Friday, 31 January 2014

Popcorn Chicken

The other night I was stuck for inspiration over what to cook for dinner - I usually have loads of ideas that I want to try, but then there are some nights where the there is a serious lack of ability to decide what to do! So I asked hubby if he had any requests involving chicken. His request? Popcorn chicken! Um, ok! Turns out it didn't eventuate that night - bit of a problem with the fridge mean that the chicken I was going to use had a funky kind of odor so it went straight in the bin and dinner consisted of frantically throwing together whatever I could find in the freezer! But, a couple of nights later, I tried again…this time with odorless chicken (the best kind!!).

I must apologize for the really awful photos of this meal - was running REALLY behind schedule!

The end result was pretty darn good if I do say so myself, and both hubby and the kids were suitably impressed. Hubby even decided it would rate in his top 10 - high praise indeed! The chicken itself is gluten, grain, dairy, nut, soy and sugar free. I served it with coleslaw, homemade potato and kumara chunky chips and sweetcorn for the kids. You can serve how you like, and choose whichever yummy dipping sauces take your fancy. If you don't eat corn for whatever reason (such as anyone with digestive issues like me, or those people following the paleo eating plan), simply omit and replace with another vegetable you prefer. My kids and hubby love corn, so I served it for them, and I simply had a double helping of coleslaw - yum! Likewise for the potato chips - if you don't eat potatoes either just make kumara chips, or use another vegetable of your choice.

The coleslaw was a lazy girls version, made from one of the coleslaw packs a the supermarket (minus the dressing they provide of course!). I then upgraded it by adding tomato, avocado, sweet pea shoots and a homemade dressing made with capsicum and garlic (recipe also below).

Popcorn Chicken 

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

800g chicken thigh or breast (boneless, skinless), trimmed and cut into small chunks about 2cmx2cm
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp each of turmeric and garlic powder
1/2 tbsp each of ground cumin, paprika, salt and pepper
1/2 tbsp chilli powder (optional, but very yummy!)
2 eggs
2 tbsp coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
coconut oil for frying

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together eggs and coconut aminos (or soy). In another bowl, combine the coconut flour, turmeric, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper (and chilli if using). Mix well to ensure evenly combined
3. Add the chunks of chicken to the bowl containing the egg (best to do it in 2 batches, so just start with half). Remove from the egg dip and place the chicken in the bowl with the flour/spice mix (this is a messy job, but that's half the fun!)
4. Heat a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium/high heat.
5. Place coated chicken in the pan and fry until golden, turning often to ensure even browning. At this stage, the chicken doesn't have to be cooked through, just golden on the outside
6. Place chicken on the baking tray (repeat steps 3-5 if you have done 2 batches) then when all chicken is on the tray, place in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes until cooked through (cooking time will vary depending on how big you cut your pieces of chicken, so be sure to check often - if you overcook it the chicken will be dry)
7. Remove from oven and serve with dipping sauce of your choice, homemade chunky chips and salad of your choice.

I used chicken thigh as I prefer the added flavor and moisture it gives, but breast would work just as well.

Capsicum and Garlic Salad Dressing (or dipping sauce)

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

1 red caspicum, roughly chopped
3 cloved garlic, peeled
2 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
1/8-1/4 cup water (optional depending on how runny you want your dressing - runnier works best for salad dressing, but you can omit the water if you are using as a dipping sauce)

1. Blend together all ingredients in a small food processor or blender. Taste, and adjust seasoning as needed.
2. Pour over salad, or put in a small bowl to use for dipping



Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Seedy Vegetable Patties

Well, there have been a whole bunch of things happening this week which have kept me away from the blog - feeling a bit slack really!

My youngest daughter had her third birthday party on Saturday which was so much fun…she opted for a pirate party! We had it at the park with about 30 family and friends and we were lucky to strike a gorgeous warm sunny day in amongst the crazy rain, wind and thunder we'd been having all week - thank goodness!

As much fun as the party was, it is also a massive undertaking - I love making a big cake and putting together all sorts of goodies for the big day. This year the cake was a pirate ship sitting on top of the ocean with a beach, palm tree and treasure chest at the spot marked 'x'! The ship was made out of gluten-free chocolate cake and gluten-free vanilla cake layered with chocolate buttercream (for birthdays I always use buttercream as it is only a couple of times a year and yes, I know it's not dairy free, but I refuse to use margarine or some other nasty butter substitute to make it!). The base of the cake was a gluten, dairy, grain, soy, nut free banana chocolate chip cake (recipe courtesy of which was covered in fondant icing. Fondant icing is pretty gross and even the kids don't like it, so it works well - it gives the cake the desired colorful finished effect but they just peel it off and eat the cake alone.

 The cake in all it's glory!

My two girls with a friend (the friend's the blondie!)

So after all was said and done with the party we had a day of getting the house back in order then had to think about her actual birthday which she really enjoyed - I made some little allergy friendly banana chic chip muffins for her to take along to celebrate with her friends at Montessori and when the kids got home we had afternoon tea of reassembled cake complete with the lighting of the candles - poor thing missed out on blowing out her candles at her birthday party due to very strong winds…the hazards of a party at the park! To redo the cake, I used the square of base cake we had leftover, removed the fondant icing and re-iced with a far more nutritious option… I made some coconut butter, pureed some bananas into it, added a small handful of chocolate chips and a tbsp of maple syrup and it set beautifully in the fridge! I was really just throwing stuff into the blender and hoping for the best, but ended up with a really great substitute for buttercream…the new icing actually had a similar consistency to buttercream. I think it would even have piped well if I'd needed it too, although not through a small nozzle as it still had a slight texture to it from the coconut. 

Not a very beautiful cake (plating was a shocker, and the photo is just as bad!!), but this is the remake with the yummy wholesome icing - I was in a major rush so ain't pretty!

Finally this week (today) I had a wisdom tooth removed which was a really bizarre experience! I was sedated and I remember them putting the sedative in and prepping me, and then the next thing I know I was sitting in a different chair in a different room, thinking I still had to have the tooth out and wondering where I was and why everyone was asking me if I was ok…totally spun out when hubby came in and said 'time to go'!!!! My big question… did I get to the new chair?!!!! OMG I must have walked, but have zero recollection of it which is both super cool and super freaky at the same time. So weird!!

I do have a recipe for you though… can't even remember which night I made these, but with all the cake baking and eating that was going on I had a really strong craving for just some good old fashioned vegetables! There were a bunch of random bits and pieces in the fridge that were all due to be used up, and decided to blend them together to make a vegetable patty that I served with raw carrot and zucchini noodles, and a chunky avocado salsa. Simple, crazy nutritious and a great way to deal with those 'I need to do the groceries' days when you just have random bit of vegetable lurking in the bottom of the fridge! With the addition of sunflower seeds and tahini they also have a protein hit so they are a complete meal for a light dinner or easy lunch (they're GREAT for lunch the next day cold…yum!) You could make these a lot more chunky, I blended them quite throughly to appeal more to the kids, but if I was making them adults only I'd try and leave a few more 'bits' in them. 

Seedy Vegetable Patties

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

2 cups broccoli, roughly chopped into small florets (you can just hack at it really, it just needs to be small enough to blend easily)
2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped into small pieces
2 cups baby spinach
4 cloves garlic
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 coconut flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt and pepper
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/4 cup tahini
coconut oil to fry

1. In a food processor, blend together the vegetables (broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, garlic and onion) until finely chopped. Add the sunflower seeds, eggs, mustard, and tahini. Blend for a couple of minutes until the mixture starts to bind then add the coconut flour and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
2. Heat coconut oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Grab a handful of the broccoli mixture and shape into a patty (you choose how much you use in each patty!). Fry gently on one side until golden then flip (carefully!) and brown the other side. 
3. Serve however you would like - they would be great in a vegetarian burger with a bun, a grain free burger sandwiched between 2 large flat mushrooms, and they worked really well as I served them on top of zucchini and carrot noodles with an avocado salsa. The noodles and salsa added the 'sauce' element that gives them a lovely moisture boost.

To make the noodles, I used a spiral grater to create 'noodles' from a couple of zucchini and carrots, then added lemon juice, fresh green chilli, about 1 tbsp fish sauce, salt and pepper to a bowl with the veges. I leaved them to sit while I made the rest of the dinner so they could absorb the flavors and 'cook' in the juices. The salsa was just a tomato, cucumber, avocado and spring onion (one of each) roughly chopped with a dressing of lemon juice, salt and pepper. 



Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Broccoli and Pine Nut Fritters

I was reading a Facebook post by the gorgeous Julia and Libby ( the other day for some broccoli and pine nut fritters, and thought they sounded so good that I had to give them a go! Their recipe had a few things in that would not suit for our family, so I have modified the recipe to make them gluten, grain, dairy, soy and sugar free. The fritters are a great way to make broccoli a little more interesting, and they really are quite simple to make. We go through an HUGE amount of broccoli in this house (usually about 1 head every couple of days) and so I am always keeping an eye out for ideas on how to give it a new twist. These went down a treat with the family and the leftovers were great straight out of the fridge for lunch the next day. They would even make a great lunch meal instead of as a side for dinner - you could add a tin of salmon or tuna to give them an added protein boost. 

Broccoli and Pine Nut Fritters

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

2 cups broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup pine nuts (either raw or toasted - you choose!)
1 tbsp dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp coconut oil or cooking oil of your choice

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and either steam or boil the broccoli for about 3-5 minutes until just tender.
2. Drain the water and turn the broccoli out onto a chopping board. Using a large knife, roughly chop the broccoli - you don't have to make it pretty, just roughly hack it into small chunks.
3. Add the broccoli to a medium bowl along with all the other ingredients. Mix well to combine
4. Heat your oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
5. Add spoonfuls of the broccoli mixture to the pan (I used about 2-3 tbsp for each fritter, but you can vary it to your liking). You may have to press the mixture down a little and shape it a little using a spoon or other cooking utensil. You will most likely have to make the fritters in 2 batches as you don't want to crowd the pan - leave plenty of room for flipping as it is a delicate process!
6. Cook for about 3 minutes until golden brown, then flip VERY carefully (you may need to smoosh them back together a little after flipping!) and cook again for another couple of minutes on the other side.

Serve the fritters any way you like. We had them with roast chicken legs, hassle back kumaras and steamed carrots - you could have them with all sorts of things.

Serve them with homemade chutney and a fresh salad for a simple and nutritious lunch, or as a side dish for any number of main meals. You can add different spices to adapt the flavor to the dish you are making - for example add a little garam masala and have them with your favourite curry, or add a touch of chilli and some cumin and coriander to give them a mexican twist… so many choices!



Sunday, 19 January 2014

Chocolate Orange Cake

What a day! My legs are burning, and I'm shattered, but I managed to complete the run leg of a half ironman in a respectable time and even succeeded in not passing out in seriously hot conditions! It was a great day, and so much fun to be a part of an awesome team who all gave it their all…and then a nice team 'debrief' afterwards at a local bar with the kids running around and having a great time with their friends.

The day was topped off by a great evening with hubby's mum and stepdad who put on a wicked bbq as always - stuffed, satisfied and exhausted!

On to the chocolate orange cake now! I was using up some oranges the other day and made it into some fresh juice for the kids but ended up with about about a cup more than needed. Never one to waste perfectly good anything, I decided to make a cake! This cake came out moist and delicious and has just a hint of orange flavor. Gluten, dairy, grain, soy and refined sugar free it's almost good enough for breakfast!

Chocolate Orange Cake

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

1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp water
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp ground ginger

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a cake tin with baking paper (I used a 19cm round tin, but you can use whatever tin you prefer, just remember to adjust your cooking time accordingly)
2. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, cocoa, baking powder and ginger
3. In another bowl, combine the honey, eggs, coconut oil and orange juice.
4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Mix well.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin
6. Bake for around 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.



Friday, 17 January 2014

Beef Empanadas with Mushroom and Zucchini Salad

What a great day of trading! The wonderful mother of one of my close friends is a legendary gardener and offered us a bunch of fresh vegetables from one of her gardens. What a haul! We now have tomatoes, rhubarb, zucchini, capsicum, beetroot, a whole load of salad greens and an eggplant in the kitchen waiting to be put to good use. In exchange, we handed over a bag of plums. I then visited another friend for a playdate with the kids and handed over another bag of plums, in return receiving a large cucumber - no need for the supermarket!

On the topic of plums, we are currently up to our knees in them! We have a very prolific plum tree in the garden which has produced a bumper crop this season. During the winter we gave it a prune as it was beginning to take over the garden. We had no idea what we were doing, but we gave it a good hack, and obviously got something right as it has gone crazy this year! Be aware - there may be a lot of plum recipes coming up soon! Anyone who comes to the house receives a bag, and anyone we are visiting receives a bag - but still we can't seem to make a dent. They are so sweet and delicious though that we are certainly managing to consume a fair few too…although I remember now that January is the month I need to invest in backup napisan for all of the plum stains on the kids clothes. Why do they always seem to be wearing white when they decide to eat a plum?!

Back to the topic of this post! I was browsing recipes the other day (it's kind of an addiction!) and came across this recipe for Beef Empanadas. Empanadas don't really feature all that much on the radar of the kiwi food scene, but I think traditionally they are a little spicy meat mixture wrapped in pastry, kind of like a cornish pasty but more spanish/mexican. The kids and hubby are pretty much fans of anything wrapped in pastry, so I was certain that this one would be a success in our household.

I served the meal with a mushroom and zucchini salad (had loads in the fridge to use up) and topped it with a basic guacamole. In the original recipe, the meat filling has jalapeños added, but I left them out to cater to the kids. However you can add them in if you prefer a spicy filling (I'd recommend it - more authentic and adds another level of flavor!). I also adjusted the recipe for the casing as I wanted to get away from such a heavy serving of almond flour so used a mix of almond and coconut flour. Again though you can use just almond flour if that's what you prefer or is all you have in the pantry!

 Ready to go in the oven…

 Golden and crispy casing with a simple but tasty filling - ready to munch on!

Roasted zucchini and mushrooms mixed with fresh, crunchy salad vegetables and tossed with a spicy jalapeño dressing

 Time to eat - Empanadas and salad topped off with a creamy guacamole and some fresh herbs

Beef Empanadas with Zucchini and Mushroom Salad

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


Empanada Casing
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch (or arrowroot)
1 small can coconut milk (270ml)
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten to use for egg wash

Empanada Filling
600g beef mince (or mince of your choice)
1 onion, finely diced or sliced
4 cloves garlic, grated
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: about 1/8 cup jalapeños, finely diced, or 1 tsp chill or cayenne powder.

3 zucchini, cut in half lengthways then into thick diagonals
2 cups button mushrooms, quartered
1 green capsicum, cut into big chunks
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
1 cup lettuce, shredded
1/2 a cucumber, cut into chunks
2 tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp chilli
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
salt and pepper to taste
juice of half a lemon

Salad dressing
6 slices of jalapeño
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper

2 ripe avocados
1/2 a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/2 a spring onion
1 clove garlic
1/8 tsp paprika
juice of a lemon or lime
salt and pepper to taste

1. Start by preheating your oven for the roasted vegetables. Preheat to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a large bowl, combine the coconut oil, chilli, cumin, salt, pepper and lemon juice. Add the zucchini, mushrooms  and capsicum and mix well to get a good even coating. Pour the vegetables onto the baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes until soft and golden. 
2. While the vegetables are roasting, prepare your mince mixture. In a frying pan, heat about 1 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and fry until softened. Add the mince. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add the carrot and cook for another couple of minutes until softened. Add the herbs and spices (cumin, coriander, oregano, coriander and paprika) and cook for another couple of minutes to allow flavors to combine. Remove from heat. 
3. Get another baking tray and line with baking paper. To make the empanada casings, mix together all ingredients expect for the egg (almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca, coconut milk and salt) in a bowl. Mix well to form a batter. If it seems really thick, add a little more coconut milk - it should be about the consistency of thick yoghurt.
4. In another frying pan, over medium heat, add 1/4 cup of the batter and spread until a thin 'pancake' is formed (should be about 1/2 cm thick at most). Cook until golden on the underside, then remove from pan and place on the prepared baking tray with the baking paper. On the 'pancake' place about 1/8-1/4 cup mince mixture in the middle. Fold the 'pancake' over the mixture and press the edges together to seal. Brush with the beaten egg. Repeat this process with the rest of the empanada batter (it should make about 4-5 depending on what size you make them). Place the baking tray with the empanadas in the oven and cook for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown and nicely crispy around the edges. 
5. While the empanadas are getting all golden and luscious, finish off the salad. In a large bowl, add the roasted zucchini and mushrooms. Add the rest of the vegetables (onion, lettuce, cucumber and tomato). Toss well. To make the dressing, in a small blender or food processor blend together the jalapeños, cumin, water, lemon and seasoning. Taste, and adjust quantities to suit your palate. Warning, this is a spicy dressing - if you don't like it spicy, omit the jalapeños and simply increase the quantities of the other ingredients to make a tasty but mild dressing. Once you have the flavor you like, pour the dressing over the salad and toss well to combine. 
6. Last but not least, make your guacamole (you will want to do this just before serving so the avocado doesn't go brown - still tastes ok but doesn't look so pretty!). You can choose either the chunky or the smooth option… I went for smooth (ish) this time, but I generally prefer chunky. If you are going smooth, place all ingredients in a small blender and blend until combined. If you like it chunky, chop spring onion, finely dice the chilli, grate the garlic, mash the avocado, and mix it all together with the paprika, lemon juice and seasoning. 
7. To serve, place a generous serving of salad on the plate, place an empanada or 2 on the salad then top with a heaping spoonful of guacamole. Yum!

You will find you have plenty of mince mixture leftover, but you can save this for lunch the next day or freeze for another meal of empanadas another day. There are countless uses for a basic mince mixture, so I'm sure you will find a use for it!



Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Vietnamese Chicken with Coleslaw

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Vietnamese is one of my favorite cuisines, and I am totally addicted to the fresh, vibrant flavors and the way it all makes your tastebuds tingle. Delicious!

I made this super simple Vietnamese Chicken with Coleslaw and it really was so easy to make. You can marinate the chicken ahead of time if you have time and would like that added depth of flavor, but if you have just got home from work and don't have time to muck around, it will work just as well making the whole meal in one hit. It took only about 30-40 minutes from starting the dinner to getting it on the table so this is a great weeknight meal. You can serve the meal with steamed rice, cauliflower rice, or for a lighter option or a lunch option, you can just serve the chicken on top of the coleslaw. The meal is gluten, grain, dairy, nut, soy and sugar free.

 All the bits - Vibrant coleslaw, tender chicken and spicy dipping sauce

 Served with steamed rice…

…or served on top of the coleslaw

Vietnamese Chicken with Coleslaw

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


6 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and yucky bits
1 tbsp finely chopped lemongrass 
1 cm cube of fresh ginger, grated
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 red chilli (optional)
juice of half a lemon or lime
1 tbsp coconut oil

Dipping Sauce
2 tbsp fish sauce
4 tbsp water
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp spring onion (green bits, finely sliced)
juice of half a lemon

1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1 cup green cabbage, shredded
1 cup lettuce, shredded
2 carrots, julienned or grated
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 spring onion, finely sliced
large handful of fresh mint, roughly torn
large handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp water
juice of half a lemon
juice of half a lime

1. Place chicken in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine lemongrass, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, pepper, chilli and lemon juice. Mix well to combine then pour over the chicken and give it all a good mix around to ensure the chicken is well coated. You can now choose to either cover the chicken and refrigerate for a couple of hours or, if you are pushed for time, you can cook straight away.
2. Preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Place the chicken in the pan and cook until browned on one side (a couple of minutes). Flip then brown the other side. You can do this step on a BBQ if you prefer
4. Place the browned chicken on the prepared baking tray and place in the oven to finish cooking. Bake for around 15-20 minutes until cooked through and juices run clear. The cooking time will depend on the size of the thighs and on how much the chicken cooked while in the pan, so you will want to keep an eye on it to ensure you don't overcook it.
5. While the chicken is in the oven you can prepare the coleslaw (and the rice if you are serving with rice). 
6. To make the coleslaw, combine all of the vegetables and herbs in a large bowl (cabbages, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onion, mint and coriander). In a small bowl, combine the dressing ingredients (fish sauce, water, and lemon juice) then pour over the coleslaw. Give the coleslaw a good mix to ensure the dressing is well incorporated. 
7. Prepare you dipping sauce by combining all ingredients in a small bowl and mixing well. You may like to adjust the quantities of each ingredient depending on your personal taste preference.
8. Time to serve! Slice the chicken, place over the rice or coleslaw then drizzle dipping sauce over the top. 



Pacific Prawn Burgers with Plantain Chips

Burger night is always a good night! This meal is always so popular here, and tonight I decided to make it a little more fresh, light and summery by making a prawn pattie with pacific flavours, and serving it with plantain chips.

I had been searching high and low for plantains, checking out what felt like every little fruit and vege shop in Auckland and then I finely find them and guess where they are?….Countdown! Yup, these fantastic nutrient rich carb alternatives taste like savoury bananas and can be used in a whole bunch of different ways. 

For the burgers, I made a standard gluten-free option using gluten-free buns, and a grain-free version using the plantain chips as the base and topping it with sliced avocado. I got the idea for the prawn patties from OMGPaleo, and as santa got me a gorgeous Samoan recipe book for christmas I have been inspired by making food with a pacific flavor. The burgers were also topped with fried onions that I simply panfried and finished with a dash of coconut milk to tie in with the pacific theme. The burgers were served with a pacific coleslaw which you could put inside the burger, but I decided that it would make it too hard to eat, so just served it on the side!

 Gluten-free Prawn Burgers with Pacific Coleslaw and plantain chips

Grain-free Prawn Burgers with Pacific Coleslaw on Plantain Chips

Pacific Prawn Burgers with Plantain Chips

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

500g raw prawn meat (shells and tails removed)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 a red chill, roughly chopped
1cm cube of fresh ginger, grated
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup coconut flour
salt and pepper (about 1/2 tsp of each)
2 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 avocado, sliced
1 tomato, sliced

1 onion, cut in half then thinly sliced
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp coconut milk
salt and pepper

2 plantain, cut into diagonal slices about 1/2 cm thick
1 tsbp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

4 large gluten-free burger buns (optional)

To make the coleslaw, I used leftovers from the Vietnamese Coleslaw from last night, and added an extra squeeze of lime juice and 1/4 cup shredded coconut. If you don't have any leftover coleslaw, simply use the ingredients from the Vietnamese recipe and omit the dressing, but dress this one with a dressing made up of 1 tbsp coconut milk, juice of half a lemon or lime, half a red chill, finely diced, a pinch of salt and a couple of cracks of pepper - yum!

1. In a food processor or blender, place the prawn meat and blend until minced. It is totally fine to have chunks in it as this gives it better texture. Place the prawn mince in a bowl. 
2. Place the onion, garlic, ginger, chill and lime juice in the blender and puree. Again, don't worry if there are chunks in it. Put the onion puree in with the prawn mince. Mix well to combine. Add the beaten egg and coconut milk. Mix well. Add the coconut flour and season with salt and pepper. Mix well to fully combine the ingredients and leave int he fridge to rest for at least ten minutes. 
3. Preheat oven to 160C. Combine the plantain chips with the oil, salt and pepper. Place the plantain chips in a single layer on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for around 10-15 minutes until golden, then turn them and cook for about the same time again. 
4. In a small frying pan, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil over a medium-low heat then add the thinly sliced onions. Cook for about 10 minutes until the onions start to caramelize. Make sure you check them regularly and stir often to ensure they do not stick to the pan and burn. When the onions are caramelized, stir in the 2 tbsp of coconut milk. Remove from the heat.
5. Heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Take a handful of the prawn mixture and form it into a thick pattie. Place in the pan and repeat. Don't overcrowd the pan - you will probably need to cook them in 2 batches. Cook on one side until bottom is golden brown (a couple of minutes), then flip and cook for another couple of minutes on the other side (if you are not sure if it is cooked, sacrifice one that you can cut in half to check). Remove the first batch and place on a plate while you cook the second batch. The mixture will 4-6 patties depending on what size you make them. If you are using buns for your burgers, while the patties are cooking you can grill the buns in the oven on high heat for a couple of minutes to toast them.
6. Plate the burgers. 
- If you are using buns, place the bottom half of the bun down on the plate, smash some avocado on it, place the pattie on top, then 2 slices of tomato, some of the fried onions, then top with the other half of the bun (I spread a little mayo on the bun for added flavor). Serve with coleslaw and plantain chips on the side. 
- If you are choosing the grain free option with no buns, place a layer of plantain chips on the plate (I used 6 chips, but use as many as you prefer), then top with the pattie, the sliced tomato, the onion and then top with sliced avocado. Serve with coleslaw on the side. 



Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Walnut Butter

In keeping with my latest obsession with nut butters, I made a batch of walnut butter. This one is a little different in the sense that I think it will be best suited to use in baking or cooking. As a butter, it has a slight hint of bitterness that you can often taste with walnuts, and as such isn't quite as moreish as almond or cashew butter in terms of a standalone item of food. The bitterness comes from the phenols contained in the skin of the walnuts, however these phenols are what makes the humble walnut one of the most nutritious nuts out there, so leave it on!!

One of the items on my list to experiment with is making a bread using the walnut butter, so watch this space! I am also really keen to make a macadamia butter, but I love macadamia nuts so much that I am almost too scared to make it as I know that I will be unable to resist the temptation of the smooth creaminess of it!

Walnuts are one of the less glamorous, less publicized nuts on the market, but they are a powerhouse of nutrition. They are a rich source of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as containing a particularly beneficial form of Vitamin E, and loads of phytonutrients which are known to reduce cancer risk for many people.

As with all of the nut butters, this is super easy to make, and requires just nuts and a pinch of salt.

Walnut Butter

2 cups raw walnuts
a pinch of salt (about 1/8-1/4 tsp…adjust according to your taste preference)

1. You can choose to either lightly roast the nuts prior to blending, or you can use them raw if you prefer. If you choose to roast them, preheat the oven to 160C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the nuts on the baking tray and roast for around 5-10 minutes or until just golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes.
2. In the blender place the nuts and the salt. Blend until a smooth creamy consistency is achieved. This will take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes depending on the power of your blender. You will have to stop a couple of times to scrape the sides of the blender (and also to give the motor a bit of a break so it doesn't burn out!

Pour into a glass jar with an airtight lid to store. During the summer it is best to keep this in the fridge to prevent it going rancid.



Monday, 13 January 2014

Stuffed Eggplants

I have a confession to make…I love my children to the ends of the earth, but is it wrong to say that I am looking forward to holidays being over?! We are all running out of activities to keep us occupied, and while there was a great deal of fun had over the Christmas/New Year period and we were busy doing 'fun things' which meant everyone was happy, the real world has come back now and Mummy has jobs to do! The arts and crafts book has been well flicked through, the trampoline, jungle gym, and slide have been bounced on and played on within an inch of their lives, and the barbies have all had significant birthdays on a daily basis! I love those little angels, but I am ready to claim back some of the territory in this house and enjoy tidying a room and having it stay that way even just for half an hour to make me feel that my efforts were not just a giant waste of time!! Such is the life of a mum that although I moan now, I will no doubt be missing them within a couple of days of them being back!

One of the main things that has gone back to normal after the festive season is our meals. I am now pretty much back on track with cooking dinner each night instead of relying on the masses of leftovers, takeaways and dinners out that seem to have become the norm the last few weeks. While it's been great having some time out from cooking, I have missed it as it is such a passion (you can't eat without cooking, and I love to eat therefore love to cook!). 

Last night we had stuffed eggplants (or aubergines as they are otherwise known) which is I think is traditionally a Turkish dish. This is a very simple version which we had stuffed with lamb mince and vegetables, although they are also delicious as a vegetarian option. I made a very random tomato cashew sauce to give it a little more moisture and served the meal with a fresh green salad. Delicious, simple, clean and nutritious the meal is gluten, grain, dairy, soy and sugar free.

Stuffed Eggplants with Tomato Cashew Sauce

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

2 Eggplants, 
500g Lamb Mince
1/2 red capsicum, diced
2 zucchini (courgette), diced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 orange capsicum, diced
1 cup spinach or silver beet, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, grated
1/2 red chilli, finely diced (optional)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika (regular)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp fresh or dried oregano
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
1 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper

1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1 fresh tomato, roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. Place your eggplants in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes (they need to still be firm but starting to soften. Remove from oven and leave to cool for a few minutes (leave the oven on). Cut each eggplant in half lengthways and scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1cm border of flesh in the shell. Take the flesh you removed and roughly chop.
3. In a frying pan, over medium heat, cook the garlic and onions until fragrant and softened. Add lamb mince and cook for about 5 minutes until broken up and starting to loose the pinkness. Add the capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms, chill, and diced eggplant flesh. Cook for a few minutes until vegetables are starting to soften. Add cumin, coriander, paprika (both kinds), oregano, thyme, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Cook until lamb is no longer pink and the flavors are well combined. Add the silver beet or spinach and mix in with the lamb mixture. 
4. Take spoonfuls of the lamb mixture and place it back into the eggplant shells. Stuff it as full as you can. Place back in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes until top has browned and eggplant shells are lovely and soft. If the lamb is starting to brown too much, cover with foil to create a steam effect and to prevent burning. 
5. To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined. 
6. Pour sauce over the eggplant and serve with a green salad. 



Sunday, 12 January 2014

Pan-fried snapper with tomato salsa and beetroot chips

Wow! The Facebook pictures for this meal really attracted a lot of attention! Not surprising though - it's the kind of meal that makes you feel good when you eat it, but without compromising on flavor.

I was lucky enough that hubby went out fishing and caught a bunch of gorgeous fresh snapper so we had the best of the best on the plate, but of course the local supermarket should be able to help you out if you don't have a fishing husband!!

I decided to honor the fish by keeping the flavors very simple, as fresh fish really doesn't need much added to it. Paired with a zesty fresh salsa with a hint of chilli and some smashed roasted root vegetables and topped with crispy beetroot chips, this meal was described by hubby as one of his all time favorites! What a compliment! I added a little turmeric when cooking the fish as it has amazing health benefits (most notably it's anti-inflammatory properties, as well as being great for you heart and liver)and also gives such a fantastic color to any food.

A bowl of goodness…Yum!
 A gorgeous fresh summer meal

Plated up - can't wait to dig in!

My youngest, most critical customer giving the food a close inspection - is it up to standard?! 

Pan-fried Snapper, Tomato Salsa and Beetroot Chips

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


4 medium Snapper fillets (or white fish of your choice)
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp butter or ghee (optional)
1 tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, grated
salt and pepper to season

Tomato Salsa
1/2 telegraph cucumber, diced
3 large tomatoes, diced
1/2 red capsicum, seeds removed, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1/2 yellow capsicum, seeds removed, diced
1/2 spring onion (green bits only), thinly sliced
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely diced (optional)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp ground cumin 
salt and pepper
1 handful of fresh coriander, torn 
1 handful of fresh mint, torn (optional)

Beetroot Chips 
See Recipe Here

Smashed Potatoes and Kumara
See Recipe Here

1. To make the salsa, combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. If you are not serving immediately, omit the avocado and add it at the end just before you serve (this will prevent it from browning). The salsa tastes better if you make it about half an hour before hand and leave it to rest for 30 minutes or so - the flavors develop really nicely!
2. For the fish, ensure your fillets are clean and free of scales or bones. Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan over medium heat (you don't have to use the butter if you are dairy free, there is just something about fresh fish and butter which adds another level of flavor! If you are omitting the butter, add another tbsp of coconut oil). 
3. Add the garlic and turmeric the the heated oil, fry for about 20 seconds to release aroma then add fish to the pan. Depending on the size of your fillets, cook the fish for around 2-3 minutes then flip and cook for another minute or so on the other side. 

Serve the fish with the salsa, smashed root vegetables and beetroot chips and a nice fresh green salad if you like a few bonus vegetables on the plate. For the salad I kept it very basic with just torn lettuce, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, radish and fresh basil dressed with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. 



Beetroot Chips

Gorgeous Oven Baked Beetroot Chips - perfect as a snack, as a side dish with your dinner (served here on top of fresh snapper), or even good enough for breakfast!! Beetroot is wonderful for your heart health and although it's earthy taste is quite unique it can be enjoyed in so many ways - even in dessert! (remind me to find my recipe for beetroot brownies one day soon!)

Surprisingly, my four year old even loved these chips - she eats most things but I was not sure how she would go with these. Probably helps that they're pink!

Beetroot Chips

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

1 large whole beetroot, peeled
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 150C
2. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper
3. Using a mandolin or a sharp knife, slice the beetroot very thinly.
4. In a medium bowl combine the oil, cumin, salt and pepper
5. Add the beetroot to the oil mixture and toss well to ensure an even coating on all pieces of beetroot. This works best using your hands!
6. Place the beetroot on the baking trays in a single layer.
7. Bake for about 15 minutes then turn and bake for another 10 minutes or so. You will have to keep a close eye on the chips, as they will go from nearly dried and 'chip-like' to over brown and burnt tasting in a very short space of time! It will seem as though they are taking ages, but do not be tempted to turn the oven up as you will just end up with burnt little crisps (well, you may not, but I always burn them at the higher temperature - you have been warned!). When the chips are looking dark pink and curled up at the edges, remove from the oven and leave to rest. They will dry out a little more as they rest.

Note: If you don't want to suffer from pink hands for the rest of the evening, you could wear a disposable glove when you are peeling, slicing and tossing the beetroot.



Friday, 10 January 2014

Cashew Butter

Let me introduce you to my latest addiction…

I made this batch of cashew nut butter today and oh my goodness, I had to physically stop myself from eating it - there was a total risk of getting a nut induced hangover from the sheer quantity that was being consumed!

This is so amazingly easy to make and contains 2 ingredients (really only 1 ingredient, but the pinch of salt really makes the dish!)

Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, sugar-free, this nut butter makes a great alternative to the classic almond or peanut butters, and it has a natural sweetness which makes it appealing to kids and adults alike. It will also work really well in baking and is great on toast (as my kids will attest to) or just straight off the spoon (as I will attest to!!). It would also be amazing spread onto sliced apple or pear for a nutritious afternoon snack.

Cashew nuts not only taste amazing, but they have a host of health benefits too. They are high in Oleic Acid which is one of the components of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat such as that found in olive oil. They are also a great source of magnesium which is very important for bone health (calcium takes all the credit for that, but magnesium is also super important). Magnesium is also a natural anti-depressant, and is fantastic for the health of your nervous system.

With all those health benefits, I may just go and indulge in another spoonful!!

Cashew Nut Butter

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

2 cups raw cashew nuts
1 pinch of salt (about 1/4-1/2 a tsp - you can alter according to your tastes)

1. Preheat oven to 150C.
2. Place cashew nuts on a baking tray in an even layer and roast gently until just golden (about 10 minutes)
3. Place nuts and salt in a high-speed blender.
4. Blend on high until a smooth butter forms. You may have to stop it a couple of times and scrape the sides of the jug. The longer you blend for, the more smooth and creamy this gets. I did it for about 5 minutes which resulted in an amazingly smooth blend. If you don't have a high powered blender it may take a little longer, and you may want to stop the blender regularly to ensure the engine doesn't burn out.

Note: You can omit the roasting step if you prefer your nuts raw. Simply blend until butter forms. I prefer them lightly roasted as this helps to develop a gorgeous richness to the final flavor.



Honey Mustard Chicken with Golden Crispy Smashed Potatoes or Creamy Cauliflower Mash

Okay so when I put these photos on Facebook they seemed to be a bit of a hit so I will stay up late and post the recipe - so dedicated! haha :)

The recipe is for Honey Mustard Chicken which is baked on browned onions, garlic, field mushrooms and zucchini. This then becomes a part of the sauce that you spoon over the chicken to serve. So moist and yummy! I served this up 2 ways - with golden crispy smashed potatoes, and with creamy cauliflower mash. Both ways were served with steamed broccoli and carrots for a bit of color and an extra vegetable hit. You can serve with any veges you like - these just happen to be the ones my kids love.

I adapted this recipe from the one at Apologies for the lack of photos right now - I am having some technical issues with photo stream! I'll get it sorted tomorrow.

Honey Mustard Chicken 

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


Honey Mustard Chicken
800g chicken tenderloins (chicken thighs will also be delicious)
1/4 cup wholegrain mustard
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey (1/8 cup will also work - depends on how sweet you like it)
4 flat mushrooms, cut into thick slices
2 zucchini, cut in half horizontally, then into thick chunks
1 brown onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated
6 sprigs of fresh rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
3 tsp coconut oil

Cauliflower mash
2 cups cauliflower florets, roughly chopped
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
1 tbsp dried rosemary

Golden Crispy Smashed Potatoes
10 small potatoes, rinsed and halved
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
a couple of grinds of black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 200C
2. In a small bowl, combine wholegrain mustard, dijon mustard, honey and 2 tsp coconut oil. Mix well to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. In a frying pan heat the remaining tsp of oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion, and cook until golden brown and fragrant. Add the sliced mushrooms and grated garlic. You may want to add about 1/8 cup water or chicken stock at this stage just to add a little moisture to help the mushrooms break down. Cook until mushrooms have softened.
4. Pour the mushroom mixture into a baking dish. Add the chopped zucchini. On top of the mushrooms and zucchini pieces, place the chicken tenderloins. Pour the mustard sauce over the top of the chicken and spread around until all chicken is coated. Top with the sprigs of rosemary.
5. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.
6. Remove the foil, baste the chicken with the sauce and cook for another 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

While the chicken is in the oven, you can be preparing the rest of the meal.

Golden, crispy smashed potatoes
1. Heat a pot of water on the stove and boil the potatoes until just tender. Drain the water and, using a potato masher, roughly smash the potatoes. You don't want to mash them, just break them up a little to roughen the edges and create a bit of texture.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut oil, garlic powder, turmeric, salt and pepper
3. Add the smashed potatoes to the oil mixture in the bowl, and toss well to ensure the potatoes are well coated.
4. Place the potatoes on a baking tray lined with baking paper in one even layer and bake until golden and crispy.
Warning: These are seriously addictive!
Note: You could also make these with kumara if you prefer - my kids prefer potatoes hence the potatoes, but kumara would work just as well for those who prefer not to have potatoes.

Creamy cauliflower mash
1. In a medium pot, boil the cauliflower until tender
2. Drain the water, then add the mustard, rosemary, coconut oil or butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Blend with a stick blender (you can use a masher, but you will not get the same creamy consistency. If you would like an added creaminess and an extra bit of depth to the flavor you can add 1/4 cup coconut milk or coconut milk powder - delicious!

Serve the honey mustard chicken with either the potatoes or the cauliflower (or both!!), and a serving of steamed vegetables of you choice. Place the chicken on top of the potatoes or cauliflower, then spoon  the onion/mushroom sauce from the bottom of the pan over the chicken.



Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Coconut Ice

Easiest recipe ever! I've been meaning to make some Coconut Ice for a while now, as I thought the kids would enjoy it…and they did! I made this using only 2 ingredients, but you could add a sweetener if you prefer. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free soy-free and free of refined sugar, this is a snack that is traditionally a treat, but in this case can be eaten any time of day!

Coconut Ice

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

1 cup coconut butter (find the recipe here - it only takes a couple of minutes to make or you can buy it pre made from your local whole food store)
1 tbsp plum juice or freeze dried plum powder

Optional: 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup to sweeten

1. Split the quantity of coconut butter evenly across 2 small bowls. Add the plum juice or powder to one of the bowls and mix to combine. This will form your pink layer
2. In a mould or baking tin, pour the white layer in. I used a cake pop mould to make individual ones, but you could make a large one in a baking tin that you can then cut up into any size you like. 
3. Put the mould into the fridge for 10 minutes or so to firm up. Add the pink layer on top of the white and press down to smooth. 
4. Place back in the fridge until firm. 
5. When firm, tip the coconut ice out of the mould or baking tin. If you have made them in a mould, simply place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. If you made a big one, cut into pieces of the size you like, then store in the fridge also. 

Note: You can use anything pink or red to colour the pink half of the mix. You could use freeze dried raspberry or strawberry powder, beetroot juice, pureed strawberry, or anything you can come up with that will create a pink or red color!



Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Spicy Mexican Coleslaw

What a day! Today started out like a normal day, hubby had to go to a meeting and I took the kids out to do a couple of errands with me. We were at the mall, had finished everything we needed to do and were heading back to the car to head home for some lunch. Everything was going well until we were walking past one of those travelators that come down from the upper carparks and a young teenage girls and her friend decided in their infinite wisdom to run down it as fast as they could. Our youngest was going past the bottom of the travelator at the same time as this girl was running down it, and the girl was going so fast that she couldn't stop a the bottom and ploughed straight into our unsuspecting little rascal. OMG!!! The girl landed right on top of our wee 2 year old and they both skidded across the floor in a tangled heap. I threw everything on the ground and sprinted over to where they had landed, grabbing my little rascal into a big hug. It all got really scary when, instead of screaming and crying like you always hope for, she just gasped for breath and then passed out for about 30 seconds or so. I was shaking so much I could hardly function, and at the same time screaming an endless tirade at the girl who bowled her down! A crowd of lovely people came to help out, and it was decided to call an ambulance just to get her checked out. Thankfully the story ends well, and although the wait for the ambulance was completely torturous with a little girl in my lap who was totally lethargic and wanting to go to sleep, once the ambulance crew arrived she started to perk up a little, and by the time they left they were happy for us to just get her checked out by a GP rather than be taken to Starship as she had basically returned to her usual cheeky self. She got the all clear from the GP and has been fine for the rest of the day. So so scary though!!! It is those moments when accidents like that happen that it makes you so aware of how quickly things can change.

On another note, and back to the topic for todays post, the other night we had a really yummy Spicy Mexican Coleslaw for dinner! I am trying to get the through the backlog of leftovers and dubious vegetables in the fridge left over from the festive season, and I seem to have an abundance of cabbage in the fridge. In the past I have not been a huge fan of coleslaw - I never liked the traditional style with the mayonnaise it always seemed a bit heavy and bland. I rediscovered coleslaw about 6 months ago after making a couple of the yummy ones out of the the Revive Cafe cookbooks, and have discovered that it is actually a really versatile salad which can take on any number of delicious flavors and is really easy to make. I often make a bit of a hybrid coleslaw and include roughly chopped lettuce, diced tomato and diced cucumber - and anyone who reads this blog regularly will have noticed a fair few variations on the humble coleslaw of late!

This most recent variation though is made with just a very simple vegetable selection, but the flavor is enhanced by the addition of a spicy mexican sauce which I adapted, based on what i had in the fridge, from a recipe in Dr Libby's latest cookbook (thanks to my darling cousin for my awesome Christmas present!).

Spicy Mexican Coleslaw

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

1 cup red cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup green cabbage, finely shredded
2 tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, diced
2 carrots, grated
1/2 a cucumber, cut into small chunks

1/2 green chill, seeds removed (or left in if you love a real blast of heat!), and finely roughly chopped
1 green capsicum, seeds removed and roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
1/3 cup coconut milk
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste

1. Add all of the salad ingredients to a large bowl (red cabbage, green cabbage, tomato, avocado, carrot and cucumber)
2. In a food processor or small blender, add all of the ingredients for the sauce (chilli, capsicum, cashews, coconut milk, lime, salt and pepper). Blend until all ingredients are well combined and a fairly smooth sauce is formed. 
3. Pour the sauce in with the vegetables and mix well to combine. 

We had this with chicken drumsticks that were simply oven baked with a little cumin, coriander and paprika in keeping with the mexican theme, but you could serve this any way to you like. It would be great in fajitas or tacos, and I had it the next day for a delicious lunch just as it was.



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Banana Pancakes with Blueberries

A super quick little post with a yummy breakfast option that will keep the whole family happy.

These Banana Pancakes contain only a handful of ingredients and can be made very quickly. They are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. A fantastic healthy, clean alternative to the traditional heavy pancake breakfast. I served these ones with fresh blueberries and grilled banana chips but you could use any fruit you like, or top with coconut yogurt or coconut ice-cream to make them into a dessert treat

Banana Pancakes

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

3 large bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla essence
coconut oil or butter to cook

Optional - if you prefer a sweeter pancake, you can add 1-2 tbsp of sweetener to the batter (such as honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar)

1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. On a plate, mash the bananas then add to the eggs.
2. Add the coconut flour, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix well to combine
3. In a large frying pan over a medium heat, heat about 1 tsp of coconut oil. Add about 1/8 cup pancake batter to the pan and spread gently to create a circle.
4. Cook until golden brown on the bottom (about 1 minute) then flip and cook for about 1 minute on the other side.
5. Repeat the process until all the mixture is used. The amount of pancakes you make will depend on how big you make the pancake.
6. Top with fresh fruit and serve straight away



Saturday, 4 January 2014

Nutty Fruity Cinnamon Crunch

This yummy recipe is quick and easy to make, and makes a big batch which lasts for ages. It is a Cinnamon Crunch which is chock full of nuts, seeds and dried fruits. It is ideal for a quick snack on the go, or you can add almond milk, coconut milk or coconut yogurt and make a nourishing and filling breakfast. There is no added sweetener - the sweetness comes from the dried fruits and the orange juice that you add before toasting. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and using only natural fruit sugars, this moreish concoction will be a welcome addition to your pantry.

When embarking on a clean-eating lifestyle, one of the biggest areas where it can be difficult to come up with ideas is when the need for a snack strikes. I like to keep a big tub of nutty mix such as the one in this recipe, a big jar of coconut butter and a big jar of almond butter when I need a quick bite on the run, and in the fridge I try to keep a couple of container with pre-cut carrot and celery sticks to grab in a hurry, as well as a few hard boiled eggs. A well stocked fruit bowl is also a must as it is easy to grab an apple on the way out the door if you don't have time for a meal. All of these snack ideas take only a few minutes of preparation once a week, but can be a lifesaver particularly on those busy days when it can be hard to find time to prepare a more elaborate breakfast, lunch or snack. All of the ideas above are also easy to take with you when you need something out and about.

A little bit crunchy, a little bit chewy, packed full of flavor and bursting with goodness.

Nutty Fruity Cinnamon Crunch

Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free and using only natural fruit sweeteners

1 cup raw cashew nuts
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup coconut chips (I use Ceres Organic available from the supermarket)
1 cup dried dates, roughly chopped
1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped (again, I use Ceres Organic, as most other brands have preservatives added)
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp cinnamon spice mix (I used the spice mix I had in the cupboard from making this pumpkin pie, but you could just use cinnamon alone, or make up your own blend to suit your tastes)
Juice of 2 oranges (or half a cup of orange juice if you do not have fresh oranges available)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted

1. Preheat oven to 150C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper
2. In a large bowl, combine all of the nuts. Lay a large, clean tea towel on your bench, pour the combined nuts onto the tea towel and wrap them up. Using something heavy such as a rolling pin, bash the nuts a couple of times to break them up roughly. They do not all have to be broken, and they do not have to be the same size - it is great when there are different sized chunks in your mix!
3. Pour the broken nuts back into the bowl, add the dried fruit and seeds.
4. In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and coconut oil with the cinnamon. Mix well to combine
5. Pour the orange juice mixture over the nuts and mix very well to ensure an even coating.
6. Spread the nuts out on the baking tray in one even layer.
7. Place baking tray in the oven and toast for about 15-20 minutes until golden and crunchy. Keep a close eye on the nuts, and stir often to ensure even browning. 



Friday, 3 January 2014

Curried Eggs

Here's a blast from the past! Curried eggs (or Devilled eggs) are a bit of a retro party food, but they totally fit the bill when I was thinking of a quick-to-make plate to take to a family BBQ the other day. I saw a recipe for them in a food magazine the other day and figured they would be easy enough to adapt  to create a clean recipe - simply use 'clean' mayonnaise and the job is done!

There are loads of clean mayonnaise recipes available, and I used one from 1fitnation ( but you may be able to find some at farmers markets or in supermarkets like Huckleberry Farm if you would like a pre-prepared one, or you can use or search for your own favorite recipe. They are all essentially a variation on a theme anyway - eggs, oil, an acidic element, and seasoning. These little morsels are gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, and sugar free. They are really easy to make and can be made in just about as much time as it takes to boil an egg (literally!).

Curried Eggs

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

6 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp curry powder (you can buy clean ones easily from the supermarket or make up your own blend)
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of parsley, finely chopped

1. Begin by hard boiling your eggs. Heat a pot of boiling water over a medium heat. Add the eggs and boil for 10 minutes.
2. Drain the water from the eggs and allow to cool enough so that you can touch them to peel them (you can pop them in the fridge to speed up this process if you are in a hurry)
3. Peel the eggs, then cut in half lengthways.
4. Remove the yolks from each half of the egg and place yolks in a small bowl.
5. In a small frying pan, heat the curry powder over a low heat until the scent is released.
6. To the yolks, add the mayonnaise, the curry powder and the salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well.
7. Pipe or spoon the yolk mixture back into the whites. Sprinkle the parsley over the top for garnish

Note: If you like parsley you can add it to the yolk mixture before you pipe it - my hubby isn't the biggest fan of the herb, so I put it on top so that he could take it off if need be! But if I was making them for myself I would mix it in



Thursday, 2 January 2014

Surf and Turf Salad

Ok, so it has been a horribly long time since I have written anything at all on this blog! The festive season kind of got the better of me, and time just kept running out…

My New Years Resolution is to spend more time on the blog, tidy things up a little, and put a little more effort in overall. I really enjoy writing (and more importantly creating and eating!) the recipes that I put on here, and I get such a thrill when anyone likes what a recipe I have posted. Mu youngest daughter starts her long days at Montessori this term, and my husband is currently between jobs, so I am hoping to have a little more time to devote to making this thing a bit more of a focus in my life.

On another note, we are currently holidaying on Waiheke Island and have just had the best day! The kids spent most of the day playing at the beach, digging massive holes in the sand and 'surfing' (being pulled through the shallows on boogie boards), which results in loads of laughs from them, and gives hubby and me a great workout!!!

We forgot the buckets and spades - amazing how much fun kids can have with some plastic containers from the kitchen!

Morning cuppa in the sun with a view! Bliss!

Isn't technology a wonderful thing?! I'm currently sitting here in the middle of the lounge with my laptop 'tethered' to my phone using my phone wi-fi connection to connect to the net. Didn't know you could do that! My hubby is the technical brains behind everything I do on here, and his knowledge comes in handy every day for some technical issue or other!

One of the best parts about being on holiday is that we just eat easy meals and keep things pretty simple. Last night I made a very simple 'Surf and Turf Salad' which was a yummy green salad topped with prawns and steak. Being away from home, there was not the usual array of flavorings available for the meal which is not always a and thing - I had bought a knob of fresh ginger, some garlic and a fresh lime with us, and there was paprika and salt and pepper in the pantry so I kept the flavours very light and summery with no option of over complicating things.

As you can see in the picture, I slightly overcooked my steak (to our tastes anyway) - using an unfamiliar oven can wreak havoc on meal timings, not to mention the excitement of everything happening around here means that I keep forgetting food in the oven anyway! So, my apologies for the photo, but I'm sure anyone reading this will understand that although the meat here is medium, you can just cook it a little less and get a rare or medium-rare fillet which will be divine on the salad.

This meal is of course gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, and sugar-free. Quick, simple, fresh and delicious, this is a great option for a summer evening and can easily be made on the BBQ.

Surf and Turf Salad

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

1/2 head lettuce (Cos works well), roughly shredded
2 cups baby spinach
1 cup cherry tomatoes (halved)
1/2 telegraph cucumber, cut in half lengthways, then sliced diagonally
handful of snow pea shoots, cut in half
1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
2 large carrots, blanched
2 avocados, diced

800g eye fillet beef (or steak of your choice)
500g raw prawns
juice of half a lime (or lemon)
2cm knob of ginger, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter (or coconut oil)
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Place ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Mix well
2. Rub the dry mix into the steak and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 220C
3. Add all of the vegetables (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, shoots, broccoli, carrots and avocado) to a large bowl and toss to combine
4. Pan-fry steak in a large frying pan over a high heat for a couple of minutes on each side until browned. Place in the oven on a baking tray and cook to your preference. Remove from oven and rest for at least ten minutes before slicing.
5. While the steak is cooking, place prawns in a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over, and add about 1 tsp black pepper. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
6. In a large pan over high heat, heat coconut oil and butter (or 2 tbsp of coconut oil if you prefer a dairy free option) and cook prawns until just cooked (they should have just turned orange and white instead of brown and clear).
7. Slice the beef and place on top of the salad. Arrange prawns on the plate and drizzle the pan juices from the prawns over the salad.
8. Squeeze the other half of the lime over the whole salad and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: For the salad, you can use any combination of vegetables you like. The vegetables I used were what I had bought over with us, but you may have other preferences, or other options available to you! You can also choose to cook the steak and prawns straight away if you don't have time to let them sit and marinate.