I can’t tell you how excited I am to be blogging about this cake! I’ve been fiddling about and am so happy with the flavour of this chocolate cake made on stevia instead of sugar. The cake that results is moist and chocolatey but isn’t at all rich. The whipped cream tops it off nicely, and although it looks dry when it comes out of the oven, it’s really not at all on the inside (the second picture shows it’s moist loveliness best). When covered in cream, this phenomenon isn’t noticed at all. This cake costs less than $5 to make and can be topped with berries of your choice for an even fancier (mostly) sugar free dessert (obviously berries have some sugar, but not much).
- 300 grams plain flour
- 100grams stevia (Natvia is my preferred brand for taste)
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon bicarb soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 200grams butter, cut into cubes and softened
- 50grams cocoa (Woollies homebrand has improved LOTS and is now quite useable)
- 200ml or ½ cup sour cream
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 120ml or 1/2 cup milk
- 300ml cream, whipped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (170 degrees fan forced). Grease and line your choice of 25cm springform tin, 25cm square tin or 25cm ring tin.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, stevia, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. Then, using the electric mixer on a low setting, add the cubed, softened butter. This will produce a rough crumb-like consistency.
4. In a wide-mouthed measuring cup, whisk together the cocoa, sour cream, eggs and vanilla, then slowly add this cocoa mixture to the ingredients in the bowl, beating until thoroughly combined. With motor running slowly, add milk which will make the batter take on a dropping consistency.
5. Pour the batter into tin and bake for 40 minutes. The cake will have risen and cracked a little on top. Don’t stress about this – although it looks dry, it’s actually quite moist on the inside. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes on a cooling rack, then turn out to cool.
6. When cake has cooled completely, top with whipped cream and store in the fridge.
Above: Original Blueberry Muffins
Below: Sugar Free Blueberry Muffins
I have been using this Blueberry Muffin recipe by Nigella Lawson for years as my basic muffin recipe, morphing the flavours to suit what is desired – raspberry and white chocolate, chocolate chip and berry flavoured. Recently I’ve needed to modify it to be made on Stevia rather than sugar and it still works quite well. Below you’ll find the original recipe and the version of it I use when making them sugar free. Please don’t go to the shop to buy buttermilk, I’ve only ever used the yoghurt and milk replacement and it work fine. These are fast to make and will cost you no more than $3-4 depending on your choice of filling.
- 75g unsalted butter,
- 200g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 75g caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 200ml buttermilk (or 100g yoghurt and 100ml milk)
- 1 large egg
- 200g blueberries (I often use less to reduce cost)
- 12 hole muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases
- Preheat oven to 200C/gas mark 6.
- Melt the butter and set aside to cool a little.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and in a measuring jug beat together the buttermilk (or yoghurt and milk), egg and melted butter.
- Using a wooden spoon and a light hand, pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix gently to combine. Don’t worry about lumps, the important thing is the mixture isn’t over-worked.
- Fold in the blueberries, again keeping mixing to a minimum.
- Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes, by which time the muffins should be risen, golden and firm on top.
For sugar free blueberry muffins: increase flour to 300g and replace sugar for 40g granulated Stevia.
Having had some requests for some sugar free recipes, I thought I’d share this one. I make this modified banana bread (originally another Nigella recipe) in muffin sizes for my kids lunches all the time and the best part is I know that the only sugar in it comes from the bananas themselves. This recipe calls for stevia instead of sugar and you can buy it in a variety of granulated brands in the sugar aisle next to the artificial sweeteners. The exciting thing about stevia is that it’s totally natural so there’s no bad after taste and it’s also much sweeter than sugar so you really only need 1/4 of the amount you might normally use when baking with sugar.
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 50-75g stevia (add enough to suit your desire for ‘sweetness’)
- 2 large eggs
- 4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert
- Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and stevia and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-11/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.
Yesterday I was the grateful recipient of a ‘day off’ by myself. My husband ordered me to ‘go to a cafe and read a book’ which I readily agreed was a wonderful way to use some of the day. Beforehand, I found a copy of Donna Hay’s No Time To Cook, and having used it a number of times, sat down to read it like a novel, page by page. By the end I was inspired by a number of the recipes, especially this one. Normally a yummy vegetarian dish, I knew my husband would prefer it with the addition of mince, and the result was a less stodgy and much healthier lasagne. With 750g of mince added to the passata sauce this dish costs around $16 and around $11 if you keep it vegetarian. Serves 10.
- 1.2kg ricotta (buy it from the deli, not the fridge section, much cheaper!)
- 160g grated parmesan
- 6 tbsp chopped chives (if you have it)
- 8 tbsp shredded basil (if you have it)
- 1 rounded tbsp finely grated lemon rind
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
- 4 tbsp coarsely chopped oregano leaves (if you have it)
- 1.25 litres tomato passata
- 450g-600g lasagne sheets
- 1.5kg pumpkin peeled, seeded and sliced thinly (2-3mm)
- 100g grated mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
- Combine ricotta, half the grated parmesan, chives, basil, lemon rind, salt and pepper in a bowl and mix well. Stir oregano into passata.
- Place a layer of lasagne sheets into the base of a greased 20cm x 35cm baking dish (about 7cm deep, 3.5-4 litre capacity). Top with a third of the pumpkin and spoon over a third of the passata mixture. Top with a third of the ricotta mixture and another layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat layers, ending with a layer of lasagne sheets and the remaining ricotta mixture.
- Sprinkle with mozzarella and the remaining parmesan, cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1½ hours.
The lemon tree out the side of my house has been bursting with lemons for the last few weeks and I’ve been racking my brain to find ways to use them up. I’m really not the most sentimental of people but I quite like it that the variety of lemon my tree brings forth is a ‘Meyer’ lemon – my maiden name. According to my grandmother, one of our long lost relatives first propagated it and it’s now one of the most readily available varieties. So I was excited when my friend Jodi emailed me her mother’s recipe for Lemon Tea Cake. When I made this ridiculously easy cake, I so enjoyed the neatness of it all – using all the lemon’s rind and juice with no wastage. This cake will set you back no more than 20 minutes and $3. Thanks for sharing, Jodi.
- 1 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup extra
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 120g butter
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees (170 fan forced). Grease and line a 20cm round, ring or loaf tin.
- In a medium sized bowl, sift flour, add sugar and salt. Rub in butter. (This is done easily if you grate butter cold, straight from the fridge.)
- Combine beaten eggs and milk and stir into mixture. Fold in lemon rind.
- Pour into the tin and bake for about 50mins, but start checking earlier with a skewer.
- Mix juice of lemon and 1/4 cup sugar and remove cake from the oven. Immediately spoon lemon juice/sugar mixture over cake and allow to soak into the cake.
- Leave in tin to cool. Serve by itself or with cream and ice cream for dessert.
My friend Soph Russell is the author of a great blog called the fountainside which I enjoy reading regularly. Soph interviewed me about the foodthatserves project and you can read some more about how and why it got started. Here’s a link to Soph’s blog if you’re keen to read along.
A number of years ago my friend Kara gave me this divine recipe and since then it’s been one of my favourites for when I need to quickly make a morning or afternoon tea or a fast dessert. The consistency of the slice is nice and chewy with the oozing Caramello chocolate randomly permeating the mixture. It’s a fast melt and mix recipe which will take you no more than 10 minutes to mix and pop into the oven. One of the things I love most about this recipe is it’s versatility – my friend Nicole makes it with white chocolate chunks and it’s easy to substitute the Caramello for whatever chocolate you prefer. If you buy your chocolate on special and use home brand condensed milk, this yummy option will cost less than $6 to make. Finally, consider using it as a desert serving up a square for each person with a scoop of ice cream. Serves 24+
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 2 heaped tabs cocoa
- 125g butter, melted
- 400g can condensed milk
- 1 family size block Cadbury Caramello chocolate (replace with whatever you fancy)
- Grease and line a rectangular 16x26cm slice tin with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan-forced 170 deg).
- In a large mixing bowl combine all the ingredients (except chocolate), press into slice tin. Break chocolate into individual squares and press them randomly and firmly into the mixture in the tin.
- Bake for 20-25 mins, but start checking early. The slice should be rise back after a light touch but still be a little wobbly and soft when it comes out of the oven. It will continue to cook as it cools.
This is one of the easiest, yummiest and affordable dessert recipes I’ve ever come across. I love food that’s served in ramekins because it always looks great and costs are kept down by controlling portion size. Originally from Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Bites, this gluten free dessert is a winner in my book because it takes no more than 10 minutes to make and then it’s straight into the fridge for later – and it’s literally all done. Every time I make these rich little treasures they get devoured. The mixture makes 8 small ramekins (about 1/3 cup capacity each), but In the photo above, I over-filled mine and so it only made 6 portions. I picked up my little ramekins from Kitchen Antics for $1.95 each. Tonight they’re on offer because it’s the State of Origin and my sister and brother in law are coming to watch it with us. Total cost $3.
- 175 grams dark chocolate, minimun 70% cocoa
- 150 ml thickened cream
- 100 ml milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- Crush the chocolate to smithereens in a food processor. Heat the cream and milk until just about boiling, add the vanilla and pour down the funnel over the chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds. Process for another 30 seconds, then crack the egg down the funnel and process again for 45 seconds.
- Pour into 8 little ramekins until 3/4 full. Refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight. Serve naked or topped with berries.
I have a recipe for a yummy but somewhat complicated french chicken casserole, which is just not very achievable in a busy week. It’s unfortunate, because it tastes so good! The recipe that follows is my attempt to get around this problem. Using all the same ingredients, I’ve fiddled a bit to make something very similar in less than half an hour. If you’re worried about the fat content in the cream, feel free to replace it for lite and creamy evaporated milk, and if you don’t like mushrooms just leave them out. I hope you enjoy this fast, easy, affordable and gluten free dinner. Total cost less than $12 and serves 6.
- 2 chicken breasts, cut diagonally into 4cm (ish) lengths
- 4 rashers bacon, cut into strips
- 1 leek or red onion or brown onion (nicest with leek, but don’t go and buy one if you have onions)
- 200g mushrooms, sliced
- 400ml cream
- 1/2 cup white wine (dry is best, but sweet won’t wreck your dinner)
- 1/2 cup fresh parmesan, finely grated
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme (parsley and shallots work too. Just make do)
- In a large frypan, brown off bacon, leek and mushrooms. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Return pan to heat and brown chicken pieces on all sides, but leave uncooked in the middle. Return mushrooms, leek and bacon to pan with the chicken and pour over cream and white wine. Simmer gently with lid on for 15-20 mins stirring relatively often to prevent catching.
- While chicken is simmering, prepare any vegetables you’d like to serve it with (mash potato, carrots, beans and broccoli work well).
- Sprinkle thyme and grated parmesan over the chicken mixture and stir gently until melted and combined. Allow mixture to thicken and season with salt and pepper. Serve on mashed potato or rice with steamed vegetables.
Beef Stroganoff is a winter staple in our house. It’s a great choice for warming up on a cold night and it’s the sort of dish that stretches easily to accommodate others at the last minute. The recipe that follows started out as a Woman’s Weekly recipe from the 80’s but has morphed over the years into something that works in the slow cooker and takes my family’s tastebuds into account (we like it quite tomatoey). Please know that this recipe copes well with the addition of veggies such as carrots and green beans, which stretches it even further and improves the nutritional value – simply throw them in the slow cooker about an hour before serving. If you don’t have a slow cooker or need to make this in the late afternoon, simply halve the amount of beef stock and cook the whole thing in an electric frypan. The only catch is, that you will need to let it simmer away for no less than 1 hour to ensure the beef is nice and tender. Finally, a couple of comments about slow cookers: remember the versatility of using a slow cooker. I’ve often made this recipe after dinner when there’s less disruption and let the stroganoff cook overnight on low. In the morning it’s ready to divide up and freeze, refrigerate until dinner time or even give away to someone who needs it. Also, it’s important to know that getting something like this going in the slow cooker can take a good half an hour (though, that’s all it will require of you), so consider increasing the quantities to completely fill it – providing you with lots of meals for the future and the most economical use of your time. Doubling this recipe completely fills a 5.5L cooker. With the quantities listed below this dish will cost under $15 and serves 8.
- 1kg beef – rump (dearer) or chuck (cheaper) steak, diced or cut into thin strips
- 3/4 brown paper bag mushrooms, peeled and quartered
- 2 onions, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- half cup plain flour or cornflour
- olive oil for browning
- 2 cups beef stock
- half a large jar tomato paste
- half cup sour cream
- salt and pepper to taste
1. Toss strips of beef in flour and brown in a frypan on very high heat, a little at a time until the whole batch has been browned.
2. Add sliced onions, garlic, mushrooms, stock, tomato paste and stir well. Allow to simmer for a few hours or put it all in the slow cooker on LOW for around 8 hours.
3. Just before serving, stir through the sour cream and serve on either rice or fettacine.