Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

Lamb, Roast Vegetable and Pesto Salad

serves 4 (as a main)

This is such a tasty meal!  If you don’t want to use meat it is delicious without the lamb as a vegetarian main meal or zesty side dish.

What you will need:

  • 500 grams (1.5 pounds) diced lamb marinated for as long as possible (ideally overnight but 1-2 hours is fine) in the marinade listed below
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine) diced
  • 1 zucchini (courgette) diced
  • 1 punnet (150 grams or 5 ounces) button mushrooms halved
  • ¼ jap pumpkin (about 1 ½ cups) diced
  • Olive oil for roasting
  • Extra freshly squeezed lemon juice for serving (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons pesto (see recipe below or you can find it on my website here.)  It’s worth making your own – this has a delicious kick of lemon that goes beautifully with this salad.
  • Baby spinach leaves
  • Feta Cheese (optional)

For the Lamb Marinade

Shake or whisk the following ingredients together:

  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1 garlic clove (or 1 teaspoon good quality minced garlic)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Toss the eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin and mushrooms in a little olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes or until well cooked to your liking.

When the veggies have about 10 minutes to go (i.e. after about 30 minutes) start cooking the lamb until browned.  (you can either pan-fry or barbeque the lamb).  It is best to do this in batches so it doesn’t stew in the marinade.  When ready, toss with the roasted veggies and add a couple of tablespoons pesto and stir through.

Serve on a bed of baby spinach leaves and top with some chopped feta cheese (if using)

If you like you can add an extra squeeze of lemon before serving.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Pesto

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts dry roasted (you can do this in the oven on some baking paper or in a non-oiled pan on the stove – keep an eye on them – they can burn quickly!)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves (or 2 teaspoons good quality organic minced garlic)
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste

How to pull it together:

Place the pine nuts, basil, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely chopped.  Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running in a thin stream until well combined.

If using a Thermomix:

Put an approximately  65 gram (2 ounce) chunk of Parmesan into the mixing bowl and blitz, speed 10 for about 8 seconds or until evenly grated.

Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix speed 6 for about 3 seconds or until it reaches your preferred consistency.

You will end up with a deliciously chunky pesto.

Enjoy!

Pasta-free Spaghetti Bolognese, Zucchini Noodles and Caper and Avocado Salsa

Pasta-free Spaghetti Bolognese, Zucchini Noodles and Caper and Avocado Salsa

One of the things I would like to achieve this year  is a happy balance when it comes to dinner time.   Of course some nights it is too hard to sit down as a family with work commitments, extra curricular activities (ours and theirs) and life in general.  However by by feeding the kids early and then cooking a separate meal for Andrew and I,  I feel that  a) we are missing out on connecting with our kids and b) I am working twice as hard as I need to!   The problem is that Andrew and I really haven’t been eating the same food as our kids.  We love our vegetables and chili and sophisticated flavours and as a rule tend to avoid starchy carbohydrates at night.  They love their simple food such as gluten free pasta, potato and rice. They are also super fussy and likely to turn their noses up at most meals I put in front of them which makes it very frustrating.   So I have decided to create a new section on this website dedicated to family friendly meals that can be adapted to please mum and dads and the kids without too much angst.

First off the rank is my Bolognese (or Bolognaise if that’s the way you spell it!).  I made this sauce the other night (see the recipe below).  I don’t like cooking bolognese in my Thermomix but I find the Thermomix is brilliant for chopping the onions and garlic and getting the vegetables to the exact consistency that I like.  I have noted where I used my Thermomix below.

For the children I serve it on top of gluten free pasta with a sprinkling of lactose free cheese (my 5 year old is lactose intolerant).  My 8 year old however tried Parmesan for the first time the other night (not being put off by the smell) and loved it – an excellent surprise!  They say persistence is the key (sigh) …

I served ours on a bed of zucchini noodles (see how I make my zucchini noodles below).  I didn’t even heat the noodles, I just topped with the hot sauce and then with an avocado and caper salsa (see below).

The Shrinking Hubby’s Bolognese

This makes an enormous batch of bolognese sauce.  Enough to feed a family for a good 3-4 nights.  I freeze some in family sized portions and some in ice cube trays for a quick mid-week kids dinner on the fly.  Don’t be alarmed if it seems like it will be too watery, it thickens up beautifully over the cooking time.

What you will need:

  • 1 Kg grass-fed beef mince
  • 1-2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or  teaspoons of good quality organic minced garlic – I like the Spiral brand)
  • 1 largish brown onion
  • 2-3 cups vegetables – whatever you have in the fridge really.  I like to use carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli and mushrooms depending on what I have.
  • 2 bottles of organic passata sauce (I use 690 gram jars or about 25 ounces).  *Passata is a tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • Dried herbs e.g Italian herb mix (there are many available), paprika, dried oregano
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

1.  Chop the onions and garlic (if using a Thermomix throw onion and garlic in and blitz for 3 seconds speed 5).

2. Finely chop the vegetables, or place the vegetables in a food processor and blitz until chopped to your liking.  (if using a Thermomix throw veggies in and chop for 5-8 seconds speed 5-6 depending on how finely you like them chopped.

How to pull it together:

Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot.  When oil is hot add the onions and garlic and a generous sprinkle of sea salt, turn down the heat and saute for about 5 minutes stirring frequently.   When onion is well cooked, add the meat and cook until browned.  When meat is cooked, add the vegetables and 1/2 cup of red wine (if using), 1/2 cup red wine vinegar and 1/2 cup tomato paste.  Stir through until well combined.

Add both bottles of passata.  Fill the empty bottles with water and add both bottles of water at the same time (it will seem like a lot of sauce but will reduce during the cooking time).  Add a generous amount of herbs (italian herb mix, paprika, dried oregano) and 2-3 bay leaves).  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour covered.  Stir from time to time adding salt to taste if required.

You can serve with pasta or zucchini noodles topped with fresh parmesan.

How to prepare your Zucchini Noodles

What you will need:

  • 3 zucchinis/courgettes per person
  • Sea salt
  • Olive oil
  • a vegetable spiraliser

Create the zucchini noodles using a vegetable spiraliser.  Place noodles in a colander, sprinkle liberally with good quality sea salt and drizzle with a splash of olive oil.  Toss and let sit for about 30 minutes.  You will find a lot of liquid leaves the noodles which means that they can shrink quite a bit.  

I have tried many spiralisers to make vegetable ‘noodles’ and the GEFU Spiral Slicer Spiral Fix is by far the easiest and most effective I’ve used.

If you like the idea of Zucchini noodles and want more inspiration I have used Zucchini noodles previously with the delicious Dina’s Tomato Sauce here and my Salmon with Pesto Zucchini Noodles here.

Caper, Avocado and Tomato Salsa (serves 2)

Combine in a small bowl 1 tablespoon salted baby capers (well rinsed), 1/2 avocado diced, 1/4 cucumber diced, 1/2 tomato diced.  Toss with juice of 1 lime, sea salt and pepper.

Grain-free, Sugar-free Coconut Granola

Grain-free, Sugar-free Coconut Granola

This is super easy to make and very adaptable depending on your taste.  I’ve converted it to suit my Thermomix but you can easily make it without.  I have included both versions below.

Grain-free, Sugar-free Coconut Granola

What you will need:

  • 3 cups coconut flakes
  • 2 cups of mixed nuts and seeds (think almonds, cashews, walnuts, pepitas, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, pecans etc).  I used a handful each of whatever I had in the pantry.
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup.  (You can also use rice malet syrup or raw honey)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
  • a generous pinch of sea salt

How to pull it together: (Thermomix version)

Preheat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit)

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put the coconut flakes into a large bowl.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your Thermomix add the nuts, rice malt syrup (or sweetener), chia seeds, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt.  Put dial to ‘closed lid’ position and press turbo for a second, 2-3 times (until the texture is to your liking).

Add the nut mix to the coconut flakes in a bowl and stir so it’s well combined.

Lay out the granola mixture on the baking tray – spread it evenly.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After about 10 minutes give it a good toss.  You’ll need to keep an eye on it – check at 15 minutes, you might need to go 25 minutes to get the colour and crispiness.

Remove from the oven and cool.  Serve with your choice of milk (I love homemade Almond milk), or natural yoghurt and fruit if desired.

Enjoy!

How to pull it together (without a Thermomix):

Preheat your oven to 120 degrees Celsius (250 degrees Fahrenheit)

Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Put the coconut flakes into a large bowl.

Roughly chop the nuts and seeds and mix into the coconut flakes.  Add the rice malt syrup (or sweetener), chia seeds, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla and sea salt and combine well.

Lay out the granola mixture on the baking tray – spread it evenly.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.  After about 10 minutes give it a good toss.  You’ll need to keep an eye on it – check at 15 minutes, you might need to go 25 minutes to get the colour and crispiness.  

Remove from the oven and cool.  Serve with your choice of milk, or natural yoghurt and fruit if desired.  I love eating mine with natural yoghurt, prunes and strawberries.

Enjoy!

This recipe is inspired by the Coconutty Granola from Sarah Wilson’s ‘I Quit Sugar’ program.

Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

Healthy Christmas Puddings (Gluten, Dairy, Sugar free)

I love these little puddings around Christmas time.  They have all the delicious flavour of a traditional Christmas pudding but won’t leave you feeling bloated and awful.  I made these in my Thermomix, but they are easy to make without.  I have written up both versions below.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Healthy Christmas Puddings

(makes 8 small puddings)

What you will need:

  • 250 grams (9 ounces) fresh dates (pitted)
  • 1 orange roughly chopped (leave the skin on!)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1 cup dried apricots (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (extra for garnish – optional)
  • 30 mls (2 tablespoons) brandy – optional (but it is Christmas!!!)
  • 3 organic free-range eggs
  • 200 grams (7 ounces or about 3/4 cup) almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Spice mix

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice

How to pull it together (using a Thermomix)

Put the dates and the whole orange (roughly chopped) into the bowl and blitz speed 6 for 5 seconds.  Scrape down bowl.

Add 1 cup of water.  Cook 100 degrees, speed 1 for 15 minutes.

Add 30 mls brandy (if using) and blitz for 30 seconds speed 9.

Add 200 grams almond meal, the dried fruit and almonds, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix reverse, speed 5 for 15 seconds (or until well combined).

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

How to pull it together (without a Thermomix)

Place the dates, whole orange (roughly chopped – keep the skin on!) and 1 cup of water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the dates and orange are soft.  Set aside to cool.  Add the brandy and whiz in a food processor until a smooth paste is formed.

In a separate bowl, combine the date paste, almond meal, dried fruit, almonds, eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.

Grease 8 small pudding ramekins with coconut oil (or butter) and sprinkle about a teaspoon of slivered almonds into the bottom of each.  Spoon the mixture evenly into each ramekin.  Place filled ramekins into a large baking dish.  Create a bain-maree by filling the dish with enough boiling water to come half-way up the sides of the ramekins.

Cover all the ramekins with a sheet of baking paper and top with foil pressed tightly around the edges to seal.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit)  for 1 hour 15 minutes.

If not eating straight away, they refrigerate beautifully.  When ready to serve steam (or heat up) for about 8 minutes, invert and serve with a dollop of cream or if you prefer some homemade custard.

Enjoy!

Apple and Zucchini Loaf (sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free)

Apple and Zucchini Loaf (sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free)

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something sweet on here and I’ve had this little number up my sleeve for a while but just couldn’t get it ‘right’!  I am really happy with this version so I thought I’d share.  You can substitute the coconut oil for macadamia nut oil, and I would love to try it with butter (I’ll let you know how I go).  It is best warm from the oven with a spread of salted organic butter and a cup of tea – yum!  I hope you enjoy …

PS – I have included a Thermomix version and a non-Thermomix version below …

The Shrinking Hubby’s Apple and Zucchini Cake

sugar-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, grain-free

What you will need:

  • 2 peeled apples
  • 1 peeled zucchini (courgette)
  • ¾ cup coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (preferably aluminium free)
  • ½ cup medjool dates (pitted) (about 90 grams)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 5 organic free-range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

For garnish:

  • 1 apple sliced
  • Approx 1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or rapadura sugar)

Thermomix version:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put 2 apples (peeled and cored), 1 zucchini (peeled, topped and tailed) and ½ cup (90 grams) dates into the mixing bowl.  Mix for 5 seconds speed 6.  Scrape down bowl.

Add the coconut flour, chia seeds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and sea salt and mix about 30 seconds speed 5/6 or until mixed together.

Pour (or mould – the mixture is quite doughy) into a lined and buttered/oiled loaf tin and top with slices of apple and a sprinkle of coconut (or rapadura) sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes in a moderate (180 degrees Celcius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven until golden brown and cooked through.

Non Thermomix version:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).

Put 2 apples (peeled and cored), 1 zucchini (peeled, topped and tailed) and ½ cup (90 grams) dates in your food processor and blitz.  Add coconut flour, chia seeds, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, coconut oil and sea salt and mix well.

Pour (or mould – the mixture is quite doughy) into a lined and buttered/oiled loaf tin and top with slices of apple and a sprinkle of coconut (or rapadura) sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes in a moderate (180 degrees Celcius/350 degrees Fahrenheit) oven until golden brown and cooked through.

Enjoy!

Quick and Easy Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Quick and Easy Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

A little while ago I shared this recipe for a healthy gluten, dairy and sugar free carrot cake on my facebook facebook .  I never got around to writing it up for my blog followers too.   This one uses banana and dates to sweeten rather than honey, and is deliciously moist.  It takes seconds to make and is so healthy you can eat it for breakfast!   I have made this several  times now and each time there is nothing left over – it’s quite a crowd pleaser.  I played around with a recipe that I found a little while ago and adapted it to the Thermomix. It is seriously SO easy either with or without a Thermomix.

I have written up both versions below 🙂

Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Thermomix Version

What you will need

  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten and aluminium free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 peeled carrot roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 organic, free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or organic sultanas or goji berries) (optional)

How to pull it together:

Blitz 3/4 cup (approx 100g) almonds with 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for 20-30 seconds speed 10.
Add 1 carrot (peeled) and 1/2 cup pitted dates. Chop for a few seconds speed 5.
Add 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 ripe bananas. Mix REVERSE speed 4 for 30 seconds.
Add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans), 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or sultanas or goji berries). Mix REVERSE speed 4 for 15 seconds.
Put batter in a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes in a 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit   oven.

To make without the Thermomix

What you will need

  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten and aluminium free)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 peeled carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil, warmed so that it is liquid
  • 2 organic free range eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup walnuts (or pistachios or pecans)
  • 1/4 cup naturally sweetened craisins (or organic sultanas or goji berries) (optional)

How to pull it together:

(If you have a food processor you can blitz the carrots, dates and bananas.)

Mix 3/4 cup almond meal, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

Add 1 grated carrot, 1/2 cup pitted dates (chopped), 4 tablespoons coconut oil (warmed enough to be liquid), 2 eggs, vanilla and 2 mashed ripe bananas and mix well.

Stir through the nuts/dried fruit (if using).

Pour batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes in a 180 Celsius/350 Fahrenheit oven.

The Shrinking Hubby’s Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Carrot Cake

Enjoy

XX

PS – if you like carrot cakes you might also want to experiment with another version of a healthy carrot cake I posted here.

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