Mikey and Sandy

I haven’t done a pet portrait for a while, but I had a lovely time drawing these two gorgeous puppies for an old friend. They had such gorgeous fur!

My friend asked me to include some red roses, as it was for her mother. There’s a little sprig of forget me nots, to remember Mikey, who passed away recently. It’s always nice to have a keepsake to remember a special friend.


Pumpkin, Cauliflower and Smoked Tofu Curry

I recently discovered smoked tofu, and it’s one of my new favourite foods. It has a lovely smoky, nutty flavour, and when fried, it has an almost “meaty” texture. It’s a very firm tofu, so holds it shape well for curries and stews.

If you can’t find smoked tofu, a normal firm tofu will also work well in this dish.

Gluten, dairy, nut, egg free. Contains soy. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians.


300g Smoked Tofu (I used Earnest Bean Smoked Tofu)

1 large brown onion, sliced.

1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom

1/2 tpeadspoon of ground coriander seeds

2 teaspoons of ground turmeric

1 teaspoon of dried ginger

1 tablespoon of tamarind paste

400 gram can of coconut milk

half a butternut pumpkin (other types of pumpkin will also work well), roughly chopped into 3cm cubes.

1/2 a cauliflower, roughly chopped

1 bunch of English spinach, roots removed, and chopped.

salt to taste

vegetable oil


Cut tofu into 1cm strips. In a large pot, shallow fry tofu until golden in oil about 1/2cm deep, until lightly golden. Remove from pot.

Slice onion, and fry on medium heat in remaining oil for a few minutes, until it starts to soften. Add dried spices, and fry for another minute. Add peeled and chopped pumpkin (about 3cm cubes) to the pot, and stir through.

Pour in coconut milk, and turn to low heat. Cook covered for about 3 minutes. Add roughly chopped cauliflower. Simmer covered for 10 minutes.

Place spinach on top of curry. Cover for 2 minutes, and simmer. Stir through wilted spinach and tamarind paste. Remove from heat.

Stir through cooked tofu, add salt to taste, and serve with steamed rice.

Low Food Chemical Beef and Leek Stew

A couple of years ago, we had to follow a strict low food chemical diet – low salicylates, amines and glutamates. We are still cautious as we have food intolerances, so this recipe is a winter staple in our house.

The vegetables and seasonings are all low in natural food chemicals. To keep the meat low in amines, it is important to get the meat as fresh as possible – from the butcher, not the supermarket. It’s also important not to cook the meat for too long, so a slow cooker is not suitable for this dish. To compensate for this I’ve used a better cut of meat, to ensure it is still tender. If you need low amines, freeze any left overs immediately, as the amine levels will increase if left ever night in the fridge.

Despite the limited ingredients, this is a very flavoursome stew, and simple to make. Carrots contain a moderate amount of salicylates, so for a strict low chemical diet, leave them out.

Gluten, dairy, nut, egg and legume free. Low in amines, salicylates and glutamates


1kg of rump steak, cut into 2cm cubes, lightly coated in gluten free plain flour

2 sticks of celery

3 leeks

2 carrots

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil

1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar

Pinch of citric acid

Salt to taste

1 cup of water

finely chopped parsley


Finely dice leeks, celery and carrot.

Saute vegetables in two tablespoons of oil, until tender. Remove from pan.

Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the same pan. On high heat, quickly brown the meat for a couple of minutes, until fully sealed. Turn heat to medium.

Return vegetables to pan, with a cup of water, brown sugar, and a tiny pinch of citric acid (be careful to only add a tiny amount. A little goes a long way). Cook with lid on, for about 10 minutes, until meat is cooked through. Simmer with the lid off for another 2-3 minutes to reduce.

Season with salt to taste. Garnish with small amount of finely chopped parsley if desired.

Potato and Cauliflower Soup, with Kale Salsa Verde

It is definitely soup weather in Sydney this week! This is a simple, comforting soup, perfect for rainy days. My children love the mild flavour of the soup on its own. I prefer it with the kale salsa verde to give it a bit of kick.


Potato and cauliflower Soup


6 large potatoes, peeled
5 sticks of celery
2 leeks
1/2 a cauliflower
4 tablespoons of olive oil
Vegetable stock or salt and pepper
Soy Milk or cream if desired


Finely chop celery and leeks. Sauté in olive oil on medium heat in a large pot, for about 5 minutes, until it’s starts to become golden.
Roughly chop potatoes and cauliflower. Add to pot. Add about 6 cups of water or stock, until vegetables are completely covered.
Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, until vegetables are very tender.
Purée with a stick blender until smooth. For extra creaminess, you can stir through 1 cup of soy milk or cream, but it’s fine to leav this out if you prefer. Drizzle with olive oil and Kale Salsa Verde to serve

Kale Salsa Verde

One bunch of Kale, with stems fully removed
One clove of garlic
Juice from half a lemon
Dried chilli flakes
4 tablespoons of olive oil


Sauté smashed and peeled garlic clove in 2 table spoons of olive oil. Add kale, and cook for about 5 minutes, until the kale is tender. Cover for a few minutes.

In a blender, add cooked kale and garlic, dried chilli (to taste) salt and remaining olive oil. Blend until smooth.

This salsa works well with a variety of soups, and is also great with avocado and eggs for breakfast.

Banana and Coconut Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce

This is one of my children’s favourite weekend breakfasts. Gluten free pancakes can be a little tricky to master, but they can be just as delicious as wheat based pancakes. The coconut milk can be substituted for soy milk if you prefer.

These pancakes are best cooked on low heat, and when you have the time to be patient. Perfect for Sunday mornings.

Gluten, dairy, nut, and soy free. Contains Egg.



1 cup gluten free plain flour

2 eggs

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 banana

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 cup of fresh blueberries

Nuttelex or vegetable oil for frying pan


Put flour into a bowl, and make a well in the centre.

In a separate bowl, beat two eggs, and stir in coconut and vanilla.

Pour egg mixture into flour, and mix well with a spoon, until most lumps are gone (a few little ones are fine).

Mash the banana with a fork, and stir into pancake batter. Mixture will be slightly thicker then traditional pancake batter.

In a small frying pan on low heat, melt approximately 1 teaspoon of nuttlex. Ensure the pan is well coated.

Spoon in enough batter to make a pancake about 15cm in diameter. The pancake is ready to turn when small bubbles rise to the surface, and it can be flipped without the top layer pouring off (see pictures).

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Once turned, cook for another minute, so that both sides are golden.

The batter makes about 6-7 pancakes.

When all the pancakes are cooked, add blueberries and maple syrup to the pan. Heat through for 1 minute. Pour over pancakes and serve. My children prefer their blueberries raw so they have them on top with plain syrup. Also very yummy!