Tomato bread, or as it is said in Spanish “pan con tomate” is one of the simplest but most well-loved and widely eaten dishes from the Cataluña region in the Northern parts of Spain. During my recent travels to Barcelona I found that many tapas bars would actually have bowls of tomatoes and garlic sitting out on their tables with a bottle of olive oil. As their customers took their seats, waiters would bring out freshly toasted bread to the table enabling the diners to make the bread for themselves. Unfortunately for me I found that not many of these bars offered gluten free bread thus leaving me to watch others enjoy the tomato bread in envy. Consequently upon my return to Perth I was inspired to make my own gluten free tomato bread.
Just a word of warning. This gluten free tomato bread is so easy to make yet it is incredible addictive.
My first experience of Red Hot Spatula’s cooking was at the Clandestine Cake Club last year. Yvonne made these amazing gluten free Asian cakes called Kuihs that were steamed cakes made with rice flour, green bean flour and tapioca flour. I greedily ate a number of them that day before I physically had to stop myself from over eating my welcome. In fact I loved them so much that a few short weeks later I ordered a batch of my own to be delivered to work to share with my colleagues.
Since then Yvonne and I have crossed paths at many foodie events, markets and degustation evenings and I have grown to appreciate her passion and drive for success. Her business has grown from strength to strength and it is so inspiring to see someone reap the rewards from so much hard work.
It has been six weeks and our Raw Food Meatless Monday comes to an end. It has been a fabulous learning experience for me as I had previously had no experience with preparing raw food. Whilst I realise to get more variety I need to take it further and get the right equipment like a dehydrator for example, I think I have dabbled enough in it to gain some basic understanding and appreciation. Whilst I cannot say I would be keen to go to an all raw diet, we will still continue to eat some raw food dishes beyond the conclusion of this challenge. Adapting some of the recipes to suit my fructose malabsorption has been interesting as banned ingredients like dried fruits are frequently used ingredients. Nevertheless I will continue to enjoy learning more about this more natural way of eating and hope I haven’t bored my dear readers with six weeks of it in a row!
I have a tendency to brag about Perth’s balmy weather but the reality of it is that by having great weather for most of the year many of us Perthites are poorly acclimatised for any remote resemblance of winter. We are notorious for being winter whingers when the reality of it is our winters are comparatively short and mild and we really have nothing to complain about. The Boy and I have been sticking to our Raw Food Meatless Monday for over four weeks now and both of us are feeling vibrant and our skin is glowing. Or maybe that’s still some post wedding bliss?!
However waking up in the morning when it is still dark outside and the temperature is in the single digits drinking a cold smoothie isn’t that enjoyable, no matter how tasty and nutritious it is. So prompted by this cold snap, I decided this week our Raw Food breakfast would be a raw soup instead; warmed in just minutes by using my blender on high speed which then gently heats the soup with friction.
I have a tendency to often bite off more than I can chew. This habit applies not only to my constant overeating but to many other aspects in my life. Working under pressure seems to bring out the best in me however this can sometimes lead to being in the position where there is so much to do that it’s almost overwhelming. Being a persistent and determined person I always seem to get through it all, often with success which only serves to drive me to do it all again. Earlier this year the rambunctious Amanda from Chew Town told me all about her project of The Sweet Swap over an oversized second breakfast at Miss Kitty’s Saloon. It sounded like such a great idea to me. The best way to describe The Sweet Swap is it’s kind of like a food bloggers Kris Cringle but not at Christmas and the presents are all edible.
A number of you dear readers who have been following my Raw Food Meatless Monday Man Challenge have suggested to me that I make some raw food desserts. I wanted a raw dessert to serve us for our Monday night dinner that could actually pass off as our main meal. It needed to be nutritious, filling and not too sweet. To complicate my requirements furthermore, it had to comply with my fructose malabsorption (FM) restrictions. Many raw food desserts contain dried fruit which are completely off the menu for a FM so I had to delve a bit deeper for something more interesting.
To kick start our day, I created a savoury green smoothie which is low in calories yet full of nutrients. Unlike last week’s smoothie, this one is light on the stomach and easier to drink. For dinner I have made use of some organic chia seeds I recently received from the generous guys at Cheap Superfoods. The chia seeds are raw and unprocessed meaning that all their antioxidant and essential fatty acid content remains undamaged. The berry chia pudding is dairy free, gluten free, raw, fructose friendly AND it tastes AMAZING!
They say it takes us on average around 21-28 days to form a habit. The Boy and I are only entering into the beginning of Week Three of our Raw and Meatless Mondays and I am finding that our vegetarianism stretches to encompass most of the week. Last night we ordered some take out from our local Thai restaurant Little Ying and the Boy insisted that I only order vegetarian dishes. He has embraced this new approach to eating with much more gusto than I anticipated. I ordered some Tom Yum Goong for us and I even saw him scoop out the prawns and plop them into my bowl.
With memories of Thailand still fresh in my mind I was inspired to create this highly addictive green smoothie for our Monday morning breakfast.
I admit sometimes I completely underestimate my dear husband. I thought that after the first week of our Raw Food Meatless Monday Man Challenge his enthusiasm levels would start to wane. This is a man who used to eat a whole roast chicken in one sitting. I’m not saying that I don’t have faith in him changing his eating habits, but I didn’t think it would happen easily.
The following Monday arrived and to my astonishment he bounced out of bed all excited and ready for his next smoothie to try. He is not a morning person and seeing him with this much energy first thing in the morning was a little out of the ordinary. Knowing how much he loves his pink drinks it was logical that this would be the colour of his next smoothie to taste test.
Over the past few years, the Boy and I have made a natural progression to eating a more vegetarian based diet. Whilst not completely giving up eating meat all together, our intake has been dramatically reduced such that our initial goal of a Meatless Monday has now extended into several days a week.
Our reasons for vegetarianism are twofold.
Our first reason comes back to being compassionate human beings. Can we truly justify the way we farm production animals? Housed in completely unnatural environments with cramped stocking densities and fed highly processed foods such as pellets and other animal proteins? Worst still, how can we know that every animal that is slaughtered for our consumption didn’t suffer in the process? Many of you may have seen Animals Australia’s shocking footage of our live export cattle in Indonesia abattoirs last year. We were all left outraged and distraught at the horrific treatment of these innocent beasts. But these events are by no means isolated and happen all around the world every day. While I understand that sometimes brutal death is a part of life in the natural world, I am certain a lion hunting a gazelle in Africa doesn’t stop to consider her prey’s welfare before she kills it. But unlike these majestic big cats, we humans choose to slaughter animals to eat on a much larger scale than is necessary for our own survival.
The Boy and I initially got into juicing back in late 2011 as a result of watching Joe Cross’s documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. This period marked the beginning of a long overdue quest for finding better health by dramatically increasing our vegetable and fruit intake. We have slowly gravitated away from eating meat as the predominant ingredient in our meals to it being a small component if at all. The Boy bought us the latest whizz-bang juicer and was so enthusiastic with his juicing that he managed to burn the first one out in just a week. He stuck to his guns however and returned to the shops to get a replacement juicer. Over the following nine months he lost over 20 kg in body weight. He was well on his way to become a picture of health and this was all just in time for our wedding.
I originally starting blogging as a natural progression from my love of food photography and eating out. Finding a restaurant that caters for peeps like me with food intolerances without compromising the wow factor rocks my world. Naturally over time my blog has morphed to begin to include the occasional recipe. Whilst I have never claimed to have talent in the kitchen I do enjoy cooking things from scratch and my need to alter and change recipes due to my intolerances has developed into a passionate love of cooking. When I received an invite to the launch of the Accento Italian Cooking Master Classes I was intrigued and excited to see what these classes were all about.
- 1 & ¾ cup almond meal
I have been eyeing off the bananas in our fruit bowl that have been slowing ripening over the week from a lovely golden-yellow into a patchy dark black. As no one seems to be tucking into them any time soon I figured the logical thing to do was to bake myself some banana bread. I had a bag of organic coconut flour that had been sitting in my pantry for quite some time as I had been waiting for the inspiration to start experimenting with it. Well here it was, I was inspired. Coconut flour is an interesting flour to work with, it is very high in fibre so you don’t need to use as much as you would with conventional flours. The high fibre content makes this banana bread very filling which was ideal for my bridal diet as I couldn’t binge out on it like I normally would!
These gluten free potato cakes with smoked salmon make the perfect alternative to the traditional blinis. They take only minutes to prepare yet still taste fabulous.
- 3 Yukon gold potatoes (about 450 grams), peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus sprigs for garnish
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg white
- 120 grams smoked salmon
- ¼ cup reduced-fat sour cream
- Olive-oil, cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Combine potatoes, chopped dill, salt, pepper, and egg white in a medium bowl, and stir to combine.
Have you ever cooked a whole beef eye fillet? If you have you will understand what little effort it takes to produce a sumptuous meal. For those who haven’t this prosciutto wrapped beef fillet with pesto will convert you. Just make sure you buy ethically sourced meat!
- 14 slices of prosciutto (about 120 gm)
- 1 jar of pesto (I used a complementary jar of Roza’s Dairy Free Pesto)
- ½ cup raw cashews, chopped finely
- 1.5 kg piece of beef eye fillet
- Fresh basil to serve
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Preheat oven to 200°C. Place 7 prosciutto slices in a row, side-by-side and slightly overlapping, to create a rectangle. Repeat with the remaining prosciutto slices, slightly overlapping, at the long side of the first rectangle.
- 8 large eggs
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1½ teaspoons gluten free wasabi paste
- 2 teaspoons unseasoned rice-wine vinegar
- 2 large scallions (3 tablespoons), minced (I OMITTED THIS INGREDIENT TO MAKE IT FRUCTOSE FRIENDLY)
- Coarse salt
- Pea shoots or sprouts, for garnish
- Prepare an ice-water bath. Place eggs in a medium saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover eggs by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 13 minutes.
- Drain, and transfer eggs to ice-water bath until cold. Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise.
- Transfer yolks to a medium bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. Stir in mayonnaise, wasabi, vinegar, and scallions. Season with salt. Pipe or spoon filling into whites.
Christmas is the time of year when the distance that separates me from my family feels the longest. December is our busiest month at work so I can only return back home for the silly season once every few years. This year I had booked our flights well in advance to avoid the last-minute price blow outs; flights across the continent triple in price around this time of year as people arrange to visit their family and friends.
Because we would not be in Perth to join the Boy’s family for Christmas Day, we agreed to celebrate our family lunch the weekend before our departure in a casual pool party affair at our house. However, in the lead up to flying out my work pressures were at boiling point so in order to avoid having a mental breakdown I opted for simple fresh dishes that were bound to please the Boy’s very hungry family!
Coffee Pecan Bundt cake, Gluten free
I made this cake for my first participation in Perth’s Clandestine Cake Club. Each monthly meet up has a theme and for July it was “gluten free”. Lucky me…this time I could eat all the cakes!
- 120 g butter
- ¾ cup (165g) sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla essence
- 3 eggs
- 2 tbsp. instant coffee, dissolved in 2 tbsp. hot water
- 1 cup (170g) rice flour
- ½ cup (80g) gluten free cornflour
- ½ cup (80g) potato flour
- 1 tsp bicarb soda
- 2 tsp. gluten free baking powder
- 1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
- 1 cup (250g) sour cream
- 40 g butter, cubed at room temperature
Via my fellow bloggers on Twitter I recently became aware of a brilliant phenomenon called the Clandestine Cake Club. The CCC was created two years ago by cake lover Lynn Hill in Leeds, UK with the aim to be able to get people together in a relaxed social environment so they could “Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake”.
The concept was to strictly only include cakes; no cupcakes, brownies, pies or tarts are allowed and since its inception it has grown to over 133 groups around the world including Switzerland, Spain, France and Finland.
There is currently only one group in Australia and luckily for us it’s here in Perth! The Perth branch is coordinated by Carolanne from Carolanne’s Kitchen and Jackie from Where the wind blows me. Recent awareness of this group has surged thanks to some awesome publicity in Scoop magazine, on Great about Perth and Agenda City.
After picking our own fabulous Field mushrooms on our visit to Millbrook Winery I decided to cook them up with a few extras in the fridge for our Meatless Monday meal. I had a packet of polenta with dried porcini that I purchased from Providore during our recent trip down to Margaret River and thought this traditional Italian dish would make a perfect and filling accompaniment to our roasted mushrooms. Better still I enjoyed it with one of the lovely wines I purchased from Millbrook! (You can read my review on our gorgeous lunch here.)
- 4-6 large field mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves