Picky about Pikelets – Anzac Day Traditions

pikelets

Princess Would it be crass to say that I am the Queen of Pikelets?

Well, I’ve said it, so if I am crass, it is because these Pikelets have won awards for many years at the Royal National Show. Seriously!  If the reactions of others are anything to go by, they really are impressive, well, as much as a pikelet can be, I suppose.  I have always kept my recipe a closely guarded secret, but today being April 25, Anzac Day; a significant, almost sacred national day for Australians and New Zealanders, (that you can read more about here), I’ve decided to spread the love that only an Aussie pikelet can do, and share this recipe with you!!

pikelets

Pikelets are very definitely entrenched as a home bake favourite in the vernacular Australian and New Zealand cuisine and are much better than the much touted Anzac biscuits, [find that recipe here] -an oh so popular wartime ‘cookie’ that entered Australian and New Zealand folklore as one of our few traditions that are uniquely our own, but today – today it is all about Pikelets!

Meanwhile, some of you are probably thinking: ” Just, what ARE Pikelets?” Right? Continue reading “Picky about Pikelets – Anzac Day Traditions”

Advertisements

Everything gives you Cancer?

This information came into my inbox from Marine Essentials Vitamin products. Some of this I was aware of, and some of it, I wasn’t.  There are so many forms of Cancer, and each of it a separate disease in itself, so the best thing we can do is follow a varied diet, with all things in moderation.

I am posting this in the interests of sharing information that is important to others, (which is one of the aims of this blog). I am not in the business of scaremongering, nor selling, merely offering information that gives one more “food” for thought:

Ty Bollinger is considered to be one of the world’s foremost cancer experts

Here is what foods to avoid:

1.    Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs):

This is not a new topic, but it is one that is really important to remember. The rapidly growing industry of genetically modified crops is infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn, soy, cotton, and sugar beets are now genetically modified. In a study done by Dr. Pusztai at the Rowett Institute in Scotland, rats were fed GMOs and 100% of the rats showed damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous cell growths, along with smaller brains and livers, in just the first 10 days of the project.

The 2012 Seralini study in France proved that GMOs cause cancer and premature death. Most American consumers believe that the FDA has approved these GMO foods and this is simply not the case. The FDA has NO testing procedures for GMO foods, NONE.  

Look for “NON-GMO Project Verified” label and don’t buy anything that is GMO.

2. Refined sugars and flour:

Cancer cells have a sweet tooth. This is a known fact that has been around for many years. The Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, back in 1931, first discovered that cancer feeds on sugar. Refined sugars not only feed cancer cells, but they also spike insulin levels.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is particularly harmful, since cancer cells have been shown to quickly and easily metabolize HFCS in order to proliferate (spread).

The same goes for refined flour. Why? Mills are no longer content with waiting for their flour to whiten with time; mills now bleach flour with a chemical called chlorine gas. Not only that, but white processed flour has a very high glycemic rate which quickly raises the blood sugar level and insulin levels, which can be a direct cause of diabetes, not to mention feeding cancer cells. And since cookies, cakes, pies, sauces, cereals, and many other popular, mostly processed, food items are loaded with HFCS and other refined sugars and refined white flour, this helps explain why cancer rates are on the rise these days.

By avoiding sugar and refined grains such as white flour, you can avoid, or at the very least, starve cancer.

3. “Diet” Anything: Diet foods (frozen foods, prepackaged foods, diet sodas)

Diet foods (frozen foods, prepackaged foods, diet sodas) almost always contain aspartame. A recent scientific review issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of more than 20 separate research studies found that aspartame causes many diseases and sicknesses such as cancers, birth defects, and heart problems. There is mounting evidence that aspartame breaks down in the body into a deadly toxin called DKP. When your stomach processes this chemical, it in turn produces chemicals that can cause cancer, especially brain tumors.

The bottom line is that ALL “diet” food is chemically processed and made from super refined ingredients, excessive sodium levels, as well as artificial colors and flavors to make it taste good. But these additives are actually addicting. They feed that “feel good” part in your brain, similar to cocaine!

Eat nature’s own, natural “diet” food; fruits and vegetables! Organic and NON-GMO, of course!

4. Hydrogenated oils

Let’s start from the point that all hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils. Vegetable oils cannot be extracted naturally like butter is, vegetable oils must be chemically removed from their source, and then they are changed to be more acceptable to consumers. They are frequently deodorized andcolored to look appealing. They are commonly used to preserve processed foods and keep them shelf-stable. But hydrogenated oils alter the structure and flexibility of cell membranes throughout the body, which can lead to a host of debilitating diseases such as cancer.

5. Processed meats

What exactly are processed meats? This is a long list that includes, but is not limited to, sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and most lunch meats. They contain chemical preservatives that make them appear fresh and appealing, but that can also cause cancer.

Both sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate have been linked to significantly increasing the risk of colon and other forms of cancer, so be sure to choose onlyuncured meat products made without nitrates, and preferably from grass-fed sources.

6. Microwave Popcorn

Conventional microwave popcorn bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a toxin you can find in Teflon also. According to a recent study at the University of California, PFOA is linked to infertility in women. Numerous studies in lab animals and humans show that exposure to PFOA significantly increases the risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers.  

Despite popular opinion, popcorn is not GMO, so it’s safe to eat as long as it’s not microwaved.

7. Grilled Meats & Farmed Fish

Yes… grilling meat tastes delicious. But scientists have discovered that grilling meat (especially processed meats like hot dogs) releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines. Be sure to be even more careful when grilling meat to the point of well done, as it changes the chemical and molecular structure of the meat itself. Commercial fish farming involves raising an incredible number of fish in a crowded environment. Salmon is a commonly raised farm fish, and 60% of the salmon consumed come from a farming operation where they are treated with antibiotics, pesticides, and other carcinogenic chemicals. These fish are fed unnatural diets and are contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides, and other known carcinogens.  Also, due to their diet, they have less of the healthy omega-3 that we think we are getting when we consume fish. Studies have also shown that farmed salmon contain high levels of PCB’s, mercury, and cancer causing dioxins.

[Source Marine Essential Newsletter March 2015]

Your diet and nutrition is something very serious that requires pondering about.

Danish Spice Cake – an Australian Perspective

Danish spice cake with a dusing of Cinnamon Sugar

I so love using cinnamon  in home baking as it is has so many health  benefits.

Cinnamon is a source of calcium, iron, vitamins, figre, and can assist with  a variety of digestive ailments such as gas and bloating and has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. Studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease. [Source:http://cinnamonnutrition.com/index.html%5D ]

So when Tidious Ted at Recipereminiscing posted this recipe just before Christmas, I jumped a the chance to make it.

In Australia, we do not have access to the wonder that is fermented milk products, so I substituted sour cream and plain probiotic yoghhurt (3/4 to 1/4) in place of cultured milk.

I also halved the recipe as it makes quite a large cake, used butter instead of margarine, and replaced the cloves with mixed spice.

I also added a few currants….. just because I could!!

Another tasty recipe I have made, using cinnamon to make Apple and Cinnamon Bread, is found here

Read More about cinnamon itself and its properties here 

Adding more cinnamon to your diet: Something Delicious and Healthy to Ponder About

Christmas Cookie Recipe – One Batch, Five Different Cookies

Adhering to time-honored Christmas traditions means cooking at least seven different types of biscuits or cookies, for the ‘Juletide’ feast. In today’s fast paced lifestyle, time-poor families need a shortcut if they are to maintain these customs. It was a mere  error or perhaps, serendipity that created an opportunity for such a discovery in my kitchen. This recipe makes at least four, if not five, different types of cookies, from the one mix,  thereby reducing the workload in the kitchen. [See recipe below.]

Xmas cookies

The Rationale or Explanation:

I am used to being the sole cook in my kitchen, yet Christmas is always frenetic. There is more people in the house, more to do, more excited conversation, more spontaneity, and thus ever more distractions. This is not conducive to concentrating on the task at hand: i.e. to make seven varieties of cookies following several recipes at once. Add to that another increased layer of difficulty:the recipes are hand-written by me in my marginally legible handwriting similar to that you would find on a Doctor’s prescription! So, it should come as no surprise that I stuffed up and missed adding an extra cup of flour to the basic recipe for Jam drops.

The result was Jam drops that were flat as a pancake, looking more like a Brandy snap that had a blood spattered head injury! Embarrassing to put on the Christmas table, to say the least. (Yet, ironically, it was these same cast-offs, which my food- fussy husband gobbled up, well before I had a chance to photograph them). So with a little skill they could still be presented as an edible Christmas treat!

Upon further analysis of this major cooking mishap, I realized I had omitted a second cup of flour, from the recipe and that the rest of the, as yet uncooked mix, could definitely be salvaged.  Thus I added, the missing cup of flour and cooked a second tray-ful, (which hubby didn’t like as much, so were available to photograph).

After which, I thought, well, why stop there? Thus I added white chocolate chips, cooked a third tray, and then added cocoa and cooked a fourth and final tray.  Now more than half the xmas cookie baking is done. Thank goodness for serendipity!

image

Recipe Tray 1 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Jam Snaps

1  1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup  castor or fine white sugar

2 eggs

1   1/4 cups Self-raising flour

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

1/2 cup jam

Cream  butter and sugar together in a bowl.

Add eggs and beat well.

Gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly each time.

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart ( these cookies spread significantly)*

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent. Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 10 minutes in a moderate 180 degree celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 2, see below.

 

Recipe 2 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

JAM DROPS

Gradually Add 1 full cup of Self Raising Flour to the existing Mix and stir thoroughly.

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

*Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent.

Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 15 minutes in a moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray.

*Only spoon out enough for one baking sheet of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 3, see below.

 

Recipe 3 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

White chocolate chip Cookies

Into the existing mix,

Add:

50 g white chocolate chips and mix thoroughly

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making recipe 4, see below.

Recipe 4 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Chocolate cookies with chocolate chip *

Leftover Mix from Above

Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and mix thoroughly **

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on  a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on a wire tray

** This mix could also be made with only 2 tablespoons cocoa stirred through lightly with the result being a marbled cookie, making a fifth variety of cookie!!

Now that is 5 cookies done and dusted. Two to go….

Cooking Tip:

If you live, as I do in a humid environment, and your home-baked biscuits, once cooked, tend to go too soft too quickly, here is a solution: Pop them in a 180 degree C (375 F) oven for five minutes and then turn the oven off, leaving them in the oven to cool for a further 10 – 15 minutes, in the oven, and voilà: crispy cookies, that will last well into Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone from Something to Ponder About

xmasCollages5

 

 

 

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake with White Chocolate

Raspberries are claimed to be the World’s healthiest foods containing massive amounts of Vitamin C, possess anti-cancer properties as well as the ability to counteract obesity. With that in mind, this delicious cake recipe, with a few alterations, was prepared:

IMG_20141026_140603

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (with Cinnamon and White Chocolate option)

Ingredients

130g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
56g unsalted butter, at room temperature
146g sugar, plus a further 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (optional)
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup (approx 140g) fresh raspberries

Topping: 1 dessertspoon butter, (melted)

1 tablespoon cinnamon (sprinkled over the top)

Method

Preheat oven to 205°C/400°F . Butter and flour a 20cm round cake pan.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. Beat the butter and first measure of sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. Add the egg and beat well.

Switching the mixer to a low speed, mix in the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Ensure that each time you only mix until just combined. Transfer the batter into the cake pan and gently spread to fill the pan. Scatter the raspberries over the top and sprinkle with the final 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, which should take between 30-35 minutes. Cool the cake for 10 minutes then turn out onto a rack to cool completely, then brush melted butter on top and sprinkle with cinnamon.

For a dessert treat: serve with some vanilla yoghurt, or cream.IMG_20141026_202813

Variation: Add 100g  white chocolate buds with the raspberries prior to baking

Something Delicious, healthy and moreish to Ponder About