Creme Anglaise/Custard (Grain & Refined Sugar Free. Dairy-Free option)

Creme Anglais

As I sit here, we’re only a couple days out from boarding a big plane, and heading overseas for family reunion Christmas.

Our resident four-year-old has been looking forward to the plane trip with greeeeeat excitement (let’s hope that lasts for the 24 hour trip!), our little nine-month-old spent the entire last night screaming thanks to newly arriving teeth (great timing). So we look ahead to the journey with slight apprehension, yet, we can’t wait!

We can’t wait for all the hugs of greeting. We can’t wait to soak up the sun with family we hardly ever see. We can’t wait to gather with the nieces, nephews, cousins we’ve never meet in person. We can’t wait to watch our children forge friendships and create games together. And we can’t wait to sit around big tables, eating delicious food in the company of those we love.

I’m looking forward to creating some Christmassy food, and as I (pretty much always) do, I begin to plan towards dessert first…

This beautiful, vanilla-speckled, silky custard is a perfect topper many a dessert dish, from fruit salad to chocolate mud cake, to a warm crumble (and secretly I highly rate it spooned straight from the jug 😀 )
Dairy or dairy-free, it’s simply delicious! And is a bit of a crowd pleaser, so definitely worth whipping up and keeping a jug handy in the fridge.

Perhaps I’ll have the chance to make it on our travels, perhaps not. Either way we can’t wait!

May you have a  Merry Christmas ❤

Creme Anglais

Creme Anglais/Custard (makes 2&1/4 cups)

1 cup full-fat milk (or full-fat coconut milk)
1 cup pouring cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp coconut sugar
pinch salt
seeds of 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 tbsp tapicoa flour + 2 tbsp full-fat milk – optional (if you prefer a thicker custard)

Pour the milk and cream into a medium sized pot. Heat over a medium-low heat until steaming (don’t bring it to the boil).
While it’s heating whisk together the egg yolks, coconut sugar, and salt in a bowl until well combined.
Once the milk mixture is steamy and hot, pour half of it over the egg yolks whilst simultaneously whisking to ensure a smooth mixture. Then pour this back into the pot with the remainder of the milk/cream. And stir well to combine. Return to the heat (medium-low) and stir constantly as it warms through. Heat until it thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
If you wish to thicken further, whisk the tapioca flour and milk together in a small bowl until smooth. Pour this into the crème anglaise while it remains on the heat and stir gently for 5-8 mins or so until it had thickened.
Remove from the heat.
Add the vanilla and mix through well. Pour into your chosen jar, allow to cool, store in the refrigerator.

Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons (Gluten, Grain, Dairy, Nut & Refined Sugar Free)

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Macaroons are a regular bake in our house. Primarily because they’re nut-free, thus kindy-friendly. But in all honesty, it’s also because we make ice cream aaaaaaaall the time. And macaroons are a wonderfully scrumptious way to use the egg whites left over after whipping up an ice cream base 😀

Mint-Chocolate Macaroons are among my personal favourite Hungry Cub recipes. Recently I thought to try some more flavours. Enter freeze-dried raspberry powder!!
These Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons are gorgeous in colour, tasty in flavour, and a wonderful delight to pull out for any occasion, in fact my husband and daughter have decided they like them even better than the Mint-Choc variation!

Freeze-dried powders make it a super easy recipe to whip up. You can also try this with a variety of fruit flavours – it will substitute easily any of your favourite freeze-dried favourites!

By the way – Check out my Facebook page for a chance to win a little Macaroon kick-starter pack of Fresh As powder and Lindt 90% !!!!
Good luck and enjoy! ❤

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Raspberry Chocolate Macaroons (makes approx 20)

Macaroons 
4 cups finely desiccated coconut
3 heaped tbsp freeze-dried raspberry powder
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 egg whites
pinch salt

To coat:
50g dark chocolate (90% cocoa solids is fantastic here)
1 tsp coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 150’C and line a tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the coconut and raspberry powder until well combined. Set aside.
Melt the honey in a small saucepan. Add the vanilla extract then pour this over the coconut/raspberry mix. Stir through well until fully mixed.
Beat the egg whites and salt in a stand mixer until you have soft white peaks.
Spoon half of the beaten egg white into the bowl of coconut mixture. Fold through. Tip in the remaining half and fold through gently until it is well combined and the mixture holds together well.
Take a tbsp of mixture, mould firmly into a golf-ball sized ball then flatten one side. Place on the tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture until you have used it all.
Bake in the oven for 10-12mins until the edges are juuust turning in colour (be careful not to overcook as they will go brown). Turn off the oven and open the door a bit. Let the macaroons sit for a further 10 mins.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Then place the tray in the freezer while you prepare the coconut base.
Break up the chocolate and place it in a small saucepan along with the coconut oil. Melt over a medium-low heat until it is smooth and glossy. Remove from the heat.
Take your macaroons from the freezer, one by one dip the bases in the chocolate and return them to the tray.
Once you have coated them all, place them back in the freezer to set fully. Store the completed macaroons in the fridge or freezer.

Enjoy!

Homemade Chocolates (Gluten, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free)

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I’m a chocolate nutter. And I love it suuuuuper dark. 90% is my go-to, and you can usually find a stash in my drawer, the glove box of my car, and my son’s nappy bag. Truth.

A while ago I invented my version of chocolate shell sauce. A delicious rich ice cream topping to bring back some of the magic of childhood.
It quickly became obvious to me that the very same recipe can be used to make homemade chocolates. Uuuuum can anyone say; WINNING?!

Since then I’ve been making both the hardening sauce and homemade chocolates on regular occasions, keeping stockpiles in my freezer and continually imagining new flavour concoctions. I’ve listed some of my favourite additions below but I HAVE to make a special mention of the Wine-Plumped Raisin & Almond variety – if that idea appeals to you then PLEASE make it your first trial, you won’t regret it ❤

Pick your own mould and change it up from time to time. My favourite is making ‘chocolate disks’ using silicon mini-muffin trays otherwise my little heart chocolate moulds.

As you’ll note, due to the coconut oil content, this recipe softens at room temperature. So if you’re wanted to make a batch for an afternoon occasion where they’ll be sitting out for a while then I recommend using a bought chocolate with a high cocoa percentage (see notes below).

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Basic Homemade Chocolate (amount will vary depending on mould size. I make approx 20 disks from this)
4 tbsp extra-virgin coconut oil
4 tbsp cocoa or cacao
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
tiny pinch salt

Gently melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Once it is melted, remove from the heat and add the remaining ingredients. Whisk to combine.
Pour into your chosen moulds (I love using my silicon mini-muffin tray – easily available at Kmart!!) Place in the freezer to set and store.

Note: This chocolate will go soft/melty at room temperature so is best served straight from the fridge or freezer. To make a more ‘stable’ version of the following recipes I would recommend subbing the homemade chocolate recipe for:
1 tsp extra-virgin coconut oil
100g dark chocolate (lindt 90% is great), chopped
tiny pinch salt
Place the coconut oil, chocolate and salt in a  small saucepan over a medium-low heat. Gently melt while stirring until you have a smooth glossy mixture. Remove from the heat. Pour into your chosen moulds. Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Extra-step ideas:

Wine-Plumped Raisin & Almond
Cover 1/4 cup raisins with red wine. Sit to soak overnight. Chop 1/4 cup natural roasted or lightly toasted almonds (or use flaked almonds).
If preferred you can bring the raisins and wine to the boil to cook off some of the alcohol then set aside to cool – optional step, the recipe works fine either way.
Drain the raisins of any remaining liquid.
Pour the chocolate into your chosen moulds. Sprinkle with wine-plumped raisins and chopped almonds.
Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Fig & Ginger
Dice 4 plump dried figs finely. Grate 1 tbsp fresh ginger with a fine grater. Pour chocolate into your chosen moulds and sprinkle with figs and ginger. Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Peppermint & Coconut
Add 2 drops of peppermint oil to the chocolate mixture as you’re whisking to combine.
Lightly toast 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut.
Pour the chocolate into your chosen moulds. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Peanut Butter Cups
Pour a thin layer of chocolate mixture in the bottom of mini muffin moulds (silicon moulds work best here). Ensuring you only use half of your chocolate mixture. Place moulds in the freezer for a few minutes to set.
Remove from the freezer, top each mould with 1/4-1/2 of natural peanut butter (homemade is fantastic!) Pour another layer of chocolate over the peanut butter to cover. Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Hazelnut
Roast 1/4 cup hazelnuts. Rub to remove the skins the chop finely. Pour chocolate into moulds. Top with chopped hazelnuts. Place in the freezer to set. Store in fridge or freezer.

Seed & Herb Crackers (Gluten, Grain, Dairy, Nut & Egg Free)

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Crackers are a pantry staple. They’re great to have as a passing snack, an extra item for the kindy snack box, or as part of an entree platter. Whatever your use, I love having some on hand.

I’ve tried MANY a cracker recipe over the years, and this method has been a result of meshing various ideas. I used to add flaxseeds or leftover almond pulp (from making milk) to the mix but now I mostly stick to this recipe as it produces my favourite result!
These are super easy and quick to whip up. If you’re anything like me you’ll have a near-constant supply on hand 🙂

The key points to ensure an easy successful batch include:
1. Make sure you process the seeds fine enough to begin with (so it’s not overly crumbly)
2. Add the water spoon by spoon so you don’t add too much BUT make sure you have enough to bind the mixture together well!
3. Roll out to approx 3mm thick. To thick and they won’t go crispy, to thin and they’ll be a bit underwhelming as snacks!

I’ve included photos of different stages of the process to help you know what you’re aiming for…

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Seed & Herb Crackers 

1&1/2 cups sunflower seeds
3/4 cup sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp (approx) fresh herbs (my current favourites are basil or parsley)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or melted coconut oil
2-4 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 170’C and get out two baking trays.

Add the sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, herbs, and salt to the food processor. Blitz on high speed for approximately 2 minutes until it’s finely crumbled (think couscous texture – see photo above for reference).
Pour in the oil and pulse to combine.
Start processing on a low speed. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time and wait to let it mix through. Keep adding water until the mixture begins to come together in a dough-like bowl – you may have to stop and scrape the mixture from the sides once or twice (see photos above.)

Remove the mixture from the bowl and divide into two balls. Using a rolling pin, roll out each ball separately between two sheets of baking paper to approx 3mm thick. Peel the top layer of baking paper off (use this one again for your second ball of mixture). Then carefully cut the mixture with a large sharp knife into cracker-sized pieces (I make mine approx 5cmx5cm – see photo above).

Bake in the oven for 10-12mins or until beginning to turn light golden brown in colour. Set aside to cool then snap the crackers apart. Best stored in an airtight container.

Enjoy!!

Ninja Nibbles (Gluten, Grain, Dairy & Refined Sugar Free)

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Chicken nibbles. To me they’re an icon of my childhood. Something I remember enjoying since eons ago! My favourite concoction was always the honey-soy variety, so here is my Hungry Cub play on such memories…

Nibbles are different sections of the wing of a chicken and are totally moreish when cooked until caramelising with a finger-licking marinade.
This marinade does just that. It’s full of punchy flavour (and goodness!!) and is lip-smackingly, paper-towel-requireingly, lusciously messy. I’ve added a good whack of ginger and turmeric to the mix for extra oomphf and nourishment – I’d definitely recommend using the fresh roots over dried powder, the flavour of fresh can’t be beaten! (These days you can find fresh turmeric root in most veggie stores, whole food shops, and even standard supermarkets – my local New World stocks some beaut turmeric!)
My husband  loves chowing down on these during a rugby match. Something about game watching just requires finger-food right?!

Our Ninja Nibbles are ideal for an easy pot-luck style plate, a dish amongst the party food, a snack while watching a game, or a side to a gorgeous salad. And as the weather warms you could also try whacking a few on the BBQ! However you have them, I’d recommend digging in hands and all!! Enjoy xx

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Ninja Nibbles (serves 5-6 as a meal or many more if taking for potluck!)

1kg chicken nibbles (perferrably free-range)
1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 tbsp finely grated fresh turmeric
1 tbsp finely diced fresh garlic
3 tbsp tamari sauce (OR coconut aminos, OR soy sauce if you’re ok with gluten)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tsp brown rice syrup (OR runny honey)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp chilli flakes – optional (omit if nightshade-free)

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix together well until nicely combined. Cover to seal with a lid or wrap. Refrigerate 6+ hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F fanbake. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Place the nibbles on the tray in a single layer. Bake for 20-30 mins until the nibbles are turning caramelised-brown in colour and the meat breaks easily away from the bone when pressed.

Serve up and be prepared for finger-licking-messiness!! SCRUMdelish!

Creamy Hazelnut Choc-Chip Ice Cream (Dairy, Egg, & Refined Sugar Free)

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Several weeks ago a gorgeous little arrival took my niece/nephew count up to 12.
BOOM.
I love it. I love them all!!

Back 6&1/2 years ago when the first two arrived (twins!) I never expected the wash of emotion that comes with being an Aunty. I was used to friends having gorgeous children I totally adored (and still do!) So in the wait for my neices’ arrival, I expected to feel the same.
Then suddenly, two little girls were born and my heart flipped. It was next level. Small lives, not my own but deeply connected by blood of family; I felt instant connection, love, and protectiveness for them. These were lives I would know and love for the rest of my own. Forever linked. A part of who we are.
Now there are 12. 12 little people who are the next tier of family. 12 individuals who bring so much spunk, delight, gentleness, adventure, creativity, craziness, and excitement to family catch ups.
There are still three precious ones I’m yet to meet in person (aiming to tick that box within the next 5 months!) so thank goodness for Skype, Whatsapps, and emails which ensure we’re not totally disconnected from them. My 12 favourites.

After meeting the newest of the clan, I was inspired to create a new ice cream. Something to pair with the Italian origin of his name and something delicious, just like him ❤

xx

P.S I pondered the idea of cutting “Creamy” from the title, because, well; creamy creamy double up! But heck this ice cream is magical so it deserves the mention twice. Get the message? It’s creamy.

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Creamy Hazelnut Ice Cream (makes approx 1+L)

3 large bananas, sliced and frozen solid
8 dried dates, soaked in water for 3+ hours (OR 4 fresh medjool dates)
3 tbsp hazelnut butter
3 tbsp thickened coconut milk (refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight, open it carefully and scoop the thick part from the top)
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts (preferably roasted and skinned) – optional
1/2 quantity of homemade chocolate (use the rest as a hardening shell sauce on top) OR 1/3 cup of your favourite dark chocolate, chopped finely

Place the soaked and drained dates, hazelnut butter, coconut milk, salt and vanilla in a small bowl. Blitz with a stick blender until you have a smooth consistency (if you don’t have a stick blender you can do this in a stand blender).
Tip the frozen banana slices into your food processor. Blitz until they become crumbly. Add the date/hazelnut mixture over top. Process until it has mixed well through the bananas and is a smooth consistency. Add the hazelnuts (if using) and chocolate. Pulse to mix. Then quickly spoon the mixture into a freezable bowl to set for 2+ hours or more prior to serving. Will keep well in the freezer for 3 days.

Homemade Chocolate/Hardening Sauce 
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
pinch salt

Melt the coconut oil in a small pot over a low heat. Remove from the heat. Add the cocoa, maple syrup and salt. Quickly whisk to combine to a smooth mixture.
If you are planning to use this as chocolate chips; lay a piece of baking paper on a tray. Spread the chocolate mixture over thinly. Freeze until set. When required for the recipe, break into small pieces and add to the ice cream.
NOTE: this chocolate mixture is soft at room temperature so store in the fridge or freezer until needed.
If you plan to use this as a hardening sauce, pour the combined liquid mixture into a small bowl and set aside until needed then drizzle over ice cream as desired. (If it sets before you wish to use it then warm it gently by placing your small bowl in a larger bowl of very hot water – being careful water doesn’t get into the chocolate mixture – and stir carefully until it is liquid once more)

Beef Stroganoff (Gluten, Grain & Dairy Free)

Beef Stroganoff

If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard of ‘hell hour’. If you haven’t heard the term, I’m betting you’ve experienced it.
It’s that hour (or three sometimes in my case) before the dinner-bath-bed routine; that time when dinner is not quite ready but tummies are starting to grow, where energy is drooping but spirits are getting hyped, when I just. need. a. little. space. to. please. stir. the. food!
That time where everything is hanging on a thread and all hell can break loose.

That time is my nemesis.

Day by day, I’m learning to pack arsenal for hell hour.
I’ve made boxes of play dough to whip out (silently ignoring the ever-increasing bits of play dough mushed into my carpet).
I’ve put magnets on the fridge (which sometimes backfires into flying shrapnel as I serve up dinner)
I’ve invested in interesting flap-books (because apparently they’re more fun to do “BY MYSELF!!”)
And my biggest ammo… I’m working to have dinner ready on time (thanks to a little Miss who loves structure way more than I ever manage)

As I stare down the barrel of late afternoon; I love a recipe that’s a simple, tasty, nutritious fix. This stroganoff is just that.
It’s dairy free and fits nice and snug within my current ‘no-nightshade’ style of eating. Success!
Beef Stroganoff is not a gorgeous dish by any means, but it’s delicious comfort food – which is totally my style! And the best part??.. It’s made in a slow-cooker. Can it get better than that?

Hell hour; bring it on. I have my slow-cooker going!

Beef Stroganoff (serves 4)

1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g beef schnitzel (or stewing meat) chopped into bite sized pieces
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup beef stock
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
2 tbsp tamari sauce
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp cold water

Place the onion, garlic, beef, mushrooms, stock, coconut milk, tamari sauce, vinegar, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in your slow cooker/crock pot. Turn on high, cook for approx 4-5 hours or until the meat is tender (breaks apart when pressed through with a spoon).
In a small bowl, mix together the tapioca flour and water until a smooth slurry. Pour this into the beef mixture and stir through, allowing the mixture to thicken. Continue to cook for 30mins or so.
Serve hot with your desired sides. We’re big fans of cauli-rice and peas!