Recovery from a disc injury can be a roller-coaster ride of good days and bad days. After an optimistic fortnight of steady improvement, I was faced with a horrid day of crippling pain and depression. I forced myself through the morning’s torture in the hope that it would ease as the day progressed but the short drive to work was enough to push me over the edge. I am normally an energetic and bubbly person and I hate that I’m reduced to a crumpled heap on the floor of our staff room. To add to the pain, I feel racked with the guilt of leaving my colleagues with all my work for the afternoon. I battled through a couple of consults before pathetically limping back to my car for the dreaded drive home. Pain has a way of warping your perspective on life and I can sense how short tempered and grumpy I am but with every moment hurting I cannot stop myself.
Upon arriving home I drugged and heat-packed the hell out of that wretched spine of mine before laying back in bed with a glass wine in hand. Before long I was smothered in cats and started to appreciate that tommorow would be a brand new day. With new-found gratitude I reminded myself to be thankful I still have many wonderful things in my life; I have my sanity, my internal health, a loving husband and two of the most handsome cats in the world.
One of my treasured winter creature comforts in Perth is our locally grown fresh black truffles. I go absolutely bonkers for these little black fungi and our winter is filled with back to back truffle dinner events. This season has already kicked off and yet I’m in no good shape to sit down for a lazy degustation. So, in an act of kindness the Boy suggested that instead of going to the truffle, get the truffle brought to me. My first creation of the season is this luscious creamy truffle cauliflower soup. This is a vegan cauliflower soup that is also gluten free and dairy free, and rich in flavour and umami deliciousness.
- 1 clove garlic
- 30 grams Nuttelex or preferred dairy free, vegan spread
- 1 tablespoon vegetable stock concentrate (from Thermomix EDC, if you are not using a Thermomix, use 1 stock cube. Ensure it is onion and gluten free)
- 40 grams fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 40 grams raw blanched almonds, soaked for 1-2 hours and drained
- 250 grams cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 200 grams potato, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon savoury yeast
- 600 grams filtered water, room temperature
- 10-20 grams of fresh black truffle, depending on preference
- salt and pepper to taste
- 100 grams cauliflower florets, broken into small florets
- ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sliced almonds
- 10 grams fresh black truffle
- Preheat oven to 200C.
- Toss 100 grams of small cauliflower florets in olive oil season with salt and pepper and roast in the oven for 20-25 mins until browned. Reserve for garnishing the soup
- Place garlic clove in the mixing bowl and chop for 5 sec | Speed 5 MC. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
- Add 30 grams Nuttelex and saute for 2 mins | 100C | Speed 1.
- Add vegetable stock concentrate, potato, shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower, drained almonds, savoury yeast, water and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 20 min | 100C | Speed 1. Put the simmer basket on top instead of the MC
- Blend for 1 minute | Speed 9, gradually increasing from Speed 1-9 until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Shave 10-20 grams of fresh truffle into the mixing bowl ensuring to leave enough to garnish. Mix for 20 seconds | Speed 3.
- Serve immediately and garnish with roasted cauliflower, sliced almonds and fresh black truffle
- Finely chop garlic clove. Saute with 30 grams Nuttelex in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat.
- Add vegetable stock concentrate, potato, shiitake mushrooms, cauliflower, drained almonds, savoury yeast and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 min or until vegetables are soft . Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Blend using a stick blender until a smooth consistency is achieved.
- Shave 10-20 grams of fresh truffle into the mixing bowl ensuring to leave enough to garnish. Stir to mix through
- Serve immediately and garnish with roasted cauliflower, sliced almonds and fresh black truffle
For anyone who has gone through the journey of having a back injury you will understand what an ordeal it can be; not just physically but emotionally as well. When I was in my early thirties, a couple of my spine’s intervertebral discs decided to give way while I was in the middle of performing a dental procedure on a dog. It was at a point where my veterinary career was progressing perfectly and I was just about to ask my bosses to buy in as a partner to the practice. I was one of their star employees who happily worked consecutive twelve hours shifts, overtime and after-hours with no complaints.
And then, thanks to my back, it all turned on it’s head. It took me eight grueling weeks to be able to return to work and even then it was only in a part-time capacity. It was over a year before I could go through a full day without severe pain. Chronic pain can often lead to depression and it took me a long time before I could say I felt mentally whole again. Fortunately those dark days are far behind me and my focus on health, nutrition and mobility forms part of every day of my life.
Given my history, I became very concerned this week when I had a sudden onset of back pain with a total inability to bend. I couldn’t even put on a pair of socks! After seeing a doctor, remedial massage therapist and physio along with downing some analgesics, I am relieved to find out it is hopefully just my ol’ faithful disc flaring up again with some muscle spasm to boot. I am hoping this is a better prognosis as I cannot afford to have an extended time off work again!
To assist my body in recovery, I have been nourishing myself with natural anti-inflammatory foods including fresh fish, leafy greens, beetroot, ginger and turmeric. Because the Boy isn’t keen on curry, I had to think hard about how to add turmeric into our daily meals. This inspired me to create a dairy free custard that is also fructose friendly and of course gluten free. It it naturally sweetened and easy to make in the Thermomix. If you don’t have a Thermomix, you can make on your stove top too.
- 2 free range eggs
- 1 vanilla pod, split open and scraped
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 45 grams of a natural sweetener of your preference such as maple syrup, rice malt syrup or coconut sugar
- 50 gm arrowroot or gluten free cornflour
- 400ml can organic coconut milk
- Add all ingredients into your Thermomix mixing bowl and cook for 7min | 90C | Speed 4.
- Once cooked, blend for 4 sec | Speed 6.
- Remove any remaining vanilla pod portions and serve immediately.
It is a known fact, I don’t know how to relax. I almost always have at least 101 things on the go at any one point and this can be both extremely exciting and stressful. Although I have no one to blame for being so busy but myself, yet I cannot help but look upon my feline fur-kids with envy as they happily laze entire days away sleeping, cuddling and lounging about. They are true experts in relaxation. After years of recurrent illness and always being “sickly”, I have finally learnt that to keep up this crazy pace without falling apart it is crucial to take time to nourish my body with excellent nutrition.
Part of this commitment to myself has included switching to eating a more plant-based diet, and whilst I would never claim to be a true vegetarian, we certainly do find ourselves eating less and less meat as the years go on. And for once in my life I can honestly say I don’t really miss it.
A couple of weeks ago I had some surgery to remove a suspicious looking mole from the sole of my foot. While I waited for the pathology results to come back, I madly ticked over in my mind nearly all perceivable potential outcomes, both good and bad. I decided to start to mentally prepare myself in case they needed to perform a much more invasive repeat surgery to take wider margins. All the while my carefree alter-ego sat on my shoulder saying “Settle down woman, it’s just a weird looking mole!”.
And thankfully that imaginary brazen smart-arse was right, there was no evidence of any cancer in my biopsy. Relieved, elated and very grateful, I immediately proceeded to plans with the Boy to head out that evening and celebrate together. Having recently attended a few too many boozy events lately, we both wanted a meat free dinner. I chose CNR Kitchen as I knew they had a lot of vegan, vego and gluten free options on their menu.
We started with the raw vegan tasting plate. It came with a collection of items including Moroccan savoury cakes, dolmades with cashew mint aioli and a serve of raw vegan Pad Thai. It also had a small serve of their house-made dehydrated corn chip crackers with fresh guacamole and pineapple salsa to dunk them in.
The tasting plate was a simple but satisfying dish and would be a great option to order for those who haven’t eaten raw food before. I will have to remember that when on my next pub crawl with my meat-eating friends. The Moroccan savoury cakes contained a careful balance of spices and were my favourite part of the tasting plate despite there being one slight problem. They didn’t hold together very well at all and combined with my usual level of clumsiness, my cakes crumbled apart after the first bite making them very messy to eat.
As I dunked the last half of my Moroccan cake into the cashew mint aioli it crumbled into numerous pieces and fell into the bowl of dip. The Boy could barely stifle his chortle as he grinned and watched my useless attempts to scoop out my crumbs. They still tasted just as good!
Thankfully I managed to eat my raw nachos much more elegantly as my house made corn chips had enough strength and substance to withstand a decent amount of toppings. The added sweetness of the pineapple into the salsa was a winning element and you would have never guessed the cashew sour cream was actually dairy free.
In the dim lighting of the evening I struggled to get a good shot of the eggplant lasagne. This was a vegan version of the Boy’s favourite meal and yet wasn’t missing any flavour despite the lack of any meat. I was actually inspired a few days later to make my own grain free, dairy free lasagne at home.
The lasagne was packed full of veggie goodness with layers of pumpkin, eggplant, mushroom and zucchini flavoured with a rich tomato and black olive marinara and house made macadamia ricotta. I loved the sweet potato crunchy curls tumbled on top.
For dessert we ordered a small selection of the raw desserts. One of the slices I ordered was the chilli chocolate slice but I nearly got in trouble for ordering it by the Boy. He is not a fan of chilli at all and cannot handle anything more than the most mildest of mild heat; lucky for us this slice had just a subtle hint of oomph in it and so thankfully there were no complaints.
The banana cream cake was decadently indulgent and for once I was happy it was only a small serve. Raw desserts can be very rich and even someone with a huge an appetite like me can be easily satisfied with smaller portions.
For someone who must eat gluten free, CNR Kitchen is a welcoming reprieve from all the gluten ladened dude food and Asian eateries located around in Northbridge. I will definitely be reminding myself of their presence next time I’m out partying and become tempted to risk eating a taco or burger. I know that my body will thank me in the morning.
CNR Kitchen are active participants in Eat Drink Perth festivities and hosted a raw dessert teaching class a couple of weeks ago when the Festival began. Attendees were taught how to make a number of delicious sugar free, dairy free and gluten free raw desserts. Of course this was accompanied by taste testing everything.
CNR’s second raw food class is held this week on Tuesday April 7th and for this session they will making dairy free cheese, milk, cream and ice cream using nuts. To find out more head to the Eat Drink Perth website.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp is an official blogger for Eat Drink Perth ’15. Whilst the Eat Drink Perth blogging team are kindly each gifted a number of event tickets from the City of Perth, Chompchomp just cannot help but get into the Perth City mood and attend more than just what she is given. I mean who doesn’t love food festivals! Consequently, she paid for this meal in full.
Northbridge Piazza, 44 Lake Street, Northbridge WA 6003 | (08) 9228 8861 | cnr.net.au
For those who work from home or perhaps don’t work at all, it is easy to labour with love in the kitchen preparing all your food from scratch. When I have time to do this myself, I gain great satisfaction knowing every ingredient I put in my food. However for those like myself who work long hours and often in places where there are no hip cafes with raw, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options, it is easy to resort to eating less healthy meals. I was recently invited to a blogger’s brunch at The Wolf The Bean The Walnut which is a new café that has opened up on Wolf Lane in Perth City offering healthy food whilst accommodating for us with specific dietary requirements.
Over the course of the morning, we were taken on a journey through their menu with tasters of their signature dishes.
I started off with a “Flu Tonic” juice; it was the fructose friendly option made with lemon, ginger and spinach. It is a relief to find somewhere I can get a take away juice without having to ask for the apple to be omitted! Guests were given some breakfast bars made with oats, pistachio, cranberry and buckwheat however due to the inclusion of oats they were not gluten free.
The Wolf The Bean The Walnut offer both toasted and gluten free options for their granola which is then topped with dairy free coconut yoghurt. Although I have not excluded dairy from my diet completely, I do try to avoid it as it flares up my eczema quite severely so that I scratch my fingers until they are red raw. It was comforting to see there are a number of dairy free alternatives on their breakfast menu for allergic intolerants like me.
Our second dish to sample was their chia pudding. This is normally made with toasted granola on the bottom layer which is not gluten free so the Chef made me one using their gluten free granola instead. The chia seeds were soaked in almond coconut milk to set into a pudding and topped with a fruit coulis. It wasn’t overly sweet and I could imagine a normal serve would be quite filling.
Next up was a taster of their signature turmeric custard. This was an interesting and colourful dish served cold with fresh mango, pistachios, pepitas and coconut. The custard had a delicate, mild flavour with a lovely hint of sweet fragrant spice.
Our final dish was one of their “superbowls” and by this point I was feeling pretty stuffed. Chia pudding, coconut yoghurt, seeds and nuts; these are all foods that can leave one feeling very satisfied without being overly full. I wasn’t sure if I would have any room left for this next morsel.
But after cutting into my poached egg and witnessing its egg porn in full glory I cast away any fears of fullness and tucked in. Buried underneath the perfectly poached egg was some pieces of crispy salmon, lima beans and red and white quinoa. Flavoursome dukkah was sprinkled on top to give some extra texture.
Sadly I couldn’t stay until the end of the blogger’s brunch as I had a test drive booked for a new car that the Boy was considering to buy for my birthday present….(more on THIS later!)…. On my way out I was handed a luscious looking raw treat to eat on the drive home. Suffice to say it didn’t last long!
I am so chuffed to know that there is somewhere I can stop into in the CBD to get a bite for lunch that will be safe for my belly and won’t set my allergies off into a storm.
Disclaimer: Chompchomp would like to thank The Wolf The Bean The Walnut for their invitation to dine with them. All opinions on this post are Chompchomp’s own.
The Wolf The Bean The Walnut
Arcade 800, 800 Hay Street, Perth WA 6000 | (08) 9481 6315 | Facebook
Eating seasonal fruit and vegetables is easy to do living in Western Australia because the diversity of our state means we can grow a wide variety of our own produce. This year’s cherry crop was a bumper one and I have been so grateful that I could buy fresh locally grown cherries throughout the Christmas period. As both the Boy and I are predominately vegetarians at home, our house has various fruit bowls dotted around the place such that anyone visiting might think we were obsessed with food. 😉
Cherries do contain a moderate amount of fructose so for those who suffer from fructose malabsorbtion you need to be careful with your intake. For those very sensitive, you are probably best to avoid until you have your symptoms under control. After being on a strict fructose friendly diet for a few months, I was recommended to reintroduce small amounts of fructose to assess my own personal level of tolerance. I find I can handle eating a small amount of cherries as my reaction is relatively mild provided that I do not go nuts and devour a whole bowl to myself.
This addictive peach and cherry breakfast bake is made with fresh cherries and canned peaches but these fruits can easily be substituted with other more fructose friendly fruits if you prefer such as berries and fresh banana. It is the perfect dish for entertaining family groups over the festive season as you can prepare it prior to guests arriving and pop it in the oven once their all turn up. I think this is much better than standing in front of a hot stove frying eggs while everyone else sips champagne!
- 8 slices gluten-free bread, cut into 2cm cubes
- 3 whole eggs
- 300ml of your preferred type of milk (almond, rice, soy or dairy)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 x 425gm can gluten-free peaches in light juice/syrup** See note
- 12-15 fresh cherries, pitted
- 100ml of prepared coconut whipping cream (see note below)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 70ml 100% pure maple syrup, warmed
- 1 x 275ml can coconut milk (full fat, not fat reduced, refrigerate overnight)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- To make the coconut whipping cream, refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight to allow it to harden. The following day, spoon out the milk into a bowl and add maple syrup and vanilla. Whisk or mix with an electric beater until it has the consistency of whipping cream.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease a 22cmx22cm glass baking dish.
- Drain the can of peaches and discard the syrup.
- Remove the pits from the fresh cherries and cut them in halves.
- Slice about 8 slices of the bread into 2cm squares and place half the bread into the baking dish.
- Nestle half of peach slices and cherries in between the slices of bread.
- Top with the remaining cubes of bread and nestle the remainder of the peaches and cherries in this second layer.
- In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, milk and vanilla and pour over the bread cubes.
- Pour dollops of the whipped coconut milk prepared earlier over the bread cubes.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake for about 35 minutes or until browned and crunchy on top. Once baked, set aside to cool about 5 minutes.
- Serve immediately with warm maple syrup and dollops of whipped coconut cream.
There are some childhood food favourites of mine that die hard. My Mum is a talented baker and when we were kids she could effortlessly create a whole repertoire of delectable treats that never lasted long out of the oven. For school bake sales, her chocolate slice would always be the first to sell out and her melting moments were a textural delight. At Christmas time there were a number of cherished creations that would be guaranteed to fill our fridge and her pecan pie was one of those.
When I was approached by Belmont Forum to develop some recipes for Christmas I knew just had to have at least one symbolisation of my childhood and decided to adapt Mum’s recipe to be more gluten free friendly. There is nothing sugar free, vegan or paleo about these pecan pies but then I feel we all have to live a little at Christmas time. Even if it means hitting the gym a little harder in the New Year! 😉
- Readymade gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry
- 20 grams butter, unsalted, room temperature
- ¼ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
- ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 egg, room temperature
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
- Defrost ready-made gluten free shortcrust pastry as per packet instructions.
- Preheat oven to 170C. Grease individual tartlet trays and one baking tray.
- Roll pastry 2mm thick between two sheets of baking paper.
- Place pastry into tartlet tins and trim edges to neaten. Using a star shaped pastry cutter cut the stars which will be used to top each of the pies.
- Weigh down the inside of the pies with baking weights or uncooked rice.
- Place pies and stars on the baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The stars will take slightly less time to cook, approx. 7-8 minutes.
- Leave oven on 170C.
- Ensure the butter is at room temperature. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl on low speed with electric beaters for about 1 minute until mixture is light and creamy. Add egg and maple syrup, beat well. Add the chopped pecans.
- Pour the filling mixture into the prepared pastry pie shells.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the filling is set.
- Place the pastry stars on the pies while they are warm and let them stand for 10 minutes before removing them from their tins.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
This is an original recipe by Chompchomp for part of the Twelve Days of Blogger’s Christmas at Belmont Forum. All ingredients to develop this recipe were funded for by Belmont Forum.
Whenever I am feeling overindulged, a fail safe way of getting my gut and body to recover is for me to eat a plant based vegan diet for a few days. After the incredibleness of our weekend away in Margaret River for their annual food festival Gourmet Escape, my body was crying out for some gentle eating. We burned all the candles at every end for the full weekend attending multiple degustations, an international Cabernet tasting and rubbing shoulder with some celebrity chefs. I will not deny it was all worth it.
For the following week I had time off work which gave me a chance to catch up on my long to-do list without any distractions. Wanting to pledge to adhere to a vegan, or at least vegetarian diet for most of the week I kick-started it all off with a visit to Loving Hut on Albany Highway in Victoria Park.
Loving Hut are an international vegan restaurant chain with over 200 locations around the world. They were created with the vision that all beings on this Earth can live in peace, love and harmony with each other.
Each Loving Hut restaurant is individually owned allowing them to have their own influence on the dishes on their menus with just one thing being in common; all their food is made only with wholesome plant based ingredients.
For the course of the next week, I returned almost every day to grab myself a healthy and easy vegan lunch and was impressed to see that they changed most of their dishes daily.
There are a bunch of different gluten free options including gluten free quiche and raw sandwiches along with some other non-gluten free options for those more “normal” people. Loving Hut are open 7 days so once we hit the weekend I dragged the Boy along to show him what I had been raving about all week. It didn’t take long to convert him and we ended up eating lunch there on both days of that weekend.
He loved the mock meat pies with their homemade Gourmet pie being his favourite. Filled with loads of roasted vegetables in additional to chunks of mock meat, he wants to return and grab a bunch of them to put in the freezer for him to eat later.
I am so delighted to have found a restaurant within walking distance of my home that can supply us with healthy, gluten free vegan options for lunch. More so their ingredients were fresh and predominately organic. The Loving Hut staff are super friendly and were happy to talk me through all the ingredients so I could pick the fructose friendly options too. Being kind to my body and all our creatures on this Earth has never been so easy!Disclosure: Chompchomp’s repeated visits to the Loving Hut were entirely at her own expense. Loving Hut Shop 19, 366 Albany Highway, Victoria Park, WA 6100 | (08) 9470 3969 | lovinghutperth.com
In a time long gone by, before I was forced to give up gluten, I was a girl who loved quiche. There used to be a deli that I drove past on my way to work and once or twice a week I would stop in there and buy a slice of their home made quiche to take to work for lunch. It was a thick based quiche filled with a variety of different ingredients which changed every day, plenty of egg and flaky pastry crust. Not exactly the pinnacle of healthy eating but something I would really look forward to each time I bought it.
Those days are well and truly over and the times that I enjoy my quiche are so few and far between that it feels even more like a special treat. When I was first diagnosed, I struggled with creating a workable gluten free pastry as it can be much more temperamental and sensitive to handling. As a compromise I searched for a pastry free, grain free alternative to use as a quiche base and stumbled upon the idea of using polenta instead. After trying this for the first time, the concept stuck and this recipe became ingrained as one of my regulars even after I worked out how to make gluten free pastry that tasted good. Since that day, my polenta quiche has made many appearances in various forms and has even converted the gluten eaters of the family.
I love following the seasons and eating what’s fresh and local. At the moment we have an overload of zucchini which gave me the perfect inspiration for my second Christmas dish for Belmont Forum’s Twelve Days of Bloggers Christmas. We tend to eat vegetarian at home but for those meat eaters out there, this polenta quiche would go beautifully with some pan fried pancetta added in. And for those on a paleo diet, change the yoghurt to coconut cream and leave out the cheese. 😉
- 1½ cups gluten free vegetable stock
- 1¼ cups water
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1¼ cups polenta
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 & ½ cups plain Greek yoghurt
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small zucchini cut into ribbons
- ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 190 C.
- Bring the stock and water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the salt. Slowly add the polenta in a thin stream, whisking constantly, and continue whisking for 30 seconds. Decrease the heat to low and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon every few minutes to keep the polenta from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Stir in the cheese, egg and pepper.
- Grease a 25 cm quiche pan with olive oil. Have a glass of cold water ready to help mould the polenta into the quiche base. Spoon the polenta into the pan and press it out with your hands or a spoon, pushing it up the sides. You can dip your hands or the spoon into the cold water to help set the polenta as you go. Set the pan aside for 15 minutes to cool then form an even rim about 1.5 cm thick with moist fingers, pressing firmly.
- Whisk the yoghurt, eggs, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper together until well-combined. Place the zucchini ribbons in the prepared quiche pan. Pour the yoghurt mixture evenly over the zucchini. Sprinkle over the top with goat cheese and grated Parmesan cheese.
- Bake the quiche until the top turns golden brown and the filling is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes.
Chocolate is an addiction of mine that I’m certain I can blame on my genetics. Both Mum and Dad love their chocolate and I have been coerced into a number of chocolate binges with Mum over the years. I figure that there is no point fighting nature and assure myself that chocolate IS a nourishing super food after all. In fact, I am actually doing my body a favour giving it a daily dose. The best type of chocolate, in my humble opinion, is raw chocolate. sumptuous and silky, it has a melt in your mouth texture that will certainly have you going back for more.
On our last visit to the The Raw Kitchen in Fremantle, the Boy and I shared an uber-delicious raw peppermint slice. Unfortunately it was full of fructose and while I certainly enjoyed it at the time, the aftermath wasn’t pleasant. Wanting to relive the good parts of that moment without all the abdominal pain, I was inspired to create a fructose friendly raw peppermint slice. Whilst I realise that my version does not resemble The Raw Kitchen’s with respect to its symmetry and perfection, I can assure you they still taste just as good, if not better. Try them for yourself.
- 1 cup (100 grams) almond meal
- 4 tablespoons (85 grams) rice malt syrup (use more if you prefer it sweeter)
- 1 cup (100 grams) shredded coconut
- ½ cup (55 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds
- 4 heaped tablespoons of raw cacao powder (use more if you prefer your chocolate rich)
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- 1 large sized avocado (or 1 & ½ small)
- ¼ cup (85 grams) maple syrup
- ⅓ cup (75 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 & ½ cup (150 grams) shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract depending on preference
- 1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- ¼ cup (30 grams) raw extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ cup (30 grams) raw cacao powder
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- Line a 20cmx20cm baking dish with foil.
- Mix the almond meal, rice malt syrup, coconut, melted coconut oil, chia seeds, cocoa and vanilla.
- Press the mix using the back of a spoon firmly into the tray, sprinkle with salt and place in the freezer to set for 5 – 10 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in high powered blender and blend until smooth. For those with a Thermomix place ingredients in mixing bowl and mix for 60 sec/Speed 5-9 increasing gradually. Scrape the sides of the bowl with the spatula and repeat. Smooth mixture into prepared dish and stick back into the freezer for another 10 minutes.
- Gently warm coconut oil until it is melted and combine with maple syrup. Stir well.
- Pour over chilled bottom layer and return to the freezer for about 15 minutes, or until the chocolate layer is hardened.
- Once set, remove from the tin and chop into little squares. Keep in a container in the fridge or freezer depending on preferences.
Belmont Forum‘s recipes cards of the 12 Days of Blogger’s Christmas. All ingredients were purchased and paid for by Belmont Forum. Belmont Forum had no influence on the content of this recipe.
For as long as I can remember, I have always felt like I never have enough time. I struggle to relax and seem to thrive on fast paced hyperactivity. It wasn’t until I hit my thirties that this lifestyle started to take its toll prompting me to seek medical advice when I could no longer even run without collapsing on the couch. As a direct result I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anaemia which then led onto discovering my gluten and fructose issues.
I stick to my gluten free diet religiously and find this is easy to do as there are life threatening risks for me if I don’t. Coeilacs who eat gluten raise their risks of intestinal cancer significantly along with risking developing a bunch of other horrible diseases. In contrast, I find following my fructose friendly diet much, much more difficult to adhere to. Whilst eating fructose does cause some unpleasant effects, it doesn’t causing any permanent damage to my body. I consequently wax and wane from being vigilantly fructose friendly to chancing the risk of a gut ache for something tasty to eat.
To mitigate this ongoing strain I place on my gut, once a month I will set aside a few days to concentrate purely on nourishment and digestive health. Some months I will do a strict 3 day juice only cleanse, and on other months if my work load is high, I will add in some raw, vegan food to supplement my caloric intake. Working full-time and running a business means finding the time to prepare healthy and balanced raw meals can be tricky and I am forever searching for like-minded small businesses that are willing to cater not just for this need, but to adapt these meals to be fructose friendly.
Some time ago, I was lucky enough to receive a gifted Raw by Chris basket containing a collection of fabulous raw goodies adapted to be fructose friendly that she wanted me to taste test. I was so delighted by my gift that I returned her favour by blogging about it.
After a few more months of perfecting dishes in her kitchen, Raw by Chris launched a more comprehensive option to the people of Perth of one, two and three day raw baskets containing all the food you need to give your digestive system a well-deserved rest. She offers these baskets with a fructose friendly option on request. Perfect!
I chose to try the two day Raw by Chris Nourish basket, here’s what it included.
Day one:Morning: • Chia pudding with coconut milk and seasonal berries. Chris subbed the honey to maple syrup. I loved the creamy texture of this pudding, much better than what I tend to make myself! • Inner Ego cold pressed juice which I saved for my morning tea. Lunch • Kale, avocado and grape salad served with salad dressing and raw bread crackers. Everything is labelled clearly and numbered so it is easy to know what goes with what. • Inner Ego pressed juice Afternoon snack • Kale chips – these were so light and crispy with just a hint of sea salt Dinner • Mixed raw noodles bowl (kelp, zucchini, and carrot). This was the first dish the Boy saw me eat and he started to regret not joining me in the cleanse. Subsequently he will be joining me on my next cleanse next week 😉 • Inner Ego pressed juice Dessert • Chocolate coconut maca cup. Chris replaced the Medjool date goo that she normally puts in the centre of these cups with fresh banana. This was a wonderful treat to savour at the end of the day.
Day twoMorning • Chia pudding with coconut milk and seasonal berries. • Inner Ego cold pressed juice Lunch • Kale, orange and sprouts salad with carrot, tomatoes, sprouts, and almonds and served with a salad dressing and raw bread crackers. Both the salad were filling yet refreshing leaving me sufficiently energised for my afternoon. • Inner Ego pressed juice Afternoon snack • Kale chips Dinner • Falafel plate; carrot falafel, capsicum hummus, and spinach, cherry tomato salad. Served with a tahini dressing and raw bread crackers. • Inner Ego pressed juice Dessert •Another AH-MAZING chocolate coconut maca cup to finish
This was a cleanse that didn’t leave me constantly hungry and is certainly one that I would recommend for those people who have struggled with adhering to a straight juice fast. Eating raw and vegan is a wonderful way to ease your body into the whole concept of fasting without actually missing out on food. It also has the added benefit of meaning no animal is harmed in the making of your meals!
Personally I have no difficult sticking to a three day juice fast most of the time as I have been doing them every month for nearly a year now. But when the heat is on at work and I’m faced with those dreaded long 12 hour days without time to sit and rest, I find that drinking juice only can leave me short of my usual oomph and sparkle. This raw food cleanse was the perfect compromise for those busy times. I have already booked in my next cleanse for next week, getting myself ready for the Christmas time silly season and all the potential hidden fructose that this time of year may bring!Chompchomp paid Raw by Chris in full for this Nourish Raw basket and didn’t receive any payment for this review. She has been a convert for the benefits of raw food and juice fasts for some time, and was delighted to let someone else do the hard work for her while she was busy working in her own day job! Raw by Chris | http://rawbychris.com/ | Facebook
I don’t know what it is about wet, windy nights that sometimes inspires me to want to leave the comfort of my home and eat out. Mostly when I get these fanciful urges, the Boy will sensibly put his foot down and insist we stay at home where it is warm and dry. However on occasions, for reasons I have yet to pin point, he will sporadically and unpredictably consent to my absurd proposition and off we go together with overcoats and matching umbrellas in hand. Whenever this glorious union in thought occurs, I get disproportionately excited like a child that has just been given an oversized bag of candy. I have to love this guy for always keeping me on my toes!
After a couple of teasing days of sunshine, our Perth weather turned sour and my bizarre desire to head out to a restaurant in the rain returned. I wanted to check out a relatively new bar opened in Applecross called Bad Apples Bar and after enticing the Boy with offers of beer and pizza he willingly accepted.
Bad Apples Bar have plenty of gluten free and vegetarian options which they have kindly indicated on their menu. They also have gluten free pizza bases for a couple of extra dollars on top of the normal pizza price. We started with their grilled haloumi topped with a pineapple salsa and olive crumb. The Boy commented that he thought haloumi and pineapple was an odd combination but I enjoyed the play on salty and sweet flavours it gave.
I rarely order pizzas at restaurants as I am somewhat nervous of the risk of cross contamination of gluten with the non-gluten bases in the same oven. Whilst my sensitivity to gluten is not as severe as some, I still have to ensure to be very careful. Just to be safe, I double checked with our waitress again about Bad Apple’s pizzas and she assured me that the kitchen staff take every precaution. Willing to accommodate the Boy’s vegetarian preferences I ordered us the mushroom pizza on a gluten free base.
The pizza was topped with some rocket pesto, goats cheese and overly zealous lashings of truffle oil. After we had finished eating our pizza, a glimmering puddle of oil remained pooled on our plate. Some restraint from the chef next time would be greatly appreciated!
I was thankful I had also ordered a salad which assisted to wash down some of the oiliness of the pizza. I convinced myself that I was being somewhat healthy by adding in a salad. The warm salad contained pan-fried root vegetables, lentils and chickpeas tossed with spinach and topped with more goats cheese. Crunchy lotus chips garnished the dish giving a little bit of flair and adding a textural contrast.
The Boy and I were having one of those nights where I wanted to finish up the night with cheese, and he wanted something sweet. To settle this debate we decided to flip a coin. Heads for dessert and tails for cheese. I was so keen for a bite of cheese that I stared at that coin so hard, trying to will it to land on tails. “HEADS!” the Boy shouts out. A bet is a bet and he won it fair and square, dessert it is then!
Quite chuffed with himself for winning the Boy chose the vanilla crème brulée to share. This was the only gluten free dessert on the menu. Even better still it came with a small bowl of lemon ginger sorbet to quench his relentless need for frozen desserts. It had a very mild flavour but the custard was silky smooth with the top layer making a satisfying crack of as we hit our spoons.
Bad Apples Bar is a popular venue along Riseley Street’s café strip. Despite the unpleasant weather of that evening, it was still filled with customers and we were actually lucky to secure a table.
Was it worth braving the elements for? Well, the service was bubbly and attentive but the food was a bit of hit and miss. Even though I was happy to eat a rare dinner of pizza, the taste of the excess oil lingered on my palate for most of the drive home. I guess you can’t win ‘em all!
Disclaimer: Whilst Chompchomp may admit that the Boy can sometimes be right, that does not under any circumstances mean she is consequently wrong. It is a perfectly normal desire to want to leave a dry, warm home in search of something better to eat.Bad Apples Bar 6/16 Riseley Street, Ardross WA 6153 | 0430 098 748 | www.badapplesbar.com.au
Last year I ran a weekly series for six weeks inspired by the Meatless Monday movement. At that point in time the Boy wasn’t a vegetarian and I wanted to show him that this lifestyle change didn’t have to mean just eating boring lettuce and tomato salads. Since then we have both changed a lot about our eating habits; eating mostly local produce, organic where we can and definitely with a much lower focus on meat.
I was recently approached by Belmont Forum to help them create a couple of recipe cards to put in their new Fresh Food Mall in the centre. After visiting the centre to check out what was on offer, I was impressed with the amount of gluten free and organic food available in their health food store and was inspired to recreate this zucchini noodle dish from my Meatless Monday series. It is so easy to make, surprisingly satisfying and full of nutrients.
- 1 cucumber, peeled and spiralized
- 1 zucchini, peeled and spiralized
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp tamari
- 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, or more to taste
- pinch of sea salt
- 3 tbsp water
- ¼ cup puffed amarinth
- 1 tbsp sliced almonds
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- 1 tbsp goji berries
- pinch of sea salt
- Peel the cucumber and zucchini and run them through a spiraliser (or julienne them if you prefer).
- Place the noodles in a colander and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside while you make the sauce and topper.
- To make the almond sauce, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.
- To make the topper, combine all topper ingredients in a small bowl.
- To serve, place the noodles in a clean bowl, mix in the sauce and add a handful of garnish. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from www.adashofcompassion.com
Perth Munchkin to provide content to Belmont Forum for them to to create recipes cards for customer promoting the wide range of products available in their centre. She was provided with the ingredients for this dish free of change in return.
Following a gluten free diet has become second nature to me. Ingesting just a tiny crumb of gluten has such a profound effect that there is simply no point me risking a reaction. Our whole household is gluten free to avoid any contamination and the Boy is more than happy to eat a gluten free diet with me.
In contrast, my sensitivity to eating dairy products is not so black and white and I can tolerate small amounts. Being able to eat a little bit now and then leads me into a false sense of confidence as it isn’t something I have to avoid totally like gluten, I just try to minimise my intake. I have never been good at minimisation and generally prefer to take the all-or-nothing approach with most things in life, especially food. Progressive day to day carelessness in restricting my dairy intake is generally brought to a grinding halt after one of my hedonistic cheese binges. These joyous cheesy evenings always result in my skin becoming so inflamed and sore that I can barely stretch my fingers fully open. Consequently I have learnt to try to only eat dairy on special occasions.
Being a massive lover of mushrooms, one of my favourite types of pasta sauces to prepare at home is a thick creamy mushroom sauce. I use as many different types of mushrooms as possible and add in some fresh herbs from the garden. It doesn’t take me forever to prepare and is packed full of all the amazing nutrition that mushrooms provide.
I decided to try to create the creamy goodness of a classic mushroom sauce but without all the lashings of dairy cream. I wanted to make it more allergy friendly and was curious to know if a vegan mushroom sauce could live up to its traditional dairy counterpart.
I recommend that you try to get the freshest mushrooms possible to maximise flavour and get as many types of mushrooms as you can. I got these beauties from the new fresh food section at Belmont Forum. They have an impressive multitude of different mushrooms varieties including enoki, oyster, shiitake, shimeji, button, and Swiss brown.
- 450 grams mixed mushrooms roughly chopped (e.g. Swiss brown, Portobello, button, shiitake, oyster, enoki)
- 1 tablespoon of fresh sage
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 1 clove garlic
- Olive oil
- Fresh herbs (thyme, basil) to garnish
- 350 gm gluten free pasta
- Cook gluten free pasta according to the directions on the packet.
- Cook garlic in olive oil in a deep fry pan over medium heat until the garlic just starts to brown.
- Add all the mushrooms (except for the enoki mushrooms) and the wine and cook until the liquid is released from the mushrooms.
- Stir in sage and enoki mushrooms.
- Add milk and cook stirring until thickened
- Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with some fresh herbs.
I realise everyone has their sad story to tell at some point in their life but I have to be honest with you, this past fortnight has been really tough going for me. One of my friends was tragically killed in a horrific car accident at the tender age of 27 years. She was a head strong and outspoken girl, much like myself at times with a heart of gold. She was also a fervent lover of animals and we totally connected on these two levels. She cared for her fur-kids with the utmost level of love and attention and her death left many of us feeling numb in disbelief. It wasn’t until her funeral that it finally sunk in for many of us, we would never see her smiling face again. As I watched my dear friends pluck up their courage to give their eulogies before hundreds of mourners, it was as touching as it was heartbreaking.
In a desperate attempt to soothe my grieving soul, I was inspired to create a comforting dish that I have lusted after for weeks; truffled mac and cheese. After all my dairy indulgences at the Truffle Kerfuffle food festival I needed to make a version of this homely food without punishing my immune system. And here it is; my gluten free truffled vegan mac and cheese.
You will be surprised at the level of cheesy flavour this dish imparts. The Boy is lucky enough to be blessed with no food intolerances and the concept of a vegan mac and cheese sounded like total gobbledegook to him. Despite his apprehension that I wouldn’t be able to prepare him something worth eating, he managed to devour not just his own serve but wolfed down the extra bowl that I prepared for the following night’s dinner.
For my pasta I used some Barilla gluten free elbows that the lovely people at Barilla sent to me to try a few months back. For those of you who have tried gluten free pasta before, you will appreciate that achieving an al-dente texture is not that easy and many brands will go from chewy and hard to literally falling part in the space of a few seconds. The Barilla pasta cooked to a beautiful texture and I honestly think you could serve it up without telling anyone it’s gluten free and no one would know.
I finished off this dish with a combination of truffle oil and grated fresh Manjimup black truffles. When it is not truffle season, you can opt for using just truffle oil. Keep your left over fresh truffle in a sealed container of uncooked rice to allow the truffle aroma to impart into the rice.
- Packet Barilla gluten free pasta elbows
- ¾ cup raw pine nuts
- 1&3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup of grapeseed oil
- 1.5 tablespoons gluten free corn flour/starch
- ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 tablespoon of white or rice miso
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1 tablespoon of thyme
- Truffle oil and fresh black truffle for garnishing
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Soak pine nuts in water for 2-3 hours or overnight. Drain and add to blender. Blend until crumbly.
- In a heavy saucepan, combine almond milk, oil and corn flour and stir until cornflour dissolved. Bring to simmer over high heat. Once cornflour totally dissolved add mixture to blender. (Note make sure you check your blender is heat-resistant. I use my Omniblend blender which is resistant to very high temperatures).
- Add nutritional yeast, miso, lemon juice, ½ tablespoon of thyme and salt into blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Meanwhile cook pasta elbows as per packet directions. Drain pasta.
- Place cooked pasta in ovenproof bowls and top with blended sauce mixture.
- Cook in the preheated oven for 15-25 minutes or until top becomes crunchy and slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with generous amounts of truffle oil. Shave fresh truffle if available lavishly over the top.
- Enjoy while it’s hot!
This is an original recipe by Chompchomp Barilla gluten free pasta to try without any obligation to develop a recipe or give a favourable review. Regrettably they didn’t include a free truffle to sample as well. The black truffle she used in this recipe was given as part of attending the Hunt and Harvest dinner at the Truffle Kerfuffle festival in Manjimup. For any future companies that wish for Chompchomp to sample their product, please be advised that she is happy to accept any samples of fresh black truffles that they may want her expert opinion on. This will include samples of truffle butter, truffle cheese and any other gluten free truffle product.
I have to come clean. I have been using the Eat Drink Perth festival as an excuse to justify eating out even more than usual. Given the frequency that I dine in restaurants is already quite high, you can imagine what a busy month it has been. It has given me a wonderful opportunity to fall in love with Perth City once again and discover even more fantastic venues to return back to. One of these little discoveries has been Muse Café. I was initially attracted to visit them after reading in the Eat Drink Perth program that they offer both gluten free and vegetarian options for their Saturday High Tea. When informing the Boy that I had booked us a lunch date, I glossed over the finer details as I suspected that the words “High Tea” would have had him running in the opposite direction. Instead I tried to focus on the fact that I had kindly found somewhere specifically vegetarian just for him! Such a good wife. 😉
The café is located in the Old Gaol building in the WA Museum which is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Western Australia. It was built in 1855 and 1856 by convicts but was only used as a gaol until 1886 after which it was closed and the prisoners were all moved to the Fremantle Gaol. It has been used as part of the WA Museum since 1891.
The back of the café opens out onto a leafy courtyard where you can relax and take in the atmosphere of the beautiful old buildings surrounding you. We were shown into a more cosy little room within the building that has been decorated for the purposes of intimate high tea parties.
There are a number of bubbles available to drink including Balgownie Sparkling Brut Yarra for $8 per glass or $35 for a bottle. For those with finer taste there is also Veuve Clicquot champagne by the bottle only. To cleanse the palate, we started off with some fresh watermelon and strawberry salad with mint syrup. Knowing I cannot eat watermelon due to its high fructose content the Boy happily finished mine off for me after I picked out all the strawberries.
Service was attentive but unobtrusive allowing us to sink back into the antique chairs and nibble our way through the first platter. It contained a mixture of gluten free items for me and vegetarian items for the Boy. I did note that everything was served on the same plate however I suffered no reactions to suggest there was any cross contamination. For those particularly sensitive I would suggest pre-requesting that your gluten free items be plated separately.
My gluten free options included two types of frittata; Jerusalem artichoke and spinach, and caramelised onion, goats cheese and thyme. I decided to wear the consequences of a little onion ingestion as there wasn’t much contained in them. The baby berry friand was my favourite with a perfect balance of tart and sweet. Other gluten free items included the fruit salad and the chocolate date torte which the Boy polished off both.
The Boy’s trio of vegetarian sandwiches included cucumber with Meander Valley butter and sea salt; egg, aioli and Swiss chard; and pickled carrot and goats cheese. He paired these finger sandwiches with two lemonade and date scones dolloped with double cream and jam. Despite never being a jam and scones type of guy he still enjoyed them. He even sipped on some cinnamon tea to wash them all down which amazed me as he very rarely drinks tea at all.
Our second platter had three different types of sweets on it. The gluten free passionfruit marshmallows were soft and fluffy making a subtle squelching noise when you bit into them that you only get from fresh mallow. The chocolate pomegranate cakes were also gluten free and were richly decadent with a slight hint of nutty flavour.
The lemon curd tarts were not gluten free being made from a shortbread casing lined with dark chocolate and filled with a tangy curd. Thankfully I was already quite full and it didn’t bother me too much that I couldn’t try them however the Boy ate both and delighted in rubbing it in how delicious he found them.
For the month of April as part of the Eat Drink Perth festivities, Muse café offer high tea every Saturday with two sittings at 11 am and 1 pm for $46 per person. There is a 15% surcharge for gluten free and vegetarian menus. Chompchomp paid in full for both hers and the Boy’s high tea however she did receive a complementary glass of bubbles 😉 Muse café can also offer pre-booked high tea for groups throughout the year. Muse Café Cnr Beaufort and Francis Street, Northbridge, WA 6003 | 0411 708 063 | museum.wa.gov.au/museums/perth/muse-cafe
This afternoon marked the inaugural AHA International Great Waiters Race held over in Claisebrook Cove, East Perth. As part of my official Eat Drink Perth reporting duties I planned to attend this event knowing there would be a number of gluten free options for me to enjoy in the Gourmet Food Village. I took it for granted that the Boy would feel the same way and was quite disappointed when my attempts to convince him to join me failed miserably. It was raining, he had study to do and apparently the idea simply did not appeal to him. As I resigned myself to attend alone, he suggested that we go somewhere local instead and check out the International Vegetarian and Vegan Food Fair at the South Perth Community Centre. I couldn’t find a lot about this food fair on the internet so being curious I obliged to his wish.
Whilst I would never called myself a strict vegetarian, I do eat a predominantly vegetarian diet. I would only really eat meat once or twice a week and it tends to be more of a garnish to the meal than the central point of it. The Boy on the other hand will go out of his way to avoid eating meat and is much more compliant with his vegetarianism than I.
The International Vegetarian and Vegan Food Fair is into its tenth year and they are moving to holding the annual event twice yearly as it has become very popular. The Fair is run by the Dao Ji Association of Perth in order to raise funds for their not for profit organisation. There is a very family friendly vibe with most stall holders very obliging to help work out what is gluten free. There were a wide variety of Malaysian, Thai, Vietnamese, Indonesian and Chinese dishes to try.
All the stall holders had a full list of ingredients on display which made it easy to narrow down which dishes to ask further details with respect to their gluten free status. Most of the mock meats contained gluten however some stall holders used a tofu based product instead. One of my favourite starters were the highly addictive taro and sweet potato rolls. The rice noodle netting was so super crunchy that it was hard to eat without making a lot of noise. Inside the rolls soft, subtly sweet mashed taro and sweet potato felt lusciously smooth and silky in texture.
The Boy had free rein to try whatever he liked as obviously all the dishes were vegetarian and in fact the vast majority of them were also vegan. He really enjoyed the mock fish balls which had a strong, salty flavour. He also tried the “pork” crackling which was made using wheat flour however he didn’t think these were nearly as tasty as his fish balls.
For my main dish I chose the nasi lemek, a beautifully fragrant rice dish made with coconut milk and pandan leaves. The rice accompanied a richly flavoured curry made from coconut milk, galangal, potato, carrot, tofu based mock chicken, chilli and lemongrass. Some fresh cucumber, fried peanuts and tofu skin were served on the side. It was a substantially filling dish and left me feeling pleasantly content.
The Boy ordered the Thai green curry which was made using mock chicken. His dish wasn’t gluten free so I sadly didn’t not get to try any of it however he did comment that my curry tasted much better than his. What a nice change that makes, the gluten free dish tastes better than the normal option!
I couldn’t walk past the Thai sweets stall without buying some layer cake or as it is known in Thai, khanom chan. This dessert was the highlight of the night markets in Thailand as I always knew that they would be gluten free. They have a gelatinous sticky texture with a lovely coconut taste. I planned to take my serve home but ended up eating them all while the Boy wandered off looking for his dessert choice.
He settled on the vegan equivalent of ice cream; ice kachang. For those of you who haven’t travelled in South-east Asia chances are you may not have tried this super sweet dessert. Firstly, a variety of beans, sweet corn, bread and jelly is served and then this is topped with super fine ice shavings. The ice is then drizzled with brightly coloured flavour syrups and condensed milk.
The ice particles are so small that they dissolve on contact with your tongue releasing all the flavours of the syrup. I wasn’t sure if this would be the Boy’s kind of thing but he happily polished off the lot which indicates to me it was a winner.
I cannot believe this fabulous day out has been happening in Perth for a decade and I had no idea of its existence. We had a great day out and I have no regrets missing out on my original plan of attending the Waiters Race. It is an event for all food lovers regardless of whether you are a strict vegan, vegetarian or you are just someone who realises that there are huge environmental, ethical and health benefits if you eat less meat in your diet.
I recently attended a cooking demonstration by gluten free chef Rebecca Kerr as part of the Eat Drink Perth Festival. Like many others on a strict gluten free diet, she has longed for an easy, reliable bread recipe that produces something that tastes good. Gluten free bread is a temperamental food to bake and can often end up tasting too heavy and doughy or worse it ends up like a crumbly savoury cake. Commercially made gluten free bread often has a long list of ingredients many of which include sugars, artificial additives and preservatives. Rebecca discovered for herself a type of flour used in South American and Mexican cooking called masa lista. This is a particular type of flour made from corn by a process called nixtamalization were the corn is pre-cooked in an alkaline solution before being ground. This process releases the glue-like substance from the corn’s cell walls. This resultantly gives the flour an almost gluten-like property whilst still remaining totally gluten free. Basically all you need to do is mix the flour with water, knead it for a few minutes and hey presto; you get a workable dough that can be used to make flat breads.
Inspired by its simplicity I tracked down some Masa lista and made some bread for myself. I have been trying to reduce my meat and dairy intake so I made some vegan, fructose friendly tortillas using nut meat, tomato salsa and coconut “sour cream” to stuff the bread with. I garnished it with the very seasonal, beautiful Pemberton Finger Limes.
As all the stuffing for these breads is vegan and raw, if you wanted to turn this into a completely raw dish you could replace the bread with a lettuce leaf or some other large leaved fresh greens.
- 2 cups masa harina or masa lista
- 1 ½ cups of warm water
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoon tamari or gluten free soy
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes sliced into quarters, or vine ripened tomatoes diced
- 2 tablespoons coriander
- Jalapeños to taste depending on preference
- 3 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1-2 ripe avocados, mashed
- 2 cups young coconut meat
- 2 cups pine nuts soaked for at least one hour
- 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
- ½ cup coconut water
- Mix masa and water together in a bowl and work together into a dough. If it appears too dry you can add some more water. Take a piece of the masa dough and roll into a firm ball the size of a gold ball then flatten into a thick disc. Cook on an oiled or non-stick hot grill until lightly browned and then flip and cook the opposite side. Once cooked you can carefully run a butter knife through the centre to split open like a pita bread.
- Process almonds and walnuts into a powder.
- Place nut meal into a mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Place all ingredients in a bowl and toss until evenly mixed
- Add all ingredients into your high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Assemble nut meat, tomato salsa, avocado puree, coconut sour cream into tortillas and top with finger lime pearls.
Thank you to Rebecca Kerr from Australian Gluten Free Cooking for the inspiration for this dish. The recipe for the nut meat is adapted from “Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen” by Ani Phyo, Da Capo Press (2007).
There are many reasons why eating a raw diet can be both healthier for you, kinder to animals and help save our ailing planet but it does take a lot of commitment and time to prepare many of the dishes. Whilst I enjoy making everything from scratch I am also very time poor. I am greatly appreciative when I find more talented people out there to do the more laborious and technically challenging components of raw cooking. I was recently contacted by Chris from Raw by Chris to collaborate and create some raw dishes that are not just gluten free but also fructose friendly. She was generous enough to deliver me a bag of raw goodies containing an assortment of different raw foods; some ready to eat and others as core ingredients to utilise with my own raw food preparation. I was inspired to utilise each ingredient to its full potential and the first creation I made was this very addictive raw vanilla coconut pudding.
- 2 ½ cups young coconut meat (approx. 4 young coconuts)
- 1 cup of coconut water
- 1 tablespoon of organic vanilla extract
- Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla bean
- Dash sea salt
- 2 tablespoons Coconut butter from Raw by Chris
- Maple syrup to taste (I used 3 teaspoons) ** See note below
- Four Berries Super Food Jam from Raw by Chris for garnishing
- Mix coconut meat, coconut water, vanilla extract, vanilla bean seeds, salt and coconut butter in your OmniBlend or similar high-speed blender and blend until smooth. Add maple syrup (or agave) to taste.
- Serve with Four berries Super food jam or fresh berries.
Many of you may have twigged on that I’m a fan of raw food. Whilst I do not eat strictly raw I am always looking for ways to incorporate it more into my weekly diet at home. I am inspired by those take both veganism and raw food more seriously. Recently when I was out for breakfast at Harvest Espresso I tried a raw macaron made by Raw by Chris and fell in love on the spot.
A sugar free, dairy free, raw, living macaron! After devouring it eagerly I was prompted to contact Chris directly. I was interested to see if she wanted an help to formulate some fructose friendly raw sweets. Most raw food desserts are sweetened naturally with dried fruits which is a big no-no for us fructose malabsorbers. Imagine how happy I was not only was she enthusiastic about the concept, she also wanted me to be her guinea pig…..receive free raw food samples that are both gluten free and fructose friendly? How could I refuse such an offer?
Raw by Chris offer “Raw baskets” for purchase filled with a number of raw food goodies and delivered straight to your front door. The baskets cost $60. My basket of fructose friendly goodies contained the following:
● Coconut vanilla chia pudding with seasonal fresh fruit
● Dessert FM friendly cheesecake
● Four berries superfood jam
● Coconut butter
● Raw vegetable stock powder
● Bread crisps
● Marinated mushroom spread
I started eating my way through the ready-made food first before thinking more creatively how to devour the rest. The coconut vanilla chia pudding was a huge serve with enough in there for two greedy people or more modest servings for 3-4. Buried in the pudding were large chunks of fructose friendly fruits including orange and tart raspberries. There were subtle hints of spices and a gentle, natural tasting sweetness without being bland or flavourless. It was very filling.
The dessert was a fructose friendly raw cheesecake of which I had already been a tester for an earlier prototype. Incredibly it had an almost cheesy taste to it despite it being totally vegan. The berry cheese layer was thick and smooth with the pistachio nutty layer and textured coconut giving some alternate textures without overpowering the luscious cheesy taste.
I liked how there was a combination of dishes that are ready to eat in addition to items that encourage you to create your own masterpieces in the kitchen. The marinated mushroom spread was good enough to eat on its own but I resisted and smeared it generously onto the raw bread crisps. Paired with some fresh tomato, avocado, basil from the garden and a dash of sea salt these tasty snacks were snuffled up at record speed.
Before flying out for our holiday to Vietnam, I was dreaming of coconuts so the night before we flew out I made us different type of raw vanilla coconut pudding without using chia. I used the Raw by Chris Coconut Butter in addition to the Four Berries Superfood Jam which was made from a mix of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, goji berries, chia seeds, banana and spices.
You can find the easy recipe for my raw vanilla coconut pudding here. Its gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly. And it’s delicious.
Whilst I understand my opinion is a little biased as I’m already a fan of Chris’s work, I love how her raw bundle of goodies included a variety of sweet and savoury things, in addition to some useful items you can use in your own food preparations. The bundle makes a great gift but in all honesty if I get one again it won’t make it back out of my kitchen!Disclaimer: I received the Raw Basket from Raw by Chris for free. Despite all these raw delights costing me nothing I would happily have paid for them and look forward to checking out another different round of treats from Raw by Chris in the future. See her website for more or head over to her beautiful blog Tales of a Kitchen.
My friends often joke about an aspect of my personality referred to as the “all or nothing”. According to them, I have a habit of applying this methodology to most of my life. I eat all the cakes or no cakes. I order all the cheese or no cheese. I buy four dresses after a year of buying none. You get the drift. So when the Boy suggested we do a predominately vegetarian, no alcohol detox diet after the New Year, I took the whole idea very seriously and proceeded to book us into a number of vegetarian restaurants around Perth. Just because we were being healthy didn’t mean we had to stop eating out did it? We visited The Raw Kitchen and Solomon’s Café in addition to doing a three day juice cleanse with Au Naturale.
I can tell you that going vego is no longer a boring diet of carrot sticks and hummus; in fact it makes quite the flavoursome lifestyle change. Towards the tail end of our detox we booked lunch at Heavenly Plate online with a Dimmi special which offered a 50% discount off the total bill. Heavenly Plate is a quaint little restaurant positioned on the busy part of Canning Highway just after the bridge in Applecross. As we entered we walked past their menu board and the Boy asked me “Are you SURE this is all vegetarian here? It says chicken and pork on the menu?”
Upon further reading of their menu, I confirmed to the Boy that everything was in fact ALL vegetarian and that the “pork” and “chicken” are made from tofu and other vegetable products. Prior to our visit I had perused over their website and seen that they make some very spectacular looking cakes in house. So before placing our ordering I walked over to check out their cake cabinet and make our selection. There were a number of beautifully decorated cakes on display but unfortunately the waitress informed me that although they were all vegan not a single one was gluten free. I couldn’t hide my disappointment from my crestfallen face.
We started off with a couple of small bites while I pondered on what to do about my cake dilemma as I had totally geared myself up for a sweet feast. Our first dish was the crispy yam rolls, paired with fresh mint and strawberries these rolls were an interesting yet addictive starter. They were made from soft rolls of sweet potato and yam wrapped in vermicelli noodles and subsequently deep fried which turned the noodles into a fine crunchy net encasing the super soft “meat” inside.
None of the remaining starters on their lunch menu were gluten free so we ordered a serve of scrambled “vegan eggs” made from tofu and coloured with turmeric. They looked eerily like real egg and left the same texture in the mouth. The taste was slightly different to egg but certainly didn’t taste overwhelmingly like tofu either. I could see myself successfully tricking a few meat eating friends with this dish!
The Boy ordered the Japanese burger with wedges. His burger was made with a marinated teriyaki “steak” in between two patties of Japanese rice and finished with fresh lettuce, tomato and cucumber.
This dish couldn’t be made gluten free so I didn’t get to taste it but he did say that it was very similar to eating a real meat burger except for the rice bun. He started to scheme how he could fool his carnivorous mates into coming back to Heavenly Plate and eating all these tofu dishes unknowingly. He is a man who loves a good practical joke.
With my cake dismay lingering in my mind, I had to have something sweet for my main. Our waitress told me that both the cinnamon French toast and the pancakes could be made gluten free. I settled on the French toast.
It was a good choice. Those two slices of sweet buttered French toast gave me just the sugar hit I was looking for. The gluten free bread didn’t crumble apart or dissolve like many can do with the rigours of Frenching. Each piece was dusted lightly in cinnamon sugar just like my mum used to do and was served with maple syrup and mixed berry compote. Some extra compote was served on the side so that the toast didn’t go too soggy on the plate. A thoughtful touch.
At half price this was a definitely a lunch worth eating however I cannot deny I was disappointed in the number of gluten free options especially the lack of even just one cake. There are a few interesting creations on the menu in addition to a few dishes that will surprise your meat eating friends into enjoying eating vegan. Wonders never cease!Heavenly Plate 2/899 Canning Highway, Applecross WA 6153 | (08) 9316 8818 | www.heavenlyplate.com.au Price: $$ (Entrée $7-13, Main $13-22) Food: 3/5 (101 ways to eat tofu without knowing it’s tofu) Service: 3/5 (a little slow to start but unobtrusive and friendly) Ambience: 3/5 (has a quaint French provincial style) Drinks: 2/5 (fruit drinks tasted a little artificial) Total: 11/20