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.
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.
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.
If you live in Perth and have attended any food festivals or hawkers markets, you will probably will have heard of Red Hot Spatula. Lead by Yvonne Bleach with additional help from her family members, they have become one of my guaranteed sources of a gluten free dish when at a food festival as often, unfortunately, this can be a little lacking from other stall holders.
I first met Yvonne a couple of years ago at Perth’s famous Cake Club. Since then we have become great friends and will often cross paths at the various food events we both attend. In addition to feeding the market-loving masses, Red Hot Spatula also provides a catering service in addition to running a variety of cooking classes in their commercial kitchen located in Middle Swan. Topics of these classes range from Asian cuisines such as Chinese Dim Sum and Malaysian, to Spanish Tapas and making pasta.
My last Red Hot Spatula class that I attended was about a year ago before she had her own kitchen to work in. I haven’t had the chance to attend one of her classes since, so when she kindly invited me and a guest to her Singapore Hawkers Food cooking class it was an offer that was too good to refuse. I invited Colleen who is one of my close friends from work to join me. Her parents lived in Singapore for years and she is a big fan of Hawkers food.
The classes are conducted in small group sessions of no more than ten people. I recommend that you make sure to arrive with a big appetite as you will leave the cooking class feeling very full. For our Singapore hawkers food cooking class Yvonne and her mum demonstrated to us how to prepare five different dishes which were served up over the course of the evening. Our first course was grilled crisp tofu pockets (Tahu Bakar) with Rojak sauce.
To prepare these the tofu puffs are cut in half and grilled over hot pan before being stuffed with a flavoursome filling made from roasted shrimp paste, chilli and tamarind along with some fresh bean sprouts, cucumber and then topped with roasted peanuts. These tasty morsels didn’t last long!
Our second course was Ngoh Hiang, which I can basically describe as kind of a Hawkers version of a sausage roll, but much tastier! The meat stuffing is made from minced pork belly, dried shrimps, coarsely chopped prawns, water chestnuts, carrot and soy.
The stuffing is wrapped in bean curd skin before being steamed and then deep fried. It was mesmerizing to see how neatly Yvonne’s mother could wrap each roll in succession with every roll matching the exact size of that before it.
Our next course was one of my favourite South-east Asian street foods, otak otak. It is a snack that I know will always be gluten free and tastes amazing. For those not in the know, otak otak are a type of fish cake which wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
They are made using blended white fish combined with egg white, rice flour, coconut cream and a variety of spices including turmeric, candlenuts, kaffir lime, lemongrass, garlic, belacan (dried shrimp paste) and chilli.
Having successfully worked our way through three entrées it was time to move onto our main course, Rochor mee or fried Hokkien prawn noodles. Being mindful of the risk of contamination with gluten for cooking Yvonne was very kind to make up a gluten free batch of noodles for me first by omitting the wheat noodles before going onto cook the more traditional style for the remaining guests.
I always thought noodles were just a quick, almost lazy dish made with a bunch of ingredients all thrown into a wok with a dash of soy and a splish of fish sauce. Maybe that’s why I was never really a big noodle eater. But these noodles were out of this world! I found out that the secret trick that makes these noodles so incredibly delicious was that they were cooked in a homemade prawn stock.
Yvonne showed us how to prepare the stock before cooking up a big batch of noodles for the gluten eaters with both the rice noodles and the wheat noodles. She also tossed in bean sprouts, fish cake, fresh prawns, squid rings and pork belly. Despite serving up a huge plate, everyone managed to eat every last morsel.
Despite groans around the table of fullness followed by a lot of belly patting, it didn’t take long for us to find some room for our final course, little bite size sweets called Ondeh ondeh. These are made from pandan flavoured glutinous rice flour and filled with liquid palm sugar which bursts into your mouth when you bite into them. Despite having already eaten so much, there were hard to resist.
As the night drew to an end I was thankful I had only eaten a small lunch as we had certainly worked our way through a lot of food. I was amazed at how easy it was to prepare Hawkers food gluten free. Each class participate received a full list of recipes from all the dishes so Colleen and I promised to each other that our next catch up will have to be trialling these recipes out for ourselves!Disclaimer: Chompchomp and her companion Colleen were invited guests of Red Hot Spatula. Red Hot Spatula Cooking Classes Unit 5/5 Toodyay Road, Middle Swan, WA 6056 | www.redhotspatula.com.au
One of my most popular recipes on the blog is my coconut flour banana bread. It is one of our staples at home and whenever we have browning bananas in the fruit bowl I will get a request from the Boy to bake it. Since I first published the recipe in early 2013, I have progressively made some tweaks to improve it whilst not taking away from its purpose of being somewhat healthy.
I found that by adding in chia seeds to my original recipe along with beefing it up with a few more eggs, the end result is banana bread with much improved texture without any of its predecessors crumbliness. This banana bread toasts beautifully and with the increased fibre content of the coconut flour it can be quite filling.
I was recently approach by Belmont Forum to provide recipes for publication on recipe cards to be displayed in their centre and I knew this paleo banana bread would be a total hit. Better still, it is very allergy friendly as it is grain free, gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly.
- Makes 1 loaf
- 400 g ripe bananas
- 6 free range organic eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¼ cup (50 grams) coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
- ¼ cup (65 grams) pure maple syrup
- ½ cup (55 grams) coconut flour
- ¼ cup (35 grams) chia seed
- Extra banana and shredded coconut to decorate
- Preheat your oven to 150 Celsius (fan forced) or 170 C (no fan).
- Combine banana, oil, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, maple syrup and baking powder into a blender or food processor and blend until creamy and combined. For those with a Thermomix blend for 2-3 mins | Speed 5. or until smooth and creamy. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a large bowl.
- Add the coconut flour and chia seeds and mix through. (Thermomix 2 min | Speed 2)
- Rest for 10-15 minutes to allow the chia and coconut flour to expand.
- Lightly oil one loaf tin and then line with baking paper.
- Spoon batter into the tin, at this stage you can decorate the bread with flaked coconut and sliced banana before baking.
- Bake for 55 – 60 minutes depending on your oven (a skewer inserted into the centre should come out dry). Cover the top with foil if over-browning.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before turning out the loaf.
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.
Over recent weeks I have been providing you with insider coverage of the inaugural WA Signature Dish competition run by Buy West Eat Best; a government initiative to help promote eating locally grown and made produce. I was appointed as the official blogger for the Gascoyne region and travelled up to Carnarvon to attend the regional final.
The three other participating regions were Perth and Surrounds, Southern Forests and the Great Southern. Each region’s finalist received one-on-one mentoring by their delegated chef to help prepare them for the Grand Finale held at the Perth Cultural Centre on WA Day. On the big day, the Cultural Centre was alive with activity with much to see and do for people of all ages.
The WA Day event was a free event and the Buy West Eat Best tent was packed full of stalls offering tastings of all sorts of local deliciousnesses including banana smoothies, gelato, oils, condiments and best of all, gluten free lupin flour chocolate cake. I was joined by two of my dear friends Foodie Cravings and Perth Munchkin who were also attending as official bloggers representing Perth and the Great Southern.
Each contestant had ninety minutes to prepare their dish from scratch using a variety of ingredients sourced from their region. Rhiannon Birch was competing for the Perth and Surrounds region and her dish was Dorper lamb with a lupin and za’tar crust with sweet potato and lupin salad with Moroccan flavours. Much to my approval her dish is entirely gluten free.
Clare King’s dish came from the Great Southern region titled “A Celebration of Beef in Thai style” and was made using a luscious Butterfield beef fillet topped with pearls of Pemberton Finger Limes.
Many of you have already been following on the blog the story of Paul Kelly, the contestant for the Gascoyne region with his Gascoyne tasting plate. This colourful plate included Shark Bay wild King prawns with salsa verde, plantation vegetable gazpacho with Abacus crab sticks, Shark Bay snapper ceviche and some simple pan-fried Shark Bay Pink snapper with lime mayonnaise and pickled Gascoyne vegetables.
Competing for the Southern Forests region, the softly spoken Alana Starkie prepared some stunning fresh Southern Forest marron with a Pink Lady apple, avocado and lime salsa. To make the competition even more challenging, throughout the entire cook off the four contestants were individually interviewed by both their chef and the hosts Anna Gare and Don Hancey. I was surprised how well they all kept their cool under pressure and kept their focus on cooking!
The final decision for the winning dish was made by the panel of high profile judges; Guillaume Brahimi, Ralf Vogt and Rob Broadfield. You could nearly hear a pin drop in the packed marquee as each judge carefully tasted the four dishes.
Whilst the quality and standard of each dish was high, there can only ever be one winner and this year the winner was Rhiannon Birch for her Perth dish of Dorper lamb with a lupin and za’tar crust with sweet potato and lupin salad with Moroccan flavours.
For the recipes for all the contestants dishes head over to the Buy West Eat Best website.
The Buy West Eat Best WA Signature Dish Finale was a free event held on the 2nd of June 2014 at the Perth Cultural Centre. I would like to thank buy West Eat Best and all the team at Clarity Communications for allowing me to be part of this fabulous WA Signature Dish experience. Also thanks to Paul Kelly and Chef Peter Manifis for putting in such an incredible effort for the Gascoyne region. Fingers crossed for a win next year!
The Gascoyne region in the north-west of our State is sometimes called the “food bowl of Western Australia”. It includes the regions of Exmouth, Carnarvon and Shark Bay and forms the gateway to the world-famous Ningaloo Reef where you are able to swim in the sea alongside the majestic whale sharks. The climate is warm all year round with average temperatures ranging from around 25- 30 C allowing an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables to be cultivated including bananas, mangos and tomatoes.
The region is also well known for its freshly caught seafood which includes snapper, mullet, whiting, prawns, scallops and crab. I am really looking forward to our travels up North for the WA Signature Dish regional final in early May as I know I will be literally living on seafood. After a whole month of Eat Drink Perth overindulgence my heart and liver will surely be thanking me.
In the lead up to our Gascoyne road trip I was inspired to cook one of my old time favourites from a Kylie Kwong book my mother bought me years ago. The original recipe was for a 750 gram snapper however when I sent the Boy to the fishmongers to gather all the ingredients I needed, he came back with a 3 kg Red Emperor. Slight difference! I shouldn’t complain, a whole Exmouth Red Emperor with prawns sounds and looks even more impressive than a snapper.
His reasoning was that it was much prettier than the snapper. Fair call. Additionally I believe it is one of the most beautiful tasting fish caught from the Gascoyne region. To allow for the super-sizing I have had to amend quantities and cooking times from the original recipe. I have also made some adaptations to utilise more Gascoyne ingredients including tomatoes and fresh chilli. and of course I have ensured it is gluten free and fructose friendly
- 400 gm cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch tarragon
- Cracked white pepper
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 x 2-3kg whole Red Emperor, scaled, cleaned and gutted
- 320gm fresh uncooked prawn meat, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons finely diced lemongrass
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced ginger
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce/tamari
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon very finely sliced lemongrass cut on the diagonal
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced large red chilli
- Preheat oven to 150C (300F).
- Place the cherry tomatoes in a large roasting tin, drizzle with half of the olive oil and sprinkle with tarragon sprigs, pepper and half the salt.
- Cover the tin with foil and roast for 30 minutes.
- Removed foil and roast for a further 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and wilted. Remove tomatoes from the oven and set aside to cool slightly before drizzling with vinegar and sprinkling with the remaining salt.
- Meanwhile, put all the stuffing ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pat fish dry with paper towel and place on a large, oiled oven tray. Fill fish cavity with stuffing mixture, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle with a little pepper. Wrap the tail of the fish in foil to prevent it burning when in the oven.
- Cover tray the whole tray with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and roast for a further 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the fish, it should be just cooked through when tested. The flesh should be white through to the bone. If the flesh is still translucent, cook for another minute or so.
- Carefully slide the fish into a large, shallow bowl. Pour over reserved tomatoes with their pan juices and garnish with lemongrass and chilli. Serve immediately.
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).
I am a massive believer in sourcing local produce and will go out of my way to ensure the majority of food I eat is locally grown, fished, farmed and produced in this beautiful State I call home. The logical way for me to do this is to buy direct from the producers themselves however this can be a very time consuming process when you want to eat a wide range of food!
Buy West Eat Best is a government funded food labelling program which makes my life easier by providing a way of clearly identifying Western Australian produce. In order to use the logo businesses must apply and need to meet certain criteria before being registered. Regular random checks are performed to ensure compliance at both the retail and the manufacturing level.
WA’s Signature Dish is an exciting competition to be hosted by Buy West Eat Best over the next few months. The competition is open to amateur cooks who love food and cooking but are not professional chefs. The aim is to find the ultimate recipe that puts our State on the plate.
Regional food councils from around the State will be participating allowing each region to show off their key star ingredients. The four regions are Perth and Surrounds, Southern Forests, the Gascoyne and the Great Southern. I have been selected as the official blogger for the Gascoyne region and in the lead up to the event finale I will be updating you with the competition’s progress with particular attention to the Gascoyne. My dear friend Foodie Cravings will be the official blogger for Perth and Surrounds, the adorable Perth Munchkin will be covering the Great Southern and You Tube chef sensation Nicko’s Kitchen will cover the Southern Forests.
If you would like to enter your recipe into the competition, head over to their website and look at the different regions to select your ingredients. Ensure that your dish contains at least one ingredient from the listed choices. You do not have to live in the region you choose to compete in however you do need to be a West Australian resident. Using your chosen ingredient/s, you need to create an original recipe that you feel is worthy enough to be named WA’s Signature Dish.
There will be a cook-off held in each region at the end of this month in order to select the regional winners. These four winners will then be each mentored individually by a leading WA chef to compete at the Grand Finale cook-off in Perth on WA Day on the 2nd of June 2014.
The final winner will be chosen by a panel of three high profile chefs; Guillaume Brahimi from Bistro Guillaume, Rob Broadfield, the Food Editor at The West Australian, and Ralf Vogt the Executive Chef at the Crown Perth.
Entries close 7th April 2014. For more information and how to enter head over to the Buy West Eat Best website.
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.
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.
I dare you to stop at just one slice.
Firstly gather your ingredients; all you will need is some gluten free bread, ripe tomatoes, fresh garlic, olive oil and sea salt. I used Schar’s Pane Casereccio which has a great continental texture and toasts beautifully.
Cut a garlic clove in half and rub the cut side onto the slice of toasted bread until the clove is worn down and falling to pieces.
Slice a ripe tomato in half and then rub the cut side of the tomato generously onto the toast.
Use one tomato half for one to two pieces of bread and allow most of the tomato pulp to be absorbed by the bread.
Drizzle with olive oil, salt to taste and voila! Gluten free tomato bread! Eat immediately!
A little shout out of thank to my dear husband for being my hand model. 😉 xxx
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.
She recently conducted a series of cooking classes themed on Asian and Exotic food at the Accento Home Kitchen in Claremont. I chose to attend the evening titled “Cambodia and Thailand – The art of balancing flavours from fresh herbs to chillies”. I invited one of my close friends Tara to join me knowing she would enjoy this style of girl’s night out as much as I would, especially as it included wine!
For the duration of the evening we all sat around the exquisite gourmet kitchen in a very relaxed manner laughing, giggling and sharing stories about food. Each course was carefully matched with wines from Swan Valley Wines, a boutique family winery that has produced wines in the valley for over twenty years.
We were all provided with detailed recipes for each dish including tips on where to obtain the freshest and cheapest ingredients around Perth. For someone who has very little spare time in the kitchen, I was impressed with how easy each dish was to prepare and felt confident I could take the recipes and new skills straight home with me and prepare something delicious for the Boy and I to enjoy together.
I offer a word of warning about these cooking classes; make sure you arrive with an empty belly! I was glad I had prepared for such a feast and eaten a very light lunch. By the time we got to the dessert we were all pleasantly full. Needless to say that didn’t stop Tara and I reaching for the bowl of sauce for the sweet sticky rice and scraping out the least dregs with our spoons grinning childishly.
The next round of Red Hot Spatula’s cooking classes kick off from October 2013 and will be held at their new facilities in Middle Swan. She will be covering a variety of popular topics including gluten free cooking, how to make healthy lunch boxes for fussy eaters, how to use super foods to promote better health and how to pull together the perfect High Tea.
For more information on their upcoming events and contact details head over to Red Hot Spatula’s Facebook page.
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!
- ½ cup plain or unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 cups organic baby spinach
- 1 frozen banana
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- 1 T raw cacao powder
- 1 T mesquite powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Place all ingredients into the blender and blend on high for one minute or until smooth. Drink immediately.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried herbs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 large stalks celery (diced)
- 2 medium carrots (diced)
- ¾ cup chopped parsley (about ½ bunch)
- 2 medium carrots
- ¾ cup water
- ½ cup cashew
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 medium sweet potato
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, seasoning, salt and pepper. Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until finely ground. Scrape into the bowl with oil and spices. Add celery, carrots and parsley to the mixture.
- In a high speed blender, combine the water, cashews, coconut oil, cumin and salt. Blend until very smooth. Add the sweet potato and carrot and blend again until very smooth, creamy & warm
The Boy’s review of the Sweet treat smoothie & Holiday Medley with Sweet Potato Mash:It is a shame that the Raw Food Meatless Monday challenge is ending as I have been enjoying being surprised with a new meal and smoothie to try each week and it has been a great way to start the week. I have been impressed by how good these raw dishes have been and can say without a doubt I am now a big fan! The Holiday Medley with Sweet Potato Mash was a pleasure to eat and tasted fantastic however I think I may have eaten more then I should have as it gave me a bit of indigestion for an hour or two afterwards. Despite not looking overly appetising the Sweet Treat Smoothie was surprisingly delicious and was more like a desert then a drink. Hopefully Chomp will continue experimenting with Raw food and I will get to enjoy some of her experiments again in the near future!
Here is the final list of links to the blender recipes that I have created with my OmniBlend. The concept is for each Monday to not only stick with Meatless Monday and eat only vegetarian but to take it to the next level and make it a Raw Food Meatless Monday. For the whole day we will only eat raw, vegan, gluten free, dairy free and fructose friendly.
Omniblend Australia provided me with an free Omniblend V machine to use to develop these recipes. Read my review for more information. Super Foods provided me with free Organic Cacao and Organic Mesquite powder which inspired me to prepare these recipes.