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Posts from the ‘Dairy Free’ Category

Quinoa Bircher Muesli with Coconut Milk & Breakfast on the go Quinoa Fruit & Seed Bars


After a recent trip to Sydney a friend introduced me to her quinoa porridge and I knew it was something I was going to eat and make the first weekend back home. My preference was to make a Bircher style muesli cereal rather than porridge since its summer here and week days are too busy in the mornings for me to spend time cooking (which I know is a shame as would prefer to be in the kitchen). I thought I could probably prepare a few days worth of the quinoa in advance and add the rest of the fruit and seeds to it on the day of eating it. So I cooked a cup of quinoa as the base of the cereal, rinsed it in cold water and then drained it and kept it in the fridge which lasted me three servings. The rest of the ingredients I added just before eating it, or you could easily add them the night before although it’s not really necessary. The great thing about a quinoa muesli is that is is quite filling but is gluten free, it’s high in protein for a grain and a good source of amino acids, magnesium and iron. Here is more info on the grain if you are interested.

The muesli bars where for the extra energy boost during the day rather than reach for a choccy bar which is what I am know to do. The only sweetener being the honey which is from a friends local bee hive so it has to be good for me.

1 cup Ceres quinoa grains
Cinnamon powder
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Shredded coconut
Coconut milk
Fresh berries

Place the quinoa in a medium sized pan with 2 cups of water.
Simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the grains ‘sprout’ their tail. They should still have texture, not soggy.
Rinse in cold water, drain thoroughly and store in fridge until you want to eat your cereal. It will last several days only.
To serve, add a handful of sunflower, pumpkin seeds and shredded coconut, a sprinkle of cinnamon, a drizzle of homey and coconut milk.


Make 12 bars
1 cup Ceres quinoa grains
1/2 cup of fine oats
1/2 cup, pumpkin, sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup figs, finely chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp coconut oil

Pre-heat oven to 180C and line a 22cm baking tray with greaseproof paper.
Place the quinoa in a medium sized pan with 2 cups of water.
Simmer on a low heat for about 5 minutes or until the grains ‘sprout’ their tail. They should still have texture, not soggy.
Rinse in cold water, drain thoroughly.
Place the finely chopped figs, oil and honey in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes to break up the figs.
Add all the other ingredients to the figs and combine.
Press firmly into baking tray.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cut into bars but do not remove from the pan.
Only remove once cooled completely.

Rose Turkish Delight


I’ll just manage a quick post before the food bloggers conference on Saturday which is taking up most of my spare time organizing. Did you know we are having our first ever New Zealand food bloggers conference? I’m so excited to be meeting another 25 food bloggers who will be attending the conference who i have followed and chatted with on the blogger-sphere. I’ll let you know how it went once its over and I have a vino in hand and my feet up.

This is my first attempt at Turkish Delight even though it is one of my favourite sweets I have never made it before. When looking for a recipe I found there are two kinds, one you just boil the ingredients like you would jam and the other adds gelatin. I decided to make the one with gelatin, I thought it least likely to fail and would perhaps not go sticky in our humid weather. I have used a recipe from The Good Food Channel but reduce the amount of gelatin since I use agar.

sunflower oil,for greasing
2tsp agar gelatin powder (Pacific Harvest)
255 ml water
4 tsp rose water
450 g caster sugar
3-4 drops red food colouring
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Lightly oil a 20x25cm baking tin.
Mix the gelatine, water and rose water in a large heavy-based pan and add the sugar.
Heat gently until the sugar and gelatine have dissolved, stirring continuously.
Bring to the boil without stirring.
Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
Remove from the heat, stir in the food colouring and leave to cool for 2-3 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the oiled tin and leave to set for 24 hours.
Cut into squares.
Mix the cornflour and icing sugar together and toss the Turkish Delight in the mixture.
Store in an airtight container, between layers of greaseproof paper.

Lemon Coconut Slice for Guy – Gluten Dairy Free


After spending the weekend with friends busily sampling all the yummy cakes on offer in New Plymouth cafes and bringing more back for dessert I felt a bit guilty that my friends hubby could not eat them since he is gluten dairy free. Having a background in French pastry, dairy gluten free is not very common to me but when I decided to make a nice lemon shortbread this week I thought I would create a recipe especially for Guy.

This slice starts as a shortbread made from almond meal, rice flour and desiccated coconut which is baked and then topped with a dairy free lemon custard mix and baked again. It’s texture is more like a soft biscuit with lemon topping soaking into the base.

To my buddies in New Plymouth, let me know if you get to make it and enjoy it! I’m going to experiment some more with this biscuit base, perhaps ginger and rhubarb or maybe chocolate?

2oz ground almond meal
2oz rice flour
2oz desiccated coconut
3oz dairy free butter substitute (I use Olivani)
2oz sugar
300ml fresh squeezed lemon juice plus zest
3 large eggs
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp coconut thread

Preheat oven to 180C.
Line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper.
Combine the ground almond, rice flour, sugar and dairy free butter together to form a biscuit dough.
Press into lined cake tin.
Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown then remove from oven.
Whisk the 2 tbsp sugar, eggs and lemon juice together and pour over cooked biscuit base.
Sprinkle with coconut thread and bake for a further 20 minutes or until set on top and coconut is golden.
Remove from oven, slice then allow to cool before serving.

Date, Walnut & Orange Blossom Moroccan Inspired Treats


I love dates and have been wanting to make this Moroccan style ‘candy’ for a while. It’s not that it is even difficult or time consuming to make, quite the opposite but I always seem to get side tracked by another dish. I used our monthly Sweet New Zealand event as the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. It’s really just a matter of roasting the walnuts, softening the dates and pressing it into a pan. No Baking, no sugar added, no flour added, no dairy either so one could almost claim it to be rather healthy if you weren’t too concerned about all that fructose in the dates.

So here’s my submission for Octobers Sweet NZ, hosted this month by Sue Couscous & Consciousness who will offer a round up of all the entries at the end of the month, so do pop over to her blog.

600g Pitted Dates
70g Walnuts
1tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp orange blossom water
1 tsp ground cardamon

Place the walnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat and roast for a few minutes, shaking the pan to roast both sides. They should brown but not burn. You can do this in an oven too but if I’m not using the oven I don’t like to heat it up just to roast nuts.
Place the dates and 1/4 cup water, cardamon and orange blossom water in a pan over a low heat and simmer until the dates are all soft and the water is absorbed.
Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
Press half the dates into the base of the tin.
Cover with the walnuts and then press the other half of the dates over the walnuts.
Cover the top layer of dates with sesame seeds.
Place in the fridge to chill then cut into small diamond shapes to serve.


Pear & Vodka Sorbet with Grilled Pears


Spring here in NZ is giving us a range of weather, from warm sunny days back to cold wet and windy days. We even had a hail storm this weekend which is very unusual out at the beach, it’s so unusual that I found a bowl of hail stones in our very small freezer! Hubby found it quite a novelty to see hail in the garden and collected it up, I’m not sure what he planned to do with it, he muttered something about using it in his whiskey, apparently pure glacial or snow water is the best. I think he forgot about the dirty ground it had fell on since it was a small scattering of hail rather than metres of it where a top layer would be pure…bless. I didn’t use it in my sorbet but we do use filtered rain water collected off our roof since we have no mains supply… really it is quite civilized out where I live I promise :o)

We had the sorbet as a palate cleanser as part of a dinner but I am certain it will we a favourite during the summer months as we swing on the hammock in our garden watching the white clouds skit across the blue sky. Hurry up summer!

This recipe doesn’t require an ice cream maker

2 pears, peeled & cored
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
2 shots of vodka
1 egg white

Place the peeled and cored pears, water & sugar in a pan over a medium heat.
Simmer until the pear has softened.
Add the vodka and blend everything into a smooth consistency.
Place in a shallow container and freeze until solid.
Remove from the freezer and mash the mixture to a slushy consistency.
Whisk the egg white and combine with the ‘slushy pear’ mixture completely. You can do this with a hand or electrical whisk.
Place back in the freezer until re-frozen. It will not go complete solid since alcohol doesn’t freeze but will have a good smooth sorbet texture, so don’t be tempted to add more vodka at the beginning as won’t freeze at all!
The pears were just grilled with a sprinkle of sugar and lemon juice, they were quite ripe didn’t need much cooking.

Harissa Sauce

At the farmers market last week there was a stall selling Harissa and giving out samples of it too. It’s not something I have tried before but as soon as I had sampled it I knew iI was hooked and this was going to be my new flavour of the season. I have to confess I didn’t buy any, instead it was like a red flag to a bull that challenged me to make my own. There are so many version of Harissa, with most regions in North Africa, where it originates, having their own version that I took a combination of several to produce what I thought would be similar to the one I had sampled. Not all Harissa contains sweet red peppers I discovered but the one I wanted the balance between the sweet and chilli peppers with the spices. The Harissa turned out exactly how I expected it to and I have a new bag of peppers in the fridge to make a new batch since we managed to consume two jars in ten days.

So what did I use the Harissa for? I tossed it through some stir fried vegetables. I used it in a vegan lasagna instead of a tomato base and I used it as a sauce over grilled fish. I have added a link if you would like to read more about the origins of Harissa and some more recipe ideas.

Ingredients – makes approx 400ml

  • 6 red peppers/capsicum
  • 1 medium chilli (the amount of chillies you use depends on how hot you want it, start with less then add more)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oli
  • 3 tsp cumin seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds, ground
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, ground
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika powder


  1. Place the peppers and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until the skins have started to blister and bubble.
  2. Remove from the oven and place in a bowl with a plate on top so they sweat for 5 minutes (loosens the skin). Remove all the skin and seeds from the peppers and place in a blender or food processor.
  3. Place all other ingredients in with the peppers and blend to a smooth paste.
  4. Taste and season with salt & pepper and more chilli if required.
  5. Pour into a jar, cover harissa with a little oil and store in the fridge, will keep up to 10 days. Or you can freeze it in batches if you want to make a larger quantity.

Watermelon & Paneer Cheese Spiced Salad

I’m not a lettuce, cucumber and tomato salad type of girl, I just can’t get excited about that combination, it’s like an out dated fashion item…it’s a little boring. I could convince myself of course to eat it if it had a few olives and a big hunk of feta cheese on top of it and I was sitting beach side on one of the Greek Islands, the only way to eat a Greek salad really! Location makes a big difference doesn’t it? Saying that I live beach side in New Zealand and it is every bit as beautiful as Greece but I’m not always on holiday and more likely to be in a cold air conditioned office and need salad with a little more substance and variety for lunch.

When I saw this recipe in the Australian Gourmet Traveller I wasn’t too sure how it would turn out but decided to give it a go. The original recipe is just watermelon salad but I have added paneer cheese to make it more of a complete meal and I added a few extra herbs & spices. P wouldn’t touch it, he does do fruit and savoury together so the girls and I enjoyed it for lunch at work two days in row! I have a few other watermelon salads up my sleeve too if you enjoy this one.

It’s a perfect refreshing salad for those hot humid days. It can bee served on it’s own or with rice or as a side dish for fish or chicken.


  • 800g watermelon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • Bunch or fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 150g paneer cheese
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp sugar


  • Slice the paneer cheese into small blocks and dust with cornflour.
  • Put a few tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan on a medium heat and once hot put the cheese blocks in to fry. Fry till golden on both sides, about 1 minute each side.
  • Once golden remove from the pan onto kitchen towel to soak up the oil, then put aside.
  • Remove the skin from the water melon and chop into 1 inch cubes.
  • Grind the coriander seeds with a mortar & pestle then add the garlic and turmeric and grind to a paste.
  • Add approx 200g of water melon to the paste and grind to a pulp.
  • In a large frying pan add the 2 tablespoons of oil, fennel seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds and fry them on a low heat for 1 minute.
  • Add the watermelon pulp and teaspoon of sugar to the frying pan and cook over a low heat for 5-8 minutes.
  • Turn the heat off and add the rest of the melon cubes, paneer and coriander to the pan and toss them through the sauce.
  • Serve immediately

Coconut and Apricot Sago Pudding

Sago and tapioca pudding used to be two of my horror desserts at school time lunches, we all used to call it frogs eggs but thought frogs eggs might have tasted better! I used to enjoy school meals unless of course it was something I didn’t like and in those days you were made to eat everything on your plate otherwise it would be off to the head mistress for a telling off and we were to scared to of that.

I had not touched sago since I was about 8 years old until a Chinese friend invited me over to their house for dinner while I was in Sydney. She cooked a great banquet of dishes but she knew I was a big dessert fan and said she had also made a special traditional dessert for me. When she brought out the chilled sago and mango pudding I think I broke out in a cold sweat, frogs eggs, how was I going to digest this? But I didn’t want to be impolite and bravely put a spoon in my mouth and was dearly glad I did, it wasn’t like the sago I remembered, this was silky with a creamy coconut and the tart fruit complimented it well. This is my version with apricot puree which are in season here in New Zealand. I have only passed the apricots through a sieve since they are so sweet and don’t really need much adding to them.


  • ½ cup sago
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1½ – 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6-8 ripe apricots


  • Half and de-stone the apricots.
  • Press the apricots through a sift and collect the puree in a bowl. Depending on how sweet your apricots are you may not need to add anything to them. If you prefer you can add a teaspoon of sugar or honey to the puree but I prefer the combination of a tart fruit against the sweet coconut sago.
  • Put the sugar, coconut cream and 1½ cups of water into a saucepan and place over a gentle heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then add the sago, stirring with a wooden spoon as you add it.
  • Don’t allow the mixture to boil as that will cause the coconut cream to split.
  • Keep stirring to ensure the sago doesn’t form clumps. The sago will swell and the mixture will become quite sticky. If it becomes too thick, just add a little more water.
  • The sago is cooked when it becomes translucent.
  • Pour the pudding into moulds or glasses and set in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Turn mould out onto the apricot puree base or if using glasses pour the fruit puree ontop on the pudding
  • Serve chilled
  • Gluten Free Plum & Almond Slice

    I’m not one for using gluten free flours, my experience of them in cakes, breads and cookies is not that great so I tend to substitute ground nuts for the flour when making anything gluten free. Since I’m not gluten intolerant I haven’t really experimented with theses different flours so when a gluten and dairy free friend came to visit last week I stuck to what I know best and made a plum and almond slice. I used a basic Victoria sandwich cake base but increased the almond content to compensate for the lack of gluten that binds the mixture. I also substituted the butter for an olive oil spread which is like a margarine to make it dairy free also.

    The result is a dense cake slice which holds well in the fridge and we found it to taste even better the next day, although there wasn’t too much if it left. The sweet almond cake against the tart plum is a perfect combination and would work well with apricots too, other stone fruit tend to be too large for decorating the cake.

    125g butter or Olivani (olive oil spread)
    125g sugar
    200g ground almonds ( or 150g ground an 50g course ground for texture)
    2 eggs
    6-8 plums
    30g sliced almonds
    1tsp cinnamon
    Corn flour to dust tin

    Pre heat oven 180C.
    Oil and corn flour a 22cm loose bottom tart tin.
    Place butter & sugar in a bowl and beat with an electric whisk or good old fashioned wooded spoon until light and fluffy.
    Add one egg at a time and whisk in between both additions.
    Fold in the grounds almonds with a metal spoon so not to loose all the air that has been beaten in.
    Spoon mixture into prepared cake tin and evenly.
    Cut plums in half and remove stones.
    Press plums into the cake mix and sprinkle sliced almonds over the top. Dust plums with the cinnamon.
    Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until golden and firm like cake. The cake will rise but shrink slightly when cooled.
    Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin.
    Serve as is or with some yoghurt, ice cream or whipped cream

    Lavender Syrup

    My lavender ( lavandula angustifolia) is again in bloom and each time I step out of my front door I am welcomed by the scent of the blossoms. I have always wanted to see the lavender fields of France but we didn’t make it this year so instead we have planted more lavender along our garden fence which will keep my dreams alive until we return again to France. It’s not quite a field but there is certainly going to be an abundance once it all establishes itself so I really need to start getting creative with the herb in my cooking. A sugar syrup is really easy to make and very versatile and can be poured over ice cream, fruit tarts, in chilled teas, lemonade or as P said even using it in a cocktail or added to sparkling wine. I think he has already got his eye on one of the jars for some new summer cocktails. I mixed some into mascapone yesterday to serve with strawberries which was divine.
    Ingredients – makes 2 x 190 ml jars
    • 1.5 cups water
    • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lavender blossoms
    • few drops of purple food colouring (optional but will stay clear without it)


    1. Place al the ingredients into a pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
    2. Bring all ingredients to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
    3. Remove from heat and allow to steep 30 minutes.
    4. Return to the heat and bring back to the boil.
    5. Pour into sterilised jars and seal with lids.
    6. Perfect addition to ice cream, fruit tarts, lemonade, teas or cocktails.
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