Tuesday, 23 April 2013


I'm ready!
What would be the point of posting my delicious ANZAC biscuit recipe AFTER ANZAC day?

I had to get ready a couple of days early this year with the insane study load that I have at the moment, so last night my kitchen was filled with my off-key voice singing "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda" and smells of golden syrup and oatey goodness.

I made two batches: one chewy (my favourite) and one crunchy (my grandad's favourite).

My chewy recipe is one I've been using for a few years now that makes beautifully chewy cookies with just enough crisp around the edges to munch on.

I have a 1970's copy of The Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Cookery and where else should one turn to find an ANZAC recipe?! The crunchy biscuits from here were thin and crunchy but seemed to have less flavour than my chewy biscuits. Still fabulous, however, and I'm yet to give my grandad any to taste test so we shall see!

The two recipes are very similar - the same ingredients with different amounts of butter, sugar and golden syrup is all.

Chewy ANZAC Biscuits
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup oats
3/4 cup brown sugar

125g butter (I used Nuttelex original)
2 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp water
1 tsp bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 160C.
Stir the butter, syrup and water over low heat in a medium saucepan until melted, then add bicarb soda.
Mix together dry ingredients (I like to use a whisk to do this to remove my sugar lumps).
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix to make a sticky but firm batter.

Place small tablespoons of mixture onto a baking paper lined tray and cook for 10 - 20 minutes until golden around the edges. Makes about 24 large biscuits.

Crunchy ANZAC Biscuits
From The Australian and New Zealand Complete Book of Cookery
1 cup plain flour
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup oats
1 cup brown sugar

4 oz (110g) butter (again, I used Nuttelex original)
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 160C.
Stir the butter and syrup over low heat in a medium saucepan until melted, then combine boiling water and bicarb and add it to the saucepan.
Mix together dry ingredients, then add wet mixture to the dry and stir until sticky but firm!

Place teaspoons of mixture onto a baking paper lined tray and cook for 20 minutes until golden. Makes 48 small biscuits.

The cook book specified teaspoons and I liked the smaller size (normal size..) of these biscuits. The book also said 20 minutes and mine were cooked in 20 minutes exactly!

Lest we forget.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Breakfast Coconut Cake

In Tasmania the seasons change every few minutes so you can never rely too heavily on the usual month-season relationship. This year, however, the summer was ripper hot and has stuck around for the first half of autumn. Then suddenly, smack bang in the middle-most week of autumn a cold snap occurred and we've got snow on the mountains and everyone has their puffer jackets on!

It also means that everyone is sick this week. Me included. I woke up this morning knowing that it was going to be a very slow and groggy weekend for me.. and all I could think about was a bowl of smoking hot custard to run down my throat. I don't remember the last time I ate custard so that was pretty weird.. I decided instead to give myself a heart-warming pikelet stack with baked fruit.

The recipe I used was about as successful as trying to tell my nose to stop running today.. what a flop.

Solution? Bang it in a baking dish and bake it in a hot oven for an hour! Andddd.... IT WORKED!

This cake isn't dense enough to slice on a plate so I suggest serving it in a mug or bowl with a good dollop of coconut cream and a teaspoon of rice malt syrup or honey :)

 Coconut Breakfast Cake with Apricots and Almonds
1/2 cup Coconut flour
1/2 tsp Baking powder
3 Chia eggs (3 tbsp ground chia seed + 9 tbsp warm water)
3 cups Milk (I used oat because I'd run out of almond - almond is probably best!)
1 tsp Salt
1 tbsp Coconut oil

Dried apricots (about 12)
Almonds (about a handful)

1. Preheat oven to 200C. Whisk chia seed into warm water and set aside for 10 minutes to get thick.
2. Mix milk, chia eggs and melted coconut oil together.
3. Add flour, baking powder and salt - mix together well.
4. Pour into a small loaf tin, then drop apricots and almonds evenly over the mixture and let them sink in. Bake in the oven for about an hour.

Serve with a dollop of coconut cream and a tsp of rice malt syrup (or honey, agave or maple syrup!)

This was exactly what I need to warm me from the inside out :) Happy winter!

Dad's Vege Soup

My dad runs the kitchen in my family home and will always have dinner on the table for us when we come home. We may not all be there at the same time, or even on the same night, but there is always something saved aside when we need it.
He's certainly not a culinary expert and has no chance on winning any prizes for 'plating up', but we've taught him to cook nutritious food that almost always tastes just right.

This soup is like my family: a tad rough around the edges but crammed full - guaranteeing something for everyone. (Not an easy feat with 7 children, 4 grandchildren and tonnes of extra people always stopping by).
This soup lets you empty your refrigerator of anything you no longer find appealing or have no idea how to cook! It warms you from the inside out in winter and is surprisingly refreshing on a hot summers day (when I started writing this post it was 30C and I had just enjoyed a bowl!). The best thing about this soup though is that it only contains fresh, healthy ingredients so you can enjoy thirds if you like and still not feel guilty!

I make this soup when I'm sick and request it when I've had a tough week. It's great re-heated for lunch the next day and I'm sure it would freeze fine - though I haven't tried it. I don't know how to make small quantities (I never can with soup), but even if I could it wouldn't help in sharing the recipe. 
Dad's Vege Soup
makes one big pot
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
Herbs, dried or fresh
Salt and pepper
Whatever vegies you can find in your fridge from beetroot leaves to brussels sprouts, but here are some of our favourites:
Sweet potato
Brussels sprouts
ok, this is stupid - they all work well!

Fry your onion and garlic (or not if you don't have any) in the bottom of a large saucepan until soft. Add your herbs and fry for a minute to release the flavours. Add chopped vegies - we like our vegies big and chunky in this soup - and just cover with water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to simmer. Add some salt and pepper and allow to simmer for as long as it takes for the vegies to become soft. Probably around 40 minutes, but we're not sure.

This soup can be reheated over the stove later if you've made it early or have lots of left overs, or by the bowl in a microwave.

My dad would add more salt at the end and say it's enjoyed best with a glass of his homemade stout, I on the other hand find it needs nothing but a big spoon. Enjoy!

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Things I'm Loving Lately:

1. My Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Balm.
I don't think I have ever bought myself hand cream before this tube, and now I'm hooked.
I treated myself to this beauty whilst in London and have only just learnt it's an Australian company, ha.
The smell is divine - not so strong that I feel it is suck up my nose like I feel with most perfumes - the sensation on my skin makes me feel like a goodess and I notice I've been giving myself spontaneous hand rubs! 

It was way more expensive than I would ordinarily spend (I've never bought handcream, remember?) something like $40! But will last a long time and is a saviour to my dry and often eczema covered fingers.

2. ZUU!

Do you ZUU? You should!
(from www.thezuu.com.au:)

... ZUU is based around "primal pattern" bodyweight exercises. They have been constructed into high intensity full body workouts with very specific sequences. Every workout targets all major & minor muscle groups while engaging both the aerobic & anaerobic energy systems. Basically that means every time you do a ZUU workout it will be one of the most comprehensive and intense experiences you'll ever do!
It's such an intense, hard work out. I always reach my fail point and have to take a moment to recover - it makes you move in ways you'd never believe to be so hard! Give it a go - it's super satisfying!

3. Blogs? Meghan Telpner's UnDiet Living and Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows
Meghan Telpner
Last week I mentioned my decision to let the 'diet plan' go. Finding Meghan's blog reinforced this idea. She has written a wonderful book UnDiet Living talks about letting go of this silly 'diet' idea that every second person seems to be forcing into our faces. It encourages us to eat whole, fresh, real food and understand what and why you're eating it! It's fabulous and I'm trying to keep her philosophy alive and present in my mind!

Oh She Glows
'Glow from the the inside out' is her motto and I love it. Oh She Glows has so many brilliant vegan recipes that promote healthy, nutritious and delicious eating! When I open her blog I feel myself become more motivated to be the best I can be - thanks Angela! 
Whilst flicking through her recipes I came across point 4...

4. Chocolate Chia Puddings - from Angela Liddon's Oh She Glows

This beautiful dessert is light and chocolatey. I would happily eat this in place of chocolate mousse! And what's better..? It's healthy enough to eat for breakfast! Which is what I did with some delicious breakfast cookies and a perfect cup of black coffee as you can see above. And maybe I had it for lunch as well.. Check out Angela's recipe HERE.
I used rice malt syrup for the sweetener to make it fructose free and only used chia, almond and cocoa powder (no carob .  You might notice the white layer on the top of two of my photographs - this is     from adding extra almond milk to that glass before refrigerating.

5. Walnuts in salad.
Close your eyes (not really - then you can't read this!) and imagine taking a mouthful of beautiful crispy green salad with soft mushrooms and chunks of cucumber.. You're loving it, but aware that it is just a whole lot of green stuff and something else might be a bit more satisfying... But it is tasty, and healthy, so you feel content. Then suddenly BAM!
What is that? Dessert? Your salad tastes like crumble? No? Cheesecake? No? Biscuits?!

You open your eyes and discover a weird brown brain looking thing staring at you. OH man, these babies transform that bowl of greenery into something decadent you cannot wait to eat.

I added them at the start of the week when I burnt a few when toasting them.. Burnt walnuts are good, but raw ones are delicious.

Yeah, yeah, we've had walnuts in salads before. But if you haven't had them for a while toss them in and take your salad to a new level.

My lunch this week looks like:
I'd show you a picture but I've already eaten it...
Heaps of torn mixed lettuce leaves
1/3 cucumber
2 mushrooms
Handful of green beans
Handful of crushed walnuts!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Who am I?

Why does my mind constantly argue with itself when it comes to food choices?
Am I incapable of saying no? Or am I forcing myself to make ridiculous decisions to stay 'in control'.
I have taught myself that I need a plan to be healthy, or face the consequences. This is not working.

A new plan? Have no plan.
Listen to my body and ignore my arguing, clouded brain. Leave my mind for more tedious university-related thoughts.. urgh.

It's time to let go and stop being so.. irritating.

My body definitely likes being sugar free. I will make this effort. The rest I will just let happen.

Hello, I'm Ally.

What I learned while being SUGAR-FREE
1. Less sweet food tasted sweeter.
2. I stopped craving chocolate. I don't need it to make it through an evening shift at work. Huh? Yep.
3. It's not that hard.
4. It feels good.
5. I don't have to cook special foods to make it work, I just have to make the right choices. And have a few handy snacks for emergencies.