Quinoa, Adzuki Bean, Soy Bean, Veg & Corn Tacos

Thursday night dinner at our place has taken on a new persona since Thursday has become my Nannadaycare day – and the family stay for dinner.  This means dinner has to be a) simple enough for a Nanna to get with a toddler attached to her leg, b) suitable for a pescetarian, dairy free, gluten free and low in fructose, and c) appealing to aforementioned toddler (and family … but mainly the toddler :-)).

This one was a winner – we all loved it (perhaps the adults more so that the toddler – but she had a go).

The original recipe was for Quinoa, Black Bean and Corn Tacos, and I’d also found a recipe for Veggie Tacos.  After much deliberation over which one I’d create, I decided to do a bit of a combo.  I don’t think I can eat Black Beans (if anyone can tell me if a Fructose Intolerant can eat them I’d love to know) so I substituted Adzuki and Soy beans (I’ve found I can eat these), and swapped Tacos for Tortillas (the supermarket only had wheat Tortillas).  So here’s my resulting recipe.

6-8 Servings

1½ cups cooked quinoa                             1 table olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced (I used the green tops of 3 spring onions)
3 cloves crushed garlic                               1¼ cups vegetable OR chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes                             2 zucchini – chopped
½ tea oregano
1 tea ground cumin                                     ½ tea smoked paprika
¼ tea ground coriander (I used about 2 table chopped fresh coriander stalks)
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ cups frozen corn (I used a large can of corn kernels)
1 can Adzuki beans                                     1 can soy beans
juice 1 lime
½ cup coriander leaves – roughly chopped

Serve with:
corn or wheat tortillas (I used corn taco shells)
chopped lettuce                                          sour cream (or Greek yoghurt)
grated cheddar cheese                              crumbled fetta cheese
sliced avocado                                             sliced tomato
jalapeño chilli
chilli sauce (we used my son’s amazing smoked chilli sauce – it’s amazing!)

  • Heat olive oil in a large, non-stick pan over a high heat.
  • Add spring onion and garlic and sauté 30 seconds.
  • Add zucchini and stir for a couple of minutes.
  • Add stock, diced tomatoes, cooked quinoa, oregano, cumin, paprika and coriander stems.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Bring mixture to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes.
  • Stir in corn and beans and simmer, uncovered 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add lime juice and coriander leaves.
  • Serve warm over tortillas or tacos with desired toppings.

A xo

Note:  you don’t have to use onion if it makes you sick … and use any type of beans that you can eat.

Posted in Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low in fructans, Pasta, Rice & Grains, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding fends off the winter chill

Saturday + mid Winter + freezing cold + family over for lunch = steamed pud with lashings of custard and cream.

On cold winter days I long for the comfort food of my childhood.  Mum used to regularly whip up a steamed pud – which we’d duly drown in custard, pile ice-cream on top (so we could watch it melt into the custard) and stuff down sitting in front of the open fire.  Mmmm

With the troops arriving for lunch today I decided it was the perfect excuse to indulge in a childhood memory … and it also gave me the opportunity to try out another recipe from Harry Eastwood’s book.  The Steamed Golden Syrup Sponge Pudding (p 52) felt ‘just right’.

I’m thinking I’ll make some changes to it next time.  It wasn’t as sponge-light as I’d imagined (but – it IS a steamed pudding and they’re never as light as a baked sponge), and it wasn’t sweet enough for me (but my daughter told me I was mentally comparing it to my golden syrup dumplings which are VERY sweet).  That said – it was warm, golden-syrupy and quite delish.

Serves 8 – 12 (depending on how greedy you feel at the time)

Note: … about pudding basins and saucepans
… I used my mum’s metal basin with a lid … it has a more cake-like shape than the standard ceramic basins.  All I had to do was grease it. Here are instructions for preparing a ceramic bowl/basin.
… you need a BIG saucepan (stock pot size) – big enough to hold the pudding basin sitting on top of something in the bottom.
something …I’ve found that if the basin sits directly on the base of the saucepan the pudding can burn.  To solve this problem I put a small round wire cake rack in the bottom of the saucepan and sit the basin on top of that.  I’ve also known people to use an upturned saucer, a criss-cross of chopsticks, marbles … ??

250g golden syrup + 3 tablespoons for the base of the pudding
2 medium eggs
250g turnip – topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated (I use my fine Microplane grater)
grated zest 1 lemon
150g rice flour
50g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Put a full kettle of water on to boil.
  2. Grease a 2 litre pudding basin.  Pour 3 tablespoons of golden syrup into the base of the basin and set aside.
  3. Beat the golden syrup and eggs for 4 minutes until bubbly.
  4. Add the grated turnip and lemon zest.  Whisk for another minute.
  5. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt.  Whisk to combine.
  6. Pour into the prepared basin and seal top with your cover.
  7. Lower the basin into a large saucepan.
  8. Pour boiling water from the kettle into the pan round your pudding (avoiding the top) until the water level reaches at least ½ way up the basin.  Turn on the heat and bring to a rolling simmer (according to Harry it should be ‘slightly angry but not furious’) before placing the lid on the saucepan.
  9. Cook for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
    Note: Don’t forget to top up the water level in the pan.  The water shouldn’t fall below ½ way up the basin or it won’t cook evenly.
  10. Set aside for 20 minutes.
  11. Serve with Crème Anglaise … or custard … or cream … or ice-cream … or ALL of them!

A xo

Note: Many people who are Fructose Intolerant can’t eat golden syrup – you could try substituting maple syrup.  As I’ve said before, I can tolerate the ingredients listed.

Posted in Dairy Free, Desserts, Gluten Free, Low in fructans | 1 Comment

Nigella’s Venetian Carrot Cake = healthy eating heaven

Wayne and I really enjoy watching cooking shows on the telly.  He particularly loves Nigella (!) and it was on an episode of Nigella’s Kitchen that she made this carrot cake … it’s quite possible that only Nigella could make one yearn for a piece of healthy cake!  Not only did it look jolly easy, but it was Gluten Free and Dairy Free … I was SO excited!

I’ve never had a failure with any of Nigella’s recipes … and this one is no exception!  I’ve made it into cupcakes, I’ve accidentally added an extra carrot … and it has been scrummy every time.  It’s not your usual sort of carrot cake – it doesn’t have cream cheese frosting, it’s super moist and is laced with rum … yum!

… having said that the CAKE is dairy free …
… it’s utterly amazing served with mascarpone cream …

My favourite Carrot Cake … from Kitchen: Recipes from the heart of the home

3 tablespoons pine nuts –
2 medium carrots – grated (about 2 cups)
75g sultanas
3 tablespoons rum
150g caster sugar
½ cup regular olive oil (extra virgin has too strong a flavour)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
250g almond meal (ground almonds_
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ lemon – finely grated zest and juice

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC
    Grease a 23cm round cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Gently toast the pine nuts by browning in a dry pan over a low heat.  Set aside.
  3. Grate the carrots in the food processor or with a course grater.  Wrap them in a double layer of paper towel to soak up the liquid (I put handfuls in a piece of paper towel and give it a gentle squeeze).
  4. Put the sultanas and rum in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and gently simmer for 3 minutes.  Set aside.
  5. Whisk the sugar and oil until creamy and full of air.
  6. Whisk in the vanilla and eggs.
  7. Fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, sultanas (and any rum that’s left), lemon zest and juice.  (I have to admit I just leave my mixer on low and spoon it all in).
  8. Pour into the cake tin and smooth the surface.  It won’t be very deep.
    (Cupcakes:  Spoon into cupcake cases – filling most of the case as they don’t rise very much)
  9. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top.
  10. Bake for 30-40 minutes (Cupcakes: 15-20 minutes) – until the top is risen and golden, and a skewer comes out of the centre sticky, but ‘clean’.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing.
  12. When cool, serve with mascarpone cream if you dare!

Mascarpone Cream – mix together:
1 cup (small tub) mascarpone
2 teaspoons icing sugar
2 teaspoons rum

A xo

Posted in Baked Goodies, Cupcakes, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low in fructans | Leave a comment

Raspberry & Elderflower Cupcakes

This is my 1st favourite from Harry Eastwood’s Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache cookbook (p. 119).  I first made them for this year’s Biggest Morning Tea – an annual event we Lovely Library Ladies (as we call ourselves) put on for the staff at school.  They were a big hit … not the least because of the discussion they generated when people found out they were made using zucchini!  They were light and fluffy and utterly delicious.

Makes 12

Note: Harry Eastwood cautions that you don’t grate the vegetables until you are about to add them to the mixture as their texture changes once they are grated …
‘Most vegetables tend to lose their feathers once they are grated. They just get cold, wet and a bit grumpy’
(p. xxix).

2 medium free range eggs
140g caster sugar
200g zucchini – topped, tailed, peeled and finely grated (I use my fine Microplane grater)
3 tablespoons Elderflower cordial (I got mine from Ikea)
80g white rice flour
120g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
120g fresh raspberries (+ 12 extra ones for the tops)

  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.
    Line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
  2. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl for 5 minutes – until pale and quadrupled in volume.
  3. Add the grated zucchini adn the elderflower cordial.  Whisk again.
  4. Mix in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until they are well introduced.
  5. Gently fold in the raspberries – taking care not to crush them too much.
  6. Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases – aiming for it to come four fifths of the way up each case.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and cooked.
    It is normal for them to be flat on top and not dome shaped. (Note: a testing skewer may not come out clean because the veg keeps them so moist – don’t be tempted to keep then in as it will overcook them).

  8. Cool in the tin for 15 minutes before removing.
  9. When cool, ice and decorate with a raspberry (if you want).


140g icing sugar
3 tablespoons Elderflower cordial
a little pink food colouring

Sieve the icing sugar into a small mixing bowl.
Add the Elderflower cordial and mix it in with a fork until it forms a loose white icing.
If using colouring, add a little at a time until you get the colour you want.

A xo

Posted in Baked Goodies, Cupcakes, Dairy Free, Fructan/Fructose Free, Gluten Free, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Imagine … luscious vegetables with naughty chocolate icing … yum!

Imagine biting into …
… a cupcake that is as light as a feather … a lusciously rich chocolate brownie …
… sticky oozy lemon and lavender drizzle cake … steamed golden syrup sponge pudding …

Imagine if …
… they were gluten free and GOOD for you …
… and were filled with vegetables …

Yes, that’s right … VEGETABLES!  My friend Kel recently told me about a cookbook that has changed the way I think about cakes.  Harry Eastwood’s book Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache is filled with (mainly) Gluten Free baked goodies that use finely grated vegetables (for moisture and fluffiness) and ground almonds (for fat and texture) to replace butter … less fat, less sugar … more fibre.  It promised to make my baking life easier – so off I trotted to get a copy.

It’s not you’re usual sort of cookbook … each vegetable and cake has it’s own personality … and they’re written about as if they’re old friends … and the photos are just delightful – as are the cakes.  The ones I’ve tried so far have been amazing.  I’ll share my favourites – as I discover them!

A xo

Posted in Dairy Free, Fructan/Fructose Free, Gluten Free | 2 Comments

Thai Tofu and Eggplant Jungle Curry

This recipe came out of Karen Martini’s Food section in our weekly Sunday Life magazine.  It isn’t super appetising to look at – but is utterly delicious!

It says it serves 4 – but it will go further than that!

Curry Paste
5 cloves garlic
pinch salt
4cm piece of galangal – diced
4cm piece of ginger – peeled and diced
1 bunch coriander – leaves trimmed and roots finely chopped
5 chillies – heat to taste – chopped
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 teaspoons shrimp paste (I use 4-5 anchovies)

Method 1:
With a large mortar and pestle, grind garlic and salt
Add galangal and ginger and pound.
Add coriander roots and chilli and pound again.
Add coriander seeds, peppercorns and shrimp paste and pound to a paste
Method 2:
Put all the above into a small food processor and grind to a paste (I use the chopper attachment to my stick blender).

80ml vegetable oil
2 large purple eggplants – cut into 3cm chunks
300g small button mushrooms
400ml can coconut milk
6 kaffir lime leaves
30g palm sugar – grated
fish sauce
2 bunches asparagus – trimmed and cut
1 cup frozen peas
500g fresh firm tofu – diced

  • Heat the oil in a large, wide-based saucepan over a high heat.
  • Add curry paste and fry for about 2 minutes – until fragrant.
  • Add eggplant and mushrooms – stir to combine.
  • Cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 litre of boiling water, coconut milk and lime leaves.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes (I leave the lid off so the liquid reduces).
  • Add palm sugar and fish sauce to taste.
  • Add asparagus, peas and tofu – simmer 5 minutes.
  • Adjust fish sauce and/or sugar again, if necessary.
  • Add coriander leaves.

Serve with steamed rice, hard boiled eggs (cut in ½ length wise) and nam jim sauce.


A xo

Note: Many people who are Fructose Intolerant can’t eat coconut milk, peas or asparagus.  As I’ve said before, I can tolerate a small amount of coconut milk, so I simply don’t take too much of the gravy and only have one asparagus spear.  You can substitute other vegetables – but I can’t think of a substitute for the coconut milk.

Posted in Curry, Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Low in fructans, Vegetarian, Veggies | Leave a comment

Steamed Thai Style Mussels with Buckwheat Noodles

1kg mussels (cleaned and debearded)
1 tablespoon finely grated galangal or ginger
3 stalks fresh lemon grass – the inner white part – smashed and finely chopped
1-2 chillis (heat of your choice) – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – chopped
1 tablespoon fish sauce (to taste)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon palm sugar
1 tablespoon oil
1 400ml can coconut milk
2 Kaffir lime leaves – sliced finely

  1. Place the galangal, lemon grass, chillis and garlic in a mortar and  gently pound with a pestle until well bruised.
    (I’m not patient enough for this – I put them in the chopper attachment of stick blender with the oil and pulse them into a paste)
  2. Heat a large saucepan and sweat the paste until it’s fragrant.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer.
  4. Add the mussels and cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes – until the mussels open.
    After 5 minutes I start to remove the mussels that are open (put them into a large bowl) and give the rest a stir so they come in contact with the hot broth.  Some take a bit longer to open.  I keep doing this until they are all open – but take care not to overcook the mussels as they can go a bit chewy.
    I rarely find one that doesn’t open – if you do – discard them.
  5. Return all mussels to the broth to heat through.
  6. Check the broth for flavouring – add more fish sauce, palm sugar or lime juice to taste.
  7. Serve with buckwheat soba noodles – or rice – or crusty bread – or pasta – whatever takes your fancy.
  8. Feel free to toss in a big handful of fresh coriander or some Thai basil if you like it.


A xo

Note:  This recipe uses coconut milk.  Many people who are Fructose Intolerant can’t eat it.  I can eat it in small amounts – if you can’t eat it, use white wine.

Posted in Dairy Free, Fructan/Fructose Free, Gluten Free, Seafood | Leave a comment