Mel Christensen

Mel Christensen

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Chocolate Bars, Candy bars, whatever you want to call them - we all have our favourites. What's yours?

Cherry Ripe Slice2

We have a temporary addition to our family this month. A return visitor from Germany. On this visit he came armed with a bagful of delicious German treats such as Kinder and Milka bars (which were VERY well received by the kiddies! ) … And it got us talking about one of my subjects – Chocolate!

While Europe does indeed produce some of the best chocolate in the world, there are certain bars originating in Australia that I feel need introducing to our Backpacker friend…

Cherry Ripe is one of them.

… And I figured those of us who quit sugar shouldn’t miss out either.

Introducing my new creation;
🍒Cherry Ripe Slice! 🍒

Free from not only sugar, but grain, gluten, dairy, eggs and soy. It’s raw, vegan and Paleo friendly too!

So many other ideas have come flooding in on my Facebook page I’m just SO inspired to get cracking on my next Chocolate Bar makeover!

…Snickers Anyone???

 

Cherry Ripe Slice

*Sugar Free, Grain Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free and Soy Free, Raw, Vegan, Paleo-Friendly

 

Base – 

Ingredients:

  • 150g (1 heaped cup) of activated almonds (to activate your own – simply soak whole almonds overnight in water and then dry out in a very slow oven for about 3 hours)
  • 30g (¼ cup) shredded coconut
  • 1 tbsp.  cacao powder
  • 2 tsp. Natvia
  • 1/3 cup dried dates, soaked for at least 15mins in boiling water then drained.
  • 1 tbsp.  coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp.  coconut flour

Method:

  1. Place all of the base ingredients onto a food processor and blend on medium speed until combined. To keep a nice chunky texture, be careful not to over-process. (TM – Place all ingredients in TM bowl 5 sec / Speed 5)
  2. Press evenly into a lined slice tin and refrigerate whilst you prepare your filling.

*If you are a bit of a perfectionist like me, here’s a hot tip for a perfectly flat and smooth base – take another piece of baking paper, place it over the top and take the lid of your coconut oil, flip it and use the flat side to smooth out the base using a swirling motion. Better than using the back of the spoon because it’s nice and flat and the circular motion makes evening it out super easy!)  

 

Filling – 

Ingredients:

  • 150g (1 ½ cup) raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained.
  • 100g (2 cups) shredded coconut
  • 50g (¼ cup) Natvia for baking
  • 30g (2 tbsp.) coconut oil, gently melted
  • 1 tsp. of coconut essence
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch of pink Himalayan salt (or sea salt)
  • 100g (¾ cup) dried cherries
  • Few drops of pink food colouring (optional – but adds that real cherry ripe colour to your slice!)

 

Method:

  1. Blend cashews and coconut in a food processor, on medium speed, until smooth. (TM – 10 sec / Speed 6)
  2. Add remaining filling ingredients and process further on medium speed until smooth and well combined. (TM – 20 sec / Speed 5, scrape sides and repeat.)
  3. Spread your cherry coconut mixture evenly onto your base using a rubber spatula.

 

Topping – 

Ingredients:

  • 120g sugar free chocolate chips
  • 15g (1 tbsp.) coconut oil

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave for about 30 secs, stir until smooth. (TM –  Grate chocolate for  5 secs / speed 8. Add coconut oil and melt for 2 minutes at 60˚C on speed 3, or until melted.)  Cool slightly.
  2. Pour the melted chocolate evenly over the top of your slice and leave to set overnight.
  3. To serve, remove from tray by lifting our by the edges of the overhanging baking paper. Place the slice onto a large chopping board and use a hot & dry knife to slice into squares.
  4. Enjoy!!

 

Say no to sticky Cinnabuns …. And try these “Cinnabombs” instead!

Cinnabomb Muffins

Fickle fickle Melbourne… One minute I’m driving home from my 6am pump class marvelling at the gorgeous clear skies and breathtaking sunrise, next thing I’m battling up Lonsdale st to teach my second class of the day freezing my absolute butt off!

Well what better motivation to get home and get baking? And bake I have!

Today’s inspiration came from America… Where, I was introduced to something that amazingly has never taken off here in Australia – Cinnamon Buns. They’re kind of like our Coffee Scrolls, but sweeter, stickier, and unfortunately loaded with sugar, all the wrong kinds of fat and … Well, you get the picture.

Does that mean we don’t get to enjoy this yummy treat with our afternoon tea? Absolutely NOT!

These “Cinnabomb Muffins” are exactly that: The. Bomb.

No sugar, no gluten, no grain, no dairy.

Seriously.

Check these out…!

Cinnabomb Muffins

  • Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Paleo Friendly.

Ingredients:

Topping:

  • 2 tbsp. rice malt syrup
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
  1. Simply combine syrup, cinnamon and coconut oil in a mug and set aside.

 

Muffin Batter:

Dry ingredients:

  • 110g (1 cup) almond meal (If using a Thermomix just blitz 110g blanched almonds for 7 sec / speed 10 – frozen almonds produce a better result but this isn’t essential.)
  • 10g (2 tbsp.) coconut flour
  • 50g (1/4 cup) Natvia
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. Himalayan pink salt

Wet ingredients:

  • 60g (¼ cup) coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  1. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. (TM – Prepare you’re almond meal and then weigh in remaining dry ingredients and blitz again 5 sec / speed 5)
  2. In a medium jug, blend together the wet ingredients and whisk together with a fork.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until well combined (TM – 1 min / speed 3 and add contents of jug through centre hole gradually. Increase to speed 4 for last 20 seconds.)
  4. Using a large dessert spoon or ice-cream scoop, scoop even quantities of muffin batter into greased silicone muffin trays (or line them with paper if you don’t have the silicone pans.)
  5. Swirl even amounts of topping onto muffins.
  6. Bake muffins for 15-20 minutes at 180°C
  7. Serve warm with a nice cup of tea for extra comfort factor!

Makes 10 small or 6 large muffins

Looking for something new to motivate you to get out of bed...?

 

salted caramel oats

 

What better, in the middle of this frosty winter, than these super yummy (and sensationally healthy!) Salted Caramel Steel Cut Oats?

So, how are these different to regular oats I hear you ask?

Well, Steel Cut Oats are the least processed of all types of oats and have the lowest glycaemic index, so will provide you with sustained energy levels for longer – meaning no sugar spike and less tendency to snack throughout the day.  For people (like me!) with a very active lifestyle they are an absolute godsend!

Like nuts, your oats can pack an even bigger nutritional punch when you pre-soak them. So if you get in the habit of doing this the night before – even better! Soaking them will activate the oats reducing the phytates and enhance mineral uptake. Winning!!

Oh, and as a massive bonus they are amazingly delicious when you prepare them like this …

 

SALTED CARAMEL STEEL CUT OATS

 *Dairy free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Egg Free, **Nut Free Option

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 80g Steel Cut Oats (soak overnight for best nutritional value.)
  • 20g Coconut Oil
  • 200g Almond milk (**use coconut or other milk if nut allergies exist.)
  • 100g Coconut Cream
  • 6 large or 8 medium sized dates, pitted.
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground Himalayan pink salt (or other good quality salt)
  • Drizzle of rice malt syrup (or maple syrup) and some shredded coconut and or slivered almonds to sprinkle on the top – Optional

THERMOMIX METHOD:

  1. Drain your oats and place into the TM bowl with coconut oil. Set temperature at 100C/speed 1 / 3 mins.
  2. Add the Almond milk, coconut cream, dates and salt then continue cooking at 100C / 12 minutes/speed 3.
  3. Once cooked, pour into a bowl, drizzle over a bit of syrup and some coconut and/or slivered almonds to serve.

CONVENTIONAL METHOD:

  1. Place coconut oil a medium saucepan and melt over gentle heat. Add your drained oats and stir 2 mins.
  2. Add the Almond milk, coconut cream, dates and salt and stir to combine.  Simmer, uncovered for 15 – 20 mins, stirring every few minutes.
  3. Once cooked, pour into a bowl, drizzle over a bit of syrup and some coconut and/or slivered almonds to serve.

Serves 2

 

Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps … Because DIET is my least favourite four-letter-word!

Lettuce Cups

I just love cookbooks… And while I have a collection that rivals most bookshops I still find myself bringing them home with the shopping for my next bit of inspiration.

A cookbook I picked up the other day was actually from a Vinnies store… It was an old Women’s Weekly mini cookbook called “Skinny Food” … Flipping through it, I was reminded just how far we have come over the past decade with our understanding of what is healthy. Clearly, at the time of publishing, consumers were looking predominantly for low-fat, low calorie with little disregard for sugar content and highly processed ingredients. That said, there were a couple of gems in this book that inspired a few Fitness Foodie “makeovers” … This is one of those dishes.

Gone is the sweet chilli sauce (basically sugar syrup with a few chilli flakes for colour!) and the sweet soy sauce (more sugar plus gluten and a nice hit of MSG) and instead I have come up with a marinade mainly from coconut – that is, coconut aminos (found at most good health food stores) and coconut sugar. Add to these oodles of freshly chopped herbs and crisp fresh vegetables and you’ll be in taste (and health) heaven!

To get this dish whipped up at lightning speed, I really recommend investing in a julienne peeler (I found mine for less than $5 at my local Asian Grocer.) A zoodle maker would also work well too! There are so many variations you could go with for the filling too! I bought a cooked chook and simply shredded the breasts, but you could fry up some mince, or throw in a can of tuna or salmon … or for something a bit special, I reckon pulled pork would be amazing!

Experiment away, get acquainted with the awesomeness that is eating fresh, crunchy lettuce wraps and you might just forget how kind you are being to your waistline!

Happy Days!

 

Easy Vietnamese Lettuce Cups

*Low Carb, Low Calorie, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Refined Sugar Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 large Iceberg Lettuce Leaves, trimmed
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded
  • 100g snow peas with ends trimmed
  • 120g (1 small) red capsicum
  • 120g (1 medium) carrot
  • 120g (1 small) zucchini
  • 120g (1 small) Spanish onion, finely sliced
  • 1 handful each of fresh coriander and Vietnamese mint (or regular mint will do), plus some extra to garnish

 

Dressing:

  • Juice of one lime (or the whole lime of it’s a small one)
  • 2 tbsp. Coconut Aminos (available at most health food stores. Can be replaced with Tamari or Soy Sauce if you can tolerate soy and/or gluten.)
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Coconut Sugar
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1-2 small birdseye chilli, finely chopped. (depending how hot you like it!)

 

Method:

  1. Place lettuce leaves in a large bowl of iced water and refrigerate.
  2. Place all dressing ingredients in a jar and shake well.
  3. Finely julienne your snow peas, capsicum, carrot and zucchini. You can use a kitchen tool such as julienne peeler or “zoodle maker” to make this quick and easy!
  4. Add your julienned vegetables to a large bowl along with the sliced onions, shredded chicken and freshly chopped herbs.
  5. Pour over two-thirds of your dressing and toss well. Garnish the top with the extra fresh herbs.
  6. Serve up each person with a bowl of the filling, a few of lettuce leaves, and a small dipping bowl with some of the extra sauce – or go communal and pop an platter in the centre of your table for everyone to just tuck in! 😉

 

 

Can't be bothered cooking? Make this (and make extra!) ... It's almost as quick as ordering takeaway!

Satay Sticks

So this is another one of those recipes for those people with little time to spend in the kitchen – or just those who like their food FAST! The satay sauce recipe makes plenty for two or even three meals (depending on how liberal you are with this scrumptious stuff!) so keep the leftovers in a jar for that next super snappy meal!

I’ve made this using chicken thigh fillets, seasoned as per this recipe but for an even quicker option you can use bought chicken skewers. then its as simple as grilling or barbecuing the skewers, pouring over your satay sauce, and serving up with a quick green salad. Done and DONE! (..And so darn delicious!)

Clean Chicken Satay

 *Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Egg Free

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Chicken Thigh (or Breast) Fillets, all fat & skin removed (or prepared chicken skewers)
  • 1 tsp each of coriander, cumin and chilli powders
  • Juice of 1 lime

 

Method:

  1. Combine together all ingredients and rub into the chicken. (You can cube the chicken and thread onto bamboo skewers now if you want to make satay sticks.)
  2. Cover and stand for at least 2 hours

 

Satay Sauce

Adapted from Official Thermomix Recipe Community (http://www.recipecommunity.com.au/)

 

  • 1/2 red onion (Spanish)
  • 1 tbsp. coriander, fresh
  • 1.5 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 tbsp. Natural crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)
  • 1 small red chillies, unseeded
  • juice of half lime
  • 2 tbsp. Natvia or coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp. Shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. coconut aminos or tamari (or if you are ok with soy and gluten you can use regular soy sauce)
  • 1 cup water

 

  1. Place garlic, onion, chilli, and coriander into mixing bowl and chop 5 sec/speed 7.
  2. Add cumin and coconut oil, saute 3mins/Varoma temp/Speed 2.
  3. Add peanut butter, lime juice, Natvia (or coconut sugar), coconut and soy sauce and mix 10sec/speed 4 (this will form a paste). Gradually add the water, about 1/4 cup at a time until you get the sauce to a consistency that you like (more water = runnier sauce). Cook 5mins/Varoma temp/Speed 2
  4. Set aside and when it’s serving time, pour over your skewers with some extra on the side if desired.

* If you don’t have a Thermomix , no worries! Just use your food processor for step 1, and then pop them in a small saucepan along with the cumin and coconut oil and sauté for 3 minutes until soft.  Turn off heat.  Process the rest of the ingredients and add them to the saucepan and continue to cook over medium heat for further 5 minutes, stirring until smooth.  No food processor? No worries!  A nice sharp cook’s knife and a chopping board are a fabulous, tried and true method too!

 

  1. Barbecue chicken fillets (or skewers) on medium to high heat until well browned.
  2. Cover and stand 10 minutes then top with satay sauce and serve.

 

Love Salmon? – Well you are in for an absolute TREAT (and it’s dead easy too!)

Walnut-Crusted Salmon Fillet

I originally found this recipe on the California Walnuts website.  I wasn’t until I had completed the first couple of steps (making the walnut crust) that I realised I was making enough for 12 people!  “Oh well” I thought, “I guess I’ll freeze the extra crust for next time” … Well I’m so glad I did, ’cause before we had even finished our dinner that night we were scheduling a repeat performance!

This dish is SO great that not only is it on our list of fave dinners, I now ALWAYS make the crust in bulk and portion it off into ziplock bags for the freezer.  It’s then as simple as picking up some fresh salmon and your dinner is prepared in a matter of minutes.

If you like Salmon your going to absolutely LOVE this easy, healthy and amazingly tasty dish!

Enjoy!!

 

Walnut-Crusted Salmon Fillets 

*Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Sugar Free

 Makes 12 (see note below…)

Note: Yes this quantity seems to be a lot BUT – I highly recommend making up the the full quantity of crust as listed below and freezing it in portions for future meals . I use small freezer bags or zip-lock bags for portions of  two serves – that’s about 100-120g per bag.  If I have a bit extra I like to coat the sides of the fillets as well as the tops – it’s THAT good!  Having the frozen crumb portions is great as it means the next time around is super quick and easy … All you need to buy is the salmon, and Dijon mustard if you don’t have any on the cupboard.

 

Ingredients:

CRUST:

  • Rind of one lemon
  • Large handful of fresh dill
  • 300g (3 cups) walnuts
  • 2 slices of gluten free bread (any type will do)
  • 30g (3 tbsp.) extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground sea salt (or my favourite, Pink Himalayan Rock Salt) and black pepper

 

  • 12 x 200g salmon fillets, skin on (or 1 x 200g fillet per person)
  • Dijon mustard – 1 heaped tbsp. per fillet
  • Lemon wedges to serve

 

Method:

  1. Place lemon rind in food processor and chop until fine (TM – 10 sec / speed 8). Add walnuts, bread crumbs, olive oil, dill and seasonings; pulse quickly until crumbly, taking care not to over mix and lose that nice chunky texture.  (TM – 5 sec / speed 5, then check consistency and press turbo for a second or two if you want a finer crumb) Mixture should stick together. Season; set aside. (At this point, divide off the extra quantity in ziplock bags or plastic containers for future meals.)
  2. Arrange salmon fillets skin side down on a tray lined with baking paper.  Brush tops with mustard.
  3. Spoon 1 heaped tablespoon of walnut crumb mixture over each fillet; gently press the crumb mixture into the surface of the fish. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
  4. Cook on medium heat on top shelf of your oven for 20 minutes, or until salmon flakes with a fork.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and your choice of steamed veggies or green salad.

(Adapted from California Walnuts website)

I've made plenty of curries in my time, but this is definitely one of the best yet!

Beef Eggplant Coconut Curry

I’ve made plenty of curries in my time, but this is definitely one of the best yet!

Usually, I top my curries with pickles & chutneys for some extra heat and flavour – But this creamy, delicate Beef & Eggplant Coconut Curry has flavours that are just too good to mask. All I added this time was a nice dollop of my Cucumber raita (recipe included) and served it on top of a scoop of konjac (low carb, gluten free & zero calorie!) rice. If konjac rice isn’t your thing, just serve with your favourite type of rice or even quinoa. It”s actually even good enough on it’s own!

For those of you seeking a vegetarian option, replace the been with some pre-soaked chickpeas or any other protein rich legumes. Spinach would be a lovely addition too!

As we near the winter solstice here in Melbourne, this is the prefect dish to warm you up and keep those winter lurgies away.

I hope you enjoy as much as we did. It’s definitely worth the effort… And if your using your Thermomix there’s even less effort involved! – I’ve provided directions for you too 😉

Stay warm. Eat well. … And keep on moving!

 

Beef & Eggplant Coconut Curry

*Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Refined Sugar Free, Egg Free

 

Ingredients:

CURRY PASTE:

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. white peppercorns
  • 7 dried birdseye chillies soaked in ¼ cup boiling water
  • 4-6 (220g) shallots or small onions peeled and halved
  • 4cm length lemongrass
  • 8 cloves garlic (or less if the cloves are bigger than average)
  • 3cm piece of ginger, peeled
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. shrimp paste
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric

 

CURRY:

  • 2 large or 4 small eggplants
  • Olive oil or coconut oil spray (or you can brush the oil on with a pastry brush)
  • 80g peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved
  • 350g thick coconut cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Full quantity of your prepared curry paste
  • 1kg diced gravy beef or other meat suitable for slow cooking (which basically covers any cheap cut!)
  • 20g fish sauce
  • 10g thick tamarind paste (seeds removed)
  • 10g coconut sugar

 

 

Method:

PASTE:

  1. In a frying pan dry roast cumin seeds, peppercorns, coriander seeds and cinnamon over a medium heat.
  2. Remove and allow to cool. Grind in a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle to a fine powder.
  3. Place chillies and their soaking liquid with the ground spices in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and process to a smooth paste.

 

Thermomix Instructions:

  1. Place cinnamon stick in TM bowl and grind 1 min/ speed 9.
  2. Add cumin, coriander seeds and peppercorns to the TM bowl and dry roast 3 Mins/Varoma temp on speed 2. Grind 1 min / Speed 9.
  3. Add chillies, along with soaking water, and all remaining paste ingredients and puree into a smooth paste on speed 6 for 30 seconds. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl and do this again. Set aside.

 

CURRY:

  1. Slice the eggplant into thick (1.5cm) slices, spray with olive or coconut oil spray and grill on each side until browned evenly. Set aside
  2. Slice the onion thinly.  Heat oil to a heavy based frying pan and fry onion until golden brown.
  3. Add the coconut cream and add to the hot pan with bay leaf, and prepared curry paste and pan fry until fragrant and browned.
  4. Add beef and cook, stirring for 1 minute.
  5. Reduce the heat to low and add fish sauce, tamarind, coconut sugar and water. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer on a very low heat for 40 minutes.
  6. Slice the grilled eggplant into large cubes and add it to the pan. Continue to simmer 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with your rice of choice or cooked quinoa if desired, and top with a nice *cucumber raita if you can tolerate dairy. (*See recipe below) and garnish with fresh coriander.

 

 

Thermomix Instructions:

  1. Slice the eggplant into thick (1.5cm) slices, spray with olive or coconut oil spray and grill on each side until browned evenly. Set aside
  2. Add onion to the Thermomix bowl and chop 2 Sec / Speed 5.
  3. Add oil and sauté onions 15 min/ Varoma  / speed 1 with MC removed.  Set caramelised onions aside.
  4. Add coconut cream to the Thermomix bowl along with all of the curry paste and bay leaves. Leave MC off and place basket on top of Thermomix bowl lid, to prevent any splatters. Cook 5 mins /  Varoma  / speed 1.
  5. Add beef and onion to sauce, and cook for 40 mins / 80C / Reverse speed 1.
  6. Dice the grilled and cooled eggplant slices. Add it to the TM bowl along with all remaining ingredients and cook a further 20 mins/ 100C / Reverse speed 1.
  7. Serve with your rice of choice or cooked quinoa if desired, and top with a nice *cucumber raita if you can tolerate dairy. (*See recipe below) and garnish with fresh coriander.

 

*Cucumber Raita

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium Lebanese cucumber, grated or simply halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 250g (1 cup) Greek yogurt
  • Handful or fresh coriander or mint leaves, chopped finely

 

Method:

Simply combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a large dessert spoon until combined.

How to turn those free cumquats (or 20c worth of oranges) into a Cake that tastes a million bucks!

Cumquat cake

So technical issues have meant this recipe has been a little late in posting … But that delay had allowed me to do some experimenting with a variation on this recipe – Flourless Orange Cake – which seemed absolutely necessary in light of the fact that;
A) You wont find a cumquat tree covered in fruit in your average backyard, and
B) Oranges are dirt cheap down here in Melbourne right now!

… Would you believe only 49c a kilo at my favourite fruiterer, Biviano’sMacedon Plaza?!?!

And if that isnt enough motivation to get you baking, this recipe uses only five ingredients (none of which contain sugar, gluten, grain or dairy), and it’s SO simple to make!

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as our family does. I just know this is one we will be making again and again (…Lemon & Lime next methinks! :-P)

 

Flourless Cumquat Cake

*Gluten free, Sugar Free, Dairy Free, Grain Free

 

Ingredients 

  • 375g cumquats (or 2 small oranges)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 150 – 180g Natvia, depending on your sweet tooth (or other natural unprocessed sweetener such as coconut sugar.)
  • 250g almond meal (or Almonds processed down to a meal (TM 5 sec / Speed 7)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free)

 

Method:

 

  1. Place Cumquats or oranges in `saucepan of water and bring to boil and cook, covered for 2 hours.
  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Grease (I used coconut oil spray) and line a 21cm / 8 inch Springform tin.
  2. Drain and, when cool, throw them into your cooked and cooled fruit into food processor and process using the pulse button until you form a smooth puree. If you are using oranges, quarter them first. Cumquats are fine to go in whole. (TM Turbo 2 sec, 2 – 3 times)
  3. Add eggs to the food processor and mix well to combine. (TM 20 sec/ Speed 5.)  
  4. Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined. (TM 20 sec / Speed 7, scrape bowl & repeat.)
  5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer will come out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake’s cold, you can take it out of the tin.
  6. Dust with Natvia Icing mix (optional) and serve!

Baby, it's cold outside ...

Beef Bourginion Pies

… And I know that means those comfort food cravings are well and truly kicking in (And that motivation to exercise is erm … starting to slip away???)

So here’s a thought … Get yourself to the gym and come home to one of these little beauties!

Comfort food doesn’t have to be your demise.

Choose Clean. Feel Great.

Oh, and keep on moving … It’ll warm you up!

 

Beef Bourginion Pies

*Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Grain free, Soy Free, Paleo Friendly

 

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 200g bacon cut into 1cm cubes
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 750g blade steak, 5cm cubes
  • ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tapioca flour (also known as arrowroot)
  • 2 tbsp Brandy
  • 1-2 cups red wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 stalks fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 x 2cm pieces of orange peel
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 500g small mushrooms (the smaller the better!)
  • 1 quantity of shortcrust pastry (see recipe below)

 

  1. Preheat oven to 160C
  2. In non-stick fry pan heat oil and brown bacon gently. Remove with slotted spoon and brown onions then set aside with bacon.
  3. Season beef with pepper and brown in pan in batches. Once you have browned all if it, return all of the beef to the pan. Scatter over flour on high heat, and then add Brandy. Keep heat on high and add wine, and reduce a little. Make sure to stir up any brown bits.
  4. Add herbs and orange peel. Add garlic, then the bacon and onions. Add beef stock to barely cover the meat (you can add more stock or wine if need be), cover with baking paper snugly and cover with lid. Cook for 2 hours (NO LESS!) and add mushrooms, recover and cook for a further 30mins. Remove from oven and set aside.
  5. Place the beef filling mixture into individual ramekins or 1 large casserole dish, let cool slightly.
  6. Using a circular cutter (or small upturned bowl), cut the Shortcrust pastry into rounds to  fit the top of the dishes. (It will be quite delicate and falls apart easily, so use a Thermomat or baking paper to work on and gently slide a spatula underneath it move it from mat to pie.)
  7. Brush tops of pies with milk and bake in a hot oven (220C) for 10-15 minutes.

 

Enjoy!!

 

*Makes 6-8 small individual pies or 1-2 large pies

 

Paleo Shortcrust Pastry

  • 30g (¼ cup) pine nuts
  • 30g (¼ cup) tapioca flour
  • 200g (1 3/4 cups) almond flour, or finely processed almonds/almond meal. ( TM – Process slivered almonds 10 sec / Speed 8)
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
  • 30g (2 tbsp.) coconut oil
  • 1 egg white
  1. Place Almond flour in a food processor along with tapioca flour, pine nuts and salt and process until smooth. (TM – 5 Sec / Speed 8)
  2. Add Coconut Oil and egg white and blend until combined to a pliable dough. (TM – 20 sec / Speed 3)
  3. Turn onto a floured board (use tapioca flour) or Thermomat, and use your hands to bring together to a ball of dough. Wrap in mat or cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.
  4. When ready to use roll out onto floured board or mat, with another layer of baking paper on top to prevent sticking.  Cut to shape and use as needed.

* If you have extra, try pressing about a tablespoon of your crust mixture into some muffin pans and top with a mixture of egg and vegetables, and bacon if desired for easy and delicious mini quiches!  … YUM!!

Chocolate, Raspberries, Protein and Chia Seeds - What's NOT to love???

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There’s a lot to love about these Chocolate & Raspberry Protein muffins. Besides their abundant nutritional benefits, including a nice hit of protein, these muffins make an excellent (and VERY motivating!) post-workout treat. They travel very well from fridge/freezer to gym bag and make a nice filling afternoon snack too.

But, after dark… these muffins can take on a whole new form! Throw one of your frozen (un-iced) muffins into the microwave, top with a super simple melted chocolate sauce and some extra raspberries and prepare to sink into the couch with your little bowl of awesomeness.

… Seriously good!

See recipe notes for details and ENJOY!! 😉

 

Chocolate & Raspberry Brownie Muffins

*Gluten Free, Sugar Free, Nut Free, *Dairy Free option*

 

Ingredients:

  • ¼ c (30g) coconut flour
  • ¼ c (30g) raw cacao / cocoa powder
  • ¼ c (30g) mesquite powder (if not using, then double quantity of cacao to 60g)
  • 2 tbsp. (20g) chia seeds
  • 1 tsp gluten free baking powder
  • ½  tsp gluten free baking soda
  • 40g Pea Protein powder (or other plant-based protein. I used this one: http://www.sunwarrior.com.au/product-info/classic-protein/)
  • 40g  100% Whey Protein Powder (*or you can omit and double the quantity of pea protein)
  • ¼ c (40g) Natvia (or the sweetener of your choice)
  • 2 large free range eggs, or 3 smaller ones
  • 1 cup (250g) Greek Yogurt (I used Evia Raspberry Flavour as that’s what I had on hand. Plain would work fine but you may need to adjust the sweetener to taste).  *For a dairy-free option replace this with 250ml coconut cream.
  • ¼ c (65g) coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 heaped cup (150g) fresh or frozen  Raspberries

 

Method:

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 200C
  2. Mix the coconut flour, mesquite, cacao, chia, baking powder, baking soda, protein powders and sweetener in a bowl.  Mix well to combine and remove any lumps or flour or powder. (TM – place in bowl and process 5 sec /speed 7.)
  3. In a small jug, whisk the eggs.  Add yogurt and almond or coconut milk, stir and pour over the dry ingredients.
  4. Combine the ingredients well using a food processor on low to medium speed or wooden spoon being careful not to over-mix. (TM – 10 sec  / Speed 4 .) The mixture should be quite thick to produce a brownie like texture for the muffins.  If you feel it’s too thick add a bit more milk. (I have found that as protein powders vary, quantities of wet ingredients often need adjusting!)
  5. Fold in the raspberries by hand using a wooden spoon or use a very low setting on the food processor so that raspberries keep their shape. (TM – Scrape down sides of bowl, add raspberries and blend 10 sec  / Speed 4 .)
  6. Line a regular sized muffin tin with papers and, using an ice cream scoop and scoop into the papers.  No need to worry about papers if you are using silicone muffin trays.
  7. Cook for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.
  8. For an extra indulgence top with Angelic Cream Cheese Icing (see recipe below) , and top each muffin with a fresh or frozen raspberry. OR For a delicious dairy free dessert option, try serving warm with a hot chocolate sauce made by melting together of 1 tsp coconut oil with about 30g stevia-sweetened chocolate (this will cover about two muffins) and a garnish with a couple of thawed or fresh raspberries – YUM!!!

 

Angelic Cream Cheese Icing

Ingredients:

  • ⅓ cup (50g)  Natvia Icing Mix (or regular Natvia, milled in a Thermomix 10 sec / speed 9)
  • 180g European-Style cottage cheese at room temperature (Not the kind that comes in a tub! I use Brancourt’s brand from Costco)
  • 1 tbsp (10g) extra virgin coconut oil (you can use coconut cream instead, but it will not set as firm)
  • 2 tbsp (10g)  lemon juice

 

Method:

  1. Place the icing mix and cottage cheese into your food processor and blend on a medium speed until smooth. (TM – 10 Sec / Speed 5)
  2. Add the coconut oil and lemon juice. Process further until a smooth and silky consistency is achieved – a good 20-30 seconds in a high speed food processor mix should do it. (TM – 10 Sec / Speed 8, scrape down and repeat.)
  3. Spread or pipe onto top of muffins and garnish with a raspberry or fruit/nut of choice.

 

 

*Makes about 12-14 muffins