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Culinary Experiments

Posted on 2011.06.03 at 08:23
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
I've been quiet of late due to all the final preparations as I pack up to go back to Essex for summer. In between all this though, I have been cooking a lot of things that I have never tried before, as well as venturing into the world of Healthy Baking *wiggles fingers spookily for effect*.

It started with a decision to make Fridays into FISHdays; as a result, octopus  and mussel paella was born (nommy) and I've also become addicted to coley (exactly like cod, except half the price). Almost went insane and bought reduced monkfish yesterday but it was only just under £19/kg and thats still pretty extortianate.


Last night was vegetarian (for me) but utterly deelish butternut squash, with cinnamon ,roasted garlic and paprika, stuffed with a mixture of charred peppers, cashew nuts, quinoa, grilled mushrooms and spinach. I mainly use butternut squash in place of potatoes in curries and roasts, but this was a bit special.

The next logical step on for me from eating fresh, healthy main meals was to try and convert my recreational (read:SUGARANDBUTTERFILLED) baking into something a bit more nutritional. This started out with lots of protein-powder based recipes (eg. protein pancakes with oats and honey, protein muffins with caramelised brown sugar, instant-protein bar in a bowl etc) until I remembered some cooking shows I had seen on TV that sneaked vegetables into cakes and that used substitues within baking to ensure that while not neccessarily guilt-free, the snacks produced had way more fibre/slow carbs than the original recipes.

(updated cinnamon-flaxseed muffins- made with oats, flaxseeds and protein powder)

Yesterday was one of my first forays into this substitute based cooking: I whipped up a single serving, 100 calorie snickerdoodle cookie, with caramel chunks in it. And it was pretty darn tasty, although it had more of a cakey texture than the rich gooeyness one associates with cookies (although I am something of an expert, having suffered a truly debilitating addiction to cookies).
Today's project is a little more ambitious, since I have put the recipe together myself. I found a recipe online for bean-based blondies (wtf?was my first response, but then again, I've been reading about cakes made of tofu, courgette and beetroot, so this wasn't quite as mad as it sounds) which yeilded 20 cakes at 75 calories each. Well thats all fine and dandy, but what if you're me, and you want to eat ALL the blondies?
So I set about using my new found knowledge to try and tailor the recipe and get it down a bit.
I have created a recipe that produces blondies, with generous amounts of REAL chocolate chips, at 35 calories a square. Your average bar of Galaxy comes in at 22 calories per square, so I'm pretty pleased with this creation of mine. Instead of a measly 5 cube bar of Galaxy, I can get me 5 squares of chewy moist blondie. And these squares are BIGGER.
I'm testing the recipe today since I'm going to need something deelish to nom on while I spend 8 hours in the car on Sunday.The recipe as it stands is as follows:

Embly's Blondies

1 1/2 cups of butter beans
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup of natural sweetner (XYLITOL is good) or 1/2 agave nectar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp of egg substitute (or a handful of oats)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F, bung all ingredients barring the chocolate chips in a blender and mush the hell out of them. Stir in chocolate gently, whack it into a lined 8X8 tray and cook for 35 mins.

Will post results later today/tomorrow on the results...


The pile of goodies I purchased yesterday. I'm esp. excited to see what I can do with the egg substitute as it can be used as a thickner, as well as egg replacement. The coconut is for a later experiment, where I'm hoping to make my own coconut butter....

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