Winter has truly arrived with it's crisp chilly mornings and nights filled with blankets and the need to keep warm. I actually love Winter. Really? You say....Yes really. I love the fruit and vegetable available in winter.
Delicious pumpkins and beets arriving, along with different types of beans. Going on to my favourite the citrus fruits are everywhere...Mandarins, oranges, and lets not forget the delicious and sweet Pears (my favourite are the Packenham Pears and the small and sweet Corella Pears are my absolute must have).
I have also been researching and coming up with healthy treats and ways to nourish our bodies and the first way is to LOVE it right now and the second is to restore it with healthy fruits and vegetables...one way is with Kale. Kale is so amazing and is packed with iron and protein and if you are like me and don't really eat that much red meat then this baby is for you.
I tend to make a shake with Kale and some other yummy stuff.
I have been emailing a lot of my Facebook followers about yeast and "why didn't my bread/dough rise"? I will be answering those questions here too.
HEALTHY "KEEP ON MOVING" KALE SHAKE
I have a sweet tooth there I said it...But fear not there are days when I crave chocolate but I like to be able to have a treat without the added flavorings or the additives etc. I like an easy recipe, one that is delicious and that hidden under the chocolate is a healthy cookie.
You have to try these cookies these are so chewy and YUM !!!
Ren's Healthy Oat, Banana & Dark Chocolate Cookie
2 bananas - soft and mashed
1 cup oats - you can use the quick oats I used regular Oats
1/4 cup Dark chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 180c.
Mash banana and add oats and choc bits mix well and form into balls. Drop into a tray.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until lovely golden brown.
"My dough didn't rise"?
I have heard this so often and here are my tips on why your bread or dough isn't rising.
TIP 1 - Usually at the start of any baking you will need to introduce the yeast to a warm liquid . Make sure here that your liquid is WARM not hot or cold. If the liquid is hot you will "retard" the yeast and the yeast stops working and if the liquid is too cold then the yeast has nothing to help it grow. The liquid must be warm.
TIP 2 - Check the use by date on the yeast you are using if it's off then throw it out. You should always have fresh yeast when baking (dry or fresh).
TIP 3 - One of the most important steps is proving. Proving is when you allow your dough to rest and this is when the yeast goes to work. So for example half a dough in one hour should double in size if it doesn't just wait. Baking is all about being patient.
TIP 4- Check the weather, yes weather... If it's a cold chilly day like in Winter then you will want a warm environment to prove your day all of these things make for a beautiful dough. If it is cold make sure you have everything warm and nothing is cold that is added to the dough.
One thing I really love about Winter is the ability to LOVE a big bowl of Minestrone soup. I use whatever I have available and like feel free to play around with the recipe . This is delicious and keeps in the fridge for up to a week.
MINESTRONE "old school"
1 onion - diced
2 cloves garlic - crushed
3 rashers bacon diced (vegetarian leave out)
2 carrots diced
1/2 red capsicum diced
2 celery stalks diced
2 zucchinis sliced
1 cup of frozen Peas
Half a cauliflower cut into small florets
1 can of Kidney beans - washed and drained
1/2 cup of soup mix - found in the soup aisle
1 cup of small Italian pasta (I use mini pasta shells)
1 litre Vegetable stock
1 bottle of Tomato sauce or 2 cans crushed tomatoes
Salt / Pepper
Heat pan with little oil and add garlic, onion and bacon stir till onions appear clear.
Add carrot, capsicum, celery and stir.
Add the rest of the vegetables and soup mix and stir.
Add stock till it covers all the vegetables and bring to the boil. (You want to cook all the vegetables here).
Add Kidney beans, tomato sauce and pasta and stir. Taste to see if it needs seasoning.
Bring to the boil then turn it on low and simmer for 45 minutes.
Stir and serve with fresh bread.
Be sure to check out my Facebook page - Laughing Chef for regular updates on all things cooking.
Keep on cooking and watch out for some Laughing Chef news coming your way!!