LUXE / HEALTH carrot cake…

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This was my first (and only) attempt at creating a healthy version of carrot cake and I have to admit – it was a winner all round!  If you’ve got a surplus of carrots lingering in the bottom of your fridge, I suggest you whip up this wee treat, grab a cup of tea and enjoy every single mouthful…

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LUXE / HEALTH Carrot Cake

Ingredients:

3 large carrots, grated
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla bean powder
Dash ground cinnamon
Dash ground ginger
2 cups almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup rice malt syrup
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (or raisins if you prefer) + extra to serve
2 tsp. baking powder

For the icing:

Cream cheese
Pinch vanilla bean powder
Lemon zest and juice, to taste

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 160C on bake.  Then, in a large bowl mix together the grated carrot, eggs, spices, almond meal, walnuts, baking powder and coconut oil.
  • Mix well then pop into a lightly greased loaf tin.  If you haven’t got one already, I can highly recommend the silicon loaf tins you can buy nowadays!
  • Bake for around 90 minutes or until cooked through, the cake should be moist but hold together.  This is another recipe where you need to trust your instincts and after 60 minutes, check the cake every 10 minutes or so as every oven differs slightly.
  • Cool in the loaf tin completely before popping onto a rack.
  • Meanwhile, whip up some cream cheese icing by popping a few tablespoons of cream cheese in a hand mixer with a pinch of vanilla bean powder and the zest of one lemon.  Slowly add lemon juice, to taste and a little honey or rice malt syrup to sweeten (optional).
  • Once the cake has cooled, use a spatula to ice the loaf and sprinkle with extra chopped walnuts.  Simple.

LUXE / HEALTH banana + oat cookies…

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Give me a bunch of too-ripe bananas and I give you these wee gems…enjoy!

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LUXE / HEALTH Banana + Oat Cookies

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup choc chips (substitute for raisins or chopped nuts if you want to ditch the chocolate!)
1 tbsp. rice malt syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
Dash ginger powder

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 140C, then in a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas well.
  • Add the oats, coconut, choc chips, rice malt syrup, coconut oil and a dash of ginger powder (or cinnamon if you prefer) and mix well.
  • Line a baking tray with baking paper then pop spoonfuls of the mixture onto the tray – should make 12-14 cookies.
  • Cook for around 45 minutes at this low heat, then crank your oven to 180C for another 10-15 minutes to crisp up the outside.  The cookies should look nice and golden brown but still be chewy on the inside so just trust your instincts when it comes to your oven and keep an eye on them!

LUXE / HEALTH French toast…

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In my mind, there’s nothing more comforting than a stack of gorgeously gooey French toast and while it’s certainly a bit of a treat brekkie and not something I would suggest noshing on every day – it’s definitely on high rotation in our household at the moment.  Sunday mornings currently involve a lazy stroll to the corner coffee shop, followed by a trip to the local bakery for a loaf of fresh gluten free sourdough, and then it’s straight back to the kitchen for pure indulgence…

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LUXE / HEALTH French Toast

Ingredients:

4 eggs
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1 tbsp. rapadura sugar
4-6 slices thickly cut sourdough (I’ve found the BEST gluten free loaf at our local, but any bread will do)
Fresh raspberries
Marscapone or coconut yoghurt, to serve
Maple syrup (make sure you buy 100% pure – the regular supermarket rubbish is often full of just that..)
Butter or coconut oil

Method:

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar until smooth.  Then, dunk each slice of bread in the egg mixture for a few seconds until it’s super soggy.
  • Heat a grill pan or frying pan on medium-high heat and add a dollop of butter or coconut oil and swirl around.  Note: I like to have two pans going at once because I’m simply too impatient to wait!
  • Fry each slice of bread for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden brown and serve while hot.
  • Current fave toppings include fresh raspberries with marscapone (it’s a treat after all!) and maple syrup.  But, honourable mentions include sliced banana and bacon, raspberries and coconut yoghurt or my hubby’s simple favourite, cinnamon sugar…

LUXE / HEALTH shiitake soba bowl…

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When you’re lacking dinner inspo and want something quick but healthy and comforting all in one go, then I promise this soba bowl will hit the spot….

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LUXE / HEALTH Shiitake Soba Bowl

Ingredients:

1-2 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 leek, finely sliced
2 bunches Pak Choy, roughly chopped
Handful shiitake mushrooms, roughly chopped
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Coconut oil
5-6 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tbsp. sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime
1 packet soba noodles

Method:

  • In a small jug, mix together the rice vinegar, sesame oil and lime juice.  Taste, season and set aside.
  • Slice chicken breasts into 1-2cm chunks, then heat a little coconut oil in a wok or large frypan and stir-fry for a few minutes until chicken has browned a little and cooked through, then set aside.
  • Cook soba noodles according to packet directions while you prep your veg, then rinse and drain well.
  • Add a little extra coconut oil to the wok then add the garlic, leek and mushrooms and stir-fry for a couple of minutes until soft before adding the Pak Choy.  As the greens begin to wilt, add the chicken back to the wok, followed by the drained soba noodles.
  • Drizzle over the dressing and toss well to combine.
  • Divide between two plates and sprinkle with fresh coriander.  Done!

Why fruit isn’t a dirty word…

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When did fruit become a dirty word?  I don’t know about you, but it seems that somewhere between smashed avo and bone broth, the practise of ‘healthy eating’ pushed fruit into the pile of foods to cut out or restrict because of its’ sugar content.

As someone who has always tried to embrace the concept of balance over deprivation when it comes to nutrition, the fact that so many women are asking me about fruit or telling me that they’ve ditched it altogether is worrying.  Yes, fruit contains sugar (a combination of glucose and fructose), but the tsunami of ‘anti-sugar’ information we’re presented with on a daily basis has cast fruit in a particularly bad light with some popping it in the same category as processed foods and refined sugars.

So, what’s the deal then?  While it’s true that glucose and fructose are metabolised differently by the body and too much of the latter can place extra strain on our detox systems, you’d have to consume a bucketload of fruit in order to reach those kinds of levels.  The truth is, fruit contains an abundance of essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients which our bodies miss out on if we nix it altogether.

While every body is different and the evidence for bio-individuality grows stronger every day, I encourage you to lose the fear surrounding fruit and enjoy it as part of a balanced diet.  It truly is nature’s perfectly packaged fast food and as they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away…

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LUXE / HEALTH salad series…

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This Sydney heatwave has me craving nothing but salad so if you can relate, get stuck into this pork, pomegranate and pistachio beauty…

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LUXE / HEALTH Sumac Pork and Pomegranate Salad

Ingredients:

1 pork fillet
1 cup quinoa
1 pomegranate
Handful of fresh mint, roughly chopped
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
4-6 spring onions, finely sliced
Handful pistachios
Handful of steamed green beans
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. sumac
Zest and juice of one lemon + extra
Olive oil

Method:

  • In a large bowl, mix the ground coriander, cumin, sumac, lemon zest and lemon juice with a good glug of olive oil.  Pop the pork fillet in the marinade, cover and chill for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
  • Rinse the quinoa and drain well before adding to a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy.
  • Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan, then cook your pork for 3-4 minutes on each side until well browned and the pork has cooked through.
  • To assemble your salad, toss the quinoa with your steamed green beans, spring onions, fresh coriander, mint and pistachios.  Add the juice and seeds of the pomegranate and pile high on your plate.
  • Slice the pork fillet into 1/2 cm slices and place on top of your quinoa salad.  Serve with a squeeze of lemon and any extra pomegranate seeds.  A crumble of goats cheese or a dollop of Greek yoghurt would go down a treat too!

 

LUXE / HEALTH roast chicken with pesto and pea quinoa risotto…

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If you’ve roasted a chicken (and have no idea what to do with the leftovers), then I promise you this recipe will be a lifesaver.  The quinoa risotto is far simpler than it sounds and the whole dish makes a tasty work lunch alternative to the standard rice and tuna combo we all know and love.  Let me know what you think…

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LUXE / HEALTH Roast Chicken with Pesto and Pea Quinoa Risotto

Ingredients:

For the pesto:
1 bunch fresh basil
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup grated parmesan
Juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Sea salt and pepper

Quinoa
Roast chicken (if you can’t be bothered roasting a chook, any protein will work well with the quinoa as a base)
Green peas
Radish
Rocket

Method:

  • If you’re roasting a chicken from scratch, preheat your oven to 180 then pop your chicken in an oven bag and generously rub olive oil, sea salt and pepper into the skin.  Secure the bag firmly then pop in the oven to roast – around 30mins per 500g.
  • Meanwhile, prep your pesto by throwing the basil, garlic, parmesan, lemon juice and pine nuts in a food processor or blender.  Add a good 2-3 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Once it’s thick and creamy and tastes delish, cover and pop in the fridge till you need it.
  • For the risotto, rinse and drain well 1 cup of quinoa, then add to a saucepan with 2 cups of water.  Bring to the boil, then cover and lower to a simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the water has absorbed and the quinoa is nice and fluffy.
  • Once the chicken is ready, shred with two forks and set aside.
  • Then, in a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa with the pesto and add 1 cup of cooked green peas (frozen is fine – just steam them in the microwave for a couple of minutes).
  • To serve, pile your plate with fresh rocket, a few spoonfuls of the quinoa risotto and garnish with sliced radish.  Add a good helping of the roast chicken on top and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.  Simple!

LUXE / HEALTH salad series…

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Another day, another salad!  I promise you though, this one will hit the spot and solve any of those mid-week dinner dilemmas too…

x A

 

LUXE / HEALTH Lamb with Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Salad

Ingredients:

1 lamb backstrap
1/4 Kent pumpkin, sliced into wedges
Handful rocket
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 small Lebanese cucumber, shaved into ribbons (just use your vegetable peeler)
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Small handful pine nuts, toasted
Goats cheese
Olive oil
Balsamic reduction
Ground cumin
Sea salt and black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180 then prep your pumpkin by slicing into thin wedges.  Pop on a baking paper lined tray then drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Once your oven is hot, roast the pumpkin for 35-45 minutes until cooked through and tender.
  • Drain and rinse your tinned chickpeas, then place them into a salad bowl with a large handful of rocket, the sliced onion and cucumber ribbons.  Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
  • To prep your lamb, bring it to room temperature then generously rub ground cumin, sea salt and pepper into the meat.
  • Heat a frying pan or grill plate and once it’s piping hot, cook the lamb for two and a half minutes each side before setting aside to rest.  This will give you nice pink, rare lamb.
  • Once the pumpkin is cooked through, drizzle a little balsamic reduction over the pumpkin wedges – then you’re ready to plate up!
  • Place a couple of pieces of pumpkin in each plate, then heap a generous serve of the rocket salad on top.  Slice the rested lamb and place on top of your salad before sprinkling with pine nuts and a generous (read: very generous!) helping of goats cheese.  Dinner sorted!

 

 

LOVE…

It’s almost been a year since me and my love said ‘I do’ – but seeing it in print makes it feel like yesterday.  Thank you to Cosmo Bride for the gorgeous feature!

x A

Event planner & Stylist – Hayley from Hayley & Co.
Photography – Paul Tatterson
Flowers – Josie at Sweetpea Weddings

Cosmo Bride – Issue 48, on sale now

LUXE / HEALTH grilled peach and bocconcini salad…

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There’s nothing better than summer fruit on a hot day and with Sydney currently sweltering through a heat wave, I am craving light and tasty salads for dinner.  This wee dish is super simple, but the combo of sweet sticky peaches and fresh bocconcini is too good not to share.  The perfect side dish for your next barbecue!

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LUXE / HEALTH Grilled Peach and Bocconcini Salad

Ingredients:

2 peaches (yellow or white is fine – just make sure they’re not too ripe)
1 small bag of rocket
4-6 balls of baby bocconcini, sliced thinly or torn roughly
Handful of green beans
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar or reduction (whatever you have handy)

Method:

  • Start by prepping your peaches by halving them and removing the stone.  Lay them on a board and drizzle over a little balsamic reduction or vinegar.
  • Heat your grill, I used the barbecue, but a grill pan would work just as well.  Once it’s piping hot, place your peaches sticky side down and cook through for 3-4 minutes until golden and glazed.
  • Meanwhile, steam a handful of green beans then run under cold water to cool.  Drain well.
  • Toss your cooked beans with rocket, sliced bocconcini and a little olive oil.
  • Pile the salad onto a serving platter and once your peaches are ready, place them gently on top before drizzling with a little extra balsamic to taste.
  • Devour immediately!