Simple Pumpkin Soup

Hooray for soup weather!

This is a soup-er simple meal, really inexpensive and delicious. A pretty mild soup, so it is very kid friendly too.

  • 400g Cauliflower  (1 medium size), roughly chopped
  • 1.2kg Butternut pumpkin roughly chopped
  • 1/2 small brown onion (about 60g), diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
  • 2 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • 10 cups boiling water
  • 225g cream cheese (*dairy, soy or nut based – you can even use a light silken tofu here)

If you don’t have stock paste you can use 3 cups liquid stock and then only 7 cups water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan then add in the onion and cook, stirring, until it is soft and golden.

Add in the cauliflower and pumpkin plus the stock paste and stir well. Cook down for about 3 minutes then add in the boiling water.

Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are very soft. *If you need a quicker cooking time you can give the veggies a quick blitz in your food processor first.

Remove from the heat and add in the cream cheese. Use an immersion blender to blend until the soup is very smooth. If you are using a blender/thermo cooker/bullet machine to blend – BE VERY CAREFUL! Allow it to cool quite a bit first and then do small batches.

I love to serve mine topped with roasted pumpkin seeds and pine nuts (switch hemp seeds for nut free) …. Just pop the seeds in a hot, dry frying pan and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until they are golden brown. Sprinkle on the soup and if you want a little extra kick … sprinkle on a little pinch of chilli flakes!

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Serves 12.

If Macros are important to you, here they are for 1 serve (roughly 2 ladles of soup) , worked out for the dairy based cream cheese – not including the seed topping.

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This will last several days in the fridge, or it freezes and defrosts well.

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

Salmon Tart

I love a good veg tart.

So simple to make and I love the way that you can bulk them up with whatever you had on hand – so they’re budget friendly too!

I tend to make tarts like these so I have them on hand work work lunches – delicious cold (so I don’t stink out my office colleagues!) or warm (for those days I work at home). Or if you’re in a rush, grab a couple of slices out of the freezer and steam some extra greens – speedy and filling dinner!

  • 7 medium eggs
  • 130g (approx) salmon fillet*
  • 150g broccoli
  • 3 large celery sticks
  • 20g olive oil
  • 25g milk of choice (I mostly use unsweetened high protein almond milk)
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

*If you don’t have a salmon fillet, just used plain tinned salmon, and skip the cooking part.

Start by pan cooking the salmon, so it is almost cooked – it will finish in the oven. Then break it in to small pieces.

Steam your broccoli – I did a couple of minutes in the microwave. And then use a knife to diced it evenly.

Finely dice your celery.

Place the broccoli, celery and salmon into a bowl.

In a separate bowl (I prefer a decent sized measuring jug because it pours well), break all of your eggs. Then add in the dill, salt and pepper, milk and oil and then whisk really well.

Pour the egg mix into the salmon and veg mix and then fold together until even.

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Pour into a lined baking dish (21cm x 21cm) and place into a preheated 180C oven.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until it is golden and the egg is mostly set …. as the egg is still hot it will continue to cook as it cools when you remove it from the oven.

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Allow to cool a little before slicing into 9 squares.

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You can gently reheat this one in a microwave from the fridge. Or if you are going to freeze it, lay it between 2 sheets of kitchen paper before you do, as this will help to absorb the ice crystals as it defrosts.

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If macros are important to you, here are the details for 1 slice (that is 1/9 of the total dish)

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If you want an easy switch to make this a vegetarian option, omit the salmon and replace with a few handfuls of sliced mushrooms – I like the swiss brown variety!

Enjoy 🙂

Almost ANZAC biscuits

Tomorrow won’t be celebrated as it normally is, but we will still remember them.

Itchin' Kitchen

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 – plus, you can be very flexible with them based on what you…

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An Itchin’ Budget?

Managing a tight food budget for a family of 6 with multiple food requirements … This is how we do it!

Itchin' Kitchen

Living in this day and age is expensive.

Living in an allergy home is even more costly – regular trips to (very expensive) allergists, dermatologists and doctors, regular updates of asthma medication, epi-pens and bottles of antihistamines for every place they go. Creams, creams and more creams. Gosh it adds up quickly.

Then there’s the groceries ….. no options for $1 bags of pasta or flour. Allergy friendly options are often 8-10 times the price. And then there is the choice about buy foods that are locally or ethically produced.

Don’t get me wrong – I am so very grateful  that my husband has a job (and after 10 years with one income, so now do I!), we actually have many allergy friendly options in shops and that we are able to access the specialists we need to care well for our children. We are FAR better off than many.

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Crunchy Quinoa Biscuits

So simple but so delicious … a quick batch of these ones made their way to school this morning after my little ones asked me to make Valentine’s day bikkies for their teachers …. at 7am!!!!

Itchin' Kitchen

I love crunchy bikkies …. dunking them in a hot cuppa was always a  favourite!

These delicious bikkies definitely meet my sweet and crunchy requirements.

My kids (and husband!) all love them. They are simple to make, the kids love choosing their own shapes and they are really easy to adapt to meet most allergy requirements.

  • 100g rolled quinoa (or you can mill the whole grain)
  • 160g plain flour OR GF flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 70g of sunflower seed butter OR nut butter**
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 150g maple OR golden syrup

**You can use half seed butter and half butter here, or even all butter – all combinations work well!

In a saucepan, over a medium heat, stirring, melt together the seed butter, syrup and vanilla (100C, speed 2 for 2 11/2 mins or until completely melted). Remove from stove

Mix together all…

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Roasted Tomato Confit

It’s that time of year again and our summer garden is bursting with juicy, red gems! Time to get preserving 🙂

Itchin' Kitchen

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, regional 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 herbs (I use basil, rosemary and thyme)
  • garlic olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Wash and pat dry your tomatoes. Remove little stems.

Place in a lined baking dish.

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Tear herbs and scatter around the tomatoes. Drizzle very generously with…

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Chocolate, Date and Chick Pea Cookies

Family favourites – delicious and nutritious!!

Itchin' Kitchen

Today we were heading out to a party but when I went to the freezer to grab out a safe cake for miss Ellie – there were none left … eek!

So, with an hour to go before we needed to leave … these cookies were the made-up-on-the-spot result. They have now been a firm favourite for the past 4 years!

I use legumes in soooo many things, little powerhouses of fibre and protein and so good for your gut health – but I was inspired to add legumes to my cookies by TRTLMT

We most often use chick peas, but when I’m after a little variety, or the pantry dictates, we also used butter beans and kidney beans. They are all delish!

My little miss loves them – I’m pretty sure she’d eaten about 6 of them by the end of the day while I wasn’t paying too much…

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Mushroom and Lentil Bolognese

Bolognese has long been a favourite dinner in our house.

We have a pretty non-traditional version, but it works for us – there are always 6 empty plates and 6 happy tummies when it’s on the menu.

Easy to make, a massive serve of veggies, great fibre and it’s  a very budget friendly meal, that cooks up in bulk and freezes well too.

More recently as we are reducing the number of meals we eat that contain meat, we’ve moved from making our standard beef mince bolognese, to this vegan version.

The kids haven’t blinked an eye with the transition, in fact, Harry recently requested it as his birthday party dinner – hope you like it too!

 

  • 1 finely chopped medium brown onion
  • 2 tbsp garlic olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp minced chillies (depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we also use black beans)
  • 2 400g tin lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 3-4 cups mushrooms (a mixture of types is good to give textural variety)
  • a first sized piece of sweet potato or pumpkin, peeled and diced
  • 3 large handfuls spinach
  • 700 ml tomato pasata or a large tin of peeled tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste OR preserved tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • spaghetti or pasta that suits your diet to serve

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Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the onion and stir until soft.

Add in the chillies, mix well and turn down to low heat.

In your food processor (or with a knife if you have the patience!), pulse the mushrooms until you get a fine chop. Add the mushrooms to the onion mix in the hot saucepan. Stir them in well to coat in onion mixture.

Add in the lentils, tomato paste and red wine then stir well to combine.

Meanwhile, in the food processor blitz or grate the vegetables, spinach and beans. Add in the pasata to help bring the mix all together. Process more or less depending on how smooth you want your sauce.

Add the veggie and pasata mix to the mushroom and lentil mix in the pan and stir well. Bring to a very gentle simmer, then add the fresh herbs. I tend to finely chop the basil before stirring through, but I leave the rosemary on it’s stems, just bruising the leaves before adding it to the pot, just remove the stems when you serve. Simmer for about half an hour, stirring regularly.

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Adding in the preserved tomatoes to boost the flavour!

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Serve on your choice of pasta, zucchini noodles or a bed of steamed green beans – add cheese of choice to top if you like, or even sprinkle with nutritional yeast.

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Serves about 10 adults (freeze left over sauce in an airtight container for a couple of months)

Enjoy 🙂

 

Chocolate beetroot muffins (with extra veggies!)

These rich, earthy muffins are a standard in our freezer – today we have to feed the hordes after school so there’s a double batch cooling!

Itchin' Kitchen

I know … beetroot and spinach (or pumpkin and chick peas!) are not ingredients you would normally associate with a chocolate muffin – but trust me, it works!

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My tribe wolf them down and have no idea of the goodies hiding inside – yay! They are a standard lunchbox favourite – I even use this recipe to make the base of our birthday cakes now and everyone digs in!

See below the recipe for the coeliac friendly option and some different veggie variations

  • 1 large cooked beetroot (approx 225g)*
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 40g cocoa/30g cacao powder
  • 70ml tasteless oil (rice bran oil, melted vegan butter & coconut oil work well) OR 70g sunflower seed butter
  • 150ml oat/rice/soy/almond milk
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 90g maple syrup OR coconut sugar
  • 280g spelt flour (half wholemeal)
  • 2.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba OR 2 whole eggs
  • 1 tsp…

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Roo and root veg pie

We have reduced our consumption of meat significantly in the last year. For numerous reasons; the cost, the environmental impact and the health benefits.

But recently we were kindly given a couple of kilos of Kangaroo tails. Kangaroos have far less of an impact on the enviroment than does farmed meat, it is much, much lower in saturated fats than other red meat, but is higher in iron and B12 and well, as a gift … the cost aspect was quite appealing!

It is something I have eaten before and enjoyed but not cooked myself. We have had a stew with them, and added them to veggie burger patties and for our last lot I thought we’d have a pie. Since we have an abundance of beetroot, sweet potato and fresh herbs in our garden at the moment, we made good use of those too.

Peter went back for seconds, Will gave me 5 gold stars, George licked his bowl clean and Harry went back for seconds and thirds …. even Ellie tasted it. Winner!!

Of course if you don’t have access to Kangaroo, or it doesn’t appeal to you, you can always use beef or lamb bones for this pie – just reduce the cooking time in the slow cooker to 7-8 hours on low.

For the meat and gravy part of the pie:

  • Approx 1kg kangaroo tail pieces
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp vegemite or miso paste
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs each of fresh rose and thyme
  • 1tsp onion flakes
  • 1/3 tsp garlic flakes
  • 3 cups hot beef stock (I used Massel)

Place the tail pieces in the slow cooker and turn it on low. Sprinkle over it the pepper, onion, garlic and herbs. Mix together the stock, wine, tomato paste, aminos and vegemite and pour over the lamb.

Place the lid and the slow cooker and leave for 9-10 hours.

For the remainder of filling of the pie, after the meat is cooked:

  • 400g sweet potato
  • 250g beetroot
  • 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • meat from the slow cooker
  • 3/4 liquid from the slow cooker.

Grate the veggies finely, use a food processor, or Speed 6 in your thermal cooker.

Add in the kidney beans and cooking liquid process until the beans are well broken down (Speed 5, 10 seconds).

Transfer the veggie mix to a large pan – even better if it can go directly from stove to oven. Place on a medium heat.

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Use a fork to pull the meat from the bones and finely chop it.

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Add the meat to the veggie mix.

Drain and strain the remaining liquid from the slow cooker and add another 3/4 cup of it to the meat and veg. Mix well and bring to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and veg are simmering, make the scone dough for the top of the pie:

  • 1.5 cups spelt flour (I do half wholemeal) OR 1.25 cups GF flour mix and 3/4 tsp psyllium
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt flakes
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
  • 50g vegan butter
  • 1/3-1/2 cup water

Place all ingredients except the water and butter in your processor and process to combine (Speed 4, 6 seconds)

Add in the butter and pulse until you get a sand like consistency.

Whilst the processor is running (Speed 4), add in the water through the top chute. Start with 1/3 cup and gradually add more if needed to bring together to a dough.

Tip out the dough and roll into shape of your pie dish.

Lay the dough on top of the pie filling, cut a few steam vents and place into a preheated 180C oven for about 30 minutes.

 

Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Then cut and serve.

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Makes enough for 5-6 adult serves.

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Enjoy 🙂