BBQ SUMMER FRUITS WITH COCONUT, DATE AND TAMARIND ICE CREAM

I know that when we think BBQ we don’t automatically think- yeah FRUIT!! It may sound like a slightly unusual pairing but believe me it tastes great!!!

As we are currently in the peak season for stone fruit, long days and amazingly warm nights it’s the perfect time to give this recipe a go. 

This dessert is super simple (apart from the need to scrape and clean up the BBQ in between main & dessert) and it is so refreshing!

Of course if you don’t have a BBQ or you would prefer to cook inside simply cook on a griddle, or in the oven.

The coconut, tamarind and date ice cream is ridiculously easy and has an amazing sweet and slightly tart flavour. Best of all it has no refined sugar; it is vegan, dairy free, gluten free & paleo. So there isn’t anyone that you cant dish this up to!!!

You can also make a simple coconut vanilla ice cream by leaving out the tamarind and date puree.

Please send me pics and let me know how you go with this recipe at home I would love to see & hear from you.

ICE CREAM

INGREDIENTS

2 tins 400ml coconut cream
¾ cup rice malt syrup (substitute with Maple Syrup for paleo)
3 tablespoons coconut oil - melted
2 teaspoons vanilla paste
70g mejooled dates – pitted
1 teaspoon tamarind puree

1. Put ice cream machine onto chill or place a glass dish into the freezer to cool down.

2. Place coconut cream, vanilla paste, rice malt syrup, vanilla, melted coconut oil into a blender and blend on high for a couple of minutes.

3. Pour into ice cream machine and churn for 1 hour. Alternatively if you don’t have an ice cream machine pour into a tray. Place in the freezer and stir every half hour till frozen.

4.Puree dates, tamarind and 2 tablespoons water with a hand blender till really smooth (this will not work in a large food processor).

Stir puree through ice cream mix for rippled effect when almost frozen.

BBQ FRUITS

1 pineapple – cut lengthways into slices – skin and core removed
4 x peaches – halved and stoned
4 x nectarines – halved & stoned
8 x apricots – halved and stoned
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla paste
Small handful fresh mint leaves

1. Preheat BBQ

2. Place sugar and vanilla paste into a bowl and give a light stir. Place all fruit into the bowl and gently coat fruit in the sugar.

3. Place fruit onto the bbq and cook till golden or slightly caramelised on the outside (5 – 10 mins). Alternatively if not BBQing placefruit intoa tray and place into a prewarmed oven at 180 degrees and cook for aprox 15 mins

4. Serve whilst warm with scoop of coconut, tamarind & date icecream and finely chopped fresh mint.

 

Zucchini Lasagne with Cauliflower "bechamel"

In my family I have a mix of palates to please (or fussy little buggers) but we all agree that we love this recipe.

For many people it can be challenging to get enough veggies onto our plates every day.

What makes this recipe great is that the ‘béchamel’ – actually uses a whole head of cauliflower and it is much easier than making your traditional béchamel and just as tasty.

If you are vegetarian or vegan just double the amount of vegetable base and take out the meat and I promise you it will still be delicious. For those of you who love your traditional Bolognese you still get all of the flavour but with a lot more vegetables.

The secret is in adding the celery. Celery can be a love or hate thing but by being chopped finely you wont be able to detect it. BUT what makes the celery so important is that this clever little veggie has a compound that enhances the flavours of the other ingredients – it is kind of like natures MSG.

The recipe below is for one large lasagne, however you will have some Bolognese left over- this base can be used again for a quick assemble lasagne, spaghetti or jaffle on a busy night.

I believe that the key to the texture of this still feeling like a Bolognese is in the chopping, so spending a little extra time finely dicing the onion, carrots, celery & zucchini will be well worth the effort.

BOLOGNESE

500g beef mince
500g pork mince
60ml or 3 tablespoons EVOO
4 x large brown onions peeled and finely diced
6 x garlic cloves peeled and chopped
6 celery sticks finely diced
6 carrots peeled and finely diced
4 medium zucchini finely diced (+ another 4 for assembly)
1 small fennel bulb finely diced (optional)
1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground fennel
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 x 810ml jar passata
4 x 410g can crushed tomatoes
1 litre free range chicken bone broth or stock
1 tablespoon sea salt (depending on salt level of your stock, this will vary)

1.     Place a heavy based large saucepan over medium to high heat pour in the olive oil and then add in the chopped onions. Cook for 5 mins then add the diced garlic, carrots, celery, zucchini & fennel (if using) and keep it cooking while you do the meat giving it the occasional stir.

2.     Whilst the veggies are cooking heat up a fry pan and brown the mince meat. I suggest doing this in 2 batches so it doesn’t stew then add the meat to the vegetables once it is cooked.

3.     Deglaze the frypan with the white wine and pour into saucepan with vegetables and meat.

4.     Add all other ingredients – bring up to simmer and allow to cook for about an hour or until sauce has reduced to a nice thick consistency.

CAULIFLOWER ‘BECHAMEL’

1 whole cauliflower roughly chopped into 2cm pieces & chop the stalk finer into thinner slices.
500ml or 2 cup almond milk
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

1.     Place chopped cauliflower, almond milk and salt into large saucepan. Place a lid onto and bring to the boil and cook till cauliflower is soft. Approx. 15mins

2.     Drain liquid from cauliflower but keep all excess liquid to add back into the cauliflower as needed whilst pureeing.

3.     Place cauliflower back into the saucepan and puree with hand blender – adding nutritional yeast flakes and adding back excess liquid if required until it is a nice smooth consistency. Add salt to taste if required.

ASSEMBLY

Bolognese
Cauliflower ‘béchamel’
4 med zucchini
1 tablespoon EVOO
Sea salt
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast flakes

1.     Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2.     Thinly slice 4 zucchini lengthways using mandolin

3.     In an oven proof dish approx. 30cm x 25cm assemble lasagne with layers of zucchini, Bolognese, zucchini béchamel, zucchini, bolognaise, zucchini béchamel and zucchini. Drizzle with EVO then sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast flakes and bake in oven for 30 mins and serve.

ROAST VEGETABLE SALAD WITH PAN FRIED HALOUMI AND TOASTED SEEDS

As far as salads go this is probably my favourite, not only because it is delicious but it is so bright and even though it uses winter root vegetables  - no matter what time of year that I cook this - it reminds me of summer. I really love the roasted and the raw elements together in this dish. Eating the carrots with all its deliciously sweet roasted flavours and then crunchy and fresh, not to mention all the fresh herbs just make everything feel brighter.

This is also a dish that I consistently get asked for the recipe, so my beautiful friends – here it is.

This salad is certainly a meal in itself however if you are looking for a great side dish to go with chicken, fish or beef this also does the trick.  

If you are vegan or vegetarian adding some green puy lentils and quinoa goes really well. 

Feel free to freestyle and have some fun with the recipe, the wheels wont fall off the wagon if you don’t have all of the ingredients. If you like use just one type of root vegetable or swap out with sweet potato or beetroot. Lastly have some fun in the kitchen and enjoy!!

SALAD

1 butternut, peeled, deseeded and roughly cut into 2cm cubes
7 carrots – 6 peeled and cut roughly cut into 1cm slices– 1 left raw for grating
2 cloves garlic – peeled and finely chopped
2 tablespoons EVO + 1 teaspoon for dressing
¼ cup pepitas
¼ cup sunflower seeds (or 1/3 cup tamari sunflower & pepita mix)
200g haloumi (I prefer Barossa Valley Cheese Company haloumi)
2 lemons – 1 cut into 8 wedges – the other cut into half.
200g baby spinach
½ red onion finely sliced
¼ cup coriander- leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
¼ cup mint. – leaves picked and finely chopped
¼ cup parsley leaves - chopped

SPICE MIX

1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees

2. Place prepared pumpkin and 6 carrots chopped into  large oven tray/s in one so they are in one layer. Sprinkle entire spice mix, finely chopped coriander stalks, garlic and EVO over vegetables and mix till fully coated. Then place lemon halves (not the wedges) into the oven tray – cook for aproximately 30 mins or until roasted and golden. Remove from the oven allow to cool to room temp.

3. Dry roast pepitas and sunflower seed in a medium hot pan till golden and they start to pop. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

4. When ready to serve, peel and grate the remaining raw carrot or use mandolin with julienne and chop the fresh mint. 

5. Set aside roasted lemon wedges. In a large bowl mix roast vegetables, baby spinach, toasted seeds, raw carrot and herbs together. Squeeze roasted lemon juice over salad. Place salad into serving dish. 

6. Cut the haloumi into 1/2cm slices and panfry in a non-stick frypan till golden.

7. Place haloumi on top of salad, drizzle teaspoon of EVO and serve with fresh lemon wedges, freshly cracked black pepper and serve immediately.

Christmas Pudding with Coconut and Vanilla Custard

I have to say that I impressed myself when I nailed this recipe on my very first attempt last Christmas.

I wanted to have the traditional pudding but without any gluten, dairy or added sugar.

This pudding also lasts beautifully and can be cooked well ahead of time before Christmas and reheated and then still enjoyed cold.

Even though the pudding is delicious on its own it is really made into something special with the custard.

I haven’t added any brandy or alcohol but the mix of the ginger, orange and coffee gives a beautiful deep and rich flavour, which I think is just beautiful.

If you have a family greater than 5 or 6 you will probably need to do a double mix of the custard so you keep everyone happy.

ENJOY!!! xxx

 CHRISTMAS PUDDING

300g dates – roughly chopped
100g dried figs – roughly chopped
70g sultanas
80g currants
120g raisins
2 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon Maldon sea salt or 1 pinches if using fine sea salt
Zest of 2 oranges
100ml orange juice
150 ml strong coffee
2 teaspoon vanilla
175g almond meal
75g flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon psyllium husk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon coconut oil

1.     Place all spices, dates, figs, sultanas, currants, raisins, orange zest, orange juice and coffee into a bowl and allow to soak for at least an hour.

2.     Then mix in almond meal, flax or linseed meal, psyllium husks, salt and eggs until fully combined.

3.     Using a ceramic bowl that holds 1.5 litres (and also fits into a larger saucepan/ stockpot with a lid) grease the inside of the ceramic bowl with the coconut oil and place cake mixture into bowl.

4.     Cover top of bowl with baking paper then double cover with alfoil and finally tie with string.

5.     Place ceramic bowl into a larger saucepan/ stockpot and pour in boiling water until it reaches 2cm from the top of the bowl. Place over a medium to high heat and cover saucepan with a lid.

6.     Cook for 3 to 4 hours – depending on how high your stovetop is. You may also need to top up with boiling water along the way.

7.     Allow to stand for 10 minutes before turning out and serving with the custard.

CUSTARD

1 x 400ml Tin coconut cream
2 tablespoons Coconut sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla
6 Egg yolks

1.     Whisk the coconut sugar, vanilla and egg yolks together in a saucepan until the mix starts to lighten and the coconut sugar has slightly dissolved.

2.     Slowly add the coconut cream whist stirring then place over a medium to low heat.

3.     Continually stirring with a spatula for approx. 10 -15 mins – ensure that the custard does not go to a boil otherwise it will scramble the eggs – it is best to keep it under 80 degrees – you can use a thermometer if you wish but I have found that as long as I keep stirring and keep it from boiling that you should be safe.

4.     The custard will be like an anglaise or like thicken runny cream– it will lightly coat the back of a spoon but it won’t be thick.

5.     Serve whilst warm.

Steamed Salmon with TAMARI, LIME AND GINGER

I feel that as far as finding the right balance between deliciousness and nutrition this steamed salmon with lime, ginger and tamari is a cracker

I tend to go pretty crazy with the kaffir lime leaves because I love the flavour and I am lucky enough to have my own kaffir lime tree in my backyard.

Serve this salmon with a heap of your favourite veggies such as steamed brocollini and snow peas.  I love to serve it with a mix of cooked basmati rice and quinoa – I love the texture of the two mixed together as the quinoa gives it a really great pop and nuttiness.

I am a big one to always give you alternatives because I find so many people get scared of cooking when they have to deviate from the recipe. I really want to empower youto have some fun and enjoy the process.

You don’t need a whole side of salmon, you can do this with fillets or cutlets and it can be done with any fish of your liking. Also if you have any left overs you can easily make it into a salad for lunch the next day by adding some baby spinach leaves and coconut chips.

I use a large inexpensive bamboo steamer that I purchased from the Asian grocer. If you don’t have one you can place the salmon onto a rack, place it into a wok or tray, place water underneath and cover with a lid or foil and cook on the stovetop or in the oven.

STEAMED SALMON

1-1.2kg  side of salmon or 5 salmon fillet pieces
1 bunch coriander- leaves picked and stalks finely chopped
1 small knob of ginger approx. inch cubed - grated
1 clove of garlic – minced
2 limes - 1 thinly sliced and the other cut into wedges for serving
¼ red onion finely chopped
6 kaffir lime leaves finely sliced
¼ - ½ cup of tamari
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup quinoa

1.     Ensure all ingredients have been chopped and prepared first.

2.     Place 1 cup of basmati rice and ¼ cup quinoa into amedium sized saucepan with a lid, place 2 cups boiling water into saucepan, place lid on top and place over low heat.. Cook for approx. 15mins. Time will differ and vary depending on your cooktop.

3.     Place the raw salmon – skin side down onto the plate and into the base of the steamer then scatter the chopped coriander stalks, minced garlic and grated ginger and rub over the salmon. Then place sliced lime, kaffir lime leaves, chopped red onion, tamari, fish sauce, for the salmon on top.

4.     Place boiling water into the wok . Place the steamer on top with the steamer lid and cook for approx. 10- 15 mins – time will vary depending on the size of your salmon and how you cooked you like it.

5.     Your fish and rice will be ready around the same time. Serve with coriander leaves and lime wedges.

Gluten Free Toasted Muesli

I got so excited when last year this amazing plant started to grow in my backyard – to my amazement it was amaranth!! It must have self seeded as I cook with its leaves and I also use its seeds in a lot of my cooking. This plant marvels me- it is used by florists for its beautiful flowers, its fresh leaves can be eaten in salads (but they are pretty strong so do not use heaps) cooked and eaten in stir fries, its seeds can be cooked like a grain and made into a flour, puffed like in this muesli recipe and the list just goes on and on – kind of like what I am doing now.

This toasted muesli goes down a treat for breakfast, a snack or a topping to a smoothie bowl, or even with poached seasonal fruit as a crumble alternative.

TOASTED MUSELI

100g raw almonds roughly chopped
40g raw cashews roughly chopped
40g flaked or desiccated coconut
200g whole rolled oats (I prefer stabilised oats due to the texture)
40g buckwheat
60g puffed amaranth
60g pumpkin seeds
60g sunflower seeds
40g flaxseeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon salt
80g coconut oil
130g coconut sugar
20g rice malt syrup
100g of your favourite mixed dried fruit such- I have used figs & apple for this recipe.

1.     Preheat oven to 160 degrees

2.     Place all ingredients into a large bowl except the honey, coconut oil and the dried fruit.

3.     Place coconut oil, coconut sugar & rice malt syrup into a bowl and place over a low heat till the coconut oil has melted and the coconut sugar has dissolved– this may only take 30 seconds.

4.     Using a spatula pour coconut oil, coconut sugar and rice malt syrup mix over mixed dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to cover all mixture with syrup.

5.     Place mixture evenly onto two trays covered with baking paper and place into oven for 45 mins. Stirring every 15 mins.

6.     Remove when golden and allow to cool. Once cooled mix through dried fruit and store in an airtight container.

Will last for several weeks in a sealed container.