On the BBQ

It’s almost Summmaaaa’ time!!! And do you know what that means? BBQs people, BBQs!

I myself am generally in favour of frosty weather that calls for days spent huddling beside a warm fire or a sweet smelling oven. But when the warm weather rolls around, I get excited about three things.

1.Picnics
2. Cocktails
3. BBQs.

On the very first day of 2014, we decided to copy Mel and Jay and buy ourselves a Weber Family Q. We’d been wanting a BBQ for ages but hadn’t got round to purchasing one. We bought it on January 2 and for a solid 30 days, we BBQ’d every single night. It was so nice to come home and end the day lazing on the deck with tantalising smells wafting from the BBQ.

Easy breezy, summer evenings = bliss.

I’m looking forward to repeating that behaviour in the coming months.

Our two favourite BBQ dinners?

1) …….Salmon with veggies. Before we had the BBQ, we’d bake fish a lot. However cooking outside means that the smell also stays outside and your house doesn’t smell fishy for hours afterwards.

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2) …….Bunless burgers.
Michelle Bridges has a recipe called Cheeky Charlie Burgers where you use a giant cooked mushroom as the base of your burger, rather than a bun. We make those often but also like this version which just uses lettuce. An easy paleo meal! And you can kind of make them look like faces (see below!)

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Do you have any favourite BBQ recipes that you can share?

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For the love of oats

Following on from my last post about breakfast, I’d like to say something about oats. And that is that I’m ahbb-SESSED with them! Especially bircher muesli. I have a deep, deep love for bircher.

The first time I ever tried it was years ago when Donna and I stayed with Tomas and Jones. Before we went to bed one night, Tomas got to work peeling apples and soaking oats for the next morning. Oh my yum, it was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.

After that, any time that The Don and I would breakfast together, we’d always get the bircher.

These days I have a paleo-ish diet. Oats being the ‘ish’ part of the diet. I’ll never give them up!

I like to think of myself  as the homemade muesli queen! I generally make a big container full of muesli every few weeks and that’s what I have for breakfast both days. My desk buddy Michelle has shared an Italian secret with me – eat your muesli with coffee rather than plain milk. It makes for a warm, delicious, winter brekfast.

Shall I share my favourite recipes with you?

SPOILER ALERT – THESE RECIPES ARE ALL AMAZING! 

1) Fit Foodie Finds has a version of bircher called Good for you overnight oats.
Coconut milk is used for the soaking which makes this a very refreshing breakfast. It’s gorgeous in summer.

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2) On the same website, Lee also has a recipe for Coconut Chia Granola
I’ve realised that granola is the American term for muesli. I actually think granola sounds better. It feels crunchy, don’t you think? With this one, you have to make sure you add enough milk to your bowl. Because here’s a fun fact about chia seeds: If you eat dry chia, it will absorb water in your stomach, which can cause cramping if you eat too much. However, if your chia has already been soaked in a liquid, you will be consuming extra water, which will be released into your system as the chia is digested.

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3) This is the WholeFood Simply version of overnight oats.
It involves berries, coconut and a smattering of macadamia nuts.

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4) Eat, run & everything in between has a peanut butter & jelly version of overnight oats.
Except there’s no peanut butter or jelly in it. Which frankly seems like a good thing!
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5) Toasted coconut buckwheat.
Thank you Veggie Mama for this ridiculously sublime recipe! Side note – do you follow this awesome chic? She is a most excellent home grown blogger and I highly recommend you add her to your reader.

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6) Banana bread granola from Minamalist Baker.
This is so good it’s bananas! (sorry)

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7) And lastly, my grand pooh-bah in muesli.
This cardamom hazelnut granola is from Naturally Ella. This is my FAVOURITE of favourites. I LOVE this granola. Do you hear what I’m saying? It is amazing! Make it! The cardamom gives it just that little bit of a spicy kick and by using hot coffee rather than milk, the combo is perfection.

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If you have any of your own bircher/overnight oats/granola/muesli recipes to share – do so below!

Note – all images come from the blogs mentioned above.

Breaking your fast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day but if you ask me, it’s also the most boring. I always struggle to think of interesting and different things to eat at the start of the day. Whenever I do have something delicious to break my fast, I feel the need to photograph the moment.

Some of my favourite breakfasts from lately are:

1) Scrambled eggs (always scrambled because I hate runny eggs) with smoked salmon, capers and black grapes.  IMG_5991 2) Bacon, tomato and an omelette of sorts cooked on the BBQ.IMG_6022 3) Savoury muffins that preferably involve olives and basil like theseIMG_60624) Strawberry, apple and almond breakfast muffins from What Katie Ate.IMG_6116 5) Porridge with peanut butter and frozen berries. IMG_6916

And lastly, I need to mention this breakfast that Mel made me on the very first day of the year. Even though 8 months have passed, it is still the best breakfast I’ve had in 2014.
There was rocket, scrambled egg, guacamole, bacon, tomatoes marinated in olive oil and parsley and a whole lot of flaked, toasted almonds. Yum.

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What do you eat for breakfast???

Neen hearts quinoa

Can we take a moment for me to tell you how much I love quinoa? It’s not a new love, I’ve been a fan since the rest of the world discovered that the Peruvians were keeping their super grain a secret.

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No other food makes me feel so satisfied in a non full way. Does that make sense? 

No other food leaves my palate feeling so clean.I guess sushi comes a close second, but that’s a whole other love affair.

My favourite quinoa  combo is this one. You basically mix sautéed Spanish onion with either smoked or flaked baked salmon (or canned if you care for that, which I don’t) and a bunch of greens. Voila! The perfect lunch.

I also very much like this recipe because a quinoa/pesto match is one I believe to be made in heaven.

Do you have any recipes you can share? What are you eating and loving right now?

52 lists – things I’d like to find in my fridge (and freezer)

I’d love to open my fridge door now and find:

This cherry yoghurt.

Cherry yoghurt

 A bowl of each of these three soups, just waiting to be reheated.  The first one is Sweet Pea & Tarragon soup. My friend Amber once made me a tea cup full of chilled pea soup. I’ve always wanted to have that again and I think this recipe would do the trick.
I’ve been making both the scallop and cauliflower soup and the broccoli soup quite a lot lately. Both are delish! In the cauliflower soup recipe, I substitute the cream and milk for coconut milk. PicMonkey Collage

 In the sweet department, I would love to see a delicious cheesecake magically appear in my fridge. Preferably German style like Mel made for me once. Or the Bill Granger one that Kylie & Sheela have perfected. I’ve been feeling like cheesecake for weeks.

I’d also love one of these chilli lime watermelon iceblocks or one of these pistachio cannoli.

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What do you wish you would find in your fridge if you opened the door right now?

Weird food combos

I love a weird food combo. I pretend I don’t, when I first come across them. But then the combo stays in my mind until I try it.

This happened to me awhile ago with Billy Law’s Cola Chicken. I saw the recipe on Cook Republic (as per the pic below) and was appalled that someone would be so unhealthy as to use coke in cooking. But then I couldn’t get the idea out of my idea. I tried it and it was AMAZE! Not something to eat regularly though!

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Here’s a few other weird combos that have caught my eye recently:

Hotdogs wrapped with bacon and stuffed with peanut butter! This one’s from a historic gastronomist featured on the etsy blog here.

Hot dogCarrot cake porridge

Carrot cake oatmeal

Peanut butter & pickle sandwich

Peanut butter and pickles

And then on Stone Soup the other day, there were some food combo suggestions from Tim Ferriss. He suggested:

:: cayenne pepper and salt on mango
:: cinnamon and chilli powder on vanilla ice cream
:: soy sauce on vanilla ice cream
:: cinnamon on bacon
:: almond butter on hamburger

So, would you dare try any of these?

Pasta la vista

I’ve come across three delicious looking pasta dishes over the last few weeks and I thought I’d share them here.

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The first one is a spaghetti with roasted tomatoes + a pea and goat cheese pesto. I’d use ricotta instead of goats cheese to be sure.

The second one is spaghetti carbonara. In theory, I love the idea of this. When it comes to actually eating food with raw egg in it though, I quietly freak out.

The third one is a butterey, garlicky, mushroomy treat of a meal.

All three of these pastas look like the perfect dish to make for guests. Visitors would come,  they’d eat carbs, they’d leave happy.

I suppose you all want a dinner invite now, huh?

Super easy, gluten free, quinoa cookies

I made these cookies a few weeks ago. Actually I’ve made them a few times in the last few weeks. People keep asking for the recipe so please find below. They’re gluten free for those who need them to be!

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You’ll need: 

1/3 cup honey (but I used date syrup)
1/3 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup rice flour
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp baking powder

Method:
Preheat oven at 175 degrees C. Beat honey, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl until creamy. Combine flour, quinoa and baking soda in a small bowl. Add to honey mixture, and beat well until blended  Drop round teaspoon sized portions about 2 inches apart onto a non-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheet. 

Serve with milk if you have a husband like mine….