Polenta, a staple of Italy, is a coarsely ground cornmeal. This Soft Polenta with parmesan recipe, courtesy of Maggie Beer, has added cream and parmesan cheese to make it so much more enticing than the usual bland polenta you may have tried. This polenta recipe is a welcomed change from ordinary mashed potatoes.
So, grab some polenta and try it for a flavour change tonight. It goes beautifully with my Slow Cooker Spiced Beef Cheeks recipe.
The recipe and photo are used with permission from Maggie Beer at www.maggiebeer.com.au.
This Spiced Beef Cheeks recipe could not be any easier – sprinkle on the spices and slow cook for 8 hours. The beef cheeks release their own juices to make a rich sauce subtly spiced with the flavours of Morocco. The meat ends up so deliciously succulent.
If you haven’t tried Beef Cheeks, then this is the best way to do so. Ask your local butcher for them. I can’t believe I have been missing out on this moist and succulent cut of meat until this year.
These Beef Cheeks can be served over mashed, sweet potato, pumpkin, or potatoes, or this Soft Polenta recipe courtesy of Australian celebrity cook, Maggie Beer.
This Beef Cheeks recipe is adapted from a recipe by Vered Deleeuw. See the original recipe here.
This Masala Chai Mix is an aromatic and warming blend of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, star anise, vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, and pepper. Forget the additive-laden and expensive store-bought Chai Mix and easily make your own.
Masala Chai means Spiced Tea. Yes, it can be used in black tea to make a spiced tea, but it can also be used in a Chai Latte, Dirty Chai, smoothie, chia pudding, or cake mix.
To make this an inexpensive mix, I buy my spices in larger packets and transfer them to recycled peanut butter jars for storage. If there is a spice that you think you may not use much of, for example, ground cardamom, then simply leave it out and you will still get a good flavour. The ground cardamom can be replaced with Allspice (Pimento) for a slightly different flavour.
The main ingredients of this Masala Chai Mix are cinnamon and ginger and these are sure to be used as they are common baking ingredients. Cinnamon is used in my popular Double Chocolate Banana Bread and also in the Almond Flour Oat Cookies.
I am a fan of the taste of star anise. I always have some on hand for Asian cooking so it easily gets used up in this household.
Don’t be worried about the black pepper being too strong. It is a small amount there to increase the warming effect of the mix and is also nutritionally beneficial. If you are too worried you can leave it out or reduce the amount by half.
I have included sugar in the recipe to make it an alternative to the store-bought packets, however, the sugar can be left out so it can be used just as a spice mix. Or you may like to use honey or maple syrup as your preferred sweetener.
There appear to be many nutritional benefits of many of the ingredients in this Masala Mix.
Using this Masala Chai Mix will also allow you to indulge in a Chai Latte or Dirty Chai knowing you aren’t ingesting artificial flavours and refined sugar.
Take a look at the ingredients of a couple of examples of the store-bought varieties.
The second example has more salt than cinnamon!! Even so-called “Natural” flavours are dubious as they can start as a natural substance and then go through so many chemical processes that the end result is anything but natural. “Vegetable Fat” is another ingredient that sounds healthy but after the chemical processes of extracting, bleaching, and deodorizing a mix of different cheap seed oils, it becomes one of the worse fats for optimum health. See the book From Lab to Table by nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara if you want to know more.
Anyhow, let’s not worry about all the additives in store-bought alternatives because you now have an alternative that you can customise to your own taste. Add about two to four teaspoons of this sweetened Masala Chai Mix to a cup of warm milk of choice and you have a delicious caffeine-free morning or nighttime drink. Enjoy!
There is a trend at the moment, that I agree with, that recommends eating more protein and fewer grains. Because of the nuts and chia seeds, this chia pudding is the perfect option for a protein-rich breakfast or sweet treat. Chia seeds are also rich in Omega-3s.
This Chocolate and Nut Butter Chia Pudding is also a convenient on-the-go breakfast if you set these puddings in their own spillproof jar or container. Simply pack it in a chiller bag and take it with you to work, the kid’s early morning soccer game, uni, or school.
Fortunately, there is now a wide choice of nut butters besides the peanut butter that I have used in the photo. If you are intolerant to nuts, then a seed butter would also work.
For Paleo, Vegan, and Low FODMAP dietary preferences, use the coconut yoghurt and maple syrup options.
For another grain-free breakfast option that you can have on the go, try my Paleo Zucchini Muffins.
Who can pass up Chocolate Cookies with added chocolate chips? These Double Chocolate Flourless Nut Butter Cookies are made in one bowl so it’s a really quick and easy recipe.
Because of the added almond or peanut butter, Nut Butter Cookies have more protein than the usual cookies.
A similar gluten-free cookie is Alexx Stuart’s Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Rapadura sugar, also known as Panela, is simply dehydrated sugar cane juice. Coconut sugar can also be used.
I use raw cacao powder as it is not as processed as cocoa powder.
Baking soda is used instead of baking powder because its alkaline properties balance the acidity of the cacao/cocoa powder.
When choosing a nut butter, ensure the nut of choice is the only ingredient. Most jars of nut butter, especially peanut butter, contain the cheap and nasty “vegetable oil” and salt and/or sugar. My favourite is to use organic crunchy peanut butter, however, peanut butter-containing foods are often banned at schools. Perhaps a seed butter e.g. sunflower seed or tahini could work just as well. Let me know if you try it.
In order to avoid vegetable oil once again, check the ingredients of the chocolate chips. They should have cocoa butter instead of vegetable oil. An alternate is to use chunks of your favourite dark chocolate.
These Cookies are just sweet enough without being sickly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter cookie then up the sugar to 3/4 cup. This may be necessary if you use coconut sugar as I find coconut not as sweet as rapadura. Do you agree?
To get these cookies even in size, I use my tablespoon measure spoon (which is 4tsp in Australia) as my guide. Better still is my cookie scoop (which holds 4 teaspoons). It is like a mini ice cream scoop and I love it. So much so that I use a smaller version for bliss balls. I found mine online.
This recipe makes about 24 cookies so I put a dozen on each tray. They don’t really expand when cooking so they don’t have to spaced too far apart.
The lemon and herbs help this Marinated Roasted Eggplant go so well in an Italian panino (sandwich), or as a side dish for a picnic lunch. One of my friends, who usually doesn’t like eggplant, likes it heated up as a side dish with Roast Chicken.
This recipe is the first of the year for Millen Farm, where I am now volunteering as the recipe developer for the beautiful organic foods in season.
Globe eggplants are usually big, black, and bulbous like a light globe. They should be firm and shiny with a green, not shrivelled, stem.
Lemon juice can be substituted with Apple Cider vinegar for a stronger pickled flavour.
Thyme can be replaced with oregano leaves.
I have used mild green chillies, however, the choice is yours as to whether you prefer it hotter. Red chillies give a pleasing colour contrast.
Instead of roasting in the oven the eggplant can also be pan-fried on the stovetop or barbequed on a grill. In fact, the grill lines make this a more attractive dish.
Seed Crackers are now popular for those who are trying to avoid grains. These are also dairy, egg, and nut free.
This easy recipe is courtesy of the delightful Candice Bauer. Candice, and her equally delightful husband Matt, have a natural skincare company BARE by Bauer, so it makes sense that she cooks real, whole food that will also nourish the skin from the inside out.
These crackers are flavoured with rosemary and smoked paprika, however, you can easily substitute these with your favourite herbs or spices. Turmeric works really well.
If you want to use a rolling pin instead of pressing the mixture into the tray, you may find your rolling pin too big to avoid the tray’s edges. If this is the case, then use a glass jar as a rolling pin.
Instead of scoring the mixture into squares or triangles, Candice likes to make it even easier by simply breaking the cooked mixture into rustic looking pieces.
The crackers are left in the oven to cool in order to help them dry out a little more.
This spicy chicken wing recipe is courtesy of the lovely Kirsty Wirth from Kultured Wellness!
Kirsty is an expert on gut health and has co-authored a recipe book, Gutlicious, that is full of great recipes to help introduce and maintain good gut bacteria.
There is an incredible amount of emerging research that affirms that a healthy gut microbiome is necessary for the health of the body and brain.
The cooking time stated is the minimum to cook the chicken wings to the juicy stage. Of course, oven variations and the size of the wings will have an influence on the length of the cooking time. You will know they are cooked when you insert a cooking skewer in the thickest part and the juices run clear.
If you want crispier wings, then cook longer and/or turn the temperature up to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).
For another oven-roasted chicken recipe, try my 4 Ingredient Roast Chicken.
This roulade is a light, grain free cake rolled with jam and cream. It is refined sugar free, easy to make, and is sure to impress.
The main ingredients are egg and almond flour. This makes it a protein packed dessert that it so much more nutritious than the usual high carb dessert.
Instead of separating the eggs and beating one at a time, the eggs, vanilla and maple syrup are beaten together for 10 minutes in order to incorporate as much air as possible. After 10 minutes the egg mixture should look like this.
I have used my Raspberry Chia Jam recipe though any berry chia jam or fruit spread will do.
In strawberry season, I also make this with cut up fresh strawberries instead of the jam.
While cooking, the mixture will rise a bit then sink back down. This is what it is supposed to do, so don’t panic.
To decorate, I cut the corner out of one of the last sandwich bags I have left, filled it with the cream then piped the cream out with a side to side swirling motion – like piping a smooth zig zag.
Dessert for breakfast! If it’s healthy then why not? This overnight oats has the peanut butter and chocolate combination made famous by the USA chocolate icon, Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups. If you aren’t yet a convert to overnight oats, then this recipe may just change your mind.
Despite the high plant protein content of peanut butter, there are many differing opinions as to whether it is actually good for you. To be on the safe side, I mostly use other nut butters, yet I still keep a jar of peanut butter in the fridge for making dishes where only the distinct flavour of peanut butter will do; dishes like Satay Chicken Curry, Peanut Butter and Honey Popsicles, and of course this Overnight Oats.
For the best peanut butter, choose one that has peanuts as the only ingredient. Many companies add vegetable oil, sugar and salt.
If avoiding gluten, be sure to check that your oats are labelled gluten free. I talk about oats and gluten in my Blueberry Pancakes post.
Let me know via the Facebook post if you have any other favourite overnight oats combination or another way to use the peanut butter and chocolate combination.
This easy, yet impressive, beef steak recipe is courtesy of the lovely Tracey Pattison. It is just one example of a dish from her beautiful cookbook, “Healthy Meals: Love to Cook”.
The photograph is courtesy of Steve Brown Photography.
I hope you will try this Chocolate Mousse recipe. I have tried to made it as foolproof as possible, however it is very important to have your eggs at room temperature and that your eggs are very fresh with no cracks.
It is also important to use the best quality dark chocolate that you can afford. It should have 75% cocoa and the fat content should be cocoa butter and not the cheap and nasty “vegetable oil”.
As well as Dairy-free, it is also Low FODMAP, Nut-free, Paleo, and Vegetarian.
Because these refined sugar free popsicles have only three ingredients (or four if you like rosewater), they are super easy to make.
If you don’t have popsicle moulds then simply use small straight edged glasses or plastic cups.
Be sure to use coconut yoghurt if you want the Dairy-free, Paleo, Vegan or Low FODMAP version.
This is the easiest way to roast a chicken and because it is cooked with the breast down, it is the juiciest as well!
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