All posts in January 2018

Tips to stay motivated in 2018

It’s back to the grind for many of us this month. No doubt we have all dabbled with a few thoughts involving fitness, heath and relaxation for the new year.  Unfortunately with work expectations, children or social life, too quickly these new year’s resolutions can fall by the wayside.  To keep you inspired I’ve compiled a few tips to keep motivation on track for 2018.

Keep it simple 

Keeping meals simple, fresh, seasonal and easy is always the best way to work in the kitchen. For most home cooks, simplicity is the best advice I can give. Keep cooking simple during the week then invest your time creating that culinary masterpiece on the weekend when you can relax and enjoy the process.

It can be a real chore to get meals on the table during the week, at Katering at Home we endeavour to bridge the gap with a selection of healthy, filling and delicious meals to get you through the better part of the mid-week rush. Back yourself up with a few Pantry items to jazz up your salads and pop some Family Favourites in the freezer so you’re never left in the lurch.

Everything in moderation 

Here at Katering we believe in moderation, we don’t pretend to be anything we are not. We don’t focus on foods for fitness or fancy diets. What we do it well, is to design, test and cook fresh, quality meals with honesty. Food full of flavour, full of colour and texture, meals packed with grains, legumes, colourful fruits and vegetables, ethically raised meats and market seafood so that you can stop worrying and start enjoying a selection of great food. Heaven knows there’s enough to worry about already!

    

Get active

You don’t have to run a marathon to be fit, fitness starts by getting active. Even just brisk walk each day for 20 minutes can get your heart rate up and boost metabolism. An active body improves brain power and concentration, making you feel better and can start you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Take time out

When you relax, you give yourself permission to let go of worries for a while. Relaxation gives your mind and body time to recover from the stresses of everyday life.

Try to fit things into your day that help you unwind. It’s different for everyone. For you, it might be listening to music, going for a walk, tea with friends, yoga, a few laps at the local pool. Find something that you enjoy and make a conscious effort to do that relaxing thing every day. In a busy work day, even 10 minutes of downtime can help you manage stress better and feel better inside and out.

Treat yourself

Lastly, why not treat yourself now and then? A relaxing massage, a new book to read, whatever makes you happy really. There are many healthy desserts you can easily make at home for a special treat that won’t add to the pocket or waistline. You are more likely to stick to your goals if you cut yourself a little slack now and then.

Peaches are not only delicious but incredibly nutritious. Give my Peach, Watermelon and Vodka Granita a whirl this weekend and treat yourself.  Full of antioxidants, vitamin A & C, potassium, low in saturated fat and high in dietary fibre. I can’t say much for the vodka but hey, one has to live a little, right?

IINGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups diced poached peaches
  • 4 cups of watermelon
  • ¼ bunch mint chopped roughly
  • 1 lime – zest and juice
  • ¾ cup Vodka

POACHING LIQUID

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean

METHOD:

  • Wash the peaches and place small cuts in the top and bottom, this will help to release the skin when the they poach.
  • Place the water, sugar and the scraped vanilla bean into the pot and bring to the boil.
  • Place the peaches into a pot with just simmering sugar syrup.
  • Cover with some baking paper and an upside-down plate and allow to simmer very gently until the peaches are just soft.
  • Once soft, peel the skin off, cool, blend and strain the flesh of the peaches with the mint and watermelon.
  • strain this mixture through a very fine sieve.
  • Stir in the vodka and lime juice then pour into a flat tray in the freezer.
  • Stir gently after a few hours then leave overnight.
  • To scrape the granita, use a kitchen cloth to hold the frozen container and scrape with a folk to create pretty little ice crystals. Serve in a frozen glass with a sprig of mint
  • For a child friendly version omit the vodka and add 1 cup of the poaching liquid to your base mixture.
  • Once  the granita has been scraped add a little Greek yoghurt and some crunchy flaked almonds when you serve.

The Lamington

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 80ml boiling water
  • 270g desiccated coconut
  • 750g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 20g soft butter
  • 180ml milk
  • Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan-forced). Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm pan, line the base with baking paper.
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick. The mixture should form thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted.
  • Meanwhile sift the flour and cornflour together three times. Combine the butter and boiling water in a small heatproof bowl.
  • Transfer the egg mixture into a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture; using a whisk or a large metal spoon, gently fold, then fold in the butter mixture.
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre and comes away from the pan. Turn onto a cake rack to cool.
  • Cut the cake into 20 even pieces.
  • Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl; add the butter and milk; stir over a medium saucepan of simmering water until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pace the coconut into a bowl.
  • Dip each piece of cake into the icing with a fork and turn to coat then drain. Toss into coconut and gently pat to coat
  • Leave to set on a wire rack.

Author: Katherine Hunt

The humble lamington

If you plan on celebrating the Australia Day long weekend festivities with the inclusion of a few baked treats (and so you should because any excuse will do really) then it’s time to dig out the Mixmaster, and your best frilly apron this weekend.

We are all pretty proud of our Aussie desserts – Pavlova, Anzac bikkies, fairy bread and of course, the classic lamington sponge, possibly one of our most favourite iconic treats.

Like many my age, I have been blessed with fond childhood memories of the delicious, coconut and chocolatey treat that is the lamington cake. My family, with two young boys in tow, were avid participants in the local Scouts club. Every other weekend quickly became a regular social and community affair. Each year around Australia Day all the mothers and volunteers would gather round with their colourful aprons on, producing hundreds and hundreds of lamingtons to be sold at the local Scout fete for charity.

I was young but had already developed an insatiable drive and enthusiasm to get my hands dirty in the kitchen and what better way than having the opportunity to dip them into the gooey, sticky mess that is the humble lamington. Often, I’d be found hiding under the table while ladies busied themselves chatting, gobbling down any of the defunct, fluffy sweet morsels with sheer delight.

I have memories of community and togetherness…..  for me and many others, the humble lamington is truly embedded into my Australian heritage.

Subsequently, 20 years later, most of which time was spent in the kitchen as a professional pastry chef, I’ve not had the opportunity to make many of these little gems. Yet they are certainly imprinted in my reflective childhood memories with the likes of rock-cakes, (strange things that they were) lemonade scones and pikelets, which seem to be making a solid revival in my house these days with two children under five.

I am sure you’ve noticed lately the lamington is a little bit on-trend, with tricked up shredded organic coconut, soft as a cloud gluten-free sponge, Swiss chocolate sauce and numerous fillings ranging from popcorn custard to Pina Colada, pandan and peppermint.

As we celebrate Australia Day this week, I feel it only fitting we go back to our roots and start with a beautiful, fluffy and simple lamington; made the old fashioned way, perfect with an afternoon cuppa.

Use this base recipe as a guide, keep them simple or jazz them up any way you like. Personally  I’m a fan of the jam and cream filled variety but each to their own really. No matter how you have them, these little treats are a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

  • 4 whole eggs
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 25g soft butter
  • 80ml boiling water
  • 270g desiccated coconut
  • 750g icing sugar
  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 20g soft butter
  • 180ml milk
  • Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan-forced). Grease and flour a 20cm x 30cm pan, line the base with baking paper.
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add the sugar, beat for about 8 minutes or until the mixture is thick. The mixture should form thick ribbons when the beaters are lifted.
  • Meanwhile sift the flour and cornflour together three times. Combine the butter and boiling water in a small heatproof bowl.
  • Transfer the egg mixture into a large bowl. Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture; using a whisk or a large metal spoon, gently fold, then fold in the butter mixture.
  • Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes or until the sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre and comes away from the pan. Turn onto a cake rack to cool.
  • Cut the cake into 20 even pieces.
  • Meanwhile, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a large heatproof bowl; add the butter and milk; stir over a medium saucepan of simmering water until icing is smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  • Pace the coconut into a bowl.
  • Dip each piece of cake into the icing with a fork and turn to coat then drain. Toss into coconut and gently pat to coat
  • Leave to set on a wire rack.

Author: Katherine Hunt