Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Strawberry Meringue Pie

A fruity version take on a lemon meringue pie? A modern twist on the classic kiwi pavlova with berries? Maybe a bit of both! This delicious summery delight of a dessert is a whole new level of deliciousness and is perfect for all of those Christmas celebrations that are going on. I made this for a dinner we were at with some wonderful friends, and it was a total hit. From the sweet pie shell, to the slightly tangy, zesty, sweet strawberry filling, to the fluffy meringue topping... nothing to not love really! This pie will take a few steps to put together, and looks pretty impressive, but is actually pretty simple to do. All you will need is a few basic ingredients and a little bit of time - more for the chillling and setting than for actual work.

The shell is a simple almond, date, coconut combination, the filling is jam packed with fresh strawberries enhanced with a hint of lemon and sweetened with a wee bit of honey, and the topping is a light fluffy italian meringue made with egg whites and honey. Before serving a topped with a grated dark chocolate just to add that last bit of decadence....mmmmmmm!

The dessert is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar. You can also have the option to make this a raw dessert if you prefer, or you can bake it. It is best served soon after making it, or a least kept chilled in the fridge and topped with the meringue just before serving as I discovered - hence the pie looks a little melted in the bottom picture! I also went for the more raw version whereas if you were to bake the filling it would most likely stay firmer for longer - must make it again to try that theory...life can be so tough!


That gorgeous strawberry red filling in all its glory...
Little fluffy clouds of meringue piped on top - nearly done!

The final stage - a slight browning with my super cool blow torch
- SO much fun, and the kids thought I was awesome!

Ok, actually this is the final stage...eating it!!!


















Strawberry Meringue Pie

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

Ingredients:

Shell
2 cups almond flour
1.5 cups dates
1 cup desiccated coconut
4 tbsp coconut oil or butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling
2 cups strawberry puree
5 tbsp honey
1 tbsp gelatin
1 tsp lemon rind
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

Meringue Topping
4 egg whites
1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup honey

Directions:
1. Start with making your base. In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients until they are well combined and formed in to a thick dough. 
2. Remove from the blender and press in to a pie tin or quiche tin or whatever you would like to use to serve it. 
3. Place in the fridge and allow to firm for a few hours. 
4. Next make your filling. Place the strawberry puree, honey, lemon zest and juice in a small pot and bring to gentle simmer. Remove a small amount of the liquid and combine with the gelatine to form a thick paste. Add to the strawberry mix and stir in. If there are any lumps, remove them with a spoon.
5. simmer for a bout 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. 
6. Pour in to the pie base. Pop int he fridge or freezer and allow to set. If you prefer a baked version, pop the pie in the oven at about 160C for about 20 minutes until firm.
7. Finally make the meringue topping. With a beater beat the egg whites until frothy and starting to firm. While beating the eggs heat the honey on the stove until liquid and simmering. 
8. Add the lemon juice and continue beating. While beating the eggs add the hot honey in a steady stream. Continue beating the eggs until the form stiff peaks. 
9. Spoon the meringue mix in to a piping bag. Pipe on to the top of the pie in whatever pattern you like. If you can't be bothered with the piping bag just spoon it on top of the pie and flick up in peaks. 
10. If you are fancy and have a blow torch, blow torch the tops of the meringue just to brown gently. If you don't have a blow torch you can place until a hot grill for a couple of minutes to create the same effect. If you prefer you can just leave it without the browning and simply smother in grated dark chocolate...Yum!


Enjoy! x

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Strawberry Coconut Bliss Bites

These are the easiest little bliss bites (didn't call them bliss balls - mine are in teh shape of strawberries!!) to whip up, and they are perfect for kids lunchboxes or anyone with nut allergies as they have no nuts in them. The best part is that they only have 3 easy ingredients (oh I just realised it's four because I added a touch of vanilla at the end!)...so simple the kids could do it!

If you want an easy treat, a simple lunchbox filler, or just a yummy little morsel to satisfy a sweet craving, these are a go to...and perfect for these hot summer afternoons with the berry coconut flavour...bring on the chilled drinks and cold snacks!

These would also be ideal for a little something to give as a gift or have on the Christmas table coming in to the silly season... all of those festive moments need food right?! You could get a wee Christmas tree mold and make them really fun.


Strawberry Coconut Bliss Bites

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

Ingredients
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
1. Pop all ingredients in to a small blender and blend until well combined. The mixture may seem quite dry to start with but if you blend it for quite a while the oils will heat up and will start to create a more sticky mixture. If you find your mix is still quite dry and you can't stick it together, try adding a teaspoon or so of coconut oil just to help the ingredients to combine.
2. Either for the mix in to balls or pop in to molds then leave in the fridge until set.
3. Store in fridge to help keep them firm and to get them to last longer


Easy!

Enjoy x

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Pantry Cookies

A quick little post before heading out to pick up the kids...

These cookies were the result of having some kids over for a playdate this afternoon and not much on offer for afternoon tea! I scrounged throught the pantry and pulled out a few half open bags of various dried fruits and coconut and figured that I could throw something together...hence the name Pantry Cookies!

These ones were made with dried apricots, dried sultanas, coconut thread, coconut flour, and bound together with apple puree and butter (you can use coconut oil for a dairy free option).

I was able to whip these up in around 5 minutes, and then they took 12 minutes to bake, so if you're looking for a very quick solution when you need some baking in a hurry, these are a great go to...plus you can adapt them to whatever is in your pantry! I mean, at the end of the day they were just made out of the remnants of my pantry, so no reason why you can't play with them and have a good scrounge around in your pantry too! Instead of apricots and sultanas you could use dates, raisins, chocolate chips, and kind of dried fruit really. If you prefer almond flour or another type of flour you can use it in place of the coconut flour (although you will have to use more flour, as coconut flour is very thirsty so a little goes a long way).


The cookies are free of gluten, grains, dairy (if you choose), nuts, soy and refined sugar.

Pantry Cookies

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

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dried fruit, diced  (I used apricots and sultans, you can choose what is in your pantry)
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 cup coconut thread
1/2 cup apple puree
2 tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients (dried fruit, coconut flour, coconut thread). Mix well until evenly combined
3. Add the apple puree and melted butter to the dry ingedients. Mix well until well combined
4. Scoop balls of the dough and form in to balls (you choose how big you'd like to make them!)
5. Place the balls on the baking tray and then press down gently with a fork
6. Bake for 12 minutes or so until golden brown
7. Allow to cool on he tray - the dried fruit will be very hot! (found out the hard way!!)

Enjoy!

x


Thursday, 10 September 2015

Bliss balls 2 ways

Quick fire recipe for you all - no mucking around with idle chit chat today!!!

Kids have been all about the frooze balls lately so we whipped up a couple of versions to satisfy everyone's tastes.

On the left are the sugar free cinnamon vanilla 'cookie dough' bliss balls and on the right the nut free 'peanut butter' balls.

Recipes as follows:







Cinnamon Vanilla Cookie Dough Bliss Balls

gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar free

Ingredients:
1/2 cup almond butter
1 cup shredded or desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions (it's as easy as 1-2-3!)
1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until a thick dough forms.
2. Roll in to balls.
3. Store in the fridge to keep firm.

Nut Free 'Peanut Butter' Bliss Balls

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

Ingredients:
1/2 cup medjool dates (or dried dates soaked in boiling water for around 15 minutes then drained)
1 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender until a thick dough forms.
2. Roll in to balls
3. Store in the fridge to keep firm

Enjoy!

x



Chocolate Muffins

Here's a quick little recipe that the kids and I whipped up this evening - nice and simple for mid week baking. Chocolate Muffins - free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and refined sugar.

Ready in minutes, only a few simple ingredients, and they hold together well for those bumpy rides kids lunchboxes tend to go on!


Chocolate Muffins

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

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 drops stevia or 1 tbsp honey, or sweetener of your choice to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a muffin tin with paper cases, or grease well
2. In a blender, blend together the banana, eggs, vanilla, and sweetener (if you don't have a blender you can just whisk the eggs, mash the banana, and combine all wet ingredients well)
3. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda
Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry and mix well to combine.
4. Spoon the mixture in to the prepared muffin tin.
5. Bake for around 15 minutes until firm to touch.

This recipe makes 4 large muffins. You can use it to make mini muffins, or you can double the mixture to make more

Enjoy!

x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Gluten Free Vanilla Shortbread

Ok so here's a recipe that is a little bit naughty, and doesn't exactly tick all the boxes when it comes to healthy eating, but it was so good and went down so well with the kids that I thought I should share it anyway!

The other day the kids wanted to get in the kitchen but couldn't decide what to make so I let them look through our shelves of recipe books and come up with some ideas. They settled on shortbread so we closed the books (never one to take instructions!!!) and came up with a recipe that is so incredibly easy to make and a good option to have in the arsenal for those special occasions such as birthdays or maybe a posh afternoon tea when it calls for something a little bit naughty!

I am sure that these could be made using either almond or coconut flour if you preferred to keep them grain free, and my next mission is to make a grain free one for those of you who prefer, but the rice flour used in the recipe does a good job of keeping the original texture of shortbread.

Gluten Free Vanilla Shortbread

Gluten-free, nut-free, soy-free

Ingredients:
1 cup brown or white rice flour
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/8 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
2. Using a hand held mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and whizz to combine.
3. Add the flour and mix until all ingredients are well combined, and a soft dough forms.
4. Take portions of the dough (size of your choice) and form in to balls. Press balls down with a fork
5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden.

Enjoy!

x


Raw Raspberry Chocolate Layered Slice

Sometimes in life there is just one of those occasions that calls for something delicious for dessert...and a dinner party with fantastic friends is just one of those times.

Last weekend we were invited out for dinner so I decided to make a little something for dessert to take along. After a whole bunch of 'chucking stuff in and crossing fingers' this little beauty was born...a Raw Raspberry Chocolate Layered Slice. The stuff that dreams are made of! One of the ultimate food combinations for me would have to be raspberry and chocolate. I think it's the tart sweetness of the raspberries that pairs so nicely with the earthy rich sweetness of the dark chocolate....my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

The slice is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar (with the exception of the melted chocolate on top, but you can choose which chocolate you would like to put on here, or could make your own using natural sugars instead)

The slice consists of 4 layers - a vanilla base, followed by a rich chocolate layer, then a gorgeous tart raspberry layer and all topped off with a grand finale of melted dark chocolate. Even my husband who is not big on desserts rated this one highly! Give it a whirl next time you're trying to impress - you won't be disappointed!

Raw Raspberry Chocolate Layer Slice

Gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free

Ingredients:

Base layer:
1 cup raw cashew nuts
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla

Layer 2:
1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup medjool dates
2 tbsp cocoa or cacao powder

Layer 3:
1/2 cup melted coconut butter (make your own using this link - it's easy!)
1 cup raw cashew nuts (soaked in cold water for at least 15 minutes, then drained)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup freeze dried raspberries (or fresh if  you can find or afford them!)

Topping:
1 cup dark chocolate of your choice (or make your own using this recipe)

Directions:
1. In a blender, combine all ingredients for the base layer (cashews, coconut, dates, and vanilla). Blend until ingredients have created a dough - the amount you blend is up to you depending on how nutty in texture you would like it. If it seems to be a bit crumbly, try adding a couple of extra dates or even a little bit of water just to help it all combine. Once blended, press the mixture in to a baking tin of your choice (I used a round cake tin with a removable bottom to make it easier to get out at the end). Place in the fridge to chill.
2. Place all ingredients for layer 2 (cashews, almonds, coconut, dates, cocoa) and follow instructions as above for the base layer. Press the mixture on top of the base layer and put bake in the fridge.
3. Clean your blender so you don't get chocolate mix in your raspberry mix (not essential, it'll just help keep the gorgeous colour of the raspberries a bit better) then add all ingredients for layer three (coconut butter, soaked cashews, vanilla, maple syrup, raspberries) and blend until well combined. This layer you want to blend until fairly smooth...again if it's too crumbly add either a little more maple syrup or a touch of water, or you can add in a little more coconut butter. Press this layer in to the tin on top of the existing 2 layers. Place back in the fridge
4. For the top layer, melt your chocolate in a double boiler, then pour on top of the slice. Chill to set.

Serve with your favourite ice-cream or nice-cream, with gorgeous fresh seasonal fruit, or just on its own...it's so yummy whichever choice you make!

Enjoy!

x



Thursday, 3 September 2015

Blueberry Muffins

Well, it's an oldie, but a goodie...who doesn't love a good old fashioned blueberry muffin?! The kids love eating the frozen berries before they go in the batter too, so we have to be careful to ration so that there are enough left for the recipe....thankfully the blueberry thieves are easily identified by the blue fingers!!

I'll keep this post short and sweet and just get straight to the recipe! These muffins are so so easy to make, and have only a handful of ingredients. They are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and refined sugar. They're perfect in the mini size like I've made here for putting in little lunchboxes or for a wee afternoon pick-me-up mouthful, or you can make them larger for a bigger appetite! The mixture would even work really well for a cake or loaf...very versatile.



Blueberry Muffins

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

Ingredients:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed well
2 tbsp honey (can be left out if preferred)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line or grease a mini muffin tray (or baking tray of your choice)
2. In a medium bowl, combine the coconut flour, baking soda, and baking powder. 
3. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla and honey, then mix in the banana. Blend well. You could also do this step in a blender to get a really nice smooth mix
4. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed. 
5. Add the blueberries and fold in to the batter
6. Spoon the mixture in to the muffin tin.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Your baking time will vary depending on the size of your muffins. Just keep an eye on them and adjust your time accordingly

Enjoy!

x

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake

When a wonderful friend is kind enough to donate some of their delicious fresh rhubarb, the least I can do is make it to something tasty! Thus inspired the making of this Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake...which sounds a little uninspired, but the flavours work really well together! Both have that earthy, wintery vibe going on, and when kept simple in this way with no other flavours to tip the balance the combination works really well!

This recipe is free of gluten, grains, diary, soy, and refined sugar. You could also make it nut free if you chose an alternative flour to replace the almond flour - for example coconut flour if you are trying to stay away from grains, or rice flour or maybe spelt or buckwheat flour would also work. If you are changing the flour you will need to adjust your quantities accordingly as each flour will have its own level of moisture absorption.




 Rhubarb and Cinnamon Cake

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

Ingredients:
2 cups fresh rhubarb, finely diced
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a square cake tin with baking paper
2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon). Mix to combine
3. In a blender, or in a bowl with a whisk, combine the eggs, honey, and vanilla. Blend or whisk until well combined and eggs are aerated
4. Pour the liquid mixture in to the dry mix. Give it a stir, then add the rhubarb and mix to ensure even distribution
5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared baking tin.
6. Bake for around 25 minutes or until golden on top and just firm to touch

Enjoy!

x





















Monday, 10 August 2015

Jam Drop Cookies (AKA thumbprint cookies)

What kid doesn't love sticking their fingers in their food right?! Actually, I think even us 'big kids' secretly enjoy getting in there and making a bit of a mess really!

These jam drop cookies (also commonly known as 'thumbprint' cookies) are fun to make but also very simple to whip up quickly. You can make loads of variations to customise to your liking, and they're a great way to get the kids involved in the kitchen.

Free of gluten, grains, nuts, soy, and refined sugar, these cookies are simply sweetened with fruit, although if you have a little more of a sweet tooth you can add a bit of honey or sweetener of your choice. The recipe I made was also egg free, but I would probably add an egg if I were making them to take somewhere, as the cookies do break apart fairly easily. In saying that they are super tasty and don't absolutely need egg, so they will be perfectly suitable for anyone with egg allergies.


Apple, Cinnamon, Blueberry Jam Drop Cookies (AKA Thumbprint Cookies)

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

Ingredients
1 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 cup apple puree (or fruit puree of your choice)
2 tbsp melted butter (or coconut oil if you want to make these dairy free)

Enough jam to fill the thumbprint holes...amount will vary depending on how deep you make the holes! We used blueberry jam, but you can choose any flavour that suits

Optional: 
1 egg, lightly beaten
2-4 tbsp honey or sweetener of your choice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients (coconut, coconut flour, baking powder, cinnamon, any dry sweetener if using). Mix to combine
3. In another bowl combine the wet ingredients (apple puree, butter or coconut oil, wet sweetener if using, egg if using). Mix to combine
4. Mix the wet ingredients in to the dry.
5. Roll about a tbsp of mixture into a ball, and press down with your thumb to make a dent. Repeat until all mixture is rolled.
6. Fill the holes created with a dollop of jam
7. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden.
8. It will be hard, but allow the cookies to cool before digging in...the jam will be blisteringly hot!

Enjoy!

xx

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Peanut Butter Banana Flourless Muffins

I am a huge fan of getting new goodies in the kitchen to experiment, so when a chance meeting with one of the super cool guys from Nut Brothers led to me having testers of their delicious new range of peanut butter and almond butter, I had to come up with some recipes to do this yumminess justice!

There is a 3 product range available at the moment - smooth and crunchy peanut butter, and an amazing almond, sunflower, and chia butter. Yum! The range has been created with all natural ingredients, and the peanut butters are made from 100% peanuts - perfect for when you are a family trying to get away from those traditional brands of peanut butter with all of the unnecessary extras (we all know the ones I'm talking about!).





With a few jars of greatness now in my kitchen, it was time to get baking! The first creation was these delicious Peanut Butter Banana Flourless Muffins. With only a handful of basic ingredients, no flour at all, and a light fluffy end result, these muffins were a hit with both the little and big kids in our house!







The recipe is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar. If you would like to make it nut free you could use pumpkin or sunflower butter in place of the peanut butter. The recipe would also be delicious made with the almond butter as well if you don't eat peanut butter. Not only do they use simple ingredients but they truly could not be easier to make - you don't even need a bowl or mixing spoon!

These are a great addition to lunchboxes, and they also pack a healthy dose of protein so they are great for a quick breakfast option with a smoothie.

To see more about the nut brothers. check out their website http://www.nutbrothers.co.nz

Peanut Butter and Banana Flourless Muffins


Ingredients:
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter or nut butter of your choice (I used Nut Brothers Smooth Peanut Butter)
2 ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line a muffin tin with cupcake cases.
2. In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth
3. Spoon 3 tbsp amounts into each hole
4. Bake for around 15-20 minutes until golden and spongy to touch.

These muffins with puff up quite a lot but don't be surprised if they 'deflate' a little after they come out of the oven...it's juts what happens. If you want to make them look a little more glamorous you can always pop on a dollop of your favourite icing.

Enjoy!

x

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Flourless Chocolate Brownie

Going to post this one really quickly as it's bath time for the kids and they are super excited as I got them some bath paints today - not sure if that was wise but we will find out...sounds messy!!!!

This recipe is incredibly easy, contains no flour at all, and you could even have it for breakfast!

Free of gluten, grains, dairy, nuts, soy, and refined sugar, it is a fantastic lunchbox filler for school starting back next week, or just a little something to curb the mid afternoon munchies.



Flourless Chocolate Brownie

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

Ingredients:
1 large ripe banana
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp pure stevia powder
pinch of salt

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line a brownie pan (approx 19x19cm) with baking paper
2. In a blender blend the eggs, banana, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar until smooth
3. In a bowl, combine the cocoa, coconut, cinnamon, cocoa, baking soda, and salt
4. Pour the wet ingredients in to the dry. Mix well to combine.
5. Pour in to the prepared baking tin. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes until soft but not runny to touch.

Options:
- If you prefer not to use banana you can use 1 cup apple puree or even a cup of kumara or pumpkin puree. These may not be as sweet so it may be worthwhile adding in some additional sweetener if you like things sweet such as coconut sugar, extra stevia, maple syrup, or dates
- This is not a super sweet brownie, as I wanted something that was suitable for an anytime snack as opposed to a decadent treat. If you would like to make this more as a treat or something to have on the odd occasion with an afternoon cuppa, feel free to add additional sweetener or a big old handful of chocolate chunks or something equally delicious. You can also feel free to add some chopped nuts or chopped dried fruit to the batter if you want a little more to it.
- These ingredients make a relatively small quantity, but if you would like a thicker brownie simply double the ingredients and bake for probably about 25-30 minnutes (you'll just have to keep an eye on it, as that's only a guess!)

Enjoy!

x

Monday, 13 July 2015

Easy Chicken Curry Casserole

Need a little inspiration on those nights when you're late home, you want something to eat, the fridge has a whole bunch of random stuff, and you need something that requires minimum effort but maximum flavour? Or one of those nights when everything gets a little out of hand and it all turns to custard and you need something you can just bung in a pot and leave it cooking while you deal to the chaos? Well here is the meal you need...a super simple chicken curry cooked in the oven in a big old casserole dish. One meal, one pot, one easy dinner!


Although I will post the recipe I used to make the meal, it really is just one of those dinners where you can use up whatever's in the fridge, so do feel free to make it your own... there is no right or wrong with this one.

Easy Chicken Curry Casserole

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

Ingredients:
500g chicken thigh fillets, roughly chopped (or meat of your choice)
1 400g can diced tomatoes
1 400g can cherry tomatoes, or one punnet of fresh cherry tomatoes
2 large stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1 large zucchini, halved lengthways and roughly chopped
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic, either roughly chopped or grated depcnding on whether you like chunks of garlic or not
10 button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cups or so of silverbeet, roughly torn
2 red chillies, diced, or 1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 tbsp curry powder
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
handful of parsley, roughly chopped for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 210C
2. In a large ovenproof casserole dish place all ingredients except the silverbeet
3. Cook with the lid on for about 30 minutes until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender
4. Add silverbeet, mixing it in to the hot casserole and replace lid, cooking for another 10 -15 minutes until the silverbeet has wilted. Season to taste
5. Serve with your favourite accompaniment - mash, rice, noodles, salad...whatever you like!

Play around with the veges and the herbs/spices - whatever you have and whatevcr you crave :)

Enjoy!

x





Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Cinnamon Nut Butter Loaf

There is something about the taste of cinnamon that screams winter warmth and cosy nights by the fire...Does anyone else notice that, or am I just a little odd?! (well, actually don't answer that...pretty sure it's a yes!!).

Not only is this a 'cosy' loaf, but the taste brings back huge childhood memories of those dutch cinnamon biscuits. I'm not sure if anyone will know the ones I mean, but every Christmas my stepdad would be given a packet of them by a patient, and so they became synonymous with the 'taste of the holiday season'. This loaf tastes just like them, especially when eaten lightly toasted with a smear of butter melted into it! Yum! (or maybe a wee touch of coconut oil melted on top if you can't do dairy, or a dollop of your favourite spread..walnut butter would be divine!).


This gorgeous light, fluffy loaf is so simple to prepare, and is full of nutrients. Cinnamon is truly one of the wonderfoods - it is great for your heart, and it reduces the spike effect on your blood sugars after eating, especially if you eat it with carbohydrates. Mother nature really does know what works for us huh? I mean, banana and cinnamon, or pumpkin and cinnamon are such fantastic combinations and they are meant to be together...wonderful complex carbohydrates, paired with cinnamon to improve the impact on our bodies. Perfect!

The loaf is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar, and sweetened simply with a small amount of banana. You can choose to add a bit of honey if you prefer a sweeter taste, or you can leave it as is which gives you the option to maybe dollop on a little honey or jam to eat it with.


















Cinnamon Nut Butter Loaf

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

Ingredients
1 cup almond butter (or your choice of nut butter)
2 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
1 ripe banana
1/2 medium kumara (about 1/4 cup), or you can use pumpkin
3 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
Optional: 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 170C. Line  a loaf tin with baking paper
2. In a blender combine the nut butter, banana, kumara, eggs, vanilla, and apple cider vinegar (and sweetener if using). Blend until well combined and smooth.
3. Add the chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda. Pulse to combine
4. Pour the mixture in to the lined baking tin.
5. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and spongy to the touch

Enjoy!

x


Monday, 22 June 2015

Crunchy Green Nutty Cluster Crisp Muesli

Winter is here, and it's decided to truly make itself known this week - for us Aucklanders it's not our usual routine to have to put on gloves, hats, scarves and jackets just to get out the door in the morning! 

With the cold weather comes the inevitable bugs that float around, especially with little ones at school and kindy. Both of our the girls take vitamin D, vitamin C and a kids mushroom based multivitamin to boost their immunity, but I figure any extra help they can get in the winter the better. 

So, with that in mind, and some spirulina powder in the pantry begging to be utilised for its immune boosting health properties, I came up with this nutty, crunchy muesli clusters that are green and fabulous! The kids loved it, and they happily sat rugged up on the couch munching through a big bowl of it.

You can use this as a snack food either at home or on the go, combine with your choice of milk and some fresh fruit for a yummy, filling, nutritious breakfast option, or sprinkle over a bowl of hot porridge on these cold winter mornings. For something a little more decadent, it would also be delicious sprinkled over a big old bowl of ice-cream or nice cream...really there are so many options for how to use this!
Although this recipe calls for nuts, you can always add in your choice of dried fruits and other seeds as a substitute if you prefer to not use the nuts. I have also used egg whites in the recipe to help achieve the clusters, but you can leave them out if you do not tolerate eggs - the only difference will be that the bits will not stick together as much. If you are not using egg whites I would use a tbsp or so of oil or honey just to help the spirulina to stick to the other components. 
The recipe is free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, and refined sugar. I chose to keep this one free of any sweetener but you could add your choice of sweetener such as a little maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, or dried fruits (or a combination of whatever you like). Any of those choices would taste great with the mix and may make it a little more appealing to children or anyone with a bit of a sweet tooth. 

Crunchy Green Nutty Cluster Crisp Muesli

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

Ingredients:
1 cup coconut chips or coconut thread
2 cups mixed raw nuts, roughly chopped or crushed (I used cashews, walnuts and almonds - choose your favourites!)
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 tbsp spirulina powder (our local supermarket sells it, but if no luck there most health food stores should stock it)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla essence
1 egg white

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a medium bowl combine all dry ingredients (coconut, nuts, seeds, spirulina and cinnamon.
3. In a small bowl, or in a blender or using a stick blender, whisk egg white with vanilla essence until frothy. 
4. Pour the egg white mix in with the muesli mix and stir until well combined. You want the muesli to have a good coating of the egg white mix so that it forms clusters
5. Pour the mixture on to the baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until lightly toasted
6. Allow to cool then store in an airtight container

Enjoy!

x



Friday, 15 May 2015

Savoury Curried Chia Cookies

Do you ever just have more of a hankering for something to satisfy a savoury craving rather than a sweet one? I am the first to admit that I have a terrible sweet tooth! But lately I have been really craving salty, spicy, sour things...older and wiser? Changing taste buds? Some mystical message my body is telling me? Who knows! All I do know is that when the craving hits, these super yummy chia cookies can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and you'll be able to satisfy that hankering ASAP!!



Since making these cookies I have been having all sorts of ideas for them, and think they could very much become a versatile wee number to have on hand. Although I just sat down and scoffed the lot as an afternoon snack, you could also serve them with your favourite indian curry for a bit of dunking action (who doesn't love to dunk things in their food right? Childhood memories!). Often when going gluten free, naan bread is out when it comes to ordering indian, unless you make your own, so these could be a fun and tasty alternative.

You could also try pressing the dough out very thinly and creating more of a cracker, then adding your favourite toppings. Maybe a yummy chutney or relish, or my personal favourite - avocado, tomato and a pinch of salt and pepper....food heaven!

However you choose to use them, these cookies are made with just a few simple ingredients, and you can have a play around with various herbs and spices for a bit of fun. 

The cookies are free of gluten, grains, dairy, soy, nuts, and sugar. You can choose to add or remove chilli as you desire, and although I made just a small batch as a trial, you can double or triple the recipe if you would like a more substantial quantity.

Here is everything you need to know....

Savoury Curried Chia Cookies

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

Ingredients:
1/4 cup Chia seeds
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 tbsp psyllium husk (optional - just omit if you don't have any on hand)
1 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Pinch of chilli (or to taste, omit if you don't want it spicy)
1 egg
2 tbsp coconut milk

This recipe is small and makes 4-6 cookies, so feel free to double or triple if you would like to make a full sized batch!

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C, line a baking tray with baking paper
2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Mix well to blend.
3. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and coconut milk together.
4. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. The chia seeds and coconut milk will absorb a lot of liquid, so the dough will grow thicker as you mix.
5. When a firm dough is formed, scoop roughly tablespoonful amounts and shape into balls. Place on the baking tray, and flatten gently with the back of a fork. You can flatten as much as you like depending on how thick you would like the cookies. This recipe would also work well for more of a cracker style so feel free to roll the balls out into a thin cracker instead - would be great with your favourite dip or condiment!
6. Bake for around 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Your cooking time will very much vary depending on how thick you make your cookies or crackers, so you will want to keep an eye on them as they bake. If you are making more of a cracker, I would reduce the oven temperature to about 160C and bake more slowly to create more of a crunch and to ensure the thinner dough does not burn as easily.
7. Remove from the oven and either devour as soon as your mouth can tolerate it (as I did!) or cool on a wire rack and enjoy in whichever way you crave. Great with dip, great as a side to a meal, perfect to keep in the cupboard to snack on... options are endless!

Enjoy!!

x


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Feijoa Upside Down Cake

Just in case it has escaped your notice (for those of you in NZ!) it just happens to be feijoa season at the moment!

Our tree has gone completely mad, and after totally neglecting the garden for a few weeks we went down and did a bit of harvesting.... 30kg of feijoas later our house is now perfumed with that distinctive smell, and my brain is whirring with "how on earth will I use all of these?"!!!!!
Arrrrggg!!! Feijoa overload!!

So, after randomly seeing a picture for a pineapple upside down cake, I decided that feijoas would actually be a really yummy and pretty alternative to the traditional upside down cake. 

My youngest daughter had lots of fun helping me to chop and scoop the feijoas and arrange them in the bottom of the baking tin, and the kids really got into the idea of an upside down cake - like a magic trick when you take a regular looking cake, and flip it onto a plate to discover the hidden goodness!

This recipe really is so simple, and you can choose how much of a 'celebration cake' or 'everyday cake' you would like to make it! I kept it very simple, and as such this recipe is good enough you could eat it for breakfast (or lunch or dinner, or snacking in between!!). If you are making it for a bit more of a celebratory occasion you can play around with adding a big more sweetener, sprinkling sugar on 'top' to get the fruit more caramelised, or adding in extras to the cake such as chocolate chips. It is delicious served warm or cold, on its own or with a big dollop of plain or coconut yoghurt, or of course a big old scoop of ice-cream!

Of course, if you are not a kiwi, or you do not have access to an abundant supply of feijoas, you can subsitute any other kind of fruit for the fruit layer. Stone fruits, citrus fruits, apples, pears, or of course the old classic pineapple all work really well.

The recipe is free of gluten, grains, soy, and refined sugar. I used a bit of butter in this one, but you can easily make it dairy free by using coconut oil instead (or your choice of oil, or even substitute an alternative such as apple puree). The butter gives a delicious flavour with the feijoas, but is certainly not essential. Dairy free and nut free options will also work, and I'll pop notes in the recipe)

The recipe is as follows:


Feijoa Upside Down Cake

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

Ingredients:

10-15 ripe feijoas
4 tbsp honey or 1/4 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)
4 tbsp melted butter (or oil)

1 ripe banana
1/2 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter (or oil/applesauce if you prefer dairy free)
1/4 cup honey or sweetener of your choice
1/2 cup almond flour (you can use any nut flour, walnut would be divine!, and if you prefer nut free substitute either pumpkin or sunflower seed meal, or use 1/4 cup coconut flour instead. If you cannot do coconut either, you can use an alternative such as rice flour or alternative gluten free baking flour - you will need to adjust the quantities)
1/2 cup coconut flour (see notes above in regards to substitutions)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 170C.
2. Line the bottom of a round baking tin with baking paper (you could grease it, but for this cake it really does work better to have the baking paper to make it easier to flip). 
3. over the baking paper, sprinkle the sugar or drizzle the honey and pour the melted butter over. Cut the feijoas in half and scoop each half out, keeping the flesh intact. 
4. Place the feijoa halves cut side down in the baking tin in whichever pattern you would like
5. In a blender (because I'm lazy!) place the banana, eggs, vanilla, milk, butter, and honey. Blend until combined. You can also do this in a bowl - whisk the eggs, add the honey, vanilla, milk, butter, and mashed banana.
6. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, baking soda, cinnamon) and mix well.
7. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and give them a good mix together to combine. 
8. Carefully spread the cake batter over the feijoas, trying not to disturb the feijoas too much
9. Smooth the top, and place in the oven
10. Bake for approximately 25 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and firm to touch.
11. Leave to cool in the tin, then grab a plate larger than the cake tin, and turn the cake upside down on to the plate. Remove the baking paper (careful!), and Voila! Cake! If you like, you can pop the cake under a hot grill for a couple of minutes or use one of those fancy blow torches to caramelise the top a little more....Hubby got me a blow torch for Christmas, and I had a ball 'playing with fire'!!!! hahaha!!!


Enjoy!!

x


Friday, 3 April 2015

Easter chocolates - cream eggs for all!

Who doesn't love a cream egg right?!

Well, we've always been fans, and Easter is that time of year when a little indulgence has to occur and those old favourites and classics must be allowed for. When you have had your fix though, here is an alternative that you can eat a little more freely, in fact you can eat these ones for breakfast, lunch and dinner all Easter long and feel no guilt whatsoever!!

These little beauties have a homemade chocolate shell, and are then filled with an 'egg white' vanilla coconut butter, with a 'yolk' of cashew butter mixed with a wee pinch of turmeric to give that yellow look. 

I have to pop the picture in shortly as we are currently on a road trip (going no-where fast on the motorway with all of the other long weekend holidaymakers!!). I forgot to get organised and out the right pictures on the right device - oh the problems we have to deal with these days!!! 

So anyway, picture to come soon, keeping you intrigued!

These eggs are really simple to make, and mine are more of a cream ball than a cream egg - couldn't find the blimmin' egg shaped mould that I KNOW should be on the kitchen cupboard somewhere, but could easily have been 'borrowed' for playdough play time...every now and then I go and claim back my kitchen equipment! Cheeky monkeys, but can't deny them the fun they have, so just give it all a good hot wash to get rid of that salty flavour from the playdough! 

So basically you just make your chocolate (only a few simple ingredients), line the moulds, chill, fill with coconut butter and pop a dollop of 'yolk' in the middle while the coconut butter is still soft and chill again. Once set, use the back of a teaspoon heated under hot water to melt the edges of each half and stick them together. Couldn't be easier! ;) 

The eggs are free of gluten, dairy, grains, soy, and refined sugar. You can make them nut free if you use maybe sunflower or pumpkin seed butter to make the yolk, or you could just leave it out. The only sweetener I used in these was about 2 tsps honey in the chocolate shell. You can add more, or add sweetener to either of the fillings if you like a sweeter treat for more of that classic cream egg indulgence. 





Classic Cream Egg

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

This recipe makes 2 eggs, so adjust the quantities depending on how many you want to make.

Ingredients:
Chocolate shell:
Half a block of cacao butter (about 100g) - note: I used a half block of ghirardelli unsweetened cacao, which already has the classic cacao colour (brown of course!), but if you are using classic white cacao butter, you will need to add about 2 tbsp cacao powder to make it chocolatey
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsps honey or sweetener of your choice (adjust quantity to suit)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

'White'filling:
4 tbsp coconut butter, melted (to make your own coconut butter click here for a recipe)
1/4 tsp vanilla powder, or vanilla extract
Can add sweetener if you choose

'Yolk' filling:
2 tbsp cashew nut butter (click here if you want to make your own)
Pinch of turmeric
Sweetener if you choose

Directions:

1. Pop all the ingredients for the chocolate mix in a small glass bowl and set over a small pan filled with enough water to simmer, but do not allow the water to touch the bowl. Heat gently until all ingredients are melted - stir to combine. Do not overheat, as the mixture may seize and become very difficult to work with.

 2. Line an egg shaped mould (or half circle if you don't have eggs!) with the chocolate mix. You may need to do a couple of layers to get a nice thick shell. Pop in the fridge to set

3. While the chocolate shell is setting, you can prepare your fillings. Very simple!

4. For the egg white, simply mix the melted coconut butter, vanilla, and sweetener if you're using it in a small bowl. For the yolk mix, blend the cashew butter with the turmeric. Shape the cashew butter into 4 small balls to sit in the middle of the egg.

5. Remove the chocolate moulds from the fridge, and fill each half with coconut butter. Place a ball of cashew butter on the centre of each egg, then pop back in the fridge until the coconut butter has hardened.

6. Using a spoon or metal spatula, run it under hot water and use the back of it to smooth the tops of the egg halves and melt the edges. While still melted, stick one half on top of the other and press down gently to seal. Pop back in the fridge to harden again for a couple of minutes, and hey presto - you have a cream egg!

Enjoy!

Monday, 9 March 2015

Chai Spiced Breakfast Protein Muffins

I owe all of my gorgeous readers a huge apology. I have been completely MIA since Christmas, and I would like to apologise for that. 

In part, life has just gotten a little crazy busy coming up to the end of my studies (I am 2 months away from being a certified Holistic Health Coach!!), and the other part is that I have been having some personal issues that I have been trying to deal with, and have not been in a place to deal with a large number of tasks. 

I am not quite ready to share the details of what has been going on personally, as I am still very much on a journey and probably need to just hunker down and do some serious self-care, but in the mean time I feel as though I have neglected this blog for long enough now and need to start showing it a little bit of love and TLC! When the time comes, I would love to share with you all what has been happening, but I will keep you posted on that.

In the meantime, here is a long overdue recipe for you all. 

Since the kids have started school, I have found that mornings are such a mad rush, and it can be hard to find the time to have much for breakfast which means that it doesn't happen until after drop-off. By 9am there is some serious tummy rumbling going on, and so I have been throwing together a few recipes for some muffins and breads that I can have a quick munch on while making the lunches/brushing teeth/feeding the zoo/finding books, uniforms, school bags etc. That way I can at least have some fuel in the belly and then come home to have something decent after the chaos has settled. 

These Protein Muffins are super easy to make, and contain only a few simple ingredients. The best part is that you can add all sorts of extras depending on what  you would like to throw in there. I kept the recipe very simple as a sort of 'base recipe', and have been busy jotting down ideas on other bits and pieces I could throw in next time a batch is going in the oven.

















The muffins are free of gluten, grains, dairy-free (optional), nuts, soy, and refined sugar. They use a banana for sweetener, and also have protein powder added to bulk up the protein content. Be very careful though which protein powder you use. There are loads of very bad ones out there on the market, and you will also need to decide if you can tolerate a whey protein (dairy based) or whether you prefer to use a vegan based protein such as one made from pea protein or you could use a naturally occurring protein such as Sacha Inchi powder if you really prefer to stay away from any commercial protein powders. 

As it stands, the base recipe is as follows:

Chai Spiced Breakfast Protein Muffins

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

Ingredients:
6 egg whites
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
4 scoops your choice of protein powder
2 tsp chai spice mix, or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp cardamom, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp nutmeg (you could just use all cinnamon if you don't have the other spices in the pantry

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Line a muffin tin with cases, or grease with coconut oil or butter
3. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
4. In a separate bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (coconut flour, baking soda, protein powder, spice mix). 
5. Add the mashed banana to the dry ingredients and mix to combine
6. Gently fold in the egg whites. Scoop a small amount of the egg whites to blend first, as this will allow the mixture to liquify a little and make it easy to fold in the rest of the egg evenly. Once the first scoop is mixed in, add the rest of the egg whites and fold gently to combine.
7. Scoop mixture into prepared muffin tin.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden on top and no longer soft to the touch.

Variations:
- I use a vanilla flavoured protein powder, but if you're not using that flavour you could add in a tsp of vanilla extract, or play around with different flavours. There are some good chocolate flavoured protein powders available, and no doubt more exotic flavours are out there too!
- you can add any extras you like really - throw in a 1/2 cup of chopped nuts and seeds (great extra protein), or a 1/2 cup of blueberries or raspberries for a yummy addition. Or a handful of diced dates or raisins, or even a few sneaky chocolate chips just for fun. Let your imagination on your tastebuds guide you :)

Enjoy!