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.
3 cups of cooked brown rice
1 cup of cooked quinoa
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
Finely grate carrots and zucchinis
Sprinkle salt on the grated vegetables, and mix through well with your hands. Allow to sit for 10 minutes
While waiting, combine the chia seeds with the water, and allow to soak.
Squeeze as much of water out of the grated vegetables as possible.
Combine rice, quinoa, chia seeds, vegetables (and stock powder if you choose) in a large bowl. Knead together with your hands until well mixed.
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.
Roll into roughly tablespoon sized balls.
On medium heat, shallow fry until golden on both sides.
I love Autumn. Gorgeous sunny days, that aren’t too hot. Crunchy leaves under your feet. Best of all, I can start making yummy wintery food.
Today it’s meatballs, one of my son’s favourites. These meatballs work in a variety of dishes. My son loves them cooked in passata with spaghetti, or packed cold in his school lunches. Today I’m making a basic tomato and bean soup to have with them.
gluten, dairy, nut, egg and soy free
500g lean beef mince
1 medium carrot
2 celery sticks
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of quinoa flakes
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
1/2 teaspoon of dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon of dried turmeric
2 tins of tomatoes
1 tin of cannellini beans
1 tin of borlotti beans
2 cups of chicken stock (if I don’t have any home made, I use Massell, as it is gluten and dairy free)
1 teaspoon of sugar
3 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
Fresh basil leaves
Finely dice the onion, and then gently fry in a tablespoon of olive oil, until soft.
Grate the carrots and zucchini and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave to sit for 10 minutes. Squeeze out all of the water from them and place in a large bowl.
Combine vegetables, mince, spices, and quinoa in the bowl, and mix with your hands until well combined. Roll into balls about 1 tablespoon in size.
Fry on medium heat in remaining olive oil until cooked through (about 10 minutes). Be gentle when turning. They will hold together, but are not quite as robust as meatballs bound with eggs and breadcrumbs.
Cheaty Tomato and Bean soup
This soup is cheaty, because I’m using tins. You can be diligent and soak and boil your own beans, but I am not always that organised!
Smash up tinned tomatoes with a fork. Add tomatoes and stock to a large pot, with garlic clove, sugar and bay leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove bay leaves and garlic. Drain and rinse beans, add to pot and simmer for a couple more minutes until heated through.
Add a few meat balls to the top, and serve with some fresh chopped basil. It is nice with parmesan cheese if you can eat dairy, but it’s just as yummy without.
Easter is a tricky time for families with allergies. There is the never ending quest to find allergy friendly Easter eggs. When we find them, we buy them immediately because you never know when you will find them again! It’s easy enough to get nut free chocolate, or dairy free chocolate, but trying to find chocolate that covers both allergies (plus gluten free) can be a bit of a challenge. In the end, we found Alpha hunting eggs for the Easter egg hunt, and a large Kinnerton’s Easter egg for my daughter – all gluten, dairy and nut free.
We woke early, and the children had an Easter egg hunt. We don’t buy a lot of chocolate, as its hard to get so I bought some plastic eggs, and filled them with little treats (tiny bracelets, shopkins, and some little minions figurines). After the hunt, the children sat down to eat some chocolate for breakfast, while I got started on our Easter lunch.
We have a tradition of spending Easter Sunday with our Goddaughter and her parents. This year it was our turn to host and prepare an Easter feast. We decided on a big pot of chicken and coconut milk noodle soup.
I love this soup. It’s one of my favourite things to prepare and eat. There is a lot of chopping involved, but I find it quite relaxing, and enjoy the preparation. There’s something quite meditative about spending all that time chopping! It’s a nice dish to have on the weekend, when you can take some extra time to make it. I also love that people can choose what to add to it, and really make the dish their own.
Chicken and Coconut Noodle Soup
1 piece of Galangal, about 5cm long
1 large chunk of Ginger, bout 5 cm long
2 fresh Turmeric roots
3 cloves of Garlic
2 Lemongrass stalks
4 Kaffir lime leaves
2 medium or one large free range chicken
4 tins of light coconut cream
2 table spoons fish sauce
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons of Cumin powder
2 teaspoons of dried coriander powder
Coriander root and stalks, finely chopped
Coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 of an iceberg lettuce or cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 Cucumbers, peeled and cut into narrow sticks
Green beans or snake beans, cut into 0.5cm pieces
1 cup of finely sliced mushrooms
Deep fried shallots (available at Asian grocer)
Dried chilli flakes
2 limes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Two tomatoes, diced (you can subsitute this for two fresh chillies, if you like some extra heat)
Fine Vermicelli Rice noodles
The first stage – Making the Stock
This stock is boiled twice, to create a clearer broth. You can skip this step if you wish, but the soup with be fattier and more gelatinous.
Place whole chicken in a very large pot. Fill with water until completely submerged. Bring to the boil, and simmer on low heat for an hour. Take off the stove, and pour away the water. Refill with fresh water, and return to the stove to simmer.
Take the lemongrass stalks, hit them with a meat mallet a few times to release the flavour. Peel the turmeric, ginger and galangal and cut into small chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Chop the coriander root and stalks. Add to the pot, and simmer for two hours.
(While the stock is cooking, you can move to the second stage, and start chopping!)
After 2 hours, carefully remove the chicken from the pot, and place in a fine strainer sitting over a large pot (to catch any of the stock pouring off the chicken). Remove the skin, shred the chicken meat with a fork, and place in a separate bowl. Discard bones.
Pour the stock through the strainer, into the second pot. Discard strained items. Once the stock has settled, you can skim any fat off the top if you wish.
The second stage – Preparing the ingredients for the soup
This is the most time consuming part of the preparation. I normally do this while the stock is cooking. You basically want all of the vegetables chopped as finely as possible, so that they lightly cook when the boiling hot soup in poured on top.
Peel and julienne the carrots as finely as you can.
Peel and cut the cucumber into narrow sticks
Cut the ends off the beans, and then cut into small pieces, roughly 0.5cm long.
Finely slice the mushrooms
finely shred the lettuce
finely chop the coriander leaves
Arrange on a tray, ready for people to serve themselves once the soup is ready.
The third stage – prepare noodles
boil a large pot of water for the noodles. Once boiling, turn off the heat, and add noodles. Leave for a few minutes, until noodles are soft, then drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again.
Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour in 1 table spoon of olive oil, and mix through with your fingers. Pull out small handfuls of noodles, and arrange into small piles, ready as a single serve for each soup bowl.
Stage Four – Soup
Finely slice shallots. Add to a large pot, with ground cumin, ground coriander, kafir lime leaves and two tablespoons of oil. Cook on low heat for one minute. Add stock, diced tomatoes and fish sauce, a litre of water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, and simmer for another 5 min. Squeeze in roughly half a lime. Season to taste.
Each person takes a large bowl, and adds their desired ingredients from the chopped vegetables, noodles, and shredded chicken. Ladle the boiling soup over the top. Add fried shallots, dried chilli and a squeeze of lime as desired. Enjoy!