Showing posts with label sugar-free. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sugar-free. Show all posts
Tuesday, July 30, 2013

roasted strawberry, orange + pink peppercorn popsicles {a guest post}

roasted strawberry, orange + pink peppercorn popsicles

I know it's winter and no I'm no completely mad... but I did just write a guest post for my lovely friend Sarah over at The Vanilla Bean Blog (she's from the states... where it's summer. So see I'm not mad after all eh?). You can read the full post for these awesome popsicles (aka ice-blocks/icy-poles) here and/or grab the recipe below. And if you are from NZ/Australia you might want to bookmark this recipe for when our summer finally rolls around :-) xx.

roasted strawberry, orange + pink peppercorn popsicles

roasted strawberry, orange + pink peppercorn popsicles
Unrefined raw sugar, brown rice syrup or honey can be used in place of the maple syrup if preferred. I used 1 teaspoon of pink peppercorns because I didn't want to freak my kids out, but had I been making them all for myself I'd go the full 2 teaspoons. If you can't find pink peppercorns sold separately, you should be able to to find them in a pack of mixed peppercorns and just pick them out.  
Makes 4

500g (just over 1 lb) strawberries, hulled
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
the finely grated zest of 1 orange
1-2 teaspoons pink peppercorns, finely ground
a good pinch fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 200C/400F. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl, transfer to a lipped baking tray or oven-proof dish and roast for 25 minutes or until strawberries are tender and their juices have been released. Remove from the oven and cool.
Transfer berries and their juices to a blender and blend until smooth. Spoon into popsicle moulds, snap on the lids and freeze. If using wooden sticks freeze popsicles for an hour until partially frozen before inserting sticks. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.
Run moulds briefly under warm water to help release the popsicles.

Friday, July 5, 2013

little raw carrot cakes with orange maple cream {gluten + dairy-free} to celebrate 3 years!

little raw carrot cakes w/ orange maple cream

I find it fascinating to think of how we all have our own special callings in life. What may seem impossible to even comprehend to some, comes naturally to others. Take my friend Aidee for example. She knows how to make films. Yes, films. She also knows how to act and has just produced her first music video for our other friend Anna's new single. Lets be honest, this baffles me. Both the singing part and the making a video part. I wouldn't even know where to begin to undertake such a project. When I started high school I had great musical aspirations; I was first going to learn how to play the guitar, followed by bass guitar and then drums. 
I lasted approximately 2 weeks with guitar lessons before promptly giving up on any dreams I may have had of being a musician, and went back to fascinating about food. That there are actually people who can play the guitar (or any musical instrument for that matter), still blows my mind. That was not my calling, not even close.

I often look at people in awe when they tell me what they do for a living. You're a teacher!? Wow, how do you have the balls to stand up in front of a class full of kids and more importantly... how do you handle that many kids in your face all day! You're a doctor!? Wow, I know you've spent most of your adult life training to do what you do, but really, how do you deal with all the gross bits... and the blood. I'd faint. You're an artist!? Wow, what I would give to have the talent and the discipline you have to create. You lucky thing (yes, brother Louie I'm talking to you!). You what, create and sew clothes!? Me, I can barely hand-stitch a button back onto a shirt. I wouldn't even know where to begin to make something you'd actually be able to wear. How do you do what you do? (Yes, sister Jessie I'm talking to you!). You're a shoemaker!? Wow, I can create many things, but shoes? Nope they are not one of them, you're awesome (Yes, brother Ben I am talking to you!). You're a builder? Respect to you, seriously. You build houses and stuff! Houses! Far out *taking my hat off to you*.

cake prep Untitled Untitled

Thursday, May 9, 2013

rhubarb, candied hazelnut + buckwheat cake + a giveaway!

rhubarb, candied hazelnut + buckwheat cake

If you're into real, honest, wholefood then I suspect the person I am about to talk about today will come of no surprise to you at all, especially if you are from or happen to live in Australia. Jude Blereau has been one of the leading voices in wholefoods throughout Australia and the world for over 18 years, she's a natural foods chef, author of four books, food coach, cooking teacher and real food activist. Basically she's one of my food hero's! I first got in touch with Jude hoping to meet-up a few years ago when we first arrived in Perth from NZ (she's a long-time Perth local you see). Even through our emails I could tell straight away what a kind and caring soul she was. Due to the busyness of life for both her and I, two years down the track we still hadn't met up in person! Emails went backwards and forwards again recently as we made plans to finally catch up once our lives both settled down in a few months time and then Jude had a brilliant idea, inviting me to her new book launch right here in Perth!

This was a first for me going to a book launch, but I'm guessing something I should really get used to as it will be me holding them very soon myself (!). Thankfully Si was home that weekend so I could frock up and head out for a lovely afternoon tea, minus the rug-rats. Jude was everything I knew she would be, warm, bubbly, positive and encouraging. I hope she doesn't mind me saying this, and I mean this only as a compliment, but in person she reminds me of my mum. Jude, just like my own mother chose to go against the grain and carve out a healthy life for herself and her daughter in a time when most people were flipping out about buying ready-made meals and nuking them in microwave. It takes a certain strength to do such things (I know first hand, trust me!) and I admire her greatly for the choices she has made and the knowledge she is so willing to share with us all.

Jude Blereau book launch
Wholefood baking

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the famed green juice recipe from my 3 day detox

green juice

I'm craving a huge bowlful of yoghurt, topped with berries, bananas and nuts. Like, really really craving them. As I sit here late at night typing up this post I am only one sleep away from my dream bowl of yoghurt. By the time you've read this tomorrow morning I will have finished my 3 day detox, eaten that said bowl of yoghurt, not topped with bananas as we are all out, but most definitely sprinkled with the few scavenged berries from the pots out back and a generous handful of almonds.
It's funny how the second we can't eat certain things, it's all we crave. First thing in the morning for the past three days all I've wanted is yoghurt, same goes for late at night before I go to bed. I swear I've been eating it in my dreams.

I'm not one of those people who do cleanses all the time, sure I think about doing them often but I've always got some completely valid excuse not to (don't we all?!). That's not to say that I haven't done them at all, I have. But if I'm being completely honest the last one I did was well over 2, okay maybe three years ago now and my body has been screaming out for another ever since. 

green juice
green juice

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt recipe

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt

I hadn't planned on seeing the New Year in. Unlike back in my teenage years I really can't be arsed with the whole kerfuffle that goes with New Years Eve. Maybe it's what happens when you get a little older, the whole pressure to 'go out' really doesn't even come into play once you're over 30 I reckon (or does it?), or maybe it's just that the idea of being woken up at 5.30am from kids jumping on your bed is enough to make any sane person want to stay at home. I don't know, either way I really had all intentions of being fast asleep as the fireworks went off ringing in the new year. But yeah well, the boy had other ideas didn't he.

11.53pm I was awoken by his sobs in the room next door. It turns out he was in the midst of another one of his night terrors he's becoming well known for. I heard the thud of fireworks in the distance as I lay next to him stroking his back trying to calm and reassure him that there really weren't two balloons in the corner of his room, belonging to his sister that was requiring him to have a full melt-down in the middle of the night. He was beyond consolable the poor thing (and has no recollection of these terrors the following morning). By the time he finally settled after I promised him a hundred times that I would buy him some balloons in the morning it was nearly 1am. Happy New years!

fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt fresh mint chocolate chip frozen yoghurt

Earlier in the evening we celebrated the end of 2012 the best way I know how by eating home made frozen yoghurt for dessert, that is after we had a banh xeo feast at my mother-in-laws for lunch. Much more my style these days, now that I am a Nana and all. This frozen yoghurt is a version of Sara Forte's one from her book The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. I'm not usually into anything peppermint and only recently acquired peppermint extract for the first time, ever, after I needed it to make some cookies for the kids teachers before Christmas. But it was the flavour that had the most votes in our house when I suggested making ice cream, so I went with it. I can't tell you how surprised I was when it came to tasting this frozen treat, it's minty but not in-your-face-so, it's delicate and beautifully creamy with a gentle tang from the yoghurt. Sara suggests you could always use coconut milk/cream in place of the whipping cream if you prefer, but as I had a little carton of cream left in the fridge from Christmas (and now that we tolerate it occasionally) I went the whole hog and threw it in. 
Friday, December 7, 2012

lemon, honey + thyme sorbet recipe

lemon, honey + thyme sorbet

Last week a crazy storm ripped through Western Australia and I have a feeling it might be the very one that's just passed through Auckland, NZ too? (I hope you are all okay?!) During the storm the kids and I stood at the window looking out into our back yard and begged for the crazy winds to stop. They didn't. It blew so hard we could see the full trunk of the mango trees out back, their branches were that splayed. At the start of the storm only a few baby mangoes had lost their grip and fallen. But come the end of day two, hundreds lay scattered all over the backyard along with about 25 or so lemons too. Thankfully the mango trees were laden enough that we will still have plenty to eat in January but the crazy lemon haul had me thinking quick smart about ways to use them up. The kids have lined them all up on our windowsill just in front of the kitchen sink, so there is a daily reminder every time I do the dishes, which lets just say happens way more than I'd like for it to at the moment! 

lemon, honey + thyme sorbet
baby green mangoes that fell off the trees

Since the storm passed things have once again warmed up, making this cooling sorbet the perfect afternoon pick-me-up for tired kids after school. Lemon, honey and thyme is a classic combination and one that still puts a smile on my face every time I use it and not only because it sounds like my blog name (cheesy eh!) but because herbs work so amazingly in sweet treats. 
Friday, August 31, 2012

rich chocolate slice recipe

choc date slice

Fresh medjool dates were a luxury we could rarely afford growing up. I remember my dad would buy one or two every so often and keep them hidden from us, probably eating them in peace and quiet when us kids were fast asleep at night. They are still ridiculously overpriced back home in New Zealand, but thankfully for all of us currently living in Australia they are often picked up for a steal at your local supermarket. When Dad was over here visiting recently I bought a whole boxful of them so we could all go crazy :-)

I love their sweet caramel flavour and they are the perfect base to use when making raw sweets and desserts. I blitz them up with almonds, cocoa and a little coconut oil until they turn into a sticky-sweet paste, press it into a tin then chill in the fridge for a beautiful rich chocolate slice... gone healthy.  

choc date slice
choc date slice

Monday, July 23, 2012

soothing lemon, honey + rosemary tea recipe

lemon, honey + ginger tea

Something's been trying to get me these past few days. It's been lurking at the back of my throat threatening to worsen. I had felt like I was managing to keep it at bay by overdosing on vitamin C, Olive leaf extract and Colloidal silver, but this morning I woke up feeling like crap. My nose is now slightly blocked and my head feels stuffy. Still it could be worse. There have been some real nasties doing the rounds these last few months and if I can manage to keep things at this stage, I should be feeling back to normal within the next few days. 

rosemary Untitled lemon, honey + rosemary tea

Hot lemon honey drink has always been my go-to soother for sore throats, just like my mama used to make us as kids. I do all sorts of variations on the theme, sometimes adding in thin slices of fresh ginger, while other times adding in fresh herbs from the garden. Fresh peppermint, thyme, kawakawa leaves (found in NZ) and rosemary are all great and add wonderful flavours as well as healing medicinal properties
Wednesday, May 9, 2012

chewy carob bites recipe

I've got a serious sweet tooth. I don't try and hide the fact. But rather than baking everyday or giving in to that bar of chocolate... again, I try feed my desire for the sweet stuff with natural cane sugar-free alternatives. Well, most of the time anyway.

I find the best way to make healthier choices is to be prepared. I nearly always have a version of these on the go in the fridge or freezer, ready to satisfy my cravings quick smart. The kids love them too and are always pleasantly surprised when they ask for seconds and thirds and I reply with yeah, go ahead. Not something they ever hear me say with traditional baking and sweets, that's for sure!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

red currant and rose lassi recipe

Pushkar... colourfully adorned camels, streets lined with delicious sweets, mountain monkeys swinging outside my window, rose and amla lassi...  is what my dear friend Grace wrote while on a recent trip to India. I remember it well, even though it's been well over 10 years since I stepped foot on Indian soil. I remember with great clarity the camels, their smelly breath and lolloping stride. I could never forget the towers of sweets almost too pretty to eat. I remember the monkeys coming out to play, especially when the rain fell, but rose and amla lassi? How mad was I not to try this, and... what's amla?

A little searching later and I had uncovered that amla is in fact an Indian gooseberry, a fruit the size of a lemon with a very sour, astringent taste that is sometimes even used to straighten hair! Knowing I'd probably never get my hands on amla here in Australia I still went on thinking about the wonderful rose lassi Grace had spoke of with ideas of making my own.

Being a rose lassi I wanted a touch of pretty pink (nothing to do with the fact it's Valentines Day today, really) and after inspecting my freezer for usable berries I set eyes on a bag of red currants. Bingo! Sour, yes. Astringent, yes. Pink, yes
The red currant and rose lassi was born.

Monday, November 7, 2011

little gluten-free mango cakes recipe

I have to say, I sometimes forget we are even living in Australia. As a mum you just get on with life, doing whatever has to be done to keep the kids fed, happy and healthy. So much so that there's not really a whole lot of time left in the day to actually just sit back, observe and really appreciate just how different Perth is to New Zealand. Sure I notice the odd aussie twang, although strangely not as often as I did when living on the East coast (I find the Perth accent very mild), I hear the crows and other random birds singing at 3.30am (our NZ birds are much more relaxed, starting at around 6am), and all the shops closing on Sunday make it pretty clear where we are now living. But it took coming home the other day holding two $10 boxes of Australian mangoes to make me finally, really seriously realise we are in Perth! Funny how it takes food to make me notice...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

gluten-free lemon, ginger & almond cookie recipe {guest post}

Today I have the pleasure of doing my first guest post, over at Healthy Alternatives New Zealand. I've been following Kris and her insightful links for quite some time. I hope you will head over there to read my post about why I choose to make most of our food from scratch as opposed to buying pre-made gluten-free products. Below is the recipe I shared for chewy gluten-free cookies, sweetened with pure palm sugar. They are pretty special. Go on...
Sunday, August 21, 2011

vegan chocolate rice crispies recipe and birthday party hangovers...

After today I am undecided which leaves you feeling more shattered… a night out on the town or two 5 year-old birthday parties in one weekend?

Both leave you tired, dehydrated and sporting a rather sore head. While I can’t really remember what it feels like after a big night out, it’s been way too many months, years even; I have to say that after attending two 5 year-old birthday parties back to back, I’m leaning towards the later for leaving you feeling more shattered! Phew!

I can’t imagine how full-on it must be if you have anymore than two kids. Not only are there your own kids parties to organise, but there’s all their friends parties to attend as well! One of the mums from kindy that I got talking to the other day said her friend has 5 kids; they had 7 parties to attend this weekend just gone. Seven. Can you imagine that?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I think it’s awesome that Ada has such a close kindy class and virtually everyone gets invited to everyone else’s parties. The kids always have a great time, that’s a given. Let’s just say that next year I’m thinking we might just make do with a special dinner or something small for our kids on their birthdays and we may even have to politely decline the odd party invitation too? We’ll see.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

flourless chocolate coconut cupcake recipe

I’ve been thinking about how to begin this post for way too long. Ever since Monday when I baked these little chocolate coconut cupcakes you see up there to be exact. Bloggers often talk about writers block, so far I am yet to experience this… does that mean I like to talk too much? The reason I’ve been stumbling trying to begin this post has more to do with the fact that I have been reading way too many food blogs lately! I’ve come across some real amazing ones, and while the kids are fast asleep at night I've been staying up way past my bedtime, reading blog, after blog, after blog. Salivating over every photo, studying every recipe. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than to do this. It’s just that I find my mind races after reading other peoples blogs, ideas spin around in my head keeping me awake at night, I come up with ideas for posts, and then change them the following day. So you see, it’s with that scattered mind that I bring you this recipe for chocolate coconut cupcakes today.

For a long time I have been reading the big blogs; the 101cookbooks, Tartelette, Cannelle et Vanille, Smitten kitchen and David Lebovitz kinda blogs. Those ones are easy to find. They have made their mark, big time. And their name is on everyone’s lips. What I am talking about here though, are the lesser known ones, the ones generally written by people out of blog-central America. The Green kitchen stories, My new roots, Easy-Peasy Organic, Scandi Foodie, a baking life, one small kitchen, Golubka,and Indian simmer to name but a few. Sometimes if I have a good stint of reading, I come away feeling rather overwhelmed. There really are so many amazing ideas and ultra creative people out there, so many recipes to try and not enough time! (That could just be my frustrated-too-busy-no-time-for-myself mother self talking though…)
Monday, June 13, 2011

sparkling apple, pear & ginger juice recipe, sick kids and painted fabric roads

This past week has been a long one, again. We are entering into round two of the dreaded cold, in just under two weeks. After a relatively sickness-free summer it was so easy to forget how damn hard life can get with kids in the winter months. We’ve been hiding indoors for most of the week out of the chilly wind, Ada’s been off kindy and Si’s out of town for work. *Sigh*
In a bid to knock the kids colds on the head I have been making them freshly squeezed fruit juices, topped up with sparkling mineral water. We love them. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

chocolate hazelnut slice recipe

That’s not exactly what I should be naming these babies, but sometimes I just feel it’s a little bit of an over-kill to write gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar free in the title of a recipe. Even if that’s exactly what this is. Would I sound like a real geek if I mentioned too that these are raw also? If you leave out the toasting of the hazelnuts that is. I couldn’t help myself. The chef in me just had to do it. I love raw cashews, eat raw almonds by the handful. Brazil nuts, pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds… you guessed it, raw. But hazelnuts, never.

Nothing beats the earthy aroma and crisp crunch of freshly toasted hazelnuts. Mixed with anything chocolaty and you’ve got me in one bite. Like my carob tofu bliss balls from a wee while back, this slice is naturally sweetened with dates and maple syrup, making it one of those treats you really don’t mind the kids eating as often as they like. I used dried dates but if you can get your hands on (and afford) fresh medjool dates, go ahead, knock yourself out! I imagine they'd make this slice mind blowing. If you can eat butter, feel free to use that in place of the coconut oil, omitting the salt if you do. Honey can be used in place of the maple, however I prefer the lovely not-so-sweet and in your face nature of maple. Agave would be another good substitute if that's your thing.

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