Mixed Seeds

This is an easy way to add flavour, fibre and lots of goodness to a variety of dishes. My seed mix contains buckwheat (surprisingly gluten-free despite the name), slivered almonds, sesame seeds, pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds and linseed (flax seeds). I combine them all in an airtight container and shake.

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For a nutritious snack add them to some unsweetened natural yogurt and frozen berries with a bit of honey over the top. Easy!

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They’re also great sprinkled over a salad.

Gluten-Free Minestrone Soup

Right, ok sorry.  It’s been a busy year so far and I haven’t kept up with my blog. Don’t worry I’ve still had time for great cooking and some new recipes – just not the time to add them here.  I’ll do better, promise. Let’s add another winter recipe, a classic minestrone soup with gluten free stock and pasta of course. I like my soup so thick you could almost eat it with a fork.  A good hearty soup should be chunky and thick not drippy and watery.

Minestrone Soup

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2 rashers bacon

1 onion

3 zucchini

2 carrots

2 potatoes

2 cans tomatoes

1 can kidney beans

1 cup pasta

1 vegetable stock cube (gluten-free!)

1 cup gluten-free pasta

olive oil

mixed italian herbs

salt and pepper

Cut the bacon and onion into small pieces and fry with the olive oil in a large soup pot.  It’s at this point I like to add the dry stock cube and fry it with the onion and bacon to break it up and get the flavour through.  Next add your chopped carrot, potato and zucchini.  Add in the cans of tomatoes and give everything a good stir.  Add enough water to cover all the ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Once everything has cooked through add the kidney beans, pasta and herbs and let simmer again until the pasta has cooked.

This is another dish that I like to make a big batch of.  I’ve popped the left-overs here into a plastic container ready for the freezer.  It’s always great to have a few frozen home-cooked meals ready for busy weeknights.

Winter Beef Stew

A super easy slow cooker beef stew.  The amounts below make a mountain of food so you’ll have a few portions to freeze and use on lazy days. IMG_24441.5kg beef (blade, chuck or rump)

2 onions

1/4 cup gluten-free flour

1 cup pumpkin

3 carrots

1 cup vegetable stock

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/3 cup red wine (plus 1 extra cup for the cook)

1/3 cup vinegar

1/4 tsp orange zest

1 bay leaf

1 tsp mixed italian herbs

1tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper

Add flour, herbs and salt and pepper into a plastic bag. Cut the beef into 1cm cubes and place into the plastic bag to coat with flour mixture.  Brown the beef in the fry pan and add to the slow cooker.  I also like to coat the onions in the flour mixture and fry for a few minutes too.  It ensures they are cooked well and the extra flour helps thicken the gravy.  Chop pumpkin and carrots into 1cm pieces and add to the slow cooker.  Combine all wet ingredients and pour over your meat and vegies.  I put my slow cooker on high for 30 minutes and then on low for about 7 hours.  Serve with creamy mashed potato. You’re welcome!

Going gluten-free is easy!

One of my most popular posts is Can I eat 1422? , it seems there are a lot of people out there looking for answers about what exactly is in their food.  Lots of you drop by searching for information like I did, about whether your food additives are gluten-free and many are finding your way here just to find out more about food additives in general. The fact that my humble little blog gets so much traffic as a result of this post is proof enough that there is not a lot of easily accessible information out there to help us understand what is in our food.

As I’ve said in earlier posts, I started reading labels on food packets because I have to. I need to find all the tricky little traces of gluten hidden in additives, thickeners and colouring. However, I have put quite a few gluten-free items back on the shelf simply because they were full of rubbish.

I guess my advice for how to avoid getting confused by what is in your food is the same advice I would give to those feeling overwhelmed about going gluten free: get back to basics. Start with your base ingredients and build from there; fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and suitable grains are a good place to start. Get back to cooking from scratch, make your own sauces, marinades and pastes and use fresh instead of frozen or canned. You’ll not only be saving lots of money but will also cut back on all of those added salts and sugars. I guess the more you can avoid buying foods with labels on them, the less time you need to spend deciphering them.

Baked Eggs with Halloumi

Happy New Year!  Thanks to all my followers, visitors and guests for helping me grow my blog this year.  Happy to have so many visitors from all over the world looking for information, recipes and all things gluten-free.

We’re going to start the new year off with a dish perfect for the morning after a big night. This dish combines lots of my favourite ingredients, chorizo, halloumi, eggs and baked beans; guaranteed to get the blood pumping (or arteries clogging) on a slow moving morning.

You’ll need all the above ingredients, lets not get too hung up on amounts.  Lightly fry some chorizo and place in individual sized pans.  Add about 1/2 a cup of baked beans – view my home-cooked recipe here. Crack two eggs on the top and place in the oven on 175 degrees until the eggs are done to your liking. While the dish is in the oven fry up some halloumi and place on top of the eggs and back into the oven for about 3 minutes.

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This was a big breakfast, but some mornings just call for it. I am sure there are a million variations to this recipe.  You could go vegetarian and omit the chorizo, I am also keen to try something with mushrooms and cheese.  I’ll keep you posted.

Nut bars!

With some time off over the holidays, I finally get to try some new recipes and I’ve been meaning to experiment with an energy bar for some time. I wanted them to be tasty, relatively healthy and oat free I think this little experiment worked out well.

2 cups mixed nuts

1/2 cup chopped dates

1/2 cup chopped dried apricots

1/4 cup shredded coconut

1/3 cup honey

Place all ingredients into a large mixing bowl to combine.

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Add honey and mix until all ingredients are coated.  Press out into a tray lined with baking paper.

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Bake in a 170 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes then gently flip over onto a cooling rack.  Once it it completely cooled cut into bars.

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To be honest these were a little sticky and I had to refrigerate them.  It has been very humid here, but I think next time I would add slightly less honey and cook for longer.  Still tasted great though.