No frills gluten free banana bread with coconut and passionfruit icing

I think it's fairly universally accepted that everybody loves banana bread. Although I (obviously) include myself in this category, I despise the fact that I wind up feeling like I need to do more than a few sit ups after I eat it (I never do the sit ups, but I do tell myself they might be a wise idea.)

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I fiddled around for a while with this recipe, and I'm finally happy with it. Embarrassingly simple, devoid of many unnecessary ingredients, and free of post consumption sit up guilt, relative to some other options out there in the big bad world. I started with sour cream icing, and that tasted a bit like a really odd burrito, so now I've gone with coconut yoghurt, which is dreamy with both banana and passionfruit. Your icing, however, is your prerogative. 

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I was apparently too lazy to cut through the whole loaf

I was apparently too lazy to cut through the whole loaf

INGREDIENTS

2 LAAARGE and in charge super ripe bananas, or 3 small ones
1 egg
1 1/2 cups almond meal
3 tablespoons potato flour (Arrowroot would probably work too)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/2 cup milk of choice (I've tried with regular and almond to success)
2 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on the ripeness of your bananas, it works with just 1 tablespoon too)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar 

1/2 cup unflavoured coconut yoghurt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 passionfruits

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In your food processor, throw in errything except the baking powder and vinegar. Process until smooth, and then add the baking powder and vinegar, stirring in thoroughly. Transfer to a silicon loaf tin (I had way more success getting it out of the tin when I greased it with butter, even though somebody told me you're not supposed to do this with silicon. I break the rulez)
3. Cook for 45 minutes to an hour/an hour and ten. Each loaf seems to have its own unique personality (although this may be my crap bomb of an oven) - check it and be the judge. 
4. Allow to cool before removing and serving, this will save you many headaches, I promise. The crest of the loaf will fall, but what matters is what is on the inside, ammirite? 
5. Once cool, mix together the coconut yoghurt, vanilla bean and maple. I tried to put mine in the freezer to harden it up a bit but to no avail. Perhaps a teaspoon of coconut oil would assist in this, if you're after aesthetic values. If not, no worries. Top with the passionfruit and eat. 

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Smokey black bean and lime nachos with brown rice chips

I think nachos are probably one of my all time favourite foods, although my Mum will never forgive me for saying so. They’re so outrageously versatile that there truly is a nacho for every occasion. The cheesy, tex-mex variety for a Sunday hangover or a movie night, or the raw varieties for after you’ve been for a walk in your active wear and feel like you’re an unstoppable health God. Then there are the vegan sort, pioneered in my very biased opinion by Vegie Bar in Melbourne, or the fresher, lime and coriander type, that almost find a happy middle ground.  So in summary, I’ve just described pretty much every type of nacho, and nobody can ever doubt my nacho love and credibility ever again.

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Over the past year I’ve had to become increasingly aware of what I’m eating, thanks but no thanks to a condition called SIBO, in which bacteria gatecrashes your small intestine, steals food and nutrients that happens to float by, and wreaks havoc on your digestion as a result.

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I’ve had to do some experimenting and eliminating as to what works for me, and was a tiny bit devastated to learn that corn is no good for a gal like me, at least for the time being. Refer to my in depth description of nachos if my corn related sadness confuses you. So, when SunRice asked if I would like to develop a recipe for them featuring their corn chip style brown rice chips, I was rather happy to jump on board. Nachos forever. 

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INGREDIENTS
2 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped
425g tin black beans, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
Generous sea salt and pepper
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons freshly brewed espresso
1 teaspoon cacao powder
Zest of ½-1 lime
Juice of ½-1 lime (adjust to your limey taste)
2 bags of SunRice brown rice chips (I used one sea salt and one Tomato and Parmesan – they taste just like cheesy corn chips)

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TOPPINGS
Freshly grated good quality cheddar
Small handful of chopped cherry tomatoes
Small handful of coriander
1 or 2 limes, chopped
Chopped green or red (or green and red) chilli
Sour cream
Avocado

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil, chopped Roma tomatoes, sea salt, pepper, brown sugar, lime zest and spices, and cook over a medium heat until the tomatoes begin to lose their shape and become saucy.  You can add a splash of water if you feel it’s necessary.
3. Add the beans to the mix, and stir well to combine. Add the cacao, espresso, and lime juice, continuing to stir. Leave the mix to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
4. While the beans are cooking, arrange your brown rice chips in a casserole dish (should be called nacho dish ammirite) and begin to sort out your toppings. Cheese is the only strictly necessary topping here (I would argue the case for sour cream but it’s not 100% essential as cheese is) – use whatever you enjoy, because nachos are to be wholly enjoyed.
5. Take the beans off the heat and pour them over the centre of your assembled chips. Top this with a generous amount of freshly grated cheddar (pls no pre-bagged nonsense) and pop in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Keep watching them, chips are fragile entities and nothing is more devastating than burnt nachos. Nothing.
6. Once the cheese is super melty, take them out of the oven, and top with your preferred choice of toppings. Now eat them all in one sitting. 

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Gluten free salted espresso and blueberry brownies

I think the brownie has to be one of the most universally loved sweet foods. Ok, well maybe not universally. And maybe not, because I haven't done any research on the topic. All I know is that everybody I have brunched with swoons at the sight of brownies in the little cabinet next to the coffee machine. Does that count as empirical data? I vote yes. 

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Sometimes I feel like people are lying to me when they say that the healthy counterpart of a traditionally flour and sugar laden dessert 'tastes the same.' Please don't try and tell me that this raw Oreo tastes like a normal one. That is a flat out lie. That being said, I think healthified brownies CAN be the exception to the rule. They don't actually need the horrendous amount of sugar (in pure and chocolate form) and butter and flour that is in them. It's not necessary, and if you're anything like me, the guilt and ill health post brownie consumption borderline outweighs the joy of eating it in the first place. 

These ones are gluten free, have barely any refined sugar (excepting the chocolate, although you could use unsweetened choc if you're hardcore) and have a bit of protein and good fat from the almond meal, a bit of caffeine for life, and then the antioxidants related to the cacao and blueberries. Great. 

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
½ cup cacao powder
100g butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 eggs
½ cup milk
½ cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 tablespoon strong espresso
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
½ cup blueberries 

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and turn the stove onto a medium heat. Pop a medium sized saucepan on, half filled with water, and a steel bowl atop that, making sure the water doesn't touch the bowl. Double boiler style. Add the chocolate chips and the butter, and melt.
2. When the chocolate butter is melted, take it off the heat and stir in the espresso, cacao, salt, maple syrup and the almond meal. Follow this with the vanilla extract and milk, and finally, when you're sure you won't scramble them, the eggs. 
3. Gently mix in the blueberries, and then pour the brownie mixture into a well greased tin. You might want to line the base of it, just in case. Leave the brownies in for around 20-30 minutes, depending on how squishy you like your brownies. Done!

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Zucchini, haloumi, mint and preserved lemon fritters

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and with all my fun little food intolerances of late, I've been looking into and attempting to consider elements of the GAPS diet. I haven't been following it intensely (because life) but there have been a few take home tips that I've incorporated into my diet, one of those being the humble zucchini fritter.

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The basic version I sometimes make in the morning entails naught but grated zucchini, almond meal, sea salt and organic eggs, mixed together and cooked in ghee. This sounds horrendously bland to most people, but when I can eat something and I don't feel like a balloon/vomiting/exploding, I know I'm onto a good thing.

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The suggestion by a friend that my fritters needed cheese in them (said with a look of disgust after I expressed my excitement at going home to eat the plain versions after our morning walk) is in fact the inspiration for these fritters. As I have always said, cheese makes most things better, and I've found that I tolerate cheese very well on a FODMAP basis anyway (thanks for giving me that one, body) 

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INGREDIENTS
200g grated zucchini
150g grated haloumi
1 1/2 cups almond meal
2 eggs
50g butter, melted
handful of chopped mint
zest of half a lime
small piece of chopped preserved lemon
1 teaspoon preserved lemon juice
generous salt and pepper
eggs, to serve
ghee or butter, to cook
splash of water if necessary

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METHOD

1. Preheat a pan to a medium heat and warm the ghee.
2. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. I find it easiest if I leave it for five or ten minutes - some of the moisture from the zucchini seems to disappear and make it easier to handle.
3. Fritter size is very much up to you - smaller are easier to handle when cooking because they are quite delicate. Plop the desired amount of mixture in the pan, and spread out until the fritter is a couple of centimetres in height. The best way to cook these is slowly and on a low-medium heat, so a) the haloumi has time to melt and b) they don't turn into scrambled crumbs when you attempt to flip. I would say 4 or 5 minutes on the first side, and 1 or two on the second, but use your cheffy intuition. Or eat them as scrambled crumbs, which are equally as nice.
4. Repeat until you're done, and top with the remaining haloumi (packets are normally 180g, bless) a fried egg, and some extra mint. Too bloody easy.

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Basil and sage involtini with roasted heirloom tomatoes

I am a bit distrustful when people tell me they just don't like Italian food. What is not to like? The cheese? The carbs? The generous servings of garlic?

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That being said, with all my current food intolerances, I do find it increasingly difficult to find/eat Italian food that doesn't make me feel like the bathroom walls are closing in around me a few hours later. Garlic, onion and gluten are probably my worst offenders at the moment, so you can kiiiiiiinda see why this delectable cuisine is a tough nut. And yes, I have had many people point out to me how depressing it is. I am well aware, thks. 

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I have always loved involtini, and my Mum makes it on a semi regular basis. I decided to revamp her recipe, with a few FODMAP friendlier additions and subtractions, provided you can eat some dairy. I miss garlic like the deserts miss the rain, but right now I also like feeling like the end is not nigh. You, however, can add some garlic if you're not a vampire like me. 

SIDE NOTE: I do apologise for the repetitive photos, I lifted a small side table prior to shooting the involtini, and wound up on the floor with a $200 chiropractic bill. Note to self: get fitter. Or just fit. 

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INGREDIENTS

4 medium sized eggplants (the weight of mine totalled 1.3kg with the stems removed)
1kg good quality ricotta (not the watery stuff in plastic containers, at LEAST go to the Deli at the supermarket)
100g freshly grated good quality parmesan (plus extra, to sprinkle on top)
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of sage
generous salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons Persian feta (optional but delicious, one can never have too many cheeses/Danish feta would be a good substitute) 
300g heirloom tomatoes (they don't actually need to be heirloom but they were on sale and all I could see were dollar savings and aesthetic bonuses)

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METHOD

1) Slice your eggplant into into about 1-2cm slices, and arrange them in a large bowl. Sprinkle them extremely liberally with table salt, and set aside for 15-20 minutes. The salt will encourage them to sweat out excess moisture.
2) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and pop some baking paper on a tray, along with your tomatoes, a spray of olive oil and some sea salt. Turn the timer on for 30 minutes. 
3) In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, parmesan, Persian fetta (if you're using it) generous salt and pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and herbs (reserving a few for the top if you plan to Instagram it later) and mix well. 
4) Dry off your eggplant slices. You have two options here, depending on the kitchen utensils available to you. I cooked my eggplant slices in a sandwich press, which is fabulous because it cooks it perfectly, you can walk off and procrastinate, and you barely have to use any oil. You can easily cook them in a pan, but they drink up oil like I drink G&T's on a Friday night. Excessively. 
5) Once you have cooked all your eggplant slices and let them cool, begin to stuff them with the ricotta mixture. There is loads of ricotta mixture so pls stuff them as much as you can. Although eating the ricotta mixture on it's own is kind of delicious. Arrange the stuffed and rolled involtini in a large baking dish as you roll them, making sure they're snuggled up and close to eachother.
6) Once the involtini are sorted, squash up your tomatoes a little bit, and lay them on top. You can use tinned tomatoes if you really want to, but I have a strong aversion to them and always will.
7) Top with extra grated fresh parmesan and pop in the oven for about half an hour, or until golden. Top with extra herbs and ur done. 
 

Aniseed maple, nectarine, fig and haloumi salad

If we were all truly honest with ourselves, I think most people would acknowledge that sometimes, if not more than sometimes, the idea of eating salad is wholly unappealing. Some days I would rather lick the ground than eat a salad - yes I know it's good for me, but sometimes I look at the raw leaves and just feel sad. 

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A nifty way of tricking yourself into eating salad is of course to add pleasant trimmings. It's like good cop bad cop in a bowl, really, and it works in getting greenery in when you can't fathom it. Haloumi is a foolproof addition to any salad - dietary requirements aside, I have genuinely never met somebody actively opposed to haloumi, and I can't see us getting along if I had. 

Just realised that this spoon does no favours for my calves but hey it's a nice spoon

Just realised that this spoon does no favours for my calves but hey it's a nice spoon

INGREDIENTS

1 large nectarine (I ended up with one yellow and one bright red?!) 
1-2 figs
1 large bunch of your preferred salad leaves (I used watercress but a rocket spinach mix would be spot on)
1/4 cup Canadian maple syrup (it doesn't strictly have to be Canadian but man it tastes so much better)
3-4 star anise
1 tablespoon of olive oil or 1 teaspoon ghee
180g packet of haloumi

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METHOD

1. In a small pot, gently heat the maple syrup with the star anise for about 10 minutes. Don't let it fizz and boil too much or else it will start to solidify, which is not a deal breaker but is quite annoying to manoeuvre. Add the olive oil or ghee and a generous pinch of sea salt, and continue to cook gently for about 5 or ten minutes. Set aside. 
2. Spray a large saucepan with oil, and warm to a medium heat. Chop your nectarine and figs, and add them to the pan, making sure to take the pan off the heat if they are sticking. Add the maple syrup mixture (removing the star anise first) and cook for about five minutes, or until the maple starts to caramelise. Use some tongs to gently turn the fruit over, coating the other side with maple. Once they have browned a bit, take them off the heat, and turn it up to high. 
3. Using a new pan, spray lightly with oil, and add your haloumi, sliced or diced or however you like it. Watch it intently because burnt haloumi is devastating. Once browned, turn it over and repeat so that the other side is equally as gorgeous. 
4. On a large plate, arrange your salad leaves, maple-y fruit and haloumi, and drizzle any remaining maple from the pan over the top. Salad: new and improved. 

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A weekend away with Tourism Victoria

A few weeks ago now, I was lucky enough to spend a weekend travelling around some of the regional towns of Victoria, as part of the Wander Victoria campaign, a government initiative to encourage more Melbournians to get out there and see more of our state. I will fully admit that I hadn't set the bar overly high - as someone with dietary requirements, my experience of eating in regional towns hasn't always been that great. Cut to memories of me eating three days worth of potato chips and cheese in regional France. 

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However, as is always the case, I was most pleasantly surprised by the foodie and creative delights that exist under two hours drive away from Melbourne. Which I guess is the aim of the campaign. Lucky I don't work in marketing really. 

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In Kyneton, our first stop was Source Dining. I was particularly excited because I had heard great things, and I wasn't disappointed one bit. The food is locally sourced (as the name may suggest to you, astute readers) and the care put into each dish does not go unnoticed.  

Zucchini flower risotto at Source Dining

Zucchini flower risotto at Source Dining

I have to say that Daylesford was my favourite of all the places we visited on our roadtrip. The town itself had just the right amount of bustle and things to do, while still being charming and country. We stayed at Frangos and Frangos in the centre of town, which was perfect and allowed us to have multiple cocktails at Belvedere social next door, without truly leaving the hotel. My idea of a good time.

Dessert at Sault restaurant, Daylesford

Dessert at Sault restaurant, Daylesford

Lake views at Sault, Daylesford

Lake views at Sault, Daylesford

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Morning caffeine hit/dog patting at Larder, Daylesford

Morning caffeine hit/dog patting at Larder, Daylesford

Breakfast at Larder, Daylesford

Breakfast at Larder, Daylesford

Hotel Frango

Hotel Frango

Florian tomatoes, basil, burrata and a black olive crumb at Lakehouse Daylesford

Florian tomatoes, basil, burrata and a black olive crumb at Lakehouse Daylesford

Heirloom beetroot and goats cheese salad at Lakehouse Daylesford

Heirloom beetroot and goats cheese salad at Lakehouse Daylesford

Banana, peanut butter and black sesame dessert at Lakehouse Daylesford

Banana, peanut butter and black sesame dessert at Lakehouse Daylesford

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Happy hour at Belvedere Social, Daylesford

Happy hour at Belvedere Social, Daylesford

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Cute little shops in Daylesford

Cute little shops in Daylesford

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Two lovers having a moment

Two lovers having a moment

Vegetarian offerings at Belvedere Social, Daylesford

Vegetarian offerings at Belvedere Social, Daylesford

No such thing as too many espresso martinis

No such thing as too many espresso martinis

Iced lattes and treats at Vegas and Rose, Ballarat

Iced lattes and treats at Vegas and Rose, Ballarat

Gluten free and vegan biscuits at Vegas and Rose

Gluten free and vegan biscuits at Vegas and Rose

Websters Market and Cafe

Websters Market and Cafe

A whirlwind trip of eating with a gorgeous girlfriend, what more could you ask for? 

Herby goats cheese pasta with fresh peas

It feels as though, all of a sudden, an autumnal change has finally hit Melbourne. For a while there, the only difference past the official 'end of summer' date was the gradual but noticeable decline of daylight hours (don't leave me! I can't photograph dinner without you!) but now I think autumn has truly sprung. 

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There are a lot of things I like about autumn, but the main two things are of extreme importance. 1) That I can sleep through the night without waking up a sweaty mess, entangled in my winter doona I was unable to let go of, and 2) that I can wear jeans, loose shirts and jackets, hiding all the pasta smothered in cheese that I choose to consume. This, in case you hadn't guessed by the sheer eloquence of it, is my segue way into this pasta recipe. 

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INGREDIENTS

1 packet of gluten free spaghetti pasta (doesn't need to be gluten free if you don't need it to be)
150g goats cheese
80g parmesan, freshly grated
1/4 cup milk or water to loosen (you can omit for a more pesto like sauce)
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
generous sea salt and pepper
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of mint
1/2 cup fresh peas

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METHOD

1. In the blender, process the herbs, goats cheese, parmesan, milk (or water) lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper. If you like a thicker more pesto like sauce, omit the water/milk. Leave it on for about five minutes, or until a green pesto like sauce has formed. 
2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and salt it generously. Once it has boiled, add your packet of spaghetti, and stir to break it up. Make sure you stir it intermittently throughout the cooking time, or else you will likely end up with singular spaghetto. 
3. In a smaller pot, place the peas and some lightly salted water over a medium heat, and cook for about five to ten minutes, or until the peas are bright green. Remove them from the heat and run some cold water over them.
4. Assembly time! Simply pour the sauce over the spaghetti, divide between four bowls, and top with peas and some leftover herbs, if you have any. Also extra parmesan, because parmesan. 

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Gluten free, grain free chocolate and banana not crossed buns

I don't post about it too extensively on Instagram (nobody likes a medical whinge, except for the person whingeing) but I have been dealing with progressively worsening digestive symptoms since the inception of Georgeats. What was a mild case of upsets, headaches and the like has gradually morphed into constant and intense nausea, lethargy, bloating (et al) and a highly restricted list of foods that don't exacerbate said symptoms. 

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Working to that list has been helpful enough in minimising my symptoms, but not so great in living a social and generally exciting life/maintaining a food blog. One meal/liquid meal (wink wink) can set me up for a couple of days of not fun times, which is really not helpful when I work from home and my bed is so close and inviting and I'm exhausted with a pounding headache..

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Given that it's easter, though, and hot cross buns are so good, I have decided that I am unwilling to sit out, potentially doubling my diet related misery. No thanks. These hot cross buns are grain free (something I have found to be quite helpful at the moment) gluten free, and only have a little bit of sweetener added. They are also a bang on substitute for the real thing, bar the cross on the top. Can we speak briefly about the cross? Because mostly it's just flour and water? I understand the religious significance, but when I'm making them at home, I see no point in adding more of what makes me sick in the first place. Go ahead and add them if you need, but a bit like ugly veg, they still taste the same going down. Soz but not. 

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INGREDIENTS

1 large ripe banana
50g butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 cups almond meal
1 heaped tablespoon good quality mixed spice (I get mine from Source Bulk Foods) 
1/2 cup good quality dark chocolate chips (again, got mine from Source)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon psyllium husk 

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METHOD

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a small saucepan, mash your banana (if it's frozen let it thaw a little in the pan and then mash it, works equally as well) and add the butter. Melt over a low heat, until the banana is cooked and smells delicious. Add the sea salt (I used celtic salt because I am an A grade wanker) vanilla bean paste, and maple syrup, and take off the heat. Set aside and allow to cool. 
3. In a large bowl, mix the almond meal, mixed spice and pysllium husk. Once the banana mixture has cooled, add it to the almond meal and stir thoroughly. Add the egg and repeat.
4. Pop in your baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and stir through. Finally (making sure the mixture is cool so they don't melt) add your chocolate chips and mix through.
5. Lay down a sheet of baking paper, and divide the mixture into 8 little bins. You can make 6 bigger buns, probably closer to industry standard, but they have a high chocolate ratio and are rich due to the almond meal, so I find smaller is all you need. You can always eat two instead of one. Sit them on the baking paper next to eachother, but not tightly hugging, or they will take forever to cook and likely burn. Trust me and my 2 'well browned' attempts. 
6. Cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through, and then remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before inhalinh, otherwise you'll burn your mouth with melting chocolate. A bittersweet injury if there ever was one. 

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Gluten free double banana, white chocolate and chai muffins

The reality of these muffins has been a bit of a long term event for me, having first thought of the combination a solid month ago now. What I thought would be a relatively easy recipe turned into a solid five recipe tests, Generally speaking, I love to nail it in two shots, so five was getting to the point of desperation/a few sneaky frustrated tears/throwing them into the garden in a rage and forgetting I had ever attempted them. I'm glad I persisted. 

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These muffins are a happy medium between kale and croque monsieurs. They do indeed have sugar (thanks white chocolate) and butter (thank me later) but I've also kept the other components pretty chill, using refined sugar free things like maple syrup and naturally dried bananas. You may pass them off to your yoga and wine bar friends alike.

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INGREDIENTS

2 large ripe bananas
100g dried bananas (not banana chips)
100g Lindt white chocolate pieces
100g butter
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg
2 tablespoons chai tea mix
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup potato flour
2 star anise
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
 

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter on a gentle heat. Once it has melted, add the spices, vanilla bean and the cinnamon stick, and continue to cook gently over a low-medium heat. After five or so minutes, add the chopped dried banana, and cook for about ten minutes, or until it is soft and has absorbed some of the butter. 
3. While this is happen, place the 2 tablespoons of chai in a strainer in a shallow bowl, and cover with the 6 tablespoons of boiling water. Leave for 10 or so minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine the potato flour and the almond meal. Just for something to do while everything else is doing it's thing.
5. Smash your ripened banana, and add it to the butter mix. If you are using frozen bananas this also works well as it is an opportunity to thaw said bananas. 
6. Add the butter mixture to the flour, along with the milk, maple syrup and egg. Stir thoroughly.
7. Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and mix through the bubbles once they start to subside. Finally, add your chopped white chocolate chips, and stir them gently through.
8. Spray your muffin pans with olive oil spray, and divide the mixture evenly between them. This recipe makes 6 jumbo Texas sized muffins.
9. Top with extra pieces of dried banana and white chocolate, and pop in the oven for around 20 minutes, or until firm and golden. Delish served with a bit of coconut yoghurt and fruit. 

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Gluten free carrot and dill fritters with a blue cheese sauce

I really love cheese. I'm sure you have figured this out by now. I post about it practically every day on Instagram, and I eat it every day without fail. This seems to be common knowledge amongst the people in my life, so much so that I was tagged multiple times in a meme that read 'cheese is the glue that holds my life together.' I'm #blessed to have friends who know me on this level, because it truly is my glue.

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Recently I was invited to the Australian Grand Dairy awards, showcasing award winning dairy (read: cheese) from Australian producers. I did listen to the wonderful presenter, the vivacious Alice In Frames, but mostly, and most importantly, I ate cheese. Because I ate a BEETROOT AND GOATS CURD MACARON, and could not stop raving about it to anyone I saw in the following days, I've included a few visuals of said macaron so you can be as awestruck as I was. 

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The recipe for these fritters was based around the creamy delicious award winning blue cheese, King Island Triple Cream (you can find it in the specialty deli section of the supermarket in Australia) but you can use whatever brand of blue you fancy. There is no such thing as bad blue cheese, after all. Or any cheese. I love cheese. 

INGREDIENTS

250g grated carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
roughly 100g extra grated carrot (1 medium)
1 teaspoon table salt
3-4 tablespoons finely chopped dill
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup potato flour
2 eggs
generous pepper

50g blue cheese
2 tablespoons milk or cream

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METHOD

1. In a large bowl, combine the 250g grated carrot (reserving the rough 100g extra for the end) and the salt, and rub together well. The carrot will start to release some moisture.
2. Add the almond meal and potato flour to the bowl, and mix until every is evenly combined. Add the dill and pepper, stirring well, and then add the eggs. After everything is combined, set the mixture aside for 10 or so minutes. 
3. The mixture should have moistened up in it's down time, so add the last 100g of grated carrot and stir through. Heat a saucepan to a low medium heat, and spray well with olive oil. I found spray worked best here, you might have better non stick appliances tho. 
4. Using your hands, mould small fritters out of the mixture and place gently into the pan. You should get around 10 fritters from the batter, depending on how big you want them.
5. Cook the fritters for around 2 or 3 minutes, and then gently flip them over. Once you can see that the sides of the fritter are cooked, remove them from the pan, and repeat. Serve them smothered in blue cheese sauce, because the words 'smothered' and 'blue cheese sauce' are meant to go together. 

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Grilled nectarine, basil and mozzarella salad with an orange espresso dressing

A fact you most probably know about me if you follow along with my Instagram pursuits: I love coffee. I would in fact go as far as to say that I am a coffee snob. While I acquiesced quite quickly to the world of Pret A Manger whilst in England, I would rather walk in the rain with freshly washed and straightened hair and a thin white t-shirt then have a bad coffee in Melbourne.  

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While I don't (yet) own my own coffee machine, I am lucky to live in a suburb of Melbourne that has a wealth of great coffee on every corner. So much so, that my new years resolution (what is my life?) is to try a new coffee place every morning on my walk.  The second part of that resolution is to start going for morning walks. 

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At my parents' house, I rely heavily on my Dad's coffee machine, and his love of good coffee. Sometimes I even take a shot back to the city with me, to avoid that hazy fumble around for caffeine that I currently experience sans a machine of my own. Dad may or may not know this. Thanks Dad. 

In any case, I thought an ideal way of combining my own new years resolution with those of the average person (eat salad etc etc) was to make a salad with a coffee related dressing. Plus, if you can't get yourself excited about eating salad, the dressing itself should give you a bit of a buzz. Come at me 2016. 

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INGREDIENTS

4 large nectarines, sliced
1 ball of Buffalo Mozzarella (200g ish) or burrata, torn gently
Handful of basil, torn (gently if you wish) 

1 double shot freshly brewed espresso
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
squeeze of fresh orange juice, to finish

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METHOD

1. Spray a grilled pan with olive oil, and turn on to a medium heat. Arrange the slices of nectarine in the pan, ensuring you don't move them once they go in. After about two minutes (judge timing by the amount of sizzling, general burnt smell etc) flip them over, and repeat until all the nectarine is done. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the dressing, and set aside to allow the orange zest to disperse it's oil.
3. Arrange the nectarine, mozzarella and basil on a large plate, and pour over the espresso dressing. Finish with seasoning and a quick squeeze of orange juice. 

Gluten free pumpkin and coconut pancakes

As a result of my hefty experience of eating in cafes (cause and effect for my hefty physique, perhaps?) I've become acutely aware that pancakes in cafes almost never cater to the gluten free among us. While I am mainly a smashed avo kinda gal (avo crisis, whyyyy?) I am selfish and I like to keep my options open. 

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With that in mind, I decided to create some thick, thick, pancakes. The kind Drake would be impressed by. They are enormous, filling, packed full of decent things, refined sugar free, etc etc. You can add the cafe style Persian fairy floss and excessive but breathtaking toppings at the end, if you so desire. Or you could keep them all for yourself in the fridge and eat one every time you walk past. Both options are good options. (if you choose option B, as I have, a smear of almond butter and some blueberries, eaten like toast, is ideal) 

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INGREDIENTS
1 cup cooked pumpkin (roughly 200g)
3/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup potato flour (I get mine at the supermarket or at Source Bulk Foods if you are 'strayan)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons coconut milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon psyllium husk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 egg

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METHOD

1. A hot tip for your pumpkin: I sliced mine, put it on a baking tray, sprayed it with olive oil, sprinkled it with a bit of salt, and let it cook in a 180 degree oven for 30 minutes. 
2. In yo blender, combine everything at a slow speed, and leave on for a couple of minutes to fully combine. If you don't like thick 'n chunky pancakes, add a few tablespoons of water. But don't because they are nice as they are. 
3. I found olive oil spray to be best, but this may be my pock marked saucepan's issue and not yours. However, either way, have the saucepan on a low-medium heat. If it sizzles aggressively when you spoon the mix in, take it off the heat for a minute. No time for burnt pancakes.
4. Spoon the mixture in, making the pancakes as thick as you like. On average, I get about 8 fat pancakes from this, although my measuring is always consistently and horribly inaccurate. 
6. Cook each pancake for a couple of minutes, watching them carefully. When they are all finished, serve with a drizzle of maple, a drizzle of coconut milk (or coconut yoghurt) and any other aesthetically pleasing toppings you want to wow your Instagram feed with. 

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Pumpkin, haloumi, mint and hazelnut salad with a spiced tahini and yoghurt dressing

Although my recent getaway was exhausting and the complete opposite of relaxing (so much food, so little time) I've come home, as one always hopes to, with a renewed enthusiasm for blogging. Before I left, I was so caught up in other work that blogging had become more like a chore and a last minute rush than something that I derived any pleasure from. 

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I am pleased to inform you that I am currently deriving much pleasure both from spewing ultimately irrelevant words onto this forum, and from this salad that I am currently eating, saving the haloumi cubes until last, of course.

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Here's to another year of irrelevant rants, recipes, and extra halloumi on everything.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 butternut pumpkin (roughly 600g) - Sweet potato also works fabulously here
180g packet halloumi, cubed
Handful of mint
1/4 cup hazelnuts, lightly roasted (I do mine in a pan)

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FOR THE DRESSING:

1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon tahini
Juice and zest of half a lemon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha, or more if you like it hot
sprinkle of sea salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with baking paper and divide the sliced pumpkin equally between the two. Spray them lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, and then pop them in the oven for 30 minutes.
2, In a medium bowl, combine the yoghurt, tahini, lemon juice and zest, and mix well to remove any lumps. Add the spices, salt, Sriracha and chopped mint, and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of water to thin the sauce, and set aside.
3. Heat a saucepan to a high temperature without any oil. Adding 1/4 of the halloumi at a time, throw the cubes into the pan and toss every 10 seconds, or until the halloumi is beautiful and brown. Like me after fake tan night (Thursdays)
4. Once you have cooked the halloumi, assemble the pumpkin pieces on a plate. Throw on the halloumi and roasted hazelnuts, and then dob over the yoghurt dressing. Top with extra mint leaves, and a few extra hazelnuts, if you happen to have a few sneaky leftovers. 

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Dried peach and white chocolate Christmas cake

Because I am currently writing to you from London, as I am too unorganised to do anything other than, I will keep todays ~attempts~ at witticisms to an absolute minimum. There are, after all, daytime wines to be consumed, and brunch spots to be discovered. 

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I made this cake in a variety of forms (cupcakes, a cake, a pudding) all to equal success. I made the pudding, as the final version, using Country Road's Christmas inspired homewares, which I am a little bit in love with. 

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1 cup chopped dried peach (roughly 100-120g)

juice of 1 medium orange

Zest of 1 medium orange

2 cups almond meal

2 teaspoons allspice

1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

100g butter, melted

3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

pinch of sea salt

50g white chocolate chunks

1 tea baking soda

1 tea apple cider vinegar

150g white chocolate, melted (for the top)

1 punnet of white cherries, to decorate

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2. In a large bowl, combine the chopped peaches, sea salt, spices, vanilla bean paste, orange juice and orange zest, and mix well. Melt the butter, and then pour that over the peach mixture.

3. Add the almond meal and combine, and then follow with the maple syrup and eggs. Stir very well to combine everything.

4. Add the baking powder together with the apple cider vinegar, and then stir the bubbles through. Finally, add the white chocolate chunks, and gently stir them through to combine.

5. In a greased cooking vessel of your choosing (a pudding bowl, a springform cake tin or a muffin tray all work well) pour in the mixture and pop in the oven. For the pudding bowl and the cake tin, the cake needs about 45 minutes to an hour to cook. For the muffin tray, 20 minutes is sufficient.

6. Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and allow to cool. Melt the white chocolate over a low heat, and remove as soon as the chocolate is smooth. Gently pour it over the cake, and then top with the cherries and serve.

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Gluten free Christmas pizzas, with blue cheese, rosemary roasted potatoes and currants

Even though I have only technically been blogging for two christmas', I struggled this year with the fact that everything has already been done. There is actually a recipe for everything Christmas. And, if you live in Australia like me, Christmas is really just a bunch of salads anyway. With all that in mind, I decided to go a bit off the rails and make a Christmas themed pizza. Which, surprisingly, is not even the best thing about this post. 

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In news far more exciting than me trying to write/you attempting to read a dry and dull description of my mind's inner workings and my tendency toward fattening foods, I can finally say that I have created a mini e-book with 12 recipes, all of the gluten free, vegetarian variety, with 100% of the profits to be donated to Save The Children's Syria Appeal.

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One afternoon a few months ago now, a video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed which I decided to watch, half because it started playing before I had any choice in the matter. It was an enactment by a young British girl, living the life that any child should be living - playing outside, spending time with family, having fun with pals. As the video went on, it became apparent that Britain was in a hypothetical state of war. You can, and must (my description is appallingly bad at doing it justice) watch it here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBQ-IoHfimQ

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As much as political correctness of today would have it otherwise, this was the most distressing imagery I had seen of the Syrian crisis. Before this video, I'd seen news articles and the odd photo, but nothing that got to me quite like this did. The little girl could have been anyone I know, and she could have been me when I was young.

 Therein, I think, lies the power of this video  - breaking down the manner in which different people and different cultures distance themselves from one another. Somehow, human nature can make it relatively easy to distance your life from a tragedy that seems so far away in a country so foreign, but not remotely so easy to do so when it is happening to your own people. In the words of the video (I hope you watched it) just because it isn't happening here, doesn't mean it isn't happening. 

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With that in mind, I am hoping to assist Save The Children Syria appeal by raising some funds to do my part in ensuring that as few children as possible have scarred childhoods as a result of the choices of adults and governments. No child should have to go through what I am sure many Syrian children have already endured. If you are interested in buying the e-book, it will be available very shortly, and will retail at $12.00, the entirety of which will be donated to Save The Childen Syria.

The recipe for this pizza is one of the 12 recipes in the e-book, along with things such as the Nutella Tart, Pumpkin, feta and dukkah loaf, and Mexican Bimibap! Yay!

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INGREDIENTS

1 ¼ cup almond meal
3/4 cup potato flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
1 cup white rice flour
1 sachet yeast
1 ¼ cups warm water
1 teaspoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 tablespoons pysllium husk
generous sea salt
100g blue cheese
2 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons cream cheese
2 medium potatoes, sliced into rounds
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for the individual pizza bases
handful of rosemary
handful of fresh currants

METHOD

1. In a bowl, combine your yeast and brown sugar with 1 ¼ cups of warm water and stir to combine. Set aside for around 5-10 minutes until the yeast becomes frothy.
2. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, sea salt, and half of the rosemary, removed from the stems. Add the potato rounds, and, using your hands, coat the potatoes in the oil. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine your flours, a pinch of salt and psyllium husk, and mix well. Add the yeasty mixture, and stir to combine. Add the olive oil and use your hands to create a ball of dough. If the dough is still crumbly, add some more water.
4. Cover the dough bowl with a tea towel, and leave it in a warm place for about half an hour. Turn the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
5. While you are waiting for your pizza bases, place the potato rounds on a baking tray covered in baking paper, and cook for twenty minutes. Check them, turn the tray around, and cook for another ten.
6. Divide the pizza dough into four balls, and press each one evenly out onto a baking tray with baking paper. They should be quite thin but not translucent. Put a teaspoon of olive oil into your hands, and pat it onto the pizza base once you have the desired shape. Pop in the oven for ten minutes to prove.
7. Mix together your blue cheese, milk and cream cheese, and continue mixing until the lumps are mostly gone.
8. Once the pizza bases are cooked, divide the blue cheese mixture between the four, and spread it evenly over each. Divide the potato rounds evenly and form a single layer on each pizza. Top with a handful of currants and some extra rosemary.
9. Turn the oven to grill, and set the timer for ten minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy!

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Watermelon, haloumi and asian herb salad with a sesame lime dressing

Real talk: I could easily inhale a Christmas family lunch sized plate of watermelon haloumi salad. I was introduced to the concept of it by the man, the legend - Jamie Oliver. It goes without saying - the man will never lead you astray. I've spruced it up a bit with a bit of an asian twist, which happened mainly due to my overzealous herb purchasing at the markets with no real idea or purpose for said herbs. 

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Aside from the haloumi <3 my favourite aspect of this salad is the (optical) illusion of real effort and skill. The most effortful (new word?) aspect is sourcing Vietnamese mint and thai basil, depending on where you live.  

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INGREDIENTS

1/2 medium watermelon, sliced
1 packet of haloumi, cut in half lengthwise and then into four steaks
handful each of Vietnamese mint and Thai basil
juice and zest of 1 lime
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil

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METHOD

1. Grab a pan and heat the stove to a medium - high heat. Spray a tiny bit of oil onto the pan and then chuck your haloumi on. Cook it until it's pretty and brown but be careful because it can burn pretty quickly.
2. Mix together the lime juice, lime zest and sesame oil and set aside. 
3. Chop your herbs roughly and slice the watermelon. Assemble on an aesthetically pleasing plate and bam, you are done.

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Tangy Mexican slaw with coriander and lime baked salmon

I haven't posted any fish recipes on Georgeats for as long as I can remember, although I would label myself a pescetarian. I say 'would' mainly because my tolerance extends mainly to canned tuna (sustainably caught) white fish, and a bit of fish sauce here and then. I have had so many moments of absolute regret when labelling myself pescetarian at events, and winding up with a plate of seafood. Cannot. Deal. 

 

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Every now and again I have a pang of desire for salmon. I feel like the meme of Jonah Hill when I eat salmon - an absolute health goddess. Healthy 'AF.' Mostly, however, I eat said salmon smothered in something to drown out the taste. For a while it was cajun spice. Then it was (and always will be) kewpie mayo. I can put kewpie on anything. I've never bothered to check the nutritional panel on my precious Kewpie (perhaps it just says 'devoid of') but I imagine it is not the latest superfood. 

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Irrelevant rambles aside, I was pleasantly surprised when I ate this, sans any form of Kewpie or spice smothering. And if that doesn't convince you to cook something, I don't know what will. 

INGREDIENTS

2 medium sized pieces of salmon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
sea salt
1 lime
Small handful of coriander

4 tablespoons white vinegar
1.5 tablespoons brown sugar
zest of half a lime
juice of half a lime
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cup sliced purple cabbage
handful of torn coriander
1 teaspoon cumin

1 extra lime, to finish
handful of coriander for garnish

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice and zest, vinegar, brown sugar and cumin in a bowl, and throw in the carrot and cabbage. Using your hands, take a bit of sea salt and massage everything in together, until the carrots and cabbage start to become floppy. Yum. Set them aside for as long as you are able to.
3. Take the salmon spices and mix them together with the oil. Place the salmon in the same bowl and leave for around five minutes.
4. Take two medium-large pieces of foil, and slice the remaining lime and lay it down in a line on the foil. Place one piece of salmon on top of each lime line, and top with some coriander and seasoning. If there is excess spice oil in the bowl, divide it evenly between the two. Scrunch the foil up thoroughly over the salmon, to create a little parcel. Pop the parcels in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
5. Once the salmon is done, take it out of the oven and remove the salmon pieces from the lime. Divide the salad between two bowls, and top with the salmon, juice of half a lime and some coriander. Hola!

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