Thursday, November 29, 2012

banana, date and olive oil bread recipe {gluten + dairy-free}

Banana, date + olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}

I've had a fruit-bowl full of bananas screaming out at me every morning for the past week. Use me up before I rot, hurry up! See banana's don't keep that well over here in Perth, so I tend to just buy just a handful every few days or so. Last week however, I got a little over-excited and bought loads. Once they turn a lovely shade of brown the kids don't touch them and to be honest, neither do I (unless I use them in a smoothie or to make ice-cream with). 

The banana cake eater of our house is working away at the moment so that was out, but it's slightly less sweet cousin banana bread was calling. I've been doing so much baking for the book lately so this had to be something not overly sweet, sickly or buttery. There's only so much sweet baking one can take, I'm sure even my friends are getting sick of my weekly deliveries of baked goods! Shock horror I know. So in a bid to keep things relatively healthy and light I've used olive oil instead of the usual butter and chopped dates to give a boost of natural sweetness, cutting down on sugar. 

Banana, date + olive oil bread {gluten + dairy-free}

Friday, November 23, 2012

going home, hello's and a goodbye...

Flying home...

The past few weeks have seen many first for my family and I. Firstly I flew solo for the first time in over 9 years, leaving the kids and Si behind here in Perth. It was the first time I've ever slept apart from from my babies, and I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I was about leaving them behind. On the upside I got to spend time with my siblings, niece, nephew, Mum, Dad and friends back home in New Zealand for the first time in nearly two years, and although the circumstances weren't the most joyous, it was still amazing none the less and I'm so thankful that I was able to get home and be surrounded by those who I love. And lastly the reason why all this occurred was so I could say my final goodbyes to my Grandad, attending his funeral mere hours after arriving in my hometown of Raglan and then travelling back to where it all began the following day, to a little town in the middle of nowhere called Taihape. It was such an emotional journey taking him home to where he belongs, hearing the stories of my mothers youth as we travelled down the country, past snow-topped mountains and bright green paddocks. This trip home is one I will never forget. I got to stand next to the grave site of my great grandmother of whom I am named after for the first time, before walking though her actual house that still stands in the middle of a paddock a few minutes drive around the corner. My mum has spoken often about the magic of her Grans place when I was growing up, so even though it was the first time I've ever been there it was exactly how I had always imagined it would be. 

Grandad Spooner was the first of my Grandparents to pass over, actually other than one cousin he is the only person I have ever lost in my life. Given that I am 32 years old I figure I've been pretty damn lucky to have never experienced death before now. Had it been anyone else in my family I'm not so sure I'd be quite so composed right now, and trust me when I say there were many moments leading up to and on the day of his funeral where I was anything but composed, but here's the thing... my Grandad lived an amazing full life, and for that we can all be grateful for. Not many people can say they lived to nearly 90 years old.

Our kids spent the first few years of their lives living in our Raglan house right next door to my Grandparents. The first thing we did when we bought the house was knock out a few fence posts so we could squeeze through the gap and wander through to their backyard. We saw them nearly everyday of those 4 years, and I'm so grateful for the time we spent with them both, forming the bond that I had always dreamt of having with my Grandparents. The kids would play in Nana's garden collecting leaves and flowers to add to one of her buckets that collected rain water for the vege garden, something I'm sure Nana hated when a few days later the stench of rotting leaves permeated the air. Nana and Grandad were both right next-door when I gave birth to my kids in a pool set up in our kitchen, and even though Grandad didn't often make the trip down the hill to our house he would often be seen wandering the deck if Nana was taking too long chatting down at our house in the afternoons. And I will never forget the beaming smile on Grandad's face when one day down town little miss Ada, age 2 recognised this old man leaving the butchers, with his sausages wrapped up in paper under his arm and yelled out "there's Grandad!". "People just don't seem to see me these days, but little Ada did", Grandad later re-tells. 

Leaving them when we made the move over here to Australia was one of the hardest things I've ever done, because I knew things would never be the same again. 
Monday, November 19, 2012

quinoa porridge w/ roasted strawberry rhubarb compote recipe

I've just returned back to Perth after a very last minute and incredibly sad journey back home to NZ to farewell my Grandad. It doesn't happen often but I'm actually a little lost for words. So much has happened in the past week since his passing and I need a little more time to get my thoughts into words before I pour them out all over this page. So in a bid to simplify things a tad on my behalf I thought it might be nice to share a little breakfast recipe that was part of an article I wrote recently for Allergy Today magazine.

Amongst many other things, going home meant I got to see the article for the first time, as I had a copy wating for me at my sisters house which was pretty exciting! In the article I also shared one of my all time favourite rice noodle salad recipes, a version of this double chocolate vegan cookie recipe from awhile back, and a little about the story behind why we eat gluten and dairy-free. If you've read the article yourself I so hope you enjoyed it. 

AT article AT article AT article

Monday, November 5, 2012

teriyaki tofu with asparagus + snow peas recipe

Teriyaki tofu w/ asparagus + snowpeas

The downside to being vegetarian and having a husband who eats chicken is that I have to handle and cook something that still grosses me out, even after years of working in the industry dealing with it on a daily basis. The upside is, that on the nights when I cook it for the boys of the family I get to cook whatever I feel like eating, knowing full-well that my little trusty side-kick Ada (who has recently and much to my delight given up on eating chicken, most of the time) will happily gobble up anything that I put in front of her. This girl can eat and with all the recipe testing going on around here this is a good thing. When the boys turn up their noses at something I've made that's not to their picky tastes, I can be guaranteed to at least have someone keen try my food and more often than not be asked for more once the first taster has gone in a matter of seconds.
Sunday, November 4, 2012

a few of my favourite things {october 2012}


Whoops, so October ended all of a sudden and I forgot to post this before it did! My time spend sifting the net has become somewhat scarce lately, but I've still managed to find some wee gems this month (well, last month actually, anyways...) enjoy! Be back in a few days with a recipe if I can find a spare second to rustle something up between now and then. xx

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