Slow cooked pork and pears

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I love a good roast, something so comforting about the simplicity! I don’t love getting my oven dirty though and I don’t enjoy heating up the house with my oven for hours on end in summer. So mostly I either use the bbq outside, or the slow cooker.

Today was a crazy busy day so I love that with the slow cooker I could have my veg all in together with my meat and have it cooking, with very little effort, by 7am.

This is a really simple (read: kid friendly!) and tasty way to eat pork. Very little fuss and even though the boneless joint cost around $20, it makes multiple meals for our whole family, so it is fairly inexpensive.

  • Pork shoulder, boneless (2-2.5kg)
  • 3 pears, cored and quartered
  • 2 large beetroot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 medium butternut pumpkin, sliced
  • 2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp honey/maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (Massel for an instant variety)

Place pears, beetroot and pumpkin (cut into roughly same sized pieces) into the bottom of the slow cooker.

Place pork onto the veggies in the slow cooker.

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Sprinkle other ingredients evenly over the top of the pork.

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Place the lid on and set to low for 6 hours.

Remove the vegetables and set aside, return the meat into the juices, cover and set for another hour.

 

Remove the meat, cover and allow to rest. Remove and discard the fat.

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Place the vegetables into a very hot, preheated oven (220C) for about 20 minutes to crisp slightly.

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While the veggies are baking, drain and strain the juices and use them to make a gravy with a simple roux. Here’s my recipe.

Carve or pull the pork, top with the gravy and serve with veggies and some extra steamed greens.

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This quantity of meat and gravy makes enough for 3 dinners for our family so we divide the meat into freezer-safe containers, pour the gravy over them and freeze for another meal, where I just need to make the veggies, or use it as the filling of a pie.

Beetroot and pumpkin are growing in large quantities in our garden at the moment, but feel free to add in whichever veg you like with the pears – carrots, sweet potato or even onions would also be yummy!

Enjoy 🙂

Incredible Hulk (Spinach) Muffins

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My boys are big on ‘getting muscles’ at the moment and my little miss is loving her gymnastics classes and is also very keen to get “super strong and even gooder” than she is now 😉 … I’d like to think they’re aiming to be like their mum ….  but really I know that there is just a bit of uncle worship happening and they want to be super buff like him!! Oh well, if they are keen to eat healthy and exercise, I’m all for it!!

These were created to use up the serious mass of spinach we currently have in our garden. I wanted to make them a muffin that was a bit sweet but packed in a punch for great energy. And one that looked a little different to try and push them to eat some new things…. Normally, except for the big one, they’re not huge fans of ‘green stuff’.

I ‘hide’ veg in a lot of things, but this, well, this wasn’t hidden at all!!! I took one look at the colour of the batter and knew I was going to have to sell it well if I wanted them to taste – it’s all about the marketing!! So … Incredible Hulk muffins it is. “Probably best not to eat these guys. They’re just for Mummy. You’ll get too too strong if you eat them” ….. queue 4 children digging in … my fussiest eater polished off 4 of them and asked for them in her lunchbox!!!

They are sweet and fragrant, a fabulous breakfast or a great afternoon pick-me-up and they’re quick to whip up … you just need your blender/processor. Hope you like them too!

  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal, with 3 tbsp water OR 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 cups wholemeal spelt/rye flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond/seed meal
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bi carb soda
  • good pinch salt flakes
  • 100g fresh spinach (you can use frozen but you won’t get the vibrant colour)
  • 1/2 cup date paste (you could use honey/maple syrup/coconut sugar too)
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice (I love unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 medium banana, overripe
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • half a medium avocado, very ripe (OR 2 tbsp butter of choice)

Start by mixing together your flax meal and water, then set aside.

Blitz your oats until they are fairly fine (Speed 6, 6 sec)

Mix together all dry ingredients and use a whisk to evenly combine.

In your blender/processor/thermal appliance, place the spinach, date paste, avocado, banana, milk and vanilla and then blend until smooth – and bright green! (Speed 6, 10 seconds, scrape down and use Speed 7 for 8 seconds)

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Pour the wet mix into the dry and fold through until just combined (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat if required)

Pour into greased muffin tins and place into a preheated moderate oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the are well risen and the top springs back to a light touch.

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Allow to cool briefly before eating. My kiddos enjoyed them cut open with some butter spread on the inside.

Makes about 16 – they freeze and defrost well.

Enjoy 🙂

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Roasted Tomato Confit

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We have had such a lovely abundance of cherry tomatoes this year. But then we have had some crazily inconsistent weather – and tomatoes don’t like inconsistent watering …. so we picked a load that had split. Gr. What to do?

I remember my host family in France (from a loooong time ago) had all kids of amazing confit jars (confit is French for preserved) in their cool basement. Lots of meats and veggies to get them through a snowy, country winter. Since I couldn’t bear to waste these little gems, I decided to have a go at my own confit with my little red gems.

You’ll need:

  • cherry tomatoes
  • fresh basil
  • garlic olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash and pat dry your tomatoes. Remove little stems.

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Place in a lined baking dish.

Tear basil leave and scatter around the tomatoes. Drizzle very generously with oil, and season in salt and pepper to taste.

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Place in a preheated 220C oven for about 25 minutes.

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Allow to cool in the tray and then scoop into a sterile glass jar, including all the juices.

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Store in the fridge for up to a month.

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Roasting the tomato really intensifies the flavour so this confit is a great addition to many things – Serve on crunchy toast as a bruschetta, spread it on a pizza base, or add a few good scoops into your tomato bases sauces for pasta, bolognese or lasagne.

Enjoy 🙂

Mango parfait

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One of the trickiest things about ‘allergy’ food is when you have to share it with other people…… ‘everything free food’ doesn’t sounds appealing to most 😉 But they don’t need to know that is is everything free. It can just be simple, wholesome, delicious food.

This is a delicious, quick and easy (so easy!) summer breakfast …. that looks bright and happy – a tray of these looks so inviting for breakfast or brunch.

Per glass you need:

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats OR mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup yoghurt or choice (dairy/soy/coconut)
  • 1/4 cup pureed mango*
  • a small handful of chopped roasted nuts or roasted seeds to top.

*To make my mango puree, I placed the cheeks of 2 very ripe, medium mangoes into a blender/processor together with 1/4 tsp ground ginger and a squeeze of lime juice then blend until smooth.

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Layer the ingredients into your glass; oats or seeds at the bottom, 1/2 of the yoghurt next, followed by the mango layer, the rest of the yoghurt and then sprinkle on your choice of topping and enjoy straight away.

 

Enjoy 🙂

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Of course, if it isn’t mango season, or you don’t like mango (…no, really …. apparently some people don’t!!), then go with another fruit puree (pear or apple are great with some cinnamon and lemon juice, or blueberries with vanilla).

And if you prefer a sweeter parfait, then you can use a granola in place of the oats.

Oat and Seed bikkies

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These little bites are the perfect way to ward off the ‘hangries’ when the kids get home from school (or, ahem, for me, when I need ‘something’ with my morning cuppa!).

They were based on these ones from TRTLMT, which are based on these ones from the EDC.

These are just barely sweet, so if you are a sweet tooth you might like to boost the amount of date paste/sugar.

Blitz oats until you have an oat flour (Speed 7, 8 seconds), then set aside.

Mix together the butter, seed butter, vanilla, date paste(or sugar) and mix over gentle heat until melted and well combined (Speed 2, 100C, 2 mins).

Add in the oat flour and nut/seed meal and mix until well combined (Speed 4, 10 secs).

Roll teaspoons of mix into a ball and press down onto a lined baking tray with a fork.

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Place into a preheated moderate oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

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Allow to cool for a few minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.

Makes about 20. Store them in an airtight container for up to a week.

*If you want to pop these in lunchboxes, make sure you follow the nut free version of the protein powder.

Date Paste

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Medjool dates are my friend! I head to our local markets and buy 1kg at a time. They store really well in an airtight container in the fridge for about a month.

Now – yes, dates have a quite a high sugar content (roughly 80%) … BUT… and it is a big but, they are loaded with other beneficial nutrients and fibre that reduces the load on your body and mutes your insulin response when compared to regular sugar. So if you are after a small amount of sweetener in you food – dates are a great option.

I use 1 in a smoothie, or 4-6 in a whole batch of muffins or cookies, or even 12 in a batch of about 24 bliss balls. So you get the sweetness and the benefit of the whole food but the overall load is quite small.

I have been experimenting with date paste as my sweetener in cooking when I want a smoother option (or less obvious ‘bits’) and it is divine!

There are 2 ingredients (if you count water?!) and 2 steps – so very very easy!!!!

Pit 12 medjool dates, place them in a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup boiling water.

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Leave them sit for 1/2 an hour, then transfer the dates, with habout 1/2 of the water, to a high powered processor/blender/nutribullet/thermal cooker and blitz until smooth. If the mix is to chunky to blend, add 1 tsp of the remaining water at a time until you can form a smooth paste.

Store in a glass jar in the fridge for a couple of week, or freeze in ice cubes for later use.

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1 heaped tsp = 3/4 of 1 date.

Enjoy 🙂

P.S. If you want a yummy ‘caramel’ – blitz equal parts of this paste together with my sunflower seed butter, a pinch of cinnamon, a pinch of pink salt and a bit of vanilla bean pastes – heavenly!!!!

Apple, pumpkin and oat muffins

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Next week our little people to go back to school – cannot believe that our beloved holidays are already at an end! Of course with school comes lunchboxes …. and this year we have 3 at full time school. Eek!! That’s a lot of pre-made snacks every week!

I created these muffins to use the produce we had growing well in our garden – apples and pumpkins. I love that they are loaded with fibre and whole foods and that their sweetness comes from fruits. They are soft and fragrant and a massive hit with my kids – I know there will be smiles and satisfied tummies when they open their lunchboxes 🙂

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  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce*
  • 1/2 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (vanilla almond is fabulous here)
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba OR 1 whole egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 70g vegan butter or tasteless coconut oil, melted
  • 4 medjool dates, pitted (or 4 tsp of my date paste)
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup wholemeal spelt flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • pinch salt

*To make my apple sauce I just core my apples and cut them into quarters (don’t peel – keep the benefit of the skin’s nutrients!) and steam them until soft with a little bit of water and a pinch of cinnamon and then blend or process until you reach the consistency you like. (Speed 2, Steam Temp for about 10-12 minutes, then turn off temperature and increase speed gradually up to 6). I make it in bulk and store it in reusable squeezy pouches in the freezer.

Blitz the oats until you have a rough flour (Speed 8, 6 seconds). Add to all other dry ingredients and whisk to combine (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

Place all wet ingredients, including dates into a blender/processor and process until smooth (Speed 4 whilst you drop the dates in then gradually up to speed 7 for about 20 seconds).

Pour the wet ingredients into the centre of the dry ingredients and gently fold through until all combined (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat)

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Put a spoonful of mixture into a lined muffin pan and place into a preheated oven for about 20 mins or until a inserted skewer comes out clean.

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Makes about 15 …. or apparently fewer if you turn your back for too long and your little people can’t wait!!!

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These freeze and defrost well.

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Enjoy 🙂

P.S. I haven’t made a gluten free version of these ones yet, but try replacing the flour with equal quantities of a good GF flour mix and replacing the oats with 1/2 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup rolled quinoa.