Anneka Manning, founder of Sydney’s BakeClub, shares her delicious ‘better-for-you’ recipes for snacks, desserts and treats the whole family will love. Through both her writing and cooking school, Anneka teaches home cooks to bake in practical and approachable yet inspiring ways that assure success in the kitchen.
Honey and Nut Muesli Bars.
This recipe is based on one from Supergrains by Chrissy Freer, published by Murdoch Books – it is a particularly popular recipe that we teach in our Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes BakeClasses. Knowing what is going into your muesli bars is the key – it makes them so much healthier and tastier. For a nut-free version, substitute the almonds with 1/3 cup sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds).
- Makes: about 24
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Baking time: 45-55 minutes
¾ cup good-quality honey
½ cup sunflower oil or light olive oil
2½ cups traditional rolled oats (oatmeal)
1½ cups puffed millet
½ cup desiccated coconut
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup currants
½ cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped (see Baker’s Tips)
Photo: Bree Hutchins
Preheat the oven to 140°C/320°F. Lightly grease a shallow 20 x 30cm (8 x 12in) baking tin and line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Put the honey and oil in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until well combined and heated through. Set aside.
Put the rolled oats, millet, coconut, cinnamon, cranberries, currants and almonds in a large bowl and mix to combine evenly. Add the honey mixture and stir to combine. Using damp hands, press the mixture firmly into the lined tin. Press the mixture with the back of a spoon to make the surface smooth and even.
Bake for 45–55 minutes or until the surface is dark golden brown all over. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into 24 bars.
Store: These muesli bars will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. For extra-crisp muesli bars, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Per serve (one piece)
725kJ/ 173 calories; 2g protein; 8.5g fat (includes 2g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.3); 21g available carbs (includes 12.5g sugars and 8.5g starch); 2g fibre
Anneka’s extra tip for using honey in your baking
If you would like to replace the sugar (such as granulated white, caster or brown) with honey in a baking recipe, simply use the same amount in weight. However, also remember to reduce the amount of liquid ingredients (such as milk or water) in the recipe by 1 tablespoon for every ½ cup sugar to account for both the higher moisture level in the honey as well as its intense sweetness.
Roasted sweet potatoes and fresh figs.
This unusual combination of fresh fruit and roasted vegetables is one of the most popular at Ottolenghi. It wholly depends, though, on the figs being sweet, moist and perfectly ripe. Go for plump fruit with an irregular shape and a slightly split bottom. Pressing against the skin should result in some resistance but not much. Try to smell the sweetness. The balsamic reduction is very effective here, both for the look and for rounding up the flavours. To save you from making it you can look out for products such as balsamic cream or glaze. Serves 4.
4 small sweet potatoes (1kg/2lb 2oz in total)
5 tbs olive oil (1/3 cup/75ml)
2 tbs (40ml) balsamic vinegar (you can use a commercial rather than a premium aged grade)
20g (¾oz) caster sugar
12 spring onions, halved lengthways and cut into 4cm (1½in) segments
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
6 fresh and ripe figs (240g/½lb in total), quartered
150g (5oz) soft goat’s cheese, crumbled (optional)
Maldon sea salt (optional) and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas Mark 9.
Wash the sweet potatoes, halve them lengthways and then cut each again similarly into 3 long wedges. Mix with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 teaspoons of salt and some black pepper. Spread the wedges out on a baking sheet, skin-side down, and cook for about 25 minutes until soft but not mushy. Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
To make a balsamic reduction, place the balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–4 minutes, or until it thickens. Be sure to remove the pan from the heat when the vinegar is still runnier than honey; it will continue to thicken as it cools. Stir in a drop of water before serving if it does become too thick to drizzle.
Arrange the sweet potatoes on a serving platter. Heat the remaining oil in a medium saucepan and add the spring onions and chilli. Fry on a medium heat for 4–5 minutes, stirring often, making sure not to burn the chilli, and then spoon the oil, onions and chilli over the sweet potatoes. Dot the figs among the wedges and then drizzle over the balsamic reduction. Serve at room temperature with the cheese crumbled over, if using.
Per serve (without the goat’s cheese)
1890kJ/ 451 calories; 11g protein; 24g fat (includes 6g saturated fat; saturated:unsaturated fat ratio 0.33); 47g available carbs (includes 25g sugars and 22g starch); 6.5g fibre
Recipe reproduced with permission from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi (Random House) – available from good bookshops and online.
Johanna’s Italian Kitchen
American dietitian and author of Good Carbs, Bad Carbs, Johanna Burani, shares her favourite recipes with a low or moderate GI. For more information, check out Johanna’s website. The photographs are by Sergio Burani. His food, travel and wine photography website is photosbysergio.com.
Lavender-scented blueberry jam.
There is honey. And then there is lavender honey from Assisi. There are blueberries. And then there are blueberries from the southern shore towns of New Jersey. Put these two magnificent foods together in a pot for about an hour, add a hint of lemon and you’ll have a hauntingly delicious jam (with a moderate GI value). All of this from just three wholesome, natural ingredients. When our blueberries are in season, I buy large quantities and make this jam and hope it lasts until the season returns again. Jam may be stored in the refrigerator for a few weeks, or in the freezer for one year or it can be canned using traditional methods. Makes 10 cups and provides eighty 2-tablespoon servings (30ml)
6 pints fresh blueberries (approximately 5 lb/2¼ kg)
2 cups lavender honey
1 tbs (15ml) fresh lemon juice
Zest ½ lemon
Remove stems from the blueberries. Wash the blueberries and pat them dry. Place them in a large enamelled cast-iron casserole (dutch oven). Add the lemon juice and zest. Mix well. Bring the blueberry mixture to a boil (about 10 minutes), then reduce heat to medium low and cook for approximately 45–50 minutes. Stir occasionally, scraping down the sides of the pot.
Per serve (2 tbs or 30ml)
176kJ/ 42 calories; 0g protein; 0g fat; 10g available carbs; 1g fibre