Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Banana and almond meal muffins

Am I the only one who feels a frisson of excitement with fresh almond meal in the cupboard? On the weekend I had almond meal plus ripe bananas. I wondered if anyone had made almond meal muffins with banana? Of course they had!

Inside my pantry, there was no baking powder, so I decided to use 1 cup of self-raising flour and 1 cup of almond meal. We're not gluten-free in my home, so a combination of ingredients was fine. If you want gluten free, just use 2 cups almond meal and 2 teaspoons of baking powder.


1 cup almond meal
1 cup (fresh*) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarb of soda (I didn't have baking powder
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 pinch of salt

2 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup macadamia nut oil
2 ripe bananas


Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Use macadamia nut oil to grease a 12 medium muffin tin. Mix together dry ingredients well. Mix together wet ingredients. Add wet and dry ingredients and stir until combined. Dollop mixture into muffin tin evenly and cook for 20min at 180 degrees. Turn onto a cooling rack. I used a knife to help me free up the edges. I served them with a few slices of fresh banana and a sprinkle of almond meal.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quinoa white sauce

Today I needed to whip up a fast, toddler (and husband!) friendly dinner in a hurry. I was going to make a cheesy white sauce to mix in some stuffed pasta and frozen veges, but then I realized that we didn't have any flour! I turned to quinoa to save the situation. Is it possible to make a quinoa white sauce? Apparently, yes! Plus, it's gluten free as a bonus for my friends and family who have intolerances.

The secret is to take quinoa flakes and turn them into flour in a coffee grinder (ours is dedicated for spices). In 10 seconds you have a fine, dusty flour that works beautifully in a white sauce.


30g butter
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup full cream milk
Parmesan and pepper to taste


Grind quinoa flakes in a coffee/spice grinder. Melt butter on a medium heat. Add ground quinoa and stir with a whisk until combined. After 1 minute or so, start adding small amounts of the milk, stirring until the mixture thickens and then continuing until you are satisfied with the texture (you may not want to use a full cup of milk). Add parmesan and pepper to taste.

Add to pasta and steamed vegetables for a fast and delicious dinner. White sauce is the basis of so many delicious recipes. I can't wait to try using this recipe for making chicken pies, roast cauliflower, lasagne and many more!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lemon and ginger slice

Ginger and lemon tea is so restorative that I wanted to make a slice with them. What a refreshing way to accompany a cuppa? My recipe is a combination of ideas from this caramel slice recipe and this ginger and lemon slice recipe. I'm not shy on the ginger, so moderate this ingredient to suit your own tastes.


1 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
125g butter, melted
2-3 tsp ground ginger

400g can sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons golden syrup
60g butter, melted
Zest of approximately 1 lemon


Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 3cm deep, 28 x 18cm (base) lamington pan.

Combine all base ingredients in a bowl. Mix well.

Press into prepared lamington pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until light golden. Remove from oven. Cool.

Make filling: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking, for 8 minutes or until golden. Pour over cooked base. Bake for 12 minutes or until firm. Cool completely. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours, or until set.

Cut into squares to serve.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cauliflower and kidney bean tacos

I'm back! After being pregnant and becoming a mum, I've been cooking from my instincts and not necessarily coming up with the most creative dishes. Also, I have often not had time to pause to take photos and blog. Nonetheless, I'm still here and tonight I made a scrumptious vegetarian mexican dinner for my best friend and hubbie: cauliflower and kidney bean tacos! The secret is cooking the cauliflower and bean mixture for a good hour or so--like a hearty bolognese. 

Apparently if you don't cook cruciferous vegetables for 30min they are goitrogenic (inducing goiter formation). They contain enzymes that interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone in people with iodine deficiency. In that class of vegetable includes: cauliflower, cabbage, cress, bok choy, broccoli and similar green leaf vegetables.


1 mexican dinner kit ('requiring' 500g of meat)
1 onion finely chopped
1tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves crushed
1tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cauliflower chopped into bite-sized chunks
1 can kidney beans
sour cream
2 cups water

2 tomatoes diced
1 avocado smooshed with lime juice, salt and pepper
Fresh coriander/cilantro
1 green top of spring onion sliced
1 carrot grated
grated cheese
sour cream

Tabasco, jalapenos and chilli to taste


Fry onion until soft. Add cumin, garlic and caulflower and cook for a couple of minutes. Add kidney beans, taco seasoning packet and water. Simmer on low, uncovered for 30min-1hr, stirring occasionally  and breaking down cauliflower with a wooden spoon. Add 2 tbsp sour cream towards the end as it thickens. Put taco shells in the oven to crisp.

Serve with chopped tomato, salsa, mashed avocado, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, grated carrot, lettuce, sprouts, coriander and chilli sauce to taste. 

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Banana Walnut Choc Chip Muffins

Tonight I think I've cracked the ultimate banana muffin, filled with nommy chocolate chips and walnuts, modified from this recipe. I used dark brown sugar and buttermilk to add a little extra flavour and zing.

Dry Ingredients

2 cups self raising flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup choc-chips
1/4 cup walnuts

Wet Ingredients

100 grams butter, melted
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 over-ripe bananas

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius. Grease 12 hole muffin tray or 1 x 6 hole Texas muffin pan.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Whisk them together to ensure an even blend.

In a separate bowl, mash bananas with a fork and mix together with all other wet ingredients. Then add to the dry ingredients until just combined. Pour into muffin pan.

Bake 12-15 minutes.

These muffins fulfill the magic combination of being moist, containing fruit, nuts and rich flavours without being too dense or overwhelming.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Curried Cabbage and Mince

Cabbage time. Morgan whipped up this dish tonight to honour the yummy cabbage in our box this week. He based his recipe on this one.


2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red chillies finely chopped
2 tsp cumin
3 sticks celery, finely diced
500g lean beef mince or pork mince
1/2 cup long-grain rice, raw
2 tablespoons Keen's curry powder
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
1 mini cabbage, core removed and finely shredded
lemon juice to taste
Rice vermicelli


Heat oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add onion, chillies and celery and cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Add cumin, mince and half the cabbage and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, for 4 to 5 minutes.

Add rice, curry powder, chicken stock and water. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until well-combined. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Remove lid and place remaining cabbage over top of mince mixture. Cook, covered, for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir through cabbage and serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Really tasty! I love this dish. Thanks baby!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Creamy Kale Pasta

Last week we received a gorgeous bunch of kale in our box. I was in the mood for something creamy and warming for a chilly winter night. But, I also wanted in include something fresh and use leftovers! How to manage? Below is my creamy kale pasta recipe as a result.


25g butter
2 cloves of minced garlic
2 chopped spring onions
1 bunch of kale, washed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup pure cream
1/2 can of condensed tomato soup
Leftover roast chicken
Smoked paprika and pepper to taste
1/2 lime's worth of juice
Cup of grape tomatoes
Parmesan cheese

Saute garlic and the whites of the spring onions in butter. Add kale and simmer for a few minutes.

Add tomato soup, cream and shredded leftover chicken (or any other protein). Simmer for another few minutes, add paprika & pepper.

Slowly add lime juice and stir.

At this point you can just serve it up on pasta with some cheese. But, as I said above, I wanted to add a little freshness...

...Chop up grape tomatoes into halves...

...Serve with the greens of the spring onions.

Even better, leftover sauce can be spooned into puff pastry triangles the next night, brushed with egg and cooked in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes for a delicious snack. Served here with hot sauce!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Squash, Cauliflower and Sweet Potato Curry

I'm back!! 17 weeks pregnant and I've renewed our subscription to Food Connect after my trip to the USA. It's great to feel my energy coming back. First trimester was quite a fog. Still, I'm not quite back to normal, so we're going to try buying a mini-box for a month.

How inspiring! Those green things are like zucchini, but so fresh and sweet. I'm calling them 'squash'. Please let me know if you know a more precise name for them. I wanted to honour the cauliflower tonight. This dish is a warming, winter curry full of comfort. Even if you skip on some of the spices, make sure you use the cardamom.


20g butter (or ghee)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 small red thai chillies (makes it quite hot)

1-3 cloves of garlic minced or chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground corriander seed
1 tsp cardamom seeds (or six bruised pods)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp tumeric

1 can coconut cream
1/2 cup stock
1/4 cup dried shitake mushroom slices (use fresh mushrooms if preferred)

2 sweet potatoes chunks roughly peeled
1/2 head cauliflower broken into small florets
1 can chickpeas
2 squash sliced

1 tbsp palm sugar
3cm x 1cm lemon zest in strips
Lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste

Paneer cheese cubes (or haloumi)


Cook onion on low heat with the oil. Add chillies after 5mins. Add spices after 10 mins. Cook until fragrant (1-2 mins).

Add a can of coconut cream (not coconut milk--you want the richest stuff they have). I used Trident coconut cream. Add stock, shitake mushrooms and sweet potato cook for 15mins. I love using dried mushrooms to add a thick umami flavour to dishes. You can grind them up in a spice grinder to really release a gorgeous mushroom flavour. I'm also being conservative with my fresh mushrooms. I'm holding on to them for use later in the week.

Add cauliflower and chickpeas. Cook for another 10mins.

Add squash, palm sugar and lemon zest.

Cook until squash is tender (approx. 5mins). Add lemon juice salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with fried paneer cheese. To cook cheese, heat up some vegetable oil (not olive) and drop cheese cubes into the oil for a minute or two until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Yummo! We don't have much of a winter in Brissy, but it's cold enough to enjoy a cheesy, flavourful winter curry. I hope you're all snuggled in!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Bread and Butter Pudding with Croissants

We got a vanilla pod in our box last week! How decadent and perfect for chilly nights! Morgan has been taking such good care of me, he's the genius behind this dish. I'm just the blogger and appreciative eater! :)

This recipe is a mixture of old-Amish and croissants!


2 cups Barambah organic milk (we used skim)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 old croissants, torn into small pieces (about the size of a grape)


1. In medium saucepan, over medium heat, heat milk just until film forms over top. Combine butter and milk, stirring until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.

2. Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 1 minute. Slowly add milk mixture.

3. Place bread in a lightly greased dish

4. Pour batter on top of bread.

5. Bake at 180 degrees C for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Serve warm.

Bread Pudding Sauce


1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 vanilla pod (seeds scraped)
1 Tbsp. flour
dash of salt


Mix everything together and bring to a boil for 3 - 4 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside for 5 minutes, then pour on warm bread pudding.

This dish is so delicious that I ate it for dessert and then ate some again for breakfast. It is possibly the most amazing comfort food ever!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mediterranean Roasted Vegetables with Haloumi

Morgan made scrumptious roast harvest vegetables for me last week. He was inspired by this recipe. We made it with BBQ steak, but it would work beautifully as a stand-alone dish. I've never eaten roast broccoli before, but it was truly delicious and very different to the more familiar steamed broccoli we eat.

4 cups broccoli crowns, trimmed and cut into bite-size florets
1 cup baby tomatoes
1 green capsicum sliced
1 baby eggplant sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10 pitted black olives, sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons capers, rinsed

4 slices haloumi

Toss broccoli, tomatoes, eggplant, green pepper, oil, garlic and salt in a large bowl until evenly coated. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake until the broccoli begins to brown, 10 to 13 minutes.

Combine lemon zest and juice, olives, oregano and capers (if using) in a large bowl. Add the roasted vegetables; stir to combine. Serve with slices of fried haloumi.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Persimmon Cookies

Oh my gosh Morgan made Persimmon cookies! He got the recipe straight out of the Food Connect newsletter this week

2 ripe persimmons, pureed
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg (we didn't have any, so we used cloves)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup white or raw sugar
115g butter
1 cup raisins (we used dates)
1 cup chopped walnuts (we used almonds)
You can substitute raisins and walnuts for any dried fruit or nuts of your choice. You can also use ground cloves or ginger for extra zing.

Preheat oven to 180ÂșC.
Dissolve baking soda in persimmon pulp, then set aside.
Sift flour, spices and salt together, then set aside
Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon.
Stir in dry ingredients nuts and dates.
Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

I'm not a big sweets person, but these are delicious with a big cup of tea. The spices really work as the weather cools down and we head towards Anzac day and remembrance of the year gone by. This is Australian harvest living.

Chicken Eggplant Cacciatore

On Wednesday I had knee surgery, so I haven't been able to get into the kitchen--and will be unable to return for a couple of weeks. But, I haven't had any troubles eating beautiful food! Tonight Morgan made a variant on this recipe for my dinner. Adding eggplant and green beans, it was really delicious, hearty and nourishing.

3 tbs olive oil
1 breast of chicken (350g)
1/2 red onion
2 shallots (small brown onions)
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 Mushrooms
1 Eggplant sliced
Handful of green beans
3 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml dry white wine
800g cans diced tomatoes
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 tbs balsamic vinegar
1 tbs chopped fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
150ml chicken stock
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
Chopped flat-leaf parsley and basil and feta to garnish

Heat the oil in a large casserole dish over medium-high heat. Add the chicken pieces and cook until browned all over. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Add the onion, celery, carrot and cook over low heat for 5 minutes until the onion softens. Add the garlic and mushrooms, eggplant and beans and simmer 10mins.

Return chicken pieces to the pan, add the wine and allow to simmer 1-2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, herbs and stock.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the olives and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Serve garnished with basil, parsley and feta

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Broccoli and potato pizza

Broccoli and potato are two pizza toppings that taste fantastic, but I haven't enjoyed them since living in New York and Melbourne respectively.

Broccoli heaped high on a pizza slice is a classic choice at Penn Station at 34th street. Now, the Yanks like their pizzas fairly plain. They often go for a single topping, such as pepperoni, broccoli or even just cheese. That's their culture. Where as I'm the sort of person who orders a vegetarian pizza and add chicken.

Potato on a pizza might be seen as carb-loading, the sort of thing Michael Phelps might inhale before an Olympic swimming event. However, when done modestly, the crackle and softness of herb encrusted roast potato pieces is the perfect addition to any pizza. I first tried it in Lygon St. Melbourne and suddenly remembered how good it tastes.

Anyway, before the toppings comes the dough-making athleticism of my beloved husband Morgan! See the recipe here. Last night he even allowed me to touch the stuff mid-knead. I felt like a bit of a duffer, every time I tried to gently squish the dough, it tore. Ah well, practise, practise, practise. :)

While the dough sits to rise. Chop up a sweet potato, 1 potato and 1 beetroot into 3cm-5cm cubes.

Oil a baking tray and add veges. Cover with a little oil, rosemary, tarragon, salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Put in a medium oven for 40mins. Take out the sweet potato and beetroot. Let the potato cook for another 10-20mins.

We use Alfa One Rice Brain Oil Cooking Spray. Rice bran oil has a mild nutty flavour and a high smoking point, which is good in the oven. We use it to spray around the metal bowl for the pizza dough too.

Dough is ready!

Chop up broccoli florets. Make a mixture of olive oil, vinegar (I used pomegranate balsamic), lemon juice garlic, salt and pepper. Use this mixture in addition to tomato paste for the base of the pizza. You can also sprinkle it on top of the ingredients before they go into the oven. You don't want the broccoli to get dry.

Put tomato paste onto rolled out dough. Add grated mozzarella cheese next. Finally add: broccoli, torn salami and slices of roasted sweet potato.

Mmmm, broccoli


For the potato pizza, start the same as above, but then add cubes of roast potato, roast beetroot, 2 slices prosciutto, sliced olives, some crumbled feta and sliced mushrooms