Monday, 30 September 2013

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Papaya and Avocado Salad

What a week! Now we are out the other side of the madness and into school holidays, I may have time to catch up on a few long lost recipes... The kitchen has been running hot, but sadly the recipe write-ups have not been coming along as quickly! Time to rectify the situation and get this recipe for Caribbean Jerk Chicken on the roll.

This meal was absolutely divine - aromatic, spicy chicken, paired with a palate cleansing avocado and papaya salad to balance out the heat. Clean, lean and will get your tastebuds dancing!

This meal was served with a fresh green garden salad (lettuce, cucumber, tomato, and grated carrot with a lime and olive oil dressing) and cauliflower rice (which I added a little jerk seasoning to in order to tie it in with the meal). You could also serve it with plain steamed rice if you prefer.

Caribbean Jerk Chicken with Papaya Salad and Cauliflower Rice

(Gluten free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar)

Jerk Chicken


1 kg boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 spring onions
1tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tbsp dried thyme (or 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp honey
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar (or vinegar of your choice, but apple cider is ideal)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil (or oil of your choice)


1. Remove excess fat from chicken and chop into large chunks. Place in a large bowl.
2. In a mini food processor or blender, combine all other ingredients (onions, cayenne, allspice, thyme, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil). Blend until smooth. There will still be a few small chunks of spring onion, but that's totally ok.
3. If you are making the cauliflower rice, now is a good time to reserve 1 tbsp of the marinade otherwise just use all of the marinade over the chicken. Pour blended marinade mixture over chicken and mix well to ensure all chicken is coated.
4. Cover, and place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.
5. Just before you cook the chicken, it is nice to squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the chicken and mix well.
6. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray (preferably one with sides to stop the juices flowing off the edge!) with baking paper, then place chicken on the tray in one layer. Bake chicken for around 15 minutes until cooked through (cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken pieces, so you will just have to keep a bit of an eye on them).
7. Remove from oven and serve with green salad, papaya salad and cauliflower rice (or steamed coconut rice). Very easy, very delicious - bet you'll go back for more!

(To make coconut rice, add coconut milk powder or coconut milk to the rice when you are cooking it. If using the milk, take out as much water as you put in coconut milk. If you are using powder, keep the amount of water the same as per your rice cooking instructions)

Papaya and Avocado Salad


1 avocado, diced into 1 or 2 cm chunks
1/2 a large papaya, diced into 1 or 2 cm chunks
1 spring onion, finely sliced
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and mix well (gently though - you don't want to smush the avocado or papaya!)
2. Taste, and adjust seasoning according to taste. You may want to add a small amount of very finely diced fresh red chilli (seeds removed) to add a little kick, but go easy as you don't want to loose the delicate avocado or papaya flavours.

Jerk Cauliflower Rice


1/2 a head of cauliflower cut into small florets
2 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp jerk seasoning (see chicken recipe above)
juice of half a lemon or lime
1/4 cup of water or chicken stock
salt and pepper
2 tsp coconut oil


1. In a blender or food processor, blend cauliflower and garlic until a 'rice' consistency is achieved. You may have to do a couple of smaller batches if you still have large chunks.
2. In a large frying pan, heat the oil and add jerk seasoning with the water or stock. Fry for a few seconds just to release the amazing aroma.
3. Add the blended cauliflower and cook for around 5 minutes until the cauliflower is softened but not soggy. You may have to add a little more stock or water if the cauliflower sticks to the pan.
4. Stir in lime juice, salt and pepper and serve in a large bowl.



Friday, 27 September 2013

Vietnamese Beef Skewers with Egg Pancakes, Crispy Vegetables and Fresh Herbs

This has been a very slack week for blog posts - sorry! It has been a very busy week and there have just not been enough hours in the day. On the plus side, we have been having a fantastic week - we have had our wonderful friends staying from Christchurch with their little boy, and it was my birthday in the middle of it all so we have been busy entertaining, socializing and pigging out!

I did promise on the facebook page that I would be getting back into it, and threw out a few teaser pics, so I thought I had probably better follow through! I have a couple of minutes of downtime so will quickly pop this divine Vietnamese recipe and hopefully with follow in the next couple of days with the rest. 

Vietnamese Beef Kebabs

(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, free of refined sugar)


1kg beef mince (or mince of your choice)
3 lemongrass stalks, very finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/2 a large red chill, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ground white pepper
6 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp honey


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray (with edges so the juices don't run off like they did to me!) with baking paper
2. Place the mince in a large bowl. 
3. In a small bowl, combine lemongrass, fish sauce, pepper, spring onions, chill garlic and honey. mix well, then pour into the bowl with the mince. Combine the mince and sauce well (you can use a spoon, but I find the best way to really get it mixed in is just to get in there with your hands and squish!!)
4. Take spoonfuls of mince mixture (around 1/8 cup) and shape into skinny sausages. Insert a skewer into each 'sausage'. Place on baking tray in rows
5. Pace in the oven and cook for around 15-20 minutes until meat is cooked through. Serve on a large platter

Eggy Pancakes


4 eggs
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
coconut oil to fry (or oil of your choice)


1. Crack eggs into a medium size bowl and whisk well.
2. Add coconut milk, arrowroot, pepper, turmeric and salt
3. Heat oil over a medium heat in a medium size frying pan
4. Pour about 1/8th of the mixture (around 1/8-1/4 cup depending on how large you want the pancakes) into the frying pan. Swirl the pan around so that the egg mixture makes a thin coating. Fry until browned (around 1 minute) then flip and cook the other side until all the egg is just set. Remove and set aside on a plate.
5. Repeat the process until all the egg mixture is gone. Serve on a large platter

Crispy Vegetables and Fresh Herbs:


1 telegraph cucumber, sliced into sticks (around 10cm long and 1cm wide)
1 red capsicum, sliced into sticks
1/2 a large papaya sliced into sticks
1 cos lettuce, leaves removed whole and washed (around 10-15 leaves needed)
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves, roughly torn
1 large handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn
1 large handful of fresh mint, roughly torn

Place all vegetables on a serving platter - the gorgeous vibrant colours and clean flavours of the fresh vegetables really make this meal. Serve all the component and large platter and get everyone to help themselves. Serve with Nuoc Cham dipping sauce for an added flavour hit. The idea is that you grab a  lettuce leaf and fill it up with torn bits of omelette, meat from off the skewers and the fresh vegetables and herbs making a little roll out of it all. There really is no right or wrong way - just get in there and play around with different combinations! 



Thursday, 19 September 2013

Pan Fried Flounder with Fish Nuggets, Homemade Oven Chips and Coleslaw

Is anyone else starting to feel the strain of the never ending saga of the Americas Cup?! Another postponed race, another feeling of elation followed by disappointment. Surely the daily swing of emotions is not good for our health?! Fingers crossed that tomorrow is the day that we are all put out of our misery and our normal morning routines can continue. I am certain that if the final race is won tomorrow, national productivity will be at an all time low and there will be a crazy number of sickies being pulled!

Other than the morning of racing excitement, we have had a busy little day. The girls had gymnastics this morning which is always a little hectic, then we had a lovely little playdate straight afterwards with a kindy friend of miss 4, shot to The Warehouse to buy preserving jars for making Kombucha, home for lunch and getting a few jobs done, then out to another wonderful friends place for a second playdate. Phew! Hubby also went to his second bootcamp at the crack of dawn this morning. He has signed up for a crossfit/military style bootcamp which lasts for five weeks....I am currently sitting here in the lounge having a near anaphylactic reaction to the cloud of Deep Heat that is wafting through the room. Poor thing is in a world of pain! But I am so proud of him for taking up the challenge, and I know he will adjust and won't have to hobble everywhere sometime very soon!! 

Just as a little side note, as mentioned above I just made my first batch of Kombucha today. This is a fermented tea drink, the recipe for which has been used for thousands of years to cure all kinds of ailments and generally support health and wellbeing. Check out this link for a website to find out more information if you are interested ( I will keep you posted on how my experiment turns out...feeling a little as though I am back in high school biology class! I have a freaky looking jar on my bench which is growing some very alien-like organisms! 

Getting to the recipe now...little off topic as per usual!

Tonight we had Pan Fried Flounder, and I made Fish Nuggets for the kids. The meal was served with a simple coleslaw, home made oven baked fries, and a fresh green salad. A gorgeous fresh meal which was full of nutrients and flavour. The meal is gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. That's a lot of 'free', but be assured this is definitely free of flavour! The kids adored the fish nuggets especially, and my older rascal really enjoyed dipping the fish in the batter - great messy fun! Hubby is a massive fan of flounder and devoured this one - he totally rated it which was awesome...always hard to please a fisherman!

From bottom left: Panfried Flounder with an onion and coriander sauce, hand cut oven baked fries, cabbage, carrot and daikon coleslaw, fresh green salad, and fish nuggets.

Panfried Flounder with Onion and Coriander Sauce

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, free of refined sugar)


2 whole small flounder (or one large)
coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice
1/2 a large onion (or 1 small)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 tbsp coconut milk
1/4 cup fish, chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of fresh coriander
lemon wedges for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a large frying pan, heat about 1 tbsp oil over a medium/high heat. Season both side of the fish then add to the pan skin side down. Cook for abour 4-5 minutes on this side (depending on the size of the fish) then flip and cook for around the same amount of time again. Remove the fish from the pan and place on the baking tray. Place in the oven just to finish off the cooking and keep warm while you make the sauce. 
3. In a small frying pan, heat about 1 tsp oil over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until translucent and smelling divine! 
4. Add coconut milk and stock, and simmer gently for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
5. Remove the fish from the oven and place on a large plate. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Garnish with fresh coriander and lemon wedges

Cabbage, Carrot and Daikon Coleslaw

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, free of refined sugar)


1/2 cup green cabbage (any variety), finely sliced
1/2 cup red cabbage, finely sliced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1/2 a daikon (white radish), peeled and grated (optional)
1 tsp sesame oil
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp white wine vinegar 
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large bowl combine the 2 types of cabbage, carrot and daikon. Mix well to combine. 
2. In a small bowl, or in a small bottle with a screwcap lid, add sesame oil, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk well until combined. Pour dressing over coleslaw and mix well with a large spoon or just use your (clean) hands to really get the dressing well combined with the vegetables. 

Fish Nuggets

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Grain-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, free of refined sugar)


2 fillets of your choice of white fish (we used snapper)
1 egg
1/4 cup arrowroot (you can use tapioca starch or cornflour as alternatives if you prefer)
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
Coconut oil or oil of your choice for frying (you could also oven bake these if you prefer not to fry)

1. Cut fish into cubes approx 4cmx4cm. 
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg, then add the arrowroot, garlic powder, and seasoning.
4. Heat oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Dunk the fish into the batter (the kids can help with this step) then place in the frying pan, Fry for approximately 1-2 minutes each side, or until lightly golden and cooked through.


  • To make the oven chips, cut vegetables (we had potato, golden kumara and red kumara) into 2cmx2cm chips. Place in a pot of boiling water for around 3-4 minutes or until just slightly softened, drain the water, then add 1 tbsp coconut oil, salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Place on a baking tray, then cook at 200C for around 15 -20 minutes until golden brown and crispy.
  • You could use any kind of whole fish to make this meal. The sauce will work well with any fish, even salmon.


Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chocolate Brownie Bites

Well I don't know about the rest of you, but I think Wednesday is as good of a day as any to be tempted by a little sweet treat! I have been posting a lot of dinner recipes lately and I do prefer to focus on whole foods, vegetables, fruits, lean meats etc, however this would not be my blog without a bit of sweetness!

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a wicked sweet tooth - one that I really struggle to keep in check. This has probably been the hardest part for me in making the decision to go clean... and I am often coming up with ways that I can enjoy something a little bit sweet without going against what works best for our health. I must write a serious post about why we embarked on this journey in the first place - mostly down to digestive issues, but I'll save that for another day...tonight the focus is on chocolate and making hump day a little sweeter, not the internal workings of a crazy little family!

A wee while back, hubby and I were sitting down after a huge day, and we decided that we simply MUST have something sweet and chocolatey (ever had that feeling?...good!). There was nothing in the house, and I wasn't in the mood for getting too creative, so I looked through my recipe archives and found this divine coconutty, chocolatey treat. I made a half batch, which turned out to be a wise choice, otherwise we may have made ourselves a little sick, as they were kind of addictive, but I will post the full recipe should you be making these for more than 2 people. These take mere minutes to make, and could not be easier to whip up when the sweet cravings take hold!

Chocolate Brownie Cake Bites 

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free)
(recipe adapted from


200g coconut butter also known as creamed coconut (see note below)
3/4 cup chocolate chips 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a 24 hole mini muffin pan with liners.
2. In a large bowl, over a pot of simmering water, melt the coconut butter and chocolate chips together, whisking occasionally, until smooth. At this point you must use every ounce of willpower in your being to not just stop at here and eat this bowl of goodness. The melted chocolate and coconut together is quite possibly the closest thing to heaven!
3. Remove the bowl from over the heat. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients. There is no sugar used in this recipe other than in the chocolate (depending on the type of chocolate you choose to use). If you have a super sweet tooth you may like to add a little honey or maple syrup, but I really don't think it's necessary. 
4. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin liners. Bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes.


  • You can choose sugar free chocolate if you would prefer to not have any refined sugar in the baking. There are a number of different brands available, varying in quality and ingredients. Try to find one that doesn't just substitute sugar for a whole raft of other nasties. 



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Japanese Coleslaw Salad

A little post that is secondary to yesterdays post... what to do with the leftovers of the Karaage Chicken meal (if you have any leftovers!!)?

Here is a great little idea for a packed lunch to take to work tomorrow.

Super simple salad, which will travel well and is incredibly delicious and nutritious. This covers all of the nutritional bases...carbohydrates from the pumpkin, protein from the egg, healthy fat from the avocado, and lots of wonderful vitamins and minerals from all of those gorgeous vegetables. 

This hardly requires a recipe, but just for the sake of anyone who wants to know what's in the bowl, here it is...

Japanese Coleslaw Salad

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, option of soy-free, free of refined sugar)

1 cup leftover japanese coleslaw (find the recipe here
1 cup salad greens of your choice (spinach, rocket, mesclun etc)
1/2 cup leftover roasted pumpkin and eggplant (find recipe here or roasted vegetables of your choice
1 boiled egg 
1/4 of an avocado, sliced

Lay the salad greens in a bowl. Layer the pumpkin and coleslaw over the salad then top with the egg and avocado

While I was eating my yummy salad, the girls had a tea party lunch. They had set the lounge up for a tea party and we took it one step further from imaginative play into real life by making little food platters and a pot of tea - they loved it! The funniest part was that they really got into the role of 'ladies doing tea' and were so amazingly polite and well mannered... "Could you please pass me the sandwiches?" "yes, of course I can - here you are", "Thank you very much!" ,"You are welcome", "would you like some of this fruit?".... And so on! This was pretty much repeated every time they wanted more food. Where are these girls at dinnertime every night?! 

 From the top: Strawberry tea, cucumber 'butterfly' sandwiches, mini date muffins, vege platter with homemade hummus, fresh fruit platter


Cucumber "butterfly" sandwiches... Dovedale gluten free chia seed bread topped with little cucumber 'wings'

The girls tucking in (excuse the mess in the background, and yes they are using my yoga mat as a picnic blanket....because it's purple!)

This is a really easy way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy day, and I just used muffins that I had in the freezer (by the time we had made everything else they were defrosted) and whatever was in the fruit bowl/fridge. The muffins were gluten/dairy/nut/soy free mini muffins made with buckwheat and date that I had made a while back and kept in the freezer for lunches. The perfect 'clean' lunch for a couple of princesses!! 

Nerves are shot after another nail biter from team New Zealand - inch by inch we are getting closer to that Cup!

Happy Monday everyone :)


Saturday, 14 September 2013

Japanese Karaage Chicken

Oh wow, what a weekend for New Zealand sport! I became completely engrossed in the All Blacks v South Africa game last night (hence not getting this recipe posted as promised) and this morning it was all on for Team New Zealand... what a race! A shame we didn't win, but what a dramatic moment when they nearly capsized. I was at the swimming pool at the time, and heard on the radio that it had all been a bit exciting, so made hubby find me the replay!

While I was out swimming my lovely family had made waffles for breakfast. What a fantastic way to come home - the heavenly aroma of freshly baked waffles! The kids had even managed to save a couple for me, although I think that was more due to hubby holding some back rather than them being overly generous! Delicious gluten free, dairy free waffles though, and a good way to get the kids involved with the cooking as they really enjoy mixing up the batter and helping pour it on the waffle machine. Served with some yummy fresh fruit they make for a fun weekend treat. 

On Friday I received a copy of the latest issue of Dish magazine. This is a lovely glossy food mag, which always inspires me to try new things. This issue had a gorgeous section about Japanese food, and one of the recipes was for Karaage Chicken. This happens to be one of hubby's favourites on any Japanese menu, but it is usually not the healthiest thing on the menu as it is cooked in a lot of oil. I decided to clean the recipe up and see if I could get the tick of approval. I served it with steamed rice, cabbage salad, carrot pickle, and roasted pumpkin and eggplant to make a full meal. 

Here is the meal we ended up with...SO delicious!! Fresh, vibrant flavours and totally satisfying. Yum!

From bottom left: Steamed rice with Bonito flakes, roasted pumpkin and eggplant, cabbage salad, karaage chicken, carrot and daikon pickle

Karaage Chicken

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, free of refined sugar, optionally soy-free)
500g boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
2 tablespoons mirin (rice wine vinegar)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, crushed

½ cup cornflour or potato flour
1 tbsp coconut oil for frying

1. Trim the fat from the chicken thighs, then chop into 5cm chunks.
2. In a large bowl combine the aminos, mirin, sesame oil, ginger and garlic. Add the chicken, mixing well to combine. Cover and refrigerate, preferably for 2 hours or more.
3. Preheat oven to 200C.  Line a baking tray with baking paper.
4. Drain excess marinade from chicken, then mix the cornflour or potato flour with the chicken in a bowl until all pieces are well coated.
5. On the stove, in a large frying pan over medium high heat, heat oil and fry chicken until lightly browned (you may need to do this in 2 batches, as you do not want to overcrowd the pan or it will not brown well.
6. Place the chicken pieces in one layer on the baking tray and bake in the oven until the chicken is cooked through (should only need 10 minutes or so, depending on how long it was in the frying pan).
7. Serve on a platter with lemon wedges and homemade mayonnaise

Shaved Cabbage Salad

2 cups very finely sliced cabbage (a mix of red and white is nice, but you can use either or)
2 teaspoons of black or white sesame seeds, toasted (or raw if, like me you don’t remember to toast them!)
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
1 tsp honey
¼ wasabi paste
pinch of salt

1. Shred cabbage very finely and place in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, sesame oil, aminos, honey, wasabi and salt. Whisk until well combined. 
3. Pour dressing over the cabbage and mix until well coated. 
4. Place in a serving bowl and sprinkle with sesame seeds

Carrot and Daikon pickle

1 tsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce
1/8 tsp wasabi paste
1/8 tsp honey
½ a large carrot, grated or finely chopped
5-10cm chunk of daikon (white radish), grated or finely chopped
½ tsp black sesame seeds

1. Place grated carrot and daikon in a small bowl. 
2. In another small bowl combine mirin, aminos, wasabi and honey. Mix well then combine with carrot and daikon. 
3. Serve in a small bowl. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds

Roasted Pumpkin and Eggplant

1/2 a pumpkin, diced into 2cm cubes
1 eggplant, diced into 2cm cubes
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tbsp mirin (rice wine vinegar)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1cm piece of garlic, grated
1/2 tsp salt 

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. Chop the vegetables into even sized pieces. In a large bowl, combine the sesame oil, mirin, garlic and ginger
3. Add the vegetables and mix well to coat
4. Place the vegetables on the baking tray in a single layer
5. Bake for around 30 minutes until soft and golden

Serve the meal with steamed rice, garnished with bonito flakes and sesame seeds


- You can buy most of the ingredients to make this meal from the supermarket, such as the wasabi, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds and gluten free soy sauce. For the daikon you may need to go to an asian greengrocer (I got mine from Tai Ping Supermarket in Pakuranga). 
- The bonito flakes are dried paper thin slices of bonito (a type of fish). This may be available in the specialty food section of your supermarket, otherwise most asian grocery stores will carry it. It gives a bit of a salty fishy flavour, but is not essential to the recipe so feel free to leave it out if it is not to your taste of you cannot find it. 

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Lamb Shawarmas

This morning I made the mistake of asking hubby what he felt like for dinner tonight. His answer? "I've been really craving Shawarmas"!!! Oh, ok problem, I'll just whip some up for you shall I?!!!!!

At first I just laughed and started to think about what I could actually make for dinner. Then, I started thinking maybe I could make a Shawarma of sorts. There is a little hole in the wall restaurant on Wellesley St (or maybe Victoria St, we can never remember which one) which has great Shawarmas that are incredibly tasty. Hubby absolutely loves them, so it was a tall order to recreate them in a way that would satsify his tastebuds! 

The typical Shawarma is made with marinated meat (chicken, lamb or beef), a bunch of yummy sauces and salad vegetables stuffed into a pita bread (similar to a kebab or souvlaki). 

Anyway, after a bit of research and a bit of prep I found a delicious marinade for the lamb (courtesy of, chopped up a bunch of fresh salad vegetables and served it all on a big platter with a selection of sauces so that everyone could have what they fancied.

Here is the finished product...sorry to not get in all in one photo!

Left to right: Homemade hummus (Click the link for the recipe, hot chilli sauce, homemade dairy free 'yoghurt' sauce (made with coconut and cashew nuts), lemons and limes, fresh salad vegetables (tomato, broccoli, capsicum, cucumber, carrot, lettuce), homemade tahini sauce, chopped avocado)

Succulent lamb...juicy, tender, amazing flavours!

Lamb Shawarmas


Shawarma Meat and Marinade

500g lamb leg steaks (or whichever cut you prefer) , sliced into 1cm thick strips

3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cumin
¼ tsp caraway seeds
¼ tsp cardamom
¼ tsp thyme (fresh or dried)
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 cup olive oil

Tahini Sauce:

¼ cup tahini paste
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp parsley
1/8 cup lemon juice
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp water

Dairy Free ‘Yoghurt’ Sauce (based on recipe from Dr Libby Weaver - The Real Food Chef):

Flesh of one young drinking coconut (available in the produce section of your supermarket
¼ cup coconut water (easiest to use the water from the coconut)
1 clove garlic
juice of half a lemon
½ cup whole raw cashew nuts
1/8 cup filtered water
1/8 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp parsley or mint

1 large tomato, roughly diced
1/2 a cucumber, cut into 1cm quarters
1/2 a red capsicum, sliced into thin strips
1/2 a head of cos lettuce (or lettuce of your choice, washed and finely sliced)
1 avocado, diced
1 carrot, grated
1/2 a lemon, 1/2 a lime, chopped into quarters (for garnish)


Firstly, marinade the meat...
1. In a mini blender, combine all ingredients for the marinade, excluding the lamb and olive oil. 
2. In a large bowl, place the sliced lamb, then cover with the marinade ingredients. Give everything a good mix to combine and get the lamb really well coated. Add the olive oil and mix again. Cover the bowl and place in the fridge for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. 

Then, prepare your sauces...
3. In a blender combine all the ingredients for the tahini sauce. Blend until well combined. You may beed to add a little more water if the sauce is too thick. It should be a similar consistency tomato sauce. Pour into a small bowl to serve.
4. Clean the blender, then add all the ingredients for the 'yoghurt' sauce. Blend until well combined, again adding more water if necessary. This sauce is nice slightly thicker, a similar consistency to hummus. (see notes below for further details). Pour into a small bowl to serve.

Time for the vegetables...
5. Chop all of your vegetables and arrange on a plate to serve

And now the meat...
6. Heat a frying pan to high heat. Fry the meat until blood is no longer running out. Be careful not to overcook so that the meat does not become tough. Frying time will vary depending on what size you make your meat pieces. 

Now to put it all together...
7. On a large platter place all of the sauces in a variety of small bowls (hummus, 'yoghurt' sauce, tahini sauce, chilli sauce). Put the vegetables on a large plate, and the meat on a serving platter. Place all in the centre of the table so that everyone can build their own meal. Serve the meat, vegetables and sauces with pita bread (if you can find gluten free) or tortillas. They are great with oven baked potato fries too.

 Here are some of the options for serving...Corn tortillas, pita pockets, potato chips (not all strictly Clean Eating, but they make the meal a little more authentic)...

Or you could choose to make a salad out of it which is how I chose to have mine. Very clean, but with all of the delicious flavours!


To make the coconut 'yoghurt' sauce, you will need a fresh young coconut. Getting into this will be the only hard part of making this meal! I find it easiest to hack the top top bit off and gouge a hole through the shell to drain out the water. Drain into a glass or bowl to use for the recipe (you will probably have plenty leftover which is great in a smoothie for breakfast). Once the coconut is empty, take it outside and smash it on something hard until it cracks in half. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon. 

This is a seriously yummy meal, and another one to add to the list of child friendly meals. The kids loved it, and they really enjoyed the 'build your own' idea. Anything that gets them interacting with the food seems to really ensure that they eat well.



Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Steamed Coconut Buns with Chicken and Broccoli - recreating Jamie Oliver!

A couple of nights ago I was catching up on a couple of episodes of Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals (not sure how many people can achieve the meals in 15 minutes, but that's beside the point!). Jamie Oliver is one of my food idols - I love his rustic style and the way he just throws food around, rips it up, hacks into stuff and gets in there with his hands. His presentation style of chucking everything on a giant board also totally appeals, and it is such a great family style way of eating.

The meal I was watching was a chinese inspired dish of Steamed Coconut Buns with Steamed Chicken and Broccoli. The chicken was cooked in hoisin sauce, and the whole meal was so simple, fresh and healthy that it became my new 'must cook' meal. I had a few thoughts while watching it on how I could make it gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and generally just clean it up a bit. Jamie Oliver does generally cook really amazing whole, real food which is part of what appeals, and this meal was no exception. However, the coconut buns had wheat flour in them, and the hoisin sauce was from a jar and I thought I would take it one step further and create gluten-free buns and make the hoisin sauce from scratch. I also added a few extra vegetables just to round the meal out a little.

The end result was a meal that was so simple and delicious and absolutely devoured by the family! The kids devoured the chicken in particular, and hubby went nuts for the coconut buns, which is impressive considering he is a real bread lover and very particular about the quality!

For the buns, the original recipe just uses flour and coconut milk. Very simple. To be fair I didn't try the original version as they used wheat flour, but when I recreated them with gluten-free flour they were just a little bit bland, and gluten-free flour can also have a slight aftertaste if it doesn't have much in it to create flavour. My first batch were a bit of a failure in that sense, as well as being very dense and more rock cake than moist little bun. so I decided to have a little play with the flavours and quantities and ended up with a light, fluffy tasty little bun. These are so extremely easy to make and are a fantastic alternative as a carbohydrate with your meal. The next step in my plan is to come up with a way of making them using coconut flour so that they can be grain free as well for any of you paleo types out there, but at this stage I have kept it simple with simple gluten-free self raising flour.

For the hoisin sauce I spent a bit of time googling ideas on how to recreate the flavour. The most popular versions used a base of soy sauce and peanut butter. Not too bad, but let's take it to the next level nutritionally by using coconut aminos and almond butter. The sauce worked really well with the changes, and really complimented the flavour in the buns.

Here is the end result:


For the original recipe, just google Jamie Oliver Coconut Buns and you should be able to find all of the information. For the Clean, Lean, Gluten-Free version follow the instructions below. Sadly my flair for presentation is not quite up to Jamie Oliver standards, partly due to being generally bad at styling, and partly because I am always trying to take photos while I have the kids sitting at the table demanding their dinner, so it is usually done in a massive hurry! I always have these grand ideas on how I will make it look amazing, but then the time pressure gets to me and I just throw it on a plate and take a blurry snap!

Steamed Coconut Buns with Chicken and Broccoli

(Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, free of refined sugar)

Homemade Hoisin Sauce:

4 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp black pepper
1.5 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp chilli powder
1 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, crushed

1. Using either a small blender, a bowl with a whisk or just an old jar, combine all ingredients and blend, whisk or shake well until combined. Set aside until ready to use.

Steamed Chicken with broccoli:

500g chicken breast or tenderloin, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, chopped into 1cm thick diagonal slices
½ cup field mushrooms, chopped
½ cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 cup snow peas, trimmed 
10 stems of broccolini, or 10 large broccoli florets

1. Cut chicken into thin strips and place into a large bowl. Cover with about 2-3 tbsps of your prepared hoisin sauce. If you have time, marinate for an hour or so, but if not it doesn't matter.
2. Add chopped vegetables to the bowl, excluding the broccoli and snow peas. Get sauce coating everything well.
3. In a large steamer, place combined chicken and vegetables. Lay snow peas and broccoli over the top. Steam for around 10-15 minutes until chicken is cooked.
4. Serve on a large plate and garnish with fresh coriander and diced chilli.

All set ready for some steamy action

Coconut Buns:

½ cup coconut milk
1 cup gluten free self raising flour
1 tbsp coconut aminos
pinch of chilli
1 tsp sesame oil
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder

1. Over medium heat set up a food steamer with a few inches of water in the bottom. Bring to the boil to create steam (ideally you would be best to use a bamboo steamer, but any steamer pot system will work).
2. Place all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until a sticky dough forms.
3. Place large scoops of the dough into muffin patty cases.
4. Place patty cases in the steamer and steam for around 10 minutes until cooked through.
5. Serve as soon as possible. These are best when still warm and fluffy.



Cucumber Pickle:

½ telegraph cucumber
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel lengthways down the cucumber to get long ribbons. Combine in a bowl with dressing. Give it a good squeeze with your hands to really get the pickle flavour infused into the cucumber

To garnish:

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds (over a low heat in a small frying pan, toast the seeds until golden brown)
large handful of coriander, roughly torn
1 red chilli, roughly chopped

To assemble the meal:

Put the buns and the chicken on large plates, and in small bowls put the rest of the hoisin sauce, the sesame seeds and the cucumber. To eat, get in there with your hands! Rip the buns apart, dip them in the sauce, then the seeds, stuff them full of the chicken... make it your way!

This meal really will become a family favourite, and although it wasn't quite 15 minutes as per Jamie Oliver, it was probably only about half an hour to make all up. Fast, healthy, filling and affordable - what could be better?!



Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Mexican Dinner Bowl and Honey 'Soy' Chicken Drumsticks

A quick post tonight before I hit the sack. I went to a class at the gym tonight called Hardcore. Aptly named!! I am unsure if I will be able to lift my arms much higher than shoulder height by the morning...there was some serious burn happening...early night is now required!

I took my youngest for some practice on her scooter after Montessori today - I am trying to get her more interested in riding her scooter, as her older sister is a wild child on hers, and I have these happy visions of both of the girls riding along beside one another and doing some fabulous sisterly bonding. Instead, what I have is one child who likes to go about 100kph and one who like to do about 3 pushes then decides it's time to carry the scooter, then have a whinge, then sit on the pavement and stop altogether! The outing always ends with the little one in the pram, the scooter stowed away underneath and me sprinting down the road trying to catch up with little miss independent! I am determined now to get her practicing more so that we can put an end to this carry on, but she really seems quite determined to NOT learn how to ride! Oh well, eventually she will get there I am sure...and if not I will just have to take the pram everywhere we go or make her walk which I am sure she will dislike even more.

Tonight I have a couple of fast, easy meal ideas. These are not new, and not original, but they are good ideas for those nights when either time or inspiration, or both, are lacking. Both meals are also very budget friendly and can serve a family for minimal cost.

The first is a Mexican Dinner bowl.

This is essentially a deconstructed burrito without the tortilla. I saw the idea on another blog site ( and thought it was a great idea for a fast mexican meal. The one I made here consists of mexican beef with chopped lettuce and tomato, cauliflower rice (you can find the recipe for cauliflower rice here, smashed avocado, chopped jalapeƱos and fresh coriander. You could add beans, rice, other veges - basically whatever you want.

Here is my recipe for mexican beef:

Mexican Beef with Spinach 

(Gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, grain-free, free of refined sugar)


500g beef mince
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1/2 a capsicum (any color - I used yellow, but red adds a great colour to the dish)
1 large handful of baby spinach
5-6 button mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried or fresh oregano
1/2 tsp chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp coconut oil, or cooking oil of your choice
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh coriander to garnish


1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat
2. Add onion and garlic and cook gently until softened
3. Add mince and cook until no longer pink
4. Add vegetables, spices and tomato paste.
5. Cook until vegetables are softened but still a little firm. If the mixture dries out too much add a little water or stock as needed.
6. Season to taste. Serve with fresh coriander

The other meal which is a great go to is chicken drumsticks. The kids adore these, and they are so easy to prepare, and very cost effective. I served these with coconut brown rice (brown rice cooked in coconut milk, baked greens (kale chips and broccoli), and roasted carrots. The options are endless for ways to serve these! They are also great cold the next day for lunch or just as a snack.

Tonight I made them with a honey, 'soy', garlic, sesame flavor which went down very well. Instead of soy sauce I used coconut aminos but you can just as easily substitute for gluten-free soy sauce if that's what you have in the cupboard.

Here is the recipe for anyone who needs it:

Honey, Soy, Sesame Chicken Drumsticks

(gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, free of refined sugar, and optionally soy-free)


8 chicken drumsticks, skin off 
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup sesame seeds


1. Place chicken drumsticks in a large bowl
2. In a small bowl mix together the garlic, coconut aminos, honey and lemon juice. Combine well, then pour over the chicken and stir until chicken is well coated. Marinade for at least an hour if you can.
3. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
4. Spread the chicken pieces out on the baking tray and pour any leftover marinade over the top. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the chicken and bake for around 20-30 minutes until cooked through (cooking time will depend on the size of your drumsticks



Sunday, 8 September 2013

Rhubarb Custard Cookies

Mmmmm rhubarb and custard is such a winning combination! My wonderful friend bought some garden fresh rhubarb over a week or so ago, and I ended up using it to create some delicious little rhubarb and custard cookies. These were really easy to make, and the only problem with them was that it was really hard to stop at just a couple!

The cookies are not super sweet, although can be made sweeter if you prefer, and have a nice tart, zesty hit with the rhubarb and lemon which is mellowed out by the addition of the custard powder. I made these gluten-free but used butter, but you could use coconut oil which I think would still work. They do have some whole-grains in them, and I added a bit of buckwheat flour to boost the nutritional profile. Ironically, buckwheat is from the same family as rhubarb which also has lots of goodies in it (great source of B vitamins as well as vitamin A and K). In saying that, these are still cookies, so best not to eat the whole batch in one sitting (although I'm pretty sure I gave it a good shot!).

Rhubarb and Custard Cookies

Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar


½ cup finely chopped rhubarb
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup plain gluten free flour
½ cup brown rice flour
¼ cup buckwheat flour
½ cup custard powder (ensure it is gluten free)
125g butter
4 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp lemon or orange zest


    1.     Preheat oven to 170C
    2.     Grease or line a baking tray
    3.     In a large bowl, cream butter, honey, vanilla essence and zest
    4.     In another bowl sift together flours, custard powder and baking powder
    5.     Add the combined dry ingredients to the wet mix, add rhubard and mix until well combined.
    6.     Place spoonfuls of the dough on to the baking sheet. Gently press down with the back of a fork
    7.     Bake for around 10-12 minutes or until golden brown
    8.   Cool on a wire rack

    Delicious served with a cup of tea and a good book while sitting in the warm spring sunshine!


Saturday, 7 September 2013

Citrus Curd

The kids are due back from their weekend away, I'm sitting here watching New Years Eve (the lighthearted holiday rom-com movie!) and decided there was just enough time for one more post before the mayhem begins. I dropped our two gorgeous girls down with their grandparents on Friday afternoon and they are being dropped back shortly - two whole nights, which always seems like ages, but it goes by so quickly! About this time I start getting a little anxious though, and I go from being excited about having a wee break to really missing their crazy ways!! Hubby and I have been having a real foodie weekend though which has been fantastic.

On Friday night we decided to try out The Food Truck Garage on Welleslie St (Auckland CBD). I cannot recommend it highly enough!! We had an amazing meal, the place had a great vibe, and the bill was only $53. Amazing value for money, and well worth a trip. There were also plenty of options available for those of us who have specialized diets, and even better they serve sparkling water free! I don't know about anyone else, but I find that paying crazy prices for sparkling water in restaurants gets a bit old! I'm sure it's some kind of fancy spring water from some amazing artesian well in some deep part of a deserted fijian island, but some of the prices for that stuff are insane!

My yummy Food Truck salad - would be in the top 3 salads I've eaten! Sorry for the half plate - their presentation is much better!! I couldn't help eating half of it, then remembered to take a photo! In the back corner are the incredible thick cut vegetable chips....mmmmmmm!

On Saturday hubby had to work, and I went out for lunch with my gorgeous cousin to the new Little Bird Cafe in Ponsonby. For those of you who have not heard of Little Bird it is also right up there on my list of fantastic foodie places in Auckland. They describe themselves as an 'unbakery', serving raw, organic whole foods. They create divine meals out of the most incredible ingredients, and it was such a fantastic experience going to a cafe where both my cousin and I could eat anything we wanted on the menu without having to ask questions or make a special order. If you are after a delicious lunch or brunch this place is has amazing food, delectable drinks, and to finish off they have a cabinet full of the most luscious sweet treats that are all gluten, dairy, and sugar free as per the rest of the menu.

Last night was a miserable rainy night so we went in to the Ponsonby Food Court and got all cheap and cheerful with full bellies! I had a delicious Som Tum (Thai Carrot Salad) and hubby had a kebab - both excellent and great value for money.

Early last week I had a whole bunch of egg yolks leftover from making the fathers day waffles and could not decide what to do with them so went about getting an idea in the usual way - trawling the internet until inspiration struck!

I came across a recipe for Lemon Curd and was instantly transported back to the days of school fairs and stalls selling homemade jam and curd. I was always a sucker for a good lemon curd, and having it slathered on a piece of hot toast is a fond memory. However, it is choc-a-block full of sugar and I had a bit of a look at the general construction of the recipe and decided it could be remade in a much healthier way without all of that refined sugar. I used a little bit of butter which is in the original recipe, but you could also substitute coconut oil for a dairy-free version. This would be absolutely divine slathered on some Coconut Bread for a Sunday afternoon treat - here is a recipe courtesy of Petite Kitchen which is perfect and so easy to make ( This stuff is also amazing as a quick cheat for a lemon tart filling, and can be a great little surprise ingredient in a muffin (put half the batter in the muffin tin, place a dollop of lemon curd on, then the rest of the batter. When you bite into the muffin you will get a gorgeous citrus sweet surprise!).

Citrus Curd


6 egg yolks (size 7)
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 orange
1/3 cup honey
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp butter or coconut oil
zest of 1 lemon


1. In a small saucepan put the yolks, juices, honey and salt. 
2. Heat over a medium heat, whisking constantly, until thick (around 5-6 minutes). 
3. Remove from heat. Add butter and zest, Whisk until butter is melted. 
4. Pour mixture into a glass bowl and cover with gladwrap or baking paper (to prevent a skin from forming). 
5. Refrigerate until cold. 



Friday, 6 September 2013

Coconut Bread Pudding

Fathers day was full of delicious treats, and as I mentioned in my last post we finished the day with a delicious Bread Pudding which is one of my stepdads favourites.

I took the classic Bread and Butter Pudding, and made it gluten-free and diary-free, and free of refined sugar, bar the chocolate chips I used. If you wanted yours to be free of refined sugar as well, you could substitute for a sugar free chocolate (in my experience they usually have other nasties in them which make them no better), or make a delicious chocolate sauce from cocoa, coconut oil and honey to drizzle over the finished product instead (I thought I had a recipe for chocolate sauce on here, but it's not there...I will get that sorted soon!)

Here is the finished product served and ready. We served it with Nice Cream (a delicious new made with coconut milk - it's amazing!!) but you could serve it with any kind of frozen treat, or have it au naturel...Delicious!

Tropical Coconut Bread Pudding

Gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free


Half a loaf of Coconut Bread (you could make your own, I used Phoenix Bakeries coconut bread which I had in the freezer - it's a fantastic product and readily available anywhere good gluten free bread products are sold)
3 eggs
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp coconut oil (gently melted, or butter if you prefer)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 cup chocolate chips (omit if you are going with the chocolate sauce option)
1/2 a papaya, finely sliced (you can use any tropical fruit you like, or use 1 cup fresh or frozen berries for an alternative)


1. Preheat oven to 170C. Select a medium size heavy baking dish, preferably glass or ceramic
2. In the baking dish layer the bread and fruit. It's best if it overlaps a little as this allows the liquid mixture to get right around the bread and really soak in, plus it means some bits of bread will poke out of the liquid and get all toasty and delicious. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top of the bread.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla essence.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, ensuring that you get nice even coverage. You may need to poke the bread around a bit to get most of it sitting in the egg, but as mentioned it doesn't matter if there are little bits poking up as it just adds to the dish
5. Bake for around 30 minutes until the egg is cooked and the top is golden. Serve immediately with ice-cream. This is also delicious cold the next day!!

Enjoy :)