Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Blueberry Coconut Yoghurt

A few weeks ago I was in our local Huckleberry Farm and there was a rep there for CoYo. It's a relatively new product on the market, and it's a dairy free yoghurt made from coconut milk. The rep was there handing out tasters and my youngest and I made quick work and scored a taste of all of the different flavours. Very delicious! I decided to buy a tub as a treat for the kids, and a treat it will remain because although it is very tasty and I think it's a fantastic product, at $14.50 a tub it is a little on the pricey side for us to enjoy as a regular part of our daily food intake.

As I have become inclined to do (my inner cheapskate makes me curious!), I decided that it must be easy enough to make a similar product for less. Although the final product I came up with isn't quite as smooth and creamy as the original CoYo (largely because of the added chia seeds which give it a slight grainy texture), it has still been popular with the kids, and has a thick yoghurt consistency. I added probiotics to give the health benefits of real yoghurt, and used ground chia seeds to thicken it. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, and free of refined sugar, this is a great alternative to amp up your breakfast, or have with a fresh fruit salad for a refreshing summer dessert.

The little bit of sweetener makes the good bacteria from the probiotics very happy which is fantastic for your gut health. You can leave the probiotics out and just make a delicious dessert straight away without having to rest the yoghurt if you prefer. The chia seeds act as a natural thickener, and boost give an added boost of omega 3 and protein to the yoghurt. The blueberries give you a healthy serving of antioxidants.

Blueberry Coconut Yoghurt
Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

1 270ml can of coconut milk (about a cup and a half)
1 tbsp ground chia seeds (use a coffee grinder to grind them - you can use them whole if you don't have a grinder, it will just create more of a crunch)
1/2 tsp honey or maple syrup (or 1/8 tsp stevia)
1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) blueberries
3 probiotic capsules

1. Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until well combined.
2. Heat gently over a low heat in a small pot until just warm
3. Pour yoghurt into a bowl, cover and leave to sit for 24 hours in a warm, bright spot.
4. Once a slight tanginess has developed, keep in an airtight container in the fridge



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Coconut Curry Pork Stirfry

The last few days have been really busy and there hasn't been a lot of time for making much in the way of dinner. Tonight we had a pork stir fry with a coconut curry sauce which was simple, fast and delicious. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and sugar-free this meal is full of nutrients, wonderfully clean, and nice and light for a hot summers evening. I served it with coconut and chilli cauliflower rice, but you could serve with steamed rice if preferred.

Not the best photo sorry - the colors look a bit dull here, but the dish was actually quite vibrant looking!

Coconut Curry Pork Stirfry

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

500g pork fillet, thinly sliced
1/2 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 large carrots, cut into diagonal slices
2 bunches bok choy, roughly chopped
2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
1 tbsp red curry paste
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
1 cup mung bean sprouts
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup water or chicken stock

1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil over a medium-high heat.
2. Add the garlic,  ginger and curry paste and fry for 30 seconds or so until the aromas are released.
3. Add the pork and fry for a couple of minutes until no longer pink. Remove the pork from the pan and put aside.
4. Heat the second tbsp oil over the same heat and add the broccoli, mushrooms and carrots. Fry for a couple of minutes, then add water or chicken stock to create some steam. Fry until vegetables are just cooked (you want them to still be firm to the bite, and still vibrant in color)
5. Add the pork back into the pan with the coconut milk. Cook for a couple of minutes until all heated through and pork is cooked through.
6. Remove from heat, then stir in mung bean sprouts. Serve with cauliflower rice or steamed rice


To make the cauliflower rice, follow this recipe, but make these adjustments… When you are blending the cauliflower, add 1 roughly chopped red chilli with the cauliflower and garlic. Instead of adding chicken stock/ water while cooking, add 1/4 cup of coconut milk, and add 1 thinly sliced spring onion to the pan. Yum!



Saturday, 23 November 2013

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancakes)

Oh my goodness, these last few days have been the most amazing summer conditions! It's been a great weekend…playdate yesterday morning with wonderful friends, a relatives 2 year old birthday party yesterday afternoon, takeaways on the deck in the sunshine last night, swimming for the whole family this morning, a wonderful girls lunch in the sun for me today, and the kids are at the Santa Parade with hubby so I am home alone!! I just spent half an hour sitting out in the fresh air topping up vitamin D levels and getting stuck into the most wonderful trashy chick-lit book…cannot remember the last time that happened. A guilty pleasure! Felt it was about time I did some work though…the quiet time will be over soon and I'll feel bad for not having achieved anything!

Friday night was another one of those hot sticky evenings, so I decided a nice light meal full of fresh flavors was going to be in order. I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food (as anyone who has read a few pages of this blog will probably realize!) and really love the crispy vietnamese pancakes that a filled with yummy fresh, vibrant vegetables and herbs. Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and sugar free, this meal is packed with protein, nutrients, vitamins and minerals and is sure to please kids and adults alone. The novelty of having a pancake for dinner keeps the kids interested, and as always you can adapt it by leaving out the chilli and any vegetables that they are no keen on and customize the meal to suit their needs.

I firmly believe in cooking one meal for the whole family, as I think that family dinner times are a really important way for the family to regroup at the end of the day and share everything that has happened. Obviously this is not always possible for every family, but we are lucky enough that hubby is home at 6pm and like any good housewife I have dinner ready on the table when he gets home!!! hahahah :) (just for the record I am not really the housewife type, it just works best for us to have our evenings work out that way, and hubby is really not the cooking type! His areas of speciality are more tech and outdoors - mowing the lawns, fixing the cars and keeping the TV/computers/audio systems running smoothly!).

Because of the one meal policy, I do sometimes have to make slight modifications in the meals along the way. I want the kids to experience eating a range of foods, flavors, textures and obviously get a full range of nutrients, however there are limits to what a 2 and 4 year old will willingly try or enjoy. So, as an example, where I put chilli in a meal I will often add it in at the end after I have dished up the kids plates so they are still eating the same meal without the spice, or in the case of a curry I will make it very mild, serve theirs up and then add more curry paste or chilli to ours. With vegetables, I will usually just plate the kids up everything then either remove the veges I know they just won't go near (mushrooms and obvious onions are pretty much no go), or I leave all the veges on the plate and ask the kids to just leave the ones they don't want to eat to the side. We do have one rule, which is that if there is a new food you have to at least give it a try before you say you don't like it. They only have to take one small bite, but I am just trying to encourage a willingness to at least give it a go. Sometimes they spit it out which is fine, but other times they are pleasantly surprised.

So, the point of this is that the kids really love eating some of these different foods, especially a meal like this one which is packaged a little differently - all wrapped up in a pancake! Please don't be put off by the long list in the recipe - their meal really is very quick and easy to make.

Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Pancakes)

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free


Omelette (this makes 2 large or 4 small pancakes)
6 eggs
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tbsp tapioca starch (optional, just makes the pancake a little more crispy)
2 tbsp coconut milk
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 tsp salt

600g uncooked prawns, shelled and deveined
2 pork schnitzel slices, thinly sliced (not the crumbed ones!) - optional. The meal can be meat free if preferred
2 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped
2 cm chunk of fresh ginger, grated
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of half a lemon or lime
1 red chilli, thinly sliced (optional)

1 large spring onion, finely sliced
1 cup mung bean sprouts
6 portabello mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice)
1 cup kale or spinach, roughly chopped or torn
1/2 red capsicum , thinly sliced
1 large shallot or half an onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil


1. In a large bowl, combine the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, salt, fish sauce, lemon juice and chilli. Add the prawns and pork. Marinate for at least 30 minutes. (you can cook straight away, but marinading it just develops the flavors really nicely).
2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, shallots, capsicum and kale. Cook for a few minutes until vegetables are softened.
3. Add prawns and pork. Cook until prawns have turned red and pork is cooked through. Remove from heat.
4. Add half the mung beans and half the spring onions and stir into the mixture.

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well.
2. Heat half the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
3. Add half the egg mix and swirl around pan to create an even coating
4. Cook for one minute (or until starting to bubble and egg is mostly all cooked). Flip and cook for another 30seconds to a minute on the other side. Pancake should be gently crisped and golden brown.
5. Repeat process with the other half of the mixture.

To plate:
Put one omelette on a large plate. Top with prawn mixture, then add a handful of fresh mung beans. Fold omelette over, top with the rest of the spring onions and drizzle with Nuoc Cham (vietnamese dipping sauce - see notes below). Serve with coleslaw (see notes below), fresh salad or vegetables of your choice.


My coleslaw was made of shredded cabbage, shredded lettuce, grated carrot, cucumber cut into matchsticks, roughly chopped tomato a tbsp of fish sauce, a tbsp lemon juice and a handful each of fresh mint and fresh coriander. You can use whatever quantities you like and add any ingredients you like.

Nuoc Cham is a very simple little dipping sauce. I eyeball the quantities a bit but I think the one I made had roughly 2 tbsp fish sauce, 3 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp water and 1/2 a red chilli finely diced. Put all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. You can add a little honey (about 1/2 tsp) if you like the sweet element, but I prefer it without.



Thursday, 21 November 2013

Clean Nutella! Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread

I have just been pondering whether or not I am allowed to use the Nutella brand name in my title, but what the heck… I'm sure it means you all know what I'm talking about, and I doubt the people who make Nutella won't exactly be knocking down my door demanding their brand rights be adhered too!

I was looking in the pantry yesterday and found a bag of hazelnuts which were probably about due to be used. Never one to waste awesome ingredients, I thought of many different ways that I could use them, but settled on making some good old fashioned Nutella! I have never given the girls Nutella, partly because I prefer them to have savory spreads on their toast, and partly because the real thing is full of all sorts of rubbish, loaded with sugar and also has dairy which reacts badly to all of us.

 Gorgeous Roasted Hazelnuts

Smooth, creamy, chocolatey, nutty - yummy!!

Clean Nutella (Chocolate Hazelnut Spread)

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

1 cup whole raw hazelnuts
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp maple syrup or sweetener of choice
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. On a lined baking tray, roast hazelnuts for about 10 minutes until lightly golden
3. Pour hazelnuts into a blender or food processor and blend until it starts to combine and become buttery in texture. Add the cocoa powder, sweetener, coconut oil and coconut milk and blend until a creamy buttery texture is achieved. You may have to stop a few times and scrape the sides of the blender.



Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Vanilla Icecream

This delectable dessert came from a new little purchase I made a couple of weeks ago - yay for Briscoes sales! Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, nut-free and free of refined sugar, this wonderful creamy treat tastes indulgent but is wonderfully clean and so so easy to make.

Prior to becoming dairy free, ice-cream was one of my biggest weaknesses. I realized when I was 18 that dairy was not going to be able to be a factor in my life, and made the decision to cut it out. My weak point however was ice-cream - I just couldn't seem to let it go! I would go on and off but a couple of years ago I realized that I had to quit properly. Every now and then I will sneak a spoonful out of my husbands bowl when he indulges, but for the most part I am pretty strong willed as I know that the side effects last a lot longer than the moment of pleasure! Since then, I have been seeking the perfect substitute, and generally just ended up eating sorbet if that icy cold craving came along. The problem with sorbet is that it is just lacking that delicious creaminess that comes with ice-cream. Then I discovered the joys of banana ice-cream! One ingredient, 2 minutes to make and I was sold - an easy, nutritious option that tasted almost liked the real thing and had that all important creamy texture. You can add any number of tasty ingredients as well, so it's super versatile. But, time went by and although I am still totally committed to my precious banana ice-cream, I wanted more! Enter the brilliant Nice Cream which you may have discovered at the supermarket. This wonderful product is ice-cream made with coconut milk instead of dairy - perfect! It is smooth, creamy and tastes amazing. We tend to keep some in the freezer for special occasions. The only drawback it that it is relatively expensive. Not prohibitively so, but pricey enough that you wouldn't want to be indulging too often. So, once again back to the wandering mind coming up with a way to have it all! This is where the Briscoes sale comes in…. ice-cream maker, reduced to $30! Perfect! Sold to one happy little ice-cream addict!

So, to cut a long story short, I had to experiment with my new toy. I decided to start off just with a basic vanilla ice-cream, but watch this space as I will no doubt be experimenting with all sorts of varieties! Although I used an ice-cream machine to churn the ice-cream into the velvety creamy treat that is in the bowl, you could just as easily make it without the machine, however it will take a bit longer and will not necessarily have the same texture.

Vanilla Icecream

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

1 270ml can (a cup and a bit) of coconut milk or cream (I use the Ayam brand with nothing else added).
1 tbsp honey, maple syrup, or sweetener of your choice
1 tsp vanilla paste, or 1.5 tsp vanilla essence
2 egg yolks

1. Heat coconut milk with vanilla and honey in a small pot over a low heat. Heat until hot but not boiling
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks.
3. Once coconut milk mixture is heated, slowly pour it into the bowl with the eggs while whisking continuously.
4. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for a couple of hours until well chilled
5. Put in the ice-cream maker for 15-20 minutes until a smooth creamy consistency is achieved.
6. Serve immediately or put in the freezer if you are not using straight away. If you freeze before you serve, take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before you want to serve it so it is not too hard

Alternatively, if you do not have an ice-cream make, freeze the completed mixture for a couple of hours and either fluff with a fork every couple of hours, or freeze then blend in a blender until a creamy consistent is achieved. If you go with the blender option, it will be best to freezer the ice-cream in ice cube trays or something similar so that you have small pieces to pop in the blender, and remove them from the freezer about 10 minutes before blending. This will reduce the strain on your blender and achieve a better result. You may also need to add a couple of tbsp of extra coconut milk if you are using this method just to create some liquid to make blending more successful.



Saturday, 16 November 2013

Crusted Broccoli Pesto Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

This meal was intended for last night, but hubby called just before finishing work and suggested fish and chips on the beach - it was such a gorgeous night! Fish and chips (as in the kind from the fish and chip shop) are such a rare occurrence for us, but we have no issue with having the odd indulgence. The most important part of any way you choose to eat is that you still live your life and allow the occasion take precedence over the eating once in a while! In saying that, we do order from our great local fish and chip shop where we order fresh fish (they sell fresh fish so have lots of yummy varieties available) and get it plain grilled with no flour or anything else added. I packed a large salad to go with the meal, and then we had a few hot chips.

There will be people out there who disagree with this attitude, and there will be others out there that feel that taking a salad to a fish and chip night is defeating the purpose of the indulgence. Everyone is different! And that is what makes life interesting. Our thoughts on clean eating are that we strive to eat a whole food, real food diet eliminating gluten, dairy, most grains and processed food. However, we are still normal people who live in the real world, and we are still a family with young children who want them to experience all of the fantastic memorable moments that we all enjoyed as children. I think we can all relate to the joys of family fish and chip night, and thankfully by living in a warm climate near a beautiful beach we are able to take it one step further and enjoy that feeling of the sand in our feet, the fun style of eating, feeding chips to the seagulls, and then running around on the beach after the meal. Such a great memory!

Anyway, due to the impromptu fish and chip night, I had the chicken that was planned for last night half ready in the fridge so tonights dinner was pretty simple to put together which worked out well after a hectic day. Dinner consisted of a chicken breast, stuffed with broccoli pesto then crusted with a coconut flour crust, pan fried then oven baked. The chicken was served with mushroom sauce, fresh asparagus and a garden salad. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free and sugar-free, this meal is a delicious summer meal, and makes a great addition to the repertoire for 'special occasion' dinners too! It is also a good option for a BBQ and the chicken can easily be made ahead of time.

For the kids, I simply left the mushroom sauce off (they're not big mushroom fans) and served them the rest of the meal - they loved it!

Crusted Broccoli Pesto Stuffed Chicken with Mushroom Sauce
(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, nut-free, sugar-free)


4 medium chicken breasts
1/2 a red capsicum, finely sliced
2 tbsp coconut oil

Broccoli Pesto:
1 cup broccoli, cut into small florets
1 cup spinach, roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup pine nuts, raw or toasted
1/2 cup fresh basil
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp salt

Coconut Crust:
1/2 cup coconut flour (you can use almond flour if you prefer)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt (look for a natural brand with no additives)
a grind of black pepper

Mushroom Sauce:
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 cup mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or dried works too)
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1/4 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp coconut oil

1. Start by making your pesto. In a small blender or food processor combine all ingredients. Blend until well combined and with a fine texture. Set aside.
2. Next, prep your chicken. Trim the breasts, then using a sharp knife, make a hole in the fat end of the chicken breast by inserting a sharp thin knife into the chicken and carefully cutting into the middle of the breast. You are aiming to create a pocket, so make sure the knife doesn't poke through the skin as you are creating the pocket. It will need to be as long as you can make it, but the thin end of the chicken can get a bit too thin so only go as far as you can easily make the pocket. Repeat with each chicken breast.
3. In the pocket, insert 1/4 of the capsicum. Once the capsicum is in, put 1/4 of the pesto into the hole. This is where things get a little messy as you will need to push the pesto into the pocket.
4. Once the chicken is stuffed, you can use a toothpick to close the end up.
5. Preheat your oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
6. On a plate, place all of the crust ingredients and mix to combine. In a large frying pan, heat the coconut oil over a medium heat. Take each of the stuffed chicken breasts, roll them in the crust mixture then place in the hot oil. Cook on one side until golden brown, then turn and brown the other side (this will take about 2 minutes each side). Once cooked, place the breasts on the baking tray. Place in the preheated oven a bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through (no longer pink on the inside and juices run clear).
7. While the chicken is cooking, you can make the mushroom sauce and prepare the vegetables. In a small saucepan heat the coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the onions, and gently sauté until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes until starting to soften. Add the coconut milk, thyme, mustard, water and seasoning. Cook until the mushrooms and onions are well cooked and the sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and set aside until chicken is ready to serve.

Serve the chicken with a green salad filled with any fresh vegetables of your choice. I also served the meal with little steamed asparagus, but you can choose any green vegetables as a side. Take each chicken breast and slice into thick slices. You can serve whole, but by slicing it you show of the gorgeous colour of the broccoli and capsicum in the middle.



Thursday, 14 November 2013

Kung Pao Chicken

Simple, tasty food that is cost effective and easy to make - what could be better for a midweek meal? Last night we had Kung Pao Chicken which was a winner with the whole family. Moist chicken, bright vegetables and crunchy nuts make this dish texturally enjoyable too. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free and you can make it nut-free too by removing the cashews.

 So vibrant in the pan

A perfect mid-week meal - served with cauliflower rice, a sprinkle of fresh chill, and a wedge of lime

Kung Pao Chicken
(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free and nut-free if you remove cashews)

800g Chicken breast of thigh (boneless, skinless), chopped into chunks
2tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot 
juice of 1/2 a lemon or lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
2 tbsp coconut oil

2 carrots, sliced into thick diagonals
1 red capsicum, chopped into chunks
2 cloves garlic, grated
2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated
4 spring onions, chopped into thick diagonals
2 cups of spinach, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup raw cashews (you can toast them in the oven for 10 minutes to make them a little more crunchy)
1 chilli, finely chopped (optional)

2 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten free soy sauce)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp white wine vinegar (or apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar)
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 cup chicken stock or water

1. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, tapioca, lemon juice, salt and white pepper. Set aside for a few minutes while you prepare your vegetables and sauce.
2. In a small bowl, combine the coconut aminos, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and stock or water and mix well. Set aside. 
3. In a large frying pan over a medium heat, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. You will most likely have pieces of chicken stuck to the bottom of the pan. Keeping the pan on the heat, use a little extra water or stock to deglaze the pan. This means that you pour the cold liquid into the pan which creates a steaming/sizzling effect which should loosen up the stuck bits. Ideally you want to keep these stuck bits as they will add flavour to your vegetables. 
4. Add the 2nd tbsp of oil to the pan, then add grated ginger and garlic. Fry for about 30 seconds to release the flavors, then add the carrot and capsicum. Cook for a couple of minutes until slightly softened, then add the spinach and spring onions. 
5. Cook for a couple of minutes until spinach has just started to wilt. 
6. Add the sauce to the pan, then add the chicken back in. Cook for about 2 minutes until flavours have combined, and make sure your chicken is cooked through (not longer pink in the middle, but still moist and tender). 
7. Remove the pan from the heat, and add cashew nuts. 
8. Serve with cauliflower rice (or plain steamed rice) and a wedge of lemon or lime. Sprinkle with the chilli. I fried mine for a couple of minutes in a small frying pan to release the flavor before I served it, but you can throw it on raw.

Because I was serving this to the kids, I left the chilli out and served it sprinkled over the top. If you like the meal spicy, add the chilli in at the same time as you add the garlic and ginger (step 4). This will give the meal a delicious spicy kick - yum!



Nutty Tartlets with Chocolate Filling

I had a wonderful friend over this afternoon and decided I wanted to whip up something for afternoon tea that was full of goodness but full of flavor. I found a recipe the other day for a chocolate pudding which sounded really simple to make and looked gorgeous and mousse-like in texture. The recipe uses gelatin to set, and can be made in about 5 minutes and ready to eat in about half an hour.

I didn't really want to make a pudding for afternoon tea so decided that the pudding recipe might work well as a little tart filling as a wee afternoon tea bite sized morsel. it would be ideal if you wanted to make a fancy little 'high-tea' style afternoon tea too. These delicious little treats are gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, and free of refined sugar.

Nutty Tartlets with Chocolate Filling

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


Tart Shell:
4 medjool dates (or 6 dried dates, soaked in 2 tbsp boiling water for 10 minutes)
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup coconut butter (recipe here, or you could just use desiccated coconut, but the texture will be a little more coarse)
1 tbsp chia seeds
1tbsp coconut oil
juice of half an orange

Chocolate Filling: (recipe borrow from
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tbsp gelatin
1 tbsp water

1. In a small food processor or blender, combine all of the tart shell ingredients (dates, cashews, almonds, coconut butter, chia seeds, coconut oil and orange juice). Blend until mixture is well combined and nuts are finely chopped. You can blend as little or as much as you want depending on the texture you prefer for your shell casing, just keep in mind that the more you blend it, the better it will stick together.
2. Press about 1 tsp of mixture (depending on how thick you like your shell, and how big your moulds are) into each hole of a cake pop mould, small muffin tin, or small tart tin (If you are using a muffin tin, line them first so you can get the tarts out. If you are using tart tins, make sure they have a removable base for the same reason). 
3. Place prepared tart shells in the fridge to chill while you make the filling. 
4. In a small pot combine the coconut milk, cocoa and maple syrup over a medium heat. Whisk gently until combined and heated.
5 Dissolve the gelatin in the water in a small bowl, then add to the coconut milk mixture. Stir until gelatin has dissolved into the coconut milk. 
6. When the mixture is hot, remove from the heat. Pour a small amount into each tart shell. Once all tart shells are filled, place the tarts back into the fridge until the filling is set (about half an hour to an hour). If you would like to fast track it, you can pop them in the freezer. 

If you have any filling left over you can pour it into a ramekin for a little bonus dessert!



Monday, 11 November 2013

Chicken Cacciatore

I have been looking back through a few archives (i.e. my many many scraps of paper that I hurriedly write recipes down on while I'm cooking - followed by trawling through thousands of photos trying to find the picture that matches up! I must come up with a system!) and have found some great recipes that need to be shared.

This yummy chicken cacciatore was a great hit, and an easy meal. The bulk of the cooking time is in the oven which frees you up to do other things. You could also make this in a slow cooker for a real time saver - simply put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning on low and come home to the divine smells that emanate from this dish! 

We had the meal with steamed broccoli, carrots and baked kumara and potatoes (one or the other is fine depending on your preference, but hubby and I prefer kumara, one child only eats potatoes and one likes both so I tend to make a bit of each just to cover all the bases!). The meal would be ideal with mashed kumara or potato (or any kind of mash would work well), however I kept the kumara and potato whole as my kids have an aversion to mashed anything. The mash would be great to absorb the delicious sauce from the casserole.

To make the meal a little more summery, serve it with a gorgeous green salad full of vibrant vegetables, and whip up a batch of avocado bread to mop up some of those gorgeous juices. 

Chicken Cacciatore

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

1kg chicken drumsticks
6 strips of bacon (whichever cut you prefer) preferable a chemical free variety such as Hendersons or one from your local farmers market
1/8 cup tapioca flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, sliced
1 400g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fresh rosemary 
1 tbsp fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 eggplant
1 red capsicum
1 cup silverbeet or kale
2 tbsp capers
10 olives (green or black)

1. Preheat oven to 150C
2. Heat oil over a medium heat in a large frying pan
3. Dust chicken with tapioca flour (this is easiest in a large bowl or large snap lock bag)
4. Place the chicken in the frying pan and fry until nicely browned. You may need to do two batches as you don't want to overcrowd the pan otherwise the chicken will not brown well.
5. When chicken is browned, remove from the pan and place in a large ovenproof casserole dish. Set to one side
6. In the same frying pan you used for the chicken, add the onion and garlic gently fry over a medium heat until softened and aromatic. Add the bacon and cook for a couple of minutes to brown slightly. Add the bacon, garlic and onions to the casserole pan with the chicken. If the onion sticks to the pan with the chicken juices, add a little of the chicken stock to de-glaze the pan and loosen up all of the bits that are stuck.
7. To the casserole dish, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, herbs, vinegar, capers, olives, eggplant and capsicum. Cover and place in the oven for 1-1.5 hours. During the cooking time, check the pot a couple of times to make sure that all of the ingredients are sitting in the liquid so that you get even cooking. 
8. Ten minutes before you serve, add the silverbeet of kale and mix well to combine. Put the lid back on and pop back in the oven for 5-10 minutes. 
9. Remove from the oven and check that the chicken is cooked through before serving (juices should run clear). You should not need to add any salt as the capers, olives and bacon are salty already, but you may like to add a touch of black pepper.
10. Serve with steamed green vegetables and roasted or mashed kumara or cauliflower if you prefer. 



Sunday, 10 November 2013

Vanilla Custard

What to do with a whole bunch of egg yolks leftover from making tortillas? Make custard of course! 

This vanilla custard uses coconut milk instead of the classic milk or cream and I used coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar which is what gave it it's gorgeous caramel colour. You could also use either honey or maple syrup to sweeten it. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free this custard makes a delicious addition to your favourite dessert. We had it with banana cake, but it would also make a fantastic dipping sauce for a fruit platter or would be fantastic with a nice hot fruit crumble.

Vanilla Custard

(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

5 egg yolks
1 can coconut milk (270ml)
2 tsp vanilla paste (or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
2 tbsp coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice. You may like to adjust the quantity depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tbsp tapioca flour

1. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and tapioca flour until well combined.
2. In a medium saucepan heat the coconut milk and vanilla until hot but not boiling.
3. While whisking continuously, slowly pour the coconut milk into the bowl with the egg mixture. Whisk until well combined.
4. Pour the custard mixture back into the saucepan and over a low heat cook the custard until thick and glossy. Stir often.
5. Remove from heat and serve immediately if you want a nice hot custard, or leave to cool. The custard is just as good cold!



Friday, 8 November 2013

Pork and 3 Mushroom Pie with Savoury Short Crust Pastry

A couple of days ago hubby was at work and someone bought in pies - oh no! Hubby was amazingly well controlled and managed to resist the temptation, but I did receive a message from him asking what the chances were there was such a thing as a clean pie, and did I think it would be possible to make one? Challenge on!! The message got me thinking and yesterday I decided to do a bit of experimentation. I knew the filling would be easy enough to clean up, but the pastry was always going to be a challenge. Obviously there really is no way of coming up with a puff pastry, but what I ended up with was a very successful short crust pastry which really held its shape and crispness. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar-free, this pastry was really successful and got the big thumbs up from both hubby and the kids. I would also like to experiment with a coconut flour based recipe for those people who don't want to use nuts, so watch this space. 

As an aside, the pastry recipe also makes great crackers. Simple roll it out thinly and bake on a baking tray for about 15 minutes until golden brown, then break into crackers.

I haven't yet perfected the filling that I was wanting...because I wasn't entirely sure how the pastry would respond, I decided to keep the filling quite dry as I didn't want soggy pastry. However, I didn't have to worry. The pastry held really well, so next time I make it I will add a sauce to the mixture to give it a little more moisture. I also chose to make a pork and mushroom pie simply because I had a load of mushrooms that needed to be used, and we only just had beef the night before (did you catch the Beef Quesadillas recipe?) so decided we didn't need to do red meat 2 nights in a row. Next time I would like to try and imitate a kiwi classic - the mince and cheese pie! Keep an eye out for that experiment...

Below I have the recipes for the pastry and the filling. The filling was delicious in flavor but slightly on the dry side, so I would recommend adding a little more moisture - I think even just half a tin of tomatoes would solve the problem. I have another couple of idea, but will give them a try first and let you know how I get on. 

In the mean time, here is the fantastic pastry recipe, and the recipe for the filling that I used. Yum!! We were VERY late with dinner as we had a Growing Up In New Zealand interview which went a lot later than intended so the pie was served just with some steamed broccoli and a green salad, but you could be a lot more creative with serving ideas I'm sure :)

 Gorgeous crispy brown pastry - looks just like a bought one!

 The filling - pork, thyme, mushrooms and cabbage... wonderful flavours!

Very simple serving suggestion...

I also made a mini pie for the kids - my kids aren't really big fans of mushrooms, so when I was cooking the filling I removed about a cups worth after I had cooked the mince and added grated carrot and peas to their filling instead of the mushrooms.

 Mini kids pie...

...And the inside.

Savoury Short Crust Pastry

(Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free)

2 cups almond flour 
1/4 cup tapioca flour (split in 2 lots of 1/8th of a cup 
2 eggs
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

1. In a food processor, blend all ingredients (using one of the lots of tapioca) until a thick paste forms. Add the second lot of tapioca and blend until a clump forms. For some reason it works a lot better if you add the tapioca in 2 lots instead of all at once. It will still work if you add it all at once, but may just be a little more paste-like.
2. Once the lump has formed, remove the dough and wrap it up in gladwrap or put in an airtight container. Refrigerate for a couple of hours. You can use it straight away, it is just slightly easier to work with if you leave it to cool. 
3. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a pie dish (I used a quiche tin that was about 20cm in diameter). Cut 2/3 of the pastry from the lump and roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper until about 3-5 mm thick. remove the top layer of baking paper, then flip the bottom layer with the pastry on it over the prepared pie tin. remove the baking paper (which should now be on top with the pastry underneath). Press the pastry into sides of the tin. It may break a little, but it is very easy to just smoosh it back where it needs to go. You can eliminate the step of rolling the pastry altogether and just press the pastry into the tin, but I find by rolling it out you get a much thinner more even pastry shell.
4. Blind bake the pastry shell (line it with baking paper then fill with rice, dried beans or pie weights) for about 15-20 minutes until the edges are golden and the pastry is firm to touch. Leave to cool in the tin.
5. Prepare you pie filling while the pastry is cooking. Add the filling then put the pastry top on. Repeat the same process as you used for the base. Using the remaining 1/3 of the pastry, roll it out between 2 sheets of baking paper until about 3-5 mm thick, and large enough to cover the pie. Remove the top layer of paper, then tip the pastry over the pie. Remove the second piece of paper (which will be on top), then gently press the edges of the pastry to join them to the bottom crust. Using a fork, make a few little holes in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
6. Bake the pie for about 20 minutes until golden brown.

Pork and 3 Mushroom Pie Filling

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

500g Pork Mince
1 tsp coconut oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used portobello, button and needle)
1 cup cabbage, very finely shredded or grated
2 carrots, grated
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp fresh thyme (or half tbsp dried if you don't have fresh)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper to season

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook for a few minutes until onions have softened
2. Add the mince and cook for about 5 minutes until browned 
3. Add the mushrooms, cabbage and carrots. Cook until vegetables start to soften
4. Add the tomato paste, thyme, mustard, salt and pepper. Cook until meat is cooked through.
5. Add to your pre-prepared pie shell and cook as per instructions above.

This filling is also delicious for use in other ways. You could use it for the base for lasagna, meatballs or any time you need a delicious mince mixture. You can't go wrong with pork, mushrooms and thyme - it's a winning combination!



Thursday, 7 November 2013

Beef Quesadillas with Avocado Salsa and Dr Libby's Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries

Quesadillas have long been a favourite meal of mine, but when you start cutting out gluten and dairy, suddenly a meal which is typically made with flour tortillas and loads of cheese becomes a little less possible. Fear not, the solution is here!! 

For those of you who are not familiar with quesadillas, they are typically a tortilla laid out flat with meat and cheese layered on, then another tortilla sandwiched on top. They are then usually cut into wedges and served with sour cream and salsa. 

This quesadilla is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar-free. The key change is in the tortilla which I made with coconut flour and eggs. I found a good recipe here which I modified slightly and came up with these yummy tortillas which worked really well. The filling is a spicy mexican beef taste explosion, and the quesadilla is topped with fresh chopped lettuce, avocado and tomato salsa and a cashew 'cheese'. All of the bold, fresh flavours of mexican food but so much more clean and nutritious. 

The meal rated very highly with both hubby and the kids. To keep it kid friendly, I removed some of the mince mixture from the pan before I added the chilli so that they had a non-spicy version. I also left the jalapeños and red onions out of their salsa. 

To finish this meal off, I had found a recipe from Dr Libby Weaver that I wanted to try out for Chocolate Mousse. It was absolutely divine! Again, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar - the mousse is a gorgeous healthy way to get a chocolate fix without the sugar rush or the heavy feeling that traditional mousse gives you. 

 Gorgeous fresh, light Beef Quesadillas with Avocado and Tomato Salsa and Cashew 'Cheese'

Dr Libby's Chocolate Mousse served with Fresh Strawberries

Beef Quesadillas with Avocado and Tomato Salsa and Cashew 'Cheese'

Gluten-free, Grain-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free, Sugar-free


Mince Filling:
800g Beef Mince (or mince of your choice)
1 onion, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 carrots, grated
2 zucchini, halved lengthways then sliced diagonally
1/2 capsicum, thinly sliced
1 tin tomatoes
3 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
handful of fresh coriander
cayenne pepper or chilli powder (about 1/2 tsp or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup egg whites (about 6 eggs)
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1 clove garlic, grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp coconut oil

2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
Juice of 1/2 lime (or lemon)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp jalapeños, diced (or reserve to serve on top if you would rather not have a spicy salsa)
handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn

Cashew 'Cheese':
See recipe here

6-8 cos lettuce leaves, roughly chopped to serve with the Quesadillas


Mince Filling:
1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add onions and garlic and fry for about 4-5 minutes until softened and aromatic
2. Add the mince and cook until browned. 
3. Add the vegetables (mushrooms, zucchini, carrot and capsicum). Cook for a few minutes until the vegetables start to soften. 
4. Add the tin of tomatoes, cumin, ground coriander, oregano, paprika, cayenne and tomato paste. Mix well and let the mixture cook until meat and vegetables are cooked through and the room is filled with a gorgeous spicy aroma! Season to taste.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh coriander. 

1. In a small blender or food processor, place all of the ingredients except for the coconut oil (egg whites, ground coriander, garlic, salt, cumin, cayenne, coconut milk and coconut flour). Blend until well combined. The mixture will be runny. Pour into a bowl.
2. Leave the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes. In this time, the coconut flour will absorb the liquid and you will be left with a thick paste-like batter mixture.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a small frying pan over a low-medium heat. Add about 2 tbsp of the coconut flour batter to the frying pan. Spread the mixture over the base of the pan with the back of a spoon until thinly spread but with no holes. 
4. Cook until there is no more glossy liquid look to the top. Flip, and cook for a minute or so on the other side. Both sides should be lightly golden brown.
5. Remove the tortilla to a plate with a paper towel on to absorb any moisture. 
6. Repeat the process with 2 tbsp of mixture each time until all of the batter is gone.

1. Place the tomatoes, onion, avocado, cucumber, coriander and jalapeños (if you're using them in the salsa) into a bowl. 
2. In another small bowl, mix the lime juice, salt and olive oil together. Pour over the vegetables and mix well to combine. 

To assemble:
1. Place one tortilla down on a plate. 
2. Top with about 1/2 cup of the mince mixture, then place another tortilla on top. 
3. Cut the tortilla into quarters but leave all the pieces where they are on the plate
4. Top the Quesadilla with a large handful of lettuce, then a generous helping of salsa and finish of with  a large dollop of cashew cheese.

Dr Libby's Chocolate Mousse (recipe borrowed from Dr Libby Weaver)

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


flesh of 1 young coconut

filtered water

2 dates, pitted and roughly chopped 
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts

3 tablespoons cacao powder

pinch of salt

8 fresh strawberries to serve

1. Place all the ingredients except the berries in a blender. 
2. Add enough filtered water to enable the blade to work effectively and process until creamy and smooth. 
3. You can either serve straight away in small bowls topped with the strawberries, or you can refrigerate until ready to serve which does thicken it a little. 



Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thai Chicken Kebabs 2 Ways

Uggghhh feeling average! I hate getting sick! Nothing more serious than a head cold, but get so frustrated when my body lets me down and runs at less than 100%. One of the perks of eating real, clean food is that our whole family gets sick a lot less than we used to. The kids get the usual sniffles and coughs that come with being at kindy, but overall we remain pretty healthy.

Last night I wanted to make a dinner that was full of lots of yummy fresh vegetables and spiciness. My body was craving some serious nutrition so I made a lovely fresh salad with lots of greens and herbs, and served it with chicken kebabs done 2 ways. For the kids I made a turmeric marinated chicken kebab that has a gorgeous yellow colour, and for hubby and me I made a cashew, coriander and curry crusted chicken kebab. The meal was finished with a coconut and mint dipping sauce. Light, fresh and full of gorgeous nutrients, this meal is gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar free.

Thai Chicken Kebabs 2 Ways

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free


Turmeric Chicken:
8 chicken tenderloins, or 1 large chicken breasts cut into 8 thick slices
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp lemon juice

Cashew, Coriander, Curry Chicken:
8 chicken tenderloins, or 1 large chicken breast cut into 8 thick slices
1 cup raw whole cashew nuts
1/8 cup red curry paste
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup fresh coriander
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Dipping Sauce:
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
4-5 large mint leaves, finely chopped

1/2 a head of cos lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
1/2 a capsicum (any color), sliced then chopped into 2cm length
1/2 a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 carrot, chopped into thin strips
1/2 a telegraph cucumber, cut into chunks
1 large handful of coriander
6 large mint leaves, roughly torn
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsbp lemon juice


1. Begin by marinating your turmeric chicken. Ideally, this should sit for a few hours, but you can do it just as long as it takes to prepare the rest of the food. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients except the chicken (coconut milk, turmeric, garlic powder, white pepper, fish sauce and lemon juice). Combine well. In a large bowl, place your chicken tenderloins or slices. Pour the turmeric mixture over the top and mix well to ensure all the pieces of chicken are well coated.
2. For the cashew chicken, combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken (cashews, curry paste, coconut milk, coriander and lemon juice) in a small blender or food processor. Blend until well combined. It is fine if the cashews are still chunky - it gives a great texture.
2. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
3. For the turmeric chicken, take each piece of chicken and thread it onto a skewer. Lay it down on the baking tray in a single layer. For the cashew chicken, thread each piece of chicken onto a skewer and lay them in a single layer on the baking tray. Then, using your hands, take lumps of the spice mixture and press it into the chicken. Make a nice thick layer to give you heaps of flavour.
4. When the chicken is prepared, place in the oven for around 20 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, but still tender.
5. While the chicken is cooking, prepare your dipping sauce and salad. For the dipping sauce, combine all ingredients expect for the herbs (coconut milk, garlic, cumin, ginger, lemon juice) into a small pot. Heat over a low heat until warm. pour into a small serving bowl and pop the mint and coriander in.
6. For the salad, combine the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl. Combine the fish sauce and lemon juice in a small bowl, then pour over the salad. Mix salad to combine the dressing



Monday, 4 November 2013

Seafood Paella

Here it is - the recipe! The facebook post of the the picture of this meal attracted a lot of attention - and it is definitely as delicious as it looks! The recipe uses cauliflower rice instead of the traditional white rice which not only makes for a gorgeous moist dish, but also significantly ups the vegetable quota. This makes the meal gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free.

This recipe may look as though it is a lot of work, and also very expensive, but you really should give it a go - there is a little prep involved, but the meal really is quick to make overall. In terms of the costs, I used a whole lot of seafood as I really love seafood and there was a big special on at the shop, but it is very easy to make it on a budget if you would prefer a more const efficient meal. Fresh mussels are relatively cheap from the supermarket so you can use more mussels and maybe sub out some of the more expensive items like the scallops. Prawns can be variable in price, but keep an eye out for specials on the frozen ones at the supermarket and keep them in the freezer ready for meals such as this. Really, any combination of seafood will be absolutely fine. You could even use chicken instead of seafood. The other cost saver is to eliminate the saffron. It is very expensive, but really you use so little of it each time that it really is worth the investment and makes the dish so much more authentic. If you don't want to use saffron you can replace it with turmeric - this will still give a lovely golden colour and tastes great too. 

I put pork sausages in this meal as hubby and the kids love them, but you can leave them out if you prefer not to use them, or for a more traditional approach you can use chorizo - yum! There are some good gluten free, junk free chorizo available - you may just need to hunt them out. I find farmers markets are a good place to find any variety of sausage without the rubbish added. Be wary of the organic sausages from the supermarket. The other day hubby and spent a lot of time in the sausage department reading all the labels as he had a craving and was hoping to find some that were suitable. The organic ones that we saw looked to all intents and purposes to be the most suitable as they were promoted as organic, gluten-free etc. etc. But, on inspection of the ingredients, they contained a long list of additives - the worst offender being the MSG (flavour enhancer). A good lesson not to always fall for the packaging or branding on a product. Read the ingredients list - there can be so many added nasties that you wouldn't expect in some 'healthy' products. 

Seafood Paella

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

3 pork sausages or chorizo, precooked and chopped into thick diagonals
1 dozen mussels, cleaned and debearded
1 dozen scallops, rinsed
2 white fish fillets (I used Terakihi, but Snapper or any white fish would be great too)
250g prawns, peeled and deveined
2 tbsp coconut oil
1.5 cups stock (vegetable, fish or chicken)
a pinch of saffron (about 1/2 tsp) (use turmeric as a cost effective alternative)
2 tbsp hot water
1/2 tsp ground chilli or cayenne pepper (omit if you prefer a non-spicy dish)
1/2 head broccoli cut into small florets
1 yellow capsicum, cut into large chunks
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated or finely sliced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (or regular paprika if you don't have smoked or don't like the taste)
2 tbsp parsley (any variety), finely diced
2 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 medium head of cauliflower, grated or chopped in a food processor to make 'rice'.
Juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste 

1. In a large pot filled with fresh water, place the mussels and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes until mussels have opened. Drain the water and set the mussels aside. I found it easiest to precook the mussels for this dish then add them to the final meal at the end. 
2. In a small bowl, place the saffron and hot water. Let sit for a few minutes.
3. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over a medium heat. Add the sausages and fry until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. 
4. In the same pan, heat the second tbsp of oil over a medium-low heat. Add the onion, garlic and parsley. Cook until aromatic and the onions are softened. 
5. Add the capsicum, broccoli, tomatoes, saffron (with water), tomato paste, paprika and chilli. Cook for a few minutes - if the vegetables stick to the pan, add a little of the stock to add some moisture.
6. Add the cauliflower, stock and all of the seafood. You can also add the sausages back in at this point to ensure that they are reheated sufficiently. Cook until most of the liquid has absorbed into the cauliflower. 
7. Squeeze the lemon juice over the paella, season to taste. Give it a last mix to ensure lemon and seasoning are well combined.
8. Serve in large bowls with the mussels sitting on top. 



Sunday, 3 November 2013

Almond Crusted Pork with Cabbage Noodles and Mushroom Sauce

What a hectic few days! Apologies for the total absence of any food related goodness, but time just keeps on slipping away on me...

I will do a bit of a super quick series of posts just to get a few recipes up - I have still been cooking (or course!) just been unable to get the recipes written up.

Last night we had a delicious pork steak which I 'crumbed' in an almond and spice coating, served with cabbage noodles and a delicious light mushroom and thyme sauce which complimented the pork perfectly. A fresh garden salad balanced out the meal nicely to finish it off.

It is not the most photogenic meal (and dinner was running VERY late due to a late start so it was pretty well just thrown on the plate and photographed about 2 seconds before it was consumed!), but you will forgive it's slightly less than beautiful appearance once you taste the goodness. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and sugar-free.

Almond Crusted Pork with Cabbage Noodles and Mushroom Sauce

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free (optional), soy-free, sugar-free

6 pork steaks
1/2 cup almond flour (you can just use more coconut flour if you would like a nut free option)
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder or grated fresh garlic
1 tbsp coconut oil

1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced or grated
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1 tbsp thyme, fresh or dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp wholegrain mustard

1/2 head of cabbage, thinly sliced (I used chinese cabbage which is why it looks quite pale, but any cabbage is fine, even red if you prefer)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (whole or ground - optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200C. On a large plate, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, smoked paprika, pepper salt and garlic. Trim each piece of pork to your liking, and dredge each piece of pork well in the flour mixture.
2. Heat a large frying pan with the tbsp of coconut oil over a medium heat. Place the pork pieces in the hot oil and pan fry for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Flip, and repeat on the other side. Place the browned pork pieces on an oven tray lined with baking paper and pop in the oven for around 10 minutes until the pork is cooked through. The timing of this will depend on the thickness of your steaks, and if you are using schnitzel you may not need to use the oven at all as the pan-frying alone will be enough to cook the pork right through.
3. In the pan you used for the pork, heat the tbsp of coconut oil or butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and and fry for a few minutes until they are soft and starting to become a little caramelised. Add the mushrooms, thyme and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft and juicy. Add the vegetable stock, mustard and seasoning and simmer gently until well heated and slightly reduced.
4. In another pan, heat another tbsp coconut oil. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds until just starting to smell gorgeous and garlicky. Add the cabbage and cumin and pan fry until just starting to become tender. If you are using butter, add it now (or just leave it out if you are dairy free - the butter just lends a lovely richness to the cabbage, and it is a relatively small amount. You could also use Ghee which many dairy intolerant people can tolerate). The butter will melt into the cabbage. Give it a good stir and remove from the heat.
5. Serve by placing cabbage on the plate, top with a piece of pork and then spoon the mushroom sauce over the top. Serve the meal with a fresh garden salad.