Category Archives: food

Crunchy Polenta Fingers- Chris’ Dips

I love snacking, and I’m always trying to come up with quick and easy foods to create. Especially vegan and vegetarian dishes that are portable and easy to eat on the run.

Polenta is such a versatile food which can be made sweet or savoury.  It can be used to make ‘fries’ or sweetened to make desserts.

For these Polenta snacks I used pre-firmed Polenta which can be purchased in the pasta section of your local supermarket.

You will need:

Half a polenta slab cut into fingers
1/2 container Chris’ Spiced Roasted Carrot and Turmeric Dip
3/4 cup Gluten Free bread crumbs

Slather each finger in the dip- I used a spoon to make this easier and then dunk them in the bread crumbs so they are completely covered.

Place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake in a fan forced oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins to half an hour until the fingers are browned.

Leave to cool once cooked and then enjoy them dipped into more of Chris’ Dip or a plain Greek yoghurt. 

I made these gluten free to tie in with the dip and I also had a friend coming over who was gluten intolerant.
These would work well with quinoa instead of the breadcrumbs or even a cheese mixed in with the breadcrumbs.

These can be enjoyed warmed or cold.  For pre-heating do this in an oven as a microwave will leave them soggy.

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Cauliflower Pizza

I’ve wanted to experiment with a Cauliflower Pizza base for a while now and it turned out pretty darn amazing.
My whole family enjoyed it and have requested it multiple times since.
I’ve now made a bunch of bases and frozen them for future use!
You will need-
1 whole head of cauliflower
1 cup grated cheese- I made this vegan and used Bio Cheese
1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano and chilli flakes
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
Your choice of pizza toppings
1 clean tea towel

In a food processor blitz the chopped up cauliflower head until it resembles crumbs.
Place the blended cauliflower into the clean tea towel and twist the open end of the towel so it forms a ball- do this over a sink or bowl as the aim is to remove as much liquid from the cauliflower and create a dry (or as dry as possible) cauliflower mix.
 
 
Once you have squeezed as much as you can from the cauliflower transfer it to a bowl and add the flour, spices, salt and cheese.
Using your hands combine everything and knead it into a ball.
 
 
 
Place the ball onto a baking tray lined with a sheet of baking paper.
Press the mix into large disk- this is your pizza base.
I made mine about 1cm thick.
Bake at 180 degrees in a pre-heated over for 30 minutes or until browned.
You will find the base is still a little soft but it will firm up even more once you have added your toppings.
 Remove from the oven and cover with your favourite pizza toppings- I went with a low calorie salsa over the base topped with fresh basil from the garden and more bio cheese.
Bake again at 180 degrees until the toppings have cooked and melted.
Eat and enjoy!

John’s Nuts

Nuts are a great source of essential nutrients, dietary fibre and minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc and magnesium.
A small handful of nuts can provide much needed health benefits and can actually aid in weight loss.

Roasted? Salted? Raw?

Raw nuts are always best, just like fruits and vegetables, keeping foods in their natural state do hold more nutrients for the body.

Roasted and salted nuts are just as good, although best to limit or avoid if you’re concerned about sodium content.

Nuts contain health-promoting monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and can help regulate cholesterol.

Being naturally low in sodium, and with high potassium levels, nuts can also assist in maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The perfect place for all your nutty-needs is at a variety-packed John’s Nuts  kiosk at your local shopping centre.

John’s Nuts stock everything. No, I’m not even exaggerating. For the sweet tooth- we all have one, or ten- there’s Turkish Delights, Chocolate Covered Sultanas, Nougat, Baklava and Chocolate Covered Raspberries. 

If it’s just a snack you’re after or nibbles needed for your next party there’s plenty to choose from at John’s. What about some delicious soy crisps (get the honey soy!!), nut bars, salted nut mixes or even cheesy flavoured cashews? 

The dried fruit range is diverse with paw paw, pineapple, dates, prunes, figs, mixed lots and sultanas.

My favourite range is the plain nuts. Although it’s not easy to decide what to fill your bag with; almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts and macadamias. I spent a while trying to decide what I wanted to take home, and what was most likely to actually make it home! There’s a few mixed types to choose from too, including chocolate and nut mixes.

The prices are good value at John’s Nuts and it’s possible to choose a range of goodies without feeling you’ve over-spent. I walked away with, medjool dates, macadamias, raw cashews, vanilla bean cashews, honey soy crisps & healthy nut bars.

You will be impressed by the customer service at John’s Nuts too. The staff are friendly, talkative and great with recommendations.  Special mention to Paul at Waverley Gardens, fresh faced and genuine with his customers. It’s down to earth service that’s rare to see.

I hope you’ll get the chance to browse and buy from the John’s range. 
Be sure to visit their website and follow them on Facebook and Instagram:
John’s Nuts.

Fruit Straps

Possibly the easiest healthy snack to make. You will need only TWO ingredients.

2 tbs honey
250g berries

Preheat a fan forced oven to 100 degrees.
Blend the ingredients to a smooth pulp.

Using a flat baking tray lined with baking paper, pour the mix onto the tray.

Smooth the mixture with a spatula so it is flat and even.

Bake in the oven for 3.5 hours or until the fruit is leathery.

Allow to cool with the oven off & door left open.

Once completely cool cut into strips, leaving the paper attached & store in an airtight container in the pantry.

 Make sure you have rolled the strips up so they don’t stick to each other when being stored.

Pumpkin Pie Slice

Just in time for Thanksgiving or for Christmas. This slice is perfect for the health conscious or as a tasty light dessert.
You will need:
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 cup Natvia for Baking
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 mashed banana
1 cup mashed pumpkin
4 eggs
Icing:
1/2 cup silken tofu
200g cream cheese
1/2 cup Natvia for Baking
Cinnamon for decoration
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees- fan forced.
Mix the dry ingredients together and in a separate bowl whisk together the wet ingredients.
Once thoroughly combined stir in the dry mix to the wet and beat well.
Line a slice try with baking paper & using a spatula spread the mix firmly around the dish.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm & golden.
While the slice is baking whizz the cream cheese, Natvia & tofu in a food processor until thick & almost like whipped cream.
Once the slice has baked, cooled & been cut into squares, spread the whipped icing over the cake & sprinkle with extra cinnamon.

Oliver’s Real Food

Oliver’s is the kinda place that you want to see at every shopping centre, every airport & at every servo. These guys are making healthy, quick, nutritious food accessible.  Unfortunately the only downfall at the moment is that it takes an eTag to visit them, something I don’t have…

So I bought an east link day pass and proceeded along the Ferntree Gully road on-ramp to go out of my way to stop for petrol (only to exit via the next off ramp- Oliver’s is in between).

There’s nothing like seeing a line of people, mainly tradies and men in business suits, lining up for their edamame & freshly squeezed juices. I can’t say much for the parents lining up at Ronald’s ( Ohhh is that too obvious?) for, as my son calls it- Fatty Fat Food.

Three young guys were maning Oliver’s and they were all over the customer service. Using my name they reiterated my order, called me over when my Choconana Smoothie & almond milk latte was ready & even offered me some muesli bar samples.

The set up of Oliver’s is pleasing to the eye, collections of lifestyle & nutritional books are on display, along with their varieties of sandwiches, prepared salads, juices & my FAVOURITE- Pana Chocolate (!!!).

There’s a huge selection of gluten free foods, including toast, muffins, slices and brownie options.
There’s also vegan & vegetarian food & drinks available too.

The menu is diverse and doesn’t just have a handful of items. 
Breakfast, lunch & dinner can easily be purchased & the service is quick & friendly.
The staff were more than happy to make suggestions & go through any allergen information.

Oliver’s provide three seperate menus- a standard menu, allergen menu & then a brochure broken down into Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten Free & Dairy Free. These guides make food choices, easy. I purchased a fruit salad with coconut flakes, almond milk latte, smoothie & carrot cake. Everything was enjoyable & the carrot cake the best I’ve ever eaten.
If you’re eating with kids & they’re not going to be satiated with a smoothie or juice the ‘kids menu’ at Oliver’s is actually kid suitable. There’s nothing deep fried, nothing processed & no fries!
A kids pack includes a little sandwich- yes with crusts- sultanas, yoghurt, cheese, crackers, carrot & banana bread. Perfection. Honestly, we should be cherishing our kids bodies & nourishing them, not filling them with highly processed, fat laden foods.

Oliver’s isn’t about the latest fad or diet, nor are they about pushing food choices onto their customers. I think Oliver’s is just living up to their name- Real Food. 
Nutritious, flavoursome, natural, organic foods. 
The better foods that fill your body, the better you will feel & the better choices you will make.

Oliver’s is ground breaking. They’re providing foods that are readily available & making their mark in the ‘fast’ food industry. Oliver’s is ‘fast food’ because it’s easy, simple food. It’s not traditional, it’s natural.
Support this company, and what they’re doing. Embrace the changes & competition they’re bringing to healthy, convenient food.

Visit http://www.oliversrealfood.com.au for locations & franchise opportunities 
or search Oliver’s Real a Food on Facebook.

The Lilydale General

Okay, so you’ve read about The Lilydale General before, but I’m writing about it again!

I’ve you haven’t visited this little gem, then put the address, 110 Beresford Road, Lilydale, in your GPS and head down.
Today the General was packed. 
I was warmly offered a space over at the bar, settling in with an almond milk chai latte.

I perused the menu, deciding on Toasted Sourdough Bruschetta, with goats feta, avocado, tomato, Egyptian Dukkah, topped with a poached egg.
The meal arrived quickly, and the staff member was friendly and chatty, despite being a busy time.
My latte was creamy and not too sweet and the food was perfect as usual.

My brunch was yummy & I loved the addition of the dukkah. I’ve never had it as part of a breakfast dish before, mainly just used it to create a crust on tofu. It definitely added flavour and texture to my breaky.
I really love how the Lilydale General sources local, natural products; with plenty of options for those with intolerances or food choices such as veganism. But on the other hand I also like that there’s still traditional breakfasts available, with plenty of sides including baked beans & bacon. 

I was pretty strong willed at the cake cabinet this time- the Chocolate & Peanut Butter cake had my name on it, but if anything- grab a piece  of the Vanilla ‘Slice’ ( & by slice I mean slab, it’s no where near traditional ‘slice’ size), it is perfection.