Sunday, 26 July 2015

Egg Free Date Squares

Let me just say... I love dates. They are packed full of potassium, loaded with fiber and are naturally sweet. I pop them into salads, in couscous, sticky date puddings, have them as snacks with cream cheese and these... date squares. These squares were just. so. moreish. 

Be warned, you may not be able to stop at one piece. 

I found this recipe in Cintia Stammers 'The Book of Eggfree Cakes'. For this recipe, I used Medjool dates.

For this recipe you will need:

100g dates
150ml water
150g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
100g traditional rolled oats
150g butter
50g caster sugar (originally called for 100g, but I tweaked it down)
2 tablespoons of almond milk (not in original recipe)

1. Start by turning on the oven to 180 degrees (or 160 degrees for fan forced), and line a rectangular tin with baking paper. 

2. Next, chop up the dates, and pop them and the water into a pot. Bring to a rolling boil, and cook for 5 minutes. The dates will become very soft. Using a strainer over a bowl, drain the date 'mash' as you want to reserve the water. Let this cool. 

3. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and oats. Add to this the butter, chopped up into small cubes. Using your fingertips, rub in the butter cubes until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs/sand texture. Stir through the caster sugar. Add the water strained off from the boiled dates, and add the almond milk if the mixture feels too dry. 

4. Spoon half of the mixture into the prepared tin and pat down lightly to form a good base. Dot over this small pieces of the chopped boiled dates. You won't be able to achieve a solid covering of the dates, but dot them evenly over.  On top of the dates, spoon over the remaining cake mixture and again, pat this down lightly. You will have blobs of date peeking through the top that is fine. 

5. Cook in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is a nice golden brown.

6. Remove from the oven, and let cool in the tin for about 5 minutes, then lift out using the baking paper and rest on a wire cooling rack until cool enough to cut. 

Then.... pop the kettle on, and enjoy your handiwork. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Coffee and Chocolate, together at last!

The inaugural Canberra Indulge Coffee and Chocolate Expo was held today, and it was a great chance to escape a wintry, wet, cold Canberra Saturday. 

I was super lucky to score free tickets to this event thanks to the lovely folk at Mr Scroll. They make all manner of flavoured pastry scrolls, fudges and brittles, plus they run a stall at the Bus Depot Markets held on Sundays. 

A variety of vendors were at this event, from chocolatiers, a cold pressed coffee seller, rocky road makers, coffee vendors, pastry marvels, biscuit sellers, cake-in-a-jar peeps, and sweet-treaters to name but a few. 

Held in the downstairs section of the Bus Depot Markets building in Kingston meant there was plenty of room to move about. They even had a live band playing! 

Here is a bunch of photos to get your blood sugar racing...


Australian grown cocoa, from the Daintree region:

...and the cheeky lads from It's A Sweet Life, having fun with power tools (is that a heat gun??) and chocolate. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

In My Kitchen - July 2015

IMK July has rolled around quicker than ever. The IMK series is brought to you by Celia, of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial. Pop over to her blog, grab a cuppa, and have a read of the IMK posts from all over the world. 

Canberra is right in the grip of winter, so its time for porridge for breakfasts, slow cooked casseroles, and baked apples. 

In my kitchen this month... is a catch up post showing the before and after photos of the new kitchen in my investment house. Its amazing to see just how much usuable space there was.

In my kitchen... is my nod to Bacon week, which was observed between 21-27 June 2015. Seen here are my bacon nests, fashioned from award winning Pialligo Estate streaky bacon strips curled into muffin tin slots and baked to hold their shaped. Filled with creamy, slow cooked scrambled eggs. 

In my kitchen... are walnuts. So fresh, and versatile. 

In my kitchen... are energy balls. Walnuts blitzed up with dates (and a handful of pinenuts for good measure) rolled in crushed walnuts, and coconut. I was inspired by this recipe.

This month, I went to the Cake Bake and Sweets Show held in Sydney. All manner of new products, sweet stalls, baked goodies, and celebrities were there, as well as cake decorating classes, and cooking demonstrations. My finds were:

A new range of sugars from all over the world

All things vanilla

Flavoured fudge, and

A book on finding balance with food and wine pairings, signed by the author Lyndey Milan.

So friends, what's happening in your kitchen this month? Drop me a line, I'd love to hear from you. Cheers, Kirsty xx