Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Eat More Soup

As promised, the soups continue with another comforting and filling recipe, this one includes celeriac.

Celeriac is part of the celery family and is grown as a root vegetable. Celeriac, however, only has about 5-6% starch by weight, unlike other tuberous vegetables such as potatoes.

It can be eaten raw or cooked and has a tough, bumpy outer skin that is sliced off before using. It has a light celery flavour - perfect for soups and stews, but can even be mashed and eaten as an accompaniment to meat, chicken or pork.

Carrot, Lentil and Celeriac Soup:
(Serves 4)

A close friend and family member can taste equally as sweet and tempting, while still appearing to be fresh and new.


5 Large Carrots, Diced
1 Onion, Diced
1 Cup of Lentils (The quick cooking kind, not the one that needs to be soaked overnight - I used Red Lentils)
A Celeriac Bulb and Stem, Bulb Diced and a Few Stems and Leaves Chopped
1 Marigold Stock Cube Dissolved in 800mls Boiling Water
2 Teaspoons Cumin
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons Yeast-Free Curry Powder
1 Teaspoon Xylitol
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
A Drizzle of Olive Oil


Fry onion in the olive oil until translucent
Add the cumin, cinnamon and curry powder and fry for a few minutes
Add the carrots, lentils and celeriac and fry for a further few minutes, being careful not to let the ingredients burn
Add the stock and bring to the boil
Turn down the heat and simmer until the carrots, lentils and celeriac are tender
Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the Xylitol to bring out the flavour
Taste, add a bit more curry powder or extra spice if desired
Blend soup 
And serve piping hot 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obsession Continued...

To prove my obsession, I have decided to post a soupcon of soups... Ok, not really a soupcon, but a soupcon of soups sounds very professional, wouldn't you say? :). Ok, scrap that, I am posting a succession of soups... So prepare yourself!
(I don't see you running for the blender... Go on, run, run, run!)

And just in time for the deliciously impending cold weather!

Beetroot, Sweet Potato and Watercress Soup:
(Serves 4)

Mmm... Vibrancy does come in YUM flavour!


1 Onion, Finely Diced
2 Sticks of Celery, Diced
A Drizzle of Olive Oil
8 - 10 Beetroot, Peeled and Diced

2 - 3 Sweet Potatoes
800mls Water
1 Packet of Watercress
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon
2 Teaspoons of Cumin
2 Teaspoons of Woolies Citrus Flake Sea Salt
A Decent Grind of Black Pepper
A Squeeze of Lemon Juice
A Handful of Pine Nuts for Serving


Wrap sweet potatoes in tinfoil and roast at 200 degrees Celsius until tender
Fry diced onion and celery in the olive oil until translucent
Add cumin and cinnamon and fry for a few minutes
Add diced beetroot and stir
Add the water, salt and pepper and simmer until the beetroot is just tender (30 - 40mins)
Add the sweet potato and packet of watercress
Add lemon juice
Simmer for a further 10 - 15 minutes to allow flavours to combine
Blend all ingredients together with a handheld blender
Check flavours, you may need to add some more salt, pepper or lemon juice
Serve with a few toasted pine nuts on the top and a few sprigs of raw watercress

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Jazzed Up

Ok, so I have a confession and here it is: I LOVE SOUP!! No, no - I mean I really love soup - I think it's bordering on obsession - I mean, I could eat soup every day - wouldn't you agree that that is a bit obsessive?

Anyway, I have found the perfect way to jazz up a soup that could otherwise be a little boring, well the colour anyway, definitely not the flavour! And this is my secret - Coriander!

To me coriander has such a fresh, almost citrus taste and this burst of flavour is exactly what is needed to finish off my beautiful soup of aubergine and sweet potato. Coriander is called Cilanto in America - I think that is such a lovely word; it just flows off the tongue!

Aubergine and Sweet Potato Soup with Coriander Pesto:
(Serves 4)

A poetic word deserves to have its poetic justice in the form of a soup-transforming pesto!


1 Onion, Finely Diced
1 Large Aubergine
2 Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
A Drizzle of Avo Oil for Frying the Onion & Roasting the Aubergine
1 Marigold Yeast and Gluten-Free Stock Cube, Dissolved in 800mls Water
Paprika, for the Aubergine and the Soup
Herbal Salt for the Aubergine and the Soup
2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

For the Coriander Pesto:
A Bunch of Coriander
A Squeeze of Lemon Juice
A Sprinkle of Herbal Salt
A Sprinkle of Paprika
A Drizzle of Avo Oil

Cut aubergine length-ways, drizzle with avo oil and sprinkle with paprika and herbal salt
Roast in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until the flesh is soft, and it is taking on a slightly charred feel
Fry diced onion in a drizzle of avo oil with a sprinkle of salt
Add cinnamon and fry for a few minutes
Add the diced sweet potato and fry for a few minutes
Remove the aubergine flesh from the skins and add it to the pot, stir to combine
Add the stock, and simmer for about 20 minutes until the sweet potato is tender
Add paprika and herbal salt to taste
Blend soup until smooth
Make the coriander pesto by blending together the pesto ingredients
Serve the soup topped with the pesto
And enjoy!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Leaine's Cashew Nut Chicken

One of my best Chinese dishes is a simple Cashew Nut Chicken. I haven't had Chinese for ages because the sauces that they use without a doubt all contain yeast :(

So, I just had to attempt my own.

Cashew nuts contain fat, but it is the healthy kind and have many benefits - they contain iron, essential for our red bloods cells, magnesium for energy and zinc for good digestion and metabolism.

Yeast Free Cashew Nut Chicken:
(Serves 2)

Texture of a dish is exciting - a bite of crunchy cashew nut with soft chicken is an adventure for the mouth.


2 Teaspoons of Corn Flour Dissolved In a Little Water
A Tablespoon of Vital Soya Sauce
A Teaspoon of Dried Chilli Flakes

A Tablespoon of Vital Soya Sauce
A Teaspoon of Chilli Flakes
5-10mls of Water
A Drizzle of Sesame Oil

Other Ingredients:
3 Carrots, Sliced
Half a Green Pepper, Diced
1 Onion, Diced
A Thumb-Size Piece of Ginger, Finely Chopped
2 Chicken Breasts, Cut into Cubes
A Handful of Cashew Nuts
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil for Cooking
Vermicelli Rice Noodles or Basmati Rice


Marinate chicken for about 15 minutes
Fry chicken in a tablespoon of sesame oil and set aside
Fry onion and ginger in a tablespoon of sesame oil and add carrots and green pepper and fry for a few minutes
Add sauce ingredients
Add chicken back to the pan and mix together
Add cashew nuts
Cook the noodles or the rice as directed
Serve the cashew nut chicken on top of the noodles or rice
Drizzle with some extra sesame oil or soya sauce if desired

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"On Top Of Old Smokey..."

Meatballs to me are a curious invention. We didn't generally eat them when I was growing up and I don't think I have ever eaten them at a restaurant, therefore I was eager to find out how my own meatballs would turn out sans breadcrumbs and beaten egg.

Well, even if I do say so myself, I was very impressed with my meatballs (not that I have a frame of reference to compare them to, but I do know what I like and I liked these meatballs - a lot!) :)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Basmati Rice:
(Serves 4)

Perfection is eating the unknown with massive enjoyment.


For the Meatballs:

    • 500g Mince
    • Half a Large Onion, Finely Chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons of Egg Replacement for Binding or Corn Starch
    • 2 Tablespoons of Dried Mixed Herbs
    • 2 Tablespoons of Dried Mint
    • 2 Tablespoons of Paprika
    • A Good Squeeze of Vital Soya Sauce*
    • A Good Shake of Herbal Salt
    • A Teaspoon of Xylitol
 * May contain traces of gluten. Bragg Liquid Aminos is yeast and gluten free and can be bought at most health shops.

For the Sauce:

    • A Tin of Whole Tomatoes
    • The Other Half of a Large Onion, Finely Chopped
    • A Squeeze of Vital Soya Sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons of Dried Mixed Herbs
    • A Tablespoon of Dried Mint
    • A Tablespoon of Xylitol
    • A Shake of Herbal Salt
    • A Grind or 2 of Black Pepper
    • A Tablespoon of Avo Oil or Olive Oil


    • Turn oven on to 200 degrees Celsius
    • Mix all meatball ingredients together
    • Roll mixture into balls
    • And place on baking tray covered in tin foil
    • This procedure should take about 20 minutes
    • Cook in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes until browned

      • Put the basmati rice onto boil, following the directions on the packet
      • Start the sauce by frying the onion in the oil with a sprinkle of salt, until translucent
      • Add the tomatoes to the onion along with the rest of the sauce ingredients
      • Simmer for about 15 minutes to allow the flavours to intensify
      • Add the meatballs to the sauce
      • Serve with the basmati rice

      Monday, April 12, 2010

      The Pie Crust Challenge

      I am lucky to be able to make anything I feel like, but when that anything is a pie, things become a bit more complicated. In normal circumstances, it would be far easier just to buy a pie anyway, but for me that's not an option.

      When I decide to do something, there is no stopping me, until I get it right. Yesterday morning, I awoke to thoughts of meat pies floating in my head and slowly I began to piece my mission together, until finally I was ready for the "Pie Crust Challenge".

      Beef and Vegetable Pie (Gluten, Dairy, Egg and Yeast Free):
      (Makes 1 Large Pie)

      The pastry taste of victory - how deliciously satisfying.


        • 320g Nature's Choice Gluten-Free Pancake and Crumpet Flour
        • 2 Teaspoons Nature's Choice Baking Powder (After Being Mixed)
        • 12mls Olive Oil
        • 12mls Cold Water

      Pie Filling:

        • A Tablespoon of Olive Oil
        • 1 Large Onion, Diced
        • 2 - 3 Sticks of Celery, Diced
        • 4 Carrots, Sliced into Rings
        • 500g Beef Goulash/ Steak Cubes
        • 1 Green Pepper, Diced
        • 1 Red Pepper, Diced
        • A Tablespoon of Paprika
        • A Tablespoon of Potato Flour/ Corn Starch For Thickening
        • A Bunch of Fresh Thyme
        • A Teaspoon of Dry Chilli Flakes
        • Herbal Salt

        • Put dry ingredients into a bowl
        • Pour olive oil bit by bit into the dry ingredients
        • Rub together until crumbly
        • Add water little by little until dough sticks together into a ball
        • Wrap in cling film or a clear plastic bag
        • Place in the fridge for 30 - 45 minutes

          • Heat oven to 180 degrees
          • Fry onion in olive oil with a dash of salt
          • Add celery and beef cubes and fry until meat is browned
          • Sprinkle over paprika and potato flour or corn starch and mix everything together
          • Add enough water to cover beef
          • Add thyme
          • Add carrots, green and red pepper
          • Add herbal salt and chilli flakes to taste
          • Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes
          • Take pastry out of the fridge
          • Roll out until thin
          • Pour pie filling into a pie dish and top with the pastry
          • Create a pattern by pressing the edges with a fork
          • Prick the pastry to make breathing holes
          • Place in the oven and cook for 20 - 30 minutes until golden

        Sunday, April 11, 2010

        Childhood Memories

        The taste, smell and the act of making certain dishes brings memories flooding back to me - some sad, but the majority are happy. Food is amazing that way - just like listening to a song can evoke special memories.

        This dish transports me back to my mom's kitchen - I can see her standing over the stove cooking one of her all-time favourites, which over the years has also become one of mine. I can't wait to cook it for my kids one day!

        This dish is traditionally British and originated in World War II, when rationing affected most families, as it was the perfect way to use leftovers. If you have ever wondered what to do with your leftover mash and veggies, especially cabbage, brussel sprouts or peas - read on!

        Bubble and Squeak:
        (Makes 2 Cakes)

        The name is said to come from the action and sound that is made when the mash-and-cabbage cake is frying. I'm sure it could also be due to the fact that cabbage squeaks when you eat it!

        The smell of frying bubble and squeak is equally as evocative as the taste itself.

          • 1 Large Potato, Peeled and Diced OR Leftover Mash
          • 1 Baby Cabbage, Shredded OR Leftover Cabbage/ Veggies of Your Choice
          • Olive Oil
          • Herbal Salt
          • Black Pepper
          • I have found that it is actually better to use leftover mash as it has a harder texture and is easier to manage
          • But if you do not have leftover mash and want an easy snack, put the potato and cabbage on to boil, separately
          • When cooked, add a little olive oil and quite a generous amount of herbal salt and black pepper to the potatoes and mash
          • Fry the cooked cabbage a little and add to the mash, mix together and leave to cool for a bit
          • Make into cakes and fry in a drop of olive oil until golden brown (my mom used to fry it in butter, which tasted way better - but I can't eat dairy, so olive oil is the second best thing)
          • Bubble and Squeak was traditionally served with the leftover cold meat from Sunday lunch, but I love to eat it on its own
          • Squeeze over lemon juice if you wish 

        Saturday, April 10, 2010

        Breakfast in a Glass

        My family loves going out for breakfast - it has become our Sunday ritual - breakfast and a catch up.

        I look forward to Sunday mornings, but eating breakfast at a restaurant has become one of my biggest frustrations - how do you eat breakfast when you can't eat eggs, toast, mushrooms, sausages, yoghurt, milk, cereal...?

        Yip, that's what I thought - you're as stumped as me!

        Well, I have wangled my way around it - I usually just have chips with tomato and bacon - not the healthiest of options, but beggars can't be choosers! Or a fruit salad.

        I love muesli, I sometimes do order this, but am worried about what goes into it - dried fruit is a no no (yeast intolerance) and so is the oats (gluten intolerance).

        So, to get my muesli fix - I have created my own:

        Homemade Buckwheat Muesli:
        (Serves 4)

        Nothing tastes as good as peace of mind on a plate.

        The name 'buckwheat' or 'beech wheat' comes from its triangular seeds, which resemble the much larger seeds of the beech nut from the beech tree, and the fact that it is used like wheat. Although it has the word wheat in the name, it is gluten free. It can be boiled like rice - the water turns mauve as it is related to rhubarb.


          •  A Handful of Untoasted Buckwheat
          • A Handful of Crushed Cashew Nuts
          • A Handful of Flaked Almonds
          • A Handful of Sesame Seeds
          • A Handful of Sunflower Seeds
          • A Sprinkle of Cinnamon
          • A Drizzle of Honey
          • 1 Grated Apple
          • 1 Grated Pear
          • Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius
          • Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together
          • Lay a sheet of tin foil on a baking tray and coat with a little olive oil
          • Spread the mixture on the tin foil and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes until the mixture has dried out and is golden brown
          • Leave to cool and serve with fruit and/or soya milk

        Fruits with a Citrus, Mint Dressing:
        (Serves 2)

          • 1 Naartjie, Peeled and Segmented
          • 1 Granny Smith Apple, Sliced
          • 1 Pear, Sliced
          • A Handful of Sunflower Seeds
          • Juice of Half a Lemon
          • A Handful of Fresh Mint or a Teaspoon of Dried Mint
          • A Teaspoon or 2 of Xylitol
          • Toss fruit in the dressing
          • Sprinkle with sunflower seeds
          • Serve on its own or with the homemade buckwheat muesli

          Friday, April 9, 2010

          Rustic Comfort Food

          In keeping with the autumn theme - this fish pie, in my opinion, is the epitome of healthy, comfort food.

          The contrasting flavours of sweet potato mash, with a surprising zing of lemon, and the burnt-orange flecks of haddock pieces, with the emerald speckle of green peas is a painter's palette of foodie delight.

          Country-Style Fish Pie:
          (Serves 2 - 4)

          Sometimes pleasure can be found in the most unassuming of dishes. I say, savour the mouthful.

            • 3 - 4 Frozen Haddock Steaks
            • 2 Large Sweet Potatoes, Peeled and Diced
            • 400mls of Soya Milk (or Any Other Milk of Your Choice)
            • A Handful of Spring Onions (or Leeks), Roughly Chopped
            • A Few Bay Leaves
            • A Squeeze of Lemon Juice
            • A Drizzle of Olive Oil
            • A Sprinkle of Herbal Salt
            • A Grind of Cracked Black Pepper
            • Turn oven on to grill at 200 degrees Celsius
            • Put diced sweet potato onto boil
            • Fill a deep-dish frying pan with the soya milk and add the spring onion, bay leaves, herbal salt, pepper and haddock
            • Simmer gently until the haddock breaks into pieces
            • Add the peas and cook for a few more minutes until the peas are just tender
            • When the sweet potato is cooked, drain and blend with a handheld blender until smooth
            • Add a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, a sprinkle of herbal salt and a grind of black pepper to the mash
            • Tip the haddock mixture into a ceramic oven dish and top with the mash
            • Create a pattern on the mash with a fork - run it along the mash in one direction and then in the other direction until you have a criss-cross pattern
            • Place under the grill for a few minutes, until the mash is gently browned
            • Serve and enjoy the surprising flavours

          Thursday, April 8, 2010

          A Quick Fish Dish

          Fish is a quick and simple option for a no fuss dinner. The obvious accompaniment is potato and for this dish I have chosen mash but with a little twist.

          Basil Seasoned Hake with Baby Spear Asparagus and Spring Onion Mash:
          (Serves 2)

          A dish impressive in its simplicity.

            •  2 Frozen Hake Fillets
            • 2 Squares of Tin Foil
            • A Sprinkle of Dried Basil
            • A Drizzle of Willow Creek Basil Infused Olive Oil
            • A Sprinkle of Herbal Salt 
            • A Twist of Cracked Black Pepper
            • A Packet of Baby Spear Asparagus
            • 2 Large Potatoes
            • A Few Spring Onions
            • Juice of a Lemon
            • Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
            • Peel potatoes, cut into small pieces and put onto boil
            • When potatoes are almost done, add the chopped spring onions to the water
            • Tear 2 squares of tin foil
            • Place a piece of hake on each square, sprinkle with dried basil, herbal salt and dribble some basil infused olive oil over it
            • Fold up into a parcel and place fish in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes (don't overcook)
            • Blend potatoes and spring onions in a blender with a glug of basil infused olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkle of herbal salt and black pepper
            • Put the asparagus spears onto boil for a few minutes
            • Once done squeeze over lemon juice, a little basil oil and herbal salt
            • Place all ingredients on a plate and serve with the juices from the fish drizzled over

            Wednesday, April 7, 2010

            A Homage to Autumn

            The nights are getting shorter, mornings darker and there is a chill in the air. Autumn is well and truly here and winter is not far behind.

            It's time for comforting soups and stews and snuggling under the duvet.

            This evening, I felt inspired to pay homage to autumn and it's vibrancy with a deliciously sweet and magnificently red

            Roasted Tomato and Red Pepper Soup with Pumpkin Seed Pesto:
            (Serves 2 - 3)

            The aroma that fills the kitchen, from the roasting veggies, wraps its arms around you in a cozy, delectable embrace.


              • 12 - 13 Ripe Tomatoes
              • 2 Large Red Peppers
              • 2 - 3 Red Onions
              • A Teaspoon or 2 of Paprika
              • A Teaspoon or 2 of Xylitol
              • A Teaspoon or 2 of Herbal Salt
              • A Drizzle of Olive Oil
              • A Sheet of Tin Foil
              • A Glug of Macadamia Nut Oil
              • A Handful of Pumpkin Seeds
              • A Sprinkle of Herbal Salt
              • A Grind of Black Pepper
              • A Squeeze of Lemon Juice
              • Heat oven to 200 degrees Celsius
              • Cover a baking tray with tin foil, brush with Olive Oil and sprinkle with Xylitol, Paprika and Herbal Salt
              • Deseed peppers and cut into quarters. Lay skin up on the tray
              • Slice tomatoes in half and lay skin up on the tray
              • Peel onions, cut in half and lay on the tray
              • Brush all items with olive oil and sprinkle with paprika and herbal salt again

              • Place in oven and roast for 20 - 30 minutes, until soft and the skin is blistering
              • Remove skins, being careful because they're hot!
              • Chop de-skinned veggies roughly and place in a saucepan with the juices that were released while roasting
              • Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes, adding a little water to reduce the thickness
              • Taste the soup - you may want to add some more paprika and herbal salt
              • Blend soup
              • Blitz together pesto ingredients
              • Top the soup with the pesto and enjoy!

            Monday, April 5, 2010

            "P" is for Pea and Mint Risotto

            I love risotto; there is something very comforting about the creamy, thick texture. But, eating risotto at a restaurant is a no no because they are usually made with white wine, butter, garlic and parmesan cheese as well as mushrooms.

            I have devised a recipe that I think is scrumptious and still has the characteristic of an authentic risotto; namely the creamy texture.

            Risotto is an Italian classic and the name literally means "little rice".

            Pea and Mint Risotto:
            (Serves 2)

              • 1 Large Onion Finely Chopped
              • A Tablespoon of Olive Oil
              • 200grams of Risotto Rice
              • 500-600mls of Stock (1 Cube of Marigold Yeast and Gluten Free Vegetable Stock to Boiling Water)
              • A Cup of Frozen Peas
              • A Bunch of Mint
              • Salt and Pepper
              • Add the chopped onion to a large pot and fry in the olive oil with a sprinkle of salt until translucent
              • Add the rice and fry for a few minutes, making sure each grain is coated in oil
              • Slowly start adding the stock, a ladle at a time and wait for the rice to absorb the stock before adding the next ladle. (This process gives the dish its creamy texture) When adding the stock to the pot, it must bubble due to the heat
              • Stir the rice after every ladle of stock has been added, making sure it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot
              • Once 500mls of stock have been added, if the texture is too stodgy and not yet entirely cooked, add some more liquid
              • The rice must still have a nice bite to it, but not as if it is still raw - you must be able to see all the individual grains
              • Add the frozen peas and fresh mint leaves, stirring to combine
              • Add the salt and pepper
              • Cook for a few minutes until the peas are al dente
              • Serve immediately while the rice is still creamy and a little runny

            Sunday, April 4, 2010

            To Thai For

            Last night two of our friends came over for a pre-Easter dinner.

            Thai food is my absolute best! So I decided to make two of my all-time favourite dishes: Tom Yum Goong and Chicken Thai Green Curry.

            Tom Yum Goong is a fragrant hot and sour soup made with prawns and is probably the most popular soup in Thailand. It has been said that if the Tom Yum Goong works your sinuses you have made it correctly - and ours certainly did just that! For this reason, it is perfect to eat when you have the flu. In Thailand, because of the intense heat, they eat this soup to regulate the body's temperature.

            Tom Yum Goong:
            (Serves 4)

              • 1.5 Litres of Stock (Made with 2 Marigold Yeast and Gluten Free Stock Cubes)
              • 1.5 Stems of Lemon Grass Chopped
              • A Handful of Kaffir Lime Leaves (An essential ingredient in Thai cooking - Can be found at some supermarkets - I bought mine from the Bryanpark Spar)
              • 300g of Prawns Peeled and Deveined, with the tails still on 
              • 2 Tablespoons of Thai Fish Sauce
              • 1 Tablespoon of Vital Soya Sauce
              • 1 - 2 Thai Green Chillies or Red Chillies Chopped (depending on how spicy you want it - I used 2 chillies)
              • Half a Packet of Mushrooms Quartered (You can use Shitaki, but I just used Button) Remember, mushrooms contain yeast and therefore should not be eaten if you have an allergy to it
              • A Bunch of Coriander
              • The Juice of 2 Limes
              • Grated Palm Sugar (I also bought this from the Bryanpark Spar)
              • A Thumb-Size Piece of Ginger Chopped
              • Make the stock and put it onto boil
              • Throw in the chopped lemon grass, lime leaves, chilli, ginger, fish sauce, soya sauce, lime juice, grated palm sugar, coriander and mushrooms
              • Allow flavours to infuse for about 15 minutes
              • Taste and adjust flavourings until there is the correct balance of hot, sour, sweet and salty
              • Throw in the prawns just before servings as they don't need much cooking, otherwise they will toughen
              • Serve while it's still hot

              Chicken Thai Green Curry:
              (Serves 6)

              Green curry gets its name from the colour of the dish. It is generally considered to have the same spiciness as red curry, but with a slight sweetness. The reason why I love Thai food so much is because of the balance of flavours and the fact that with each mouthful, my palate pops with the excitement of new tastes. In the past, I used to just buy green curry paste, but I can no longer do this as they contain garlic, so I make my own, which is very easy.


                • 2 Green Chillies
                • A Bunch of  Coriander
                • A Tablespoon of Fish Sauce
                • The Zest of 1 Lime
                • Half a Large Onion
                • A Thumb-Size Piece of Ginger
                • 1.5 Stalks of Lemon Grass
                • A Tablespoon of Cumin
              Other Ingredients:
                • The Juice of 2 Limes
                • A Tablespoon of Vital Soya Sauce
                • Half a Large Onion Chopped
                • A Tablespoon of Olive Oil
                • 2 Tins of Coconut Milk (I used Lite Coconut Milk)
                • A Handful of Kaffir Limes Leaves
                • Grated Palm Sugar
                • 6 Chicken Breasts Cut into Strips
                • 1 Large Green Pepper Sliced
                • 1 Large Red Pepper Sliced
                • A Packet of Baby Corn Cut in Half
                • Bean Sprouts
                • 4 - 5 Tomatoes Quartered
                • Jasmine Rice for 6
                • A Bunch of Coriander for Serving
                • Cook the Jasmine Rice as directed - you usually have to soak in cold water for 15 minutes before cooking, rinse the rice and then cook for about 10 - 15 minutes. The rice goes sticky once it has been steamed after cooking
                • Blend all paste ingredients in a blender
                • Fry the other half of the chopped onion in olive oil with a sprinkle of salt
                • When the onion is translucent add the paste and fry for a few minutes
                • Pour in the coconut milk
                • Add the chicken pieces to the fragrant coconut milk
                • Cook for a few minutes until the flesh is no longer pink
                • Add the lime leaves
                • Add the lime juice bit by bit, testing the flavours all the time
                • Add the grated palm sugar, bit by bit, until you are happy with the sweetness
                • Add the soya sauce for a dash of saltiness
                • You may want to chop in another chilli or add some more ginger or lemon grass if you want the flavour more intense
                • Throw in the vegetables, except the tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes until tender
                • Add the tomatoes just before you are ready to serve
                • Dish the rice and curry into bowls and top with coriander

              Mango Pudding:
              (Serves 4 - 5)

              I am not a dessert person, therefore desserts are not my strong point, but I wanted to make a dessert that would fit into the theme of the evening and I found this one. Tropical fruit is very common in Thai desserts and to me; mango and coconut milk go extremely well together.

                • 2 Large Ripe Mangoes
                • 1 Packet of Gelatin (I used 6 gelatin leaves)
                • 1 Tin of Coconut Milk (I used Lite Coconut Milk)
                • 2 Teaspoons of Xylitol (Optional)
                • Grated Nutmeg
                • Peel and chop the mango and place into a blender
                • Add coconut milk and blend
                • Add Xylitol if you want to
                • Add grated nutmeg to taste
                • Make gelatin as per direction on the packet. For the leaves - place in a little cold water for 5 minutes, squeeze out the liquid and then dissolve the squeezed out leaves into a little boiling water. Add part of the mango mixture to the dissolved gelatin and mix together. Return back to the blender - stir until the gelatin is evenly distributed
                • Place the mixture into Martini glasses and refrigerate for at least 4 hours
                • Before Serving grate some nutmeg over the top and decorate with a strawberry

              Saturday, April 3, 2010


              Beef mince is very versatile and can be jazzed up for a posh meal or made into a simple dinner during the week. I used to make spaghetti bolognaise a lot with many different flavourings such as chutney and Worcester sauce, but I obviously can't be fancy anymore and I've actually found that simple flavours work even better!

              Rice pasta is a gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta. I love it because it's light and doesn't leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable like normal pasta does.

              Spicy Mexican Mince with Rice Pasta:
              (Serves 4-6)


                • 500g Beef Mince
                • 400g Tin of Tomatoes
                • 65g Tin of Tomato Paste
                • 1 Onion Finely Chopped
                • 1 Tin of Kidney Beans (check that it in not in vinegar)
                •  1 Red and Yellow Pepper Sliced
                • 1 Jalapeno Deseeded and Chopped
                • Bunch of Coriander
                • Juice of 1 Lime
                • Squeeze of Vital Soya Sauce (yeast-free)
                • 1 Tablespoon of Brown Sugar
                • Salt and Pepper
                • 1 Teaspoon of Avo Oil
                • Rice Pasta
                • Saute finely chopped onion in avo oil with a sprinkling of salt
                • When onion is translucent add mince and fry until brown
                • Add jalapeno to the mince
                • Add soya sauce
                • Add salt and pepper
                • Add tin of tomatoes and tomato paste
                • Add lime juice
                • Add sugar
                • Add red and yellow peppers
                • Add kidney beans
                • Simmer on low for 15 minutes to half an hour, until all the flavours have infused
                • Add torn coriander leaves just before serving

              Friday, April 2, 2010

              The Importance of Reading Labels

              The allergies I have to cow's milk, yeast, gluten and egg are some of the most common type 3 allergies. The reason for this is because they are found in an excessive amount of foods, some of which you wouldn't expect. Because of this, it is essential to be vigilant in reading food labels, once you have been diagnosed with a food allergy.

              Cow's Milk:

              Cow’s milk has been proven to be the most common food allergy and it isn’t surprising considering it is packed full of hormones, designed specifically for a calf’s first few months of life. It is also a relatively new addition to the human diet. Approximately 75 percent of the population stops producing lactase, the enzyme that is needed to break down the milk sugar lactose, once they’ve been weaned, which just goes to show that we are not designed to drink milk after early childhood.

              Cow’s milk is one of the top food allergens found in children and adults with poor sleep, asthma, eczema, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, hyperactivity, bronchitis, bed-wetting, heartburn, indigestion, depression, chronic diarrhoea and chronic fatigue.

              A number of foods you would assume not to contain milk, do; including breads, cereals, crisps, salad dressings, nougat, custard and some margarines.

              Some foreign words, which you may find on food labels, and that indicate the presence of cow’s milk are lactabumin, casein, sodium caseinate, lactose, whey casein, milk solids and hydrolysates.

              Goat’s and sheep’s milk are not possible alternatives to cow’s milk because they all contain casein, which means that the immune system is unlikely to differentiate between the different milks.

              Safe substitutes are soy milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk, unless you have allergies to these.  

              Gluten Grains:

              Gluten grains are also fairly new to the human diet and consist of wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt, kamut and triticale. As many as one in three people may be allergic to gluten because our bodies simply haven’t learnt to cope with it in the relatively short time we have been consuming it.

              Symptoms include: sinusitis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fatigue caused by malabsorption of nutrients, diarrhoea, constipation, abdominal bloating, anaemia, depression and weight loss.

              Alternatives to wheat include corn, rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat.

              Foods that contain gluten are: Pastas; all baked goods such as pizzas, bread, biscuits and cakes, unless stated that they are gluten free. Fresh Earth sells wonderful gluten free breads, and some which are yeast free too. Remember to always read labels! Glutens are also hidden in many food items such as curry powders, tomato sauce, soups, sauces, processed cheese, sausages and even some medicines.

              Restaurants are starting to realise that people have allergies to foods such a glutens, and offer gluten-free alternatives. Such restaurants are Col Cacchios, who offer gluten-free, egg-free and yeast free pizzas as well as gluten-free pastas. Doppio Zero also do gluten-free pizzas as does Full Stop Cafe in Parkhurst. Kauai offers gluten-free wraps and other allergy-free options.

              Visit Dischem and health shops for gluten-free foods such as maize and rice pastas and gluten-free flours, which can be used to make breads, waffles, pizzas, cakes, biscuits, etc.


              The reason why yeast is a common food allergen is because we are exposed to it on a daily basis without even realising it. Yeast, is not just found in baked goods, but also in soya sauce (Vital makes a yeast-free soya sauce); stock cubes (the make Marigold is yeast and gluten free); breakfast cereals; cheese; buttermilk; yoghurt with fruit; wine; beer; cider; spreads such as Marmite and Bovril; tinned and packet soups; peanuts and peanut butter; berries; melons; cherries; figs and fruit juices; overripe fruit and dried fruit; grapes and raisins; mushrooms; olives; capers; sausages; vinegar and all pickled foods as well as some biltong (Some Koo beans contain vinegar such as butter beans and kidney beans); tomato sauce; mustard; Worcester sauce; coffee and some vitamin products. 

              Alcohol weakens the lining of the intestine and is therefore one of the main catalysts in type 3 food allergies. If you have food allergies you should reduce your alcohol intake. Vodka is the purest spirit and is therefore a good alternative to beer and wine. If you have an allergy to yeast, you should however avoid fruity drinks, such as cocktails and instead drink something like vodka, lime and soda. 


              Reactions to egg white are much more common than to egg yolk, presumably because of the protein in egg white, ovomucoid. Eczema is a common symptom of an egg allergy. If you have an allergy to egg you should be aware of terms like albumin, egg substitutes, globulin, livetin, lecithin, lysozyme, ovalbumin, ovomucin and ovovitellin when reading food labels and avoid them.

              Foods that contain egg include: breads and baked goods, chocolate and chocolate products, ice cream, puddings, nougat, pasta, sausages, mayonnaise, liquors, salad dressing, instant sauces and soups, condiments such as tomato sauce and mustard.


              Garlic is another tough food to avoid because most dishes these days contain it as it improves the flavour of the dish.

              Most Italian, Thai and Indian meals contain garlic as do most ready-made meals from Woolies.