Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Pork and Prawn Siu Mai Meatballs with Asian Slaw

Ever get that feeling that it's time for something a little different? Was in the mood for some Chinese food, but Chinese takeaways have been off the menu for some time with the use of lots of soy, gluten, and other foods that cause us issues. 

I was flicking through a mag a couple of days ago and found a recipe by Josh Emmett for Pork and Prawn Siu Mai (basically just a little meatball wrapped in wonton pastry, or an open top dumpling). A quick glance over the recipe and I figured it looked easy enough to adapt to suit - the ingredient list is relatively small, and a few small changes an substitutes made it a very easy dinner! 

I served this with a big asian coleslaw, and the kids had some rice as well. The meatballs themselves could be used as part of a dinner as we had it, or they would be great as a little starter for a bigger meal, or finger food for a party. You could no doubt substitute the meats you use, but I think pork and prawn is a pretty classic chinese combination. 

I've renamed these Pork and Prawn Siu Mai Meatballs - I don't speak chinese, but I imagine Siu Mai is the style of the food with the pastry wrapped around it, so without the pastry I'm guessing they're not true Siu Mai? So these are Siu Mai in the style of meatballs...don't worry, even I'm confused ha!
Anyway, the recipe is below - the original recipe called for soy sauce, cornflour and pastry wrappers. I used coconut aminos, tapioca starch and removed the pastry wrappers to make the free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and sugar. I also added spring onions to the mix just for an extra dimension on flavour, and to throw in some bonus veges. Delicious! 



Pork and Prawn Siu Mai Meatballs

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

Ingredients:
350g Minced Pork
200g prawn meat, roughly chopped
100g dried Shitake mushrooms (you can get these from any asian grocer, and a lot of supermarkets in the international food section). Soak them (follow the instructions on the pack), then dice them into small pieces. 
80ml Coconut aminos
40ml sesame oil
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
salt to taste

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Roll tablespoon amounts of mixture into balls, then place in a steamer (if you have a traditional bamboo steamer that is ideal, but a standard pot steamer works just fine - just pop a layer of baking paper in the bottom of the steamer to stop them sticking)
3. Steam for about 10 minutes until cooked through (the cooking time will vary depending on what size you make the balls, so you will just have to cut one in half to check).
4. Remove from steamer and serve with your choice of vegetables (I used an asian-style coleslaw - see recipe below) and steamed rice if you choose (or cauliflower rice if you prefer)

Asian Style Coleslaw

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

Ingredients:
1 head of bok choy, thinly sliced
1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup white cabbage, thinly sliced
1 cup lightly steamed (or raw) broccoli, torn into small florets
1/4 cup grated daikon (asian radish)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tomatoes, diced
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 cups grated carrot
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

3 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp coconut aminos
1 small red chilli, finely diced
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

1. Combine all vegetable ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well
2. Top with toasted sesame seeds
3. In a small bowl, combine dressing ingredients (lime juice, sesame oil, coconut aminos, chilli, and vinegar). Mix well
4. Pour dressing over salad, toss well to combine all ingredients


Enjoy!



Monday, 28 April 2014

Vegetable Fritters - 2 ways

Where did summer go?! 2 days ago we were lying in the sun on the beach with the kids running around in their togs and splashing in the water - tonight I am sitting here with winter pyjamas on, nursing a hot cup of tea to keep warm! Oh how quickly the season can change!

On another note, one week of school holidays down, one to go. So far everything has been going really well, and the kids have been having lots of fun. We have kept things pretty simple, and thanks to the cyclone over easter weekend our camping trip turned into a couple of day trips instead - the idea of camping in a very remote location in the back of beyond with no facilities other than a spider-infested long drop with 2 young children during a cyclone just didn't appeal, funnily enough! So the plan was changed to staying close to home. We headed to the Easter Show - lots of fun, but a great way to loose a whole lot of money! We also did a day trip out to Long Bay Beach for a picnic and a play, and caught up with a whole bunch of people we haven't seen for ages. Lots of fun all round! This past weekend we headed over to Waiheke Island for a couple of nights and spent lots of time at the beach while we still can before winter really hits.

The kids burying Hubby - kept them all occupied for ages!

This week, the plan is to catch up on all of the work, housework, odd jobs that need to be done and that get sadly neglected after a week of focusing on fun. The other side of having a week of fun is that no-one wants to interrupt the fun to do boring things like grocery shopping! This being the case, meals started to get creative, and I had to dig into the depths of the freezer and the dark corners of the fridge to find what was luring and see what could be created.

Because of this, the last 2 days have involved fritters for lunch - they're a great way to use up old veges and still get a really tasty, super nutritious and filling meal. Fritters are great served with all manner of extras, from sauces and dips to yummy proteins such as chicken or salmon. They are also ideal as leftovers the next day for a quick breakfast or an easy lunch to go. And the best part is that they are so easy to make!

Here are the 2 recipes that I used, but you can really just use any vegetables you fancy (or whatever is fading away in the bottom of your vegetable drawer!).

 Parsnip and Bok Choy Fritters...

...Served with oven baked salmon.

Cauliflower, Kale, and Zucchini Fritters served with salmon, homemade Mayonnaise and fresh baby spinach

Vegetable Fritters

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

Ingredients:
Cauliflower, Kale and Zucchini Fritters
2 Spring Onions, sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower, finely chopped
1 zucchini, grated
1 cup baby kale or spinach
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp dijon mustard
4 eggs
2 heaped tbsp tapioca starch
2 tsp ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, grated, or 2 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp flaxseed meal
1 tsp chilli flakes (adjust to taste or omit)
salt and pepper to taste
Coconut oil for frying (about 1-2 tsp)

Parsnip and Bok Choy
4 eggs
2 parsnips, peeled and grated
1 head bok choy, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, grated, or 2 tsp garlic powder
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp chilli flakes
Coconut oil for frying (about 1-2 tsp)

Directions:
The directions are the same for both recipes...

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to combine. 
2. In a large frying pan, over medium high heat, heat coconut oil
3. Add spoonfuls of fritter mixture (as much or as little as you like depending on what size you want the fritters). 
4. Cook on one side until browned, then flip and cook for another couple of minutes until browned again.
5. Remove from pan and serve immediately, or store in the fridge for an easy snack or a quick breakfast.

Serve however you would like, but I highly recommend some fresh or tinned salmon, fresh baby spinach or other form or fresh greens, and a couple of dollops of homemade mayonnaise. Delicious!

As mentioned above, the veges mentioned in the recipes are just a guideline. The best part about making these is that you can really use whatever suits or whatever needs using up. It's hard to go wrong!

Enjoy!

x

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Scramble

School holidays and an abundance of public holidays mean more lazy mornings and more time to whip up a decent breakfast. Being the doting wife that I am (hah!) I am more than happy to spend my mornings serving the family up the breakfast of their choice. I think that by starting the day with a decent breakfast it gets the kids and hubby off to a good start. Often times that means making 3 different breakfasts, but I have a rule about lunch and dinner being the same for everyone so breakfast is a little more flexible (plus, it's pretty easy to make 3 different styles of eggs, or a plate of toast and fruit - it's the easiest meal to be flexible with!

The kids often like an omelette, as does hubby. The kids prefer to have just egg in their omelette and usually have it with a slice of gluten free toast and a piece of fruit. Hubby on have other hand prefers a grain free, vege packed version. These days there is a pretty standard recipe that makes up the morning omelette - a couple of eggs, a splash of coconut milk, a sliced spring onion or half a regular onion, about 6 button mushrooms, and a giant handful of baby spinach. 

This recipe for the scramble below is just a version of that - with a hit of bacon added for the long weekend!


Bacon and Egg Breakfast Scramble
Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, sugar-free

Ingredients:
2 or 3 large eggs
2 tbsp coconut milk
1/2 a green capsicum, cut into small chunks
6 rashers of bacon, sliced
6 button mushrooms, sliced
1/2 an onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp coconut oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. Heat coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, salt and pepper
3. To the frying pan, add the bacon, mushrooms, onion, and capsicum. Fry until bacon is cooked and veges are softened
4. Add the egg mix to the pan. Using a fish slice or spoon, gently lift the eggs to allow the uncooked egg to run underneath (pull the cooked egg from the sides of the pan into the middle and keep repeating until all egg is cooked. You can scramble or not scramble the mix as much as you like.
5. Serve topped with sliced avocado or a handful of rocket, or if you want to spice things up a little drizzle with a hit of your favourite chilli sauce.

This the is a delicious and nutritious ways to start the day - satisfying, filling, full of nutrients and so,so tasty. 

Enjoy!

X

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Hot Cross Buns

Easter has got to be one of the best holidays of the year - not only do you get a super long weekend, but the whole thing revolves around chocolate!! Excellent :) 

Here's a wee recipe for these little 'hot cross' buns that are basically little half truffles with a coconut butter cross piped over. Super easy to make, full of nutrients, and the perfect answer for anyone who doesn't want to eat chocolate or can't for whatever reason. You can pretty much use any combination of nuts, dried fruits, seeds etc that takes your fancy. The recipe below just gives you an idea

Tasty little treats...

... All packaged up and ready for gifting!

Hot Cross Buns
Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup coconut butter (creamed coconut)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
2 tbsp cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
2 tbsp coconut oil
10 medjool dates (or dried dates)
4 tbsp extra melted coconut butter for crosses

Directions:
1. Combine cashews, almonds, both coconuts, cacao powder, coconut oil, and dates in a blender or food processor. Blend until a sticky texture is achieved. 
2. Add cacao nibs and pulse to combine
3. Press mixture into half cake-pop moulds (or use Easter egg moulds or whatever works for you). Chill in the fridge or freezer for half an hour or so to set
4. Place the extra coconut butter into a snap lock bag with the corner cut off, or a piping bag with a fine tipped nozzle on. Pipe crosses over then chill again to set the coconut butter.

Enjoy!

X



Hot Cross Buns

Easter has got to be one of the best holidays of the year - not only do you get a super long weekend, but the whole thing revolves around chocolate!! Excellent :) 

Here's a wee recipe for these little 'hot cross' buns that are basically little half truffles with a coconut butter cross piped over. Super easy to make, full of nutrients, and the perfect answer for anyone who doesn't want to eat chocolate or can't for whatever reason. You can pretty much use any combination of nuts, dried fruits, seeds etc that takes your fancy. The recipe below just gives you an idea

Tasty little treats...

... All packaged up and ready for gifting!

Hot Cross Buns

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

Ingredients:
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup coconut butter (creamed coconut)
1/4 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
2 tbsp cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
2 tbsp coconut oil
10 medjool dates (or dried dates)
4 tbsp extra melted coconut butter for crosses

Directions:
1. Combine cashews, almonds, both coconuts, cacao powder, coconut oil, and dates in a blender or food processor. Blend until a sticky texture is achieved. 
2. Add cacao nibs and pulse to combine
3. Press mixture into half cake-pop moulds (or use Easter egg moulds or whatever works for you). Chill in the fridge or freezer for half an hour or so to set
4. Place the extra coconut butter into a snap lock bag with the corner cut off, or a piping bag with a fine tipped nozzle on. Pipe crosses over then chill again to set the coconut butter.

Enjoy!

X



Thursday, 17 April 2014

Persimmon and Pear Slice

Here's a little something that my daughter and I whipped up when we found a couple of aged persimmon in the fruit bowl - you know that time when you get to the end of the week before grocery day and you look in the fridge or fruit bowl and you find wilting lettuce and couple of mushy bits of fruit and you think "what on earth am I going to do with that?". This is a recipe that answers that question, and you can use pretty much any combination of fruit that you like. Bananas, apples, pears, or even tropical fruit would even work.

I made this one with coconut flour so that I could put it in the kids lunches for Montessori, and I sweetened it with only the smallest amount of raw honey, as it already has loads of fruit, and didn't need a lot of sweetening. If you prefer a sweeter taste you can always add a little more honey to suit, or even a banana - just add a couple of tablespoons more coconut flour to compensate for the extra moisture.


Persimmon and Pear Slice

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

Ingredients:
2 ripe persimmon
2 ripe pears
2 tbsp raw honey
3 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a slice tin with baking paper, or grease with coconut oil
2. Place wet ingredients (persimmon, pear, honey, eggs, and vanilla) in a blender. Blend until smooth and thick. 
3. Add fry ingredients (coconut flour, baking soda, cinnamon) and blend on low speed until all ingredients are combined. 
4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin, and bake for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer comes out clean.
5. Cool in tin then remove and cut into slices of whichever size suits

Enjoy!

x

Friday, 11 April 2014

Carrot Cake Bites

Time for a bit of an infomercial....

Do you crave the moist, carrots goodness of carrot cake, but have to resist due to all of the flour, sugar, added extras that often come with that special treat? Then look no further!!these carrot cake bites taste just like the real thing, but contain no gluten, grains, dairy, soy, or refined sugar, and don't even need baking! Full of nutritious nuts, carrots, and a great selection of spices, these will satisfy even the most avid carrot cake fan :) 

Seriously though, these are so tasty, and you could just about get away with eating these for breakfast! 


Carrot Cake Balls
Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, free of refined sugar

Ingredients:
1 large carrot (or 2 small), grated
6 medjool dates (or regular dried dates, you may just want to soak in hot water for 10 mins to soften first)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger powder (or you can use fresh grated ginger if you want a real ginger hit)
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp coconut oil
Pinch of salt

1/2 cup cashew nuts, soaked preferably overnight (you don't need to do this if time is tight, it just sprouts the nuts and also makes them nice and soft)
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of half a lemon
2 tbsp maple syrup

Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, pulse the walnuts and dates to make a fine crumb. 
2. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, coconut oil, and salt. Process until well combined. 
3. Now you can choose to either add the carrots and pulse to combine which will make a smoother 'bite' or you can scrape the nut mix into a bowl and then stir the carrot in if you prefer a more rustic style. Either way tastes great!
4. Form into bite sized balls, or push into mould and freeze or refrigerate until firm. 
5. While the bites are chilling, you can make the icing. In a small food processor or blender, combine all ingredients (cashews, lemon juice, lemon zest, and maple syrup) and blend until smooth. My one was not very smooth because I am very impatient which is why it looks chunky in the pic, and I quite liked the texture of the nuts, but if you prefer a smoother texture just keep blending!
6. Remove the bites from the chiller and top with dollops of the icing. 
7. Store in the fridge in an airtight container

Enjoy!

X


Middle Eastern Pork Loin

It's Friday night, and I really really have to get this post up as I am getting really behind! I have been a busy little bee in the kitchen, but have been so busy with everything else that I keep running out of time to sit down and get the recipes typed up. So, I think the secret here is to do less chatting, more recipes!!

So, here we go. No waffling, just food!

This recipe was inspired by a recipe by Nadia Lim in her latest cookbook. There was a yummy sounding recipe made with pork which had a delicious sounding rich tomato sauce. I've made the sauce 'real food' friendly, and served the pork with a medley of vegetables with middle eastern flavors.


Middle Eastern Pork Loin

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

Ingredients:
500g pork loin (or meat of your choice - chicken thighs or lamb loin would also work really well)
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp coconut milk
3 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
a few grinds of black pepper

2 zucchinis, halved lengthways, then sliced thickly on the diagonal
1 large eggplant, cut into thick slices then diced
2 cups mushrooms, cut into chunks
1 onion, halved then thinly sliced
1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (if you can't find ground ones, use whole ones and grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup stock or water
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix together the tomato paste, coconut milk, coconut aminos, and pepper.
2. Prepare pork loin (remove any sinew or excess fat) then place in a large bowl. Pour the marinade mixture over the pork and ensure pork is well coated. Marinade for at least 30 minutes, even overnight if you have time.
3. Preheat oven to 210C.
4. Place pork loin on a baking tray (take pork out of the marinade and set leftover marinade aside) and bake for about 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing
5. While pork is cooking, use a small pot to heat leftover marinade. Simmer gently for about 10-15 mins until a thickened sauce is created.
6. In a large frying pan over a high heat, heat oil, then add onion, garlic, ground fennel seeds, ground cumin, and paprika. Fry off for a couple of minutes until the aroma is released, then add eggplant and stock or water. Cook for a few minutes until eggplant is softened.
7. Add zucchini and mushrooms and fry for a couple of minutes until vegetables are tender but firm (except for eggplant which should be nice and soft).
8. Squeeze lemon juice over vegetables and mix in well.
9. When pork has rested, cut into thick slices on the diagonal. Serve on top of the vegetables and top with the tomato sauce.

Enjoy!

x

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Rainbow Salad with Vietnamese Chicken

This gorgeous salad is not only beautiful but tastes amazing and has countless health benefits. It is absolutely stuffed with nutritious vegetables that create a rainbow of colour.

I dressed this salad with an asian-style dressing to compliment the vietnamese chicken we were having with it, but you could use whichever dressing you prefer. Hubby and the kids had his chicken on steamed rice with a side of salad, and I mixed mine into the salad and threw on a bunch of fresh mint for an added flavor hit. Yum!

To find the recipe for the vietnamese chicken, click here. The recipe in the link uses chicken thighs, but for this meal I used chicken tenderloins sliced into thick chunks. The meal is free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and sugar - it's the perfect meal when you need a real nutrient boost!




Rainbow Salad with Asian Style Dressing

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

Ingredients:
1 large beetroot, peeled and grated
2 large carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup daikon or radish, grated
2 cups red cabbage, grated or finely sliced
2 cups white cabbage, grated or finely sliced
2 cups baby kale (or spinach)
1/2 head broccoli, chopped into small florets and blanched for 2 minutes in boiling water
1/2 yellow capsicum, chopped into 2cm chunks
2 tomatoes, chopped into 2cm chunks

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsps sesame oil
2 tbsps sesame seeds
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
1 fresh chilli, thinly sliced
2cm chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated on a microplane
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Directions:
1. Use either a food processor with a grater attachment, or a large knife and regular grater, prepare the vegetables.
2. Place in a large bowl, and mix well to combine
3. Mix the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl or jar and pour over the salad.
4. Give the salad a good mix to get the dressing well incorporated.

This makes a big salad so there will be plenty left over for lunch the next day!

Enjoy!

x


Friday, 4 April 2014

Choc Chunk Cookies

I'm sitting in the car, on the way to Okarorie for a surprise party, so I think I'll keep this post brief - one finger typing on the iPad looses it's novelty factor very quickly!

Going to a small 'one pub town' (literally!) in rural New Zealand can sometimes present issues when it comes to eating gluten and dairy free. We tend to pack a bunch of food for the kids and then just order them some hot chips as a treat. Being a birthday party there is the double whammy of the fact that there is usually cake of some description and it is not usually gluten or dairy free (although we have some absolutely amazing friends who go the extra mile when the kids have been there and they've made a second cake that is allergy friendly - so above and beyond and immensely appreciated!). For the parties where we know there won't be a gluten/dairy free option come cake time, I usually bake something to take along. There is nothing worse than the look on a child's face when everyone else is enjoying a piece of birthday cake and they have nothing! So generally I will bake some little cupcakes or biscuits that I can whip out so the girls feel that they are part of the action. 

This time around, keeping in mind the long car trip and the late hour at which I was baking, I went with a super easy batch of biscuits (had nothing at all to do with the fact that I had a late night sugar craving that seemed to demand the gluttonous consumption of cookie dough!!). 

These were super easy to make, and involved me chucking a handful of ingredients in a blender, whiz zing it all up, throwing in some chunks of chocolate and popping them in the oven. Simple! If you wanted to, you could even save getting out the fancy kitchen equipment and just mix it all in a bowl, but the blender just gave a good texture and made a great dough.

The recipe is free of gluten, grains, and soy, and can be made dairy free, nut free and free of refined sugar (depending on your choice of chocolate chunks). Basically, there are heaps of options to make this your own and to modify it to suit your needs.



Choc Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups almond flour (you can subsitute gluten free flour, or use 1 cup coconut flour if you prefer a nut free version)
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
50g butter, melted (or you can use coconut oil if you prefer a dairy free option or even ghee would be great!)
1 large ripe banana, mashed (you can use 1/4 cup honey for sweetener if you don't like or don't have a banana)
1 cup (more or less) of chocolate chunks or chocolate chips (use your preferred variety of chocolate - I use these ones)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
2 in a blender or food processor (or in a bowl with a spoon if you prefer the good old fashioned way!), combine the almond flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse briefly to combine. 
3. Add the vanilla, butter, and banana. 
4. Blend until a dough forms. 
5. Remove the blade from the processor, or scrape dough into a bowl. Add the chocolate chips and mix to combine.
6. Spoon heaped tablespoons of dough on to the prepared baking tray and press down gently with a fork
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
8. If you like your cookies all warm and melty, give them a minute to cool down to just below lava temperature, and eat! Otherwise, cool on a wire rack - the chocolate will harden back a bit and the cookies will get a nice bite to them.

Enjoy!

X