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This recipe is very similar to the 5 Minute Pressure Cooker Baked Custard featured in the Breakfast Cereal Challenge series back at the beginning of winter.  So it’s kinda nice to have the last of the winter recipes in the same vein.  A warm bowl of custard is the ultimate in comfort food, and with eggs, low fat milk, a small amount of sugar and anti-oxidant dark chocolate, it’s a healthy high protein low GI breakfast.

The recipe is super easy once you have sorted the right utensils to fit.  Besides a pressure cooker (which is one of my treasured kitchen tools) you need a ceramic bowl or cup per person, with a lid to fit.  I can fit 4 tea cups in my pressure cooker, with saucers from expresso coffee cups as lids  (The tea cup saucers won’t fit).

Ordinary tea cups are fine in my pressure cooker. If you are worried, you may need to do a test run with some cups or bowls that you won’t be upset to break.

The Recipe:

For a single serve.  Multiply by the number of cups you can fit in your pressure cooker.

Put the pressure cooker on with a cupful of water in it.

In a small saucepan, heat  2/3 cup milk (full cream or semi skim).

Break in one square of 70% dark chocolate and stir until it melts.

Meanwhile, blend together 1 egg and half to one teaspoon of treacle. It doesn’t need much sweetening – I like a scant half teaspoon, but if you are a sweet tooth you may like a little more.

With the blender going, add the chocolate milk.

There are two tricks to this.

  1. You need to blend before the egg starts to cook, so it needs to be quick.  I get the egg and treacle ready in the blending bowl while the milk is heating, pour in the milk, and blend.
  2. Ideally you want to create the least possible amount of froth so you have that silky texture right to the top.  I find with my stick blender, if I submerge the blender before I hit the trigger it does this nicely.

Pour the mix into your cups or bowls.  Cover with lids, and sit them in the little tray on top of the trivet in your pressure cooker.

Put the lid on, bring to pressure, turn down the heat so it is just burbling and cook for 5 minutes.  Then turn the heat off and let off the pressure slowly, ie, by releasing the pressure valve, not by running under cold water.

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Number 30 in the Muesli Bar Challenge series.  The rules:  fast and easy, healthy enough for school lunch boxes, robust enough to survive the trip, and approved by my school age reviewers.

This one is invented by my sister and first tested by my sweet toothed niece  and nephew,  Rosie and Oliver.

The Recipe:

For this recipe you need a shallow slice pan about 18 cm square, or 14cm by 25 cm rectangle. Grease it with butter and line with greaseproof paper.
Makes about 16 bars

Mix together

  • 1 cup of wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 2 dessertspoons of cornflour (corn starch to US readers)
  • 1 cup of sultanas

Add another cup of mixed bran, rolled oats, dessicated coconut, and/or crushed weetbix.  You can use any combination.

In a small saucepan, melt together:

  • 1/4 cup macadamia, rice bran, or other mild flavoured oil
  • 2 good dessertspoons (60 grams) of butter
  • 2 good dessertspoons of treacle
  • 2 good dessertspoons of raw sugar
  • 2 good dessertspoons of cocoa

As soon as the sugar is dissolved, take it off the heat and stir into the dry mix.
Press the mix into your slice pan, pressing down hard.  Bake for 20 minutes in a medium oven.
Cool, and then refridgerate.  They will become less crumbly when cold so wait till quite cold to slice up and remove from the pan.

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This is  number 28 in my Muesli Bar Challenge series. For those of you who are new to the site,  the Challenge is a school year’s worth of lunch box treats that fit the Witches Kitchen definition of healthy and ethical,  that are easy enough to be a real option, and that my school age reviewers prefer to the overpackaged junk food marketed as suitable for kids’ lunch boxes.

Mulberries are right in season up here, and like most foods with that deep colour, they’re full of antioxidants and phyto-nutrients.  They’re also rich in iron and a good range of vitamins and minerals.  Chocolate is also a good source of anti-oxidants and when it isn’t combined with fake fats and too much sugar, it’sactually good for you!

The Recipe:

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Put a good cup of fresh mulberries in a small pot with 4 dessertspoons of raw sugar.  Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. You don’t want jam – you want slightly broken up mulberries in a small amount of syrupy juice.

Meanwhile, beat together:

  • 1½ cups of wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 3 dessertspoons of brown sugar
  • 4 dessertspoons of grape seed, macadamia or other mild flavoured oil
  • 4 dessertspoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ cup plain low fat yoghurt

Gently fold the mulberries into the cake batter, mixing just enough to spread them through it with swirls of the juice. Spoon the mix into cupcake papers.  Bake in a moderate oven for around 25 minutes until they bounce back when pressed.  (The usual straw test is a bit unreliable with these because of the pockets of mulberry.)

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This isn’t really a “Witches Kitchen version of healthy” recipe.  But birthdays are exceptions.  I made a double mix for Johanna’s birthday and the extra cake went on to Odin’s birthday – Johanna’s 53rd and Odin’s 2nd – and both sets of party-goers wanted the recipe.  Proves kids do have taste!  This is the kind of cake you need if you plan to stay up dancing all night, or playing chasie all afternoon.

The Recipe

Turn the oven on to medium to heat up.  Grease a 23cm deep cake tin and line the bottom with a circle of greaseproof paper.

Cream together 250g butter and 250 grams (1½ packed cups) of dark brown sugar.  Add 4 eggs and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and beat  in.

Sift together 2 cups of self raising flour, 2 big tablespoons of cocoa powder, and a teaspoon of baking powder. Stir into the butter-sugar-egg mix.

Add 500 grams of grated raw beetroot and 100 grams of grated dark chocolate.  The Ethical Consumer Guide is a good way to check for free trade brands of  chocolate – there are several to choose from and they are easily available.

Pour the mix into your cake tin and bake for about an hour, until the centre springs back and a skewer comes out clean. You need the middle of a medium oven – if it is too hot, you may need to put a piece of foil on top for the last bit to stop the top burning.
Cool for a few minutes in the tin, then turn out and allow to cool completely before icing.

The Icing

This is the simplest ever way to top a cake, and it works brilliantly.  Beat together ordinary cream and jam until thick.  Stop before it turns to butter! For this cake, you will need about 100 ml of cream and a good tablespoon of jam –  just keep adding jam until you get the right depth of colour.    Boysenberry jam creates a good deep pink coloured cream before it gets too sickly sweet.

Add birthday candles and about 20 people to help eat it!

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The kids are back at school after the holidays, so it is time to get back into lunch box baking. This is the ninth in my Muesli Bar Challenge series.

For those of you who are new to the site, the Challenge is about my bet that it is possible to make lunch box treats that fit the Witches Kitchen definition of healthy and ethical,  and that my school age reviewers prefer to the overpackaged junk food marketed as suitable for kids’ lunch boxes.  They also have to be be able to compete with supermarket muesli bars in terms of quick and easy, and in terms of cost.

The reviewers come from four different, very normal families and range from kindergarden to high school ages.

This week’s Challenger uses pecans and apple (both in season) and a secret ingredient – beetroot.  Beets are a super food, rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre, and a specially rich source of folic acid, which is important for whole range of  functions. Chocolate is also a good source of anti-oxidants and actually good for you in a healthy recipe!

The Recipe

I used a 23cm round cake pan for this recipe, but it would probably slice up more neatly in a square pan.  Grease and line the pan with greaseproof paper.  Turn the oven on to heat up.

Sift together 1 cup of wholemeal self-raising flour, half a cup of cocoa powder, and one teaspoon of baking powder.

Mix in half a cup of dark brown sugar, half a cup of chopped pecans, and a quarter of a cup of choc chips.

Add a cup of grated raw beetroot and one large granny smith apple also grated.

In another bowl, blend together three eggs, half a cup (150 ml) mild flavoured oil, (I like to use grapeseed oil), and a teaspoon of vanilla.  Add to the other bowl and stir together to combine.

Turn out into the paper-lined cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or so in a moderate oven, till a skewer comes out clean.

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Bananas are in season, and although the turkeys are getting most of mine, I thought I would feature a banana based lunch box baking recipe. These are called “Long Live Elvis Biscuits”. They’re based on the Elvis-inspired taste sensation combination of bananas and peanut butter. But I’m going for a much longer-lived Elvis!

Bananas are super healthy, with good levels of potassium, fibre, and low GI carbohydrate. Nut butters are high protein, high fibre, and although they have lots of calories, their fat is unsaturated and they have a lot of nutrients, including vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, zinc, antioxidants, and pro-biotics. I made this batch half with peanut butter and half with tahini, (so my reviewers can tell you which they prefer), but you could also go for macadamia nut butter.

The recipe makes about 24 cookies so the sugar works out at about half a teaspoon full per biscuit. And a small amount of chocolate is rich in antioxidants and actually good for you! The Ethical Consumer Guide is a good way to check for free trade brands of Australian chocolate. So though they look (and taste) very decadent, they actually fit the rules of the challenge – which are that the challenger must be within the Witches Kitchen definition of healthy and ethical, and the school age reviewers (who range from Year 1 to Year 11) must rate it preferable to the junk food marketed as “muesli bars”. Oh, and it has to be super easy.

Long Live Elvis Biscuits

Makes about 24.

Blend together 2 small ripe bananas, four good desertspoons of peanut butter or tahini or macadamia paste, a good desertspoon of butter, a small teaspoon of vanilla essence, and a scant half cup of brown sugar.

Mix a cup of wholemeal plain flour with 2 desertspoons of cocoa powder, half a teaspoon of baking soda and a pinch of salt. Stir into the banana mix.

Finely dice another banana and fold it gently into the mix along with a good desertspoon of choc chips.

You should end up with a mix that is sticky but that it is possible to roll between your palms into balls a bit smaller than a ping pong ball. Place the balls on a greased baking tray giving them some room to expand and flatten them with a fork.

Bake in a medium oven for around 30 minutes. You will have to watch them during the last bit of the cooking time as the brown colour makes it a bit difficult to pick when they are cooked.

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