Macadamia Crème Brûlée Square

If you love crème brûlée as much as I do, prepare yourselves for this miracle creation. I may have outdone myself with this one.

I don’t usually stray from recipes too far when I’m baking, but I had a brain-wave I couldn’t resist testing. I started with the idea of a creamy butterscotch slice with a brûlée top. When I went to trial it though, I ended up leaning further toward a true custard, but I couldn’t resist the addition of condensed milk.

Perfectly complimenting this slice is the addition of the shortbread style base, and the mellow macadamias on top – have to say I’m pretty chuffed with the results.

So what we have here has ended up bearing a strong resemblance to a true crème brûlée. Which turns out, dare I say it, also resembles a fancy take on a classic kiwi custard square. Either way, I’m not complaining!

I share this with the warning to not eat too much at once! Moderate your intake – I’ve had to send my partner away with the half of the slice I hadn’t eaten yet to stop me overindulging (more than I already did).

– Ingredients –

Base:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch of baking powder

Custard:

  • 1 tin/400gm sweetened condensed milk
  • 600ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 Tbsp cornflour
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 30g butter

Topping:

  • 5/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts

– Method –

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC and line a 21x25cm baking tin with baking paper so all sides are covered.

Add all ingredients for the base into a food processor. Process untill it forms small lumps/crumbs. Using the back of a spoon or spatula press it evenly into the bottom of the tin. Bake in the centre of the oven until golden – around 20mins.

While the base is in the oven, begin making the custard. Melt butter in a saucepan then add condensed milk, vanilla and milk. Allow to boil, stir often to prevent burning or a skin forming.

In a separate bowl large enough for the milk mixture, whisk the egg yolks and cornflour until they form a smooth paste.

Add a splash of the boiling milk mixture, whisking quickly to prevent the egg yolks scrambling. Repeat a few times. Add the rest of the boiling milk mixture – it should thicken fairly quickly untill almost stiff and whisking becomes difficult. Pour the custard onto base and smooth it as flat as possible. Let cool then smooth sandwich-wrap over the custard and leave to set in fridge for a few hours/overnight.

If you don’t have a blow-torch: Place oven rack as high in the oven as it can go (while still fitting the tray) and pre-heat to your ovens hottest temperature on grill.

Sprinkle sugar evenly, covering all the custard. Make sure the baking paper isn’t protruding more than a couple of centimeters above the custard. Place tin under the grill. Check on it as you may need to move the tray around so the sugar melts evenly. Remove as soon as the sugar is liquid and golden – this should take 7 – 11 mins.

Cut macadamias to desired size. As soon as slice is out of the oven sprinkle the macadamias over so they stick to the sugar before it solidifies.

Allow to cool before removing from tin. Chill in fridge to set before cutting. To cut you will need a big knife and to use a quick, hard chop to crack through the sugar without crushing the custard.

 

Enjoy! And as always, let me know how you get on!

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Apricot Fudge Slice

Condensed milk is my weakness, and this apricot fudge is condensed milky goodness on steroids. I fangirl for this slice – and it’s so easy! It’s super quick and doesn’t require baking, just mix it all together and forget about it in the fridge for a while and you’re good to go.

Not going to lie, I love pretty much anything that has condensed milk in it. Condensed milk is my weakness, and this apricot fudge is condensed milky goodness on steroids. I fangirl for this slice – and it’s so easy! It’s super quick and doesn’t require baking, just mix it all together and forget about it in the fridge for a while and you’re good to go.

If you love lolly cake (a classic Kiwi treat) you’re bound to love this too. I find that the mix tastes a lot like lolly cake, with the lollies exchanged for apricots…. so it’s essentially lolly cake for grown-ups. I have zero qualms with that.

apricot slice

Also, on an amusing note, it turns out we don’t have a rolling pin at my flat, so I had to use my flatmates hammer. Gotta do what you gotta do.

Remember that you’re allowed to eat things just for the taste. Life is for living to the fullest, and in regards to food, that includes eating to help your body and mind function well, as well as eating things you enjoy, these two things are not mutually exclusive –  you can do both. Health doesn’t require exclusively eating ‘healthy’ foods and shunning all things people tell you are ‘bad’. Your health won’t be ruined by treating yourself. You just have to strike a balance!

– Ingredients – 

  • 1/2 tin condensed milk (200gm)
  • 125gm butter
  • 75gm sugar
  • 1 packet crushed wine biscuits (sweet plain cookies, or graham crackers)
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 3 – 4 Tbsp desiccated coconut

– Method –

Prepare a slice tin with baking paper.

Crush the biscuits to crumbs. I suggest using the handle of a rolling pin to do this.

Chop butter into a saucepan and melt gently with condensed milk and sugar.

Stir the crushed biscuits and the chopped apricots into the butter mixture.

Press into the prepared tin and sprinkle with desicated coconut.

Place the tin in the fridge to allow the slice to set before cutting. Store in fridge.

 

 

Happy eating! And make sure to let me know what you think below!

 

White Chocolate Swirl Fudge Brownie

I present you with my best-friend’s brownie recipe which I have coveted for years, and now finally got my hands on to share with you all. It’s so fudgy, dense, and rich – you are guaranteed to fall in love!

My flat smelled of these brownies for a full day and I couldn’t try any. It was too dark by the time I got them out of the oven to take photos, so I had to leave it untouched for a full day until I’d photographed it. That I managed this, my friends, is a true achievement.

Now, however, I’ve eaten too much of it, and as I write this, I’m feeling super unwell. On that note, I wouldn’t recommend eating 4 pieces in a row, both because you will feel sick like I do now, and because that’s definitely not advisable health-wise. It’s all about balance, guys. But! Remember that when you break your diet like I just did, be chill with yourself, one slip up won’t ruin your progress, so don’t throw in the towel. Move on and give your body some nutritious fuel at your next meal.

Now, I present you with my best friend’s brownie recipe which I have coveted for years, and now finally got my hands on to share with you all. It’s so fudgy, dense, and rich – you are guaranteed to fall in love!

White Chocolate Fudge Brownie
If you like fudgy brownies, this is for you.

– Ingredients –

  • 150g butter
  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 200g chopped white chocolate or white chocolate drops

– Method –

Preheat oven to 160°C, line a 20x30cm tin with baking paper.

In a microwave-safe bowl, heat butter and dark chocolate in the microwave for 60 seconds, and then for short bursts if needed until melted. In a food processor, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla essence, (I don’t have a food processor so I did this by hand and it still turned out beautifully). Beat in the melted chocolate and butter mix, flours, and cocoa. Stir white chocolate into mixture.

Bake for 10 mins, then cover with tin foil and continue baking for another 30-40 min.

The Food Bible

Whatever your health and body goals may be, this right here is a compact summarisation of the ‘need to knows’ on what you put into your body. Welcome to Wellth’s Food Bible. Let’s make some miracles happen.

Here it is! Welcome to my wellthy take on healthy eating. Nutrition may not be my area of expertise, however, as nutrition plays a big role in health which is what Wellth is all about, I have done my research so that along with my own two cents, I may lay down some science-based wisdom on the topic and not be talking to you out of my ass.

Whatever your health and body goals may be, this right here is a compact summarisation of the ‘need to knows’ on what you put into your body.

Weight Control:

Everywhere you look, there is someone weighing in on different diets and quick fixes. No skinny tea is going to cause you to lose fat. What does lead to fat loss, is the consumption of fewer calories than you are expending. Simple as that. Reach a caloric deficit and your body has no choice but to dip into pre-stored energy resources (i.e. fat) in order to keep you up and running. Alternatively, if you are trying to gain weight, eating an excess of calories will do just that.

While reaching and maintaining a caloric deficit is simple in theory, many of us know that these things are easier said than done. To reach a deficit you may think you have to eat boring foods and next to nothing, leaving you starving and lured away by temptation until you fall off the wagon entirely, landing right back where you started. But this does not have to be the case. There are ways you can make it easier to maintain a deficit.

Maintaining a Caloric Deficit:

Although you can reduce portion sizes of energy-rich food to create a deficit, this can leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied. Studies have shown that weight loss is more successful when small portions of energy-dense foods are exchanged for larger, satiating portions of low-energy-dense foods. Basically, load up your meals with lots of low-calorie foods. This will leave you satisfied, and still put you into a calorie deficit. If you don’t know how many calories you should be eating, or the caloric content of different foods, then there are resources that can help you such as MyPlate by LIVESTRONG.COM and the MyFitnessPal app by Under Armour, or just hit up good old Google. You may want to consider consulting a nutritionist to ensure you’re doing what is healthy and right for you.

Burning Calories:

It is important to take into consideration the amount of exercise you do in relation to your calorie intake. If you are trying to reach a calorie deficit but you do no exercise, you will need to consume fewer calories than you would if you did exercise, because you will be burning fewer calories. This applies if your goals are weight maintenance or weight gain also: the more exercise you do, the more calories will be required to reach your goals. Exercise is important for all health and body goals. Muscle growth is essential for healthy weight gain, and to gain muscle, you need to be exerting those muscles. For the goal of fat loss, exercise is helpful both for allowing you to stay in a calorie deficit through burning calories and for increasing your muscle mass. Muscle requires energy to move, and a higher muscle mass requires more energy from your body to use them even in everyday life as well as during a workout, meaning your calorie burn will be higher. So if you aren’t already, it’s definitely worth getting into fitness. There are bonuses all around.

Protein:

Increasing the amount of protein in your diet (in accordance with your calories, be it calorie deficit, calories for weight maintenance, or calorie excess for weight gain), has many benefits. Diets with elevated protein aid in muscle maintenance or gain (dependent on your goals) and loss of fat. Along with this, protein helps improve satiety, helping you stay fuller for longer, so it’s helpful in the maintenance of a calorie deficit. Another bonus of a higher protein diet is that it increases thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a metabolic process in which your body uses energy to keep itself warm. This means that increased thermogenesis helps keep you in a calorie deficit because it increases your calories burned.

‘Bad’ Foods:

You do not need to entirely remove carbohydrates or fats from your diet. Carbs and fats have been labeled ‘bad’. (Let me just say this about fats real quick: fats are not evil. In fact, there are structures in your brain which are made of fats, in which fats improve function). We’ve been told eating carbs and fats will cause weight gain, but as I explained above, specific foods don’t cause weight gain, an excess of calories causes weight gain. Sure, high fat and high carb foods are high calories, but you can eat these foods and lose weight if you are still in a calorie deficit overall. The whole ‘bad’ food label is no help, it’s better to consider that foods are either high or low calorie and high or low nutrient. In order to be healthy, you need to find balance: provide your body with sufficient energy to function, but not excess energy, and provide your body with the nutrients to support your bodies functions, but not get down on yourself when you eat something low nutrient because you like the taste.

Variety:

From a mental health standpoint, eating a variety of different foods is important for allowing your brain to function optimally. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to a whole load of issues you may not have even known about. Here I’ve compiled a basic run-down, courtesy of my university study notes.

  • Deficiencies in vitamin B6 (found in: meats, whole-grains, vegetables, nuts) can result in depression, cognitive decilne, dementia, and autonomic dysfunction.
  • Deficiencies in vitamin B9 (found in: eggs, green veggies, chickpeas, almonds, orange juice) can result in cognitive function impairment.
  • Vitamin B12  (found in: meat, shellfish, eggs, dairy) is required by every cell for metabolic functions, fatty acid synthesis, and energy production. Deficiencies can result in fatigue, depression, memory issues, and neuropathy.
  • Vitamin A is an antioxidant (found in: dairy, eggs, fish, pumpkin, carrots, oranges) and is required for visual perception, gene expression, and neuronal differentiation during development. Deficiencies can result in impaired night vision, blindness, and altered gene expression.
  • Iron (found in meat, shellfish, lentils, spinach) is the oxygen carrier in our blood. Deficiencies can cause fatigue, depression, memory impairment, decreased attention, and irritability.
  • Zinc (found in: oysters, meat, whole-grains, pumpkin seeds, legumes) is required for the perception of taste and smell, as well as the facilitation of DNA production. Deficiencies can result in neuropsychological impairments.
  • Iodine (found in: iodised salt, seaweed, mussels, eggs, sea fish) is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroxine, deficiencies of which can result in cognitive impairment, fatigue, and depression.
  • Magnesium (found in: walnuts, beans, mussels, dark leafy vegetables, sails (if that’s your thing)) is required for the synthesis of energy by all cells. Deficiencies in magnesium can result in depression, insomnia, muscle twitches, and migraines.

Balance:

I’m an advocate for healthy relationships with food. There are many ways in which you can have a negative relationship with food. Eating an excess of food low in nutrients is detrimental to your physical and mental health. Fearing food groups and being excessively strict and restrictive on yourself indicates an unhealthy mentality towards food. Eating food you deem ‘bad’ and punishing yourself for it, or feeling down on yourself and guilty is unhelpful and detrimental to your wellbeing. Studies show that in restrictive eaters with the tendency to guilt and binge eating after breaking their diets, mindfully considering a diet break with self-compassion reduces guilt and prevents binging. It is important that you fuel your body with love.  Put into your body foods that will help it do its job. Treat it well. But also treat you well – eating foods you love that aren’t of much health value, is not going to make you unhealthy if you otherwise treat your body well. Eating foods you love is you allowing yourself to experience life fully and get all the enjoyment out of life you can. This is why you will find recipes for foods on Wellth that are not so nutritious, but definitely delicious. You should be able to let yourself enjoy these foods too. A balanced relationship with food is a healthy relationship with food.

Don’t Judge:

I’m going to leave this here as a reminder to let others live. If a specific style of diet is working for someone, great. There is more than one method to reach the same goal. Just because someone’s method is different, doesn’t make the method wrong. (Of course, some methods aren’t as healthy as others or are total BS, but I’m not talking about those here). Veganism, paleo, keto, or whatever floats your boat is great! If you find a diet you enjoy and that makes you feel good, and whats more, that works for you, that’s awesome. You do you.

 

Eating well can be hard, but your health is worth it. Treat your body right, and don’t be afraid to treat your tastebuds sometimes too. Follow this bible and you may achieve some miracles for your body and mind.

Stay wellthy, and happy eating!

 

 

 

References:

1. Julia A Ello-Martin, Jenny H Ledikwe, Barbara J Rolls; The influence of food portion size and energy density on energy intake: implications for weight management, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 82, Issue 1, 1 July 2005, Pages 236S–241S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/82.1.236S

2. Douglas Paddon-Jones, Eric Westman, Richard D Mattes, Robert R Wolfe, Arne Astrup, Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga; Protein, weight management, and satiety, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 87, Issue 5, 1 May 2008, Pages 1558S–1561S, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S

3. Claire E. Adams and Mark R. Leary (2007). Promoting Self–Compassionate Attitudes Toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 10, pp. 1120-1144. https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2007.26.10.1120

Best Ever Butterscotch Bars

This is a version of a recipe given to me in middle school by a friend (I still have the original, very well-loved looking version in 11-year-old handwriting). It’s been tried and tested to death by me over the past 10 years, so I can safely say this is fail-safe and is definitely a people-pleaser.

This is a version of a recipe given to me in middle school by a friend (I still have the original, very well-loved looking version in 11-year-old handwriting). It’s been tried and tested to death by me over the past 10 years, so I can safely say this is fail-safe and a total people-pleaser.

Being a bit of a glutton for sweet treats myself I like to add the chocolate layer. I love me a classic choco caramel slice, and this is better than any I have ever bought. The version without the chocolate is also incredible, I’d been making it without the chocolate for nine years before I decided to take make the addition, so if you’re not about that life or simply don’t have chocolate on hand, this is still amazing.

Chocolate butterscotch slice recipe
Made this just in time for a rainy rest day!

Get baking and enjoy in moderation (try to, it’s addictive, I’m sorry)!

– Ingredients –

Base:

  • 125g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 cup self-raising flour (or 1 cup standard flour with 1 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 cup standard flour

Filling:

  • 200g butter
  • 4 rounded Tbsp golden syrup
  • 800g condensed milk
  • 1 tsp salt
  • drop of vanilla essence

Optional:

  • 250g chocolate (doesn’t matter what kind, I like using good quality milk chocolate)

– Method – 

Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 23x23cm or 23x33cm baking tray with baking paper.

For the base, cut the butter into pieces and add to large saucepan. Remove from heat once starting to melt. Beat in vanilla, egg, and sugar. Stir in both flours until the base is crumbly. Press mix into a ball. Press the dough into the tin. (You can choose to make this without the chocolate if you wish. For this, break off 1/4 of the dough, wrap it in sandwich-wrap and put it in the freezer before pressing the remainder into the tin).

For the filling, melt butter in a saucepan. Add in golden syrup with a spoon run under hot water. Beat in the condensed milk until completely combined. Add salt and vanilla, then pour over the base. (For the version with no chocolate, grate or crumble the remaining 1/4 of the dough over the butterscotch).

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the center of the oven until the filling has browned. Remove from oven.

Using a double boiler, melt chocolate. Pour and spread chocolate evenly over the slice.

Allow to cool for 2 hours before cutting into slices with a sharp knife run under hot water.