Category Archives: Healthy recipes

These recipes are healthy, nutritious, often vegan, gluten free, lactose free etc. and are completely DELICIOUS!

Delicious & easy apple crumble with vegan custard (gluten free, lactose free)

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I love warm comfort food and in winter after dinner I usually want something hearty, a little bit sweet, and healthy for dessert. This recipe was concocted one evening when I realised I didn’t have anything to put on top of my apple crumble. Don’t get me wrong – you can eat it by itself and it’s delicious, but I like to have a custard, cream or ice-cream on top to add a bit of decadence. In my state of panic once I realised I had none of the above options, I decided to make a coconut milk custard (because I didn’t have any eggs, custard powder or milk to make a regular custard) to go with my dessert…and it was AMAZING!!! Super easy, can be made in the microwave – and best of all it’s delicious AND healthy…not to mention gluten and dairy free!!

Apple crumble:

Ingredients:

3 medium granny smith apples – peeled, cored and diced

3 tbsp sultanas

2 tbsp dark brown sugar (could substitute stevia, maple, agave, honey etc)

3 tbsp water

2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 cup flour (gluten free if required. Can use wholemeal flour too!)

1/4 cup desiccated coconut

1/4 cup flaked almonds

3 tbsp coconut oil (if you’re not vegan and too worried about calories use normal butter!)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix apples, 1 tbsp sugar, water, 1 tsp cinnamon and sultanas in a microwave/oven safe dish (I do this whole crumble recipe in 1 dish to save on washing up later). Cover with lid and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Meanwhile in a separate bowl rubflour and oil/butter together with your fingertips until you get the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add coconut, almonds and remaining sugar and cinnamon and mix to combine. Once apples are cooked sprinkle crumble mix on top and bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden brown and crunchy.

Coconut custard:

Ingredients:

1 400g tin coconut milk

2 tsp cornflour

1 tbsp water

1 tbsp dark brown sugar (or any other sweetener substitute)

Method:

Put can of coconut milk in freezer for half an hour (this separates the coconut water from the milk) and then tip the creamy milk into a bowl, leaving the watery part out. Add cornflour to water and mix until dissolved. Pour the flour/water mix into creamy coconut milk and add sweetener. Microwave on HIGH for 2-3 minutes (depending on the wattage of your microwave) stirring/whisking every 30-40 seconds. The mix should thicken and be the consistency of a pouring custard.

Serve with apple crumble (or anything else that requires custard!) and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Crumble and custard

The finished product – so yum!

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Marinade recipes – Chinese 5 spice, Thai satay & Italian herb

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As posted earlier, I got super busy on the weekend and made a heap of marinated meats for dinners. This means that I can go to the freezer and know that there is a tasty meal just waiting to be cooked with minimum effort required.

I made 3 different marinades which are amazing on the usual meats like chicken, pork, beef, lamb – but could also be used on seafood, tofu or vegetables too. Get creative and imaginative – it’s all about trying to infuse as much flavour as possible into the food!

Chinese 5 spice marinade:

Ingredients:

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 thumb-size piece ginger, finely chopped

1 hot chilli, finely chopped

4 tbsp tomato sauce/ketchup

4 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp honey

1 tsp Chinese 5 spice powder

2 tbsp dry sherry, Chinese cooking wine (optional)

Method:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix.

Chinese 5 spice marinade

Thai satay marinade/sauce:

This can be used as a marinade but also as a sauce for satay dishes – so make lots as it freezes well.

Ingredients:

1/2 tin coconut milk

2 tbsp fish sauce

Juice of 1 lime

1 hot chilli

3 cloves garlic

1 thumb-size piece ginger

1 thumb-size piece galangal (I couldn’t get fresh galangal but found a pickled version at my local Asian Grocer)

Stems and roots of 1 bunch coriander/cilantro (save the leaves to add to soup)

2 tbsp palm or brown sugar

Method:

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.

Thai satay marinade

Italian Herb marinade:

Ingredients:

1/2 bunch fresh basil

1/4 bunch fresh parsley

3 cloves garlic

3 tbsp parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Method:

Place all ingredients into a blender/food processor and blitz until combined.

italian herb marinade

Lentil, chickpea and coconut soup – vegan, gluten free

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This soup recipe was a combination of several recipes I’d seen in the past and I decided that it would make for a perfect lunch soup for my work days. Living in freezing, FREEZING cold Canberra means that soups are an essential part of the winter diet – and this one is packed full of protein, complex carbs and veggies, both filling, nutritious and best of all, DELICIOUS! This soup is best served with a big piece of crusty bread. If you have the time it’s definitely worth making the No-Knead bread recipe I have posted – goes perfectly with soup!

Lentil coconut soup

Ingredients:

1 x 400g tin brown lentils, drained

1 x 400g tin chickpeas, drained

2 x 400g tins coconut milk (light version is fine to use)

1 large brown onion, finely diced

1 large carrot, finely diced

1 large stalk celery, finely diced

1 medium red pepper/capsicum, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 large thumb-size piece ginger, finely chopped

2 hot chillies (take out seeds if you don’t want it so spicy)

4 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground tumeric

1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds

Salt & pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup tomato paste

6 cups water

2 teaspoons chicken stock powder (vegan)

1 lime

Fresh coriander/cilantro

Natural or greek yoghurt

Method:

In a large pot put olive oil, onion, carrot, celery and capsicum and cook until softened. Add garlic, ginger, chilies, spices and tomato paste and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. (It’s really important to cook off your spices and tomato paste – if you don’t you can end up with a “raw” taste in your soup.) Add lentils, chickpeas, coconut milk, water, stock and salt & pepper to pot and bring to a simmer.

Cook on a low temperature for 15-20 minutes until vegetables and chickpeas are soft. Add the juice of half a lime to the soup once finished cooking.

Serve soup with a big dollop of natural/greek yoghurt, a sprinkle of fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, a wedge of fresh lime and some crusty bread (homemade is best!).

Serves: 10

Can be frozen.

No-knead bread – delicious and easy

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For a while now I’ve been making my own bread. A lot of people remark at how difficult it is and how dedicated I am to cooking…but that’s not necessarily true. This bread recipe is super easy, requires no kneading, and can be altered to change the flavours. So far I’ve cooked a few wholemeal molasses loaves as well as a caramelised onion, spinach and parmesan loaf – all of which have turned out amazing! I accidentally discovered the secret to getting this bread so light and fluffy on the weekend, and that was because I left my dough to rise the second time around longer than usual…the result?! Fluffy, light and airy bread with a delicious crunchy crust. At a glance it might seem that this bread-making process is complicated and time consuming, but once you’re organised it’s easy and can fit into a daily or weekly routine. This isn’t one of those “Oh I have 10 minutes spare time, I’ll whip up a loaf of bread” recipe – you need to plan ahead – but trust me, totally worth the effort! (original recipe from: http://www.frugallivingnw.com/frugal-homemaking/amazing-no-knead-bread-step-by-step-recipe/)

Bread ingredients

Ingredients:

6 cups plain flour (I use half white/half wholemeal)

1/2 teaspoon dry yeast

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 2/3 cup water

2-3 tablespoons molasses (optional)

Method:

Put all dry ingredients in bowl (and molasses if using it) and slowly add water to combine. The mix should be quite wet, so if the dough is too dry add a little more water (be careful –  a little goes a long way).

Bread dough unrisen

Cover bowl with cling wrap and leave on kitchen bench for 12-18 hours to rise.

Once risen, pour dough onto lightly floured bench-top and tuck edges underneath so you create a smooth ball on top with gnarly bits underneath. Place back into bowl to rest for a further 2 hours (dough should almost fill bowl again once risen second time around).

Bread dough risen

Preheat oven to maximum temperature; half an hour before cooking time place a cast iron pot with lid into oven to pre-heat. Once pot is hot, tip bowl of dough into pot smooth side down so the gnarly bits are now on the top of the loaf. Put lid on pot and return to oven to cook for 1 hour. After 1 hour of cooking time remove the lid and return to oven for a further 10 minutes.

Wait until bread is cooled completely before cutting. Bread is best if left until the day after cooking to cut and eat. I keep my bread in the cast iron pot with the lid on, as this keeps the bread from going soggy or drying out. Delicious with sweet or savoury toppings…or my favourite – toasted with butter…YUM!

finished loaf

Alternate versions:

Why not add some dried fruit to your molasses dough base to make a delicious fruit loaf?

Add 1 cup of chopped black olives and a couple of stems of chopped rosemary for a yummy savoury loaf.

Add 1/2 cup caramelised onions, 1/2 cup wilted spinach & 1/4 cup parmesan cheese for another savoury version.

Choc-peanut butter health slice (healthy, vegan, & a gluten free option available)

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Choc slice

 

I found a recipe on Pinterest the other day for a no-bake Peanut Butter Oatmeal slice (original recipe here: http://amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/best-recipe-ive-ever-messed-up.html)  that looked absolutely delicious. I decided to give it a try on the weekend, but of course had to add my own spin to the original recipe. This is quick and easy to make, and the taste is simply amazing…you won’t be able to stop at one bar that’s for sure!

 

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup coconut oil

– 200g block 70% cocoa chocolate, broken into pieces

– 1 cup crunchy peanut butter

– 2/3 cup raw honey

– 2 cups rolled oats (use puffed rice or quinoa here if you want to make a gluten free version)

– 1 cup dried fruit – I used dried apricots, dates, craisins and sultanas

– Desiccated coconut to sprinkle on top

 

– Place coconut oil, peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Add in broken chocolate pieces and microwave for a further minute. Take out mixture and stir – the chocolate should be melted and all ingredients should be incorporated. Add dried fruit and oats to chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Press mixture into a greased and lined lamington tray, sprinkle with desiccated coconut, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove slice from pan and cut into bars (my tray made 24 pieces of slice – cut 6 x 4). Keep slice in airtight container in fridge for up to a week.

Spicy tomato lentils with vegetables & hummus (gluten free, vegan, lactose free)

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Spicy lentils with roasted vegetables and hummus

Spicy lentils with roasted vegetables and hummus

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment and am thoroughly enjoying whipping up delicious food that is super tasty and also nutritionally amazing. This next recipe doesn’t take long to cook start to finish, and I have listed the instructions in order of cooking, so you can have this meal on the plate in under 1 hour start to finish (once you put your veggies on to roast the rest of the meal is super fast). Make sure you make plenty because it’s great for lunch the following day.

Spicy Tomato Lentils with  vegetables and hummus

Ingredients:

Lentils: 1 tin brown lentils, 1 tin crushed or diced tomatoes, 1 medium brown onion – finely diced, 3 cloves garlic – crushed, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), 1/2 tsp paprika (sweet or smokey depending on your taste), 1/4 tsp dried chilli (you could add fresh, 1 small birds-eye chili minus the seeds), 1 stock cube (vegetable), Salt and pepper, Fresh herbs ( I used parsley and basil)

Vegetables for roasting – I used cauliflower and carrot (you could use beetroot, eggplant, capsicum, zucchini, potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli – any vegetable that is delicious roasted), 1/2 tsp paprika (sweet or smokey depending on taste), 1 tbsp EVOO, salt and pepper.

Washed baby spinach leaves and hummus (recipe on another post) to serve.

1. Cut up vegetables for roasting into bite-sized pieces. Put into a baking dish along with the EVOO, paprika, slat and pepper and toss to coat. Roast for approximately 40 – 50 minutes @ 180°C.

2. Add 1 tbsp of EVOO to a saucepan, add diced onion and cook until soft. Add crushed garlic, paprika and chili and cook until spices are aromatic. Add drained tin of lentils to pan and stir to coat in spiced onion mix. Add the tin of tomatoes and the crushed stock cube to the pot. Simmer lentils for approximately 8-10 minutes and then turn off heat. Add chopped herbs to pot right before serving (this ensures that your herbs don’t go limp and overcook).

3. When vegetables are suitably roasted it’s time to assemble. Cover your serving dish with a layer of baby spinach. Top with a huge scoop of tomato lentils and then stack on a heap of roasted veg. Finish the dish with a big dollop of hummus on top.

Hummus and its many uses

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If you are anything like me then you’ll already know all about hummus, and how simple and easy it is to make at home. Traditionally hummus is served as a dip, however I use it for a lot more than that. It’s a delicious, low fat, protein-packed spread that can be used in many different ways. I like to use organic chickpeas, tahini and lemons for mine, and find that each batch needs modifying to taste. I have included my basic recipe below, but taste as you go. You have to take in to consideration things like the size variations of garlic cloves and lemons.

Uses for hummus:

– as a dip with crackers, bread or veggie sticks

– as a spread on sandwiches, wraps or pita bread – pack on some hummus and salad stuff and you have yourself a delicious meal

– add a little water to a couple of tablespoons of hummus for a delicious, vegan salad dressing

– pour over roasted veggies for a delicious sauce

– pack onto uncooked chicken breasts and bake for a yummy lunch or dinner meal

– serve with felafels for a tasty dipping sauce

Recipe:

  • 1 tin chickpeas – make sure you reserve the liquid
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp tahini paste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 medium sized lemon, juiced
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • Salt and pepper

In a food processor or blender place chickpeas, half the juice from the chickpea tin, garlic, tahini, lemon juice, EVOO and cumin and whiz until smooth. If your hummus is too thick add a bit more of the chickpea liquid. Taste – sometimes you need to add more garlic, juice, oil or tahini depending on ingredient sizes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I like to wait until the end to do this, as often it doesn’t need much salt if you use enough lemon and garlic.

Store your hummus in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week, if it lasts that long. If serving as a dip I like to add a glug (yes, that is a measurement!) of olive oil over the top, and then sprinkle with a mix of paprika and cumin.