Sunday, 9 November 2014

Last minute Pasta Carbonara with cauliflower puree

I've had one of those weeks where I just couldn't get my rear into gear. It was bound to happen I've been pushing myself the last few weeks to keep on top of everything and I knew it was either going to end in me getting sick or a week of dragging my feet. It was the latter. I begrudgingly forced myself to clean the floors yesterday breaking one of my rules not to do floors or bathrooms on the weekend. By the time the floors were clean it was only half an hour before dinner time. I nearly relented and ordered fish and chips but I pushed on and managed to create a last minute Pasta Carbonara using pureed cauliflower and it was a winner!

Pureed cauliflower is my go to veggie when trying to sneak vegetables into my kids' dinners. Like most toddlers my kids love anything that is 'white' in colour so I always like to have some pureed cauliflower in the freezer. I cut up a whole head of cauliflower and steam it, puree it and then put 1/2-1 cup serves into clipseal bags. Easy to defrost and add to anything that requires some kind of 'white' sauce. (e.g.Tuna mornay, pasta bake, lasagna).

I love Pasta Carbornara and since my husband's family is Italian you would think we would have it all the time but since husband prefers tomato based pasta this was actually the first time I have cooked it since we have been together! Weird! Definitely won't the be the last though, the kids ate it up and I thought it tasted great and required no effort at all.
Here it is, this assumes you already have some cauliflower puree on hand, if not you can make some at the same time but will just take a little longer.

Pasta Carbonara with cauliflower puree


Serves 4

400g pasta (I used penne because it's easier for toddlers to eat)
1/2 cup cauliflower puree
50ml thickened cream
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4 x short cut bacon rashes
2 tbsp parsley


1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water until al dente
2. If using cauliflower puree from the freezer, defrost in microwave and drain off excess water
3. In a bowl whisk together eggs, puree, cream and cheese, add salt and pepper
4. Dice bacon and fry in a little olive oil until nearly crispy, add the crushed garlic and fry for 30 seconds, set aside
5. Once pasta is cooked drain and return to pot, on a very low heat quickly stir through the egg/puree etc mixture and the bacon mixture
6. Serve with extra grated parmesan and parsley (if your kids will eat it!).

Easy done!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

My best Chocolate Zucchini recipe yet! Thermomix/Bellini Chocolate Zucchini spelt cupcakes

One of the things that has fallen victim of my new status as part time 'worker'/full time mum is baking. It's been months since I have baked anything. Since I've returned to work I'm lucky to have enough time/energy/motivation to cook dinner let alone the nice extras that I would usually have around.

For the first few weeks of adjusting to the new routine I let things slide, surviving the week was really my only goal, so what if the kids had pasta and sausages every second meal? Or that the floors were as sticky as my toddlers hands? It was survival mode people but now nearly two months in I can see if I don't push myself a little bit more this 'survival' mode could become our normal routine.

So in between cooking sausages last night (well I'm not a miracle worker!) I whizzed up some Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Spelt Cupcakes (phew that was a mouthful!). Was so proud of myself that they actually turned out tasty and light (which can be hard with spelt) I whipped up some milk powder sugar free icing and served them with as much pomp and ceremony as the arrival of a wedding cake... Only to have the kids eat all the icing and leave the sneaky veggie cupcakes!! ARRGHH!! Seriously, I shouldn't be surprised and luckily I hadn't iced them all so next time they will be served unfrosted!

I do find that zucchini cakes are best eaten in the first day or two, if you know you won't get through them freeze them after they have cooled down as after a day or so the moisture from the zucchini makes them quite sticky.

I made this recipe in the Bellini but you could easily make it in a stand mixer. I think this is probably my third or fourth Chocolate Zucchini recipe(!) but I think when attempting to sneak in some veggies you can't beat the chocolate/zucchini combination. I have to say I think this is one of my best ones yet!


Here is the recipe for the Bellini/Thermomix:

Chocolate Zucchini Coconut Spelt Cupcakes

(Yields approx. 15 cupcakes)


250g zucchini
80g butter
150g white spelt flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bi-carb soda
30g cocoa
20g dessicated coconut
2 tbsp. milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp. Natvia stevia
1/4 cup rice malt syrup


1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (or 160 degrees fan-forced)
2. Prepare cupcake moulds with cupcake cases (or use silicon moulds as I do)
3.Place quartered zucchini into Bellini and chop on speed 6 for 6 seconds, scrape down sides and chop again on speed 5 for 5 seconds
4. Add cubed butter and melt for 2-3 minutes at 50degrees, speed 1 or until melted
5. Add all remaining ingredients and combine on speed 5 for 8 seconds, scrape down sides and repeat until all is combined.
(The batter supposed to be quite runny, if you think it is too thick add more milk)
6. Pour batter into cupcake moulds until 2/3 full and bake in oven for approx. 15 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.
7. Stand in tray for 3 minutes before turning out onto cooling rack.
8. Top with your favourite icing (I used my milk powder icing* as its dead easy) or just eat them as is!

(* The icing recipe uses soy milk powder however milk powder works just the same)

Do you have a great sweet hidden veggie recipe? Do share!