Sunday, 29 June 2014

Vegan Beetroot and Mushroom Burgers

Big decision time in our house - I have made the call that we will try to do Meatfree Monday on a trial basis. This may sound like a fairly simple undertaking, but in this household it is akin to cutting out oxygen!

Hubby is very much a meat man, and he will tolerate a meal with fish or seafood, but really doesn't consider it a true meal unless it involves meat of some kind. He is particularly fond of a good eye fillet, or a pork chop - and a good old fashioned meat laden BBQ really is his ultimate feast. 

That being said, I decided to implement meat-free Monday on the sly so as not to prejudice the decision! I thought that if I told hubby that we were in for a meat-free meal that he would already have decided he was not going to enjoy it, and therefore he wouldn't. I went for a meal that he really likes (burgers) and made the patties out of very 'meaty' types of veges with strong, rich flavours - namely beetroot and mushroom. 

The outcome? Success! At the end of the meal, I asked if he had noticed anything about the meal, and he said he had noticed that there was no meat, but it was only about halfway through the meal, and only because he took a closer look at the pattie that he knew what was different. I asked if he had enjoyed the meal regardless and he admitted that he really did enjoy it! So, I broached the subject of trying to experiment on a more regular basis, and he was on board. Yay!! 

Only problem is, now there is a new challenge every week of coming up with a meal that has no meat, but not in an obvious kind of way! ha! But, the first attempt was successful, so I can only keep trying - and worst case scenario it might be worthwhile keeping a supply of steak in the freezer just in case there are nights where it all goes horribly least until he is fully on board with the vegetable delights!

So, these burgers were actually pretty darn good! And they ended up being vegan by default - not intentional, but so much the better. They are also gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, soy-free, and sugar free. There are a few ingredients that may not be readily available in every pantry, but please feel free to substitute as required, or ask any questions about substitutions. I'm happy to help! 

I served my burger in a lettuce cup, but hubby and the kids had gluten-free burger buns (didn't want to overwhelm them on the first night, so kept things pretty traditional). The patties were joined by avocado, tomato, mayonnaise, lettuce and cucumber to make a tasty, traditional burger, with a super moist, hearty pattie. (You will also notice I snuck a little slice of cheese into hubby's burger - he can tolerate a bit of cheese and I will admit I was eager for him to get on board with the burger so willing to cheat a little!!).

My favourite part about these meals? Beetroot and mushrooms are basically two of natures super foods, so they are not only delicious but they are RIDICULOUSLY good for you! The liver cleansing properties alone of these 2 foods are amazing, and the mushrooms are super immune boosters which is ideal for this mid-winter chill that's hanging around. Beetroot is also a wonder-drug for the heart so you are doing your body so many favours by including it as a staple in your diet. What's more, for anyone who is into raw food out there, these patties are just as good raw, and if you just up the dry ingredients a little you would easily be able to make a raw food version. 

Happy little patties...

Bunless version...

 The classic burger...

Happy hubby - happily unaware!! Sneaky Wifey!!!

Vegan Beetroot and Mushroom Burgers

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

1 whole beetroot, peeled 
2 cups mushrooms (I used 4 large portobello, but you can choose any variety)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal (you could use coconut flour, brown rice flour, gluten-free breadcrumbs etc)
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup psyllium husk (omit if you don't have this, but you should increase the other dry ingredient by about 1/4 cup)
4 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried coriander
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup carrot, grated
1 large onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp coconut oil for cooking

1. In a food processor with grater attachment, grate the beetroot and mushroom together (you can grate the beetroot and finely chop the mushrooms, but it's SO much faster in the food processor!). Place into a large bowl. Add the flaxseed, sesame seeds, psyllium, aminos, oregano, coriander, cayenne, salt, pepper, to the bowl and mix well to combine. 
2. In a large frying pan, over medium heat, heat half the coconut oil. Add the onions, garlic, and carrots to the pan and fry gently until softened and aromatic. Remove from the heat and add the onion mix to the beetroot mix. Mix well to combine all ingredients.
3. Heat the rest of the oil over medium heat in the same pan. Shape handfuls of the beetroot mixture into patties and fry gently for about 4 minutes until browned, then flip carefully and cook for another few minutes on the other side. 
4. Serve in whichever way you prefer your burger. 

We served ours with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, avocado (1 ripe avocado, smashed and blended with salt, pepper, and lemon juice - and a hint of chilli if preferred), and homemade mayonnaise (recipe here). Hubby and the kids had theirs on Gluten-free burger buns (and then there was hubby's sneaky cheese!).



Monday, 23 June 2014

Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savoury Pancake)

When I was a little girl, my family went on an overseas trip through Asia ending up in Japan - from there a love of Japanese cuisine was born. However, these days I tend to avoid a lot of it as most of the stuff we get from takeaways and local restaurants is not ideal in terms of clean eating, and does not suit our family as it is often loaded with gluten, soy, and in many cases MSG and highly processed sauces and condiments. Japanese food is often considered a health food, and I am certain that in it's natural state done properly in the traditional Japanese style it really is a fantastic way to eat, but unfortunately in NZ the majority of food is the quick and easy stuff - deep fried bits and pieces such as Karaage and Tempura, loads of soy sauce based sauces, and lots of things coated in panko bread crumbs.

One of my favourite things that I had in Japan (and that I've always kept an eye out for ever since) is Okonomiyaki. This is best described as maybe a savoury pancake or pizza style dish which is typically served loaded with veges and/or meat and topped with lots of yummy sauces and extra bits. The more traditional recipe calls for flour, soy, and lashings of Japanese Mayo (have you ever checked out the label on that stuff?!!), so it is not something that we eat, however I saw a picture of one the other day and it got me thinking...surely this could be done in a clean, fresh way so as to have the best of both worlds?!

Well, the answer was yes - it could be done!

After a bit of playing around, a recipe was concocted that even received the nod of approval from hubby who wolfed his down for lunch. He didn't even mind that it was vegetarian which says lot! You can also add meat though if you could add chicken or pork mince to the mixture and it would taste great.

This one was vegetarian though, and the recipe was free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and sugar. There are a few slightly more obscure ingredients in this recipe that are all easily found at either your local asian supermarket or your local whole food store, but if you do not have them on hand or do not want to buy them they can for the most part be eliminated or substituted without too much impact on the overall effect.

You can serve this either as a yummy light lunch with a side salad, or it makes a great accompaniment to a Japanese style dinner. Serve with steamed rice or maybe some kumara mash, or some healthy karaage chicken (check out the recipe here). Yummo!


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

1/4 cup flaxseed meal 
1/4 cup psyllium husk
1/2 cup water
2 eggs
1 tbsp kuzu (japanese arrowroot), or tapioca starch
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
1/2 tsp fresh or ground ginger
3-4 cups of finely chopped vegetables (I used shredded red cabbage, grated purple carrot, chopped spring onion, and thinly sliced capsicum)
1 tbsp coconut oil

To serve:
Mayonnaise (use homemade if possible - so much better!)
Black or white sesame seeds (or a mix of both)
Umeboshi Paste (japanese pickled plum spread - not necessary, but adds a yummy tartness)
Dried Seaweed flakes (again not necessary, but adds a yummy saltiness)
Dried bonito flakes (also not required, but make it so much more authentic)
You can also dress with thick soy sauce if you like it or have it in the home. 

1. In a large bowl, combine the flaxseed, psyllium, water, eggs, kuzu or tapioca, coconut aminos or soy, and ginger. Beat well until all ingredients are well combined to make a batter. 
2. Add vegetables and mix well to ensure vegetables are well coated with the batter
3. Heat the oil a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the vegetable batter and, shape into a nice round form. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on first side, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes on the other side until batter is cooked through and veges have softened. 
4. Slide onto a plate, and serve topped with stripes of mayonnaise, a scattering of sesame seeds, a few swirls of umeboshi, and a sprinkling of seaweed and bonito flakes. 

Note: You can use any combination of vegetables that you like - it would also be great with red onion, mushrooms, white or chinese cabbage, or maybe a little grated zucchini

To flip it, I found it worked really well to sit a plate upside down on top of the frying pan, then turn it upside down to turn the Okonomiyaki onto the plate, so it will now have the cooked side facing up, then slide it back from the plate into the frying pan to cook the other side. Use the same process to remove it from the pan when cooked. 



Thursday, 19 June 2014

Cauliflower Kedgeree

Ok it's official - winter has settled in for the long haul, which for Auckland just means rain, rain, and a little more rain! It can be so hard to get motivated to do anything on those long grey days, and an umbrella pretty much becomes part of every outfit choice as you never know when the next soaking may occur. Growing up in Christchurch, rain was usually a lot more predictable and you could work your day around it a little more, whereas I am slowly learning (after nearly 8 years!) in Auckland that it can strike anywhere, anytime so be prepared and you can't let it interfere with your daily plans! And, of course you can indulge in hearty winter meals that keep you warm inside and are packed with nutrients to keep those winter bugs at bay - like this yummy cauliflower kedgeree!

That being said, it was my daughter 5th birthday (a few weeks ago now, but I'm not very good at keeping up to date with these things!), and we decided to go all out and give her and her friends a day they would remember at Rainbows End. It was a perfect, warm, sunny day, and she had an absolute blast! It is kind of hard to wrap our heads around being the parents of a 5 year old now, and the whole school thing has taken a lot more learning on our part than we had anticipated! There are a whole new set of rules, regulations, routines, systems etc to get our heads around, and it has taken a little bit of getting used to, but on the whole I think all of us are starting to get used to it and settle into a little bit of a new groove. Kaylah in particular has taken to it like a duck to water, thankfully, and she is absolutely thriving. It is such a relief to see her settled in, and she runs up to me every day at pickup full of tales of everything that happened - it is all still so new an exciting, and we are going to be so sorry to loose that enthusiasm over time as it is just so darn cute!!

Now, this wouldn't be a food blog without a little mention of the birthday cake, and although it does not strictly meet the criteria of a clean eating blog (it is covered in fondant icing which has colouring and goodness only knows how many other nasties lurking), the actual cake itself was a gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free, soy-free, nut-free cake made with coconut sugar, (one was banana chocolate chip, the other was carrot), and although I did use some buttercream icing in to layer it (my concession on birthdays - sometimes a little good old fashioned buttercream is called for!), the cake itself was very much true to the clean eating way. My kids are not fans of the fondant icing to eat anyway, so they tend to leave it on the side...although for this party all of the kids did indulge in some coloured hearts - they seemed to be the most popular part! I prefer to work with fondant for the decorating as it can create so many cool looks, but I know that many people don't eat it, so I always encourage people to feel free to leave it to one side, as it really isn't the best stuff! That being said though, there is always room for a few days of the year where you just let go of all of the worry about what to eat, and just enjoy your day for what it is. There has to be some room for flexibility in any diet or lifestyle choice (provided it is not based on allergy or intolerance) as there can be so much tension associated with being 'perfect' at all times, and this in itself is not healthy either!

So, here are a couple of pictures of the cake, just as a little aside to the main intention of this post!

 Ready to rock, just awaiting the final touches...

 In the party room, blends in with the super colourful backdrop!

Just needs a birthday girl to blow out the candles :)

Ok, so now back to the real purpose for this post! I had some fish in the freezer leftover from hubby's successful summer fishing trips (they have been a little more few and far between lately with the onset of winter, and certainly not as lucrative when they do happen! Fresh fish has such an amazing flavour, and I tend to keep things fairly simple when preparing it as it is so delicate and really needs nothing too much added. When fish is slightly older, or has been in the freezer, it lends itself more to curries, pies etc that pack a little more flavour punch, as the taste of the fish is stronger, and it needs something to balance it out and take away that 'fishy' taste. This kedgeree has a really nice hit of flavour from the turmeric and garlic, and combined with a few simple vegetables and topped with a poached egg, this meal is a trove of nutrition for winter wellness. Turmeric has so many fantastic bug fighting benefits, and we should all be including loads of this wonder spice into our diets. There is also garlic and ginger in the recipe for awesome flu-fighting capabilities, and a good dose of greens with the addition of spinach or silver beet. 

Instead of the traditional rice, I used cauliflower rice to make this dish, but you can stick to the original white rice if you prefer. The meal is free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and sugar, and can be made very quickly for a satisfying mid-week meal. 

Kedgeree is traditionally a breakfast dish from England - an old style colonial meal inspired by travel to India in way back when. This would definitely make a good breakfast alternative, so make extra and you can reheat in the morning - it was just as good the second time around when I had it as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Mmmm - golden kedgeree topped with a gooey poached much goodness!

What's not to love about an oozy egg?!

Cauliflower Kedgeree

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

2-4 fillets of firm fleshed white fish (can vary the amount depending on how many people you are serving and how much fish you like), cut into chunks
1tbsp coconut oil
about 1/2 -3/4 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
2cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
8 swiss brown or button mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths
1/2 onion, finely sliced
1 cup silverbeet or spinach, roughly diced
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp curry powder (or more to suit tastes)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup water (roughly), or fish/vegetable stock
handful of fresh coriander to garnish
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rice your cauliflower. Get our a blender or food processor and pulse the cauliflower florets until finely 'riced'. You may have to do it in a couple of batches. 
2. In a large frying pan or pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
3. Add the onions and cook until just starting to soften, then add the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 1 minute until fragrant, then add the cauliflower. 
4. Cook the cauliflower for a couple of minutes until well blended with the onions and garlic. You can add a little water at this stage to stop it sticking to the pan and to add a little moisture. 
5. Add the fish, mushrooms, silver beet, curry powder, and turmeric. Cook until fish is cooked through, and cauliflower has softened. Again, you may like to add a little more water or stock through the cooking process if it seems to be getting a little dry or sticking to the pan.
6. Once fish and cauliflower are cooked, remove from heat. Add the cherry tomatoes and lemon and give them a bit of a mix in to combine. Leave to sit for a minute or two to allow the heat from the meal to slightly soften the tomatoes. Season to taste

Serve topped with a poached egg and a handful of fresh coriander. You could also use boiled eggs if you prefer, or if you already have some ready to go in the fridge. 



Monday, 9 June 2014

Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken

Don't you just love easy, slow cooker meals that take a few moments to prepare in the morning, and then a couple of easy minutes in the evening of throwing things together?

As per my last post, I've been craving winter warmer meals, and being one of those people who works from home I really love the excitement of a slow cooker meal - as the day goes on you start to smell it more and more until it's nearly ready and the whole house just has a warm, cooking smell! Or, the other option which is you set the slow cooker in the morning, head out for the day, and come home to the most delicious aroma that gets you instantly in the mood for a warm meal. Either way, a slow cooker really creates a sense of anticipation for your meal, and the only downside to working at home while it's cooking is that I am certain my daily food intake doubles as all of the yummy food smells trigger my hunger so much more than normal!

Tonights dinner was a spicy slow cooked Mexican chicken dish, and the slow cooker component of it only had 5 ingredients - that's my kind of dinner! I came across a new 'easy meal' solution at the supermarket the other day. Usually I am all for making all of your own sauces/condiments/accompaniments etc, but there are times when convenience is really what you are after, and when you are striving to eat clean, healthy meals that can be hard to achieve as about 99% of ready made sauces etc are full of all sorts of rubbish. This one however contained nothing but natural ingredients, and whats more it tastes great!

 Here's the sauce - I found it at New World but it will probably be available elsewhere too.

Here are the ingredients - tomato, jalapeño, onion, coriander, salt. Easy to replicate if you can't find this one at the shop.

 In the slow cooker ready to go...

 Cooked, tender, succulent, and so so tasty!

Chicken shredded - ready to serve

Plated up, yum! Shredded chicken, shredded lettuce, salsa, extra jalapeños, topped with fresh coriander

Easy Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken

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

3 large chicken breasts
3 cups swiss brown mushrooms, cut into large chunks (any mushroom variety will do)
1 large onion, cut into thick slices
2 tins La Morena Red Mexican Sauce (or you could use 1 400g tin tomatoes, a handful of fresh coriander, or 3 tbsp dried coriander, 1 large onion, finely diced, 5 or 6 jalapeños, finely diced, 1 tsp salt).
1 red and 1 yellow capsicum

1 large tomato, diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 an avocado
salt and pepper to taste
a handful of fresh coriander, roughly torn

1/2 a head of lettuce, roughly shredded
extra jalapeños and coriander to garnish

1. Get out the slow cooker. In the bottom, place the onions, then the mushrooms, then the chicken, then top it with the tins of sauce. Job done! Cook on low for the day, or high if you're starting at midday, and just wait for the yummy aromas to flow through the house. 
2. Half an hour before you want to eat, you can start putting together the rest of the meal. This is also the time to add the capsicum to the slow cooker. You can add it at the start, but I like having one ingredient in there that is still quite firm. You can also shred the chicken now, or just before serving - either or. To shred the chicken, just grab 2 forks and tear away at it. It should just shred without any effort at all. You can turn the slow cooker onto warm, or even turn it off completely at this stage - the residual heat will cook the peppers and keep the meal nice and warm. 
3. If you would like to serve this with rice (hubby and the kids had it with theirs), cook your rice. 
4. To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine. You may want to add some extra jalapeños or chilli if you like it spicy, and you can play around with the quantities of the lemon/salt/pepper to suit. If you have a family of coriander haters, just leave it out. 
5. Time to plate up - if you are having rice, pop some rice on the plate, top it with the yummy shredded chicken (make sure to get plenty of the juices - mmmmm!), add a good helping of lettuce and salsa, and top it all with the jalapeños and coriander. 



Sunday, 8 June 2014

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

A hearty winter soup that warms you from the inside out - nourishing body and soul! In the winter it is only natural that we crave winter foods that have natural sweetness and provide fantastic nutrition.

When you think about it, if you visualise a cold salad on a cold winters day, it doesn't evoke feelings of warmth and comfort does it? Yet a steaming bowl of soup makes you feel just that little bit more toasty just thinking about it. It's a great idea to start thinking about eating seasonally - even if you can't bring yourself to eat the particular produce that is in season (maybe you have particular faves, or your kids will only eat tomatoes no matter what time of year!), but if you can get in the habit of eating seasonal types of food your body will thank you for it. Fresh salads, crunchy raw veges, even chilled meat meals in the summer; and hearty soups, nourishing porridges, tender casseroles and yummy treats like apple crumble for sweet treats in the winter.

I've kept the ingredient list on this soup fairly simple, but please feel free to experiment with your own choice of vegetables to suit either what is in the fridge or the flavours you prefer.

Hearty Winter Vegetable Soup

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

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 leek, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
Leaves from one head of celery, or 6 large celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 tbsp fresh or dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup broccoli
2 bay leaves
1 tin tomatoes
4 cups stock (your choice - chicken or vegetable)
1 cup water
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp coconut milk or cream and a few leaves of fresh coriander or parsley to garnish

1. Heat oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add leek and garlic. Cook until soft and aromatic
2. Add carrots, parsnips, celery, bay leaves, tomatoes, stock, water, tomato paste, thyme, and parsley
3. Simmer for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft
4. Add broccoli, salt, and pepper, and simmer for another 10 minutes. 
5. Remove from heat, puree soup either with a stick blender or in a blender
6. Garnish with coconut milk and coriander or parsley

Options: You can totally experiment with vegetables here - kumara, pumpkin, potato, cauliflower, spinach, silverbeet etc would all work. Just have a play around!



Banana Walnut Muffins

So I have been trying to get more organised with breakfast recipe - there is a definite tendency in our household to get stuck in a bit of a breakfast rut, as mornings are so busy that it's a hard time to start getting creative.

The kids tend to swing between three option - baked beans on toast, omelette with toast, or rice cereal with fruit salad. My eldest also goes through phases of wanting 'Kanga's oatmeal' (porridge made with coconut milk, rice flakes, and cinnamon - very loosely based on a recipe in a Winnie the Pooh book she has where Kanga makes porridge for little Roo), and she is also a fan of making her own muesli out of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits toasted in the oven.

Hubby is pretty consistent with having an omelette for breakfast (eggs, coconut milk, mushrooms, onions, spinach), and I often lean towards a green smoothie and a couple of eggs, as my breakfast tends to be eaten in the kitchen while preparing everyone else's breakfasts and lunches!

This muffin recipe is based on a recipe I found in the book by Luke and Scott (the personal trainers who were on My Kitchen Rules a year or so ago) who have written a few books now on clean living, and clean eating. This recipe is loosely based on a loaf recipe from the clean eating cookbook they put out recently. I've modified the recipe, and made it into muffins as they lend themselves towards a simple way breakfast for when you haven't much time, or an easy snack to go.

The muffins are made with nuts, fruit, eggs, and seeds so they are packed full of proteins and goodness to get you through the day. They would be the perfect accompaniment to a green smoothie to make a filling, nutritious breakfast, and they're free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar.

This is the worst photo ever - not very flattering towards the poor muffins, but recipes without photos are of no use to anyone, and as you can probably tell I was doing this very quickly! The muffins are really tasty though, and the ones on the right have a small amount of dark chocolate melted over the top as I made them for the kids to take to a birthday party so they could have a something while the other kids were having birthday cake. The ones on the left are perfect for breakfast or snack with no refined sugar. 

Banana Walnut Muffins

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

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1.5 cups almond flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp sunflower butter (or nut butter of your choice)
2 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup coconut thread
3 tbsp chia seeds (you could use flaxseeds/linseeds instead)
1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped, toasted lightly if preferred 
1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with liners, or grease with coconut oil
2. in a large bowl, add the eggs, banana, coconut oil, sunflower butter, and vinegar. Mix well to combine.
3. Add the almond flour, coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and chia seeds. Mix well, then add the coconut thread and walnuts. Give a quick mix to make sure all ingredients are evenly distributed, then divide among the muffin tin holes. 
4. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until browned on top and firm to the touch. 
5. Cool on a wire rack. These store well for a couple of days in a sealed container but they also freeze well.



Teriyaki Fish with Pumpkin Mash

I've always been a fan in the past of teriyaki anything - chicken, salmon,'s yummy! But when you start paying attention to labels on bottles and realising that pretty much all teriyaki sauce contains a whole lot of foods that are best avoided, and then even when you go to find a recipe to make your own they are often loaded with sugar and salt, as well as loads of soy which can be a no go food for many clean eaters, you realise that what was once a taste sensation has suddenly become on the hit list of foods to watch out for - such is life!

Never fear, I have a recipe here which should give you back that teriyaki taste but with none of the nasties. There are only a handful of simple ingredients, and although I used white fish you could make this work for any kind of protein, or even just a yummy sauce for a vegetable stir fry.

We had this fish served on a pumpkin puree with a green salad. A simple dinner that takes minimal effort to make, but is packed full of flavour.

Teriyaki Fish with Pumpkin Puree

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

2 large or 4 small fish fillets (protein/veges of your choice)
1/2 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free soy sauce)
2 cloves garlic, grated
1cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/8 cup water
Optional: You can add 1 tbsp maple syrup if you prefer the traditional sweetness of teriyaki - I chose to leave it out. 

1 butternut pumpkin
1 tbsp butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 clove garlic, grated

1. In a large bowl, combine the aminos (or soy), garlic, ginger, water and maple syrup if you're using it. Add the fish and leave to marinate for about 30 minutes. 
2. Peel pumpkin and remove seeds. Cut into small chunks and steam for about 15 minutes until soft. Place pumpkin in a bowl, add butter or oil, coconut milk, garlic, and seasoning. Mash or use a stick blender to achieve your desired consistency. 
3. In a large frying pan, Pan fry the fish over medium heat in a little coconut oil. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the fish is just cooked through.
4. Serve the fish on the pumpkin puree with a green salad of your choice (we had rocket, tomato, avocado, and coriander)/



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

'Egg Roll' Style Pork and Cabbage

Here in little old NZ we don't really use the term egg roll, but it's basically what we call a chinese spring roll. Spring rolls are so delicious, but really not ideal as a food what with all that deep frying, and if you are gluten-free the wrappers pose a problem. As well as that, they are really more of an entree or snack food rather than a meal in themselves. Not for long though! That yummy filling has been deconstructed and adapted to become something lean, mean, and clean!

I read a recipe for this a while back and I have to admit to not taking note of the name of the website and now I can't find it again, so if anyone is reading this and thinks it sounds familiar, I apologise for not giving credit for the recipe idea. I have made a number of adaptations to make it family friendly and to suit our dietary needs - and it went down a treat! Hubby raved about it, and even the kids ate it up which is a miracle in itself (I just left the mushroom and chilli out for them as if they see even a hint of a mushroom they will write off the whole meal!).

This is a great weeknight meal as it is really easy to put together and takes just a few minutes of chopping veges and then a couple of minutes of cooking and it's all done. Easy!

The meal is free of gluten, grains, nuts, soy, dairy, and sugar, and you can have a play around with different meat or vegetables to suit your families tastes. We used pork mince, but any variety of mince would work. The cabbage and carrot are kind of the cornerstones of the recipe, but I also added capsicum and mushroom for a little variety and some more colour. Some other options that would be yummy would be some little broccoli florets, or maybe some bok choy or other asian greens. Even eggplant would work really well. Get in there and make it your way - have fun and experiment! The best thing about easy weeknight dinners I always think is that they should be flexible enough to be able to use what's in the fridge so that you don't have to put a lot of planning into it or make another trip to the supermarket.

A delicious simple meal - topped with my all-time favourite herb Coriander...

...served on rice for hubby and the kids - minus the coriander!

'Egg roll' Style Pork and Cabbage

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

500g Pork Mince (or mince of your choice)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated or julienned
2 cloves garlic, grated
2cm cube fresh ginger, peeled and grated
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper (capsicum), sliced
2 cups shredded cabbage
4 tbsp coconut aminos(or gluten-free soy sauce)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper
1 tsp chilli flakes (optional, but highly recommended!)
1 red chilli, finely chopped (optional, but highly recommended!)
3 eggs
1 tbsp coconut oil
handful of fresh coriander to garnish (optional)

1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add onions, garlic and fresh ginger. Cook until just softened and aromatic
2. Add chilli, pork, and mushrooms. Cook until pork is nearly cooked through.
3. Add carrot, cabbage, coconut aminos, salt, pepper, and ground ginger.
4. Fry until pork is cooked through and cabbage has softened. 
5. Add the egg and capsicum. Mix well to combine and cook until egg has just cooked.
Remove from heat and serve with either rice, cauliflower rice, or on its own. Garnish with fresh coriander.



Apple Bread

Now that winter seems to be well and truly on it's way (barring today of course - it was practically summer again!), it's time to start thinking about some more hearty types of food that warm the soul and provide comfort and nourishment. It is no surprise that in winter we crave those hearty casseroles, soups, hot breakfasts, and comforting hot drinks. When the outside temperatures start to plummet, our bodies instinctively want that internal comfort that these more warming meals provide. the opposite is true in summer when our bodies naturally tend toward salads, smoothies, and light, fresh meals that cool the body.

A great way to start your day or a little something to have for a snack, this apple bread is made from just a few basic ingredients, takes no time at all to prepare, and can be either a savoury or sweet option. I gave it to the kids in their lunch boxes, and I have just had a great idea for breakfast...lightly toast a thick slice then top with a few chunks of avocado, a couple of slices of tomato and a crack of pepper and salt. YUM! You could even up the protein quota and add little salmon or bacon to the meal. Oh my goodness, almost can't wait to go to bed so that I can wake up and eat breakfast!

Apple Bread

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

1 cup apple puree (you can either make your own using up the old apples in the fruit bowl that we all have lurking, or you can use store bought...I find the Watties baby food good as it has no additives)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup psyllium husk (you can get this from your local whole food store or health store, but if it's too hard to find just leave it out and you can either add a couple of tablespoons more coconut flour, or substitute it with something like almond flour, flaxseed meal, or chia seeds)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
2. In a medium sized bowl, add all dry ingredients (psyllium, coconut flour, desiccated coconut, baking soda, salt, cinnamon) and mix until well combined. 
3. In another bowl, add the wet ingredients (apple puree, eggs, vinegar, vanilla) and whisk until well combined. 
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until combined. The mixture will be quite thick, and will continue to thicken as the coconut flour absorbs the liquid. This is how it should be.
5. Scrape the mixture into the loaf tin, and smooth the top. If you want to get a little fancy you can mark a few cuts across the top just to make it look pretty.
6. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the top is golden brown and the bread is firm to the touch.