Thursday, 11 December 2014

Light Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Sauce

2 weekends to go before Xmas - Arrgghh!! Who's ready? Not me! We have a crazy day lined up, but we wouldn't have it any other way.

With the festive feasting set to begin soon, I have come up with this light chocolate cake which is perfect for your weekend baking in the lead-up to Xmas when you are probably starting the 'social circuitry' but not wanting to start over-indulging just yet. 

I can't even remember what the occasion was that we made this for - most likely the birthday of some stuffed toy or other knowing my kids...I'm beginning to wise to their ways though. They seem to discover that some various creature requires a birthday every time they feel like baking cake! And in their gorgeous eyes, baking cake equals licking spoons for 'taste testing' and then being allowed dessert which is not just a given around this house. 

This cake is easy to make, contains simple ingredients, and is light in both taste and texture. The recipe is free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and refined sugar. Serve with a strawberry sauce and fresh strawberries to make the most of this gorgeous seasonal fruit that's around at the moment, or you can ice it with your favourite icing to make it more of a traditional celebration cake. 

Light Chocolate Cake

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

3/4 cup raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
1/2 cup chia seed meal (ground up chia seeds - you can use them whole, but they will add more texture to your cake if whole)
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips!)
pinch of salt
6 eggs
2 bananas, well mashed
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup coconut milk

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cake tin with baking paper
2. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (cacao powder, chia meal, coconut flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cacao nibs or chocolate chips). Give it a whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the coconut oil, coconut milk, honey, bananas, and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Fold the wet mix in, ensuring that all ingredients are well combined. 
5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tin.
6. At this point, I seem to have lost my brain and not taken note of the cooking time on my recipe. Ummmmm.... Ok start with 30 minutes, check to see if the centre of the cake is firm (not solid, but not mushy either), and keep baking in 5 minute increments until the cake is cooked. I will update the recipe next time I make this one...there will no doubt be another birthday to celebrate very soon!
7. Once cooked, cool the cake in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack. 

You can either serve the cake warm with some delicious ice-cream, coconut ice-cream, or the yummy strawberry sauce that we had it with (simply chop up about 1 cup of fresh strawberries, and heat over a low heat in a small pot until the juices are released and the pulp has broken down. Add sweetener to taste (I used honey, about 1 tbsp, but you can choose your favourite sweetener and adjust the quantity to suit. It will also depend on the sweetness of the strawberries you use). Give it a bit of a smush with a fork, and either leave it as is with some tasty strawberry chunks, or you can give it a blitz with a blender or stick blender to make a smooth sauce. 

Top with fresh strawberries to garnish, serve, and enjoy!!


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Beef Fajitas with Guacamole, Salsa, and Cashew Sour Cream

So a few weeks back I was lucky enough to receive a pack of beautiful organic meat from the wonderful Callum at Quality Meats. This New Zealand company provide a fantastic range of quality, organic meat products that they deliver straight to your door - it couldn't be easier! My package arrived well packed in a chiller box so I could pop it straight in the freezer.

So the other night I pulled out the Angus Beef Schnitzel to make some Fajitas. My daughter had requested Mexican for dinner, so Mexican it was (mostly due to having the schnitzel in the freezer, and an abundance of capsicum in the fridge as they're been on special lately)!

This is a nice a nice easy mid-week dinner, and all the elements can be made ahead to make things even more simple. It is also easily adapted to suit both kids and adults (I just take out the meat from the pan before adding the extra veges that they reject, and before I add the chilli), and can be made either standard with regular tortillas, gluten free with gluten free tortillas, or grain free with coconut wraps or homemade tortillas (here's one idea for a recipe for some tortillas).

Add in whichever veges you fancy, wrap it all up with yummy sauces (we had guacamole, salsa, and 'sour cream' made from cashew nuts), and dig in!

Doin' it for the kids...mexican beef (no chilli) with
lettuce and carrot, sauces served separately. Served on
gluten-free tortillas

All the fillings on and ready to roll - served on grain free
coconut wraps

Get in my belly!! (just saw Austin Powers last night -
couldn't resist saying it!

Beef Fajitas with Gaucamole, Salsa, and Cashew Sour Cream

Gluten-free, option for grain-free, dairy-free, option for nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free
500g Organic Angus Beef Schnitzel, thinly sliced into long strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 zucchini, sliced thinly
1/2 red capsicum, sliced into long strips
1/2 yellow capsicum, sliced into long strips
1/2 orange capsicum, sliced into long strips
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp coriander flakes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli powder (optional)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup water or stock
2 tbsp coconut oil (or your preferred cooking oil)

1 cup shredded lettuce
1 packet of tortillas or coconut wraps

1 tomato, diced
2 tbsp diced red onion
1/4 cup diced cucumber
2 tbsp diced jalapenos (optional)
juice of 1 lemon or lime
salt and pepper

2 ripe avocados
juice of 1/2 large lemon or 1 lime
salt and pepper
couple of drops of hot sauce (optional)

Cashew Sour Cream (recipe based on one by Dr Libby)
1 cup raw cashew nuts, soaked for half an hour in water (not compulsory but makes a smoother cream)
juice of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lime

Directions:1. In a large pan, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the beef and spices (cumin, coriander, paprika) and fry for a couple of minutes until beef is just starting to loose it's pinkness, but not cooked all the way through. Remove from pan and set aside. (at this stage you can set aside a portion for the kids if you are serving to vege-particular children!)
2. In the same pan, heat the second tbsp of oil. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for a couple of minutes until softened. Add the mushrooms, capsicum, and zucchini. Cook until just starting to soften, add tomato paste, water or stock, and chilli if you're using. Add the meat back in and mix well to incorporate flavours. Cook until meat and veges just cooked. Remove from heat.
3. To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well to combine.
4. To make the guacamole, mash the avocados to the consistency you like (some prefer it still a little chunky, others like a smooth guacamole), and add in the lemon, seasoning, and chilli if using. Mix well to combine.
5. To make the cashew sour cream, drain the water from the soaked cashews (you can just use them raw if you didn't have time to soak), and pop them in a blender or food processor (I use a magic bullet here as it's a good small size). Add the lemon juice, lime juice, and salt and blend until a smooth sauce is formed. If the mix is still very thick, add a little more lemon juice or a tbsp or 2 of water to thin it out

Pop your tortillas on a plate, add a couple of spoonfuls of beef mix, then top with lettuce, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream. Roll it all up (this is always the hard part!) and EAT!!!

 - For the kids ones, I also grated some carrot to add to their fajitas instead of the other veges, as they are not fans of capsicum or zucchini.
 - If you can tolerate dairy, feel free to use regular sour cream if you prefer


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Apple Crumble Muffins

What is more humble than a crumble?! 

These yummy, moist muffins have the classic combination of apple and cinnamon, combined with the nutty crunch of a crisp crumble topping. They are really easy to make, full of goodness. Perfect for lunchboxes, but have that little something extra that makes them special enough to serve for a special afternoon tea with friends. In fact, they would be ideal for a quick breakfast on the go too, or part of a lazy Sunday brunch.

These muffins are free of gluten, dairy, grains, soy, and refined sugar. They are choc a block full of goodness from the apple and cinnamon, to the nuts, seeds, and coconut oil, and you could bake them into a cake or loaf if you wanted an alternative way of serving them.

The recipe is loosely based on a bread recipe from the Merrymaker Sisters, a couple of gorgeous Australian girls who create some wonderful tasty recipes. 

Crumble - ready to rumble! (the rhyming is addictive!)
Golden, crispy crumble on a moist apple muffin...Mmm!

A wee peak inside...

Apple Crumble Muffins

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


2 cups diced apple (I used cooked apple as I had some in the fridge and wanted to have the extra moisture, but if you can't be bothered with the extra step you can use raw apple instead - just dice it into fairly small pieces so they cook in the oven)
3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup walnut flour (make your own by pulsing raw walnuts in a blender until a flour forms)
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Crumble Topping:
1/4 cup coconut thread
1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts
1 cup diced apple (again you can use either cooked or raw - I used cooked)
1 tsp cinnamon

Optional: You can add a tbsp or 2 of honey to the muffin recipe if you like a little more sweetness, and add a tsp or 2 to the crumble to create a bit of a caramel taste


1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners. 
2. Whisk together the eggs and oil
3. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (walnut flour, almond flour, coconut flour, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt). Give them a good mix around.
4. Add the apple to the egg mix, give it a good mix, then pour into the dry ingredients. Fold the wet into the dry, ensuring ingredients are evenly distributed.
5. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the crumble topping. 
6. 3/4 fill the holes of the muffin tin with the muffin mixture, then top with tablespoons of crumble.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes. You will probably want to check the muffins half way through and cover with tinfoil to stop the crumble from burning. The muffins are done when they are no longer 'squishy' to touch



Blueberry Lemon Slice/Cake/Loaf

A few requests for this recipe, so I'll keep it short and sweet and get straight into it!

This yummy bit of baking is really versatile, and so far I've made it into a slice and mini loaves, but you could also make muffins or a cake out of it. Simply adjust the quantity of the recipe (ie if you are making cake you will probably need to double the recipe to get it thick enough), and the baking tin (ie muffin tin instead of slice tin - obvious of course!)

The recipe is free of gluten, grains, nuts, soy, and refined sugar, with the sweetness coming from the fruit. If you have a sweet tooth or your bananas are less ripe, you can add a little honey, coconut sugar, or other sweetener of your choice to give it a bit of a sweetness boost, or alternatively you could add some chocolate chips to take it to the next level...mmmm yummy!

I served the slice version for afternoon tea when we had visitors and I made a wee chocolate sauce that I drizzled over the top. Definitely made it a little more decadent and was VERY well received by all! For the kids lunches though, I made the mini loaves and stuck to the recipe as per below. The kids really loved this one...the pop of colour from the blueberries makes it appealing to them too.

The recipe uses coconut flour but if you are sensitive to coconut flour or would prefer an alternative you could use almond flour or any other kind of nut flour. You could even experiment with flours like buckwheat or brown rice if you prefer. You would have to have a play around with the quantities required, but I would suggest starting with doubling the amount (ie where the recipe uses 3/4 cup coconut flour, use 1.5 cups of nut flour) and then if you need more you can add as necessary. Coconut flour is a very thirsty flour, so requires very little compared to all other flours.

Is a round slice still a slice or is it a cake? Looks like a cake like this, but it was quite thin more like a slice! I'm sticking with slice :)

Mini loaves - cut 'em up to a size that suits each person for a lunchbox filler

Blueberry Lemon Slice/Cake/Loaf/Muffins!

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

3/4 cup coconut flour
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
zest and juice of one large lemon (or 2 small)
2 medium bananas, mashed
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
4 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tin (or whatever form of baking dish you require depending on the type you are making) with baking paper.
2. Whisk together the eggs, vanilla essence, lemon juice, and oil.
3. Mash the bananas
4. To a medium bowl add the dry ingredients (coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt) and stir to combine
5. Add the banana and lemon zest to the dry ingredients. Mix well to combine. Add the egg mix, give it a good mix to ensure all ingredients are evenly distributed.
6. Gently fold in the blueberries.
7. Spoon into the prepared tin, and bake for roughly 35 minutes until no longer soft in the middle, and golden brown on top.

Note: Your cooking time will vary depending on the type of baking you are doing. If you are making muffins they will need to come out sooner than making a slice or loaf.



Thursday, 13 November 2014

Black and White Red Velvet Truffles

Oh the decadence and the colour!

Here's one of my Dad's classic 'Dad humour' jokes...

What's black and white and red all over?

A Newspaper! ('read' all over, get it?!) I know, don't all laugh at once right?!

Well these YUMMY little balls are black and white and red and delicious and the best part is you could pretty much each them for breakfast and still not feel guilty...they even have vegetables in them!

So are you ready for this?

Ready to get dunked... 

Had to let hubby be the guinea pig!

When will they invent 'tasteavision'...

Everything they cracked up to be!
Check out that moist, decadent truffle centre...

Oh the chocolatey goodness!

WARNING: You will not be able to resist eating more than your fair share of the mixture for these little may need to make extra! (For research purposes of course!!)

You can be a little flexible in terms of the types of nuts you use in the recipe, although the combination used here is a wonderful balance of both flavour and nutrients. The brazil nuts give a fantastic dose of selenium (an essential mineral that many of us are lacking sufficient levels of due to poor soil quality), the almond give you a wonderful boost of vitamin E, and the cashews a hearty dose of heart healthy antioxidants, in particular copper. The addition of beetroot (in my mind one of the superfoods for it's cardiovascular benefits), cacaofor some major antioxidant benefits, coconut for medium chain triglycerides which boost your body in every way, and a small sprinkle of psyllium for a wicked boost of fibre, there is nothing not to love!

The truffles are free of gluten, grains, dairy, and soy, and contain only a small quantity of sugar in the chocolate truffle coating. You can use any chocolate you like so you may prefer to make your own chocolate coating, or to buy a brand which contains no refined sugar. I choose the Enjoy Life ones on the odd occasion for these special treats as it is free of all of the allergens, but still behaves like regular chocolate which is ideal when you have to get fancy with it like dunking!

Note: Just as an aside, I have started my own wee business this week selling flavoured coconut butters. These are highly addictive, and completely delicious and would be fantastic to use for this recipe. There a number of flavours available so you can have a play around with the coatings on your truffles. I used the Creamy Dreamy Vanilla one just to add a little extra flavour to the coating, but I also think the Nutty Fruitcake would be AMAZING with this recipe! 

Check out the website here if you're interested in finding out more about this taste sensation!

So, without further ado, I give you the recipe. 

Black and White Red Velvet Truffles

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and refined sugar free option available

1 cup raw brazil nuts
1.5 cups grated red beetroot (I used raw, but you could use cooked if you prefer)
1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
6 medjool dates, stones removed
4 tablespoons maple syrup (add more or less depending on how sweet you like your mix)
2 tablespoons almond butter (or ground almonds)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/3 cup raw cacao powder, or cocoa powder if that's what you have on hand!)
1 tbsp psyllium husk (optional if you have it in the pantry, but not necessary - just add in an extra tbsp of cocoa or ground nuts to balance the moisture levels, or even a tbsp of ground flaxseed or chia seeds)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup dark chocolate chips (or melting chocolate of your choice)
1 cup coconut butter - you can either buy jars of coconut butter or you can make your own. See the note above the recipe for my little coconut butter plug :)

1. In a blender or food processor, blitz the brazil nuts and cashew nuts until you get a 'meal' - not yet butter,but kind of a flour texture.
2, Tip into a medium bowl and set aside. 
3. In the blender, place the dates, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and almond butter. Blend to combine until a smooth paste forms. Add the grated beetroot, coconut, and Psyllium, and pulse until just combined.
4. Tip the beetroot mix into the bowl with the ground nuts. 
5. Add the cacao or cocoa and mix it all up until all ingredients are well combined and you have a gooey thick truffle mixture. 
6. Shape tablespoon amounts of mixture (more or less depending on the size you would like for your truffles) and pop on a plate in one layer. Put them in the fridge or freezer to chill and harden.

7. While the truffles are getting nice and cold, you can prepare your chocolate and coconut butter.
8. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (a small pot of simmering water, with a bowl placed over the top with the chocolate chips in it...make sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl).
9. Take half of your truffles out of the fridge. Line a plate or tray with baking paper. Once the chocolate is melted (be careful not to over-melt it or it will seize and go too hard), work quickly to dunk each in the melted chocolate. Get in there with your fingers and give them a good roll around so they are well coated. There are probably lots of fancy methods for doing this, but I find good old fashioned fingers to be the most efficient! You will need to work quickly as the chocolate will harden quickly once it gets on the cold truffles. Once you have done all of the truffles, pop them back on the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden.
10. Repeat the process with the other half of the truffles only in the coconut butter. Again, melt the coconut butter in a double boiler until just melted, dunk the truffles (working quickly), and place straight back in the fridge to harden the coconut shell. With the coconut truffles, they can often benefit from a second round of dunking once hardened if you have time. 
11. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve. 



Sunday, 2 November 2014

Apricot and Coconut Slice

A rainy Sunday, afternoon tea with our wonderful friends, and a bag of dried apricots that were due to be used up.....what's a girl to do? Make a tasty slice to share with the gang!

This slice is a lovely little treat and is perfect for munching on with a cup of tea, or would be ideal for a little lunchbox treat for the kids. Our kids wolfed it down, and it was a hit with the 'grownups' (I hesitate to use that one - don't feel very grown up sometimes!!!), so it must be a winner. Don't you just love those baking wins where you open up the pantry, see what packets you have open that need using, and create something that everyone loves? It's so satisfying!

Here's a couple of wee pics of the deliciousness...

In all it's glory...

Getting up close and personal...

The slice is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy but it is a wee bit of a treat food as it does have a few sneaky chocolate chippies thrown in. You can feel free to leave them out if you prefer, or use whatever kind of chocolatey bits and pieces that you prefer to use. I used these ones for this slice - they are free of pretty much all allergens and hold up really well in baking (tasty too!!), plus they don't have any of the nasty additives that many of the 'free-of' chocolate has...many of the sugar-free/dairy-free chocolates seem to have thrown in (artificial sweeteners, soy lecithins, etc)

Apricot and Coconut Slice

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

1/4 cup almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 cup coconut thread
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a standard baking tin (slice tin) with baking paper
2. In a food processor, combine the apricots, desiccated coconut, oil or butter, egg, and vanilla. Pulse until combined but not smooth. You want to have some texture to the apricots.If you can't be bothered roughly chopping the apricots before starting (I couldn't!) you can put the apricots in the food processor first and pulse them a bit until chunky then add the other bits and combine them in. If you're not in the mood for creating too many dishes, dice up the apricots, and whisk the other ingredients together until combined, then add apricots in and mix. As you can tell it's one of those recipes that can be pretty flexible!
3. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, coconut thread, and chocolate chips. Mix to combine.
4. Add in the apricot mix and give it a good mix-up. The mixture will be solid. 
5. Once combined, press the mix into the baking tin. 
6. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. 
7. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove from tin, slice into thick slices, and cool fully on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container (if you have any left to store!) for a couple of days, or it will last in the fridge for ages. 



Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Mandarin, Chia, and Almond Muffins

So much cuteness today - my eldest daughter bought her class teddy home from school for the night and has been caring for "Freddy the Teddy" all evening - he is dressed in a pair of her pink pyjamas, he had a bowl of broccoli for dinner, played on the deck, hung out with Rosie the bear and even managed to brush his teeth and wash his face before bed!! In the morning he has to put his school uniform back on to head back to school, and his adventures have been written up in the book that he comes with, along with a lovely drawing and a bunch of photos. 

This has given me a chance to see how much Kaylah has LOVED caring for a special item, and although we already have a cat that is virtually ignored, I think I will encourage this wonderful game to carry on with another of her favourite toys. No doubt it will be short lived, but should at least keep her busy over the long weekend!

My youngest had a Mothers evening at her pre-school which was so much fun. We had to wear crazy hats (pirate hats obviously, with her love for pirates!!) and I spent an hour just sitting with her and having her show me all of the activities she gets up to in a day. She is at Montessori, so the activities are quite structured, and we often do not get to see the kids in action. Wow, they do so much! The evening was topped off with a wee concert which is always just cuteness to the max!!!!!

Anyway, that's my little Mama pride moment - now back to the food!

I have had a handful of mandarins slowly becoming more and more elderly sitting in the fruit bowl and they've been bugging me...can't stand seeing food go off, and of course once they get to that wilted looking point no one will eat them, so I get stuck in this limbo of not wanting to chuck them but being unable to push them on anyone! Today I had enough of them staring me in the face and decided to do something about it. I had a search through the pantry, pulled out a few ingredients and whipped up these quick and easy muffins. They worked really well! LOVE that!! There is nothing more satisfying that trying something random and throwing ingredients in a bowl, crossing your fingers, and hoping for the best...and then having it work. Ahhhhhhh :)

These muffins are free of gluten, grains, soy, and refined sugar. I made them with a little butter today, which I don't often do, but if you would like a dairy free option simply replace the butter with coconut oil or oil of your choice. 

The best part about these is that they truly do only take minutes to make. I think the batter was done within 5 minutes, they were in the oven within 10, and the cook time with 20 minutes. Muffins in 30 minutes...perfect. They are delicious hot from the oven, but work just as well once they have cooled.

Sneaking a taste...
These muffins are such a gorgeous vibrant colour!

Mandarin, Chia, and Almond Muffins

Gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar. Option to have dairy free

4 mandarins, skins removed, and roughly chopped (check for any pips and remove)
2 eggs
2 tbsp butter, softened, or melted coconut oil for a dairy free option
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp honey (you can add more if you prefer a sweeter muffin, or depending on how sweet your mandarins are)
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line or grease a 6 hole standard muffin tin
2. In a blender or using a stick blender, pulse the mandarin until diced, but still with a little pulpy texture remaining. You can have it totally smooth if you prefer, but I liked the little bit of texture. Tip the mandarins into a medium bowl.
3. In the same blender, blend together the eggs, butter (or oil), vanilla, and honey until smooth and well combined. Add to the mandarin and mix well to combine. 
4. In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, coconut, baking powder, chia seeds) and mix to combine
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.
6 Fill muffin tins, and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until just golden on top and no longer squishy to the touch.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack...if you can wait that long, otherwise just eat hot!! 



Monday, 20 October 2014

Cauliflower and Broccoli 'Falafel' with Tahini Sauce

A little later than planned, but here it is! Last night I posted a recipe for Tabouleh, and promised to post the recipe for the falafels that we had as the main part of the meal. A little bit backwards, I know, but hey what fun is the world if you can't do things a bit higgledy piggeldy every now and then!

So here is a picture of the meal we put together - it was a delicious Middle Eastern inspired bowl of goodness, full of yummy vegetables and spice flavours. This is an ideal meal to put together for Meat-free Monday style dish (obviously doesn't have to be Monday, it's just the name that's caught on!), or it is a fantastic filling lunch.

Traditional falafels are made with chickpeas which many people love, however if you find legumes hard to digest as I do, they can cause digestive problems. Legumes are basically anything from the pea/bean family and includes peanuts. My kids and husband seem to be fine with them, but unfortunately they do not do my body any favours! This is a great alternative option for anyone who can't or doesn't want to eat legumes.

The bowl is filled with shredded carrot, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, a little coleslaw and diced capsicum, some jalapenos for a little spice, olives for that salty tang, the homemade cauliflower tabouleh, moist tender falafel patties and all topped with a drizzle of tahini sauce and a dollop of beetroot dip. Basically, recreating a Middle Eastern Kebab, but without the wrap that they usually come bundled up in! You can serve this on rice, noodles, or on its own as a salad style meal. It looks like lots of bits, but really other than a bit of chopping there is not a lot of work involved, and the meal can be put together very quickly - yay!

Recipe as follows:

Cauliflower and Broccoli 'Falafel' Patties

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

1 cup cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 cup broccoli, roughly chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs
2 tbsp spring onion or white onion, finely diced (about half a spring onion or 1/4 regular onion)
4 tbsp flaxseed meal (you could substitute for your favourite flour alternative)
2 cloves garlic, grated
a pinch of dried mint (or a couple of leaves of fresh mint, finely diced)
Salt and pepper to taste
a pinch or 2 of chilli powder (optional)

1. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until combined (don't overblend, it's nice to have a bit of texture to the pattie).
2. In a large frying pan, heat about 1 tbsp coconut oil over medium heat
3. Shape the falafel mixture into patties and fry gently on one side until golden. Flip, and cook the other side until golden. 
4. Serve with your favourite middle eastern inspired foods and enjoy!

Tahini (Sesame) Sauce 

1/4 cup tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
1 clove garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
juice of 1/2 lemon (you may like to add more if you prefer a more lemony taste or your lemon is not very juicy)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1/2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

1. Combine all ingredients with either a whisk, stick blender, or mini food processor (Love my magic bullet for these kinds of jobs!). Taste, and adjust ingredients accordingly. If it's too thick, add more lemon, oil, or even just a tsp or 2 of water. 



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Cauliflower Tabouleh

Hands up anyone who doesn't love Middle Eastern food?! We are huge fans in our family - the flavours are so rich and vibrant, and there are so many delicious options available... one of my favourites has always been the classic Tabouleh, with its fresh clean parsley flavour. It is a great accompaniment to the main meal, and it is also ridiculously healthy and full of goodness!

The only downside to my favourite side is that is is traditionally made with bulgur wheat which is very much off limits for those of us with gluten intolerance issues. So, in true Keeping It Real style, we modified the recipe and came up with this oh-so-delicious variation. It is a great one to keep in the fridge, so don't be worried that this makes a relatively large batch. 

You will only need a handful of simple ingredients, and not much time at all, and you will be ready to rock. 

With this batch of Tabouleh I made a Middle Eastern 'tasting bowl' with 'falafels' (made with broccoli and cauliflower instead of chickpeas), drizzled with Tahini sauce, and served with a whole heap of tasty little bites such as black olives, beetrrot dip, shredded lettuce, shredded carrot, tomato, jalapenos...the options are endless. Basically, we were aiming for a deconstructed type of kebab. So yummy! I will pop up the rest of the recipe for the tasting bowl tomorrow. Here is a picture to get your taste buds working though!

Tabouleh recipe as follows:

Cauliflower Tabouleh

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

2 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup cauliflower rice
1 tomato, finely diced
1/2 an onion (red, white, or a combination of both), 
2 tbsp olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare the ingredients - either use a knife to finely chop the parsley, or if you are feeling like making the job super simple pop it in a mini blender or food processor and pulse a few time until finely chopped. Dice the tomato and onion, add the to the parsley.
2. To make the 'rice', take approximately 1/4 head of cauliflower, and pulse a few times in a food processor or blender. Again, you could just take to it with a knife until finely chopped if you prefer the traditional method, or don't like to make dishes! You have 2 options here - you can either choose to steam or boil very lightly until just softened prior to blitzing it into its rice form, or you can 'rice' it first, then gently cook over medium heat in a frying pan until softened. For this dish, I went with option 1, as it makes a more moisture rich 'rice' which suited the dish well. It really doesn't matter which way you do it though - your choice!
3. Once you have all of the ingredients prepared, simply pop them in a large bowl and mix well to combine (parsley, cauliflower, tomato, onion, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Have a taste, and play around with the ingredients to suit your taste. You may like to add a little more oil, lemon, salt and pepper depending on personal preference.



Sunday, 12 October 2014

Kale, Onion, and Olive Loaf

Typical huh - you get a recipe that is a total winner, and everyone wants a piece of it, and then you can't find the blimmin' recipe!! I know I wrote it down when I made it the first time, but I have a terrible habit of writing all of my recipes on scraps of paper as I cook. I then put them in  'safe' place and cannot find what I need when I need it. Note to self...must improve filing system!

Anyway, there was an upside to the whole thing which was that I had to just go ahead I make another loaf! Terrible shame, but these things have to be done!

This time around I omitted the olives, as hubby is not a fan, and I wanted to make a version that he would like. I will include them in the recipe though, as I thought they really made it. You can feel free to leave them out as well if you prefer not to have them. The best part about all of this is that the kids loved it! Sometimes kids really surprise you with what they will and will not like. I didn't think they would even give it a go, but not only were they willing to try it but they seriously wolfed it down. Excellent!

This bread is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and sugar, and tastes AMAZING straight out of the oven, but stays really nice and moist for a few days stored in an airtight container. As the weather gets warmer I would recommend storing it in the fridge just to keep it from going mouldy, as the moisture level does make it more susceptible to this. But, to be honest you will be hard pushed to make it last long enough for that to be a problem!! The other option that I always like is to wait for it to cool then cut it into thick slices and store in the freezer. That way you can whip out a couple of pieces as you need them - if you want it for breakfast just take the quantity out that you require, and pop it in the toaster on the lowest setting to gently warm it. Spread with your favourite topping - highly recommend smashing some avocado on it with a crack of pepper and a sprinkle of salt, or a big old smear of almond butter or Dukkah butter. Delicious!

Kale, Onion, and Olive Loaf

1/2 cup walnut meal (see notes)
1/2 cup sunflower meal (see notes)
1/3 cup flaxseed meal
2 tbsp psyllium husk
one medium onion, peeled and finely diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2 cups kale, centre stalks removed, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (you can use dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme, stalks removed, finely chopped (you can use dried)
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup black olives, stones removed if necessary, roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper
2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (walnut meal, sunflower meal, flaxseed meal, psyllium husk, pepper, salt, baking soda). Mix to combine
3. In another large bowl, combine the egg, oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk until well combined. Add the olives, onion, kale, garlic, and herbs. mix to combine.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Mix well to ensure all ingredients are well combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to get all of those yummy ingredients mixed in
5. Spoon mixture into prepared loaf tin, and sprinkle with course sea salt if desired (this is purely decorative!)
6. Bake for around 30-40 minutes until lightly golden on top, and no longer soft to touch.
7. Cool in tin for 10 minutes, then cool on wire rack (or just eat it hot!)

- To make walnut and sunflower meal, simply pop the required quantity of nuts into a food processor or blender and pulse a couple of times until a 'flour' texture forms. Do not overblend, or you will end up with nut butter.
- If you prefer, you can substitute other nut flours, for example you could just use 1 cup almond flour instead of the half walnut/half sunflower. I just found that the more savoury flavour of the walnuts was a wonderful compliment to the kale and onion flavours.
- have some fun with this recipe... you could add other herbs and spices to change up the flavours. I am going to add chilli to my next one, and rosemary would taste divine in here too.



Thursday, 2 October 2014

Filipino Chicken Adobo

Super easy, totally delicious, and packed full of goodness, this Filipino Chicken Adobo will satisfy the whole family and is the perfect fast Friday dinner to throw together. It is a wonderful substitute for your favourite takeaway too, as it has that 'takeaway' tastiness but with none of the nasties! This is also a great meal if you are working to a tight budget - you can use more or less eggs/veges/chicken, use cheaper cuts of chicken or other meats depending on what is on special, and use whatever vegetables are lurking in the fridge. Bulk it out with steamed rice or you could also serve with noodles for an alternative.

I borrowed the base recipe from the wonderful where there are loads of yummy recipes to browse through, and then added my own touches to come up with this new family favourite.

I only had chicken tenderloins in the freezer so used those for the meat, but the original recipe uses chicken thighs which would be perfect as they have that stronger flavour. You could also try pork, red meat, or even go vegetarian with it...loads of options :)

A word of warning - you may want to double the quantities in the recipe, as the only thing that the family were unhappy about was that there wasn't more of this!

Filipino Chicken Adobo

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

500g Chicken thigh or tenderloin
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce if you use it)
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
salt to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil
4 hardboiled eggs, peeled 
1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
1 red capsicum, cut into large chunks
1 cup broccoli florets, (you can lightly steam them first to soften them a little first - speeds things up)
1/2 tbsp chilli flakes (optional)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and grated

1. In a large saucepan with a lid, place the chicken, vinegar, coconut aminos, bay leaves, and pepper. Cover with a lid and heat over a low heat and allow to simmer for about 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, season to taste and simmer for about another 5 minutes with the lid off.
2. While the chicken is simmering, in a frying pan heat about 1 tbsp coconut oil. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for about 30 seconds to release the aroma. Add the vegetables (mushroom, capsicum, and broccoli) and stir fry until just softened but still firm and colourful. If they stick to the pan use either a little (a couple of tbsp) water, stock, or a spoonful of the sauce mix from the chicken. Remove from heat and set aside.
2. After about 20-25 minutes. remove the chicken with a slotted spoon into one bowl, remove the sauce into another bowl and set aside. 
3. In the same pan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the chicken back into the pan (not the sauce). Cook for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Add the hardboiled eggs, and pour in the sauce. Mix it around to loosen up anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes to incorporate all of the flavours.

Serve with steamed rice or cauliflower rice



Sunday, 28 September 2014

Broccoli and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Hello to any long lost readers who are still keeping an eye on this page - you must all think I've dropped off the face of the's been so long!!

For anyone who missed the update, I am now studying with the Institute of Integrative Nutrition towards becoming a qualified health coach which is incredibly exciting and something I am very passionate about. In the first couple of months, the course work kept me busy, but was still fairly quick to get through and could slot in quite easily around lots of the other things going on. In the last month or so though, the work load has gone through the roof! It has been really exciting, as come the 6 month mark (rapidly approaching) I am able to start practising as a real live health coach, and so it is time to start doing all of the prep work towards getting a business set up and learning more about how to actually be a health coach, as opposed to just learning more about the dietary and lifestyle side of things. 

So anyway, my poor wonderful little blog has been suffering immensely, and I apologise for that. I am still whipping up recipes left right and centre (nothing can keep me out of the kitchen!), just struggling to find time to get them written and posted. So, if there is ever a specific recipe or piece of information that you are interested in, please just put in a request ( and I will do my best to help - I'm always interested to know what people are wanting to eat, and more than happy to get in the kitchen and experiment!!!

Now, here is a recipe that is a wonderful one for filling the baking tins for the school holidays - and work really well in school lunches. You can adapt them to be nut free if you need that option. 

The recipe is one that I have adapted from the wonderful and is a wonderful way to either use up any of that leftover steamed broccoli you may have in the fridge, or if you are keen to get a few extra greens into your kids (or husband, brother, mother, father!!) this is an excellent way to do it!! The muffins are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and can be free of the refined sugar depending on which variety of chocolate chips you like to use. You can also leave the chocolate chips out if you prefer not to have them at all. The chocolate chips I use are the Enjoy Life ones which are allergy safe and free of gluten, dairy, and soy (as well as another whole bunch of common allergens). They do contain some sugar, but I use them sparingly and find them to work really well in baking....they stay whole when baked, but they also melt really well. And of course most importantly they taste great!
If you are leaving the chocolate chips out you may want to increase the level of sweetener you use in the recipe, or just leave them as is - depends really on how much you are wanting to mask the broccoli! 

As always, I have tinkered with the original recipe...changed the sugar content, changed the flours used, had a play around with some quantities...just the usual playing!

Here is the recipe that the kids and I ended up with...

Broccoli and Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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

Ingredients: (please see the notes following the recipe before starting)
1 cup steamed broccoli
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup coconut oil or butter, melted
3 tbsp coconut nectar, or 1/4 cup coconut sugar (see notes for options)
1/2 cup nut or seed flour (see notes for options)
1/4 cup coconut flour (see notes for options)
1/4 cup chia seed or flaxseed meal (see notes for options)
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 - 1 cup of chocolate chips 

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line or grease a muffin tin (your choice which size you use, just remember to modify the baking time if you are making mini ones or jumbo ones)
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients (nut flour, coconut flour, chia or flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt). Add the coconut sugar here if you are using this as your sweetener.
3. In a blender or food processor, place the wet ingredients (banana, broccoli, eggs, lemon juice, vanilla, and coconut oil). Add liquid sweetener here if you are choosing the liquid option. Blend the ingredients until combined .
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix well to ensure everything is well combined. 
5. The mixture will be quite thick, so scoop dollops into the prepared muffin tins.
6. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown (This time is based on standard sized muffins - you will need to adjust more or less depending on the size of tin you choose. 

- feel free to add more sweetener if you like a sweeter end product. I did not make these very sweet at all, but I would recommend doubling the amount of sweetener used if you prefer. You can also substitute honey or maple syrup if you choose.
- I used 1/4 cup walnut flour and 1/4 cup sunflower flour, but you can use whichever you prefer - many people may prefer to just use almond flour/meal, as it is often what's in the pantry. It is very easy to make your own flours though - simply pop whole raw nuts into a blender a pulse a few times until they break up into a flour. Don't overdo it or you'll end up with nut butter!
- If you prefer not to include coconut flour, you can substitute with an extra half a cup of nut flour
- To make chia seed meal, simply grind 1/4 cup chia seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until a 'flour' forms.
- I would never dream of telling you a specific quantity of chocolate chips - go nuts or hold back depending on your preference!



Friday, 12 September 2014

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

You gorgeous blog readers really do love a sweet treat, don't you?! The interest in the Banana Raspberry Layer Cake was through the roof! Well - let me just say that if you loved that one you this one is going to rock your world! It's a little more decadent than the raspberry one as it does contain a small amount of sugar from the chocolate (how much really depends on which type of chocolate you choose to use), so this is definitely a good one for a special occasion, but it will really make an impact. It is deceptively simple to make too. I apologise for the dreadful photos of this one - they really don't do it justice! I was serving it for a dinner party we had for some wonderful friends who were visiting from out of town, and I was in a hurry to get it on the plates and out on the table! I served this very simply with an extra side of fresh strawberries, but you could do it with delicious coconut icecream, or a berry coulis would be amazing too.

 Getting off track for a moment though, tonight was a big night in our house - our eldest daughter had her first school disco - OMG such an emotional and exciting night! She was SO excited and got all glammed up for the occasion, and hubby and I were totally excited for her and got right into the spirit of things, but we also felt crazy emotional about seeing her start to do such grown up things! It was a 'no parents' event (their class teachers were all there to keep an eye on them) so we had to drop them at the door and pop back an hour later to pick them up. No chance to spy on them and see what they were up to - so gutted! Would have loved to see her having a boogie! I'm not one to post too many pics of the kids online as I don't think it's necessarily a good thing, but I can't resist sharing this moment of parental pride!

Anyway, that's enough of my little moment of emotion - let's get back to the cake!

This is a very basic recipe really, with only a few ingredients and even a very simple process to make it. You can make it well ahead of time as it will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, and freezes really well. In fact it's best to keep it in the freezer until about 1 hour before you serve. As you can see from the pics I only took it out at the last minute so it was still fairly well frozen, but the best part about this one is that it really doesn't matter either way! It is divine in it's more solid frozen form (a bit more like an icecream cake), or in it's softened form where the topping is totally mousse -y (a new word perhaps?!). Next time I make it I think I will double the portion of the base that I used, so I have given you the recipe for the updated version as opposed to the small quantity I had.

Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free. Can be free of refined sugar depending on which kind of chocolate you prefer to use for the mousse.

8 medjool dates (or standard dried dates soaked in hot water for 10 minutes or so)
2 cups raw pecans (you could use a mix of nuts, or the nuts of your choice)
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
3 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder

80g dark chocolate (preferably at least 70% or more), broken into small pieces
1 can coconut milk (270mls)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp raspberry powder (if you can't find this you can use raspberry essence or just some blended frozen raspberries would do as well - or you can just leave this out and serve with a nice berry sauce instead)
2 egg white
15 frozen raspberries

1. In a blender or food processor, combine all of the base ingredients (dates, nuts, oil, cacao) and blend until well combined. Press into a baking tin (you choose what shape you would like to use - I used a loaf tin to make a rectangular cake). Make sure you line the tin first with a piece of baking paper that comes up higher than the height of the cake so that it is easy to remove (or use a baking tin with a removable base). Pop into the freezer to allow the base to harden
2. Heat the coconut milk, coconut oil, and vanilla extract on a medium/low heat in a small pot. When warm, add the chocolate and stir well until the chocolate has just melted into the mix. Add the raspberry powder if using and mix to combine. Allow to cool until only lukewarm
3. While the chocolate mixture is cooling down, beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff (my kids love to test it by holding the bowl upside down!), but not meringue like. I think soft peaks is the term?
4. When chocolate mixture is cool enough, gently fold into the egg whites. It works well to add a spoonful of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture and stir it in, then fold this whole mixture through the egg whites gently - it just for some reason helps to blend it better.
5. When the egg and chocolate mixtures are just combined, remove the base from the freezer and pour the chocolate mousse mixture over it. Take the frozen raspberries and dot them evenly into the mixture, then smooth the top over with the spatula to cover the raspberries (or you could leave them exposed if you prefer).
6. Return the whole thing to the freezer and allow to chill.
7. If you are making it well ahead of time, it will freeze so about 30-60 minutes before serving remove it from the freezer to allow the mousse like texture to be achieved (or serve it frozen if you like a more ice-creamy texture). If it's a hot day you may want to take it from the freezer to the fridge rather than leaving it out, as it may become a little too soft if kept too warm.



Thursday, 11 September 2014

Avocado and Chocolate Cookies

Speed post here - my gorgeous accomplice at Lunchbox Love 4 U has whipped up a batch of these delicious, moist, and decadent Avocado and Chocolate Cookies for her weekly lunchboxes so I had better get back in the game and pop the recipe up!

These were a hit with her family of older girls (preteen/teen) and they were equally as much of a hit with my younger girls (3 and 5) - maybe it's just a girl thing of all ages...must love anything chocolatey?! In fact, my youngest claims to not like chocolate or avocado but she wolfed these down no trouble at all. Fickle children!

So without further ado, here is the recipe. The fun with these is in making them up and then getting everyone to try and guess the secret ingredient - not many figure out the avocado!

Avocado Chocolate Cookies

½ a large ripe avocado, mashed
50g dark chocolate (70% or more)
6 tbsp coconut flour, or 1 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup cocoa or cacao
Optional: 2-3 tbsp honey

1.       Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2.       In a small bowl over a bowl of simmering water, melt the chocolate until just melted.
3.       In a bowl, combine the coconut flour or almond flour, cocoa, and baking soda.
4.       In another bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla essence, avocado, and honey if using. Mix until ingredients are well combined.
5.       Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Mix until just combined, then gently fold in the melted chocolate. The mixture will be quite soft, so dollop tablespoonfuls onto the baking tray and shape into biscuit shapes with the back of a spoon
6.       Bake for about 10 -12 minutes until no longer mushy (you still want a little bit of softness to the touch)
7.       Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool

I would definitely recommend using the honey if you’re making them for the kids. I didn’t put it in mine, and they’re very ‘earthy’ with the avocado, and a little more sweetness would disguise some of that. Try it both ways though and see which you prefer 

You can choose whether you prefer to use almond flour or coconut flour depending on what you find easier to tolerate, or whether you 'do' nuts or not. You may also like to experiment something like buckwheat flour as another option - it has quite nice earthy tones which might be a good compliment to the avocado.