All posts by Robbi

Sensational Breakfast Sanga (Indea’s favourite breakfast)

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This is Indea’s favourite breakfast and she asked me to share it. Super easy but super yummy and vegetables are the star. Long weekend Breakfasts are sacred in our family, many pots of tea, coffee, good food and long leisurely yarns with those you love most – what in life is better?

For this Sanga you will need

Toast for each person. Indea and I like an open sandwich but Pete likes two sliced of bread, top and bottom for his.

Capsicum

Spinach

Tomatoes

Haloumi Cheese

Avocado

Tomato Pesto ( you can use shop bought or you can make it. I like to whizz together garlic cloves, sundries tomatoes, macadamias and enough olive oil to make it to a spreading consistency)

To make it

Grill or fry the haloumi and capsicum until golden and cooked through, slice the tomatoes and avocado

Spread the toast liberally with the tomato pesto, layer the vegetables on top.

Super easy and super yummy

Matcha Impossible Pie

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Impossible Pie is an oldie but a goodie. It’s called Impossible Pie because it’s impossible to stuff up. If you cook it too long it becomes a cake and too short and its baked custard. I’ve bought it into the modern era by adding Matcha.

There’s only one step to this pie. Usually I whizz everything up in a blender but you can mix it all by hand.

Ingredients

2 Cups of Milk or Coconut Milk
1 Cup of desiccated Coconut
4 Eggs
1/2 Cup of Self Raising Flour
125 grams (4 Oz) of butter
3/4 Cup of Castor Sugar
3 Teaspoons of Matcha Powder (Green Tea Powder)or 4 for a stronger flavour

To Make it

Whizz all these ingredients in a blender or mix well by hand. Pour into a greased and floured baking dish. Bake at 175c for 60 minutes. Turn the oven down if the top is getting too brown.

When cool place in the fridge to set and serve cold with cream.

Options:

Use vanilla for normal impossible pie, add extra matcha for stronger flavour, sometimes I use coconut milk instead of cows milk – this gives an extra coconut flavour but also makes it a bit heavier. Some times I use half milk and half cream for extra creaminess, decadence and extra calories.

Seared Tuna with Olive, Feta and Pomegranate Couscous

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It is getting so hot in tropical Queensland that meals which require very little cooking, are healthy and quick to make, are essential. Tuna, egg and olives make such a happy trio. I created this last night and we settled back with our bowls of yummy couscous and tuna, under the ceiling fan and chilled out with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.

For four hungry people

You will need

4 Tuna Steaks – You can use Tempeh for a Veggie Option

2 Cups of dry Couscous. I use corn couscous because we are gluten free and this is available in most supermarkets in the health section

4 Eggs boiled hard, shelled and chopped

1 cup of chopped Olives

I red Capsicum finely diced

125 grams of Feta cheese

1 bunch of finely chopped fresh Coriander (otherwise known as cilantro)

1/4 cup of Lemon juice

1/4 cup of Pomegranate syrup (sometimes called Pomegranate Molasses)

1 Lemon

Optional extras

1/2 cup of toasted Pine Nuts

The seeds of one Pomegranate

To Make it

Prepare the Couscous by putting the dry couscous into a large bowl and pouring over 4 cups of boiling water. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Whilst this is happening I pop on the eggs to boil. When the couscous has absorbed most of the water and is fluffy and soft to eat drain it in a sieve and run it under the cold tap. This will stop the cooking process and stop it from becoming gluggy. Place the well drained cold couscous into a large bowl.

Add

The Olives, diced red capsicum, most of the chopped coriander keeping some aside for garnish, crumble in the feta cheese, 1/4 cup of lemon juice and the 1/4 cup of pomegranate molasses. If you are adding pomegranate seeds and/or toasted pine nuts pop them in now too.

Combine well until the pomegranate molasses and lemon juice are thoroughly spread throughout the couscous.

Set aside and sear the Tuna Steaks on both sides

To Serve

Place the couscous salad into bowls, place the sliced Tuna steaks on top, sprinkle on the diced egg and remaining coriander.

Add a 1/4 lemon to each plate so eaters can squeeze over their tuna

Easy Peasy Poke` Bowl

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We love this Poke` on hot tropical nights when heating up the oven is an absolute no. It’s fresh, healthy and super quick to make, more importantly it’s super super yummy. There are many variations on Poke bowls and this is mine.

These are ingredients you will need for each person.

1 Cup of chopped mixed greens. Any greens will do. I use spinach and beetroot leaves and occasionally throw in some blanched broccoli or asparagus.

1/2 Cup of diced Tomato

1/2 Cup of diced Cucumber

1/2 Cup of diced avocado

1/4 Cup of crushed Macadamias

140 gram fillet of diced Salmon or Tuna – make sure its really fresh and a good colour

Put all these ingredients into a bowl.

Now make the dressing and again these are the ingredients for each person

1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 Teaspoon of Wasabi

1 Dessertspoon of lemon juice

1 Teaspoon of Sesame Oil

1 Teaspoon of Horseradish Cream

Chilli as you like it.

Stir well with a fork until combined.

Pour the dressing over the Salad and toss through, coating the fish in the dressing.

Sprinkle on

1 finely chopped sheet of Nori Seaweed

1 Dessertspoon of Sesame Seeds

Now enjoy how great and refreshed this makes your body feel after eating it.

Easy Agedashi Tofu

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This is our go to quick healthy snack. I love Agedashi Tofu and could easily eat it for three meals a day. This recipe takes less than half an hour to whip up. What can I say? Tofu has come a long way.

This recipe makes 2 large serves.

You will need

400grams of Firm Silken Tofu
Bonito flakes
1 teaspoon of Bonito Stock
1 cup of Potato Flour
2 Tablespoons of Mirin
1 Tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Cup of water
Coconut Oil

First Make the Stock

Place the bonito stock, water, miring and soy into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Then set aside.

Next Make the Tofu

Because you are using Silken Tofu you will need to be gentle with it.
Pat the Tofu dry with towel.
Cut the tofu into cubes, I use fairly large cubes and cut each 200g packet of Tofu into 4.
Coat each cube in potato flour
Immediately gently fry each cube on each side in the hot coconut oil until slightly golden.

To serve

Place the lightly fried Tofu in a bowl, pour over the warm broth, sprinkle with the bonito flakes and enjoy immediately.

Note: You can purchase mirin, bonito flakes and stock in most supermarkets but if yours doesnt have it an asian grocer most likely will. You will find the potato flour in the flour section of most supermarkets

Robbi’s easy peasy 100% Rye Bread and nothing else (made for Pete)

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My lovely husband Peter looked at the salt content in shop bought bread and had a coronary over his sardines on toast so I said I would make home made bread for him that was 100% rye – his favourite.

This bread is so yummy and so easy to make I’m now making it every second day – (ahh what you can manage when the kids fly away).

Smile because there are no arduous hours of kneading and the smell of bread cooking and the taste of hot bread smothered in butter is one of those things that makes life worth living.

Just make sure you have somewhere warm away from drafts to leave the bread whilst it rises. Up here in the tropics that means anywhere.

Ingredients

6 Cups of Rye Flour

2 Teaspoons of Yeast granules

2 Dessertspoons of Molasses

1 Teaspoon of salt

1/4 Cup of Rice Bran Oil

2 Cups of Warm Water

To Make that Dough

Put the rye flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre, put the yeast into the well, sprinkle the salt and molasses over the yeast. Pour over 1 of the cups of warm water, stir the well until the salt, molasses and yeast is mixed into the water but don’t stir in all the flour.

Leave it in a warm place for about 15 – 20 minutes, after this time there should be bubbles in the watery-yeast mix.

Pour in the other cup of water and the oil and mix the whole lot up until combined. Cover with a towel if you have drafts near by and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size or for about 1 – 2 hours.

Now cover  your hand in rye flour and knead the dough. I usually do this in the bowl using one hand. As its rye you won’t knead to knead (hah hah) for long – just until the dough is doughy and holding together and a bit shiny and elastic – no more than 20 kneads.

Now shape it into the tin you want to bake it in and leave it in a warm place for another 1 – 2 hours until it doubles in shape again.

Bake that Bread

Now bake the bread at 175 degrees celsius or 350 farenheight for 1 hour.

When cooked tip the bread out, slice, smother so its dripping in butter (another coronary coming on) and try not to eat the entire loaf in half an hour.

Prosciutto Brown Fried Rice – Healthy and Yummy

Fried Rice

We have rushed or no breakfast during the week but weekend breakfasts are sacred in our family – they last over many cups of tea and coffee for as long as possible. This fried rice was born when I got up to make big weekend breakfast of rice that reminded me of the rice breakfasts we had in Cambodia. When I opened the fridge door I found we had barely any supplies and I wasn’t ready to get dressed and hit the shops so I used what we had. Luckily I had a few really yummy ingredients that surprised us all by making a perfect marriage and now this is our family fried rice recipe and now we eat it for any meal and cook enough to make sure there are plenty of left overs .

Ingredients you will need:

5 Cups of Brown Cooked Rice

6 Eggs

1 Red Capsicum finely diced

800 grams of Broccoli heads finely shredded – don’t cut the broccoli into florets slice through it like you would if shredding lettuce so it falls off the head like rice

2 Red Onions – love love love sweet red onions

1/2 Cup of Soy Sauce

200 grams of Prosciutto torn into pieces

2 teaspoons of Keanes curry powder – this is optional – sometimes I leave it out. I use Keanes for this recipe rather than making the curry paste, because it is mild for breakfast and has a slight sweetness.

Coconut Oil

Making the Fried Rice

Place a good dob of coconut oil into a large frying pan (I use one that has a 34cm diameter)and heat it, when its good and hot and everything will sizzle drop in the prosciutto, onion and capsicum and fry until the onion and capsicum is browned and the prosciutto is crispy. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Beat the eggs into a bowel. Warm some more coconut oil in a fresh smaller pan (I use one that has a 26 cm diameter). When hot pour in the eggs, lift the eggs around the edges as it cooks so the uncooked egg can run underneath to cook. When cooked flip out onto a bread board, roll and slice into thin strips.

Now put the large saucepan (with the prosciutto mix) back on the heat and add the shredded broccoli. Cook for a couple of minutes until the broccoli softens, then add the cooked rice, soy sauce and curry powder. Finally add the shredded eggs and fold through.

And Eat.

Added extras – I like a squeeze of lemon juice over my rice, my husband Pete likes more soy sauce and fried egg.

Vegetarian Option – Discard the prosciutto and instead use Tofu Chips. To make Tofu chips cut hard tofu into rectangles. Mix 4 tablespoons of flour with mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Coat the tofu pieces and fry in coconut oil. Then add to the rice at the end with the eggs.

 

 

Carrot, Maple & Macadamia Cake

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It was a scorching 35 degrees celsius in Townsville and so what did I decide to do to stay cool – I decided to bake. Really I was trying to avoid looking at my manuscript which is due back at the publishers in just a few weeks because I am filled with trepidation – no I lie – I am filled with utter panic that I’m not up to the task. So instead of writing why not bake. My Peter has declared this his all time favourite cake. It was influenced by Pete Evans – all kudos and bowing to Pete Evans but I’ve made a few changes to his wonderful recipe (sorry Pete) to suit our tastes. But if you want his version of this cake which included dried fruit that My Pete can’t eat and less nuts and more eggs you can find it in his book Healthy Every Day. This is a dense nourishing cake so don’t expect light and fluffy. I like it served hot with cream, Pete liked it cold with ice-cream. Its super easy to make.  I posted my original how-to-stay-cool-while-Australia-burns-carrot-maple-and-walnut-cakes to Facebook and some of my friends asked for the recipe but as I never measure I had to bake another cake – seen above so here is the recipe.

Ingredients

4 cups of grated carrot

100 grams of chopped macadamias

100 grams of chopped walnuts

125 mls (1/2 cup) of maple syrup

125 mls (1/2 cup) of coconut oil

2 teaspoons of Vanilla essence

2 teaspoons of Cinnamon ( Being a cinnamon lover I usually spill a little more cinnamon in)

2 teaspoons of ginger

125 grams Self Raising Flour Gluten Free or use 125 grams of any other flour and add 1 teaspoon of baking powder

6 large eggs or 8 smaller eggs

Mix all this together and bake at 175 degrees, 20 minutes for smaller  serve cakes (which is what I baked) and 60 minutes for a large cake or until a skewer comes out clean

 

 

Quinoa with Veggie Chips

Topped with a greek yogurt dressing

Topped with a greek yogurt dressing

It is so hot in Cairns and we wanted a dinner that was light, healthy and meant no baking.  So I created this salad topped with a yogurt sauce. Meals that show off the beauty, colour and flavour of simple vegetables are always my favourites. We loved it and hope you do too.

Ingredients

I cup of Quinoa

2.5 cups of water

1 massel stock cube

2 tablespoons of pine nuts

1 sweet potato

1 eggplant

1 red capsicum

100 grams of natural yogurt or greek yogurt

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

2 tablespoons of tomato pesto

1 tablespoon of coconut oil or olive oil

oil to sauté

salt

optional

parsley to top

asparagus to add some green

 

Cook the Quinoa

In a saucepan place

1 cup of quinoa

2.5  cups of water

1 massel vegetable stock cube or a teaspoon of stock powder

Cook for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed by the quinoa

Whilst it’s cooking

Lightly brown 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and set aside

Prepare and Cook the veggies

Slice the vegetables in strips and place one type of vegetable at a time into a heated and lightly oiled pan and sauté until cooked and browned. When each vegetable is cooked set aside and do the next one.

When all vegetables are cooked place the 2 tablespoons of garlic and the 2 tablespoons of tomato pesto in the pan and lightly cook then add the cooked vegetables and sauté for a further 3 minutes until the vegetables are well coated with the garlic and tomato.

Prepare the Quinoa

When the quinoa is cooked add 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice (you will need the rest for the yogurt) and the pine nuts and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and lightly stir through the quinoa.

Prepare the Yogurt Sauce 

Mix 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt through the yogurt

To serve

Place the quinoa in each serving bowl or plate, top with the vegetable chips and spoon over yogurt.

Spanakopita Gluten Free – Spinach and Cheese Pie

Our current favourite we are eating this once a week

Our current favourite we are eating this once a week

We love spanakopita – the salty fetta, healthy spinach. I have worked to perfect this recipe over the last 6 months to get it how we think is just the right combination of fetta, other cheeses and the spinach. Its super easy to make. Super yummy and there is never any left over.

You will need:

1 diced onion, sautéed until it is just browning

1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

1 cup of grated tasty cheese

200 grams of fetta cheese (I use the Danish because I love its creaminess)

300 grams of  spinach leaves, chopped and make sure they are dry (even though I find it difficult to cook anything that has the word baby to describe it I do use baby spinach leaves)

6 eggs

3 tablespoons of fresh oregano

1/2 cup of gluten free self raising flour – now you can leave this out and sometimes I do – but then you have to make sure the spinach really is dry. If you add the 1/2 cup of flour you will have a fail safe pie.

No salt – the fetta is salty enough on its own

To make it:

what it will look like before you pop it in the oven

what it will look like before you pop it in the oven

Combine all these ingredients and pour into an oiled baking dish and top with extra cheese and some extra fresh oregano.

To Upload it

Sometimes – and my daughters love it when I do this – I line the greased dish with nitrate free prosciutto and then pop the spinach cheesy mix on top. It does make it more salty but also super yummy.

to upload line the dish with prosciutto

to upload line the dish with prosciutto

 

 

Raspberry and Banana Muffins

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I am a bit of a fussy muffin eater – they have to be moist and full of fruit and flavour. I have tried so many ways to make them but family feels I have hit the jackpot with these ones.

These are our favourite muffins – super yummy – super moist and they never last longer than the day they are cooked.

We love them for breakfast but they are also great for afternoon tea. I hope you love them as much as we do.

Ingredients

1 and a half cups of S.R. Flour

1/3 cup of oat bran (if you can’t get oat bran ground oats will do)

3 eggs

3/4 cup of dark brown sugar

200ml container of any yogurt (3/4 cup). I use a nice Jalna berry one

1/3 cup of cocoanut oil

1 cup of fresh or frozen berries

1 large banana, split down the middle and cut into thick slices

Cinnamon Sugar

For Cinnamon sugar mix 1/4 cup of cinnamon with 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar – you will use this to sprinkle on your hot muffins

Making them

gently combine all ingredients

ladle the mix into  muffin tins lined with baking paper. I make six large muffins but you could do 12 small ones

Bake the 6 large for about 20 minutes at 180 C or 350 F. If you make 12 small ones probably about 12 minutes will do it. You can tell they are ready when they are springy on top.

Remove from oven when cooked and sprinkle with cinnamon  sugar

Chilli Non Carne

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This recipe is one of my favourites – I love a good vegetarian Chilli as a comfort food, and a chilli that has chocolate in it is even better. I have been making this recipe for 20 or so years now. It tastes even better the next day when the flavours have really infused so if you are making it for friends you can make it the day before they come over.

Chilli Non Carne

You will need

2 sticks of celery finely sliced, making sure to include the leaves which have all the flavour

1 large or 2 small capsicums diced, you want the pieces to be between .5 and 1 cm (1/4 inch), you don’t want them too large and chunky

2 cloves of garlic – I use double this at least but I do love garlic so feel free to use more if you are also a garlic lover

2 onions finely diced

2 dessertspoons of chilli paste (more or less if you want extra hot or mild)

2 dessertspoons of dried oregano

1 dessertspoon of cumin powder

A good slug of olive oil.

Pop all this on the stove to simmer until the onions are tender, stir occasionally and whilst its simmering away prepare:

4 cups of carrots diced finely as above or grated if you want a mushier texture. I like the carrots diced because I really enjoy carrot flavour but my Girls prefer the carrots grated.

1 400 g tin of kidney beans

1 400 g tin of diced tomatoes

When the onions are tender and all those spices have cooked and blended add the carrots, kidney beans and tomatoes and cook covered over low heat until the carrots are really cooked. Normally I like my veggies crunchy but for this recipe you really want those carrots to be soft and to absorb all the chilli flavour.

Usually cooking the carrots takes about 30 minutes. When cooked add,

50 grams of good quality dark chocolate

2 tablespoons of tomato paste or pesto

Stir until the chocolate has melted, the chocolate will give the chilli a lovely rich colour and deeper flavour.

Serve with coriander (cilantro) salsa, sour cream or greek yogurt and rice or corn chips

Coriander Salsa

Combine in equal proportions:

diced avacado, cucumber and tomato

Sprinkle with lemon juice and lightly toss through 2 tablespoons of fresh coriander

Heavenly Hash with a Dash of Sin

 

My Aunt used to make this dessert every Christmas and I loved it. She was a strict Baptist so she never added the sin bit that I’ve put in – but my attraction to sin always did make me the black sheep of the family.

Its super quick to whip up.

Combine

500 grams of chopped strawberries ( don’t make the pieces too small) halves is usually okay unless they are those enormous G.M strawberries that the supermarket shelves are now full of.

1 sliced banana

1/4 cup of liqueur , – there’s the dash of sin. I used limoncello but cointreau would work, as would grand marnier, brandy, champagne etc. If you don’t want the alcohol you can omit it.

Leave this to marinade for about 1 hour in the fridge

Add

2 cups of chopped marshmallows

1 cup of grated eating chocolate, I used  Lindt Dark Strawberry Intense, but Toblerone would be great or Lindt Dark Chilli Chocolate.

300 mlx of thickened cream whipped

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh mint

Gently combine this with the fruit.

Serve in a glass and sprinkle fresh mint on top – voila – a kinda healthy dessert – well it has got fruit in it so that means no calories right?

Poor Student Vegetable Soup (now also called Actors Soup)

 

I lived on this soup when I was a poor art student in the late 70’s.  I dressed in bright green tights and retro 1930’s dresses from the op shop, lived on a student allowance of $70 a fortnight and made gallons of this soup. I passed on this recipe to my youngest son who is at present a poor Jazz Piano student at the Conservatorium in another state (God I miss him!) . This soup is great because you can use it as a base and add anything you like to it according to your budget. It’s super healthy and so now I am putting it here for my  son Seth who is an actor on the other  side of the world in L.A. (God I miss him!) ,

Vegetable Soup

Into a large pot place one and half cups of each of the following vegetables:

diced onion

sliced celery

grated parsnip

grated turnip

grated carrots

Add

1 tablespoon of mixed herbs

A good lug of olive oil – about 4 tablespoons

salt and pepper

Fry everything for about 5 minutes stirring often. Its really important not to skip this step, this is what really brings out all the lovely vegetable flavours.

Add

500 g  (1 lb) of the cheapest bones you can find, lamb, beef, oxtail, ham hock, chicken anything is fine. I used lamb bones today but I just use what ever is cheapest. If you want a vegetarian soup leave out the bones but add some lentils or other legumes instead.

2 litres of vegetable stock, you can use the ready made stock or you can use powder or cubes and water which is what I did.

Bring to the boil then simmer gently for one hour.

Remove the bones. The dog is waiting patiently for the bones, this is the dog with his I’m being good waiting for those bones face IMG_0015

Chop a bunch of parsley and add to the soup – this will taste great and give you a really good shot of iron.

Serve sprinkled generously with parmesan or tasty cheese.

Things I sometimes add to this soup are

bacon pieces, lentils, white legumes like haricot beans, other veggies like potato, yams, zucchini etc.

Butternut and Cashew Curry

Butternut and Cashew Curry

This is Peter’s favourite curry – the one he asks for as his birthday dinner. Here it is for Seth who is looking for yummy veggie meals for those trying to live on a budget in L.A, and all the rest of you who want to try a really yummy, easy vegetarian curry.

Spices

1 chopped onion

1 chopped capsicum

1 teaspoon of seed mustard

1 dessertspoon of curry paste ( more or less to taste)

2 dessertspoons of dark brown sugar, (I hate to use sugar but it really does bring out the lovely sweetness of the pumpkin)

1 dessertspoon of lemon juice

2 heaped dessertspoons of sultanas (preferably sun dried no sodium nitrates which are super bad for you)

1/2 cup of cashews

a few lugs of olive or cocoanut oil

Throw all these into a good sized pot and stir over heat until the aromatic smells combine into deliciousness and start to fill your house and make you all hungry, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and leave to sauté whilst you prepare the veggies.

Vegetables

1 large tomato chopped

1 zucchini (courgette) chopped

200 grams of mushrooms sliced

1/2 butternut pumpkin chopped unevenly, (this is so the smaller pieces become mushy saucy bits whilst the larger bits retain their shape)

Add all these to the spices and stir well, still sautéing for a few minutes so the spices coat the vegetables. Its really important to sauté it all to really give the pumpkin its nuttiness. Then pop on the lid and keeping on low simmer for 30 minutes or until the larger pieces of butternut are cooked. It doesn’t matter if the smaller bits get a bit mushy as you want that  – they will become part of the curry sauce.

Before Serving

When the butternut pumpkin is cooked add 270 mls of cocoanut cream and 4 dessertspoons of chopped fresh coriander (more or less to taste – I love coriander so there is never enough for me).

To Serve

Sprinkle chopped roasted cashews on top

Serve with microwaved pappadums and rice

Dukkah Egg and Chicken Salad

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This is a such an easy salad to toss together, so healthy and fresh and it’s my girls favourite salad. Often if I’m short of time I take short cuts and use store bought dukkah and sesame dressing. I’m including my recipe for dukkah and dressing so if you want to make the whole thing yourself you can.

This make 4 ample serves for hungry eaters.

Ingredients

500 grams of Chicken fillets
4 eggs boiled for 8 minutes
4 freshly cooked baby beetroots
1 bunch of freshly steamed asparagus (don’t over cook it, you want a crispness to it)
4 handfuls of fresh salad greens of any type
1/2 cup of sesame and pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Dukkah – or make your own (recipe below)
Japanese creamy sesame dressing (or make your own)

Ingredients for the Dukkah

4 tablespoons of pistachios (almond, hazelnuts are a good alternative)
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
1 tablespoon of fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of salt
1 tablespoon of pepper
4 good slices of lemon peel

Throw all this into a food processor and blitz, (adjust the pepper if you don’t like it too hot)

Sesame Dressing

2 dessertspoons of tahini
1/4 cup of sesame oil
3 dessertspoons of lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

mix the oil into the tahini, slowly add the lemon juice so it doesn’t curdle, add salt and pepper

Making the Salad

Coat the chicken strips in the dukkah and fry until cooked and golden brown.
Peel the hard boiled eggs, rinse but don’t dry and coat each egg in the dukkah.
Cut the eggs into four pieces

Place a handful of greens on each plate.
Add the beetroot, asparagus, egg, chicken strips.
Sprinkle with the pumpkin and sesame seeds.
Drizzle with the dressing.

Happy Days! The Neal family favourite salad

Hidden Shepherds Pie – a Fair Dinkum Aussie Meal

Shepherds Pie with hidden layer of Cheese Melt

Shepherds Pie with hidden Cheese Melt

My baby daughter (okay she is 17 so maybe not a baby) is off to the other side of the world – to Italy and she wants to make a Fair Dinkum Aussie Meal for her host family. She decided there was nothing more Fair Dinkum Aussie than Shepherds Pie and asked me for my recipe.

So why do I call it Hidden Shepherds Pie – I have been making this one for years and when the kids were little they never picked up on the hidden veggies and lentils which add to the texture. But its not just stuff kids don’t like that are hidden in here – there are also yummy slices of Tomatoes and Cheese.

It looks like a lot of ingredients but it is really quite simple to make.

The secret to this recipe is it tastes even better the next day.

This serves 6-8 people.

Ingredients

1 Onion
2 – 4 cloves of Garlic (depending on taste – we are 8 cloves kinda people)
2 Tablespoons of fresh Herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried Mixed Herbs. For fresh I used rosemary, thyme and oregano because that is what grows on my back porch.
1 Stick of Celery sliced thinly
1 kg of Minced (Ground) meat. We use Kangaroo – its low fat, cheap and ecologically sound in Australia. Kangaroos breed prolifically and don’t hurt our environment. You can use Lamb or Beef just as easily
I Grated Carrot
I cup of Peas fresh or frozen
1 can of Lentils
2 Tablespoons of any Gluten Free Flour
2 Tablespoons of Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Red Wine (more if like me you want to have a glass while you cook) or Balsamic Vinegar
4 generous Tablespoons of Tomato Paste
Olive Oil
3 Cups of Diced Sweet Yellow Potato or Yams or Butternut Pumpkin
4 Cups of Diced Potato’s
Sliced or Grated Mature Tasty Cheese
Fresh Tomatoes

Let’s Make it

Meat Base

In a deep saucepan fry the onion, garlic and herbs in a good lug of olive oil until the onion is transparent. Then add the meat, grated carrot, celery and peas and continue frying until the meat is cooked.
Remove from the heat.
Add the flour and stir thoroughly so lumps don’t form. Then add the Lentils, Soy, Worcestershire, Red Wine or Balsamic and the Tomato Paste.
Pour into a deep baking dish and pat flat.
Cover the meat with slices of fresh tomato
Cover the tomato with a yummy layer of Tasty Cheese.

Potato Top

Boil the diced Potato until cooked soft enough to mash.
Mash the potato with Olive oil (I used 3 tablespoons of Oil) – you want a soft but firm consistency.
Place the mashed potato on top of the cheese and spread evenly with a fork
If you want to you can drizzle olive oil or grated cheese over the potato to assist browning.

Bake 20 minutes @ 350F

Bliss Balls

Perfect for school lunches

Perfect for school lunches

Remember school – for me it was just like the movie “Mean Girls” where the bullies always seem to get everything they want and the good girls (that was me – super goody goody) get trampled on. All my kids are the good kids and I always tell them that it turns around when you’re adults but I don’t know that’s really true or we wouldn’t need all those workplace bullying laws.

Anyway school can be tough. And what do us mothers do when we can’t solve our kids problems for them – we feed them up instead so that at least they will stay strong. So I made these for my daughters lunch box, a nice cheer up treat that is also super healthy for any work or school lunchbox – AND – They are super easy to make, I think all up it took me 10 minutes to throw these together.

These Bliss Balls are fruit free because like many people my kids really hate dried fruits.

Ingredients

1 cup of ground almond meal or other ground nuts (almond is technically not a nut but a kernel)
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of treacle or golden syrup or honey (make sure its a very generous teaspoonful)
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
3 tablespoons of coconut flakes or shreds
3 tablespoons of chia seeds
125 ml of tahini or peanut butter (tahini is a good option because peanut butter is not allowed at some schools due to allergies)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
1 generous tablespoon of cocoa powder

toasted shredded coconut to roll. (to toast the coconut I pop it into a fry pan and gently heat stirring occasionally till it starts to brown. You have to watch it though because once it browns it will do it quickly and will continue to brown after you remove it from the heat)

Making the Bliss Balls

Throw everything together in a food processor and blitz till it holds together.
With wet hands roll mixture into balls and roll to cover in the toasted coconut and refrigerate.

And your done 🙂

Apple Pie with delicious Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry

Apple Pie with Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry

Apple Pie with Gluten Free Shortcrust Pastry

It is so difficult to make gluten free pastry that stays together when cooked and doesn’t taste like thongs (flip flops for non aussies).
This recipe for pastry is fantastic, its rich and buttery and crisp. So I have used it to make a traditional Apple Pie.

Shortcrust Pastry Dough

1 cup of Ground Almonds
2 Cups of Plain Gluten Free Flour
2/3 Cup of icing sugar
200 g of cold butter or margarine
2 eggs

Crumb together the flour, almonds, icing sugar and butter. Then add the egg and with floured hands work into a dough. Now for non gluten free dough you would pop it in the fridge at this stage and let it rest but I find that just doesn’t work with gluten free flour and the sooner you use it the better and the less you work it the better.

Saving 1/3 of the dough for the top of the pie roll out the remaining dough.

So I roll it out straight away on baking paper and use the same baking paper to line the pie tin, so I just lift the whole thing into the pie tin and trim any edges that need trimming. Its good to do it this way because even though this pastry is yummy, its still gluten free which means its a pain in the you know what to work with. Cover the pie with baking paper and pop in your blind baking balls and bake in a warm oven 180c/350F for 12 minutes. Remove the ceramic balls and let the shell cool.

Apple Filling

8 Granny Smith Apples
Almond slices
Cinnamon
Lemon zest

I made a thick custard and once cool spooned it into the bottom of the pie dish. But you don’t have to, you can just go full on apples.
I used thinly sliced granny smiths (green apples). Make sure to cut all the cores out thoroughly or they will taste like toe nails in the pie.
In a pot cook the sliced apple with a cinnamon stick and the zest of one lemon for no more than 10 minutes. You want the apple softened but still firm so it doesn’t turn mushy. Drain the apple and let it cool before adding to the pie.

Add the cooled apple to the pie. Now you can either lattice the top or completely cover the pie with dough (if you do this make sure you make fork holes for hot air to escape), decorate the top however you want to, let your imagination run wild and create a painting on top of the pie. The rolled out pastry will still need supporting as you place it on the pie. I actually cut strips right through the baking paper and the dough and supporting the dough with the paper turned them onto the pie.
I used natural food colouring for the rose buttons.

Bake the pie again for 20 minutes.

Lemon Fruit Tart with Coconut Shell

Lemon Fruit Tart with Coconut Shell

Lemon Fruit Tart with Coconut Shell

So I had a really crap week, really bad, I felt really screwed over by someone I cared about and I may have spent several days lying around with tissues and ice-cream or not :).

Then my friend Louie set me a challenge, could I make a gluten free fruit tart?

There is nothing better when you feel like crap than to cook something that is celebratory and forces you smile just by looking at it and fruit tarts are such bursts of colour.

So I took up Louie’s challenge.

The first two efforts went in the bin, despite using flour assured by the manufacturer, was perfect for gluten free pastry. The outcomes were like most gluten free pastry, rubbery enough to re-tread a tyre.

So I then I had a light bulb moment and here is what I came up with for Louie.

And if you live in Cairns and want to try the real thing – the actual tart I made, you can do so at the gorgeous Louie’s gorgeous café – Tosca’s at Earlville. (P.S thanks Louie for cheering me up)

https://www.facebook.com/toscasespresso

I made this with a lovely zingy lemon filling but I will also give you the recipe for a chocolate
filling.

Ingredients
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut
butter for greasing
fresh fruit
mint leaves
2 tablespoons of marmalade jam

for lemon filling
250 mls of cream
250 gr of cream cheese
100 gr of lemon curd/butter

for chocolate filling
250 mls of cream
1 cup of chopped chocolate good quality

To Make the Tart Shell

You will need to really grease with butter or margarine a pie/tart tin.
The best to use is one with a removable side.
Now you can’t grease this enough. Its really important every part of the tin is well greased.

Separate 3 eggs. Put the yolks aside (don’t tip them out you will need them) and mix the egg whites with one and a half cups of shredded coconut.

Gently spread this over the bottom and sides of the tin. It will be quite a thin layer. But egg white is an excellent binder. Artists used to use it as a medium to paint with by mixing egg whites and pigments.

Put it in a slow over around 160C until it browns. Leave to cool.

To Make the Filling

Lemon Filling
In a saucepan mix together 250g of cream cheese, 4 generous tablespoons of lemon curd/butter and 250 mls of cream. Stir this together over a low heat until there are no lumps and it is runny or alternatively mix it all up in a blender. Continuing over a low heat mix in the 3 egg yolks. Continue stirring over a low heat until you see the first sign of reaching a boil. Its important to keep stirring, you dont want the egg to cook, you dont want the filling to catch on the bottom of the saucepan and burn or create lumps.

Remove and leave to cool a little.

Putting it altogether
Pour the filling into the pie shell and pop it in the fridge to really cool.

Once cool decorate with fresh fruits and glaze.

To Glaze
Bring to the boil 2 tablespoons of marmalade jam/jelly.
With a pastry brush gently brush the hot jam over the fruit.
Decorate with fresh mint leaves.

Chocolate Filling
Melt together I cup of chopped dark chocolate (good quality) and 250 mls of cream Add the egg yolks Stir continuously until the first sign of boiling as above.