Dairy free, Dips and Appetizers, Gluten free, Mains, Sugar free, Vegan

Healthy Asian Broth with Zoodles (low fat, low carb, gluten free, vegan)

Healthy Asian Broth

Healthy Asian Broth

I’ve always liked Asian cuisines for their explosion of flavours, but since transitioning to a largely plant-based diet, I really appreciate curries, stir-fries, and Asian-style soups! The variety of fresh herbs, spices and vegetables in combination with rice or noodles and potentially some tofu or tempeh (if you tolerate soy) or quorn (if not strictly vegan) ensures maximum satisfaction sans meat and is a great option for when herbivores and omnivores get together as it will please to all tastebuds.

This is my express version of a Vietnamese pho as it were. Of course, this is not a traditional pho, but it’s the quickest and easiest and -dare I say, healthiest- pho you’ll ever make. You can also just call it a broth. Depending on size and add-ons, this could be a quick lunch, afternoon pick-me-up, small starter or a bigger, comforting meal. For this particular version, I used “zoodles” (spiralized zucchini) to ramp up the veggie content and save my carbs for something else. But if you crave carbs, you could easily use rice or soba noodles. When it comes to the protein, I used quorn, but depending on your preferences and dietary requirements, you can of course use tofu, tempeh, chicken, beef, seafood or simply add more of your favourite vegetables. When it comes to cooking, recipes are generally just a matrix – you can mix and match!

Serves 2-4

oil for frying (can use water, tamari or stock instead if oil-free)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, grated (can be omitted)
1 l organic vegetable stock
400 g vegetables of choice
2 celery stalks, chopped
200-400 g protein of choice, cooked, prepared and cubed (quorn, tofu, tempeh, meat, fish….)
dash of lemon juice
zoodles/rice noodles/soba to taste, prepared
fresh chili, to serve
fresh coriander, to serve

Heat the oil, if using, in a nonstick frying pan, and add the garlic and ginger if using. Turn the heat down and fry spices until soft and aromatic. Add stock, bring to a simmer, then add vegetables and zoodles/noodles. Simmer for a few minutes, then add your prepared protein. Finish with lemon juice and serve with chilli and coriander.


Breakfast, Dairy free, Desserts, Soy free, Sugar free, Vegan

Tropical Superfood Shake

Immune-boosting supershake

Immune-boosting supershake

Anyone who has ever lived in Melbourne or has spent some time in this city knows that the weather here is pretty -ahem- moody, to say the least. Temperature differences of up to 20 degrees from one day to the next are not a rarity! Needless to say your immunity gets quite a good workout all year round which is why it is extra important to get those greens in!

I love smoothies and shakes as they are so filling and satisfying without clogging your stomach and you can put all the goodness you want in them in just a couple of minutes flat! They are my go-to breakfast if I don’t have time to prepare porridge or just crave something light before a workout. Smoothies also work great as an afternoon pick-me-up and I tend to put my supplements such as probiotics and maca powder in them. And because their texture is so creamy and luscious I always have the feeling I’m devouring a naughty icecream when I am actually consuming concentrated goodness!

I usually make a shake/smoothie (bowl) every day and experiment with different flavour combinations. I love this one as it is sooo good for you yet tastes really sweet and creamy thanks to banana and mango! It is also completely vegan while giving the impression you are having a milkshake. You can add some vegan protein powder to ramp up the protein. I happened to have a lot of kale and spinach from my vegetable box delivery so to prevent them from going bad, I actually washed and chopped the kale and spinach and froze them in individual portions in ziploc bags! This way, I always have some frozen greens as a “smoothie kit”. You can of course use fresh kale/spinach. The same goes for bananas. I think everyone should have frozen chopped bananas in the freezer at any given time but if you only happen to have fresh bananas like I did at the time, it’s completely fine to use a fresh banana and some icecubes.

Makes 1 generous portion

250 ml “liquid” (I used half water and half oragne juice, but coconut water, your favourite juice or your plant milk of choice would all be great options)
1 large ripe banana, frozen and chopped, or fresh plus a handfull of icecubes
1-2 handfulls kale and/or spinach, frozen or fresh
green powder, maca, probiotic powder etc. (optional)

Blend all ingredients in a high powered blender until smooth (it might take a couple of rounds of blending).


Breakfast, Cakes, biscuits and co, Dairy free, Desserts, Gluten free, Soy free, Sugar free

Paleo Berry and Chia Clafoutis (low carb, low fat, grain free, dairy free)

Low Carb Low Fat Clafoutis

Low Carb Low Fat Clafoutis

It seems I have a thing for French desserts at the moment – or rather, my take on them. While I love the timeless finesse that French desserts exude, a little makeover never goes astray, especially if it’s as delicious as this one! I must admit, I wasn’t exactly on a quest to create a “paleo” dessert. That whole paleo thing is so 2013 for me, but this take on clafoutis just happens to be that – paleo. Without getting into all the intricacies of the “paleo” diet, it simply means that there is no nasties in here, no wheat, dairy, soy, refined sugar or oils. As far as this goes, I think we can all use a bit of paleo in our life.

The thought about making clafoutis has been at the back of my mind for a while – actually, ever since I saw a recipe for cherry clafoutis in my French text book at high school. (Which, sadly, is a long time ago now. Very long.) Ever since then, clafoutis recipes have been popping up in magazines. and, naturellement, on the internet. This recipe is my own little invention. There is low-carb, fibre-rich coconut flour instead of conventional flours and starches, stevia instead of sugar, cashew mylk instead of milk, and no fat, oil or butter (I did grease the mould but dare I say that the amount of fat used is rather negligible). It contains eggs, so is sadly not suitable for vegans, but a) we get fresh free range eggs from my parents-in-law’s farm every few days, b) I had to use up the egg yolk from my chocolate mousse recipe (coming soon) (what a pathetic excuse). I’m gonna vegan-ify this one day, promise, but meanwhile you could try use an egg replacer or chia eggs or flax eggs.

I like my clafoutis so much that I will never go back to any other recipe. It is also very versatile – you can use any fruit, any milk and any sweetener you like, and you could use flax instead of chia. This little delight is as good as impressive dessert to impress guests as it is as for afternoon tea or even a satisfying breakfast – all this knowing that you are devouring a treat that is not going to blow your calorie budget (something you can’t say about French desserts), and that is a winner on the health front. Plus, it looks pretty.

4 individual clafoutis

2 tbsp coconut flour
2 tbsp ground chia seeds or chia meal
4 tbsp stevia
pinch of Maldon sea salt
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
300 ml plant milk (I used cashew)
fruit of choice (approx. one cup, red fruit are a great option)

Preheat oven to 180 °C and prepare four individual ramekins or mini tart dishes. Mix the dry ingredients (coconur flour, chia seeds, stevia, sea salt) in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and carefully fold in the eggs and yolk until mixed in. Beat in milk until you reach a homogenic consistency. Divide fruit between the four dishes and spread batter over the fruit. Bake for about 40-45 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.


Gluten free, Sides, Soy free, Vegan

Maple Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries and Pepitas

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glaze

Think you hate Brussels sprouts? You are hardly alone. To be honest, it never really occurred to me to prepare Brussels sprouts. Even my love for broccoli and cauliflower is fairly recent, but Brussels sprouts hadn’t been on my agenda until I tried them at my grandparents-in-law’s house. I was so blown away by how tasty they were that I decided to pick up a bag on my next shopping round – and apparently I’m right on trend as Brussels sprouts were featured in the recent food issue of our local newspaper as retro vegetables having a come-back (along with beetroot and silverbeet).

While my hubby’s nonna uses oodles of garlic and oil to make vegetables tasty, I came up with a different approach, namely a balsamic maple glaze with cranberries and pepitas. The sweet and sour combination of the maple syrup and the balsamic together with tart cranberries and crunchy pepitas offset the cabbage-y flavour of the sprouts which become a scrumptious caramelised melt-in-your-mouth side dish or snack. The fact alone that half a cup of sprouts accounts for one fifth of your daily folate requirements should be reason enough to give these guys a chance – but this recipe will win over even the most ardent sprouts hater.

Serves 4

250 g Brussels sprouts, halved
125 g fresh or frozen cranberries
125 ml balsamic vinegar, divided
2 tsp maple syrup, divided
50 g pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Preheat oven to 200 °C and line a braking tray with baking paper. Combine half the vinegar and half the syrup in a bowl and toss sprouts and berries to coat. Spread evenly on to the baking tray and roast until the Brussels sprouts start to brown, about ten to 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the remaining vinegar and syrup. Carefully take the tray out of the oven, turn the sprouts and berries and sprinkle with the vinegar mixture. Return to the oven and rost for another ten to 15 minutes until sprouts are just tender.


Dairy free, Gluten free, Mains, Soy free, Sugar free, Vegan

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

Vegan Lentil Bolognese

The idea of making a vegan “Bolognese” with legumes has been at the back of my mind for some time, and while the concept is not exactly new, I think I have come up with quite a cracker recipe which will convince even the most ardent meat lover! At the point of making this, I had run out of diced tomatoes in my pantry (yes, it happens). I had neither the time nor the inclination to run out to the shops and get some so I used the last bit of Maggie Beer tomato sauce we had in the fridge. And since the result was divine, this is the best proof that you don’t need a tin of tomatoes or a jar of marinara sauce if you make bolognese (you’ll be hard-pressed to find a recipe for bolognese on the net, vegetarian or not, which doesn’t include a tin of tomatoes or a jar of marinara sauce).

Back to the vegan bolognese – you won’t miss anything in here. My husband, an avid meat eater, loved it and simply couldn’t believe there was no meat in it. This is comfort food at its best, and at the same time full of goodies while being very low in fat. Your vegan/vegetarian and omnivore friends will be raving alike. Serve it with gluten free pasta like I did (photo) or “voodles” (spiralised vegetables) and it’s gluten free as well. So what inspired me to make a lentil bolognese?

While mushrooms or quorn mince would be an obvious choice, there had to be a more cost-effective solution. I love the effect legumes have on my blood sugar and satiety levels – I don’t so much love their effect on my gut, but I found the “smaller” the legume the more easily digested, hence lentils are usually my legume of choice (they taste friggin’ delicious too). I love kidney beans and chickpeas, but if I have too much of them, they just about kill me (or rather, my bowels). Of course I know the spiel about soaking and phytic acid and blabla, but I couldn’t find a huge difference between soaking dry lentils and just rinsing organic tinned ones very well, and if in doubt, I always opt for the easier and quicker option but it is of course up to you if and how you prepare your lentils.

With all this being said, you would assume that lentils are the hero of this dish, but they are actually not…it’s celery! What the…? Well, I have to admit I’ve never liked celery all that much, especially in its raw version. In fact, celery is probably the only vegetable I couldn’t eat raw to save myself (something I inherited from my mum). So while I have recently found a new organic box delivery service which I really like, their inclusion of celery in the last box was a bit of a letdown for me at first. But an unknown vegetable for the amateur chef is like a new country to the devoted adventurer, so I knew I had to experiment. My internet search about the uses of celery only yielded raw salad recipes – three strikes, I was out. I had to do it without the help of Uncle Google. I knew that soups and stocks usually contain traces of celery, so I figured if I just cooked it long enough, maybe it would act a bit like vegetable stock without imposing the (imho yucky) raw flavour of celery. Bingo! This bolognese tasted so rich and just had this certain “je ne sais quoi”, and since I don’t cook with onions, I knew it had to be the celery which lended this dish “a depth of flavour”, according to my hubby.

So I’ll be sure to include celery more often in my creations. You never stop learning, do you?

2 generous portions

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 or 2 carrots, grated or finely sliced
1 celery stalkk, very finely sliced
1 tin organic brown lentils, drained and rinsed very well (or sub other legumes)
a dash of tomato sauce or tomato paste or diced tomatoes (amount depends on your preferences)
250-350 ml good vegetable stock
basil, oregano, salt, pepper and any other herbs and spices of choice
other vegetables of choice (optional) (mushrooms are a great choice)
nutritional yeast (optional)

Make sure to have all the ingredients readily prepared or otherwise your garlic will burn while you are still slicing the celery! Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the garlic and fry for a few minutes until soft. Add carrots, celery and lentils and heat through for another few minutes, than add the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the desired consistency is reached. Adjust the amount of stock according to your preferences. Stir in the nutritional yeast for a lovely cheesy flavour. Season to taste and serve with gluten free pasta or voodles. (I’ve got no idea how long this stuff lasts and if it tastes better the next day – we finished it in one sitting!)



Dairy free, Gluten free, Mains, Sugar free, Vegan

Tempeh Curry (vegan, gluten free, low carb, low fat)

vegan tempeh curry

vegan tempeh curry

There’s something about curries on a Friday night, isn’t it? I know so many folks – us included – for who Friday night means snuggling up on the couch with a favourite Thai or Indian takeout and a good bottle of wine. It is as if all the stress of the week just disappears with a bowl of steaming, fragrant curry. So warm, comforting and satisfying! I have to admit, I love our local Thai (and judging from the Menulog reviews, I’m not the only one), but I also love to know what’s in my food and while takeaway-wise you can certainly do worse than Asian, it doesn’t hurt to make your own version of it once in a while – which is also more cost-effective.

While this recipe is by no means traditional and doesn’t claim to be, it is nonetheless yummy, filling, and very easy, quick and cost-effective to prepare. I don’t know about you, but that’s big ticks in my book! In any case, it is prepared more quickly than the arrival time of the average takeaway so if you are like us and starving on a Friday night, here we go! Granted, you don’t get a free can of soda like you get with our Thai, but maybe it’s better that way (it goes much better with a glass of good red, preferably organic, of course). Plus, you can rest assured that there’s no nasties in there, and that it will please herbivores and omnivores alike. It is low carb if you serve it with my new discovery that is cauliflower rice, and it is also very low in fat if you use almond or other plant milk instead of coconut milk. Needless to say, it is gluten free like anything on this blog, and it is also vegan (although you can use meat or fish instead of the tempeh).

Which leads me to the next topic – yes, tempeh is soy. Yes, this blog is meant to be soy free and I generally advise to stay away from soy. BUT – tempeh is actually fermented soy, which along with miso and natto is soy as it is meant to be (and how Asians consume it). The fermentation improves the digestibility of soy and according to a study the bioavailability of calcium in tempeh is higher than in cow’s milk! So how about telling that a dairy-proponent when they ask “But where do you get your calcium from?” While popular soy products such as tofu and soy milk give me terrible digestive distress, I never have any issues with the underrated tempeh, so I would recommend trying it if you usually have problems with soy. I just love that it is so versatile. Just pan-fry it for a few minutes and it is ready to go. Due to its neutral flavour, it absorbs other flavours easily, meaning you can marinate it in your favourite sauce, and it is a great filler for soups, salads and sandwiches to bulk up the protein.

Now, given that I’m a health nut, I am admittedly quite late to jump on the cauliflower rice bandwagon. But after trying this recipe, I am hooked! I’d highly recommend trying for yourself. The best thing for me – almost better than the calorie saving and the health benefits – is that cauliflower rice is quicker to prepare than traditional rice! And while we’re at it, did you know you can use cauliflower to make cauliflower mash to replace potato mash? Have you tried roasting the florets and having them as a much healthier, tastier and more easily digested snack alternative to nuts? You can try roasted cauliflower as a delish addition to your favourite salad, and if you are into creamy pasta sauces, there is this absolutely cracking recipe for a vegan paleo alfredo sauce that doesn’t call for cream, coconut, bucket loads of cashews or silken tofu, simply by achieving a creamy “alfredo” style sauce with cauliflower, plant milk and nutritional yeast! I used verjuice instead of the wine and added some mushrooms – yum! So the question is – what CAN’T you do with cauliflower? (It doesn’t drive you to work, I suppose)

Please don’t get me wrong – this is not a crusade against carbs! I don’t advocate a very low carb diet, and you can do this recipe great justice by adding your usual rice. But one cup of cauliflower provides 90% of your daily vitamin C, along with vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid, potassium, and manganese. Not shabby! Especially now in the shoulder season where an extra dose of vitamins and minerals never goes astray. Add to that a heap of fresh vegetables, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant spices and antiviral coconut oil, and you know why this curry makes you feel so good!

Serves 4-6

1 tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped (leave out for low FODMAP)
1 tbsp minced garlic (great against candida, but leave out for low FODMAP)
half a tbsp turmeric
half a tbsp chili powder
half a tbsp curry powder (feel free to add any other spices you like – this is what I had in the cupboard and it goes a long way)
2 400 g tins diced tomatoes, not drained
250 ml vegetable stock
100 ml plant milk of choice
half a head of cauliflower, chopped into small florets (you can use the other half of the cauliflower for your rice)
500 g vegetables of choice (broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, capsicum…), all cut into 1 inch pieces
300 g tempeh, cut into half inch pieces

Melt the oil in a large heavy-bottom saucepan, add the onions and garlic if using as well as the spices and fry for a few minutes until the onion and garlic are soft and the spices are fragrant. Add more oil or water if necessary. Add the diced tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and stir in the milk once it has cooled slightly. Throw in all the veggies and simmer until the veggies are cooked to your liking. Double check the sauce and correct the spices if necessary – add more if too bland or tone it down with some milk if too spicy.

Meanwhile, prepare your rice and the tempeh. Marinate the tempeh in your favourite sauce such as tamari, then pan-fry (no oil needed) from all sides until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Serve the curry with your choice of rice (I recommend cauliflower rice!) and add the tempeh on top or mix it all in. Tatses great straight away and even better the next day!



Cakes, biscuits and co, Dairy free, Desserts, Gluten free, Soy free, Sugar free, Vegan

Healthy Twix Bar (grain free, sugar free, vegan, paleo, low fat)

Healthy Twix Bar

Healthy Twix Bar

Who doesn’t love a Twix bar? The combination of a crumbly biscuit, gooey caramel and creamy chocolate certainly never goes astray. Shame only that the original Twix bar is so full of sugar and industrial oils – not to mention that for us gluten free folks, it is off-limits anyway. So I thought I come to your rescue and create a healthy version of this popular treat.

As part of my subscription to a monthly box with organic goodies, I was regaled with a packet of coconut flour recently. Though by no means a coconut flour newbie, I have experimented a bit with the stuff lately and just love how it is so easy to create yummy and healthy goodies with it. As it sucks up all the moisture of any other ingredients you mix it with, it is also a great staple for lowfat baking as mixing it with mashed banana or apple sauce yields terrific results. Once I had nailed my shortcrust base, it was time to think of the caramel (knowing that I would use my favourite Lindt chocolate as topping). So it came in handy that Minimalist Baker has this recipe for making a one-ingredient date caramel. A one-ingredient date caramel ticks all my boxes for healthy, easy and yummy delicacies. And I tell you, the stuff rocks. I use it in yogurt, on icecream or porridge. It tastes just as indulgent, creamy and buttery as store-bought caramel – minus the fat and the sugar slump! For this recipe, I use the caramel of about 4 dates, but I’d recommend making the original recipe and keeping any leftovers in the fridge – they won’t stay there for long!

So once you got your biscuit and your caramel sorted, it’s time for the chocolate glaze! Just use your favourite dairy free chocolate for a true vegan delight. If you tolerate dairy and are not vegan, you could also use milk chocolate. It#s a matter of taste and experimenting. The date caramel is rather sweet so I try to offset the sweetness with a bitter-ish chocolate. Using milk chocolate would obviously yield a result closer to a “real” Twix bar (whatever is real about the stuff). It’s up to you – but this recipe is sooo easy and requires just 15 minutes in total so I think you should do it again and again and see how you like it best!

Makes one double-finger “Twix” bar

For the biscuit base
40 g coconut flour
40 g “babyfood” (i.e. unsweetened apple sauce, pureed banana or any other pureed fruit)
2 tbsp of plant milk
stevia or erythritol to taste
generous pinch of Maldon sea salt
pinch of gluten free baking powder

For the caramel
1/4 of this recipe

For the chocolate glaze
40 g chocolate (dairy free preferred)

Preheat oven to 180 °C. Line a baking tray with paper. Mix all ingredients for the biscuit base until it comes together in a uniform mass. Roll a ball, then half this ball and shape two “Twix” like logs. Bake until slightly golden, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool slightly before adding the caramel.

Meanwhile, prepare the date caramel according to the recipe. Spread evenly onto the biscuit logs.

Break up the chocolate in little pieces, place in a microwave safe bowl and heat in microwave in 30 second increments. Once it is liquid and smooth, drizzle over the caramel logs.

Now, here comes the hardest part: If you can at all resist, place the Twix bars in the fridge to firm up. But there’s no harm in devouring these beauties straight away.