Category Archives: Food

More Productive Home Making – Smell That Coffee

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People who know me will know that I am pretty serious about my coffee. Well, as serious as you can be when you drink Decaf lol.
A few years ago I did a Barista course, and I have worked in a coffee van and a cafe, so I expect my coffee to be pretty good. Unfortunately the rest of the family has raised their coffee expectations as well, and with 3 or 4 coffee drinkers in the house it was becoming a major expense.
I have found a fair trade coffee that we can grind fresh at our local Health Food Supermarket. It is just beautiful, but costs $10 for 200grams, and that lasts us less than a week.
This was obviously an area where we could make cuts to the budget. We often buy cheaper pre ground coffee from the supermarket, but I don’t think you really save much money this way because you need twice as much coffee to get the same strength, and the flavour will never be the same.
I was looking for places to buy cheaper coffee on the internet when I came across an online store that was selling green coffee beans. The Decaf green beans were only $18 a kilogram – a huge saving on the the little 200gram bags which work out at $50 a kilogram.
A bit more internet research showed me that home coffee roasting is actually a growing trend, and also I found that you can actually roast coffee in a home popcorn machine! A little harder to find was a local source of green coffee beans (I didn’t want to spend all my savings on postage), but eventually I tracked down a factory that wasn’t far away and was open to the public.
And so my coffee roasting adventure begins…

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We got this popcorn machine for $8 at a garage sale. It actually works really well for roasting the beans. I put 1 scoop of green beans into the machine then switch it on. After a few minutes the beans start to pop and when they have popped for a little while our popcorn machine conveniently switches itself off (because it has got too hot), and about this time smoke will start pouring out. This is all ok though, I quickly tip the beans out into a saucepan so that they don’t burn and shake them around a little as they cool. They are now lightly roasted.

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I tried some beans at this stage, but the coffee flavour was very mild so I decided to roast them a bit more.
The beans went back in for one more go, this time they had just started popping when the machine cut out. When I tipped them out they actually looked pretty perfect!
In the photo above you can see the green beans, the lightly roasted beans, and the darker roast.
Next step was to grind our beans. I have been drooling over a Rancillio Rocky grinder for a while now, but at $400 it’s a bit out of my price range, then I spotted this grinder at KMart for $12. To my utter amazement it works really well, as long as you only need a small amount of coffee.
You really should wait a week after roasting before using the coffee, but I couldn’t wait to try it, and I had run out of my regular coffee, so after the beans had cooled down they went straight into the grinder.

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Here is my coffee shot, very nice creama from my freshly roasted and ground coffee beans.

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And here is my latte.

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Delicious!

I’m looking forward to learning more about coffee roasting and experimenting with some blends in the future.
Hope you can get your hands on a really good coffee today too.
All the best,
Sharee

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Best Ice Cream Recipe Ever

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I made this ice cream recipe the other day, and it was soooo delicious I thought I would share it with you. Before you make it though, I warn you, I am a cardamom addict – I absolutely love cardamom in anything, sometime I even crave it lol. So, if you’re a cardamom fan like me, give this one a try. You wont be sorry.
I found this recipe on the back of a packet of Herbies Spices cardamom seed – thanks, Herbie!

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Cardamom Ice Cream

1 tsp cardamom seeds crushed (the little brown ones, not the green pods)
3/4 cup caster sugar
3 cups light cream (I used 1 cup cream, 1 tin of evaporated milk, and a little bit of milk to make three cups because)
4 eggs separated
1 tsp vanilla essence

Combine cardamom, cream, and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring often.
Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly.
Lightly beat egg yolks and gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot cream.
Stir this into remaining cream and return to heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then beat in the hot custard until well blended.
Add vanilla and cool completely.
Freeze until icicles begin to form, then beat again and refreeze, or churn in an ice cream machine.

Yum! Try not to eat it all before it freezes lol – enjoy!

Post Christmas cooking

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Yum, Christmas food is soooo good, especially those leftovers that seem to last until New Years. I still have a slab of Christmas cake and a slab of fudge in the freezer that I have managed not to eat, but I am saving these for my big son who was overseas for Christmas this year. Other than that, all the Christmas food is gone. I know this is a good thing. I have started exercising more seriously again this week, and I need to get back to eating healthy.
I just find it really hard to go ‘cold turkey’ on the sweet food after Christmas. I am already craving just one more fruit mince tart lol. So, today I decided to make some Dried fruit truffles. They are a bit healthier than the fudge and fruit mince tarts. I stared with a recipe but didn’t have half the ingredients, so a new recipe was born! Here it is.

Sharee’s Post Christmas Fruit Truffles

1 cup seeded chopped dates
1 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts pieces
3 heaped tablespoons light cream cheese
3 tablespoons liqueur (I used Amaretto because I had some left over from Christmas but you could use any liqueur
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

I put all of these ingredients in a bowl and processed them together using my stick blender but you could use a food processor if you have one. Stop processing as soon as the cream cheese and fruit is all smooshed together. It’s good if it still has a few bigger bits in it.
My mix was still pretty sticky, so I crushed up all the left over sweet biscuits I could find in the house. This was about

1/2 packet of sweet biscuits, crushed

Stir these into the fruit mix.
Use your hands to roll into balls with about 1 teaspoon of mix in each ball (this gets pretty messy as the mixture is still quite sticky).
Roll balls in

Almond meal (I had some Almond Meal left over from Christmas, but if you don’t have any you could use coconut or cocoa)

Store truffles in a container in the freezer and eat straight from the freezer when you need a post Christmas sugar hit.
Enjoy!

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Speaking of Almond meal, I must show you a photo of the macaroons that my daughter made for Christmas.

Salted caramel macaroons

She makes the best macaroons ever. We weren’t sure how they would go in Queensland’s more humid weather, but I think they turned out even better.
She learned how to make them from this great little book.

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These ones were salted caramel flavour – yum. To do this she made vanilla flavoured macaroons onto which she sprinkled a little bit of rock salt. Then after they had cooled she filled them with Nestle ‘Top’n’fill’ caramel which worked great.

Here is another healthy treat that we have been enjoying today.

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Did you know about this? I didn’t, but my Mother in Law introduced us to Watermelon with ginger. You just chop up some watermelon into a bowl, sprinkle it with about 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger and wait 5 minutes for the ginger to soak in before eating. It is really yummy – you should try it. I bought a whole watermelon this week so I think I will make some watermelon sorbet tomorrow.
I hope you are eating yummy things too.
All the best,
Sharee