It’s not easy being green… Making all the green things, plus Zucchini Brownies!

We’ve had some big changes this year. First my oldest changed schools. A couple of weeks later, after lots of planning and meetings with her medical team, my middle child was able to join him and started her first year of school. So exciting, and plenty scary, but she is so happy about it.

So now, for the first time in a few years (!) I suddenly have a couple of spare hours during the day when the baby is asleep. As any parent knows, there is no time to waste once the baby is sleeping. It’s off to the studio, cup of tea in hand, and straight to work!

At the moment, I am not sure what direction my work will take. There will definitely be some colouring pages. But mainly, I just need to make all the things, and see what comes out of it. I’m focusing on colour, foliage and florals.

For the past two weeks, it’s been all about leafy greens. I can NEVER work on just one piece, so here’s a snap shot of what I’m making…

Since I’m all about green at the moment, I thought I’d throw in a recipe for our latest family favourite – Zucchini Brownies! I got this idea from a friend (thank you Mel), who swore the zucchini was undetectable, and she was right! I usually replace half the sugar with 1/2 a cup of granulated stevia, or you can just stick to regular sugar.

Zucchini Brownies

2 cups of gluten free self raising flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of cocoa

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of finely grated zucchini

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 tablespoon of soy milk

1/2 tsp of salt

Instructions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a large bowl
  2. Pour in oil, eggs, and vanilla, and mix until just combined.
  3. Add grated zucchini and stir through
  4. Pour mixture into greased baking tray, and bake at 170 degrees for about 30 minutes.

 

Vegan rice, quinoa and chia balls (gluten free)

 

Gluten, dairy, nut and egg free. Vegan

About 6 months ago, my 8 year old son made the choice to become a vegetarian. In a household that is gluten, dairy, nut and legume free, this presented a few challenges! Together, he and I have worked on a few new recipes that would suit our family, and this one has become a firm favourite!

These rice, chia and quinoa balls are extremely versatile. We’ve made little ones to serve with dipping sauce as canapés, large ones squashed flat to replace burger patties, medium ones to replace meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, or we just eat them with a side salad for dinner. You could also add other vegetables to the mix, like cooked peas or soy beans if they are suitable for your family.

We make a large batch, and the freeze the leftovers. This recipe is enough for about 20 balls.

Ingredients

3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of cooked quinoa
2 carrots
2 zucchinis
2 tsp of salt (it sounds like a lot, but most of this is squeezed away)
3 tablespoons of chia seeds
9 tablespoons of water
1/2 – 1 cup of rice crumbs or other suitable breadcrumb
1 tsp of vegetable based stock powder if desired
Canola or olive oil to shallow fry

Instructions

  1. Finely grate carrots and zucchinis
  2. Sprinkle salt on the grated vegetables, and mix through well with your hands. Allow to sit for 10 minutes
  3. While waiting, combine the chia seeds with the water, and allow to soak.
  4. Squeeze as much of water out of the grated vegetables as possible.
  5. Combine rice, quinoa, chia seeds, vegetables (and stock powder if you choose) in a large bowl. Knead together with your hands until well mixed.
  6. Gradually add bread crumbs, while continuing to mix. You may need a little more bread crumbs, depending on how much water you were able to squeeze out of the vegetables. If you want to add peas or soy beans, add them at this point so they don’t get squashed. Add enough bread crumbs, that you can easily roll the mixture into balls. It will still be a bit sticky.
  7. Roll into roughly tablespoon sized balls.
  8. On medium heat, shallow fry until golden on both sides.

Enjoy!

Gluten free Apple and quinoa porridge

This simple porridge was a staple for me throughout winter, and I’m still enjoying it during spring. As an extra bonus, it makes an excellent second stage baby food.

Apples, vanilla and cinnamon provide natural sweetness. Eating the apples unpeeled and grated in this recipe ensures that the higher amounts of antioxidants and phenolic compounds in the skin of the apple are retained. I use a fine grater if using it for baby food.

I like to have mine with a handful of seeds on top, and possibly a drizzle of honey if I’m in the mood for something sweet, but I skip these if the baby is sharing some.
Ingredients:

1/3 cup of rolled quinoa
1 apple, grated
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1 cup of dairy or calcium fortified soy milk (or preferred milk)
1 tbsp of pepita and sunflower seeds
1 teaspoon of honey if desired
Method:

  1. Combine quinoa and milk in a small saucepan. Simmer on medium heat, stirring regularly for 3 min.
  2. Add grated apple and cinnamon and simmer for a further 3 minutes.
  3. Serve sprinkled with seeds, and a drizzle of honey if desired.

 

 

Sorghum “Buttermilk” Scones – gluten, dairy, egg and nut free

It’s a cold, gloomy day in Sydney today. Perfect baking weather! I’ve been playing around with this recipe for a while, and I think I’ve finally nailed it. These scones have the comforting density and softness of a traditional scone, with a subtle buttermilk flavour. They make an awesome afternoon tea, or are great to dip into soup.

You may wonder, why bother with fake buttermilk? The main reason is that it act as as a leavening agent, improving the texture of the scone. This is particularly important when baking with gluten free flours. A higher protein milk is ideal, as the milk needs protein to curdle. I generally use soy, but you can use oat, rice, or a nut based milk, depending on what is safe for you. You can use coconut, but it will not curdle. However, the coconut milk will add richness, and the acidity from the vinegar will still work as a leavening agent.

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour blend (doesn’t matter which type)
1 1/2 cups of sorghum flour
1 tbsp of baking powder
2 tsp of xanthan gum
1 tbsp of sugar
6 tbsp of dairy free margarine
1 cup of dairy free milk
1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees
  2. Add vinegar to the milk, and leave for 10 minutes. The milk will thicken and seperate – totally normal!
  3. Combine the the flour, packing powder, xanthan gum and sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Rub the margarine into the flour, until it resembles bread crumbs (you can use your fingers, or a kitchen aid for this).
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  5. Add in the milk mixture, and combine to make a soft dough. If the dough sticks to your fingers, add a little more flour.
  6. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 2cm.
  7. Cut out the scones with a cookie cutter. A 7cm cookie cutter will make about 12 scones.
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  8. Place scones on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 6 minutes, then turn and bake for another 6 minutes.
  9. Serve warm with the topping of your choice!

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Food Allergy Awareness Week… Plus Muffins! (Top 8 allergen free)

This week is Food Allegy Awareness week. It’s feeling rather poignant at the moment, as this week I sent off my little girl to childcare, for the first time since she was accidentally given dairy there a couple of weeks ago. So I wrote this, feeling slightly sick, with an undercurrent of anxiety at the thought of her being there again.

We were “lucky” this time. She didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction. She had one sip of milk, immediately coughed, then started vomiting. She threw up several times for the next few hours, and then spent the next week with abdominal cramps and an upset stomach. All from one tiny sip. It is scary to think of what may have happened had she ingested a bit more.

My little girl was understandably scared about returning, and it’s taken a lot of reassurance to convince her that it will be safe there. Of course, we’ve had multiple conversations with the childcare director, about how to ensure this won’t happen again. We needed a new risk management plan, ensuring that someone sits with her during meals, and that she cannot access the dairy milk the other children are drinking. Lots of conversations at home, about always checking, before she eats or drinks anything. It’s a lot of responsibility for a four year old.

To help her feel safe when she returned today, she asked for a special lunch box from home. As her centre is egg free, she couldn’t take any of her usual bread, so I baked these muffins as an alternative. They are free of the top 8 major allergens – peanuts, treenuts, dairy, shellfish, fish, soy, wheat and egg.

Chocolate and Banana Muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients

1 cup of gluten free self raising flour
1 cup of sorghum flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of xanthan gum
2 tbsp of raw cacao
2 tbsp of brown sugar
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup of melted nuttelex
1 1/4 cups of rice milk

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  3. Make a well in the centre, and pour in rice milk, nuttelex and mashed banana.
  4. Mix with a spoon until well combined.
  5. Spoon mixture into well greased muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes. Muffins are cooked with the top springs back, and they start to seperate from the sides if the muffin tin.

These muffins will keep for a few days, but may need a quick refresh for a few seconds in the microwave after the second day.