Sneaky pasta sauce (aka Cheesey ‘mato pasta)

I feel like I’m giving away family secrets here …. Sorry Mum!

When my brother and I were little, if Mum and Dad were going out and we were having a babysitter come over (which wasn’t often I should add!) we’d always have an ‘easy meal’ … read; Fish fingers or Cheesey tomato pasta.

Cheesey Tomato pasta was my favourite …. a bowl of spaghetti with a tin of condensed tomato soup stirred through it and a handful of cheese sprinkled over the top so that it would melt as you stirred it …. kid heaven!

Well, these days, our family diet doesn’t look much like that but there are still times when an ‘easy meal’ is required …. ‘cheesey ‘mato pasta’ as it has become known in our house, is a hands down winner. Inhaled every time. Full tummies and a happy, easy dinner time – there’s a lot to be said for that!!

  • butternut pumpkin, a piece roughly the size of your fist.
  • small zucchini
  • 140ml coconut cream (I like the Aayam brand)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 heaped tbsp of my cheesey sprinkles (vegan parmesan)*
  • Pasta of choice

*If you haven’t made the cheesey sprinkles you could replace it with plain nutritional yeast or even dairy Parmesan if your diet allows.

Set a big pot of slightly salted water to boil for your pasta of choice (we use a GF variety).

Peel and dice the pumpkin, then steam until soft – usually a few minutes in the microwave when this kind of dinner is required.

Dice and steam the zucchini in the last couple of minutes with the pumpkin (peel it first if your little people are detectives for any green ‘bits’!)

Place the steamed veg, still hot, into your blender/processor/bullet/thermal cooker together with the tomato paste and coconut cream and blend until smooth (Start on speed 4 and work up to speed 6, for 10 seconds, then scrape down and repeat)

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Cook and drain your pasta, then return to the saucepan and pour over the sauce.

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Stir through the Cheesey Sprinkles and serve immediately.

Top with some crispy bacon if you wish.

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This makes enough sauce for about 4-5 serves of pasta.

Double the recipe for pasta bakes or even triple and quadruple it for shared suppers (and Sunday School dinners in our case!). Add in extra obvious veggies if you like, or throw in some left over bbq chook, sausages, or even some fried mushrooms to keep it vegan.

Enjoy 🙂

Quick Cheesey Breadsticks

Soup for dinner here tonight. Yum.

I love soup (for taste, health, ease and budgetary reasons!!), Peter loves soup and the kids mostly like soup, so it features pretty regularly in the cooler weather …. however I’m pretty sure the main reason they like it, is for the bread that we let them ‘dunk’ in it.

Check freezer tonight. Oops. No bread.

Harry, my little carbivore, looks up at me like he’s actually going to cry.

Never mind my boy …. quick bread to the rescue! And tonight we loaded it up with my delicious Cheesey Sprinkles (Vegan Parmesan) for a fabulous flavour and nutrition boost.

  • 2.5cups spelt flour (half white, half wholemeal) OR rye flour
  • 2.5tsp GF baking powder
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp of my Cheesey Sprinkles
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • Optional – 2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary and a few grinds of black pepper

Place all of the dry ingredients into your processor or thermal cooker and whizz to combine evenly. (Speed 4, 10 seconds).

Add the oil and water through the top chute whilst processing then pulse together to bring it to a rough dough.

Split the dough into 2 pieces and, using wet hands, form into 2 log shapes.

Lay on a lined baking tray and place into a preheated 200C oven for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Finish with a short time under the grill to give an extra crunchy top crust.

Allow to cool for a few minutes before slicing and eating.

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Especially yummy served warm with soup!

This bread freezes and defrosts well, just make sure it is wrapped in an airtight seal before you place in the freezer.

Enjoy 🙂

ANZAC biscuits

This week in Australia we remember ANZAC day.

It marks the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli of the Australian and New Zealand troops during WW1. It is a time when Australians give thanks for the sacrifices that our service men and women (including both of my beloved Granddads) have made for our country. We remember with the Dawn Service, the March and ANZAC biscuits.

The biscuits were originally sent in care packages to troops far off because they were cheap to make, didn’t contain any eggs and they kept well for a long time – after the end of the war they were sold as a fundraiser and today they are the only commercial good allowed to carry the name of ‘ANZAC’. They are delicious and thankfully, very easy to make into an allergy friendly version. We have worked at making them a healthier, more nutritious biscuit too.

See below the recipe for a coeliac friendly version.

  • 1 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cups plain GF flour/wholemeal spelt
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1/2 cup of my Real Protein powder*
  • 125g oil (coconut oil, olive oil and melted vegan butter all work well, as does a nut oil if it suits you)
  • 4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbsp boiling water.

*My protein powder is essentially a blend of milled nuts and seeds, so you can replace this powder with 1/2 a cup of any combination of milled seeds and/or nuts that suits your diet. Or even straight almond meal.

Mix together the dry ingredients, except the bicarb soda, in a large bowl. (Speed 4, 10 seconds). Then set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan (or microwave), melt together the oil and syrup. (Speed 2, 100C for approx 2 mins)

In a separate bowl, mix together the bicarb and boiling water and then add to the oil/syrup mix. It will froth up to about double the volume.

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and combine well (Speed 4, 8 seconds, scrape down and repeat).

On a greased baking tray place heaped teaspoon fulls of the mixture and flatten down slightly. They need to have quite a bit of space in between.

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Cook in a preheated oven at 150C for about 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

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When you remove them from the oven they will be quite soft. They will harden as they cool. Leave them on the tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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Makes about 20 biscuits and they keep well in an air tight container for a couple of weeks … but they never last that long in my house!

A double batch of these bikkies is a great solution for Church suppers or bulking up for lunchboxes.

Enjoy 🙂

For an Coeliac friendly version: Replace the oats with a mix of rolled quinoa and rice flakes.

 

Chocolate Protein ‘ice cream’

‘Treats’ over Easter …. oh my goodness …. the amount of sugar, artificial colours and preservatives my kids have been given … eek!!

So we have had a few days of indulgence but are back to normal eating now. However, the kids are still on school holidays and are asking for ‘treats’.

Tonight we are off to a movie night and this one is perfect to take along – treats for everyone, treats that will be kind to their little bodies!

Place all ingredients, except bananas into a high-powered processor or blender and blitz until combined.

Then drop bananas through top chute onto spinning blades. Process until well combined and creamy.

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In a thermal cooker use speed 5 to combine the initial ingredients and while you add the bananas, then up to speed 7 for 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat.

Eat immediately for ‘soft serve’ type ice cream, or place into a freezer safe dish, cover and freeze for a couple of hours so you can ‘scoop’ into cones.

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Before the freezer ….
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2 minutes out of the freezer – perfect scoops!

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Serve on its own or with topping of your choice. Makes enough for 12-14 decent sized scoops.

Enjoy 🙂

*If you use the sunflower seed butter you might also like to add in 1-2 tbsp maple syrup since it doesn’t have the sweetness of the dates in it that the other spreads do.

**if you haven’t made the protein mix you can roughly replace it with 1.5tbsp coconut sugar, 1.5tbsp cocoa and 2 tbsp almond/seed meal.

‘Coleslaw’

As well as the common allergies we have in our home, we also have a few more unusual ones. Raw cabbage is one of those.

Last time my biggest boy came across raw cabbage it took 4 days for the swelling in his lips and face to go down. So …. add in the usual dressings and that’s coleslaw out for us then!!

This is our delicious alternative – loaded with veggies, has all the lovely fresh crunch of standard coleslaw and an awesome creamy, yet healthy dressing!

Hope you enjoy!

  • 1 raw beetroot
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 4 tbsp creamy avocado dressing
  • OPTIONAL: a good handful of toasted pine nuts/walnuts

Peel the beetroot and then grate it and the carrots – food processor is easiest. Or you can do them julienne style with a mandolin.

Chop the broccoli into bite sized pieces.

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Place all of the veg into a large bowl, add in the avocado dressing and toss through until well coated.

Top with a sprinkling of pine nuts or walnuts if you are able (toast them on a baking tray under the grill for just a few minutes – watch them carefully and toss part way through to get even browning).

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Serve as a side salad at a bbq, with the protein at your main meal, or even top it with a tin of salmon as a delicious lunch.

Enjoy!

Peaches and Cream Hazelnut tart

This weekend we celebrated Easter – that always means a big family lunch after Church. And as our extended family continues to grow, it’s too much for one person to do all of the cooking, so it is a bring and share affair. This time I was down for dessert. I normally love making dessert but this time I couldn’t decide on what I wanted to bring … until I went to sleep on Saturday night and dreamt about this tart!!

I used the pastry base from my Hazelnut Peat Tart. Check below the recipe for both the nut free and coeliac options.

All the pastry to chill in the freezer and then roll about 2/3 of it into the shape of your pie dish. Press it into the pie dish and blind bake it in a preheated moderate oven for about 15 minutes.

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While the crust is baking, prepare the filling.

  • 300g soy cream cheese (I like the King Land brand)
  • 100g silken tofu, drained and patted dry
  • 4 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas)
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • pinch pink salt
  • tinned or lightly stewed peach slices

In the small bowl of your stand mixer (or with the butterfly attachment in your thermal cooking machine) whip the aquafaba and cream of tartar on high speed until you get soft peaks (takes between 5 and 7 minutes in mine).

In the other bowl of you mixer place the cream cheese, tofu, salt and syrup, whip until smooth and well combined.

Pour the aquafaba mix into the cream cheese mix and beat on low speed until all combined.

Pour the filling into the tart case and then top with peach slices.

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Return tart to preheated moderate oven and cook for about 35 minutes.

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Tart will still be quite liquid when you remove it from the oven but will firm on cooling.

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Dust with pure icing sugar if you wish then serve.

Enjoy 🙂

Hot Cross Buns

Preparing to remember Good Friday tomorrow.

Itchin' Kitchen

These are a more traditional version of those yummy Easter treats. They are a little quicker and less complicated than the ones I posted a couple of years ago but they aren’t gluten free because of the spelt (You can find the other version here). Or check out the my simple coeliac version after the recipe.

These are delicious and my whole family scoffed them (… well, Ellie did, after I picked out her fruit 😉 I guess I’ll be making another batch that is fruit free). And I don’t think I’ve ever heard a more rapid response of ‘more more more!’ from George!!

Bun mixture

  • 280 g warm water
  • 12g instant yeast
  • 550 g spelt flour (I do half white and half wholemeal)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar  (optional, but it works as a bread improver)
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 70 g coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp mixed spice

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