Pure | The Daily Post

DSCF9555For this week’s challenge, share a photo of something pure — it can be a person, an object, or a moment.

Source: Pure | The Daily Post

Pure…strawberries…no additives…just naturally pure…sweet and tasty…

Thinking about pure got me on the thought path of purify and a chance to review when I am on my green journey. ‘They’ say that you need do something for six weeks before it becomes habit…I’m now six months in to the journey, taking its start from when I purged – in a most unhealthy manner – all the junk foods from the house. It’s now been six months since I had crisps/chips where I used to knock off a big bag at a time; and maybe three months since I last had a chocolate bar: those Whitaker’s L&P slabs are still just too good to walk away from entirely: who would ever have thought that anyone could successfully combine a chocolate bar and a fizzy drink to mindlessly well..?

The journey is pretty stable now: I’ve settled on the core elements and binned some the trial components. I never much liked the rice milk and so that’s gone and I don’t miss the coconut water even though there’s still a bottle in the pantry I need to polish off: for the most part, good old-fashioned filtered water does the trick – pure as well as it come straight off the roof. I’ve stocked up on bulk chia seed, black rice and sliced almonds from Happy and Healthy, and bulk coconut milk powder from Naturally Abundant. Fresh fruit and veges depend on what’s in season – with just a few out of season treats – bananas being the core staple for smoothies and sugar for baking.

I am becoming a creature of culinary habit – not necessarily a bad thing – starting with porridge and stewed apple mixed with a little coconut milk: the cocnut milk adds a great and unexpected sweet twist to the texture of the porridge and semi-tart apple. I follow this with a slab of homemade herby wholemeal toast with apple butter – a new addition to the pantry that is so tasty and simple, if time-consuming, to make; depending of my degree of personal organisation in the morning, toast may be consumed in the car on the way to work. My morning cuppa is evolving as well – it used to be simple Earl Grey with a little cow but now I am looking for a black tea that will blend well with the coconut milk that has replaced cow’s milk almost entirely now. I still keep some 250ml bottles of milk in the freezer for just in case visitors who still prefer something a little more conventional.

I think that I have finally mastered the coconut bannofee smoothie: the key was the coconut milk powder. I now dice a single banana (reduced from the original two) into the blender with a heaped teaspoon of Jed’s #5 coffee and a table spoon of coconut milk powder and zoom it all together for 30 seconds. It’s quick, it’s easy, it tastes great with competing hints of banana, coconut and coffee.

Lunch now is a bannofee smoothie and either a vege smoothie with cabbage or spinach, carrot (for its the ‘Kune carrot season), LSA or flaxseed, and water; or Jen’s pineapple, banana and tumeric smoothie mixed with a 50/50 combo of coconut milk (from the powder) and homemade almond coconut milk. Pre-assembling and freezing a couple of dozen smoothie bags – just add LAS and water – was a good move and, as I polish off the last of the first two batches, I run up some more – I just have to remember to take one out to thaw the night before…

If personal organisation in the morning trends towards zero, and I don’t the smoothies done, not too worry: the Pihanga Cafe in the side of the Chateau does a great and very filling kids menu (burger and chips, pasta, pizza or chicken tenders on a potato mash)for $8.00, $6.00 with a Whakapapa Village community card! Occasionally, I might supplement this with one or two apple oatmeal or almond coconut cookies – both very chewy and filling – or a couple of slices of my jalapeno or kumara bread – now that I have them sussed – toasted…

Dinner is where the variables come out – I am still slowly working to consume all the meat stockpiled in the big freezer. Items like chicken pieces that can be fried go into the air fryer with kumara and potato chips – just got given a big bag of spuds left over from teh ‘Kune Carrot Carnival so need to work on consuming these…watch this space for variations of potato soup themes. Other things that be can be diced or otherwise mixed in, go into one of my repertoire of stews and curries, to be eaten with rice – still currently white but switching to brown once the last of the white is finally gone. That’ll just leave a few small roasts to find something creative and healthy to do with…

So back to my ‘purify’ thought…yes, I think that I am slowly purifying my diet, reducing if not entirely eliminating processed foods and working more and more with the raw (literally) materials…I still get the munchies some evenings but an orange generally deals to these. I know there’s ice cream in the fridge and that I can make a dessert in a cup in minutes but I just can’t excite myself about that sort of food. Don’t panic though..!! I haven’t totally gone off either ice cream or dessert but I’m certainly not hanging out for or consuming either in anything like the quantities that I used to…watch this space for my crack at raindrop cake dessert with ice cream and a passion-fruit (or maybe tamarillo, I haven’t quite decided yet) coulis…

Is it actually achieving anything..? Well…yes…most definitely…although it’s getting into winter here and temperatures are dropping, I’m not eating more so my weight is holding around 87kg; I am sleeping less but way better, and I feel good…thanks Bubble...

Dinner Dates

I had an attack of the late night sweet munchies a few nights ago and wanted something quick and simple to satisfy the urge. There has also been a large jar of dates in the pantry that has not been getting much attention recently and the last thing I need is a jar of time-expired dates…

The winning contender was this recipe from The Whimsical Wife


The Pudding

10-12 dates, roughly chopped

1 1/2 Tbsp Boiling Water

1/8 tsp Baking Soda

11/2 Tbsp Butter

1 1/2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 Egg (originally this was one egg between two desserts but was too dry)

1 Tbsp Walnuts, roughly chopped

The Sauce:

4 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Tbsp Butter (originally only a teaspoon but not caramelly enough)

4 tablespoons of cream (originally this was only a teaspoon of milk or cream but this led to a sauce that was more fudge than sauce – the extra liquid makes all the difference).


Place the chopped dates and water in a large mug and microwave for 50 sec until the dates are softened.

DSCF8748Add the Bicarb soda and let it sit for 30 seconds before mashing the dates roughly with a spoon.

DSCF8749DSCF8751Add the butter and place again in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to soften and melt.

DSCF8752DSCF8753Add the sugar, egg, walnuts and flour and mix to combine thoroughly. The original recipe called for only half the walnuts and for these to be sprinkled on top – I think I get a better result mixing more walnuts throughout the mix.

Place in the microwave on a sauce for 1 minute. It may need a further 10-20 sec to finish it off completely, depending on your microwave.

For the caramel sauce, place the the sugar, butter and cream into an ovenproof ramekin and microwave for 20 seconds.

Remove and stir and repeat another three times.

Shake the sticky date pudding from the mug into a dessert plate, and add ice cream.

DSCF8755…and cream and drizzle the sauce over it all. you can see from these pics of my first attempt that there simply isn’t enough sauce to be useful…


…and that it is quite fudgy…not the desired effect at all. I didn’t have any cream handy for this go-round so it was even drier…DSCF8756

…whereas my modified version has a rich caramel sauce that soaks into the sticky date pudding and mixes with the cream…DSCF8759-001


Definitely a keeper but very very very rich – even I could only eat this maybe once a week at most…the pudding itself is a lot less gooey than the other similar cake in a  cup desserts that I have tried so I intend experimenting with it further to see how it goes in the chocolate, banana and golden desserts in a cup that I have played with previously…

Banana bread in a cup


Start with a big mug and a long spoon…

It’s been a while since I visited my 30 Cake in a Cup Challenge…I either haven’t had the late night munchies, or when I have, hadn’t had the makings…The stars aligned the other night when I found some bananas frozen in the freezer…

I found the recipe at Pass the Sushi…I couldn’t see what to do with the extra teaspoon of sugar on the original recipe so I left it off and it doesn’t seem to have hurt it at all…

The makings

3 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/4  teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon milk
1 ripe banana, mashed

The making

In a bowl, or right in the mug, whisk flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and soda.

Add egg and combine until just incorporated with dry ingredients.

DSCF8633Mix in vanilla, oil, milk and mashed banana.

Pop into the microwave for 3 minutes.


It will seems to go a little crazy…


…but will turn out OK…


A tad plain alone…


…but more social with ice cream…

DSCF8640First impressions were good, tastes much like a butterscotch pudding with banana instead of golden syrup…think it’s a keeper…

Golden Cake in a Cup


A couple of months back, I kicked off my 30 Cake in a Cup Challenge. The challenge I am finding is that I am not really that much of a dessert person at the moment and so have not been feeling that driven to try more cake in a cup recipes. A couple of nights ago, though, I did have an attack of the munchies quite late in the evening.

I’m not really a big chocolatey person but I do a mean butterscotch pudding when cooking the ‘normal’ way: I thought then that I would experiment with the chocolate cake on a cup by swapping out the cocoa for a tablespoon of golden syrup for a butterscotch cake in a cup dessert.

It really was that simple, and with all the ingredients mixed together, looked like this.


I thought that I might have to teak the amount of syrup but a single tablespoon was just right. There was a bit of leakage but I have long since learned my lesson about using a ‘just in case’ plate to prevent messing the microwave tray. Some thing in the dynamic has changed a little as this variation does not stay risen as well as the chocolate version…I may add a smidgen of baking powder next time. Thinking on it, next time I may also reduce the syrup content just a little too…

My plan was to have a third picture showing the golden cylinder plated nicely with a curl of ice cream. I keep the ice cream in the freezer in the garage so that it is not as accessible in the event of a munchie attack but when I went out the scoop and a plate, I found that the freezer was so cold that the ice cream was frozen solid, like, rock solid and that was the end of that plan and I didn’t even have any cream to pour over instead…I’m note sure what happened with the freezer: the controller is at floor level so possibly it has been knocked when I have been working in the garage…

But not too worry…it is a nice variation of the chocolate cake in a cup theme…

Update 3 June 2014

I had an attack of the munchies later on Sunday night and made this again. This time I did a straight swap cocoa for syrup, and also added a dash of baking powder. One of these changes must have made the difference because it rose a lot better that my earlier attempts, enough that I will probably use a bigger cup next time…


Strawberry Crisp in a Mug

#2 in the challenge after feeling suddenly peckish and all out of carrots and celery late on Saturday night…it is a very nice feeling to be able to just stroll out into the garden at night with a torch and pick some lovely fat juicy strawberries for a quick dessert…

My first go-round with this recipe came out OK but I cooked it in my Cosman cup just in case it went a bit crazy in rising or boiling over…I needn’t have worried as it didn’t but it was difficult to photograph as it lay in the depths of the cup…

For my second go-round, I decided to use up some blueberries, also from the garden, that were sitting in the fridge awaiting use or freezing…

Strawberry-Crisp-in-a-MugThis is how the original recipe with strawberries should come out…


Before cooking…DSCF7838

When it came out of the microwave…I realised beforehand that the extra juicy blueberries would come out differently to the strawberries and they all by absorbed the crispy topping. Next time I will beef up the topping to counter this, preferably in some way that doesn’t involve proportionately increasing the sugar content…

…and immediately pre-consumption with a dob of ice cream…

Tasted great and the once topping was even spread amongst the blueberries but as above, I would like to work some more on the topping…

What you need:

1/2 cup strawberries or blueberries – will try it with blackberries too

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

2 Tbsp flour

1 1/2 Tbsp melted butter

What you do:

Sprinkle the sugar over the berries in a microwavable cup.

Mix the other ingredients together in a separate bowlette and spread over the berries.

Microwave for two minutes on high.

Serve with ice cream and/or cream.


30 Cake in a Cup Challenge


After my success with the chocolate dessert in a cup, I stumbled across a trove of microwave dessert in a cup recipes, and I have resolved to work my way through them this year.

As I am not really a desserty-type person when I am on my own, and I usually mighty only feel like a dessert if my main has left a bit of a space, this may take some time but I am determined to complete the challenge by New Year’s Eve.

While it is all about making desserts in a mug/cup, I opted for the cake in a cup challenge because it is more alliteratively aesthetic.

Watch this space…

Cake in a cup

971094_10201520677445764_1832991792_nYou may have seen this image and the accompanying recipe doing the Facebook rounds…


4 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. sugar (after experimentation, this can safely be reduced to 2 T)
2 tbsp. cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp. milk
3 tbsp. oil
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)


Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well.

Add the egg and mix thoroughly.

Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts (high). The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed!

Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

It works!!! Out of the box, straight off the paper, it works!! No facebook scam here…


The cake will rise A LOT out of the cup and totter in a Pisa-esque manner until slightly subsiding…DSCF7717

Serve with lots of ice cream and a dose of cream (forgot the cream the other night!)DSCF7719

This is seriously enough cake for at least two people…