Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipes. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 May 2022

Super Soups

Split pea and celery soup.
It's the tail end of autumn, and it's starting to get cool here.  By that I mean the temperature is in single digits in the morning when I wake up.  I realise that in England and places like that this morning's six deg C temperature would have been considered quite mild, but here in the subtropics we call that cold.

To me, that means it's the perfect time for soup.

Soup is quick to prepare, nutritious, and can be refrigerated or frozen and reheated. For people like me who have limited energy for cooking, but need really healthy food it's perfect.

It's simply a matter of throwing the ingredients in a saucepan with stock, simmering until everything is tender, and then blending if you want a smoother texture.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • Split pea and celery.  
  • Canned five bean mix, frozen diced vegetables and canned tomatoes.
  • Chopped sweet potato, red lentils, canned tomatoes, lemon juice and curry powder.
  • Ham bone, split peas and carrots.
  • Bacon and canned tomatoes.
A big pot of any of these makes up several tasty, warming meals for the cold weather.

So lovely, lupies, what are your favourite easy winter warming meals?

Sunday, 21 August 2022

No Fuss Nutrition: Salsa Plus

Salsa plus with rice.
I love to cook, really I do.  But I don't always have the energy to cook a proper meal. So I keep looking for ways to get healthy and tasty food, with minimal effort.

One of the ingredients I really love is canned beans.  They have all the nutrition of dried beans, but without the preparation work involved in pre-soaking.

That brings me to my Salsa Plus.  What's that you say?  Well it's a simple mix of a drained and washed can of four bean mix or five bean mix, a drained can of corn kernels, and a jar of tomato salsa (I use mild - but go as spicy as you like.) Just put them all in a dish and stir them together. It will last in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days.

I started making this to go with corn chips (obvious choice), but I discovered that it's also great mixed through rice, or served with a garden salad. It's quick, cheap, tasty, healthy, and requires very little effort or planning - pretty much all the boxes ticked for me.

Thursday, 18 August 2022

No-fuss Nutrition: Minestrone in Minutes

Minestrone, made with minimal
If you're like me, you really want healthy home-cooked meals. You just don't have enough energy to cook them.

This minestrone is one of my favourite quick-fix-meals.  It takes very little effort, but is still healthy and tasty.

The first thing to remember is you need a big saucepan.  The second thing to remember is there's no set amounts of things.  You can put in as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.

Canned four-bean mix or five bean mix, drained and rinsed. (It's important to rinse.  The liquid they're canned in tastes bad and can give you a tummy pain.)
A peeled and chopped up onion (this is the most work in the whole recipe, so leave it our if you're really short on energy.)
A can of crushed tomatoes.
Some tomato paste.
Vegetable stock powder or cubes or the more expensive liquid stuff if you think it's any better.
Frozen mixed vegetables - the ones cut into small pieces.
Pasta (I use gluten free) or rice.
Herbs: I used garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
Some dried red lentils, washed.

Put it all in the pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the pasta or rice is tender. (If you use whole grain rice, it might take 20 minutes.)

Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated.

Friday, 20 November 2022

Being Prepared

Image: salad with chick pea patties
Pre-cut vegetables, with tomato, chick pea patties and
salad dressing.
I struggle at times to eat properly.  I get to the end of the day, and I just don't have the energy to
prepare a meal.

I'm trying something new - a way to make preparing a meal much easier.

I'm pre-cutting my vegetables.

For the past couple of weeks, I've set aside a day (the day after grocery day) to do two things - to bake something as "treats" for the week, such as biscuits or cupcakes, and to put a week's worth of vegetables through the shredder attachment on the Kenwood Chef.

The idea is that I save energy by only cleaning up my Kenwood Chef once a week, and by reducing the amount of preparation for meals throughout the week.

What I've shredded is a mix of cabbage, carrot, onion, capsicum and celery.  Left dry and in a sealed container in the fridge, this will easily last all week.

It's a good mix, because it's versatile.

Used with a mayonaise style dressing, it's a coleslaw.

Cooked with some lean beef mince, canned tomatoes, a couple of herbs and some olives, it's a bolognese.

Cooked with some lean meat strips and soy sauce, it's a stirfry to go over rice.

Add some tomato and possibly a lettuce leaf or a slice or two of cucumber, along with a fat-free salad dressing, it's a basic salad to have with just about anything.  (In the picture I have chick pea patties:  a can of chickpeas, drained in a colander and then washed under running water, mashed.  Mixed with some garlic sesame seeds and whatever herbs I feel like.  Then formed into patties and cooked in a pan that's been sprayed with canola oil spray.)

Add canned beans, canned tomato, herbs and stock (or tomato paste), it can make a minestrone-style soup.

The effect of preparing my vegetables in advance has been that I've made myself healthy meals now for a week and a half.  I've been looking forward to meals again, rather than just eating whatever is easiest or not bothering to eat.

That little bit of saved effort in preparation and clean-up really has made a huge difference for me. Between meals I mostly have fresh fruit, but I also have small treats I have baked so I don't feel any need or even want of any other "junk food".

Thursday, 12 September 2022

Two Kinds of Gluten Free Cupcakes

Here's two gluten-free cupcake recipes I made for my daughter's birthday yesterday.  

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes and
Mandarin and Macadamia Cupcakes.
One is based on the Chocolate on Chocolate Cake recipe I shared earlier in the year.

The other is a variation on the orange and almond flourless cakes which are so often the gluten-free cake option at coffee shops.

Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

For cake:
125g dairy-free margarine
90g caster sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
100g dark cooking chocolate (check it is dairy-free)

For icing
1 cup gluten free icing mix
2 tablespoons pure cocoa
1 tablespoon dairy free margarine
1 to 2 tablespoons lactose-free milk

For decoration
25g dark chocolate (dairy-free)

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. 
  2. Cream margarine and sugar together and add eggs, one at a time, beating in between.
  3. Fold in almond meal, baking powder, sifted flour and cocoa.
  4. Melt 100g dark cooking chocolate, and mix into the cake batter. (To melt chocolate, place in a bowl, sit bowl in a larger bowl of hot water and allow chocolate to melt - do not allow any water to get into the chocolate.)
  5. Place spoonfuls of mix in paper patty cases. (Makes 24 patty cake size cakes or 18 muffin size cakes.)
  6. Bake for 20 minutes
  7. Place cakes on a wire rack to cool.
  8. Beat together icing ingredients, until light and fluffy.
  9. Pipe or spread icing over cakes.
  10. Decorate by grating chocolate over top of cakes.

Mandarin and Macadamia Cupcakes

For cakes
4 mandarins
250g raw macadamias
250g dairy-free margarine
1 cup caster sugar
3 eggs
1 cup polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder

For icing
1 cup gluten free icing mixture
1 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
1 to two tablespoons mandarin juice

For decoration
Skin of 2 mandarins
2 tablespoons caster sugar

  1. Shred the mandarin skins (for decorations).
  2. Put whole mandarins for cake, and mandarin skins in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil.  Drain and repeat twice more.
  3. Set aside the whole mandarins to cool.  Toss the mandarin skin in caster sugar and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  5. Process macadamias in a food processor. Stop processing while you still have some slightly larger pieces, don't let it just become nut meal.
  6. Cut whole mandarins and carefully remove the seeds. Then process the mandarins in a food processor until pulpy.
  7. Beat margarine and sugar until light and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat between additions.  
  8. Gently fold in polenta, baking powder and nuts.  Then mix in mandarins. The mix will be "sloppy" - which is OK, polenta soaks up a lot of liquid while it's cooking.
  9. Fill paper patty cases with mixture. This will do 24 regular paper patty cases, or 18 muffin cases. (You will need to have the paper cases in patty tins or muffin tins, the mix is far to wet to just have the paper cases on a flat oven tray)  It's OK to fill the cases right to the top, as the cakes do not rise much at all.
  10. Bake 35 minutes.  You will  notice that they just begin to brown.
  11. Allow to cool. (Cool ten minutes in the tins before putting on to wire racks to cool completely.)
  12. When you remove the cakes from the oven, leave the oven on.  Spread the sugared mandarin peel over a baking-paper-lined oven tray.
  13. Place peel in oven for ten minutes, then turn off the oven and leave to cool with the mandarin peel inside. (The idea is to try the peel out thoroughly). 
  14. Beat icing ingredients together until light and fluffy. 
  15. Spread or pipe icing over cakes.
  16. Decorate with dried mandarin peel.
Both of these cupcakes can be stored in the freezer.

Wednesday, 4 September 2022

Gluten-free Chocolate Brownies

Gluten free, low lactose and freezeable, this is one of my family's favourite desserts.  It's rich, dense, and if warmed before serving very gooey. I usually make a double batch and freeze them.


150g dairy free margarine
375g dark cooking chocolate (broken or chopped into small pieces)
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup light sour cream
3/4 cup almond meal
1/2 cup gluten-free plain flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon extra cocoa

  1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C.
  2. Line a lamington tin with baking paper.
  3. Melt margarine and chocolate over low heat, stirring.
  4. Add in brown sugar and cook, stirring for two minutes.  Allow to cool.
  5. Beat together eggs and sour cream.  Mix into the chocolate mixture.
  6. Add in almond meal, and sifted plain flour and cocoa.
  7. Mix well, pour into lamington tin and bake for 50 minutes. (Note: you cannot test this like a cake - while it's hot it's gooey. When it's cooked, a skewer inserted in the middle will come out covered in chocolate goo.  Just trust the timing.)
  8. Sprinkle with the extra cocoa (I put the cocoa in a strainer and shake over the brownie to spread it evenly.)
  9. Allow to cool thoroughly while in the lamington tin.  Do not try to cut this while hot - it will just stick to the knife.
  10. Cut into 20 squares.

Thursday, 11 July 2022

Recipe: Lactose Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Last night, I ate ice cream for dinner. I have a cold and my throat is incredibly sore.  Ice cream seemed like a good idea.  You can buy lactose free ice cream at the supermarket, but it's dearer than the regular stuff.  I make mine at home.  Here's my recipe.

Lactose Free Chocolate Ice Cream

Image: Chocolate Ice Cream in ice-cream churn.
Chocolate Ice Cream

4 egg yolks
2 cups low-fat lactose-free milk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cornflour (pure maize)

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.
Cook, stirring, over medium heat, until the custard thickens.
Chill custard in refrigerator until very cold.
Pour into an ice cream churn (I use ice-cream attachment of my Kenwood Chef), and churn about ten minutes until frozen.

Don't have an ice cream churn? You can try part-freezing in a shallow dish, taking out to beat, part-freezing again, beating again and then freezing.

For other flavours: leave out the cocoa, and replace with  a teaspoon of vanilla extract, rosewater essence, or peppermint essence, etc.  You could try adding pureed berries when the ice cream is almost frozen.

Suggestions for the whites saved from your eggs: Coconut Macaroons or Blueberry and Almond Pavlova.)

Monday, 8 July 2022

Gluten Free Treat: Coconut Macaroons

I haven't felt like eating anything for days, but yesterday afternoon Little Miss from upstairs came for a visit, and asked if we could do some baking.  I was reluctant, but was eventually persuaded, and was glad of it later. We made these lovely little coconut macaroons, which are a favourite in my family, and which did tempt me to eat. I ate, and enjoyed, two of them.

These little delights are half-way between a meringue and a biscuit, a little bit crispy on the outside, and soft and sweet inside.  

You'll notice they don't look at all like the "Masterchef" style macaroons which are perfectly round, and sandwiched together with some sort of cream.  This is what I knew as macaroons as a child.

Coconut Macaroons

2 egg whites
1 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons rice flour
2/3 cup caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180 deg C.

Line two biscuit trays with baking paper.

Beat egg whites to form stiff peaks.

Add sugar, a little at a time, beating with each addition.

Gently fold in coconut and rice flour.

Mound teaspoonfuls on the prepared trays.

Bake until lightly browned.  (In my old gas oven this was 12 minutes.  In my new electric oven it's about 15.  Start checking after 10.)

Variation:  If you use shredded coconut, you will get the same taste, but a very different texture and look.

These macaroons are very energy-dense, with lots of carbohydrate and fat as well as a little protein. They are definitely only a "sometimes" food. (In my house a double batch can disappear in an afternoon.)

Wednesday, 22 May 2022

Gluten And Lactose Free Treats - Trio of Old-Fashioned Lollies

I haven't posted a lot this week. I've been busy, and it gets busier after today (I have a wedding cake to make tomorrow.)
Coconut Ice, Chocolate Fudge and
Peanut Brittle all packaged up.
On Sunday, my daughter and I spent the day making some of her favourite lollies, for her wedding. (My future son-in-law was roped in to do some beating as well.)

I thought I'd share those recipes with you. They are all gluten free and lactose free, for those of you, who like me, have reactions to both of those things. 

(Note: you will need a sugar thermometer, and a very large saucepan - the boiling sugar takes up far more room than the ingredients look like they'll take when you first measure them. I use caster sugar because it dissolves quickly, but you can also use regular white sugar.)

Coconut Ice
3 cups caster sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups desiccated coconut
pink food colouring
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

  1. Line a 30cm x 30cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, mix 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/2 cup water, 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar.
  3. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves.
  4. Brush down sides of saucepan to remove grains of sugar.
  5. Increase heat and boil without stirring until mixture reaches 113 deg C.
  6. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
  7. Add vanilla, and coconut, and beat with a wooden spoon until thick and creamy.
  8. Pour into prepared tray.
  9. Repeat steps 2 to 7 with remaining ingredients (adding in the pink colouring at step 7.)
  10. Pour pink mix over white mix.  
  11. Allow to set.
  12. Cut into small squares (each square has one layer of pink and one of white.)

Lactose-Free Chocolate Fudge
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup lactose-free milk
1 1/2 tablespoon dairy-free margarine
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

  1. Line a 30cm x 30cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Place sugar, milk, margarine, cocoa and cream of tartar in a large saucepan.  
  3. Stir over low heat until margarine is melted and sugar dissolved.
  4. Increase heat and allow to boil until the mix reaches 115 deg C.
  5. Remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
  6. Add vanilla. Beat until thick and creamy.
  7. Pour into baking tray and allow to set. Mark into squares when almost set.

Peanut Brittle
2 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon bi-carbonate of soda
1 cup peanuts

  1. Line a 30cm x 30cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Roughly chop peanuts. Sift bi-carb over peanuts and set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, mix sugar, water and cream of tartar. 
  4. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved.
  5. Increase heat and boil without stirring until toffee is a pale amber colour (brushing down sides of pan as needed.
  6. Remove from heat. Add peanuts and bi-carb. (The mix will fizz.)
  7. Stir lightly and then pour in to baking tray. Spread with a buttered knife if desired.
  8. Allow to set.
  9. Break into chunky pieces. 

Friday, 8 March 2022

Healthy Snacking
The Federal Government's Swap It, Don't Stop It campaign is one which aims to help us become more healthy, by substituting healthier foods and activities for things we ordinarily do.  I was thinking about that and the Go For 2 and 5 campaign to get us eating two serves of fruit and five of vegetables each day.

This led me to thinking about ways to have nice, healthy snacks which feature fruit and vegetables. Can we really enjoy our food and still eat healthy?  Yes we can.

Here's some of the ideas I came up with in a quick brainstorming session:

  1. A slice of fruit bread toast (I use gluten free) topped with sliced banana, a half teaspoon of honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  2. Cut a peach in half and remove the seed.  Cook in a non-stick frypan, to heat through.  Serve topped with two teaspoons of flaked almonds and half a teaspoon of honey.
  3. Cut a tomato in half. Top each half with a little low-fat cheese and your favourite herbs.  Cook in microwave until cheese is melted and tomato heated through.
  4. Cut carrot and celery sticks and serve with hommus for a dip.
  5. For something a little more dressed up, (if you have an afternoon tea), cut a sheet of puff pastry into quarters.  In the middle of each piece, place a thick slice of tomato, a thin slice of onion, a little capsicum, a couple of slices of olive, and a fresh basil leaf.  Add a little shaved parmesan, and bake in a moderate oven until pastry is puffed and crisp.
  6. Fill mushroom cups with bread crumbs, herbs, the finely diced stems of the mushrooms, a small amount of margarine and low-fat cheese, and bake in a moderate oven.
  7. Microwave a potato in its jacket, and top with baked beans, or light sour cream and chives.
  8. Freeze some pieces of fruit (eg banana, grape, berries) and eat like an ice block. (You can even put paddle pop sticks in the fruit before freezing. 
  9. Blend berries or banana with skim milk and yoghurt to make a smoothie.
  10. Traffic light skewers.  Thread skewers with pieces of watermelon, rockmelon and honey-dew melon. A really yummy snack to serve. (You can serve with a dip made of light Greek-style yoghurt mixed with a little honey.)

Saturday, 23 February 2022

Gluten Free Chocolate on Chocolate Cake

I did this cake for a small boy's pirate-themed birthday party. It is gluten free and lactose free, but is not suitable for anyone with a nut allergy.  When you make it, allow lots of time for chocolate to set - I made the chocolate decoration days ahead of making the cake.

To find a good picture for the decoration, I did an internet search for colour-ins on my theme.

This takes a bit of time, but the result is a very yummy cake!

To melt chocolate:  break into
small pieces, and place in a bowl.
Put bowl inside a larger bowl of hot water.
Do not allow any water to get
into the chocolate.


For cake:
125g dairy-free margarine
90g caster sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/2 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
2 tablespoons cocoa
100g dark cooking chocolate (check it is dairy-free)

For ganache:
125g dark cooking chocolate
125ml lactose-free cream

For decoration:
100g block white dairy-free chocolate
100g block "milk" dairy-free chocolate
(Sweet William chocolate works well.)

To make:

  1. Find a simple line drawing to base your chocolate decoration on.
  2. Place the drawing on a biscuit tray, and tape securely in place.
  3. Place baking paper over the drawing, and tape in place.
  4. Melt the "milk" chocolate, over warm water.
  5. Use the chocolate to draw the lines of the drawing.  (I use a toothpick like a paintbrush.)
  6. Place the biscuit tray with the outline carefully in refrigerator. Chill until set (preferably overnight).
  7. Melt the white chocolate over warm water.
  8. Use the white chocolate to "colour in" your chocolate drawing.  (Use the toothpick for small areas, and the back of a teaspoon for larger areas.)
  9. Place biscuit tray in refrigerator. Chill overnight.
  10. .
  11. Preheat oven to 180 deg C. 
  12. Line a 20cm round springform cake pan with baking paper, making the baking paper higher than the cake tin.
  13. Cream margarine and sugar together and add eggs, one at a time, beating in between.
  14. Fold in almond meal, baking powder, sifted flour and cocoa.
  15. Melt 100g dark cooking chocolate, and mix into the cake batter.
  16. Spread mixture into cake tin, and bake for about 25 minutes (depending on your oven) until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  17. Cool cake in the cake tin.
  18. To make ganache, place 125g dark cooking chocolate and 125ml lactose-free cream in a small saucepan.  Stir gently over low heat, until chocolate melts and ingredients are combined. 
  19. Pour ganache over cake (still in tin) and refrigerate overnight.
  20. Carefully remove tin and baking paper from cake.
  21. Carefully peel chocolate decoration from baking paper and place on cake.

Wednesday, 19 December 2021

Gluten-free Christmas: Christmas Cake

Step 8: Decorate the top of the cake with nuts.
500g mixed dried fruit
quarter cup orange juice
50ml sweet sherry
25ml brandy
2 teaspoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 eggs
80g dairy-free margarine
quarter cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
drop Parisian essence
quarter cup brandy (extra)

1 1/2 cups gluten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
half teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon mixed spice

Raw nuts (own choice) to decorate top of cake

  1. Combine fruit, juice, sherry, brandy, syrup and peanut oil in a bowl, mix well. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight.
  2. The next day: Preheat oven to 130 deg C. 
  3. Line a medium cake tin with baking paper.
  4. Cream the margarine and sugars, add Parisian essence, then add eggs one at a time.
  5. Add the margarine mix to the fruit mix and combine well.
  6. Sift dry ingredients and add to the fruit mixture and combine. (Don't over-mix, gluten free flour becomes tough easily.) 
  7. Pour into prepared tin, and spread evenly.  (I find it's easiest to use wet hands to spread the cake mix and even out the top.)
  8. Decorate with assorted nuts.
  9. Bake for about 90 minutes. Until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove from oven. Pour over the extra brandy.  Cover the top of the cake with baking paper, and wrap in a towel. Allow to cool, wrapped overnight.
This cake will keep for a while in an airtight container - but it's not as long-lasting as regular fruit cake.  If you're going to store it more than two or three weeks, freeze it.

Recipe is gluten free, and lactose free.

Monday, 3 December 2022

Gluten-free Christmas: Chocolate on Chocolate Crackle Slice

4 cups gluten-free rice cereal (I use Freedom Rice Puffs)
1 cup pure icing sugar or gluten-free soft icing mixture
1 cup desiccated coconut
half cup cocoa

250g copha (white vegetable shortening)

375g gluten and lactose free dark chocolate

  1. Line a 25cm x 35cm baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt copha, add to dry ingredients, and mix through.
  4. Pour into prepared baking tin. Refrigerate.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot (but not boiling) water.  
  6. Spread melted chocolate over the top of the mix in the baking tray.
  7. Refrigerate until set.
  8. Cut into squares.
Recipe is gluten free, lactose free, and vegan friendly.

Sunday, 2 December 2022

Gluten-free Christmas: White Christmas

4 cups gluten-free puffed rice cereal
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup pure icing sugar (or gluten-free soft icing mixture)
1 cup mixed dried fruit
150g coconut milk powder (or soy milk powder)
200g glace cherries
125g glace ginger
250g copha (white vegetable shortening)

  1. Line a 25cm x 35cm baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix all ingredients except copha in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Melt copha in a small saucepan over very low heat.
  4. Pour melted copha into dry ingredients and mix through - mix will be fairly dry.
  5. Pour mix into prepared tray, and press down evenly.
  6. Cover with baking paper and refrigerate until set.
  7. Cut into squares.

REcipe is gluten free, lactose free and vegan friendly.

Wednesday, 28 November 2022

Gluten-free Christmas: Christmas Pudding

Fruit mix
2 cups mixed fruit
half cup brown sugar, firmly packed
90g dairy-free margarine
2 tablespoons golden syrup
quarter cup brandy
half teaspoon orange essence
one cup water

Dry mix
1 cup gluten free plain flour
half cup almond meal
teaspoon mixed spice
half teaspoon cinnamon
half teaspoon xanthan gum
half teaspoon cream of tartar
quarter teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Egg mix
1 egg
drop Parisian essence (or a shot of espresso, cold)

  1. Put fruit mix ingredients in a saucepan, heat gently until margarine has melted, and sugar has dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool. 
  2. Sift dry mix into a large bowl. 
  3. Add cool fruit mix, and the egg mix. Mix well.
  4. Pour into a greased six cup pudding basin, and put on the lid.
  5. Place into a large saucepan, and fill add water, until the water comes to about half-way up the side of the steamer.
  6. Bring to boil, and simmer four hours, adding extra warm water if necessary.
Serves 6.
Can be frozen.
Serve hot with custard or cold with cream or ice-cream.

This is gluten and lactose-free.

Monday, 26 November 2022

Gluten-free Christmas: Rum Balls

1 cup sultanas
40ml  rum
250g packet plain gluten-free biscuits (I used Leda's arrowroot biscuits, which are also lactose-free)
1 cup desiccated coconut
half cup cocoa powder
half cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam
extra coconut for rolling

  1. Put sultanas and half the rum in a sealed container, shake, refrigerate for at least a week, shaking from time to time, so until all the rum is absorbed.
  2. Crush the biscuits (either in a food processor, or place in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin.) 
  3. Place crushed, biscuits, 1 cup coconut, cocoa, and sugar in a bowl, with soaked sultanas, the rest of the rum, and the jam.
  4. Mix the ingredients together, then take spoonfuls of the mixture and form into balls.  Roll each ball in extra coconut and refrigerate.
Recipe makes about 30.
Recipe is gluten-free, (lactose free, vegan friendly depend on the type of biscuits used). 
These rum balls are very rich. 

Monday, 19 November 2022

Fast Food: Fast Minestrone

Fast Minestrone
There are times when I'm tempted to go out for "fast food", because I'm just too tired to cook.  In fact, "fast food" is usually slow - it takes time and energy to get there, wait in line, get home.  It's faster, cheaper, and healthier to throw together a quick meal at home.

Here's one of the fastest, easiest recipes ever.

Fast Minestrone

400g can diced tomatoes
125g can tomato paste
1 litre water
1 can four bean mix or five bean mix - drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon vegetable stock powder
2 cups mixed chopped vegetables (suitable vegetables include potato, carrot, celery, green beans, onion, capsicum, sweet potato, peas.) Frozen mixed diced vegetables are OK.
Half cup basmati rice

Put all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Serves 4.

Recipe is gluten free, lactose free, vegan friendly, low GI, low fat, high fibre.

Wednesday, 25 July 2022

Tuna Salad

While I'm desperately trying to get my cholesterol down, is a good time to share with you some extra-healthy, extra extra low-fat recipes. This one's a really quick and easy lunch.

Tuna Salad

half cup diced celery
half cup diced tomato
half cup diced cucumber
half cup diced carrot
half cup diced capsicum
75 grams cold cooked basmati rice
1 small can tuna in springwater, drained
teaspoon lemon juice
cracked black pepper

Place vegetables, rice and tuna in a bowl, toss gently, sprinkle with pepper and lemon juice.
Serves one.

This meets half an adult's vegetable requirements for one day - see the National Dietary Guidelines

Tuesday, 17 July 2022

Rice Paper Rolls

This is a nice light, gluten-free, low-fat snack or lunch.
The recipe makes 10 rolls.

1 skinless chicken breast fillet
1tsp soy sauce (gluten-free)
10 sheets rice paper
2 cups shredded vegetables (I cheat and use Woolworths rainbow salad. Otherwise use a mix of your choice of salad veges, such as carrot, celery, mung beans, mushrooms, and shred finely)

  1. Sprinkle soy sauce over chicken breast, and cook in microwave according to your microwave's directions. 
  2. Finely shred the cooked chicken.
  3. Place a sheet of rice paper on a dinner plate. 
  4. Brush rice paper with a pastry brush dipped in water. 
  5. Once rice paper has softened, place about a tenth of the chicken and about a tenth of the salad on one end of the paper.
  6. Roll the paper up, tucking in the sides to make a sealed packet.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients.
  8. Rice paper rolls can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge, if needed.
  9. To serve, cut each roll in half on an angle.
  10. Can be served as is, or with your favourite Asian dipping sauce.
(I've typed the recipe into Calorie King each roll is approximately 65 calories/ 265 kilojoules, and contains about half a gram of fat. This does not include dipping sauces.)

Monday, 9 July 2022

Home Made Fast Food

Need a quick lunch? Don't discount the humble spud.
Confession time Lupies! Who gets really tired and either skips meals or goes out for take-away, rather than cook a proper meal?

I've done both. Neither is a healthy way to deal with the situation.

Skipping meals affects your energy levels and metabolism, as well as whether or not you can take your pills.

Take-away food is usually high GI, high fat (often saturated or trans fats - the bad ones), and really isn't designed with good nutrition in mind. It usually costs far more than preparing food at home. It also takes time to travel to get the take-away, which often means it's not really so "fast" at all.

I have a couple of much better options, that do work for me, and save me both time and money.

The first option is to cook extra of meals, and keep some in the fridge or freezer so it's a simple matter of reheating.

Another is to always have the ingredients on hand for a couple of quick, easy, and healthy meals. The humble spud makes a great basis for this kind of meal.  It's possible now to get white potatoes which are naturally low GI.

My lunch today was a microwaved potato, cut in half and topped with a tablespoon of light sour cream, 25g light grated cheese and some chives fresh from the garden. I followed it with a grapefruit sprinkled with artificial sweetener.

The humble spud can be topped with a variety of quick and easy toppings:

  • Sour cream, cheese, and chives
  • Salsa, cheese, avocado, beans
  • Leftover pasta sauces
  • Diced bacon or ham, tomato and herbs
  • Leftover savoury mince
  • Diced cold chicken and avocado
  • Three bean mix and chilli sauce
  • Ham and pineapple, with a little melted cheese
  • Tomato sauce, salami, mushrooms, olives, herbs and cheese
  • Mono-unsaturated margarine and garlic
  • Tuna with lemon juice and pepper
Serve it with a side salad (you can buy pre-packed salad mix that keeps well in the fridge for a few days, if needed), or follow it with a serving of fruit, and you've got a nutritious meal. It's much faster and cheaper than going out for take-away, and far healthier.  And it doesn't take much energy to prepare.