5 ingredient gluten free lemon and caper 'carbonara'

I've had somewhat of a lemon revelation of late. I still remember when a friend said to me 'everything I eat is improved with a bit of lemon' and I thought to myself 'but how?" I've never been that person to use all the lemon wedges they give you with Pho, or with fish and chips, or really with anything. But now, here I am, discovering lemon and talking about it like I'm Founding Father of lemon.

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I'm sure there are other recipes out there for zingy lemon pastas, but I've just discovered it, so you'll have to bare with me as I sit here writing about it like I'm something special.

INGREDIENTS

250g pasta (I used gluten free rice penne, but there are handy guides on how to convert uncooked to cooked between different pasta varietals - Google pasta measuring chart)
1 lemon, halved
100g Parmesan
50g capers
1 egg
Sea salt and cracked pepper, to serve (these don't count as part of the '5 ingredients clickbait attempt, right?)

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METHOD

1. Fill a medium saucepan with water, and add the juice and zest of half your lemon. Bring the water to the boil. 
2. Once the water is boiling, add your pasta, and stir intermittently to make sure they don't all clump together. Put the timer on for six minutes. 
3. Juice and zest the other half of your lemon, and set aside. Finely grate the Parmesan, and get your capers and egg ready to throw into the saucepan. 
4. Once the timer goes off, scoop a cup of the pasta water out and set it aside. You will need it put back in the pan. 
5. Drain the pasta once cooked, and return immediately to the saucepan it came from, but do not place back on the heat. Add 1/4-1/2 cup pasta water (1/2 for a runnier sauce) along with the lemon juice and lemon zest. Stir quickly to combine, and then add the egg, the Parmesan, and a sprinkle of sea salt. Continue stirring quickly until everything is combined. Finally, add the capers and some pepper, divide between two bowls, and go for it. Sprinkle with a bit of extra lemon zest if you're feelin' super fancy. 

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Grain free 'choose your own adventure' muffins

Every now and again I look to check in here with a self indulgent whine about my health, and you're in luck, because today is the day!!

As you're maybe aware, I've been dealing with all sorts of digestive issues for the past three or four years now, which, despite a variety of medical interventions, seem to be worsening. I came to the sad realisation the other day that I actually can't remember what it feels like to not feel some level of terrible after eating. Woe is me. 

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In a moment of defiance, I decided that I wasn't going to let feeling unwell stop me from gorging on sweet baked goods. Enter, the 'all of my dietary niches' friendly muffin. It's gluten free, grain free, FODMAP friendly, refined sugar free, and can play host to a whole variety of flavours, depending on what you're in the mood for. It's pretty forgiving in that I haven't bothered to measure any of my additions, and they've all turned out excellently. I have tried plain, chocolate, chocolate and blueberry, rhubarb chocolate and halva, sprinkles, and roasted banana. Re-reading this paragraph makes it clear to me why I'm not seeing results from all the Pilates I do, but I digress. Enjoy. 

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
75g butter
2-3 tablespoons almond butter
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 egg
1/2 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Flavas of your choosing 

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the tapioca flour, buckwheat flour, and almond meal.
3. Using a small saucepan, melt the butter over a medium heat, and then add the maple syrup, almond butter, vanilla bean paste and salt. Stir until you have a brown, unappealing (but delicious) syrup, which will be a bit granular courtesy of the almond meal. 
4. Add the almond milk and egg to your flours, and stir well to combine. Once the butter mixture has cooled a tiny bit, pour it over the flour mixture and continue stirring until everything is combined.
5. Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and gently stir through the bubbles. Now is the time to add any mix ins you're feeling -chocolate chips, strawberries, etc. Careful not to go TOO wild or the muffins will be difficult to remove from the tin. But you can go a bit wild. 
6. Pop the mixture into greased, silicione muffin tins (I managed to get them clean out of a regular container too, but I love the safe side) and into the oven for 15-20 minutes. 
7. Allow them to cool a tiny bit before running a knife around them and popping them out. They are best warm, but stay moist (ugh) for a couple of days. Heat them up a lil if they get dry. 

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Miso and maple roasted greens, jalapeno and cheddar quesadillas

I've probably said it before, but Mexican style cuisine is up there with my all time favourites. I love that it's a bit of a chameleon in terms of what it can be, and that it naturally caters to a whole bunch of dietary requirements (ie mine). Don't start me on the time I went to provincial France over their holiday period and lived off hot chips and meringues. I mean it was pretty great but also not that great. 

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When The Dairy Kitchen asked me to create a cheese focused recipe, my first obvious thoughts were a) yes and b) quesadillas. With lots of cheddar. So, kind of bastardised, Tex Mex type quesadillas, which, on my days, are my preferred sort, being the pleb that I am. On my 'intolerant to life' diet journey, I've discovered that cheese works really well for me, and I eat it most, if not every, day. It's generally low in lactose, contrary to common belief, and it's a good source of protein for me, given that I can't eat many other vegetarian sources, like beans. Cheese, much like Mexican, is up there with my all timers. 

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These quesadillas are a bit new age: they have roasted zucchini and broccoli, slathered in a maple, miso and jalapeno sauce. This makes an interesting and low fodmap alternative to the traditional bean variety of vego quesadillas, and the miso practically makes them the new superfood. I'm expecting a write up on Mind Body Green any day now. 

INGREDIENTS

1 medium head of broccoli (around 300g I think) chopped into small florets
2 medium zucchini, chopped (again, around 300g) sliced and then quartered
3 teaspoons miso paste (I found the darker varieties to give a stronger taste)
3 teaspoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2-1 teaspoon sriracha (I'd go with 1 but pull back if you struggle with chilli)
5-10g Jalapeno, chopped finely, plus extra to serve
100g freshly grated cheddar, plus extra for a dramatic cheesy effect (necessary)
6-8 corn tortillas, depending on how stuffed you want them
Lime juice, to serve
Coriander, to serve (optional, in part for aesthetics lel)

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the maple, miso, sriracha and Jalapeno, and pour the boiling water over the top. Mix until the miso paste has dissolved completely, and then add the olive oil.
3. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli and zucchini with the maple miso sauce, ensuring every veg is well coated. 
4. Pop the veg on baking paper, on a baking tray, and into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. 
5. Once the veg are done, immediately sprinkle them with half of the cheddar, and mix through. Load this cheesy mixture evenly into your tortillas, and arrange them snugly in a baking tin or on a baking tray, 
6. Once they're all on board, sprinkle them with the remaining cheddar and more (go wild) and return to the oven for 10 or so minutes, flipping it to grill at the end to get a beautiful golden colour. 
7. Serve with a squeeze of lime, extra jalapeno slices and a lil bit of coriander, if you're partial to the highly controversial herb. 

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Baked strawberry and rhubarb and a peanut butter, tahini and lemon zest crumble

As with many things in life, as the motivational quotes would tell you, the idea for this recipe was born out of a failed batch of cookies, or a general life fail, if we're sticking with the motivational quote theme.

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I'd spent the whole day recipe testing, deprived of human interaction (the perks of living alone, amirite guys?!) and yet, when it came to past 9, I decided to keep on pushing, and keep on recipe testing. In my 'I was ready for bed two hours ago' state, I forgot to add at least one egg, and at least one liquid, a fact that became blindingly apparent the next morning. As I went to test the fruit's of the previous night's labour, my satisfaction at my own productivity levels quite literally crumbled in front of my eyes. Because that is sometimes the way the cookie crumbles. Sorry, couldn't resist.

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Dad jokes aside (I think I've exhausted them all) I realised I had stumbled upon a pretty great fruit crumble topping. With a bit of tweaking, it is gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, vegan, FODMAP friendly and embarrassingly easy to whip up for your dietary niche mates. 

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INGREDIENTS
1 bunch rhubarb (350g+, extra is fine) 
2 punnets (500g) strawberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used crunchy, but NATURAL PEANUT BUTTER ONLY PLS - All that should be in there is peanuts and salt, check the label) 
2 tablespoons tahini
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup
Generous lemon zest
1-2 teaspoons mixed spice
sprinkle of sea salt flakes

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. In your baking dish of choice, mix together your sliced strawberries and rhubarb, and drizzle them with the two tablespoons of maple syrup. Pop them in the oven for around 15-20 minutes.
3. While the fruit is cooking, mix together all the ingredients for the crumble, and mix mix mix until it becomes crumbly.
4. Once the fruit has been cooked (bubbly, juicy and bright but not fully cooked through) remove it from the oven and sprinkle the crumble over the top. Spray it with a little oil and return to the oven for around 15-20 minutes, or until the top is cooked. You can pop it under the grill for a little while to give it some colour, before serving it with coconut yoghurt or whatever else takes your fancy.

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Gluten free apple and coconut cake with easy salted caramel sauce

I'm currently sitting in a cute lil air bnb in Byron Bay, a sunny, beachy, backpacker haven of a coastal town in Northern NSW. I had every intention of crafting a series of eloquent and witty blog posts before my departure, but life intervened, as it always does. And when I say life intervened, I mean that I ended up going to sleep at 9pm every night, binge watching Law and Order, and attending an indoor plant care workshop. Standard life interventions, yes? 

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Anyway, I've made this apple and coconut cake a bunch of times now, and I'm continually impressed by it. It's gluten free, refined sugar free, grain free, FODMAP friendlier, and super easy to make. It also lends itself super well to other fruit varieties: I've tried plum and feijoa, and next on my list is rhubarb or maybe even caramelised banana. The possibilities are endlessssss. 

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The cake is gluten free, grain free, FODMAP friendlier, and refined sugar free. The salted caramel is probably the easiest salted carmel you'll ever encounter, and although it does form little globs, it tastes exactly the same, minus 10kg of sugar, a sugar thermometer, and burnt hands. Bonus.

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
4 tablespoons maple syrup
100g butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup almond milk, or milk of choice
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 apples - 1 1/2 sliced (for the top or bottom) and 1/2 chopped, to mix through the cake

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. In a large bowl, combine the almond meal, tapioca flour and coconut. These instructions are together because I forgot to mention the oven so I'm adding it in now. 
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter, and then add the maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste. 
3. Back to yo large bowl: Add the almond milk and eggs to the flours, and mix until all combined. Add the chopped apple (In case you're tired and making this, ONLY the chopped apple, not the apple for the top!) Mix the buttery mixture into the flour. 
4. Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, and stir ze bubbles in. 
5. You can place your apple slices on the top or bottom of this cake, but whatever you decide, make sure the pan is greased and lined. Arrange your apples and pour over the cake batter (or vice versa, upside down is fun but slightly harder to remove) and pop in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Timing heavily depends on whether you're making a loaf or a cake, so check it intermittently, and spray the fruit on top (if it is on top) if necessary. 

SALTED CARAMEL

50g butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
Generous pinch of salt

1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and maple syrup. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat right up. AS SOON AS the mixture foams up, stir it a few times and turn the heat off. If you continue to cook it, it will turn into a giant glob. A delicious one, but one that is impractical in a pouring scenario. Add the salt, and pour over the cake with reckless abandon. 

NOTE: this recipe works splendidly with plums. And Feijoas. And probably most other juicy but not too juicy fruits. 

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Gluten free, vegetarian Okonomiyaki

Let me start this recipe by unoquivocally stating that these are not authentic okonomiyaki. In fact, given my exposure to the delicacy extends only to food courts across Australia, I doubt I've ever had authentic okonomiyaki.

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I went through a stage at uni (before going gluten free or even being a strict pescetarian) where I did try and create an authentic version, but I vaguely recall that I was too squeamish to invest in the necessary bonito flakes, and too lazy to hunt down the appropriate flour. Plus, if I'm being totally honest, I personally adore the food court variety. The sadness that overcomes me when I have to walk straight past them at the food court nowadays is overwhelming. 

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I've experimented with a variety of versions throughout the years, but these ones are a gluten free, grain free and FODMAP friendlier adaption that I've been loving lately. I should point out that there's basically no point making them without the sauces - they are the backbone of the whole arrangement. Also, if you don't have Kewpie in your fridge I'd be concerned that you are missing out on an integral part of life, irrespective of whether you're making this dish. 

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INGREDIENTS

100g red cabbage, finely sliced
100g white cabbage, finely sliced
100g carrot (about 1 medium carrot) grated
2 cups almond meal
6 eggs
2 teaspoons Tamari
1/2 cup almond milk

Additionals (heavily recommended ones)
Chives
Kewpie Mayonnaise
Gluten free kecap manis (you can either buy it at the supermarket, or if not a healthfood store)

METHOD

1. In a large bowl, combine the vegetables and almond meal, and toss together until they are all combined. Add the eggs, almond milk (or milk of choice) and Tamari, and mix until thoroughly combined. Add a small pinch of salt if you fancy. Set aside.
2. Heat a nonstick pan to a medium heat, and add a small amount of peanut oil or sesame oil. Sesame gives a strong flavour but I quite like it.
3. Divide the mixture as you see fit. I made 6 pancakes each times, but they are particularly large, so you might want to make slightly smaller ones. 
4. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, and flip the pancake when it's firm enough to do so. You should be able to see that the cooking side is no longer kinda translucent, and there might potentially be a few lil bubbles on the surface. Repeat on the other side, and then repeat with the remaining pancakes. 
5. Top each pancake generously with Kewpie mayo and the kecap manis, and sprinkle with chives if you can handle them. They keep amazingly in the fridge for snacks or for the quickest microwave dinner you've ever had. 

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Gluten free parmesan, basil and turmeric waffles

If you've followed me for any length of time, you'll likely know that I love a good waffle. Not only does the perceived effort of a waffle skyrocket when compared to a mere old pancake, but I can wander off and a automatic timer will alert me to the fact that my waffles are done, as opposed to the billowing smoke that generally signals to me that my pancakes are (over)cooked. 

It was pretty much my ideal assignment then, when Williams Sonoma asked me if I could create a recipe using this waffle maker. No billowing smoke in this kitchen today, friends. 

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After (another) bout of being particularly unwell in the last couple of weeks, I've started incorporating a lot of turmeric into my foodz for the anti-inflammatory effect. What better way to become less inflamed, I figured, than by eating waffles. I've also been reading up on gut health, and found a study that conveniently suggested cheese was in fact good for the gut, what with the good bacteria and all. Say no more fam. Parmesan and turmeric waffles it is. 

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INGREDIENTS - makes 2 large waffles in a round Breville machine 

1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup almond milk
5g fresh turmeric, grated (most good supermarkets and health food stores sell fresh turmeric these days, or if not your local Asian grocer. Worth hunting for!)
Generous 5g basil leaves, chopped
75g parmesan
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar 

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METHOD

1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, tapioca flour, turmeric and parmesan. Pour over the almond milk, and stir until combined. Follow this with the egg, basil, and salt. Stir well.
2. Add the baking powder and apple cider vinegar, stirring in the bubbles. Set aside for 10 or so minutes.
3. Heat your waffle maker as per instructions, and spray liberally with oil before you pour in half the mixture. Close the lid and allow to cook. 
4. Repeat with the second half of the mixture, and then serve with a colourful array of breakfast suited veg. Haloumi also advised. as I said, I recently read that cheese is good for gut health, so... 
 

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Gluten free, grain free fig and blue cheese tart

So I've been doing the whole food 'gramming thing for a while now. I started back when I'd gotten my wisdom teeth out, and, thanks to a lil knick to the sinus, found myself with a lot of free time to decoratively arrange cacao nibs on a plate, and a lot of puffiness. I loved faffing around with my food, and was strictly an Iphone shooter  - I didn't have an SLR, nor did I have much desire to use SLR shots for the gram. 'It defeats the purpose of INSTAgram,' I would say defiantly, a mentality I still deep down agree with, despite caving to the perfectly composed pressure. 

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Eventually, when the whole thing started to get a bit more serious, I invested (aka dedicated my 21st birthday wish list) in a basic SLR. I had no idea how to use it, so I stuck strictly to auto functioning (and continued to do so for a good two years). It was around about this time that I took the original shot of this tart. I didn't have Lightroom, a whole basket of tea towels, a wall lined with backdrops, or a penchant for Artisan crockery. What I did have was a private folder on Facebook that I used to upload my SLR photos, because the concept of getting them from my computer to my phone was absolutely baffling to me. 

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Anyway, the point of this whole ramble is this: that original tart photo is probably the most shared image I've ever created. It still pops up every now and again, even though I posted it two or three years ago. Whether it's because of the algorithm that it has received more attention than anything I've shot on a fancy camera, or because I've already peaked, I can't be sure, but I probably can (*googles how to cope with peaking too soon). 

I've created this version to be completely grain free - the original used oat flour and a bunch of other things my digestive system wouldn't even touch these days. This one also has zucchini flowers, courtesy, again, of my Dad's garden, but they don't necessarily add a whole heap of flavour, and could be omitted if you don't have access to freebies and don't want to take out a small loan.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
50g butter
2 eggs

400g firm ricotta
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk of choice
75g blue cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
10g (roughly) basil
2-3 figs
4-5 zucchini flowers (optional)

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
2. In your food processor, combine all the ingredients for the tart base until a ball forms in your food processor.
3. Press the tart base into a greased tart tin. You have to be a big patient, it does take a lil while. Poke the bottom of the tart with fork holes, and then pop it into the oven for 10-15 minutes. 
4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and milk, and stir until the ricotta loosens. Add the seasoning, eggs, and basil, and finally stir in the blue cheese. Set aside.
5. Once the tart base is cooked, remove it from the oven and, after cooling for a couple of minutes, pour the ricotta mixture in. Arrange your fig slices and zucchini flowers on top, and give them a light spray of olive oil. Pop the tart back into the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the ricotta mixture is firm.

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Gluten free goats cheese, honey and rosewater cheesecake with a pistachio crumb

When I was asked by Miele to attend The World's 50 Best Restaurant awards, I didn't really know what I was in for. Being in what I call 'the niche diet' category, and being a Luddite, unsure how to download Netflix, I didn't run in circles that discussed the esteemed restaurants at length, nor did I watch Chef's Table. 

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I got some sense of what I was in for a few days prior to the event, when an excitable buzz descended on the Melbourne food scene, both for Melbourne Food and Wine week, and for the awards. It was an extremely prestigious event to be invited to, I was told. Always something a socially awkward person luvs to hear. 

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The awards were, despite any social awkwardness/stress rash, truly an experience. To be in a room filled with such talented, passionate and innovative people was nothing short of inspiring, despite the fact I was probably the most clueless person in attendance. It was undoubtedly a highlight of my Insta gal career, and, as such, I've created a recipe, supported by Miele. 

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Given that I was late after stressing about my outfit for hours ('Heston will be there, you need to look like you're important too') I sweatily and hurriedly sashayed down the red carpet, and was greeted by a waiter serving the simplest of dishes: Goats cheese drizzled with honey. The simplicity of it struck me, because while I'd always known it was a stellar combo, I'd never had it served in such a basic but bewdiful fashion. Naturally, I decided to base a recipe inspired by it, except I, naturally, went in the complete opposite direction and added all the faff possible.

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Seriously though, this cheesecake is so super easy to make, and not scary at all. You can omit the rosewater if you like (I mainly included it for a legitimate reason to add rose petals, which is so unlike me) but it gives a lovely perfume to it. Don't be scared by the goat's cheese - it lends a subtle tang and doesn't detract from the cheesecake whatsoever. It's gluten free, grain free and refined sugar free, but I promise it doesn't taste like it is. You can make mini varieties or a single large one too, just for fun. 

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INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHEESECAKE
500g cream cheese
100g log goats cheese
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey, plus extra to serve
2 teaspoons rosewater
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
4 eggs (3 if large) 

FOR THE PISTACHIO BASE
1 cup almond meal
3/4 pistachios, plus extra for decoration
20g butter
1 egg
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 

METHOD - makes 5 mini cheesecakes or one regular one
You'll need mini springform tins (available at House) or one single 20cm springform tin

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. 
2. In your food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are almost flour like, and then add the remaining ingredients for the base. Pulse until a dough forms. 
2. Using a greased a springform tin(s) (plural if you're making mini ones) press the dough (divided into 5 if doing the mini thang) into the tin, making sure it's smooth and even. Poke lots of fork holes in the bottom to allow air to escape, and cook for 5 minutes if mini, or 10 if regular. 
3. While the base is cooking, combine the cream cheese, goat's cheese, maple syrup, honey and eggs in a bowl. A stand alone mixer is ideal for this job, but a hand held one does suffice, as I discovered. Mix mix mix until all the cream cheese lumps are gone, and then add the lemon juice and rosewater, if you're using it. If you're not, I'd suggest a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead. Or as well, if you're feeling fancy. 
4. Once the base(s) is/are cooked and cooled a little, pour the cheesecake mixture on top, and return to the oven. the small cheesecakes take 20-25 minutes, oven dependent, and the large one takes 40-45. 
5. Once cooked and cooled, top the cheesecake with extra pistachios, a drizzle of honey, and rose petals if you're a dud like I am. 

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Gluten free apple and cinnamon hot cross bun

The other week, as happens every Easter, I found myself completely unable to contribute to my friends' conversation about how excited they were that hot cross buns were FINALLY in the supermarkets. At least in Australia, I think we can all agree that they're somewhat of a cult item, and that there is definitely such a thing as hot cross bun season. Some may argue that supermarkets are extending said season for profit making purposes, others may rebut that the longer HCB season the better, I myself prefer not to get involved in the heated debate. 

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While I've heard that some supermarkets now cater to the gluten free HCB lovers amongst us, I myself am having a bit of success with a grain free diet while I await the next round of tests in the seemingly never ending quest to get to the bottom of my digestive woes.

With all that in mind, I heard an advertisement on the radio spruiking apple and cinnamon hot cross buns, and I decided to be the master of my own destiny, and make myself some gluten free, grain free HCBS like the independent woman I am. They're also FODMAP friendlier (only one apple divided between 6 buns) and close enough to refined sugar free, if you decide not to use the white chocolate for the cross, although you definitely should, because who wants to eat flour when they could be eating white chocolate instead. Nobody, that's who.

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While all the 'frees' often makes you wonder what you're missing out on, I am exceptionally happy with these HCBS and I don't think they taste like missing out.  They're  more dense and cake-like (Mum likened them to Stollen HCBS) than the variety you'd be used to if your digestion isn't shit, so you really only need one at a time. As with most gluten free baking, they do go dry quite quickly, but zap them in the microwave or even, spread some butter on and it's business as usual.

INGREDIENTS - makes 6 large and in charge or seven lil HCBS 

3 cups almond meal
1 cup tapioca flour
100g butter
4 1/2 - 5 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 sachet of yeast (the full sachets are 7.5g grams I believe) 
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar (I used brown) 

1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped into small squares
1 cinnamon stick
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon maple syrup 

Extra butter and maple syrup, to glaze
30g white chocolate

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METHOD

1. In a small saucepan, heat your chopped apple with the cinnamon stick, water and maple syrup, over a low medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the apples are soft but still firm in shape. Take them off the heat and set aside. 
2. Melt the butter in whatever way you choose. I don't have a microwave so I use the double boiler method. Once it's melted, add the mixed spice, cinnamon and maple syrup and stir well. 
3. In a small bowl, add your 1/2 sachet of yeast, 1/4 cup water and teaspoon of sugar, and leave to sit for around 10 minutes, or until it's foamy and bubbly. 
4. In a large bowl, combine your almond meal and tapioca flour, followed by the butter mixture, and the active yeast. Stir thoroughly until it is all combined and a sticky dough has formed. 
5. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave it in a warm place for one hour. If it's cold where you are, you might like to leave it by the heater or turn the oven on. I sat mine in a towel outside in the sun. 
6. Shortly before the hour is up, preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
7. Once the hour is in fact up, take your dough and throw the apple in. Gently mix it all together, and then divide the mixture evenly into six balls. It should be easy to pick up and easy to mould without getting your hands sticky. 
8. Once you've rolled all the buns, arrange them in a little hugging format on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Mix equal parts melted butter and maple syrup, and generously glaze each bun with the mix. Pop them in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you've made the smaller buns, go for a maximum of 20 minutes. 
9. Once the buns are done, allow them to cool completely, before crossing them with melted white chocolate. 
 

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Za'atar crusted sweet potato chips with a coconut preserved lemon dipping sauce

So it turns out I've been making sweet potato chips incorrectly my entire life. As with most things in my kitchen, I've be using the 'more is more' approach to olive oil, throwing them in the oven, and hoping for the best. I am so much wiser and smugger now. 

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When Coco Tribe asked me to create a recipe heroing their coconut yoghurt, my first thought was chips n dip, and crunchy chips at that. What better opportunity to pass off googling sweet potato chips as a work activity? For the unitiated, there's basically a whole corner of the web dedicated to the perfectly crunchy oven baked sweet potato chip. There were some methods I was less keen to try - washing them with egg white and liberally sprinkling them with coconut flour (am I the only person who thinks eating coconut flour is akin to eating sand?) some reasonably heavy duty science, and really, just a lot of people who love sweet potato chips. Needless to say, I learnt a lot.

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Irrespective of whether you're making this recipe or you've just come here because you're currently sifting through blogs on crunchy sweet potato trial and error, here are the top tips I recommend you try implementing with all your chip creations:

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1) Ensure you cut the chips to as even size as possible. Yeah yeah I know, I used to yawn at this too, and I'm yawning at myself writing it. But it definitely does help.
2) Once you've cut your chips (to even sizes of course amirite guys) soak them in a large bowl of water for at least an hour, overnight if you ceebs. This draws the starch out of the sweet potatoes. I can't remember how that helps with crunch, but it does. 
3) Once you've soaked them, leave them on a tea towel to dry, and then pop them in a small plastic bag with a small amount of corn or tapioca flour, and shake them super well. This will help crunch up the edges.
4) Don't add salt until the end! This encourages them to release moisture when cooking, making 'em soggy
5) Add a teaspoon or two or vegetable oil, rather than olive, and rather than half a bottle. Olive oil has a lower smoke point compared to veg oil (I also hear grapeseed is good) so your chips will burn a lot quicker. 
6) When you flip them at half time, rotate the trays from top to bottom, and spin them front to back, to allow for even heat distribution. Fancy terms for fancy food. 
7) Finally, use baking paper and ensure that none of the chips are touching, and that you haven't overcrowded the oven. Too many chips = moist environment = a lot of soggy chips. 

INGREDIENTS

700g-800g sweet potato, peeled (roughly 2 medium sized sweet potatoes)
2 teaspoons za'atar
3 teaspoons corn flour or tapioca flour
2 teaspoons vegetable or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt (I used Coco Tribe, I find their yoghurt much more savoury than the other plain coconut yoghurts, which makes it excellente for dip) 
2 teaspoons (plus extra if you're a big fan) preserved lemon juice
sea salt and torn mint, to serve 

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METHOD

1. Chop your sweet potato into evenly sized chips, and chuck them in a big bowl of water, leaving them to soak for at least an hour. Once soaked, dry them off thoroughly with a tea towel, and preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
2. In a small plastic bag, add your za'atar and corn or tapioca flour, followed by the sweet potato chips. Shake it like a polaroid picture, or, you know, shake your chips until they're well coated in the mix. 
3. Add the oil to the bag, and carry on shakin' until well coated again. 
4. Line two baking trays with baking paper, and evenly spread the chips over the trays, leaving none of them touching and none too overcrowded. Cook for 15-20 minutes, and then swap the trays from top to bottom and front to back, to make sure they're cooking evenly. 
5. Once you've turned them, pop them back in the oven for another 15 or so minutes, until they're crunchy and browned. 
6. For a bit of extra crunch, turn the oven off, leave the door open, and leave the chips in the oven while you make the dip. To make the dip: Mix the preserved lemon juice into the coconut yoghurt and ur good to go. Give the chips a super light spray of olive oil (so the salt sticks) sprinkle over some salt and mint, and donezo. 

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A week on the Mexican Coast

Mexico has always been on my to-do list (how could I not pay homage to the country whose national cuisine is tacos?) but it wasn't until semi recently, in typical millennial style, that I saw a cenote on Instagram (an oftentimes vibrantly aquamarine body of water created by sinking limestone - cheers Wikipedia) and decided that I must be in Mexico immediately.

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My sister and I have started a tradition of going on a holiday together every year, given that she now lives in London and I, Melbourne. As she will tell you, my method of choosing holiday destinations is thus: seeing a beautiful destination on Instagram, booking a ticket, making her do the same. First Ubud, then Annecy in France, and most recently, Tulum. 

We spent six days in Mexico (in Quintana Roo province) in the middle of a trip to The US, and all I can say is that 6 days is absolutely nowhere near enough. While comparably I am an absolute Mexico novice, I thought I would impart what little wisdom I have so that everyone can go and enjoy what is surely one of the most vibrant, lovely cultures I had the pleasure of experiencing. I also want to spend hours looking through my travel snaps with a half legitimate reason for doing so, but we won't go too deeply into that. 

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PLACES WE STAYED, LIKED (AND DIDN'T) IN QUINTANA ROO

CANCUN

During our little 6 day trip, we visited Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum. Landing in Cancun from New York, we decided to stay one night in the party town to see what all the fuss was about. That, and the ferry for Isla Mujeres leaves from a port about 20 minutes out of town. Convenience aside, we felt it was a mistake. 

Staying only one night, we didn't quite ever get a grip on Cancun. The town itself was hard to come to terms with (I don't think we ever found 'the town') and, even according to our concierge, the restaurants and 'attractions' are all in 'the hotel zone.' I have always been personally wary of 'hotel zones' because I am unsure exactly why I would want to fly 20+ hours from straya and yet still be in the West. This is exactly what the hotel zone in Cancun was - Westerners eating eggs benedict and drinking vodka cranberries on a beach. No thanku. If you're after a taste of Mexico and not into partying, I would give Cancun a miss, and get straight off the plane and head to Isla Mujeres or Cozumel, another (apparently, we didn't go but heard glowing reviews) gorgeous island off the coast. 

ISLA MUJERES

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Onto Isla Mujeres. We had planned to stay only one night on 'the island of women' but, upon disembarking the ferry, were so enamoured that we immediately decided one night was not enough. (for that matter, neither was 2) While admittedly Isla Mujeres is likely not the most authentic taste of Mexico you'll encounter, it is impossible not to fall in love with. For starters, a meagre $20US dollars a day (a small price to pay for the experience of a lifetime) buys you A GOLF CART to transport yourself around in, for a whole 24 hours. While we stayed at super central Pocna Hostel (and ended up in a private room because we're 25+ and our hostel days are done) and were close enough to walk to most tourist things, I could not recommend hiring a golf cart any more than I do because IT WAS THE ACTUAL BEST. Please see the photo below of my sister going through a bottle-o drive thru IN THE GOLF CART. Case closed.

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There are a number of things to do on Isla Mujeres (aside from experience the vibrantly coloured township and bluest water I've ever seen) - most of which we did not achieve because we were too busy either hooning around in a golf cart, drowning ourselves in cocktails, or indulging in a not even illegal combination of both. Here's a photo of me holding my sister's driving beer for her for reference. 

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Apparently there is great snorkelling on the island, and there is a bunch of underwater human sculptures to explore. There is a ruin on the more local side of the island, although I would only go if you've hired a golf cart and have spare time, because the drive there was gorgeous but the ruin was mainly reminiscent of a pizza oven. Sorry I am a pleb but it is true. 

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PLACES TO EAT: 

We shamelessly ate breakfast at Lola Valentina two days out of two, and while it's not all local cuisine, it's dishes were inspired by local ones, they had iced almond milk lattes, and the staff were outrageously lovely. Think Melbourne style brunch with a Mexican flare in Mexico. 

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Bastos grill was more towards the local side of the island, and a recommendation given by our lovely waiter at Lola Valentinas. Apparently every taxi driver on the island will know where it is, and if you drive your golf cart around for long enough (and have Google Maps handy) you'll eventually find it. It was absolutely delicious, simple Mexican cuisine, with some of the best guac I've ever had. 

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PLAYA DEL CARMEN

Because we were only in Mexico for six days, Playa Del Carmen suffered at the expense of Isla Mujeres, meaning we only stayed for one night. I have to say, we didn't mind all that much. Playa Del Carmen, as we experienced it (one day makes it hard to get into the nitty gritty) was another tempered slice of America in Mexico. The main street was lined with Zara and Sephora, pasta restaurants and sushi. While it was certainly more interesting than Cancun, and I wouldn't say go out of your way to avoid it, if it's not in your path, I wouldn't be too sad. Having said that, I had some delightful smoked tuna tacos there, so that counts as a win. 

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TULUM

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Oh boy, Tulum. All I can with real certainty is that I would need a solid two weeks in Tulum to be able to say I had properly explored all it has to offer. The township itself is inland from the beach, and spread out over an enormous walking distance. We arrived at the bus station (buses in Mexico are probably nicer than buses in Australia FYI, as long as you make sure you get the ADO ones, they have air con and a loo and everything) and then got a taxi to our hotel, which was on the beach. I have to say, with all the smack I talked earlier about hotel zones, the hotel area in Tulum is pretty special - a big ol' hike from the township (which we didn't really have time to explore) but wow! 

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The drive is set along the aquamarine coastline, weaving in amongst palm trees, little boutiques and healthy vegan ice cream stores. Most of the hotels are yoga and healthy food focused, and you can often rent bikes from your hotel to hoon down the road, stop for an ice cream or a taco, and get a bit of heat relief from the breeze. This was probably my favourite activity while we were there. 

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We stayed at Sanara Tulum which was in the hotel zone, set right on the beach. As in, you get off your sun lounger, and you're at breakfast. Amazing. The restaurant that accompanies the hotel, The Healthy Coconut, offers game changing Mexican cuisine, with coconut flour tortillas, coconut cheese, and a whole variety of gluten free, sugar free offerings that cater to the vegos and non vegos alike. 

The vibe is beachy chic with an emphasis on healthy eating, yoga, and general rejuvenation. They had a bunch of detox cleanses on offer, as well as the regular menu at The Healthy Coconut. They also had a number of spa and holistic treatments available in a gorgeous lil room overlooking the aquamarine coastline. 

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We had the loveliest hotel concierge at Sanara, a gorgeous European girl who had moved to Tulum six months earlier. She gave us a list of things that the locals would do in Tulum, and whie we didn't have enough time to accomplish them all, we gave it a red hot crack.

Casa Jaguar was gorgeously Pinterest style decorated bar and restaurant. We only had a cocktail there in the spirit of trying everything, and I, as a cocktail aficionado, was definitely not disappointed. 

Gitano was another recommendation, and although we didn't end up going (it was closed on our last night) it definitely looks gorgeous and well worth checking out. 

Taqueria De Eufemeria is a funky, cheap taco place right on the beach in the hotel zone. Call me a pleb, but as tourists passing through Mexico so quickly and without really doing any research, these were probably the best tacos we had. Simple, delicious, served on the beach, and backed up with super strong margaritas. Bliss. 

Gran cenote was our favourite of the two cenotes we visited. If you are in Tulum for the cenotes, allow at least a week I would say. There is sometimes quite a distance between them, and so many different ones to visit. I'd also recommend doing your research depending on what you want to do/see - in some cenotes you can scubadive through the cavities underwater (my idea of hell on earth) and some entail only some light snorkelling (better) Gran cenote was gorgeous and of the light snorkelling variety - I would recommend getting there early, as we had about ten other people in there with us, and it kept the magic alive a little bit.

Dos Ojos is another cenote, one that we didn't enjoy nearly as much as Gran cenote. It means 'two eyes' and there are two cenotes that are interconnected by underwater tunnels. The cenotes themselves were covered by a large rock formation and quite dark - I think the appeal is swimming through the cavities, which did not appeal to us remotely. It is also a fifteen minute drive down a desolate dirt road to get to the cenote from the entrance, so please don't call the bluff of the driver offering to take you. Just pay up.

La Playa Tortuga (turtle beach) is a pretty touristy setup, but a really cool experience nonetheless. It's a bit of a walk from where the collectivo will drop you, and a lot of people will harass you on the way, suggesting they are the only licensed guide, etc. Keep walking. Of all the things you'll be hassled to buy or hire on the way, I would highly recommend a life jacket. It seems stupid (the water is shallow) but it really allows you to get right into the turtle watching without disturbing them. A snorkel is also absolutely necessary, although we hired ours from Sanara. The beach is a naturally occurring turtle habitat, so when swimming in a designated area, you'll bump into a huge amount of big ol' turtles doing their thing. Pretty cool. Another hot tip: Put sunscreen on your shoulders and bum. Floating on the surface will get ya. 

These are all the recommendations we were given in our short but blissful time in Tulum - I am 100% sure there are loads more and I would encourage you to stay AT LEAST a whole week, if not two, to suss out everything this ridiculous place has to offer. 

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Broccoli and parmesan pizza bases

I used to eye roll at people who claimed that such and such a food was an integral part of their weekly routine. As someone who used to be thoroughly shook if Mum told me we were having the same thing for dinner two nights in a row, I couldn't fathom how people could be attached to eating the same thing at the same time every week. That is, of course, until I became one of those people. 

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I first discovered the healing properties of pizza at the height of my partying days, when ordering a pizza the morning after (don't judge) seemed to bring me back to life. While I have since made a conscious effort to reign in the partying (old gal takes a good two days to recover now) I was still very keen to keep the magic, excitement and restorative qualities of pizza night alive, in the form of a gluten friendly, grain friendly pizza. Enter the broccoli pizza. 

These pizza bases are grain free, gluten free, very likely paleo but I cannot be bothered checking, and a new way to get some veg in your life and in your pizza. I might even enjoy them more than the cauliflower variety. 

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INGREDIENTS - makes 4 large-ish or 5 medium-ish pizza bases 

600g broccoli (stems are fine but chop the toughest part off) - this was 2 medium heads for me
1 1/2 cups almond meal
6 small or 5 medium eggs
50g parmesan or hard cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water
Generous table salt 

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METHOD

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius. 
2. Roughly chop your broccoli, throw it in the food processor, and process it for about 10-15 seconds, until you have very fine little bits of broccoli rice, for lack of a better term. 
3. In a large bowl, combine the broccoli with the almond meal, parmesan and salt, and mix well. Add the eggs and stir them through thoroughly. Repeat with the oil and water. 
4. Line two baking trays with paper, and place 1/4 or 1/5 of the mixture on each tray. As mentioned above, this makes 4 large or 5 medium pizza bases, so divvy up as you see fit. 
5. Place the first two pizza bases in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until firm but still green. You wanna keep the green colour for #fitspo dinner shots later. Or, you know, just to not have burnt pizza bases. 
6. Repeat with the other 2 or 3 pizza bases, and then top the pizzas with your choice of toppings. Pop them back in the oven for 10-15 minutes (you might want to spray them a lil with olive oil so the edges don't get too crisp) and ur good to go. 

TOPPING IDEAS!

FODMAP FRIENDLY PESTO:

Combine a bunch of basil, around 1/2-1 cup walnuts, about 1/2 a cup of freshly grated parmesan, the juice of 1 lemon, generous salt and enough olive oil to make a pesto consistency, in yo blender. Blend away until you have pesto. 

Top that with some roasted veg - roasted fennel, tomatoes and zucchini are all v good, and lower fodmap options. If you have other vegies on hand, go nuts. 

Herb! Plenty of herbs. and a melty cheese to hold it all together. I like to put my herbs on at the end so they don't burn, but you can do both, because herbs are important. 

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Cinnamon and sumac roasted pumpkin with pine nut baklava crusted haloumi

You can relax a little: My baklava obsession is drawing to a close (for now) and I thought I would end it with this delightful number, pine nut baklava crusted haloumi. When I first envisaged this recipe, I did so without the addition of the spice roasted pumpkin - I felt (and still feel) that something as heaven sent as baklava crusted haloumi could stand alone. 

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That being said, it took me all of about 10 minutes to devour said baklava crusted haloumi, and when I found myself with some extra pumpkin in the fridge and feeling inspired from an Ottolenghi binge read, I decided to add the pumpkin to make a meal of it. A great life decision, thanks Yotam. This recipe is obviously vegetarian, but it's also gluten free and lower Fodmap if you can tolerate a bit of cheese (haloumi is apparently low fodmap if you consume 50g per serve, according to my googling)

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INGREDIENTS

1 packet of Haloumi
1/4 - 1/2 cup pine nuts (use 1/2 if you want some baklava crumble to sprinkle over the salad at the end)
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Generous pinch of table salt

500g pumpkin, skin removed and sliced
1 teaspoon sumac
1 - 2 teaspoons cinnamon, depending on your cinnamon obsession
2 tablespoons honey
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Generous salt 

Mint, to serve 

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a large bowl, combine the spices, oil, honey and seasoning for the pumpkin, and then coat the pumpkin in the mix. Once every piece is fully coated, spread the pumpkin slices on baking trays lined with baking paper, pouring any remaining liquid over the pumpkin evenly. Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.
2. While the pumpkin is cooking, place the nuts for the baklava crumb in a food processor, and process just until a crumb has formed - you don't want the nuts to turn into flour. Add the cinnamon, salt and honey, and blitz again until it all comes together. 
3. Slice your haloumi into four steaks, and then divide each steak into 3 thick matchsticks. I apologise if that terminology is not haloumi appropriate but I could think of nothing better. 
4. Take the crumb and press it gently onto each slice on haloumi, to the thickness of your liking. I piled it on mine because the more the merrier could never be more applicable than when talking about baklava crumb on haloumi. 
5. The pumpkin timer should have gone off, so gently check it - you want the pumpkin to be softened but still holding it's form. It will likely need another 10-15 minutes, but swap the trays from top to bottom and turn them around to compensate for heat distribution in yo oven. I read that term on a website and thought it sounded professional so I have adopted it as my own.  A stark contrast to my completely unprofessional descriptive language. 
6. Once the pumpkin is done, immediately repurpose a baking tray with fresh paper, and pop the haloumi in the oven for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it and spray a gentle bit of olive oil on top if you feel like it needs it. 
7. Lay your pumpkin on some sort of decorative piece of crockery to impress your friends and Instagram followers, and lay the haloumi on top. Sprinkle with mint, extra baklava crumb if you have it, and u r done. 

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Dill, basil, zucchini flower and tomato tart

My mum has a friend who seemingly has the garden to end all gardens, because Mum always comes home with 'gifts' from her, like gorgeous little yellow tomatoes. I hadn't planned to make a tart of any description, never mind one that also ostentatiously included zucchini flowers, but when Mum showed them to me, I knew that I had to make something to do them justice, but mainly just to show them off.

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The filling mixture borrows heavily from an eggplant involtini recipe that my Mum makes, using dill and basil as the herbs, rather than parsley. I used to be/still am obsessed with the combination of ricotta, parmesan, dill and basil, to the point where tasking me with rolling the involtini was a 'proceed at your own risk' type of affair. The inevitable oversupply of zucchini slices at the end was easily fixed however - I was/am happy to eat them too. And I wonder why my efforts at Pilates never seem to be getting me a summer bod.

Pls note that you don't need fancy tomatoes or even zucchini flowers for this really - they're just the icing on the very herby and entirely savoury cake. You could use anything - I've used some regular ol' cherry tomatoes to illustrate this point.  

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
5og room temperature butter
2 teaspoons miso paste (I've gotten really into using this as seasoning, but totally not necessary if you don't have it, just add a teaspoon or so of water and then your salt instead)
1 egg

2 cups (about 300g) ricotta (THE FIRM DELI VARIETY PLS)
6 zucchini flowers (roughly, depends on their size and the aesthetic you're going for ;))
1 bunch of basil
1 bunch of dill
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan, plus a lil extra to sprinkle on top (I tried to underline fresh in addition to putting it in bold and italics but this unnecessarily long note will have to suffice)
1/2 cup mini tomatoes (or 1 cup if you're omitting the zucchini flowers)
3 eggs
1 cup of water or milk (I used water because I ran outta milk and it was perfectly fine)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
generous seasoning

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. I don't even know why it's always 180, but it seems to be the norm so there you go.
2. Add your almond meal, tapioca flour, miso paste and butter to your food processor, and whiz up until a crumble has formed. Add the egg and continue to whiz until the dough forms a bumbly ball, rolling around your processor. Or you know, just until it's all combined.
3. Remove all the dough from the processor and take your (olive oil sprayed) tart tin, gently moulding the dough to the tin. This is one of my most irked jobs in cooking, so my heart goes out to you if you're currently on this step. Once you're finished, poke a bunch of holes in the bottom of the pastry with a fork, and put it in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta and milk or water, and stir or whisk up until the lumps are mostly gone. Add the eggs, grated parmesan, nutmeg, balsamic vinegar and seasoning and continue to mix well. 
5. Chop your herbs reasonably well, and throw them into the mixture. Make sure the mixture is super well combined - it's very heavy on the herbs (I was going to say 'in a good way' but there isn't a bad way to be heavy on herbs rly) and make sure every herb is coated. 
6. Pour the mixture into your tart base (which should be cooked and cooled by now) and spread it evenly, making sure all the herbs are under the ricotta mixture, otherwise they gon burn. 
7. Top the tart with your tomatoes and zucchini flowers, or your tomatoes, or whatever you fancy really - and sprinkle the remaining parmesan on top. I sprayed my tart with a lil olive oil right before I put it in, unsure if it made any difference. 
8. Cook the tart for 30 minutes, leaving it in for an extra 10 if the top appears a little wet or thoroughly unbrowned. I've made this four times now (for half recipe testing/half gluttony purposes) and all of mine took about 40-45 to get a lovely golden top. You can even flip to grill for a bit, but be very mindful. 

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Banana, coconut and passionfruit bread (gluten free, vegan and fodmap friendly)

Sometimes I think of developing recipes as having children, and, in particular, favourite children. Sure, you work hard at them (or for them) all, and you enjoy them all and believe in them all, but there are a few that stand out as the favourites. This banana bread, much like me in my own family setting, is one of those favourite children. 

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In case you hadn't already established how smug I feel about this one, let me talk some more about it. It's gluten free, grain free, refined sugar free, vegan and fodmap friendly, packed full of whole foods and good fats. While I disagree with the idea of needing to feel guilty or not guilty after eating something, this banana bread is low in added sugar - 2 tablespoons of maple and the stevia in the coconut yoghurt, which is great news for someone whose unwelcome bacteria in their digestive system feeds off da sugar. Or you know, just someone avoiding added sugar.

So dietary requirement friends, rejoice - here is your new banana bread. 

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INGREDIENTS

3 ripe bananas, 2 for the bread and one for the top
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cups almond meal
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup coconut yoghurt (I used the vanilla flavoured Coyo and Nudie, both to success)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (optional)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup plant milk of choice (I used almond) 
85-100g passionfruit pulp (about 4 medium-large passionfruits) plus extra if you want to pop some on top

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Chop two of the three bananas into chunks and mash roughly. Transfer to a small pan over a medium heat, and add the coconut oil, cooking until the banana is super mashed and smelling kinda like banana bread. You can also do this with frozen bananas. Add the maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and salt, and stir well before taking off the heat. 
3. In a large bowl, combine the flours together, and add the coconut yoghurt, warm banana mixture, passionfruit pulp and milk of choice. Stir until a batter has formed, and then add the baking powder with the apple cider vinegar, stirring in the bubbles. 
4. Once the mixture is well combined, pour it into a silicon loaf tin. Slice the last banana down the middle, and then gently press it into the top, like little spooning bananas. 
5. Pop the loaf into the oven for 30 minutes, and check it at that point. The moisture content depends on whether the bananas were frozen and how liquidy your passionfruit is, so cooking time varies. I've made the loaf 3 times - without any banana on top it took 30 minutes, with dried banana on top it took about 40, and with regular ol' banana it took about 50. Keep your eyes on it and you'll be fine. 

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Roasted greens with avocado, wasabi and lime dressing

In the latest episode of 'why am I reading this pointless spiel' (flattering myself by suggesting my spiels aren't just skimmed over) today I am going to discuss my love affair with broccoli. I have a number of things that I could say on the topic, but I'll aim to keep it (mostly) brief and relevant, because I've not exactly inspired you to continue reading, and because we're talking about broccoli. 

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Since becoming unwell and figuring out that practically every food was causing it, I have had to dig pretty bloody deeply to figure out which foods I could feasibly eat on the reg without being reduced to a shell of a human. Among others, broccoli has been one of my saving graces, and I eat it pretty much every day, in some form or another. My favourite form, however, is roasted, with a little bit of olive oil and lots of sea salt.

With that in mind, and after a few weeks of eating roasted broccoli sans anything exciting, I decided to spruce up my saving grace with a bit of a zesty dressing. The whole dish is vegan, gluten free, and fodmap friendly, depending on your tolerance for brassicas. I've found zucchini is a very helpful vegetable as it's low carb (and therefore not particularly fermentable) and non offensive. It doesn't get as crunchy and roasty as broccoli, but you can always adjust the ratio of brassica to zucchini if need be.

So here I am on Valentine's Day eve, dedicating a blog post to broccoli.  I feel it's pretty fitting, because it's gotten me through a lot of hard times, and although it may not be the most exciting, or interesting vegetable, but it's the right vegetable 4 me. 

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INGREDIENTS

1 head of broccoli
1 bunch of broccolini
Around 10 brussel sprouts, halved
1 zucchini (optional) 

1 avocado
1 lime
Zest of 1/2 a lime, or to taste
2 teaspoons wasabi paste (If you're using the powder and making your own paste, you might need 3)
1 teaspoon mustard (either variety, I used seeded)
Juice of 1 lime
Generous pinch of sea salt
Pinch of brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons water
Olive oil and salt, for roasting

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METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Toss the vegies in olive oil and sea salt, and arrange them on two baking paper lined trays. 
3. When the oven is good to go, add the vegies and set the timer for 20 minutes. Once that's done, check them out - they should be over half way done. It's best to work incrementally here because your different veg might be done at different times - partcularly if you're adding the zucchini. I found the brussels took the longest to cook at around 40 minutes, but I like my broccoli crispy so I left it in that long as well.
4. While the veg are going, throw everything else in a blender and combine until you have a silky smooth sauce consistency. 
5. Assembly is a lil self explanatory: decoratively arrange your veg on your fanciest crockery and drizzle dramatically with the avocado wasabi sauce. Yummo. 

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