with a boot full of granola, several loaves of bread and an assortment of nuts and crackers. The eating begins before we even reach home.

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As this was the first time I had stayed since starting the blog I couldn’t help but take some photos. And for Easter, Laurie has given me his beloved bun recipe. This is heavy folks…this kind of stuff doesn’t happen every day. Make them and you’ll realise just how lucky we all are that these guys did the whole sea (country) change thing. Also, you may notice that with white sugar and flour this recipe doesn’t necessarily sync with the whole Rubadubdub theme. But hey, it’s Easter. And throw in some whole Spelt flour and coconut sugar with honey instead of sugar in the glaze and it may not be Laurie’s Shoo Fly Buns but you might be able to justify having a few more….

Ps. I was fortunate to be able to contribute to the super cool The Post Social last month. Great ideas, great design and such kind and friendly people to work for. Check it out!

I’ll hand it over.

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This is my favourite bun recipe!  It’s from “Baker” by Dean Brettschneider and Laurine Jacobs.  This recipe comes from the Babka Bakery Café in Fitzroy Melbourne.  I usually make it with sourdough leaven as well as some bakers yeast and include candied kumquat.

Shoo Fly Buns

Dough
500g strong flour (higher protein e.g. OO flour)
10g salt
50g sugar
25g milk powder
50 g unsalted butter
8g dried yeast
250g whole oranges, seeded and peeled for pureeing
150 g water (varies depending on how juicy the oranges are)
250 g currants

Glaze
100g sugar
60ml water
Zest of half an orange

Directions

Wash and puree oranges. Place the flour, salt, sugar, milk powder and butter on your work bench and make a well. Add the yeast, water and pureed orange. Combine into a dough which should be soft and not too firm (This is a similar technique to when you make pasta). Add the currants and knead in gently.

Place in a bowl and set aside. The dough should sit at about 26 degrees Celsius. Allow to double in size (approx 1.5 hours). Knock back* and leave for another 30 minutes. Tip the dough onto a clean and lightly floured bench. Cut into approximately 100g pieces and roll each piece into a ball.

Place on a tray for another hour or so under some plastic to prevent skinning**.  They should be nice and plump and puffy.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes

Once cooked, place sugar and water in saucepan and bring to the boil (don’t stir) to melt the sugar. Remove and glaze the buns.

If you aren’t confident with yeast bakery make two batches.  Put one batch in when you think they are proved and put one batch in a little bit later.  In my experience people tend to underprove dough rather than overprove.

*Knock back means to punch the air out of the risen dough. It will rise again stronger.

**Skinning is when the outer layer of the dough dries. The less it skins, the nicer the top of the bun.

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As I mentioned above, our family celebrated Easter last week. Regardless of whether you did too I hope you had a wonderful, safe and blessed weekend.

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MamaBake

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Sometimes you just need a break. And sometimes you just don’t get one. And sometimes you have to choose whether what you are doing is going to be a break for you or not. Everything can be difficult if you make it.

I think that’s where MamaBake get it right – cooking isn’t always easy or quick (in fact I often prefer it most when it’s neither of those) and cooking wholesome and beautiful food for a family (no matter how big or small it is) isn’t always easy either. But cooking and eating food with loved ones usually is. Maybe if you’re a mum and you need a break go check out what they are about – I think it’s a wonderful idea.

Ps. Rub a Dub Dub’s first original contribution has now been published on Mamabake. Check it out here! Thanks to the lovely Michelle for making it happen.

Coconut Icecream with Apple, Lime and Coriander Granita

February Rain

A lifetime ago my grandparents ran a kiosk at the entrance to a national park in North Queensland. My memories of the kiosk itself are hazy, but the homemade choc chip ice cream that grandad made during their time there has never left me. Years after his death I asked my nana if she had the recipe and to this day it reminds me of him every time I make it. They made a few different versions all of which had a fair bit of processed sugar in them so I have altered his original recipe to make it healthier. I hope he approves of this one. I think he would, he approved of most things his grand kids did.

This particular version is relatively new in my own repertoire and turned out to be a really beautiful, highly nutritious dessert. It is also raw and gluten free and replace the yoghurt with almond milk and it can be dairy free also. Am I missing anything? Oh it’s loaded with omegas, antioxidants calcium and good fats. Tick in all boxes. Bam.

It’s also a version of icecream I am finally happy to give to Raff. And she was beside herself (have you noticed how kids start hyperventilating when they are really excited about stuff? So funny.). For us I added an apple, lime and coriander granita and some crushed dry roasted almonds. And for some reason it was just perfect on a cool and rainy February afternoon. Maybe it was the national park calling.

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Coconut Milk Ice Cream

400ml coconut milk

350 ml natural greek style yoghurt

1 cup rice malt syrup

4 eggs

3/4 cup flaked coconut

Beat all ingredients together for 5 minutes in a stand mixer and pour into a loaf tin or your preferred mold. Freeze for at least 8 hours, stirring every hour for the first 2 hours then every 30 minutes until you couldn’t be bothered any more (to break up the ice crystals). Obviously you would omit the stirring business if you were making this in an ice cream machine (you lucky thing). Remove from the freezer 20 minutes before serving.

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Apple, Lime and Coriander Granita

Granita can be served very smooth iwith a sorbet-like consistency or in shards of sweet icy goodness. We prefer the latter. So let it freeze over before you start to scrape it into shards – see below.

500ml fresh apple juice, clarified

juice of 9 limes

1 cup rice malt syrup

one bunch fresh coriander

Bring all ingredients except the coriander to boil in a pan over high heat. Reduce to medium heat and cook for 3-4 minutes until it reduces a touch. Remove from heat and cool. Strain through a cheesecloth to clarify further and pour into a shallow metal tray and freeze. Scrape frequently with a fork until the granita is completely frozen.

Post Script. Thanks to my seven little guinea pigs for bravely trying my tester version of this one on Saturday night. You were all terribly light on constructive criticism but I’ll take it.

Also I once heard Ross Noble question why the guinea pig was decided on as the animal that was always volunteered for everything. He’s got a point – we had guinea pigs when we were little and none of them seemed adventurous at all.

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Two Pizzas

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I’ve spoken before about the Italian heritage in Dario’s family. The irony is, his dad rarely makes pizza. Pasta will always be a mainstay however for some reason, pizza is just not something he cooks often. The tradition has, however, been well and truly revived by Dario’s generation as he and his three siblings can all make an insanely good dough.

I’d like to think that Dario and my relationship with making and eating pizza has really flourished over the years (I’m not sure Dario sees it this way – I don’t think he thinks about it much really except that he eats it and it tastes really really good). I like to think that early on, like any young relationship it started off adventurous and fresh, albeit sometimes treacherous. Back in the early days we couldn’t get enough of it – sometimes homemade sometimes not – even sometimes venturing into the depths of depravity by sneaking down to the local Dominos on a uni night only to wake up desperately thirsty at 3am reminding ourselves never to go there again. Yeah it happened, stop judging me I know you’ve all done it.

Within a few years, we had got the bases down to an art – beautifully thin with a little bit of airiness, slightly oily dough with our standard pesto and potato, margherita or anchovy and parmesan. Yet, as we all know but don’t want to admit, honeymoon periods never last and a good relationship needs a bit of spice every now and then. So inevitably the humdrum of everyday pizza led to experimentation and even a few forays into *gasp* gluten free bases.

Eventually though, I’d like to think it has blossomed into a rock-solid, long lasting and beautiful partnership. It knows it’s place and we know ours. It’s a match made in heaven.

And let’s be honest – it’s all in the dough and everyone likes it different. Personally, I prefer it flat and woodfired if possible, bianco (with no tomato sauce base) and with simple toppings. I have been using spelt and sometimes kamut flour lately but have had success with combinations of spelt, rice, millet and potato flour. We still haven’t found a decent base recipe without gluten in it so if you have any ideas please let me know!

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Pizza base

Makes 3 large pizzas

One 7gm sachet dry yeast

500ml warm water (not boiling)

3 cups spelt flour (1-1 1/2 cups per pizza base)

Mix the sachet of yeast with the warm water and let stand until it froths, about 10 minutes. Place flour onto a bench or table in a mound and make a large well in the centre (similar to when making pasta). Combine the flour and water bit by bit until it forms a dough that is light and soft but not sticky. You can also do this in a bowl. Cover and leave the dough to prove in a warm place for about 30 minutes*.

Divide the dough into three equal portions. Knead it lightly (preferably like this. Just joking. But seriously how insanely good is that guy?!) then roll each one out onto an oiled and floured pizza tray. Top with your favourite ingredients.

*If you like fluffier pizzas you can leave the dough to prove for longer than this. You can also leave it once you have rolled it out onto the pizza trays for another 30 minutes or so – just cover it with a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out.

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These pizzas were: fresh tomato, capsicum, olives, salt and thyme and zucchini with a combined ricotta, the zest and juice of one lemon, a clove of crushed garlic and fresh thyme.

Cook for 18-20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius or until brown around the edges. Eat a lot of it. Maybe all of it.

Happy Birthday

Ps. Happy birthday to my dear mum and sister. I love you both so much xxxxx

I never wanted to be a blogger

Greens 2 Final

Greens 1 Final

I’ve done a bit of soul searching about the blog recently. I thought it was high time I tried to arrive at a real answer around why I am doing it (I know…heavy, right?! Just this once, I promise).

I didn’t want to be a food blogger. I felt it was completely unnecessary – there already are plenty of food blogs out there..and some pretty darn good ones to put it mildly. And I’m not a writer. Writing doesn’t come easily to me and I don’t think it ever will. And sometimes, when I have picked one too many muffin remnants out of the bookshelf/underwear drawer/couch/bed, I don’t even feel like cooking.

So why am I here sitting in front of the computer writing this post? Well I’ll come clean, I did this for myself. I wanted to take photos of food and make up recipes and share all of this with the cooking, health seeking, parenting cosmos. I’m sure a lot of people who set up a site such as this one do it in part for themselves – whether that be as a creative outlet or a way to promote a business or a million other reasons really. And after several months of this pursuit, of ups and downs, of epically crappy photos, of forcing inedible sugar-free muffins and other random culinary fails on my family, of being totally pumped when each new person signs up to receive emails and totally devastated when someone unfollows me on Twitter my soul searching has led to this realisation (not a profound one, but a realisation nonetheless). I AM another food blogger. And what’s more, I love it! And it’s the busting-out-photographs-and-a-post-after-cleaning-out-the-tenth-muffin-in-the-couch moments that I enjoy the most.

Rub a Dub Dub has become so much more for me now and I’m sure that’s what keeps most bloggers going. I have already been in contact with some astoundingly generous people who have helped focus my techniques, my approach and my goals (with a very special mention to Kristine from Thank Heavens – The Gluten Free Lifesaver…what a legend!). And since beginning this blog I have cooked more creatively, taken more risks, been featured in The Post Social (yay! Thanks guys!), been forced to be open to criticism (eek!) and to embrace and learn from disappointment. All in a few short months.

Once I had accepted who I was with the blog and why I was doing it, I realised that so much about food and eating is about trust. You trust your favourite cookbook or restaurant, you trust the meals served up by loved ones to nourish and sustain you. My daughter is learning to trust Dario and I to put food in front of her that she’ll like (I repeat, learning). And so I feel I must extend the opportunity to you, the readers, to trust me too. And so much about trust is about knowing something about the perspectives of the person you are dealing with.

Initially I had deliberately left my About page quite sparse as I wanted to generate interest in the food and the photos rather than my story (not that it’s a particularly interesting one!). Similarly I had also committed to having rather small posts…light on words and heavy on food and photos (I’ve blown that one out of the water with this post haven’t I!). So in keeping with this approach but for anyone who wants to know a little more about me and how Rub a Dub Dub began (instead of adding more to the body of this post), I have included a little post script at the end of this recipe. And don’t hesitate to introduce yourself to me too!

Carrots Final

So there it is…to celebrate my blogmancipation here is a salad. Thanks for reading, following, liking, sharing and commenting. It genuinely makes my day!

Carrots 2 Final

Salad Final

Roasted Carrot and Pomegranate Salad with Honey Cumin Dressing

Serves 4 as a side dish, 2 as a main

 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds

2 bunches of small dutch carrots

2 cups baby spinach

1 1/2 cups parsley, roughly chopped

1 cucumber, diced

1 small red onion, diced

1 zucchini, shaved into ribbons

120gm goats cheese

Seeds from 2 pomegranates

 

Dressing

2 tsp red wine vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 ½ tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp raw honey

5 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Trim carrots and place in a bowl with the olive oil, cumin and fennel seeds. Mix until the carrots are coated and spread over a baking tray. Roast for 35-45 minutes or until just tender. Remove and leave to cool while preparing the salad.

In a large bowl combine spinach leaves, parsley, cucumber, red onion, pomegranate seeds and zucchini. Slice each carrot in half lengthways and combine with the salad mix.

To make the dressing, combine the vinegar, mustard, cumin and honey well in a small bowl. Whisk in the olive oil slowly until well combined. Add seasoning to taste. Serve the salad dressed, with the carrots slightly warm still and a round or two of goat’s cheese on top.

Salad Ingredients Final

Post Script. Hi! I’m Zoe. I find it difficult to describe myself but I do have some strong feelings and philosophies about life that I hope I adhere to. Here is the simplified version that particularly relates to the creation of Rub a Dub Dub.

A defining factor in my life is my approach to healthy living (or at least the pursuit of it). For me, well being is determined by diet, physical and mental fitness, being kind to our planet and each other, as well as the pursuit of faith and spirituality. I aim to eat a healthy vegetarian diet (low in processing, seasonally produced wholefoods) and have been a vegetarian for about 7 years. I am not gluten intolerant (thank goodness because I have an unhealthy love of bread) and I don’t necessarily have an aversion to cooking with gluten although I think diversity is important. Together, Dario and I have made the decision to raise Raff a vegetarian too – why? Well maybe that’s for another post.

Nutrition, fitness and health occupy an absurd amount of my headspace – I don’t really know why, it just always has. I strongly believe that we have an obligation to educate our children about healthy living and provide them with food that is as close to how it is in nature as possible without compromising the enjoyment that we human beings get out of eating. As this has become a real passion for me I am about to embark on a nutritional medicine course (I currently have undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in International Development) so watch this space I suppose!

I take all the photos on the blog myself. I’m using the blog as both a creative outlet and a ‘test kitchen’ (pardon the pun) to develop my photography skills. I want to get much better. In fact I must confess, I want to get really, really good at it. I would be stoked if I could get even half as good as this.

And finally…I don’t know where any of this will take me but I’m going to keep at it for now.