Monthly Archives: February 2013

JACKPOT bakes Paleo and Vegan Chocolate Pistachio, Cranberry and Almond Biscotti

Hello All!

Mid week means it’s time for a recipe post. My dear friend Ms Shortee shared a link for some Paleo chocolate biscotti she found on the internet. I have baked a few Paleo items here and there but not a lot leaning more to vegan baking and gluten-free baking so I was interested in seeing how this Paleo recipe would turn out. I definitely have seen a big trend towards people on Paleo diets as the new craze these days for exercise is Cross Fit. I don’t think I have the energy to do Cross Fit but the whole Paleo eating interested me quite a bit so I wanted to see how it would affect the results of my baking.

So what does eating on a Paleo diet mean for you? Here are two good link for foods you should eat if you are on a Paleo diet and a summary of what a Paleo really means http://www.paleoplan.com/resources/paleo-plan-food-guide/ and http://greatist.com/health/the-ultimate-guide-to-eating-paleo-022012/. Mr C was talking to me recently about the Paleo diet aka what he calls the Caveman Diet and I was interested in listening to what types of foods you are allowed to eat if you are eating Paleo. He was telling me to just imagine you are back in the old days during the caveman era and you had to hunt for food and basically what a cave man would eat during that time i.e. vegetables, fruit, meat and eggs. On a Paleo diet you would want to avoid having any grains of any sort hence why in most the baking recipes that are Paleo, the main ingredients used are almond flour or coconut flour as these are better for you to digest than any other flours.

I adapted my recipe from the Paleo Spirit website (http://paleospirit.com/2012/double-chocolate-pistachio-biscotti-paleo-vegan/). I loved the fact that the biscotti was Vegan and Paleo at the same time without using any egg. The recipe is quite healthy considering there are no refined sugars or oil in the batter. I have to admit that my biscotti didn’t look quite like the website or even resemble a typical biscotti shape but I think this was due to the fact that I was not used to the textures and the correct consistency needed for the batter when making biscuits such as biscotti. I thought my biscotti were still quite decent for a first experiment. This will definitely not be my last experiment as I want to try other paleo biscotti recipes and make Paleo banana pancakes and muffins even. Stay tuned for this in upcoming future posts.

Now back to the recipe:

PALEO & VEGAN CHOCOLATE PISTACHIO, CRANBERRY & ALMOND BISCOTTI

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups of raw blanched almond meal
  • 1/4 cup of raw cacao powder
  • 1/2 tsp of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of pure maple syrup
  • a mixture of various nuts and dried fruits to your liking (I used unsalted pistachios, cranberries & raw blanched almonds but you can use whatever you prefer) – roughly about 1 cup’s worth

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a baking tray with parchment paper/baking paper and set aside.
  3. Add the dry ingredients (almond meal, cacao powder, baking soda and salt) into a large mixing bowl and combine with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add in the maple syrup to the dry ingredients mixture and combine with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.
  5. Fold in the nuts and dried fruits carefully into the dough.
  6. Form the dough into a rectangular log on your baking sheet. (Note that the dough may be quite sticky when trying to mold the dough into a log)
  7. Place the baking tray into the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Allow the log to cool on a wire rack until it has cooled completely.
  9. Cut the log into 1.5cm slices using a bread knife. Cut the slices on the diagonal to create that biscotti shape.
  10. Place the slices on the sides back onto the baking paper and bake for a further 15 minutes or until your biscotti are nice and crunchy.
  11. Cool your biscotti on a wire rack.
  12. Enjoy your biscotti with a cup of coffee or tea!

Almond Meal

Dry Mixture

Dry Mixture 2

Biscotti Batter

Biscotti Mixture 2

Log

First Baking

Sliced Biscotti

Biscotti

Biscotti 2

Biscotti 3

So they might not look like your typical biscotti but they tasted pretty alright to me. Once I took out my biscotti from the first baking time I almost didn’t want to put them back in as they tasted like a soft flourless chocolate cake that I couldn’t stop picking at some of the leftover biscotti that didn’t make it into the oven or rather that I consumed too quickly as it was rather addictive ;P I will definitely work on the presentation of these biscotti so that they look more like biscotti. Also because my log ended up rather flat and not as high as it should have been, I will need to ensure next time I make a narrower log so that it is easier to slice through for the second baking time. I gave this batch to Ms Shortee to try and she seemed to enjoy it despite her saying they were a tad chewy and soft in the middle. Perhaps I will need to bake them for longer in the oven for next time to get that extra crispiness and crunchiness that biscotti are so well-known for.

 

So until next time…

x

Jackie

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Filed under Biscotti, Biscuits and Cookies, Dessert, Paleo, Recipes, Snacks, Vegan, Vegetarian, Western

JACKPOT visits Hunter Valley

Happy Monday everyone!

Hope your weekend was enjoyable and relaxing despite the miserable weather that Sydney experienced especially on the saturday. I can’t seem to keep up with Sydney weather…if it’s not bucketing down with rain then it’s unbearably sticky and hot.

My basketball team and I had planned to go to the Hunter Valley quite some time ago as a way to get away and have a good catch up with everyone on the team. This would allow us all to bond further and experience some good memories that we could keep for a long time. What we didn’t anticipate was the weather for that day. Come saturday morning, the weather looked dreary and miserable but not only this, the rain was heavy and pouring whilst also very windy. We had also heard from the news that there were torrential winds and flooding around the Hunter but despite all this, we decided to still head up to the Hunter as we did not want to waste all the bookings we had made earlier. I’m very glad we did as I had a wonderful time with the whole team with lots of laughs and silliness throughout the day.

I’ve never been to the Hunter so I was very excited about going. Though I’m not much of a wine connoisseur and don’t know much about wine and what is classified as a good wine, I went more for the shared experience. We visited quite a few wineries on the day, dined at a wonderful place for lunch and then ended the trip with a lovely cheese tasting experience.

WINERY #1 – Pooles Rock Winery

Pooles Rock Wines

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Winery # 2 – De Iulis Winery

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De Iulis

Visit # 3 – Hunter Distillery – home to homemade vodkas infused with various flavours

Hunter Distillery

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Lemon Myrtle Vodka, Coffee Vodka and Chilli Vodka – Most people loved the coffee or the chilli vodka

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Premium Vodka, Apple Vodka and Vanilla Vodka

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Sampling each of the vodkas via test tubes – how cute!

The Hunter Distillery was not on one of our pre designated destinations and we went there rather on a whim as we had time and I think a lot of us were glad we went there. It was a lot of fun tasting vodka from test tubes. There were also various other vodka infused flavours such as butterscotch, ginger and blackberry. This distillery also did various liqueurs as well if you didn’t want to purchase any vodka and sold various condiments and sauces.

Winery # 3 – Krinklewood Winery

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Krinklewood

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I loved the atmosphere and setting of Krinklewood with the lovely large white doors that opened to a nice courtyard type setting. The weather was slowly clearing up by this time so we were able to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of this winery. Everything was elegant but still quite simple at the same time. I think that this was the winery we bought most the wines from as they had a wonderful vast selection of wines to choose from: from red to white to dessert wines. The lady was very helpful and gave us 2 dozen fresh farm eggs free on top of our purchases.

Lunch @ Margan

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The table we sat at was held in an enclosed part of the restaurant which was shared between 2 other tables for a more private setting. We were surrounded by stacks of wine behind us and plentiful amounts of barrels in front of us. You could also host a wedding reception further in the private room as we noticed the table settings which had been done up for a wedding. At the outside of the restaurant, you could taste the various wines and then choose them to drink at the table to accompany your meal. We ended up ordering 2 bottles – one white and one red to go with the entrees and mains.

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Menu @ Margan

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Sliced bread served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and truffled butter

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Complimentary starter of Figs, Prosciutto and Blue Cheese on top of a relish served on a silver spoon

The starter was really delicious. The figs were very fresh and tasted wonderful with all the flavours as they all complimented each other. Everyone was raving on about how great these starters were despite how little the serving sizes were. We had hoped for more servings of this as it was that good! ;P

Tuna Entree

Mr Muscles Entrée: Seared Yellow Fin Tuna with Nicoise Salad, Quail Egg and Basil Pesto $26.00

Mr Muscles thoroughly enjoyed his meal and how cute are those quail eggs! All the flavours worked wonderfully together and all the ingredients used were fresh and flavourful.

Scallops

My entrée: Garden Sweet Corn Cream with Seared Scallop, Piquillo, Pepper, Saffron Oil and Baby Herbs $26.00

The scallops dish was the bomb! No other way to put it – the flavours were all so intense and the dish itself was so creamy and rich. It felt like eating a really lovely corn soup but one that was so creamy. Every bite provided new layers of texture and flavour. I scooped up all the corn soup and in no time it was gone. The scallops were plump and beautifully cooked. My only gripe was that I wish this came in a bigger size but that’s just my greedy side coming out ;P

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Mr A’s entrée – Buffalo Mozzarella with Fried Olives, Zucchini and Salsa Salmorilgio $24.00

How good does that buffalo mozzarella look! Mr A was thoroughly content with his choice in entrees as we all took a piece to try after continuously eyeing it down ;P

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My main: Pepper Crusted Beef Carpaccio with Smoked Onion, Heirloom Carrot and Brussel Sprouts $26.00

I picked an entrée for my main as I wanted something light and thought that the mains might be a bit too heavy for me. I was really happy with my choice as I had heard from other people who ordered this as their entrée that it was really delicious. They weren’t wrong on that as the flavours all complimented each other wonderfully and the beef slices were sliced up very thin. Everything had been placed on the plate very delicately with a lot of emphasis on presentation. The only gripe I had with the dish was that the Brussel Sprouts were a little bitter for my liking after a few bites of them. But all in all I really enjoyed my main course.

Beetroot Risotto

Mrs C’s Main: Beetroot Risotto with Confit Duck, Walnuts, Watercress and Truffled Honey $27.00

Mrs C ordered the entrée size of this main dish and was very relieved when the dish came to the table as it was quite a sizeable portion for an entrée. I had serious food envy when I tasted her dish. The dish was rich and had so much flavour and you could really taste the beetroot in the risotto. I’m definitely ordering this next time I visit this restaurant!

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Mrs A and Miss E’s main: Twice cooked Pork Belly with Beluga Lentils, Radicchio, Rhubarb Chutney and Fennel Puree

Mrs A and Miss E both decided to get the pork belly but Mrs A decided to get the main size while Miss E ordered the smaller entrée size. They both loved how the crackling had been crumbled on top of the pork belly to provide a different taste texture to the dish. They both thoroughly enjoyed their meals.

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I didn’t try this dish but Mr C seemed to enjoy his choice of main.

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Mr Muscles Main: Grilled Trumpeter Fish served on top of a carrot puree accompanied with roasted kipfler potatoes and served with a tempura battered zucchini flower.

Mr Muscles decided to order the special of the day and was not disappointed by his choice. The fish was wonderfully cooked and I tried bits and pieces of the dish and really loved how all the ingredients worked so well together. Mr Muscles really enjoyed the zucchini flower especially. And in no time at all, Mr Muscles had finished his meal – always the sign of a good dish ;P

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A picture of one of the wines we had at the table to accompany our meal  

We didn’t get to order dessert as we were pressed for time due to an earlier booking made for cheese tasting. I was looking forward to ordering the pannacotta so it’s something I will try on my next visit here.

Margan

Complimentary chocolate truffles – which literally melted in your mouth – soooo sooo good!

The food at Margan was really wonderful and each dish was well presented and provided such wonderful flavour textures and tastes which really complimented each other. Thanks Mrs A for booking this. We all had a wonderful time. We finished the lunch hobbling back onto the bus with a slight food coma but nonetheless it was a delightful lunch shared with great company and of course great food!

Last stop – Hunter Valley Cheese Co.

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Cheese

Our last stop was to the Hunter Valley Cheese company for a cheese tasting experience. We were served with 5 different types of cheese: A 2 day old cheese, brie, washed rind brie, a matured cheddar and a very strong blue cheese. My most favourite out of the cheeses was definitely the brie and the washed rind. I had never tasted anything quite like the washed rind (the one pictured in the middle of the board) – the flavour was rich and completely different to anything I have tasted before. It was that good that most of us ended up buying the cheeses we had tasted and bringing them back to Sydney. Warning: The Washed Rind has a very strong cheesy smell so I would recommend this cheese only for the cheese lover.

I had a wonderful time at the Hunter and will definitely be back.Thanks again to Miss L for organising the trip for us! Mr Muscles and I plan to go back and visit some more places such as the chocolate place and the hunter gardens to take pictures.

I managed to squeeze in some baking on this jam-packed weekend so stay tuned for my Paleo Biscotti post! ;P

Until next time!

x

Jackie

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JACKPOT bakes Vegan Blueberry Spelt Scones

Hello all!

Mid week! Getting closer to the weekend…hopefully this Wednesday goes by quickly so it’s one day closer to enjoying the weekend!

I’ve always loved scones for their lovely crumbly yet soft texture and I always look forward to high tea knowing that I will get to eat some scones. I have always been a fan of just the plain scones never being a fan of the scones with sultanas or raisins in them (yes I have an aversion to anything with sultanas or raisins for some reason) and I find that eating them simply with jam is more than satisfying for me. However, scones are usually rather unhealthy with the amount of butter used to make them so usually eating a scone for me is a big treat.

I wanted to bake some vegan scones over the weekend so I searched through various recipes and found one from Babycakes NYC for Vegan Blueberry Scones (http://www.babycakesnyc.com/). I was looking for a recipe where it did not use butter, was vegan, dairy free and relatively healthy. I was in luck too as I had some blueberries that were uneaten still sitting in my fridge. The flavours worked wonderfully together and I loved the fact that they actually tasted like a scone but much much healthier. I loved the use of agave nectar to sweeten the scone and the blueberries added a nice texture to the scone. The scones were really light and soft that I felt like I was eating a cloud (if I knew what a cloud tasted like ;P) and with each bite you got a bit of the blueberries in it. I decided to mash my blueberries so that you could taste the blueberries throughout the whole scone. I’m definitely making these again and perhaps with raspberries next time when I can get my hands on some. You don’t need to add any jam or cream because the scone itself is already so flavourful with the bursts of blueberries in your mouth along with the sweetness from the agave nectar.

So here’s the recipe…

Vegan Blueberry Spelt Scones (Adapted from Babycakes NYC – recipe can be found here: http://vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=59&catId=11)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup of coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of agave nectar (plus a little bit more for brushing on the top of the scone) – I might decrease this next time to 1/4 cup as I found the scones a bit too sweet)
  • 1/4 cup of cold water
  • 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries (I mashed mine but you can keep them whole)

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Combine your dry ingredients together: flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and mix.
  4. Add in the coconut oil, agave nectar, cold water and vanilla extract and combine being careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Fold in the blueberries gently into the mixture.
  6. Use an ice cream scoop or a large spoon and carefully take tablespoons full of the batter and drop them onto the baking sheet to form a biscuit type shape for your scones or whatever shape you want your scones to look like.
  7. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes.
  8. Remove from the oven and gently brush the tops of each scone with a bit of agave nectar. Place the tray back into the oven and continue to bake the scones for another 2-4 minutes or until the scone has browned nicely.
  9. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  10. Enjoy and try not to eat them all at once!

The best bit about this recipe is that you only use one bowl and there are not too many ingredients. Also the baking time is quick so you can make these on the day you want to eat them. I had to stop myself from eating the whole batch as I was just so surprised at how well they turned out ;P

Dry Ingredient Mixture

Wet Ingredients

Wet Ingredients

Scone Mixture

Scones before baking

Scones

Vegan Blueberry Scones

Vegan Blueberry Scones

Until Next Time!

x

Jackie

 

 

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Filed under Dessert, Health Food, Recipes, Scones, Snacks, Vegan, Western

JACKPOT visits EXCELSIOR JONES

Good Morning dear readers!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I’m definitely feeling some Monday-itis this morning and trying to somehow keep awake even though my eyes are struggling to stay open. I guess that’s what happens when you try to pack in too much into one weekend. I will be posting up one of my baking experiments soon as I was eager to try out some new recipes so stay tuned for the next recipe post on my blog.

I wanted to visit a new cafe as I usually try to visit some new cafes on my Saturdays that I have free. As I was so exhausted from the week before due to work and everything else, I woke up a lot later than anticipated so I was worried that by the time I headed out to brunch that it would be too busy as most people tend to eat brunch around 10:30-11am. I still decided to try my luck and decided upon going to Excelsior Jones as I had read a lot about this new cafe from various blogs. I had also read that their serving sizes were rather on the small size so in anticipation of this, I knew that we needed to probably order a dish to share between Mr Muscles and I to accommodate for his hunger ;P

Excelsior Jones is located in Ashfield in the corner of a street where there aren’t any other cafes in sight. Mr Muscles was telling me how this cafe was probably something that was needed around this area as there aren’t many popular cafes situated here. We got to the cafe around 11am and found the cafe to be quite full where we had to wait for a table initially but as we were about to sit down on a bench to wait, a couple were just leaving so we got shown to the table within a few minutes. One thing I must mention is that the staff are very friendly, very attentive and are always very quick to check if there is anything you need. They also quickly cleaned the dishes off our table when we were done with our plates. You can tell the service here is important and that the staff are more than accommodating to the customers’ needs.

Excelsior Jones Sign

Excelsior Jones

Door

Kitchen

Inside

Specials Board

Diners

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Counter

The inside of the cafe is simple with simple furniture and accessories used for each table yet modern at the same time. You can see inside the kitchen from the side of the restaurant and each time the waitress would pass our table, I would eye out all the food that passed us by. There were some great looking dishes and you can tell that they emphasise the importance of presentation for each dish to really enhance the fresh and flavourful ingredients that they use.

Pork Hash

Mr Muscles Meal: Pork Hock Hash with Pearl Shallots, Fried Buckwheat, Poached Egg & Fresh Herbs $16.00

Mr Muscles really enjoyed his meal. It was similar to a deconstructed hash browns. The flavours were rich and the ingredients were fresh. The meal itself was rather on the heavy side despite it being quite small in size. Mr Muscles finished his dish in no time at all. I saw other customers eye down his food as he was eating it and asking the waitresses what this dish was so you could tell that this dish seemed very appealing to customers. This was the most expensive item on the menu however the dish itself really combined flavours and ingredients you probably wouldn’t think went well together but somehow mixed well together. The best part was once you poked the poached egg, the yolk just oozed out on top of the rest of the ingredients in the dish. I think Mr Muscles would definitely order this dish again.

And because he was feeling extra hungry, he ordered a side of toast with butter.

Toast

Toast with Butter $5.00

Pikelets

My meal: Sourdough Pikelets with Stewed Strawberries and Custard $13.00

Close up

A close up of my pikelets – look at how juicy those strawberries look! I kinda wish I had some right now ;P

I had been wanting these pikelets ever since I saw them on various food blogs so I knew I really wanted to order it for my meal. I was surprised at how light these pikelets were and that they didn’t leave you feeling heavy. The portion size was rather on the small side for me as I was hoping that I could have more after I demolished the dish whole. The pikelets were also surprisingly not that sweet like usually pikelets I have tasted which I liked. The stewed strawberries were very soft and melted in your mouth with each bite. The custard was nice but very thin almost more to the consistency of milk. I really enjoyed the dish and definitely will order these pikelets the next time I visit this cafe. I however was not full after eating this so Mr Muscles decided to order me a side of fruit and yoghurt to accompany my meal.

Fruit

Shared dish: Poached and Fresh Summer Fruits with Sweet Oats and Yoghurt $10.00

The fruit and yoghurt accompanied with some oats was very fresh and tasty. I liked the contrast between having fresh fruit in the dish alongside poached fruit (I think pear). The dish is simple and not complicated. Definitely something to have if you are feeling like a very light meal. I really want to try the House Made Granola next time along with the Sautéed Field Mushrooms on Toast. I’ve also heard that their lunch menu is nice too where they serve Cheeseburgers with Angus Beef and Gruyere.

All in all I enjoyed my visit to Excelsior Jones. This is definitely an up and coming cafe as more and more people are finding out about this cafe and visiting more frequently. I like that the service is attentive and that the turn around for a table is quick and efficient so you are not waiting too long. I think this cafe is definitely a hidden gem in a street that really needed a cafe like this.

Excelsior Jones

Excelsior Jones

139A Queen Street

Ashfield NSW 2131

Ph: (02) 9799 3240

Website: http://www.excelsiorjones.com/

Trading Hours:

Tues-Fri 7:30am-4pm

Sat & Sun 8am-4pm

Until Next Time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Eggs, Fruit, Pancakes, Restaurant, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt

JACKPOT celebrates Valentine’s Day with some Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY dear readers!

I hope that this special day is one filled with plenty of love, happiness and of course an excuse for you to all indulge in various foods especially dessert or at least I know I will be ;P I know that most guys and maybe most girls don’t really celebrate Valentine’s day as they think it is a holiday conjured up by the people at Hallmark so that people spend various sums of money on their loved ones whether it be insanely expensive roses or taking your boyfriend or girlfriend out to a fancy dinner…I still naively think it’s a nice day just to remind your loved one that they are special and treasured by you. They say every day should be a special day and that is completely true but why not once in a while celebrate your love and care for all your loved ones by just doing the little things =)

I decided to make Mr Muscles pancakes for Valentine’s Day. I wanted to make him heart-shaped pancakes but unfortunately it did not turn out that way as my batter was too thin and as I was pouring out my batter into the pan, the mixture would always spread too quickly. I made some deformed heart pancakes at the start but decided to just settle on normal round sized pancakes. I made this pancakes vegan and used wholemeal spelt flour as the base then added in mashed strawberries and a bit of maple syrup to sweeten them up. I was really happy with the way they turned out albeit a few odd-looking pancakes from the first few batches. Mr Muscles seemed to enjoy the pancakes which I served with some chopped strawberries and some pure maple syrup.

I loved the fact that with each bite of the pancake, there was a lovely burst of strawberries in your mouth. The pancakes weren’t too sweet and I liked that as you got most of the flavour from the strawberries itself. Next time I might process the strawberries in a food processor as I found it very difficult to mash the strawberries with just a fork. This also added problems during cooking the pancakes as the strawberries would spread in lumps on the pan and therefore it was harder to cook the pancakes more evenly for each batch.

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 Cups of Wholemeal Spelt Flour
  • 2 Tsps of Baking Powder
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 1/4 Cups of Vegan Buttermilk (1 1/4 Cups of Buttermilk + 1-2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 2 Tbs of Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbs of Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Tbs of Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Cup of Mashed Strawberries

Method:

  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Make your vegan buttermilk in a smaller bowl by placing some apple cider vinegar into the milk and leave it aside to let it curdle for a few minutes.
  3. Add in the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract into the buttermilk mixture and whisk.
  4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine being careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Add in the mashed strawberries by folding them in gently.
  6. Put your pancake batter mixture into a pancake pen or a snap lock bag with one side snipped off for easy pouring.
  7. Heat up an oiled fry pan on low heat and once the pan is hot, pour your batter into the pan (usually about 1/4 cup worth of the mixture depending how small or big you want your pancakes)
  8. When you notice bubbles forming on your pancake and the sides starting to cook, flip your pancake over and cook the other side for a few minutes. Each side should only take a few minutes.
  9. Place your pancake on a plate and cook the rest of the pancake batter until there is no mixture left.
  10. Serve your pancakes with chopped fruit of your preference and some maple syrup if you want them slightly sweeter. ‘
  11. Enjoy!

Flour Mixture

Wet Mixture

Pancake Batter

Mashed Stawberries

Strawberry Pancake Mixture

Pancake Pen

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes

Vegan Strawberry Pancakes 2

Here are a few cute valentine’s day themed food pics I found on the net:

heart macarons

love candies

love pancakes

PANCAKES

valentines cheesecakes

valentines day cupcakes

Until next time!

x

Jackie

 

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit, Health Food, Pancakes, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian, Western

JACKPOT makes Vegan Matcha Banana Pancakes

Hello dear readers!

Happy Shrove Tuesday i.e. Happy Pancake Day! In honour of pancake day I decided to post my new recipe for vegan pancakes. There is nothing better than enjoying a nice stack of pancakes on your weekend of indulgment but who says you can’t enjoy a pancake or two on a weekday ;P

I love experimenting in the kitchen with various healthy desserts so when I noticed that my bananas in my kitchen were starting to turn quite spotty, black and not that very appealing, I decided to make some vegan pancakes for breakfast on Sunday morning. I wanted to make matcha (green tea) pancakes for quite some time so this gave me the perfect opportunity to experiment and see whether the flavours would all work together. I’ve made vegan green tea banana muffins before too so I figured the flavours would be quite similar.

I was very happy with the way my pancakes turned out. While I probably need to work on the presentation of my pancakes, taste wise they were very flavoursome contrasting the slightly bitter taste from the green tea powder with the sweet ripe taste of the bananas slightly sweetened with some pure maple syrup. I’m definitely going to make these again as it is so simple to make and it doesn’t take long to whip up the pancake batter mixture. Plus it’s very healthy and you won’t feel bad after eating 2 or 3 of these pancakes. I found that the ripeness of the bananas made these pancakes a lot softer than most of the fluffier pancakes I have eaten but the fact that this is vegan and that it doesn’t require any eggs was even better as I usually find I run out of eggs so this is a good alternative.

Who am I kidding…any excuse to eat pancakes…green tea and bananas and a bit of maple syrup…I’m definitely in heaven! ;P

JACKPOT’s vegan matcha banana pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of White Spelt Flour
  • 1/2 Cup of Whole Wheat Spelt Flour
  • 1-2 Tbs of Green Tea Powder (Matcha) – you can adjust this to your preference (I usually go by the appearance of the green colour – too dark a green colour means you have put too much matcha in the mixture)
  • 1 Tsp of Baking Powder
  • A pinch of Salt
  • 3/4 Cup of Vegan Buttermilk (3/4 Cup of Soy Milk + 2 Tbs of Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs of coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tbs of Pure Maple Syrup (depending on how sweet your bananas are you may not need to add too much sweetness to the batter) + extra for topping (optional)
  • 1 Tsp of  Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1-2 Bananas Mashed with a fork (I used 2 bananas because I love bananas and I wanted more banana flavour in my pancakes)

Method:

  1. Combine the flours, matcha powder, baking powder and salt in a big bowl and set aside.
  2. Mash the bananas in a smaller bowl with a fork until the bananas are pureed. If you want your pancakes to be more chunky with bigger banana pieces then you do not need to mash the bananas too much with your fork.
  3. Measure out 3/4 of a cup of soy milk (I used almond milk) and place 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into the mixture and stir briefly. Leave this milk mixture aside until the milk curdles.
  4. Add the vegan buttermilk mixture to the bananas along with the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract and mix together.
  5. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  6. Heat up a fry pan or pancake pan with a bit of oil and wait till the pan is hot. I usually put the heat on low so that the pancakes don’t end up burning on the bottom which tends to often happen when the heat is on too high.
  7. Add about 1-2 tablespoons of the batter into the pan and smooth over the mixture in the pan with the back of the spoon.
  8. Once the pancake begins to bubble slightly and the edges start cooking, flip your pancake over and cook the other side. This should only be a few minutes on each side. Be careful not to burn your pancakes by watching the pancake pan often and ensuring the bottoms are not burnt.
  9. Place the cooked pancake on a plate and repeat the cooking process for the rest of the mixture until the mixture is finished.
  10. Serve the pancakes with maple syrup or other sweeteners or you can just enjoy the pancakes as is like I did.

Photos from my pancake experiment:

Flour Mixture

Mashed Bananas

Wet Mixture

Wet Mixture 2

Wet and Dry Ingredients

Pancake Batter

Matcha Pancakes

Matcha Pancakes 1

Until next time!

x

Jackie

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Filed under Breakfast, Health Food, Matcha, Pancakes, Recipes, Vegan, Western

JACKPOT eats at Orto Trading

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend! My weekend consisted of indulging in a lot of wonderful foods in celebration of Chinese New Year which resulted in a large food coma and some basketball to balance things out as always. I feel so exhausted this week but no matter how tired and exhausted I am, I always feel the itch to want to bake and experiment using new ingredients and flavours. Stay tuned for more recipes and more baking experiments.

Back but to my actual reason for posting…I wanted to visit a new cafe and I had read a lot about Orto Trading from various food blogs so I was eager to try and see what the food was like. I got up early Saturday morning to ensure that we could get a table while the cafe was not too packed. We arrived at the cafe around 9:30am and there were quite a few tables available. Orto is located in Surry Hills but away from the busy crowds of Crown Street. It was hard to find because it is located on a corner and the signs are only visible once you pull up closer to the cafe. I liked all the simple but bright signs located in front of the cafe and on the door of the cafe which contrasted dramatically with the modern interiors of the cafe.

I found the cafe to be very spacious and a lot of natural light filled the cafe through the glass windows. You have the option of sitting outside or indoors where there are plenty more tables and chairs. The counter is full of daily baked desserts such as homemade muffins, cookies and bread. The vibe of the cafe is a cross between rustic and modern at the same time.

Orto

Plants

Orto Sign

Orto SIgn2

Bar

Bar 2

I thought this was quite cute – hanging old drink bottles filled with water and flowers on top of the bar

Kitchen

Tables

Table Setting

Menu

Menu

The Menu

Juice

Apple juice with mixed berries

I really loved the juice with the mix of apple and berries it was so light and refreshing! The flavours all worked well together. The appearance of the juice was really pretty even with the paper straw however the only drawback was that once you had drank a bit from the straw, the straw slowly softened as it was paper and after awhile it was not as pleasant to drink from.

Coffee

Mr Muscle’s Coffee

Eggs Benedict

Mr Muscles meal: Eggs Benedict with Berkshire Gypsy Ham and Hollandaise served with a side of house made Boston beans  $20.50

Mr Muscles enjoyed his meal however he felt he had eaten better eggs benedict at other cafes. While the presentation was very visually appealing with fresh ingredients, the food was lacking the wow factor in terms of taste. The baked beans which he ordered as an accompaniment to the dish however were quite enjoyable as they added extra spicyness to the dish to add a whole new flavour to the beans and give it a little kick.

Muesli

Orto’s house made muesli served with fresh fruit, organic Meredith’s sheep yoghurt and organic honeycomb $12.50

I had read about their signature waffles on various blogs and wanted to this dish but was not feeling too hungry at the time so decided to go for the healthier option. I will definitely have to try the waffles if I come back to visit next time. I decided to order the muesli that came with fruit and yoghurt instead. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think the muesli was that great. Once again, while the food was very visually appealing, I found this dish super difficult to eat with all the fruit planted on top of the muesli with fruit that I thought while they were trying to showcase fresh produce, the fruit didn’t really pair well with the dish. I would have preferred berries or apples compared to the massive amounts of figs that were used for the dish. Also, I found that the honeycomb was a nice addition to the yoghurt but was difficult to eat as it was hard to break through it. I think this dish would have been better if they had served toasted muesli instead of natural muesli as even with the yoghurt and milk served on the side, the dish lacked a lot of flavour. I think I hyped up the dishes well before coming here as well so I was hoping for a lot of great dishes but somehow they fell short. Perhaps it was the wrong menu choice as well on my behalf so I’ll definitely have to try something else next time.

Date Cookies

Muffins

Muffins 2

Assorted homemade cookies, cakes and muffins at the counter

I took away the sticky date cookie after my meal to try some of their homemade baked goods. I unfortunately didn’t really like the taste of the cookie as well so did not end up eating much of the cookie in the end.

I’ll have to try Orto again and order some other dishes to see whether this visit was just a one off with wrong choices in menu items. Orto provides a vast range of brunch and lunch options so next time I might try some savoury options instead. What I love about the cafe is that they use fresh quality ingredients in their menu items which I am seeing more and more in new and upcoming cafes that are opening around Sydney.

Orto Trading

38 Waterloo Street,

Surry Hills NSW 2010

Trading Hours:

Ph: 0431 212 453

Trading Hours:

Breakfast and Lunch: Tues-Sun 8am-3pm

Dinner: Tues-Sat from 6pm

Website: http://www.ortotradingco.com.au/

Stay tuned for some baking adventures in the kitchen in my upcoming posts ;P

Until next time

x

Jackie

 

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Filed under Biscuits and Cookies, Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe, Eggs, Fruit, Natural Muesli, Restaurant, Snacks, Sydney, Toast, Western, Yoghurt