Thursday, 31 July 2014

Osso Buco


Osso Buco

This hearty delight is a traditional Italian dish that has found its way to the top of my 'comfort foods' list. Osso Buco is a cut of meat that is kind on the purse and even kinder on the stomach. The rich aromatic herbs offset the tomato based stew beautifully, the perfect companion to a good dry red and a crackling fire.

Do not be deterred by the 12 hour cooking time, the melt in your mouth texture of the meat is matched only by the buttery heart of the marrow. And once you've got all the ingredients in the slow cooker feel free to go about your daily business, it'll bubble away nicely, minding its own business. 

Great served atop my lima bean mash, zucchini pasta or cauliflower rice. And of course, this is completely free of gluten, dairy and sugar.

Serves 6

1.5 kg (3 lb) veal shanks 1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbs butter
60 ml (1⁄4 cup) olive oil
120 g (1 cup) onions – minced 150 g (1 cup) carrots – minced 120 g (1 cup) celery – minced
3 cloves garlic - minced
1 Tbs fresh basil - chopped
1 Tbs fresh rosemary - chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
400 g (2 cups) tomatoes – peeled, chopped
250ml (1 cup) beef stock
250 ml (1 cup) dry white wine

  1. Have the butcher cut the veal shanks into 5 cm /2 inch thick slices 
  2. Rub the salt and pepper into the meat. 
  3. Heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. Fry the veal on both sides until brown and crisp (no longer than about 30 seconds) . Set aside. 
  4. In a food processor, mince the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Do not over process. Just blend until all vegetables are finely chopped.
  5. Transfer the vegetables into the heated skillet used previously and cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes. 
  6. Remove from heat and place the vegetables into a slow cooker, adding the meat on top. 
  7. Sprinkle the herbs over the meat and add the tomatoes, beef broth, and wine. 
  8. Cover and cook on low heat for 8 to 12 hours. If using beef shanks instead of veal, cook the osso buco for at least 12 hours. 
  9. Serve with our lima bean mash or cauliflower rice.

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Monday, 14 July 2014

Frittata Provencale

Frittata Provencale

Now here is an eggcellent dish for morning, noon and night. The ingredients tempt a rustic reminiscence of an Italian holiday and warm nights spent with family and friends. The fragrant rosemary melts into the fluffy egg and parmesan base, harmonising the lightness of the egg, with the rich aromas of traditional Italian delights (olives, sundered tomatoes, basil, garlic).

But no gift is complete without an equally as dazzling wrapping. In this instance,  my wrapping comes disguised as a flavour-wave dressing. The fresh sweet zing of the sauce, spilled delicately over the top of the frittata, creates a new dimension of flavour uncommonly found with such a dish. 

All flavours harmonise delightfully, allowing each ingredient to take place centre-stage of the palette, tickling a taste bud or two, before withdrawing to the web of wonderfully woven delights that is this eggy paradise. 

If you would like a dairy-free option, simply leave out the parmesan. Completely free of added sugars, grains, and gluten.

Serves 8

¼ cup olive oil
1 small capsicum - chopped
1 onion – finely chopped
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
¼ cup flat leaf parsley – finely chopped
½ cup fresh basil – finely chopped
12 eggs
½ cup grated parmesan
salt & pepper to taste
¼ cup black olives – sliced
¼ cup sundried tomatoes – chopped
1 tomato – sliced into thin slices
1 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves

Dressing

2 shallots – chopped
2 tbsp flat leafed parsley – chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F 
  2. Pour half of the olive oil into a heavy bottomed pan and add onion, capsicum and garlic. Cook on medium until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the parsley and basil and stir for a few seconds. Turn of the heat and set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs in a bowl, adding the parmesan, salt, pepper, olives and sundried tomatoes.
  5. Add the cooked vegetables and stir. Then pour the mixture back into the pan.
  6. Place the tomatoes slices and rosemary leaves on top and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
  7. In the meantime, combine all the dressing ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Set aside.
  8. Turn off oven and leave the frittata for another 20 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or cold with some of the dressing spooned over the top.

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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Lettuce Leaf Rolls

Lettuce Leaf Rolls

These fresh delights are the perfect meal for the warmer months. For those of us that love finger food, yet dread the glutenous starches that overrun the market-these are your answer, your godsend. I have re-imagined the rice paper roll, with just a hint of San choy bow

You can pack them full of whatever your heart desires, and make for a fun activity for the kids or guests. The innards will spill, and the sauce will drip, but there is absolutely no shame in  scraping and licking the remnants of the rolls fallen glory (think Tacos).

The ingredients are fresh and leave you with an instant happy full feeling. Without any gluten, dairy, sugar, or starches you'll feel light on your toes after these gems. 

Makes 12
110 g (4 oz) chicken thighs
¼ cup water
2 large eggs
1 tbsp water
1 tsp olive oil
110 g (4 oz) smoked salmon
1 medium carrot
1 medium cucumber
1 bunch shallots
1 avocado
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 large head of lettuce

Dipping Sauce

60ml (1/4 cup) water
60ml (1/4 cup) fish sauce
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 stem lemon grass, pale section only, finely chopped
1 long fresh red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. Place the chicken and water into a small pot and simmer with the lid on for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
  4. In the meantime mix the egg with the water and olive oil and pour into a muffin tin.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
  6. Shred the chicken, egg and salmon and set aside in separate piles.
  7. Grate the carrot and cucumber and set aside in separate piles.
  8. Chop the shallots and set aside.
  9. Slice avocado into thin slices and set aside.
  10. Remove the coriander leaves from their stems and set aside.
  11. Remove the heart of the lettuce and gently remove the leaves setting them aside.
  12. Place 2 cups of water into a large pot with strainer (or without is okay too).
  13. Get water to simmering point until steamy. Then place the lettuce leaves inside and steam for 1 minute until they are fully wilted.
  14. Remove immediately from the pot and let them cool on a flat bench.
  15. Assembling the rolls will be a bit of a trial and error operation as each leaf is a different size. Begin by placing a small amount of each ingredient (but only some of either the chicken, egg or salmon) horizontally in the centre of the wilted lettuce leaf.
  16. Bring the lower flap up to cover ingredients. Fold over the ends of each side as if they are hugging the ingredients, and then roll the whole thing up until you have a chubby finger looking package.
  17. To make the sauce place all the ingredients into a blender and blend for a few seconds. Serve with the lettuce leaf rolls.

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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Date a Latte

Date A Latte


I have long said goodbye to caffeine in my life, but don't be fooled, I'm far from saying goodbye to the rich aromatic dimensions that make a good cup of coffee. My good friend Graham gave me this recipe from his mother's ancient handwritten cookbook, and I have been hooked on this potion like a fish on a line. The dates mirror the taste of coffee so closely that I've not felt a stab of doubt or pang of longing for the coffee-bean since converting to the Date a Latte.

Dates are high in iron, so will give you the energy kick you need to get through whatever type of day you might be having. Another massive plus is the natural sugars found in dates, that really truly make them worthy of my household's dubbing of them as 'nature's caramel'. If you're following the Specific Carbohydrate Diet then you'll have to stick to almond milk, if not you can use any milk you desire. Completely free of caffeine, added sugar, dairy and gluten, this beverage is the real deal.

Makes 1 cup instant coffee powder

2 cups dates – pitted

1 cup almond milk

1/4 tsp of cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. Place the dates onto the lined baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the dates are slightly scorched on the outside.
  3. Turn off the heat and leave the tray in the oven until completely cooled.
  4. Place dates into a food processor and grind until very fine. You want the consistency of instant coffee.
  5. Keep in an airtight jar.
  6. To make the latte, take two teaspoons of instant date coffee and ¼ cup of hot water. Place in a mug and mix to dissolve the coffee.
  7. Take one cup of almond milk and bring to near boil. Then place the heated milk into a food processor and mix on high until frothy.
  8. Add to the coffee and top with cinnamon.


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Monday, 23 June 2014

Mini Cashew Scones with Mixed Berry Compote

Mini Cashew Scones

I've been working on this little thing called 'self control', you may have heard of it. Pulling in the reins on portion size is a good way to regulate quantity, whilst sacrificing nothing of the quality. These scones are the perfect treat for those that want (or need) a sweet delight to start their morning or end their day. These plump little cherubs are completely free of dairy, sugar and grains and are the perfect lunchbox treat. 

The mixed berry compote, has the versatility of a sturdy black shoe, but with the flavour of a cha-cha skirt. Not only do they sit proudly atop the cashew scones, but could fly solo or grace the bowls of cereals, puddings, and ice-creams very comfortably. I like to buy the frozen berries, as they are the most affordable, and last forever in the freezer. Likewise, once made, the compote can sit in the fridge for weeks, if not scoffed on the first day. 

Makes 12

¼ cup cashew nut butter
2 large egg
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp honey
½ tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 ½ cups almond meal


  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the almond meal and mix until smooth.
  2. Add to the almond meal and mix until well combined.
  3. Oil a 12-hole mini muffin baking dish and place one heaped spoon of dough into each hole.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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Mixed Berry Compote
Makes 1 liter/4 cups

1kg/ 6 cups frozen mixed berries
½ cup honey
juice and rind from 1 lemon


  1. Place all ingredients into a heavy bottomed saucepan, cover and cook on low heat for 40 minutes.
  2. Stir occasionally, keeping an eye on the moisture level.
  3. Remove the lid and simmer on low for another 30 minutes. Let cool down and then store in an airtight glass jar.


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Sunday, 15 June 2014

Lasagna

Lasagna

So I had a huge craving for something hot and Italian and since Raoul Bova is momentarily busy with being Italy's sexiest actor, I made this just as tasty dish from the Healing Foods cookbook, to rock me out of my rut, just as Raoul did with Diane Lane in Under The Tuscan Sky.
And, despite that we are all on a "special" Diet, let this gorgeous and sumptuous Lasagna not deceive your drooling eyes. It is still completely grain free, starch free and lactose free. Yes, it does contain cheese, but as we know, any dairy that has been fermented for 30 days or over is lactose free, such as: butter, homemade yogurt and hard cheeses. 
If you do want a dairy free version, the lasagna is still luscious tasting if you leave out the cheese. 
Serves 4
1 Tbs olive oil
110 g (1 cup) onions – finely chopped
3 cloves garlic - minced
500 g (1 lb) prime beef - minced
130 g (1 cup) carrots – grated coarsely
1 tsp thyme – dried or fresh
1 tsp oregano – dried or fresh
1 Tbs fresh basil - chopped
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
250 ml (1 cup) tomato puree
300 g (1 ½ cups) fresh plum tomatoes, – peeled, chopped
500 g (2 ½cups) medium zucchinis
125 g (1 cup) cheddar cheese - grated
125 g (1 cup) parmesan cheese - grated

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
  2. Use a 23 x 33 cm /9 x 13 inch square Pyrex baking dish  
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and garlic.
  4. Cook until tender.
  5. Add the minced beef and sauté until browned all over.
  6. Add the grated carrot, thyme, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Stir and pour in the tomato juice and chopped tomatoes.
  7. Simmer on medium heat about 30 minutes until the sauce has become a very thick consistency and most of the moisture has evaporated.
  8. Slice the zucchinis lengthwise into thin slices.
  9. Pour a small amount of sauce to cover the bottom of the Pyrex dish.
  10. Add a layer of zucchini slices, pour half of the sauce onto the zucchini layer, and top with half of the cheddar and Parmesan.
  11. Add another layer of zucchini and top with meat sauce and cheese.
  12. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the cheese starts to brown.
  13. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
  14. This dish freezes well and can be re-heated either in the oven or in the microwave. Some moisture will be released from the meat and vegetables and accumulate in the bottom of the baking tray. The moisture will thicken up when the lasagna is stored in the fridge overnight.

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Monday, 9 June 2014

Fruit Bars

Fruit Bars


I have always said that dates are like nature's caramel. These Fruit Bars are literally like the Picnic/Snickers/Mars Bar of the health world, but better. They are condensed wonders of the modern world, great for the gal-on-the-go or the hungry child's lunchbox. The energy in these bars is found naturally in the dried fruit and honey, so there are no added nasties, just pure unadulterated natural bliss. I use merdjool dates, as they are the plumpest, tastiest dates on the market. It's best not to waste your time with the cheap ones, they probably won't call you back.

Dehydrating at temperatures under 43C/110F will preserve the enzymes, retaining all the nutrients that puts a much needed spring in your afternoon step. And of course, they are completely free of gluten, dairy and processed sugars.
 
Makes 10

cup dried apricots
¾ cup merdjool dates
¼ cup honey
1 ripe bananas
1 tbsp pure vanilla
1 ¼ cups almonds with skin (soaked overnight)
¾ cup shredded coconut
¾ cup dried cranberries
cup pepitas & sunflower seeds
¼ tsp sea salt


  1. Place apricots, dates, honey, bananas and vanilla into a food processor and blend until it has become a paste.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients and chop for 3-5 seconds, keeping the nuts fairly coarse.
  3. Line an 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with waxed baking paper and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the dish.
  4. Place into the dehydrator for 12 hours.  Take out the fruit bars and cut into 10 individual bars. The place back into the dehydrator and leave for another 12 hours.
  5. Remove from the dehydrator and store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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Sunday, 11 May 2014

Chicken Broth

Chicken Broth

This’ll cure what ails you! No matter what time of year it is, we all crave the comfort of a warm drink, a smile, a kiss and a hug. I am happy to say I am in possession of an age-old recipe that encapsulates the warmth and love of all those things at once, and now so are you. This Broth is also known as my version of Jewish Penicillin and is a cure for everything from anxiety to zits.

This “savoury saviour” is slightly different from the one featured in the Healing Foods Cookbook, it has the amazing added benefits of turmeric and black peppercorn. Turmeric has been known to help prevent cancer, ward off Alzheimer’s, fight colds and flues, help with indigestion and weight loss, and reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Black peppercorn is a dark horse with an army of antibacterial and antioxidant properties galloping towards you.

Lets not forget the fact that this supernatural soup is completely free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars.

Makes 4 litres

1 large chicken
120 g (1 cup) onions – peeled, diced
110 g (1 cup) celery – diced
150 g (1 cup) carrots – peeled, diced
3 cloves garlic – peeled, chopped
2 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
1 bunch parsley
10 peppercorns
½  inch fresh turmeric
4 litres (16 cups) water
  1. Place all the ingredients into a large saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer on low with the lid on for 4 hours.
  3. Skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface.
  4. Pour through a strainer and discard the meat and vegetables.
  5. Freeze in 1 liter (4 cups) and ½  litre (2 cups) lots.

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