Munchies

Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

in the two months since my last post here, i've started med school. it is insanely busy and crazy and i love it.  i can now give injections and have a rudimentary understanding of why these here olive oil blondies might be a tad bad for us. but oh well they're delicious let's eat them anyway. 

starting this new chapter of my life ( i say started, but i'm halfway through the semester) has made me consider what kind of stuff might be featured here on this little internet corner. i figure that i might like to look back on all aspects of my life, not just my baking and cooking adventures. so expect some med school life content! in other news, between lectures, tutorials and traffic jams (i am beginning to feel like i'm spending my life in the cars somewhat), i have been slowly rekindling my love with the gym. slowly.  it's a fragile and tentative relationship, not unlike the one between tom and jerry from old saturday morning cartoons. speaking of cats, the cat lady life is approaching me. when i once thought that uni life would be staying out late and partying on, it really is hanging out with my bestie's new kitten (so! cute!), and wondering if 8:30 is too early to go to bed on a saturday night. #grandmalife

the importance of routine is setting in too. even though all my days start at different times, and my timetable is slightly different every week, i'm starting to get used to a routine of uni, study, sleep, gym (ish), working and hanging out. hopefully i get better at incorporating more of these posts into that routine! the shock of feeling lost, confused and not understanding most of what is happening is wearing off, and slowly but surely uni is becoming more like a good friend rather than a weird kooky cousin. the more i hear about the importance of looking after yourself as a medical student, the more i realise the importance of keeping it simple when it comes to wellbeing. personally, i don't feel the need for special powders in my smoothies (but hey! if that's what floats your boat keep on rolling!) or complicated workouts and wellbeing apps. just simple things like drinking water, going for a run, lifting some weight, having naps, switching my phone off and taking time to check in with my brain about how i'm feeling works for me. essentially, the content i'm studying is complicated enough - so i figure keeping the rest of my life as simple as possible is the way to go! 

so, in the theme of keeping it simple, here's a delicous recipe that is no fuss. no thousand glossy photos or complicated instructions. just a treat that may not be excellent for your body, but is fabulous for the soul. it's all about balance hey?

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even though the easter period is a time for chocolate, this recipe is perfect to share with those who perhaps aren't chocolate fanatics. these blondies are sweet, moist, dense, caramelly and delicious. i threw a chocolate buttercream frosting on top (with sprinkles ofc) to jazz them up a bit because i live by the rule that everything is better with buttercream and sprinkles. this recipe belongs to molly of mynameisyeh, and i made them for a bake stall at my old high school earlier in the year, they were a hit!! my frosting was slightly different to the original recipe, just because of my own personal preference and for dietary reasons. 10/10 would recommend, an excellent alternative to a brownie for the dairy-free amongst us! 


Olive Oil Blondies w' Chocolate Frosting

makes 16 large blondies

ingredients

for the blondies

2 c flour
2 c lightly packed brown sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 c olive oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

for the frosting

200g vegan butter (room temp)

350g icing sugar

50g caco powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp unsweetened almond milk

sprinkles

method

to make the blondies

preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and grease and line a square baking tin with baking paper, about 20x20 cm. 

in one large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt and baking powder. in another bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and vanilla. making a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the wet mix and whisk to combine. 

pour the batter into the lined baking tin and use a spatula or palette knife to spread an even surface on the mixture. bake for 35 minutes, then check for done-ness by sticking a skewer into the centre, on a slight angle. if it comes out clean, the blondies are ready. if not, bake for another 2 minutes, then check again.

leave to cool in the pan while making the frosting. 

to make the  frosting

cream the butter, icing sugar and cacao powder in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. beat for 3 minutes until pale and smooth. add the vanilla and almond milk and beat again for another minute. 

remove the blondies from the pan and frost. decorate with sprinkles as desired. 

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happy belated easter, enjoy the choccies!! 

jess x

  

Spring Onion Pancakes (with Betty!)

meet betty.

betty is one of my dearest friends - we met in 2012 and haven't stopped laughing since.  she's kind, funny, smart and one hell of a cook. in fact we lived together for eight weeks about two years ago and there isn't a day that goes by now where i don't think about her spring onion pancakes and dumplings. while we were sharing a house, it was my birthday, so she made truckloads of 'em. we feasted and then got belly aches - wiping the sweat off our brows with greasy fingers.

but making that many dumplings and pancakes is no easy feat, so we all had to pitch in. eager to learn how to dumpling (yes, to dumpling is a verb now) i tried to learn from the master. this is pretty much how it went down.

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teach me how to make spring onion pancakes betty!! 

okay sure!! like this *shows me how to make them*

oh okay, that doesn't look too hard! *tries it. fails*

no no no like this *shows me again* now you try! 

....maybe i should just chop the ingredients......

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needless to say, i sucked. so two years later - after pestering and pestering (and having this blog post in my 'drafts' box since june 2015!!), i finally got betty to come over and show me how to make her magical treasures. we got belly aches again, laughed even more and i finally learned how to fold, cook, roll, fill and knead like a boss. thanks betty!!!!!!

fun fact: betty is from the part of china that is known for it's bread and dough and noodles. this stuff is in her blood. (!!!)

another fun fact: she's currently in america for a year on a scholarship being a smart cookie and i miss her dearly, so let's send her some love ok? ok! *sends all the love* 

notes: the key with these is to make little dough babies about the size of your palm. the more you knead the dough, the tougher it will become, so be gentle with your little dough balls! also, with the twisty, cinnamon scroll shape described in the method below, see this picture here for reference if you're confused. 


betty's spring onion pancakes

{makes a shit tonne | feeds about 6-8}

ingredients

750g plain flour

560 ml water

500g spring onion, chopped

salt

lots of vegetable oil

method

begin by combining the flour and water in a bowl. using the well method and a wooden spoon, gently pour the water into the well and mix until a dough consistency is formed. if your dough is too dry, add more water (1 tbsp at a time), if your dough is too wet, add more flour (1 tbsp at a time). 

roll the dough into a large ball and leave in another bowl greased very lightly with oil and covered with a tea towel, for about 30 minutes. 

roll the dough out into a flat sheet about 3mm thick(it really depends on how thick you like your pancakes, i prefer thinner ones as they're crispier!). sprinkle a few pinches of salt over the dough and rub about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over the top (see above for image) with your fingers. add the spring onion on top of the oil.

roll the dough into a long sausage-like shape, and cut about 20 cm lengths of dough. holding each end of the dough piece, twist each end in opposite directions, before twisting the dough into a circle (see the pictures above). it should  like a cinnamon scroll/bun shape. with the palms of your hands, smoosh your cinnamon scroll dough into a flat pancake shape, until it's about 2 cm thick. 

heat about 1.5 cm of oil in a fry pan until hot. add the pancakes and fry on each side until golden. serve warm or cold on it's own, with sweet chili sauce or  soy sauce or even as a side dish to something like fried rice. they should keep for a couple of days in the fridge, covered. 


thanks betty for sharing your food swag with me!!!! stay tuned cos we'll be seeing more of betty here on little alice soon! 

- jess 

Beetroot Dip

every year at our family christmas we always have a beetroot dip. and i always make a b-line for it when the cracker platters come out. it's chunky and delicious, but also full of hidden sugars and sneaky preservatives because it's store bought. so, in anticipation of that, this year i thought i'd try my hand at making my own beetroot dip. except this is kind of hummus-y. and i mean i don't hate on chunky dips, but smooth and hummus-y will always have a special place in my heart. and besides the cashews in this one made it creamy!!  

this morning i ticked things off my list (see yesterdays post for list details) by forcing myself onto the treadmill and the exercise bike at the gym after crafting the puuuurrrrfect workout playlists. filled with the awesome new bruno mars album, some classic tay tay swifty and some old gems like abba, the supremes and of course the entirety of the alternative punk rock genre (see the late 90's and early 2000's for reference) starting with old green day and ending with the latest panic! at the disco album. oh and of course adele. who can forget adele. 

so, here's to blogmas day 4, and to unspoken family christmas traditions. 

notes: this dip is super creamy and delicious! the lemon is added to taste, so i went easy on it out of personal preference, but you can always add some more if you'd prefer. the it's also up to you how much you blend the dip - i'm a smooth dip kind of person, but you can make it chunkier if you'd prefer. my hummus had garlic in it already, so i didn't add any to the dip itself, however if you like, 1/4 of a garlic clove will give the same effect.  


beetroot dip

{makes about 2 1/2 cups of dip}

ingredients

450g canned beetroot

1/2 c fresh coriander

100g cashews

75g pine nuts

2 tbsp hummus

1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp za'atar

lemon juice, to taste

salt and pepper, to taste 

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method

preheat the oven on the grill setting to 180 degrees celsius. lightly toast the pine nuts on a baking sheet in the oven until lightly golden brown. 

drain the beetroot water from the can in a strainer. discard the drained fluid. 

add the beetroot, coriander, cashews, pine nuts, za'atar, olive oil, salt, pepper, olive oil, hummus and lemon juice into a blender. blend until smooth (or the desired consistency). add lemon juice to taste if desired. 

store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to serve, garnished with coriander, pine nuts, salt, pepper and za'atar. 


- jess x