29 February 2012

Guilt Free Hot Chocolate

When I told my eight year old son that chocolate is a bean, he refused to believe me. I got to show him the proof only this week, when I found roasted raw cocoa beans at our local organic store. It's the first time I've used them this way, so I decided to start small, with a warm cup of cocoa. Our family is now on a GFDF diet, so I used almond milk - this could easily be substituted with cows milk, but may lose a little of the nutty flavour. 

  • raw cocoa beans (about 15)
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 vanilla bean (split) or 1/2 tsp vanilla

23 February 2012

Seven Hour Lamb

I first tried a similar recipe to this from Stephanie Alexander's book: Cooking and Travelling in South West France. For those reading who are not Australian, she is as close to we get as a mother and mentor to all food lovers. She doesn't only cook - she also used to run one of the most famous restaurants in Melbourne, and now she has "retired" to the garden - A kitchen garden, for kids. She's a bit of a superwoman really...


I made her 7-hour lamb with anchovies and garlic, and it was incredible. When I tried to lift the leg out of the pot, the entire bone came away. Our neighbours had been smelling at our door all day, and literally came begging - for food, and the recipe.

I've made it several times since. I still call it seven hour lamb, but sometimes its 7 hours at 120°C, and others its 5 hours at 140°C. Sometimes I make it with a bone-in leg of lamb, and sometimes I make it without the bone. Sometimes it fits in a pot, and others, when it doesn't (like last night), I put it in a deep tray and cover it with a few layers of foil. It always works. It's a fairly traditional french recipe, and it appears many chefs make a version (including Nigella). My simplified one is below.

17 February 2012

Madagascan Tea Cake

I have some gorgeous Madagascan Bourbon Vanilla in my pantry. For some reason, I'd been saving it for something special, using vanilla sugar or standard vanilla essence in my cooking. Now I'm avoiding using excess sugar, I find myself stretching into my pantry and grasping for flavours that will disguise the fact that my baking is not sweet. The wonderful thing about this is that without extra sugar, you can taste all the tropical flavours - mango, coconut, vanilla and lime. I have to admit though - I'd prefer it with a daiquiri, not tea...

  • 4 eggs
  • 250g mango (or one 425g tin, drained) 
  • 400ml flour (I use gluten free)
  • 4 tsp (20ml) baking powder
  • 125ml virgin coconut oil
  • 100ml sugar 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1tsp salt

12 February 2012

Corn bread without the corn meal

OK - so if you've read previous posts, I'm ditching wheat. I've said goodbye to dairy. I'm getting as much sugar as possible out of our diets. I'm also using unprocessed and non-preserved items wherever I can, to avoid a whole heap of toxic nasties. Also, when refining into meal, corn loses some of its natural goodness. Now, I'm not saying this is all good, but for my family, not only is this a better alternative to ahem, the alternative, but it ticks the other boxes (wheat, dairy, sugar), and hides a daily vegetable. And I can put them in a lunchbox.

  1. 2 cups self raising gluten free flour*
  2. 1 cup finely grated carrot (1 medium to large carrot should do it)
  3. 1 cup steamed corn kernels
  4. 125ml coconut milk
  5. 125ml olive oil
  6. 2 eggs
  7. pinch of salt

08 February 2012

Teff cookies

After a week of easing my family onto the GFCF diet, I am starting to take things a little more seriously. I have decided that the importance of reducing sugar is in fact outweighed by gluten, casein and toxic nasties, so I have spent plenty of time down at the organic health food shop this week looking for alternative grains and healthier sweeteners.

My friend Edwina put me onto teff. It's a tiny Ethiopian gluten-free grain, and she suggested to mix it with rice flour. First go - Teff cookies, and they are great! This is a super easy recipe, using only one measuring cup. Mine was 100ml (about 4 oz), but you could use anything between about 75ml (3 oz) and 150ml (6oz), maybe adding another egg yolk if you get towards doubling the size.

03 February 2012

Spiced Quinoa

I don't know if you read my main blog, or just the recipes here - but our family is making a drastic change to our diet. We are eliminating wheat, dairy, and all heavily processed items and synthetic products - including sugar. So, time to embrace other grains, and I'm starting with the king - quinoa. This is super-duper health food, and has too many benefits to list here. Check out the link below if you don't believe me. I've cooked quinoa before, but only plain, and I didn't think I'd have a chance of converting the kids that way. Hence the spiced version...

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground coriander (cilantro)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1 cup quinoa (washed)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or salted water)
  • fresh coriander to garnish

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