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Quinoa & Roast Vegetable Salad October 19 2014

I just love the colour in this salad and think it's a beautiful dish to take to a social event such as a summer BBQ or shared dinner. The flavours of the salad go beautifully with grilled fish, chicken and lamb. Or of course you can have it as a main dish for a vegetarian meal (#meatfreemonday). 

Nutritious and versatile, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is an ancient food indigenous to the South American Andes. Here are a few reasons to include quinoa in your diet.

*This superfood is one of the most perfect grains you can eat as it contains almost twice the fibre content of any other grain.

*Quinoa is a great source of magnesium, which is a vital mineral required to help promote a healthy metabolism and cardiovascular functions.  It’s also kind to your blood vessels, helping you to have a happy heart.

*Quinoa is a rich source of protein and it also contains all 9 essential amino acids, including the rare lysine, which makes the protein levels in quinoa on a par to those found in milk.

*As quinoa has no relation to the wheat family, it’s a great choice for gluten-free folk.  

*Quinoa is a complex carbohydrate, which slowly releases energy. Not only does this mean that it helps regulate your blood sugar levels, but it can actually help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

*Quinoa is fantastically low in fat. What’s even better is that the fats that are found in quinoa are healthy Omega 3 fatty acids, which boost your health levels while helping you lose weight.

Ingredients: 

1 cup uncooked quinoa (red or a mix of colours)

1 cube vegetable stock

2 cups pumpkin, 1cm cubes

3-4 fresh beetroots, 1cm cubes

1 large red capsicum

1 red onion, quartered

2 tablespoons coconut oil

Good quality salt* & freshly ground black pepper

2 cups fresh baby spinach

Wedge of danish feta to crumble over the top (optional, leave out for a dairy free salad)

Green tahini dip (see recipe below)

*Use a mineral rich salt such as sea salt or himalayan pink salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.

Rinse quinoa a couple of times (I use a sieve and a large bowl).

Dissolve 1 cube of vegetable stock in 2 cups of water, add rinsed quinoa, and bring to the boil. Simmer covered for 10-15 minutes (or according to instructions on the packet). Once cooked, leave to the side to cool while you prepare vegetables and dressing.

Toss the diced pumpkin, beetroot and red onion in the coconut oil and season with salt and pepper. Use the remaining oil to coat the whole red capsicum. Place on a baking tray in the oven for approximately 40 minutes or until well roasted. The red capsicum should blacken and bubble which is fine (we want this). Once cooked, place vegetables to the side to cool.

Once the red capsicum has cooled, remove skin, seeds, and slice in to thin strips.

Gently combine the cooked quinoa, roasted vegetables and baby spinach. Present the salad in a colourful bowl or platter and then crumble the feta over the top.

Serve with the green tahini dip on the side. 

Green Tahini Dip

Ingredients

1 cup tahini

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 cup parsley 

1 clove garlic

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice - use more or less according to taste

crack of salt and pepper to taste

Method

Add everything in to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. This makes a thick dip, if you want more of a dressing add as much water as you need to bring it to the desired consistency.

 

 

 


Peanut Butter, Chocolate & Goji Berry Raw Slice August 11 2014

Peanut butter, chocolate & goji berry raw (uncooked) slice, a delicious gluten and dairy free treat. If you like peanut butter then this is the slice for you! It's sweet with a fudgy consistency - a small piece goes perfectly with a cup of tea. It's also great for an after school treat for the kids. Enjoy :)

Ingredients:

1 cup crunchy peanut butter (use a good quality 100% peanut butter)

250g/2 cups pitted dates

3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

1 cup shredded/desiccated coconut

3-4 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa), use 4 spoons for a richer slice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

handful of goji berries

Method:

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the processor and process again to ensure all ingredients are well combined.

If you don't have a food processor then finely chop the dates and combine with the other ingredients. Tip: If mixture is hard to combine, put it in a saucepan over a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon.

Press the mixture into a lined square tin. Press goji berries over the top of the slice and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Slice in to small squares and serve.

Store in a plastic container in the fridge.

Optional: Add raw cacao nibs to the mixture for an extra chocolate hit.

 

 


Gluten free Chocolate Hazelnut Cake July 28 2014

This gluten free 'nutella' chocolate & hazelnut cake is a treat. It is beautifully moist and also very light. Make it for a special occasion to share with family and friends. I made this for my amazing husband to celebrate our first month of marriage.

Hazelnut meal can be found at your local health food store. I used coconut sugar as it is low GI however you can use brown sugar if you don't have the coconut sugar.

Ingredients:

120 grams organic unsalted butter, chopped

200 grams dark chocolate broken into small pieces

½ cup of strong brewed coffee

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

6 organic/ free range eggs, separated

1 cup coconut sugar

200 grams ground hazelnut meal

Method:

Preheat fan oven to 160C.

Put butter, chocolate, vanilla, sugar and coffee in a saucepan on a low heat until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.

Beat egg yolks until thick and creamy. Slowly add in the chocolate mixture and gently combine.

Fold in the hazelnut meal until mixed well. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. 

Fold the egg whites gently into the cake mix and then pour into a well greased or lined cake tin.

Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until your skewer comes out clean. 

Decorate with cream and dust with cacao.

 


Hot Smoked Salmon & Rocket Gluten Free Pasta July 22 2014

I struggled yesterday afternoon to find inspiration to cook. I didn't feel like anything in particular, and I was tired after a big week of work so didn't want to spend too long in the kitchen. This is my go-to pasta recipe that I cook every so often as it is really tasty but also so easy. It is also good winter comfort food! The flavours all go so well together and you get a good serving of vegetables and greens in the dish as well as protein, vitamin B-12 and omega-3 fatty acids (good fats) from the salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for the heart, for those with high blood sugar levels, and for those who wish to lose weight.

Ingredients:

200g gluten free fettuccine (I used San Remo)

180g hot smoked salmon fillets (I used Coles brand)

1 small red onion

handful of sliced button mushrooms

150g rocket

6 finely chopped semi sun-dried tomatoes  

1/2 lemon zest

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

chilli flakes (optional)

Method:

Flake the salmon fillets and leave to the side.

Cook the pasta according to pack instructions.

Finely cut the onion and saute using a dash of olive oil. Add mushrooms and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Once pasta is cooked al dente, drain off the water and add pasta back to the pot. Add in mushrooms, onion, salmon, lemon zest, sun-dried tomatoes, creme fraiche and rocket and gently stir together over a low heat. Once everything is well mixed and heated through, serve with a wedge of lemon and garnish with cracked pepper and flaked chilli (optional). Serve immediately. 

Serves 2 - 4.

 

 

 


Gluten Free & Paleo Blueberry Banana Bread July 14 2014

I was given a bunch of beautiful organic bananas at the EQ Village Markets last week from the lovely Dino (Dino's Organics). I just had to do some baking with the ripe bananas and this is what I came up with. A delicious gluten free & paleo blueberry banana bread. We had this for dessert with a dollop of greek yoghurt and the rest will be eaten for breakfast or morning tea this week. YUM! This easy recipe is full of healthy ingredients and the outcome is a sweet (but not too sweet) moist bread. 

Ingredients:

200g almond meal

40g linseed (flaxseed) meal (use extra almond meal if you don't have the linseed meal)

40g coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 eggs

2 very ripe big bananas

1/4 cup (75g) pure Canadian maple syrup or honey

1/2 - 1 cup fresh blueberries (quantity dependent on how many berries you like)

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 tablespoon chia seeds

handful of organic dried banana coins

Method:

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius.

In a large bowl combine the almond meal, linseed meal, baking soda and salt. Sift in the coconut flour to remove all lumps. 

Mash the bananas and add the olive oil, eggs and maple syrup and mix well.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with a hand mixer or wooden spoon.

Fold in the blueberries gently with a spatula.

Line a loaf tin with baking paper and pour the batter in to the dish spreading evenly.

Add the dried banana coins on top and then sprinkle over the coconut sugar and chia seeds.

Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked.

Remove the bread from the tin (using baking paper to lift it out) after 5-10 minutes and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, slice and enjoy! Have it just as is, add a dollop of greek yoghurt, or even whipped cream for pure indulgence.

 

 


Gluten Free Ricotta Fritters with Raw Zucchini Salad June 01 2014

I am enjoying cooking with ricotta at the moment after discovering really well priced fresh ricotta at my local market (EQ Village Markets in Sydney). 

Ricotta is a smooth cheese with a creamy mild taste and a thick texture. Its light flavour and low salt content make it perfect for using in sweet or savoury dishes. A great source of calcium and magnesium, ricotta is the ideal cheese for people watching their weight - its fat content of around 10 per cent is quite low compared to the 34 per cent in regular cheeses.

This recipe is inspired by a Jamie Oliver dish which I have made gluten free. The raw zucchini salad is such a healthy and fresh side dish.

Ingredients:

For the fritters

1 large free-range or organic egg

400g ricotta cheese

whole nutmeg for grating (you will only need 1/4 of the nutmeg)

zest of 1 lemon

40g grated parmesan cheese

1 heaped tablespoon coconut flour

olive or coconut oil

balsamic glaze

For the sauce

25g dried porcini mushrooms

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives (stone in)

1/2 a bunch of fresh basil

olive or coconut oil

For the salad

400g firm green small courgettes

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 fresh red chilli

1/2 a bunch of fresh mint

juice of 1 lemon

Method

Put the porcini into a mug and cover with boiling water (just enough water to cover the porcini). Leave to soak for approximately 20 minutes.

Fritters - Crack the egg into a bowl, add the ricotta and mix well. Add finely grated ¼ of the nutmeg, zest of 1 lemon, parmesan, coconut flour and beat together. Put mixture to the side while you prepare the salad and sauce. 

Salad - Grate the courgettes in a food processor (you can also use a box grater). Tip into a bowl and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add juice of the zested lemon along with the extra virgin olive oil. Finely chop and add the fresh chilli, mint leaves and then toss together. 

Sauce - Heat 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil into a large non stick fry pan. Crumble in the dried chilli, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and cook for 1 minute. Finely chop and add the porcini along with half of the water used to soak them. Add the passata, season with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Chop and add the olives, discarding the stones. Chop or tear basil and add to the sauce (leave a few leaves to garnish the dish). Leave on a low heat (simmering) while you cook the fritters.

To cook the fritters, heat 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil into a frying pan. Use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture. Make sure there is enough room around the fritters to flip (make 2 batches if your pan is not large enough). Cook for approximately 1 minute or until bubbles appear on the surface. Turn fritters carefully to cook the other side. The fritters should appear nice and golden. 

To serve, place the fritters on top of the sauce. Scatter over the reserved basil leaves and drizzle with balsamic glaze. Serve with salad.

Serves 4.


Healthy Chocolate Crackles May 24 2014

Growing up in New Zealand, chocolate crackles were HUGELY popular at kid's birthday parties. This is a much healthier and nicer version without Copha (Kremelta) and refined sugar. 

Try to use raw cacao powder instead of cocoa because of its amazing health benefits. Raw cacao powder is packed with antioxidants and is also the primary dietary source of magnesium, the most deficient mineral in western civilisation. Cacao is a great source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA), four well-studied neurotransmitters, which are associated with feelings of well being and help alleviate depression.   

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons raw cacao powder 

1 & 1/2 cups organic brown rice puffs

1/2 cup organic desiccated coconut

1/4 cup raw sesame seeds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup coconut sugar (has a lovely caramel flavour)

3/4 cup coconut oil

Method:

Mix together the desiccated coconut, coconut sugar, coconut oil, raw cacao powder and heat gently until melted.

Mix together the puffed brown rice and seeds in a separate bowl.

Add liquid ingredients (step 1) to the puffed rice and seeds and mix until puffs and seeds are well coated.

Spoon the mixture in to individual cupcake cases (in a muffin tin) or press firmly in to a slice tin.

Put in fridge to set. 

Makes 12 servings.

Note: Keep this treat in the fridge to keep it firm. Swap seeds out for slithered almonds or chopped macadamia nuts for something different.


Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Butternut May 14 2014

Butternut is the perfect addition to an autumn meal.  

Low in fat, butternut squash delivers an ample dose of dietary fiber, making it an exceptionally heart-friendly choice. It provides significant amounts of potassium, important for bone health, and vitamin B6, essential for the proper functioning of both the nervous and immune systems. 

Butternut's tangerine colour indicates its most noteworthy health perk. The colour signals an abundance of powerhouse nutrients known as carotenoids, shown to protect against heart disease. In particular, butternut boasts very high levels of beta-carotene (which your body automatically converts to vitamin A), identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age-related macular degeneration, as well as a supporter of healthy lung development in fetuses and newborns. What's more, with only a 1-cup serving, you get nearly half the recommended daily dose of antioxidant-rich vitamin C. 

Ricotta & Spinach Stuffed Butternut

This meal is very easy to prepare. The below recipe will serve 2 people as a hearty vegetarian meal with a green salad, or 4 people as a side dish.

Ingredients:

1 half of a butternut squash

250 grams ricotta

2-3 big handfuls of baby spinach leaves

6 sliced button mushrooms

2 cloves minced garlic

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon dried basil

olive oil

Himalayan salt and black pepper for seasoning

Method:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.

With a spoon, scoop out the seeds of the butternut and rub flesh with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in the oven on a sheet of baking paper or foil for approximately 1 hour or until butternut flesh is soft and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and scoop out any excess water. Put aside to cool for a few minutes while you prepare the filling. 

Mix ricotta, spinach leaves, mushrooms, garlic and basil together in a large bowl.

Scoop out most of the cooked butternut leaving 1.5cm around the skin so the butternut doesn't fall apart when you add the stuffing. Add the scooped butternut to the ricotta mixture and combine well. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the mixture back in to the butternut half. There will be more mixture so heap it on top and then sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Put the butternut back in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Let the butternut cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Photo from The Messy Chef.


Sugar-less Stewed Rhubarb with Chia May 12 2014

This easy stewed rhubard recipe is delicious and so healthy with no sugar. You can enjoy this for breakfast, dessert or as a snack. Try mixing it with some creamy greek yoghurt, on your favourite granola, porridge or with buckwheat pancakes. I suggest serving it with go-go healthy's new Spiced Granola (available now at the EQ Village Market and online soon) that has hints of ginger, cardamom and cinnamon for a truely delicious snack or meal.

Ingredients:

1 bunch of rhubard trimmed and chopped

juice and zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon chia seeds

Stevia - I have the 100% pure extract powder and used 4 scoops

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method:

Place the chopped rhubarb, orange juice, zest and water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over a low heat.

Add stevia and vanilla and keep simmering for 5 - 10 minutes until rhubarb is soft and cooked.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the chia seeds. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes so the chia seeds soak up some of the liquid and thicken the mixture.

Now dig in!

Serves 2 - 4. 


Spiced Quinoa Porridge with Goji & Pistachios April 27 2014

It's a wintery day in Sydney so I have made spiced quinoa porridge with goji berries & pistachios for breakfast. Nourishing and delicious! Quinoa is gluten free & high in protein and goji berries are the most nutritionally dense fruit on Earth! 

Ingredients:

1/3 cup organic quinoa flakes (you can find these in your local health food shop and at some supermarkets)

1 cup milk of your choice (organic full cream milk, almond milk or coconut milk)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract

pinch of salt

1/4 cup goji berries

1/4 cup raw pistachio nuts

Optional - 1/4 tsp Mesquite Powder (available from health food shops)

Optional - Sweetener of your choice to drizzle over the porridge once cooked - maple sweetener or honey works well

Method:

Mix all ingredients together, excluding the sweetener, in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a low heat.

Once the quinoa has thickened and absorbed all the liquid, take off the heat and pop in to a bowl.

Garnish with a sprinkle of extra goji berries and pistachio nuts and sweeten to taste with a drizzle of maple syrup or honey.

Serves 1. 


Raspberry & Lemon Chia Pudding February 20 2014

Why add Chia to your diet? These small but highly nutritious seeds are:

- High in antioxidants which strengthen the immune system and keep you disease-free.

- A good source of calcium and phosphorus, dietary fiber and manganese.

- Packed with protein, complex carbohydrates (good carbs), essential fats, various vitamins such as B vitamins, and various minerals including calcium, copper and zinc.

- Very low in cholesterol and sodium. 

Enjoy my gluten free Raspberry & Lemon Chia Pudding recipe for breakfast or dessert. You can play around with this recipe and swap the raspberries for other fruits such as banana, blueberries and mango.

Ingredients:

250ml coconut or almond milk

1 heaped tablespoon of plain yoghurt

120g fresh or frozen raspberries

15g coconut sugar or honey (optional)

Juice of ½ lemon

Zest of ½ lemon

50g black chia seeds 

Method:

Blend together all ingredients in a food processor or blender adding the chia seeds at the very end. Pour in to a glass container (or seperate serving containers) overnight to set. When ready to eat, top with granola, yoghurt & fresh fruit. Serves 2 – 4.

 

 


Seeded Gluten Free Bircher Muesli January 06 2014

Happy New Year everyone. One of my New Year resolutions is to make the ultimate gluten free bircher muesli. This means lots of trialling recipes to find out what I think makes the best bircher, texture, taste and health wise. Here is my first bircher of the year. I kept this muesli in the fridge for 3 days in a glass jar and mixed with a little greek yoghurt before eating.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons Chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground linseed

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

1 tablespoon sunflower seeds

1 tablespoon cranberries

1 tablespoon currants

80ml orange juice or almond milk

Method:

Mix dry ingredients together, add juice or milk and stir well.

Place in a glass container overnight.

Enjoy for breakfast with yoghurt and/or fresh fruit. It's as easy as that!

Serves 2 - 3.

Recipe inspired by Teresa Cutter


Cashew Butter Protein Cookies December 17 2013

I have been meaning to make protein cookies for weeks and finally today I gave them a go! Protein cookies are a perfect morning/ afternoon tea snack - I enjoyed a couple of these today with a cup of coffee. This recipe is gluten free, high protein, low carb and has no refined sugar! I use IsaPro which is undentured whey protein from pasture-fed New Zealand dairy cows (not treated with hormones or routine antibiotics).

Ingredients:

2 heaped tablespoons of cashew butter (or any other nut butter you have in the fridge)

1/4 cup of vanilla whey protein powder

1/4 cup pea protein powder

1/4 cup almond meal

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 teaspoon of honey (my cookie was not too sweet so add an extra spoon if you like a sweeter cookie)

Pinch of stevia

Small handful of flaked almonds

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 degrees celsius.

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor or large bowl.

Roll in to 8 balls and then flatten on to a lined baking tray to make round cookie shapes.

Sprinkle with flaked almonds.

Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

Cool and then store in an airtight container.


Kale Chips December 04 2013

  

Kale is a dark leafy green full of amazing health benefits and nutrients. This recipe is so easy and is a tasty snack for yourself or when entertaining. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Himalayan rock salt

Method:

Preheat oven to 150 degrees celsius.

Place coconut oil in oven for 1 minute to melt.

Pull kale off the stem, wash well and dry on tea towel or paper towel to absorb moisture.

Put coconut oil and kale in a bowl and mix until kale is well coated.

Lay strips of kale on a large tray and put in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until crispy (make sure they do not turn brown).

Remove from oven and sprinkle with rock salt.

If you don't eat them all straight away store in a glass or plastic container once chips have completely cooled.