LUXE / HEALTH raw date caramel slice…

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Caramel slice has got to be one of my absolute favourite treats but the generic stuff you find at your local cafe is often laden with refined sugars. Although there are endless recipes online for healthier versions of this tasty treat, I’m forever experimenting with new combos and think I’ve stumbled onto a winner. While dates are high in fructose (so I wouldn’t suggest noshing on them every day), they are the perfect addition to this sticky slice…just try not to devour the whole slab at once!

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LUXE / HEALTH Raw Date Caramel Slice

Ingredients:

For the base:
4 dates, pitted and diced
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

For the date caramel:
4 dates, pitted and diced
4 tbsp. tahini
2 tbsp. rice malt syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil

For the chocolate:
1/4 cup cacao
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tbsp. rice malt syrup
Crack of sea salt

Method:

  • To make the base, pop all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs.
  • Line a baking tin or small square tupperware container with baking paper. Pour the shredded base mixture into the prepped tin and press down firmly. Pop in the freezer while you make the caramel.
  • Place dates, tahini, rice malt syrup and coconut oil in the food processor and blend until the mixture comes together like it does when you’re making dough. Tip out into a fine sieve and drain off any excess milky oil that has been released by the tahini.
  • Press the caramel firmly into the base with your fingers or a spatula and place back into the freezer.
  • Whisk together the cacao, coconut oil and rice malt syrup, add a crack or two of sea salt and pour over the caramel layer. Place back in the freezer once more and leave to set for 30-60 minutes.
  • Slice into thick chunks and enjoy! The slice will keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Peanut butter pecan cookies…

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These tasty wee numbers were the happy result of a craving for peanut butter and pecans.  Plus, with our fruit bowl seemingly always housing a bunch of overripe bananas, I was easily lured to the kitchen by the promise of chewy, chunky, crunchy, oats cookies.  The best bit?  They are completely guilt-free…

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LUXE / HEALTH Peanut Butter + Pecan Cookies

Ingredients:

1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbsp. peanut butter
4 dates, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp. black chia seeds
1 tsp. vanilla powder (I love this one by Loving Earth)

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 180, fan-bake.
  • In a large bowl, mash your banana then add the oats, coconut, pecans, peanut butter, dates, chia seeds and vanilla powder.
  • Mix well to combine, then on a baking paper lined tray, roll tablespoon sized spoonfuls into balls.
  • Press down gently with a fork to flatten then bake for 18-20 minutes until the bottoms are golden but the centre is still chewy.
  • Devour while warm then store any extras in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

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 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…

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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!

 

 

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! 

LUXE / HEALTH sticky chilli pork tacos…

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Mexican has got to be one of my absolute favourite cuisines!  For many people however, I think there is still a bit of hesitancy when it comes to cooking Mexican at home as most recipes feel overwhelming due to their seemingly never-ending list of steps, sauces and spices.  So, when I set about creating this dish, I was mindful that I wanted it to be something you could whip up just as easily on a weeknight as you could on a weekend and that most of the ingredients would already be hiding in your cupboard.  Not only are these tacos delicious, but I can assure you, they’re about as healthy as Mexican comes too.  They’re gluten free and if you want to make them dairy free, simply ditch the yoghurt.  Let me know what you think…

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LUXE / HEALTH Sticky Chilli Pork Tacos

Ingredients:

8 gluten free soft corn tacos
1 avocado
4 tbsp. Greek yoghurt
1-2 tsp. sweet chilli sauce

For the pork:
500g pork belly ribs (boneless is ideal, but I usually just slice the meat off the bone after cooking as the bones add a heap of flavour!)
1/3 cup honey
2 red chillies, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Juice of 1 lime

For the slaw:
1/4 head red cabbage, finely sliced
4 spring onions, finely sliced
1/2 large Lebanese cucumber, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
Handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Small handful fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 1/2 lime

For the beans:
1 tin black beans
1 tsp. ground cumin
Sea salt and black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 240C.  Then, in a small jug, mix together all the ingredients for the pork – honey, chillies, garlic and lime juice.
  • Pop the pork ribs in an ovenproof dish lined with baking paper and pour over the chilli marinade.  Roast for 20-25 minutes until cooked through and sticky on the outside.
  • Meanwhile, make your slaw by tossing together the sliced cabbage, spring onions, cucumber, coriander, mint and the juice of 1/2 lime.  Set aside.
  • Cook the black beans in a microwave safe dish for 2 minutes, drain well, then toss in a small bowl with cumin, sea salt and black pepper.  Set aside.
  • Slice a ripe avocado into thin segments, and swirl the sweet chilli sauce through the Greek yoghurt.
  • Once the ribs are cooked, chop into 2-3cm chunks (slice the meat off the bone first if your ribs aren’t boneless), then heat your tacos in the microwave for 40 seconds until warm.
  • To assemble: place a spoonful of beans on your taco with a pinch of slaw, a couple of slices of avocado, a few chunks of sticky pork and a generous dollop of the yoghurt.  Serve with extra spring onions and fresh coriander.
  • And repeat…

LUXE / HEALTH lemon chicken…

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This classic chicken dish is a crowd pleaser and is just as perfect for a quick mid-week meal as it is for a dinner party.  While it’s definitely tasty served warm, the cauliflower salad makes a worthy side dish on its’ own or served up as lunch leftovers the next day.  Let me know what you think…

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LUXE / HEALTH Lemon Chicken with Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients:

For the chicken:
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
1 tbsp. honey
4-6 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
4 organic chicken breasts

For the cauliflower rice:
1/2 large cauliflower head, broken into florets
1/2 cup frozen peas, steamed
4 spring onions, finely sliced
Pinch of dried chilli flakes
Zest and juice of half a lemon
Coconut or olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper

Method:

  • In a large bowl, combine the zest and juice of one lemon, crushed garlic cloves, coriander, honey, olive oil and seasoning.
  • Add the chicken, stirring to coat well then cover with gladwrap and pop in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours (overnight is best).
  • When you’re ready to cook – preheat your oven to 180 and pop your chicken in an oven proof dish.  Pour over the remaining marinade as this will get nice and sticky as the chicken cooks.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until chicken is cooked through but still moist.
  • Meanwhile, break cauli into florets, then blitz in your blender or food processor for a few seconds until it resembles rice.  Set aside.
  • In a large fry pan, heat a little coconut or olive oil, then add the cauli rice and stir for a few minutes until warmed through.  Add the zest and juice of 1/2 lemon, spring onions and steamed peas and heat through for 2-3 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste and a healthy pinch of dried chilli for extra kick.
  • Serve chicken sliced on a generous bed of cauliflower rice and sprinkle over any extra fresh coriander and spring onions.  Devour immediately!

LUXE / HEALTH immune boost juice…

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I am definitely not a winter person and apart from stomping about in a good pair of boots, there’s not much else I enjoy about the cooler months.  One of the worst bits too has got to be the many (many!) bugs that fly about at this time of year.  I feel quite lucky in the sense that I don’t often get struck down with colds and flu, but when you take public transport daily and work in an office, sometimes it’s hard to avoid.  So, whenever I feel a sniffle coming on, this is my go-to juice recipe.  Full of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting ingredients, it’s sure to make your hair curl.

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LUXE / HEALTH Immune Boost Juice

Ingredients:

6 oranges, peeled
1/2 lemon, peeled
6-8 large carrots, ends removed
2 inch chunk ginger, skin removed

Method:

  • Place all the ingredients through a juicer and devour immediately!

LUXE / HEALTH dukkah dusted flathead…

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I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love fish and let’s be honest, we could all benefit from including a little more of it in our diet.  It’s a perfect source of protein and packed full of essential fatty acids which are said to help prevent a whole range of health issues such as heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimers.

I also love the ritual of waking up early on a Sunday morning to visit the fish market (coffee in hand, of course!) to pick up some fresh fish and a loaf of my favourite bread.  Although salmon and snapper are firm favourites, the humble flathead is such a simple fish to cook and full of flavour.  It also lends itself well to so many different dishes and here is one of my best…enjoy!

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LUXE / HEALTH Dukkah Dusted Flathead with Cauliflower Rice
(Serves 2)

Ingredients:

4 small fillets of flathead
2 eggs
1/2 cauliflower
1/2 cup frozen peas, boiled and drained well
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, finely diced
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup dukkah (either make your own or About Life does a great blend!)
1/2 cup Greek yoghurt
Olive oil

Method:

  • Roughly chop the cauliflower into large florets, then place into a food processor or hand blender and blitz until it looks a bit like rice.  If you don’t have a food processor, you could also try grating it.
  • Grab two wide shallow bowls (pasta plates are perfect) and in one, place the dukkah, and in the other, lightly beat the two eggs.
  • Heat a little olive oil in a large frypan then add the garlic, chilli and onion and saute until the onion becomes translucent.
  • Add the cauliflower rice and lemon zest and toss well for 5-10 minutes until the cauliflower has softened and is heated through.
  • Add a good squeeze of lemon juice, fresh salt and pepper and the peas and toss well.  Then, set aside.
  • In another large frypan, heat a little olive oil while you prepare your fish.
  • Ensuring the flathead fillets are deboned first, dip each fillet into the egg mixture before coating well in the dukkah spice mix.
  • Place each fillet in the heated pan and cook on high for 2-3 minutes each side, or until the fish has cooked through.
  • Place a good pile of cauliflower rice in a bowl and top with the flathead fillets and a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt.  Sprinkle the remaining toasted dukkah from the pan over the top and devour immediately!

LUXE / HEALTH simple fried rice…

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I don’t know about you, but so many of my Sunday afternoons are spent trying to plan out some healthy dinners for the week while at the same time trying to think of new ways to bring a little LUXE to my work lunches.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a salad!  But sometimes I crave something a little more substantial and a little more comforting.

As a new cooler season approaches, here’s a super simple healthy version of fried rice which will keep you feeling full till dinnertime.

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LUXE / HEALTH simple fried rice
(Serves 1)

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked brown rice
2 spring onions, diced finely
1/4 small red cabbage, finely sliced
1-2 tbsp. soy sauce (gluten free or Tamari)
1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
Pinch dried chilli flakes
Salt and pepper
1 egg
Coconut oil

Method:

  • To begin, cook the brown rice (one of those single serve 90 second microwave bags is perfect – or alternatively, this is a great recipe to use up leftovers!)
  • In one frypan, heat a little coconut oil then add the diced spring onions and red cabbage and toss for a few minutes until the cabbage softens slightly.
  • In another frypan, fry one egg in a little coconut oil or butter.
  • Add the cooked brown rice to the spring onions and cabbage, then add soy sauce and a good splash of the apple cider vinegar and toss well.
  • Taste, then add a little more soy sauce or vinegar to suit before tipping into a small bowl.
  • Top the rice with the fried egg, freshly cracked salt and pepper and a pinch of dried chilli flakes.  Delish!