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Hemp & Goji “Rice” Salad

October 26, 2014

Cauliflower "rice" salad

Cauliflower “rice” salad

Now you know when I say ‘rice’, I don’t mean ‘rice’, right?! Now that Summer is descending and the barbeque season is about to start, I thought another “rice” salad was in order. Of course, I mean cauliflower rice to those uninitiated!

By the way, have you tried goji berries?

I never really got on the goji berry bandwagon. I tried some, many years ago and thought they tasted bitter and chewy. I guess I was expecting something sweeter. They were hailed as last year’s “superfood” and have been touted as being able to cure everything from diabetes to hypertension to obesity, and everything in between, but there really isn’t any concrete evidence to these claims.

The goji berry, also known as the wolfberry, is a member of the nightshade family. They have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and I know that you can buy them for a fraction of the cost in Chinese grocers rather than your local health food store where they can cost up to $60 per kilo!

Goji berries are commonly eaten dried but can also be eaten raw or cooked, and are used in herbal teas, “health” bars, juices, and medicines. The main benefit of goji berries is specifically that they contain powerful anti-oxidants which may help protect the body against oxidative damage. They also are rich in vitamin A, which confers with health benefits regarding immune support and skin damage.

If you have pollen allergies you may want to stay away from this fruit, although I suffer from pretty bad seasonal hay fever and I have never had a problem. There are case reports that have linked goji berry consumption with skin photo-sensitivity, causing a skin rash on exposure to sunlight. Goji berries may also interact with diabetes and blood pressure medicines, so check with your pharmacist about possible interactions. Despite this they do have nutritional benefit but not enough to justify the price, I reckon, but I’m not a nutritionist. Get yours at the Asian grocer!

I like the idea that these berries are not too sweet and have an almost savoury or herbal flavour. And I also like the colour in this otherwise brown salad. If you don’t have any on hand, substitute the goji with currants – I think cranberries would be too overpowering and sweet.

Traditionally this recipe is made with brown rice which lends a lovely nutty flavour with plenty of bite but I tweaked a few things and added some toasted hemp seeds which do a good job of providing crunch. You could also use them raw if you prefer.

A great ‘do-ahead’ salad, this improves overnight so if you have an after-work barbeque, it’s safe to make the night before. Just don’t add the hemp seeds or the macadamias until just before serving.

600g cauliflower, chopped
1 knob fresh ginger (about 2 cm)
1 clove garlic
90g olive oil
2 tabs tamari or soy
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tab honey
1/2 teas salt
3 tabs chopped parsley
2 tabs chives, sliced
4 tabs hemp seeds, lightly toasted
75g green capsicum, finely diced
1 rib celery, finely diced
30g goji berries
40g toasted macadamia nuts, chopped
Prepare the cauliflower by chopping on SP 4 until resembling rice size pieces. Add 100g water and cook on100ºC for 7 minutes.Drain well.

Chop the garlic & ginger on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the olive oil, tamari, lemon juice, honey & salt and blend on SP 5 for 10 seconds.  In a wide bowl, mix together the warm cauliflower, dressing & goji berries to absorb for at least 20 minutes.

Assemble the salad with the celery, capsicum, herbs and just before serving, stir though the hemp seeds and macadamia nuts.


Double Trouble Orange Cake

October 24, 2014

Flavoured with orange, coloured with turmeric

Flavoured with orange, coloured with turmeric

I say double orange because I have coloured this recipe with turmeric, hence the double trouble.

Dare I say it, I’m a bit “over” chocolate! Please don’t strike me down with lightening! It is way after Easter but my body still thinks it’s April!

I have been playing around with carob and cacao and I think that I may actually be allergic, heaven forbid! My tongue goes sort of funny, prickly and dry. Does this sound like allergy to you?

I love a citrussy, lip pursing, lemon flavour. And a spicy warm ginger one too. As for orange? Nice & fragrant and safe. It is spring-time here in Brisbane and the Murraya is blossoming. This “mock orange” blossom is akin to citrus orange blossom in that it is highly fragrant with white flowers and glossy green leaves. The hay-fever season has started with a full face punch to the sinuses and whilst I love the fragrance and flavour of orange, I’m suffering because of this blossom!

The anti-inflammatory compounds in turmeric give me good reason to add this to my recipe, as well as contributing to the colour. And the vitamin C & anti-oxidants in the orange peel are a great immune booster. Let’s call this my hay-fever medicinal cake!!

120g sugar (I used Natvia)
rind of 1 large orange + flesh of 1/2 orange
10g knob fresh turmeric
200g almonds
20g coconut flour
25g tapioca flour
2 teas baking powder
4 eggs
120g butter, softened
Chop the turmeric on SP 9 for 5 seconds. Add the sugar and orange rind and mill on SP 9 for 10 seconds. Add the almonds and mill for a further 10 seconds. Add the flours and eggs and butter and mix on SP 5 for 10 seconds.
Bake for 45 minutes at 160 – 170ºC oven. Cover if browning too much, coconut flour can burn.
I garnished mine with very thin slices of orange, but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit

I garnished mine with very thin slices of orange, but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit.



Pork Sausage Noodle Salad

October 20, 2014

A different take on Thai noodles

A different take on Thai noodles

This recipe was inspired by a dish that we had at the infamous Taling Pling restaurant in Bangkok on a recent trip to Thailand.

I had been in the waiting room of the Bangkok International Dental Clinic, waiting for my husband to have some work done – yes it really is cheaper and better – chatting to some staff when I enquired about a “good” Thai restaurant to visit which was frequented by the locals. We regularly eat “on the street” but were wanting a little less frenzy over our meal that night!

The staff had great debate over which restaurant that they would recommend and finally decided on Taling Pling.

It was a refreshing change to see some very unusual things on the menu such as cowslip florets, taling pling berries, stink bean seeds and red ant eggs!! Something that seemed completely out-of-place on the menu was a vermicelli  noodle dish that was made with pork sausage and pickled garlic. I have tweaked my recipe to incorporate zucchini noodles and makes for a simple but tasty dish.

1 pkt of shiratake vermicelli noodles, rinsed & drained**
1 large zucchini, spiralised
1 large (good quality) pork sausage
1 clove fresh garlic
1 red chilli, sliced
2 spring onions, sliced
10 cloves pickled garlic*, quartered
handful chopped coriander
2 tabs macadamia oil
1 tab fish sauce
lime juice to taste
Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the fresh garlic, spring onions and chilli. Remove the skin from the raw sausage and sauté  until crumbly. Add the noodles and zucchini and stir fry until the zucchini has softened but not disintegrating. Season with the fish sauce and lime juice and garnish with the pickled garlic and coriander. 
* Substitute white cocktail onions if you can’t find pickled garlic. 
** You can always use rice vermicelli noodles, prepared as per packet, too.

Oh Henry!, the cake…

October 18, 2014

Don't be put off that it's raw, vegan and gluten-free! It's also sugar-free and delicious!!

Don’t be put off that it’s raw, vegan and gluten-free! It’s also sugar-free and delicious!!

When looking through the Wikipedia list of chocolate bars, you will find some very familiar confections under different guises from varied countries of origin.

Imagine a chocolate bar called Oh Henry! bar. Similar to what we know as a Snickers bar, the Oh Henry! bar was said to be named after a boy who frequented the chocolate factory, flirting with the girls who made the candy. What an interesting bit of marketing from the 1920’s; it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it?!!

Like the Snickers bar, the Oh Henry! bar is concocted with peanuts, caramel, and fudge coated in chocolate. I was never a fan of caramel chocolate as a kid. The caramel was way too cloying and sweet for me, even back then. And if I’m hankering for something very naughty, a chocolate bar is not something I would seek.

But cake on the other hand would be on my radar! This recipe is inspired from an amazing cake that I had at Earth to Table, a raw food cafe in Bondi, NSW, recently. I was so enamoured with this place that I sat for 5 hours and worked my way through the menu, just so I could try EVERYTHING!!

Indeed the raw caramel cheesecake, was recommended as the most popular item on the menu and I know why. It is an amazing feat of decadence devoid of gluten, refined sugar & dairy and raw and vegan to boot!

My cake includes the components of a snickers bar; caramel, nuts, “nougat” and chocolate. So the Henry cake is what I’m calling it.

In previous raw food recipes I have used agar agar, konjac and psyllium but these ingredients are hard to find. Raw food cakes also tend to have an enormous amount of coconut oil in them, which is fine for me as I love the stuff, but some people really dislike the flavour.  This recipe is without finicky ingredients and has minimal coconut oil but if you’re a nut avoider, flick the page now!  Tell me what you think of my Henry cake – I love it.

100g almonds
50g dates
1/2 teas cinnamon
30g coconut butter or butter
30g buckwheat or coconut
1 teas raw cacao
Blitz together on SP 8 until a fine crumble and press into a lined 20cm cake tin. Add a little water if it is too dry. Place in the freezer while you make the base.
370g cashews (You can use macadamias but cashews are creamier – I used a 50/50 mix) 
1/2 teas salt
80g dates (preferably medjool)
2 teas vanilla extract
260g almond milk, preferably home-made
130g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
120g cacao butter, melted
2 tabs lecithin granules – optional, (I use this one in a liquid)
60g chocolate hazelnut sauce – I make Quirky Jo’s fabulous one + 30g extra for drizzling*
50g dark 70% chocolate, melted
30g toasted walnuts for garnish
Soak the nuts overnight in plenty of cool water with a pinch salt. Drain well.
Blitz the nuts, salt & dates on SP 9 for 10 seconds.
Add the almond milk, maple syrup & vanilla and blend on SP 8 for 1 minute. Scrape down and add the cacao butter and lecithin and continue to blend on SP 9 for minute until smooth & creamy. Pour over 3/4 of the mixture onto the base.
To the rest of the mix, add the 60g chocolate sauce and the melted chocolate and mix on SP 5 until well combined. Dot this over the cake filling and use a knife to swirl the chocolate through the mix. Refrigerate overnight to set or place into the freezer to chill for 2 hours.
Caramel Sauce
160g dates soaked in 160g hot water for 30 minutes
70g coconut oil or butter (or a mix if you don’t mind dairy)
1 tab almond butter, or other nut butter
1 teas vanilla extract
1 pinch salt or more to taste
Add all of the ingredients, including the soaking water, to the TM and and blitz on SP 9 for 1 minute. Scrape down and repeat. 
Pour a thin layer over the cake, you will not need it all (which is fortunate because this stuff is fantastic on ice-cream), and continue to chill.
Before serving, drizzle the cake with the remaining chocolate sauce and scatter with toasted walnuts. Serve with extra caramel sauce if you wish.
*Or just use melted chocolate.

My Family Reunion & Eatfest!

October 17, 2014
tags: ,

This is the most sedate, non-blurry picture as we kept laughing!

My gorgeous brother & sister: This is the most sedate, non-blurry picture we could get as we kept laughing!

I don’t have a very big family. There’s no line-up of aunts & uncles and cousins on my Christmas card list! It’s just me and my older sister and younger brother.

We are scattered from Melbourne to Brisbane to San Francisco and opportunities to meet up are few and far between. Last week, my sister visited Australia and we had a “pot-luck” dinner reunion in Melbourne, hosted by my very special friends, Kyle & Gerry. It has been 6 years since my sister has been in the country and we enjoyed plenty of  laughs and childhood reminiscing. It was a fabulous time and my thanks go to all who made it so.

But…. more importantly… what did we eat?!!

I marinated some chicken thighs in smoked paprika, olive oil and garlic and we grilled them on the barbecue with some local pork sausages.


Kyle made a Thai style coleslaw with carrots, bean-shoots and cabbage. He mixed through some grilled prawns and dressed it with a Thai dressing with coconut cream. He didn’t give me his recipe but here is my own recipe for a coconut dressing.


My brother made a broccolini salad with roasted celery & onion and steamed broccolini & asparagus. He dressed with a hommus sauce, which I would never have thought to do but it was AMAZING!

mums fritt

My mum made a roasted pumpkin and capsicum frittata with sage leaves.

Japanese Jicama Salad with Sesame

I made a jicama salad with a simple lemon & sesame dressing.


I made a green salad and served it with my favourite green goddess dressing and toasted walnuts.

Creamy Cauli & Egg Salad

My Aunty made a potato salad….but hers had actual potato and bacon in it!! Here is a recipe for my potato-free, potato salad!

choco pie2

I had pre-made the chocolate gingerbread pie and frozen it. It travelled the 1800kms very well and was enjoyed by everyone!


And I also took my own booch, which we quickly drank so my sister bought some local Remedy Organic Kombucha, which was just as good as homemade!

You know, a meal in a restaurant is wonderful, but who can beat a spread where everyone contributes and everything is homemade!




Chocolate Gingerbread pie – Vegan

October 8, 2014



I have been trying to bake less lately. It seems that this is not making my readers very happy. “Where are the cakes?” “Where is the chocolate?” you are asking… My answer is: “on my hips, and around my middle and on my thighs and on my dog’s neck!!” Despite my efforts to eat whole and healthy, there is still such a thing as eating too much – and I have perfected this to a tee!

OK, scrub that, lets start again..

One can never have enough chocolate! Never. Ever..

This weekend I am going interstate and need to take something transportable & vegan & coconut free for a party. OK. So feeling a bit creative but unmotivated to go shopping, I have created this tart with what I had in my fridge. One might call it a pie if one was American! I need to freeze it so I can transport it frozen and then defrost it when I get there. I cooked the tart shell and will use the tin to transport it in as a ready-made container. If you want to keep this a vegan and raw tart, don’ t cook the base! And to add a bit of bling I have put some gold leaf on the top so I don’t have to decorate it when I get to my destination. You could of course, cover the pie with ganache or coconut cream or even toasted almonds or strawberries. You can’t go wrong with chocolate so I hope it will be a hit!

160g raw almonds
60g pitted dates
1 knob fresh ginger
50g macadamia oil 
pinch salt
dash of water if required
Add all of the ingredients and process on SP 6 for about 20 seconds until a dough forms. Press into a tart tin and bake at 150ºC for about 15 minutes. 
choco pie2 tabs agar agar
150g water
320g nut milk
1 teas psyllium powder
200g 70% dark chocolate 
100g rapadura sugar (I used Natvia)
70g maple syrup or brown rice syrup
300g ripe avocado* flesh (about 2 medium)
1 tab ginger liqueur
1/4 teas salt
1 teas balsamic vinegar
Heat the water & agar to 80ºC on SP 1 for 3 minutes to dissolve. Don’t be tempted to increase the speed as the agar will stick to the sides of the bowl and not dissolve.
Add the nut-milk, sugar, psyllium and chocolate and cook at 50ºC on SP 4 for 2 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes before adding the maple syrup, liqueur, salt, vinegar & avocado. Blend on SP 7 for 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and repeat until the mix is perfectly smooth. Pour into the tart shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm then decorate as you wish.
* Don’t be alarmed. This is not overly “avocado-ey” – but the avocados do lend to the creamy texture. To make this a raw dessert, increase the dates to 80g and omit the water. Do not cook the tart base and serve very cold.


Blueberry Cinnamon Struesel “Brioche”

October 5, 2014

Crusty on the outside and soft & puddingy on the inside! Nom Nom

Crusty on the outside and soft & puddingy on the inside! Nom Nom

Well, not quite a brioche, but not quite a cake or sponge either. Sometimes I develop a recipe that doesn’t quite work out the first time but I get an inkling that it’s going to be eventually a huge success! I know this because, despite the previous failed attempts, the recipe still tastes good and I am itching to make it again and again and again!

So it was the third attempt, after many tweaks at this recipe that I decided that it was a goer. At the time, I thought that it was going to be a complicated long-winded method but in-fact, this cake is as easy as pie!

As you know, I rarely use dairy but substituting the cream cheese with anything else, just didn’t work. I used full fat cream cheese with a dash of yoghurt to thin it down. I used coconut yoghurt but any will do.


I liken this recipe to a Danish pastry – crusty on the outside but dense and moist on the inside. The blueberries help cut down the sweetness of the struesel but this is by no means a sweet dessert cake.  Serve it for morning tea with a pot of your favourite brew. You could substitute the blueberries for raspberries and even put some chocolate chips in the mix – the possibilities are endless.

Because this cake is all air, it will get scoffed down in minutes, try to cool it down before slicing if you can resist the heady aromas from the kitchen.

Expect for the cake to shrink significantly in the tin. This is helped by lining the tin with baking paper and also baking the cake with a bowl of water in the bottom of the oven. (I think it helps with the crust and lessen the cracking.) Serve on its own or with custard!

6 eggs, separated
60g coconut sugar (I used Natvia)
140g cream cheese
40g  yoghurt ( I used coconut yoghurt)
25g tapioca flour
1/4 teas cream of tartar
100g raw almonds
1 tab cinnamon
40g butter
25g maple syrup (or honey)
40g coconut sugar
80g blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Place the egg yolks, sugar, cream cheese, yoghurt and tapioca into the TM bowl and blend on SP 5 for 20 seconds or until well combined.
In a mixer* with a balloon attachment, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the yolk mixture and pour into a greased and lined spring form  24cm tin.
Without cleaning the bowl add the almonds and mill for 10 seconds on SP 9. Add the remaining struesel ingredients (except for the blueberries) and blend on SP 6 for 30 seconds until a smooth paste forms.
Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven

Dot the mix with a teaspoon onto the batter in the pan and sprinkle with blueberries. Bake in a 160°C oven for 45 – 50 minutes. It will puff up and then sink on cooling.

* You can do this in your TM if you have a second bowl but I prefer to get as much air in the mix as possible.


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