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up to all sorts

It’s been so great discovering this little world of healthy food enthusiasts… it’s really inspired my kitchen creations.  I used to get in a lot of ‘food ruts’ – eating the same sort of things day in, day out.

BORING.

Nowadays, I get so excited to create new recipes, or try other blogger’s recipes.

Actually, reading blogs of any description has really got my creativity cranking.  I’m having so much fun just making STUFF.  For some reason, I have a lot more focus these days.  Maybe it’s because the time I have to get a little project completed is usually pretty short.  Either when Misty’s sleeping or after dinner is about it… not like ‘back in the day’ before child where I just had too much time on my hands to know what to do with.

I made this washable snack bag as I am so sick of using plastic snap lock bags for Misty’s snacks when we are out and about.  So much plastic.  This is great as it is a light vinyl-you can wipe it out, or chuck it through the washing machine.

I can’t help defacing things, even with a sewing machine.  Angry apple.

I’m always wanting new and different non dairy milk ideas… I’ve made home made almond, coconut and brown rice milks.  They were all good, but not great if you know what I mean.  Store bought almond milk is not that flash here down under, and it’s super expensive so not really worth it.  Home made coconut milk is good for cooking, but not so tasty in coffee or tea (which I drink a LOT of).  I actually mix my home made coconut milk with Dr Bronner’s amazing soap and use it as shampoo.  It really is wicked knickers stuff.

I stumbled across the idea of tahini milk while reading Gena’s blog.  Awesome.  Tahini is one of my favourite things, and I love mixing it into soy milk with a touch of agave and cinnamon already.  I whipped up the recipe and it was love at first sip.  Great on it’s own, or over cereal.

I had about a half cup of this recipe left over (the barley)  I chucked it in the freezer, not wanting to waste it.  After returning from Sydney to an empty fridge, I pulled it out to feed my hungry beast.  I was being a lazy Mama and didn’t want to spoon feed it to Misty, and was bored so I decided to bake it into something.

Baked Barley Fridge Scrape:

  • 1/2C this recipe
  • 1T ground flax seed mixed with 3T water to make a flax egg
  • 1/8t baking soda
  • 1/16t baking powder
  • 5t coconut flour (I reckon chickpea flour would work well too, the texture might be a little different, but would be good)
  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Spoon into a lined baking tray (a mini muffin pan would be great but I don’t have one, so I used a tiny loaf pan – 10cm in length)
  3. Bake for 30 minutes at 170 degrees C.
  4. Turn off oven, take the bake out of the pan and flip onto a cooling rack upside down.
  5. Put back into oven (which is turned off) and let the bottom dry out a bit until the oven had cooled down completely.

Seemed to go down a treat.  Fruit, flaxy and easy to hang on to – no Mama spoony needed.

Anything new/creative/fun you’ve made or discovered recently?

fruit overload

I eat a lot of fruit.  A lot.  Perhaps a little too much?  How much is too much?  I don’t care, I love the stuff.  Today I had an apple, a pear, 2 bananas, 6 prunes, and sculled a bunch of the fruity beverage featured below.  That’s a pretty normal fruit day.  Viper hardly ever eats fruit.  I don’t get it; I don’t feel right if I don’t get in at least a couple pieces of fresh fruit a day.  Misty is working on a couple of chompers at the moment, so apart from the grizzlies, he is off his usual solid fare.  Bring on the smoothies – he is guzzling back a tasty combo of banana, pineapple and coconut milk as I type.  Chunks of frozen watermelon seems to be helping those sore gums too.

My thing is pineapple at the minute.  Oh yes, we have entered the pineapple-kick territory.  As the pattern goes with my fruit consumption, I tend to go too hard, too fast.  I get excited and go overboard.  With pineapple in particular, this can have horrible results.  Enter the sliced and diced mouth and tongue.  Those tasty fibres are sharp.  I have found blending it up helps this problem, and opens up a new world for pineapple creativity without the bleeding mouth.

I made this for Misty and me the other day… and am now looking at other ways to use up copious amounts of pineapple juice and puree I have hanging around.

The beauty of these recipes are that canned pineapple if just fine to use if you don’t have access to tropical fruit as I do… just try to use the varieties that don’t contain added sugar.

 Photo from week in Sydney… this was at an amazing water front cafe called the Boathouse at Palm Beach (for those in the know, near where ‘Home and Away’ is filmed.  No, I didn’t run into Alf… ‘stone the flamin’ crows!)

Use for Juice:

Pineapple and Mint Kombucha

I’m totally digging home brew Kombucha… so delicious and ridiculously easy once you have the appropriate fungi.  Thanks to Kaitlyn from The Tie Dye Files for the how-to guide.

  • 1/2C pineapple juice
  • 2t lime juice
  • 1 litre of brewed Kombucha
  • Handful fresh mint
Combine all ingredients and store in the fridge.

Purpose for Puree:

Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle

I use this sprinkle to add texture to things like tofu pudding, yoghurt, ice cream or oatmeal/cereal combos.  Love the crunch of buckwheat, and the coconut flour is so good when it soaks into any kind of liquid.  You could use any kind of fruit puree if pineapple is not your thing – apple, mango, peach, pear, apricot.  All good.

  • Pineapple puree (225g pineapple blended with 1/4C water)
  • 1C raw buckwheat groats
  • 1/2C coconut flour
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 2t coconut oil, melted
  • 1-2T liquid sweetener, depending on your sweetie preference (I used apple juice syrup concentrate –  agave, rice syrup, even maple would all be fine)

Combine all ingredients, either place in a dehydrator or do what I did and spread on a lined baking tray for 1 hour at 120 degrees C.  Lower to 100 degrees C for another 30 minutes.  Turn off oven, leaving tray inside until it has cooled down completely.

Pineapple Fluff Sprinkle with toasted pepitas and Green Monster Tofu Pudding (recipe coming).  Crap picture as this was a night time snack, and there is no light.

Fruit consumption?  Big, non existent or in between?  Fresh/dried/canned frozen?  Fruity thoughts?

birthday cake bender

I’ve been experimenting with ideas for what I’m going to use for Misty and Mopsy’s 1st birthday cake.  I’m probably going to cop flack for it, but I’m sticking to my guns and am going to make a healthy (yet hopefully delicious) birthday treat for the kidlets.   People seem to think I’m weird for usually skipping the usual white sugar, butter, cream based desserts.
  1. I don’t really dig heavy cream, especially whipped cream, I never have… just find it too full on.
  2. White sugar and me ain’t mates.  If I want a break out, or break down (sugar hangover = depressed Lou) a sugar overload will give it to me, toot sweet.
  3. Yes, they may be delicious, but traditional desserts make me feel like crap.  What’s wrong with creating something that is both delicious plus actually nutritionally beneficial?
It always makes me feel uncomfortable saying, ‘no thanks,’ to dessert.  I’m not trying to be rude, I’m sure it’s delicious, but I just don’t want the consequences.  Of course, every now and then I will indulge but a few moments of deliciousness on the tongue doesn’t really make the after effects worth it for me.  I think I just have to get used to people rolling their eyes at me or questioning my eating habits.
How do you deal with people questioning your eating habits?  I would love to hear your thoughts/experiences.
I’m a really sensitive person, and I hate feeling like I’m offending someone… saying ‘no thanks,’ to a food offering always makes me uncomfortable, like I’m doing something wrong.
Back to the job at hand – the cake.
Or rather, some sort of brownie-type thing. Not really sure what I’m going for here.  I know I want something different from the usual dry sponge with sugar-loaded frosting that is some obscene fluro colour, all covered with 10 tonnes of lollies.  Crack for kids?  Most definitely.
The first trial was pretty good, considering I was fumbling around in the dark with the recipe.  I had a heap of brown rice flour on hand, so decided that would be good.  Also, if anyone has a gluten sensitivity, it’s always nice to oblige.   I know I don’t want too much sugar, so bananas are my go-to ingredient for adding sweetness and moisture.  I decided I want to use this as an icing (frosting) amd this folded through for some delicious chunk action:
It’s not chocolate.  Close, but no cigar.  It’s tahini chocolate.
  • 1T tahini
  • 1T agave or brown rice syrup
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2t coconut oil
  • 2t cacao powder (or regular cocoa)
  1. Mix everything together, pour into a plastic container or mould lined with glad wrap and freeze.
  2. Easy.
This is more like a truffle than chocolate; it doesn’t go solid – it reminds me of the cookie chunks in cookies and cream ice cream.  Now that’s always a good thing.  It’s really good crumbled over hot oats, or folded through banana soft serve ice cream.
I left it out of trial #2, because I think I’m going to use it as a decoration, rather than in the cake itself.  Trial #1 was good, but not quite there – it was a little too gummy; needed a little more dry in the mix.  I added in some coconut flour and cacao, and something pretty darn yummo was the result.
Woah.  Woah.  I can’t believe this doesn’t have any sugar, butter or anything bad in it.  The texture is amazing (I love coconut flour).  It doesn’t look very pretty as is,  but just you wait until I have gone to town with decorating.  It is fudgy, dense, sweet and really filling.  It’s like a cake, but a bar at the same time, if you get my drift?  With the tahini chocolate folded through it as well would be crazy crazy good.  I’m amazed, I’ve acheived the exact texture of these guys:
I eat these a lot, especially when I’m out and about and need something to tide me over.  They used to make a vegan chocolate version which was incredible… then they took it away from me.  Ha ha! I have recreated it without even trying… the similarity is uncanny.
I’m really really happy with the result of my kitchen play time – Misty approves too.  These bars are excellent for kids – they hold together enough for your little one to grab onto and nosh away at leisure, yet they are still soft enough for a gummy wonder to be included in the feasting.
I promise I will post recipe after the party – I just want to see/hear the reaction from the unknowing party goers first.

vegan eggplant pesto (presto, chango)

If you think I’m bad with going off on tangents when I write – you should see me in the kitchen.  I begin with a recipe to try, or an idea of a certain dish that I would like to prepare.  I always end up getting distracted by some new ingredient or stroke of genius (yeah, right)  half way through.  The resulting dish is about as far away from the original idea as you can get without being arrested (that makes no sense whatsoever, similar to my style of cooking).

It all started with a few skinny eggplants I bought for some reason.  I don’t know what I was thinking of doing with them, but they were pretty and purple so I bought them.  Fast forward to lunch today, and I knew I had to use these beautiful, albeit annoying fridge dwellers.  I chucked them in a hot oven, not really thinking it through, and this happened:

It seriously exploded in there.  It looks kind of like a squid trying to escape.  I find the insides of eggplants quite unnerving.

Due to the slightly creepy appearance of the insides, I decided to blend them up, thus banishing all thoughts of giant squid tendrils flapping around in my belly. Doing what I do best, I proceeded to scrape out the fridge and dump it into my blender along with the eggplant.  I found some abandoned roast pepper strips (thanks Viper) a little plastic bag of herbs my girlfriend stole for me from another friends garden, some garlic and sad looking lemon wedges.  A few dashes of seasoning, and a new delight was born.  It’s kind of in between hummus, baba ganoush  and pesto – really it just reminded me of a pesto because of the basil.

Vegan Eggplant Pesto

(Vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free)

  • 1C roasted eggplant
  • 1/2 roasted red pepper
  • 1t lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t balsamic vinegar
  • Big handful of fresh basil leaves
  • A few sprigs of fresh sage
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
Speaking of tangents…
I think this egg either has some type of vegan message, or is telling you guys to go check out some awesome food funnies at Fork and Beans – Cara’s  healthy food creativity is just hilariously good.  I was peeling Misty’s egg for lunch, and it came out looking like this – sans eyes of course – and just thought of her.
Poor eggy.

a Misty makeover meal

I never liked rice pudding.  I think mainly because it’s such a heavy dessert to eat after a whole dinner.  Sits like a brick in your stomach.  The nutmeg always grossed me out as a kid, and I have never liked heavy dairy milk or cream.  Some people are crazy for it though, which I never understood – I guess it’s like my love of Vegemite on raisin toast, most people just don’t seem to get it.
What’s your take on the humble rice pudding?  Love it or leave it?
I had things to use up in my kitchen… annoying little amounts… half a jar of rice, a few spoonfuls of apple puree – they were really bugging me.  Taking up valuable real estate in my pantry and fridge.
Rice pudding for breakfast?  Totally – energy to start the day for both me and Misty (not that he needs any more energy).  I’m on the sugar-free wagon too, thanks to the encouragement from Alex.  This pudding totally makes for a good morning.
Good Morning Rice Pudding:
Makes enough for Mum, Dad and a couple of baby sized meals – or however you want to portion it out.
  • 3T apple puree (or pumpkin, mashed banana etc)
  • 1/2C rice (white or brown)
  • 1 3/4C milk (I used full fat coconut milk, but cow, soy, almond etc are all good substitutes)
  • 1/4C chopped dried fruit (or date puree gives it a lovely caramel flavour)
  • 3/4t ground cinnamon or mixed spice (Pumpkin Pie spice)
  • 2t tahini
  • 1/2t pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
Feel free to add a touch of sweetness if you like – I would recommend 2T (or more) of honey/agave/raw sugar – I’m refraining as I’m doing the Sugar-Free Challanege, and Misty doesn’t need any more sweetness than what the fruit provides.  Mean Mama.
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
  3. Keep and eye on it, and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.
  4. Wait until most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn of heat and place a lid on the saucepan.  Let the rice soak up the rest of the liquid.  (Puree in the food processor for under 8 month olds).
  5. Eat warm, or pop in fridge to firm up to serve with Chia Seed Jam. Far too hot here for a warm breakfast… the pudding goes all solid-like so you can carrrrrve off chunks (spoken with a Scottish accent, naturally) yummo.
Blueberry Chia Jam, thank you once again, Lisa.  Genius.
This is Misty’s serving.  Obviously.  I mean what 11 month old doesn’t appreciate a fresh mint garnish or a moulded rice mound?  Yeah, Misty had a long morning nap… too much time on my hands.
Misty actually got spoon feed his, warm out of the pot. ‘Twas good.  A good morning for all – happy day to you.

small, but hot like chilli*

* Viper tells me this is how one of his workmates describes (ahem) himself if you get my drift.  Wouldn’t think a male would willingly admit this, anyhow…  One time, we had a Mexican party.

I had a mono-brow.

We drank sangria.  Lots of sangria.  I made cactus sculptures out of pickles.  There was a pinata.  A lot of cheese and corn chips were consumed.   I drank lots of sangria.  I didn’t make this particular dip, but something kind of close to it.  Basically, I wanted something yummy and spicy for lunch today, utilising what limited resources I had on hand.  I am also participating in Alex’s Sugar Free Challenge  so needed something that would not cause a sugar induced coma.

Luckily I’m not a big sugar fan at the best of times, so it’s not too difficult for me. This is what I came up with:

Red Bean Small Chilli Dip:

(If you want to make this into a salad dressing, simply thin with water and a splash of apple cider vinegar until you reach the desired consistency).

  • 1C cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/3C jarred salsa (one with no added sugar, of course)
  • 1/2C cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin)
  • 3T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
  • 1/4t ground cumin
  • 1/4t ground coriander
  • 1t lime juice
  • 1/4 small birds eye chilli (or to taste, the ones I have at the moment are blow your face off HOT).
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor.  Serve with assorted ‘dippers’ (not the birds eye chilli as pictured if you would like to keep your eyebrows… HOT).
A baby friendly version would go something like this:
  • 1C cooked red kidney beans
  • 1/2C cooked sweet potato (or pumpkin)
  • 1/3C canned tomatoes
  • 3T nutritional yeast
  • 1/4t garlic powder
  • 1/8t ground coriander
  • 1/4t ground cumin
  • Black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2t lime juice
  1. Blend.  Spread on rice cakes, toast, or just let your little one smear it all over themselves.

a special kinda something

I love my house.  I’m a bit of a homebody.  I love the freedom of being able to do what I like, when I like and not feel uncomfortable.  I like my stuff where I want to put it.  I like to be able to relax in my surroundings with Viper, Misty and Boosty.  After almost a decade of house sharing, I relish in the luxury that is living on our own as a family.

I have lived in a few different cities, many different houses, with a variety of colourful characters.  I’ve been pretty lucky, I suppose, I haven’t had to endure any really horrible or hideous people – most of those I have lived with I consider good friends today – there have been just a few who have been what I call special.

Special Housemate #1:

He was hairy.  I mean really hairy.  He once asked me to help him dye his hair (!)  I remember not being able to distinguish where his head hair-line stopped and his neck hair began.  Shudder.  We named him the Reclining Beast, as he liked to sprawl himself in his favourite armchair, wearing an old tatty terry towelling robe with nothing underneath.  It would always “accidentally” fall open.  I think he was a bit of an exhibitionist.  Yeah, he was really hairy.

This is not him, but the likeness is eerily similar.

Special Housemate #2:

He was a perfectly nice kind of guy, but there was just something a bit off about him.  You know what I mean?  We named him Creepy.  It didn’t matter what you said, he had already done it, but 10 times better.  He was stronger, faster, smarter and richer than you could ever dream.  He literally told us he was a lead guitarist in a band, an on line entrepeneur, a barista, and a talented chef.  Yet he worked in a coffee shop, lived in a dingy house with us, and would always pay his rent late.  Hmmm.

The creepiness was what went on in the bathroom.  This guy had some weird habits.  Picture this:  you get up in the dark at 3am to use the bathroom, but it’s occupied.  By Creepy. You wait out in the hall, thinking that he won’t be long in there, it’s 3am for Pete’s sake.

He would spend hours in there.  In the middle of the night.  Doing what you may ask?  Who knows?  He would violently turn the taps on, off, on, off, on, off, on.  His hair dryer (yes, hair dryer.  He had really short hair, and would always wear a hat. Hmmm) would be blasted in a similar ferocious fashion to the taps.  There was much speculation over what went on during those midnight bathroom sessions.  Actually I don’t think any of us really wanted to know the truth.  Creepy.

Why? Why would he need one?

Special Housemate #3

Pigman.  I secretly called him Pigman.  Slightly mean, yes, as he did have a little bit of an upturned nose.  It wasn’t the nose however, that inspired the name.  It was the snorting.  Every morning I would be woken from my slumber not by the sweet melodies of songbirds, but by the snorting of phlem I could hear through the walls.  The whole household would be woken by this snorting,  It was disgusting.  The snorting wasn’t the only annoying part.  There were the stories too.  So many stories.

I have always worked in quite ‘socia’l work settings – either retail or hospitality which both involve a lot of “people-time.”  By that I mean constant interaction with not just work mates, but the general public.  This can be pretty draining;  usually when I got home of an evening, I was done with talking for the day.  I wanted peace, quiet, and chill out time.  Pigman would barrel into the house, literally shouting his stories of the day at my head.  At first I tried to be polite and humour him, but after a while I just couldn’t handle it.  The stories would not stop, and when one ended, another one would start-up straight away.  He was the Never Ending Story (teller).  I would actually physically walk away from him, and he would follow, shouting his stories at the back of my head.

Viper called him “Smokey the Bear” as when he had finally run out of stories (by this time, I would have barricaded myself in my room just to get away from the stories) he would retire to his room and proceed to watch surfing DVDs all night while a particular pungent smokey aroma would fill the house.  So the snorting, story telling swine was also a stoner.  Amusing now that I look back on it, but he drove me crazy.  Thinking about the snorting still makes me shudder.  It was disgusting.

Now when I need to relax, and escape to my own special place, I drink this:

Chai Spice Tea

This is my ‘loose’ recipe – my mix changes on a weekly basis.  Add or subtract whatever you like.  I’m a fan of spice, so sometimes I even add chilli and fenugreek depending on my mood.

  • 2t black pepper corns
  • 3T dry ginger root (ginger powder will work)
  • 3t nutmeg (use whole nutmeg and grate it)
  • 3T whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon quills
  • 6 whole star anise
  • 2T rooibos tea
  • 4T powdered mixed spice
  • 2T green tea
  • 1 1/2T green cardamom pods
  • 1/2C strong black tea of choice ( I used this mix which included other random bits and pieces) Plain black tea is fine.

Put your cardamom, cinnamon, and star anise in a mortar and pestle.

Smash it up.

Mix with other ingredients.

Easy.

Brew however you like – I’m crazy for really strong tea, so I put it in a very fine mesh tea infuser lined with cheesecloth (so all the powdered bits don’t escape and make sludge at the bottom, ick).  I let it steep for about 10 minutes in boiling water, then add honey and a tiny splash of milk.  This is my usual cuppa, but in the evenings when I want something a little more hearty and comforting, I steep the tea in vanilla soy milk and add a bit of maple syrup.  Warm, sweet, milky, spicy – makes for one sleepy and satisfied Lou.   Especially when I can drink it in my own house with no special house mates or snorting.

Have you had any special house mates?

no hat required

Halloween didn’t really register on the radar where I live.  OK,  so the confectionery companies do still try to use it as a marketing ploy, but it’s not really a big thing here in Queensland.  I did buy some little chocolate bars just in case of trick or treaters, but there were none.  Viper was very happy with his acquisition of sugary milk chocolate treats.
Something that is a highly celebrated day in Australia, particularly down Victoria way, is Melbourne Cup Day (today).  Basically, it’s a big horse race which gives people the excuse to a) dress up fancy b) drink lots c) gamble d) drink lots e) lose lots of money f) drink lots.  I’ve never been a fan of it, because I don’t like wearing little dresses and high heels, and of course, I’m Cheap.  The drinking part is attractive, but hey, I can do that at home, not pay $8 a glass for some fizzy wine.  I have never gotten a buzz off gambling – probably due to the fact that I’m Cheap, and don’t want to part with my coins.  Some people LOVE it though – what about you?  Love to thrill of the rush?  Double or nothing?
I did attend Race Day once – I think I did pretty well, particularly with the dressing up and drinking.  Winning the big bucks with my betting?  Not so much – the first and only time I’ve gambled on a horse race.
Dressed up? Check.
Fizzy wine? Check.
Large attention seeking hat – nothing to do with races, but fun all the same?  Check.
Tonight’s dinner was cheap, quick and easy.  Much like these girls after a long day at the Melbourne Cup.
I love salad-meals.  It’s an awesome way to use up leftovers (think cooked rice/grains/vegetables) and is pretty quick to assemble.  I’ve made my own “meaty” substitute, which makes this meal preparation a little more time consuming –  but really, you can sub in anything here – chicken, tofu, tempeh, fish, beef whatever you enjoy or have in your fridge.  The sauce is sweet with a nice spicy kick (feel free to add more chilli I added one tiny birds eye, thinking I would need a couple more, but woah these chillies had some BITE.  I rubbed my nose after cutting it, and think I burnt out my nasal passages).  Oh yeah, no MSG in my sauce.  I love the fresh ingredients and vibrant flavours in Thai-inspired dishes…
Thai Coconut Strips: (Based on method in this recipe) 
  • 1/2C coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 T Thai green curry paste
  • 1/4C TVP
  • 1/2C vital wheat gluten
  • 1T onion granules
  • 1/2t ground coriander
  • 1/2t chilli flakes
  • 1t ginger powder
  • 1T soy sauce

  1. Quickly fry off curry paste in a fry pan until fragrant (a few minutes).  Mix into coconut milk, and add soy sauce.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.
  3. Mix wet and dry together.
  4. Give “dough” a quick knead, and shape (this time instead of the usual sausage roll I just made little patties)
  5. Place in a steamer for 30 minutes.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
  6. When ready to serve salad, slice into strips and pan fry.
Sweet Chilli Sauce:
  • 1/2C soaked dates (chop dates and pour about 1/8C boiling water over them to soften)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2C + 3T water
  • 5t lime juice
  • 5t fish sauce
  • 1/2-1 small birds eye chilli, chopped (depending on how hot you like it)
  1. Blend all ingredients in a food processor.  Chill in fridge until ready to serve.
Salad Assembly:
This is what I used, but feel free to utilise whatever you have on hand (mushrooms, carrot, broccoli, coloured peppers, bean sprouts, sweetcorn, cashew nuts, toasted coconut, steamed rice, cooked quinoa, noodles etc)
  • Mung bean noodle threads, rehydrated and tossed in sesame oil
  • Dry toasted chopped peanuts
  • Cucumber
  • Fresh coriander
  • Red onion
  • Mung bean sprouts
  • Steamed Pak Choy
  • Steamed Pei Tsai
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander, chopped.
I  assemble everything on a large communal platter, with little bowls of sauce, wedges of lime, extra chopped nuts, fried shallots etc.  Everyone helps themselves and creates a plate.  A big free-for-all…just how I like to eat.
I’m not going to put any money on it, but if you’re anything like me –  I bet you’d love this meal.

mon petit chou

One of the maybe 3 things I can say in French.  I think the other 2 are inapropriate.

Cabbage is one of those strange vegetables.  It’s pigeon-holed a little bit (well, it is in my brain).

…Coleslaw

…Sauerkraut

…?

I’m not allowed to eat raw cabbage.  I love it, but it does not love me.  Viper has banned me from it.  You join the dots.

I love sauerkraut, but it’s more of a condiment than a ‘dish.’

I got excited by Katie’s idea of roasting.  I managed to score a whopping sugar loaf cabbage from a sweet lady’s organic vege patch on an afternoon meander with Misty.  60c.  Wicked.

This was 1/4 of a monster cabbage – it cooks down to about 2C worth.

  • Sliced cabbage
  • 2T balsamic vinegar
  • 4T water
  • 1t sea salt
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1t wholegrain mustard
  • 1/2t onion powder/granules
  • 1/2t garlic powder/granules
  • 1t olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  1. Mix ingredients together
  2. Spread on a baking tray and roast at 200 degrees C for around 25-35 minutes.  Give it a good mix around every 5 minutes until it’s tender, browning and getting little crispy bits (or however you like it)
  3. Season with extra salt and pepper.

I cranked up the grill for the last 2 minutes so it got lots of little crispy bits going on.

Viper was afraid.  He knows what happens after I eat cabbage.

Good news!  No unfortunate after effects (cooking the cabbage is the key.  Still banned from coleslaw) and delicious.

Gives the humble old cabbage a bit of sex appeal.  mmm sexy cabbage.

blueberries for Babe, not bacon

*Warning* The follow post contains content that may disturb/offend vegans or vegetarians.  Sorry.

I’m not a vegan.  I would really really like to be, but there are a couple of things in my way.

  • Yoghurt (tastes delicious)
  • Salmon (tastes delicious)
  • Leather (couches, handbags and shoes.  No comparison)
  • Honey (tastes delicious)

Only 4 things, so it’s not all bad – but it doesn’t help my conscience.

I stopped eating pigs because I had a childhood obsession with them – countless stuffed animals, trinkets, books – name anything pig related, and I probably had it, or was pining for it.

la la laaaaaa

My old boss and manager (see picture below) also loved pigs – so much so they called themselves the “Pig Sisters,” and committed themselves to eating pig every.single.day.  Not quite the same philosophy I had, but I couldn’t penalise them for their dedication.  My boss even created a fictional character “Piglet Swiggins,” whom she painted fairytale-esque portraits of and penned whimisical tales of his adventures.  Bacon was renamed ‘strips of Piglet Swiggins’ on the menu, which needed to be explain every time.

Yes, that is a pig on a spit.  It took 11 hours to cook.  It was amazing.  For the first time in oh, probably 15 years I ate pig (I was 4 months pregnant here, and it was my birthday, can I blame it on either of those somehow?)

This is the creator of Pigglet Swiggins; that is the actual snout.  She later ATE the snout too.  Bless.

I went back to eating meat when I was pregnant.  I’m not really sure why, it just kind of happened.  I craved meat, and I was severely anemic, so I just went with what my body was telling me.  I don’t feel bad about it; I had a pretty much perfect pregnancy, labour and birth.

I made this recipe today (maybe I needed to create something vegan to make myself feel better.  Who knows?)

A variation, naturally.

  • 1/2C coconut milk
  • 1/8t guar gum
  • 1/2 vanilla bean pod, scraped of it’s seeds (vanilla extract is fine)
  • 1T agave syrup
  • Pinch of pink sea salt
  • 1/3C frozen blueberries
  • 1 date
  • Splash of water for blending
  • Toasted coconut shavings (optional)
  1. Blend together blueberries, date and water.
  2. Combine coconut milk, salt and vanilla in a small saucepan.  Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer, add guar gum, stirring until it thickens.
  4. Add in blueberry paste, reserving a little for topping off the servings.
  5. Pour into bowls and chill in fridge.  It gets to a yoghurt sort-of consistency.
  6. Garnish with reserved blueberry, and toasted coconut shavings if desired.

I wanted it to look fun – I think it’s important for kiddies to be excited by their food – nature provides us with so many amazing colours, why not milk it?  Beetroot, pumpkin, peas – beautiful colours that just jump out and smack you in the head with their vibrancy. I don’t know if Misty gets this quite yet (he’s more into eating cardboard, mmm) but it makes cooking creative for me.

I’ve found my thrill.

It’s not on a hill, but it IS blueberry.

Oh so pretty.

Kind to the creatures too.  Hooray.