Thai Green Chicken Curry

This is a really quick and easy curry, with an authentic Thai taste, as long as you use a good quality paste for your base. It’s perfect for a weeknight dinner and reheats beautifully if you have leftovers. We happen to have some of the ingredients in our garden at the moment too, which is very handy – you can’t get fresher than just-picked.


A basic steel (not stainless) wok is a must-have. Ours is well-seasoned, as you can see.


2 tbs bought green curry paste (I use Valcom brand, from the supermarket)
2 tbs oil
300ml coconut milk – you can use a reduced fat one if you like
2 red Thai chillies
2 Kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced or 1/2 tsp of lime zest
4 chicken thigh fillets, diced
1 tbs fish sauce
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
A handful of chopped basil leaves
2-3 cups of veggies. I used a small eggplant and a baby pak choy in the one pictured, but broccoli, snow peas or beans would work too.

Heat a wok or frying pan, then add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the curry paste and stir fry for a minute or two. Add the chillies and lime leaves or zest and stir fry for another minute. Add half the coconut milk and stir until the oil separates (about 3-4 minutes). Add the chicken and stir for 5-7 minutes or until it’s no longer pink on the outside. Add the remaining coconut milk, fish sauce and herbs, stir well, then add the veggies. Bring back to the boil, turn the heat down, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Taste and add more fish sauce if needed. Serve with steamed rice.

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Smoked salmon roulade

My Mum was a professional chef and every year, for as long as I can remember, she made this amazing smoked salmon roulade as an entrée for Christmas dinner, and served it up alongside a huge pile of prawns. When my sisters and I took over hosting Christmas dinner some years back, the roulade was Mum’s contribution to the feast.

When Mum died suddenly in April last year, Christmas was the furthest thing from our minds. But as the end of the year drew near, we began searching for her roulade recipe. We hunted through boxes of documents, notebooks and reams of loose paper, to no avail. Luckily my nieces had been at Mum’s place on the last Christmas Eve she was still here, and had watched her make it. So they were delegated to have a go at it. Some Googling, some improvisation and one failed attempt and they nailed it. Phew.

This year, niece #2 was in New York for Christmas, so not available for salmon roulade duty. She texted some vague instructions, which I followed to this result:


I wrote down the recipe – with quantities – for future reference. And now I’m sharing it with you all. Merry Christmas. 🙂

Smoked Salmon Roulade

6-7 large eggs
2 X 250g cream cheese
1 tbs lemon juice (have some extra handy just in case)
1 tbs chopped fresh dill
1 tsp capers, drained & roughly chopped
500g sliced smoked salmon

Separate eggs. Whip egg whites till stiff, fold egg yolks through the whites till just combined. Pour into two lamington trays* lined with baking paper, spread evenly & smooth with a knife. Bake in a low-moderate oven for 7-10 minutes until cooked rough and yellow on top. Set aside to cool.

Place remaining ingredients except salmon into the bowl of a food processor and process until combined and softened. Taste and add more lemon juice if required.

Remove egg base from the pans with the baking paper still underneath. Spread the cream cheese mixture thinly over the egg base and top with the salmon in a single layer. With a long edge facing you, carefully lift the baking paper and roll up the whole thing firmly (like a Swiss roll), peeling the paper back as you go. Wrap tightly in glad wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Slice into 2cm thick slices to serve.

*My lamington trays are about 32cm x 22cm, just for reference.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Compote

I was introduced to the delights of rhubarb only last year. Which is odd because all through my childhood, my mum used to stew rhubarb regularly and eat it with ice cream or with other stewed fruit. As kids do though, I wrinkled my nose and declared I didn’t like rhubarb – without even trying it. And then somehow as an adult, I just never got around to sampling it until last year, when I was on a mission to try some new fruits and veggies.

Apple and rhubarb compote became my new favourite thing. But then my polyol intolerance diagnosis happened, and apples were relegated to the land of Do Not Eat. So it’s been a while since I’ve eaten the tart and tasty stems of this perennial.

Being a fan of home-grown produce, I decided last Spring that lack of space wasn’t going to stop me growing some veggies. So I potted up a number of different edible plants, plus tucked herbs into any available spots in the garden beds. We’re now picking tomatoes, eggplants, basil, mint, chives, parsley and rocket and have a heap more things not quite at the harvesting stage.

While I was cruising the aisles at the local nursery, I spotted rhubarb plants amongst the veggie and herb seedlings. I grabbed some and plonked them into an old pot I had lying around, along with some Thai basil. Turns out, rhubarb is really easy to grow.

rhubarb plantI won’t be harvesting any this year though, as apparently you need to let the plant establish a good sized crown before you begin twisting off stems willy-nilly. No problem. Rhubarb is abundant in the greengrocers and supermarkets right now. I spotted some this week and grabbed a big bunch, and this afternoon I whipped up this compote.

Rhubarb & Strawberry compote

My plan was to use some of it in a batch of muffins, but I’m not entirely happy with how they’ve turned out. Luckily I have plenty left over to experiment with. Meanwhile, I’ll be serving this up for breakfast with some thick Greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of walnuts, or maybe a handful of granola.

Rhubarb & Strawberry Compote

½ cup water
½ cup dry or sweet white wine
1 tsp crushed ginger
2/3 cup Natvia
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
500g rhubarb, trimmed and chopped into 2cm pieces
250g strawberries, hulled cut into quarters (or halves if they’re small)

Place the water, wine, ginger, Natvia, sugar, and vanilla into a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer until all of the sugar is dissolved. Add the rhubarb and return to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 3-4 minutes until rhubarb is tender. Remove from the heat, add strawberries and leave to cool.

Serve with Greek yoghurt or vanilla ice cream


If you don’t like ginger, substitute another spice like ground cinnamon, or just leave it out.
If you prefer not to use wine, just add extra water.

San Choy Bow

Who doesn’t like Chinese food? It’s a cuisine that seems to get universal love – and no wonder. So much flavour, lots of colourful veggies, and it’s usually a pretty cheap meal too.

San choy bow is one of my favourite Chinese dishes and is perfect for summer lunches or dinners. It’s quick to make, doesn’t use any hard-to-get ingredients, and it’s a lot lighter than many other options, because it’s not wrapped in pastry or deep-fried. I made this for dinner earlier this week, and am loving the leftovers for a super-quick lunch.

You can modify this about a million ways and it will still work, so don’t dismiss it if the recipe contains something you don’t like or can’t eat. I made mine using garlic-infused oil and sans mushrooms to deal with my FODMAP issues, and since we were right out of pork mince, I just substituted chicken mince. If you need it to be gluten-free, just check the labels on your sauces and make sure your corn flour is actually made from corn, not wheat (yes, seriously!)

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Serves 4

1 iceberg lettuce
50g dried rice noodles, soaked in hot water then roughly chopped
2 tbs oyster sauce
1 tbs soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbs corn flour
½ small red chilli, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
2 tbs olive oil
8 shitake mushrooms, sliced (any mushroom will substitute perfectly)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp crushed ginger
500g lean minced pork (or substitute chicken mince)
6 water chestnuts, finely chopped
1 small carrot, grated
2 tbs hoisin sauce
4 spring onions, finely sliced

Discard outer leaves, then carefully cut whole leaves from the lettuce, choosing 8 that form neat cups. In a bowl, mix sauces, sesame oil, cornflour, chilli and egg – set aside.

Heat oil in a wok or large non-stick pan over high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add pork and cook, stirring to break up any lumps, for 8-10 minutes or until cooked. Drain off any excess liquid. Return pan to heat and add water chestnuts, carrot and noodles, cook for 4 minutes. Stir the sauce mixture, then add to pan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little.

Place lettuce leaves on plates and divide mixture between them. Drizzle hoisin sauce over and top with spring onions.  To eat, simply roll up the lettuce leaf around the filling, dip in some extra hoi sin sauce or soy sauce and stuff it in your face.

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Choc-banana pancakes

I never get sick of pancakes. There are so many ways to make them, I must have thirty different recipes …in fact, I usually just throw some ingredients into a bowl and make it up as I go.

This one is a little bit special though – flecks of chocolate mixed through a banana batter make it extra-yummy, and I made sure it was low FODMAP as well. If you don’t have food intolerances, don’t worry – the recipe is delicious and ideal for anybody at all… ;o)

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1 medium banana, mashed
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon of Natvia (or granular sweetener of your choice)
1/4 cup spelt flour (you can use plain or gluten-free flour, whatever you prefer)
1/4 cup almond meal
20g unflavoured whey powder – vanilla would also work
1 tsp baking powder
1-2 tablespoons of roughly chopped dark chocolate or choc chips

Beat mashed banana, eggs, egg whites, vanilla and Natvia with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat for a minute or two until the mixture is smooth and creamy in texture. Sift the flour, whey and baking powder together and add to the egg mixture with the almond meal, stirring well to combine. Add the chopped chocolate and gently stir through.

Heat a non-stick pan, melt a little coconut oil. I used about 1/4 cup of mixture per pancake and made eight in total, but suit yourself: make them bigger or smaller as you prefer. Cook pancakes until bubbles form on top and begin to burst, then carefully turn and cook the other side.

I spread mine with Mayver’s Cacao and Peanut Spread and it was a party in my mouth! Holiday breakfasts are the best. 🙂

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Chocolate mousse – dairy free & egg free

This is my first attempt at a coconut milk based chocolate mousse and in spite of all the dire warnings and stories of failure I’ve read on various food blogs, it turned out very well. It’s lactose- and dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free and vegan. It’s not quite Paleo, but you could make it so if you swapped the sugar for a sweetener that suits you better.

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For me, it’s just so, SO nice to have a creamy chocolate mousse that I can eat without worrying about any nasty after-effects due to my lactose intolerance.

I’ll add one caveat: it’s very, VERY rich. This recipe makes quite a small quantity, but it’s easily enough for four serves and you could even stretch it to six. I made three serves and was unable to finish mine.

I found the tartness of fresh raspberries cut through the richness and made a really lovely combination of flavours. I think it would also make a fantastic chocolate cream filling for pastries – I may have to test that out.

Coconut chocolate mousse

1 270ml can of coconut milk*
2 tablespoons of good quality cocoa** (these are 20ml Aussie tablespoons)
2 tablespoons sifted icing sugar

Chill the can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least two hours – overnight would be even better. Pour the contents into a bowl and add the cocoa and icing sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat on low speed till combined, then on high speed for 2-4 minutes until smooth and creamy.

Pour into serving glasses – if you want to get all fancy, you could use a piping bag and fluted nozzle – and chill for at least two hours until the mousse has thickened and set. Serve with fresh raspberries, sliced banana or toasted coconut and chocolate shavings.

* The right coconut milk is the key to success. I used Ayam brand (the blue label), which has nothing added to it but some water. Some others add emulsifiers and all sorts of things which may affect whether or not your mousse sets, so check the label for ingredients. Don’t use “lite” coconut milk, or coconut cream. You want full fat, standard coconut MILK for this recipe.

** I used Cheap Superfoods organic raw cacao powder, but if I’m out of that, I often substitute Dutch process cocoa, which I get from a local deli. Use whatever you like, but quality is the important thing.

Coconut & mulberry slice

We have a beautiful weeping mulberry tree in our front garden, which I planted purely as an ornamental. I had no idea if it would fruit, or even what mulberries tasted like, I just love the look of weeping trees. So I was delighted when it produced quite a few berries last year. The birds ate 99% of those, but this year, I was determined to harvest what I could. The yield has turned out to be beyond my wildest dreams. I’m easily picking 1-2 cups per day, and I’ve discovered that the berries freeze easily.

mulberry tree

Other than berries and ice cream, berry crumbles and berry coulis, I didn’t really know what to do with them, so I’ve been collecting recipes and madly pinning them over on Pinterest. This one turned out to be a beauty! The lovely shortbread taste and texture of the base, the jam-like filling in the middle and the coconut topping is a fantastic combination. It’s definitely an indulgence, although you could cut down the sugar and substitute Natvia for some of it if you wanted to reduce calories a bit. I haven’t bothered to calculate the stats because: dessert!

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I took this recipe from and modified it to suit myself. So as far as I know, this is a low-FODMAPs recipe. I can’t absolutely guarantee it, as mulberries don’t seem to have been tested. Dried coconut does contain sorbitol, but the amount in one or even two serves of this slice is well within safe limits.

It’s also gluten-free. Not vegan though, sorry…the eggs are essential.
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Serves 16-20 (depends how small you cut your pieces, obviously)

1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
150g butter
1/2 cup icing sugar

2-3 cups of mulberries
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup coconut sugar (or substitute raw sugar)

3 eggs
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 cups dessicated coconut

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a lamington tin with baking paper. Throw the base ingredients into a food processor and mix until it forms a ball of dough. Press into the base of the tin as evenly as possible. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

For the filling, mix the flour, sugar and 3/4 of the mulberries in a food processor. Pour it over the cooked base and scatter the reserved mulberries over the top. Mix the eggs, sugar and coconut in a bowl until well combined. Spoon onto the filling and press to cover evenly. Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden and firm.

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mulberry slice3

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Note: if you do happen to have access to a mulberry tree, make sure you only pick the ripe fruit. They should be purplish to black, the darker the better. Unripe fruit will give you a bad belly ache, so leave the pink or bright red ones to ripen further.

Chicken & yoghurt curry – low FODMAPs version

I hadn’t made my old favourite chicken and yoghurt curry in ages, when my friend Amanda reminded me of it recently. She suffers from some similar food intolerances to me and was bemoaning the fact that she can no longer eat this, due to the onion and garlic base. Onion and garlic are high in fructans and are generally off-limits foods for those of us who are sensitive to that particular FODMAPs group. You can imagine the difficulties that causes for a foodie who loves Asian, French, Italian and Spanish food.

So, having been prodded, I pulled out the recipe and had a little think about possible modifications. It turned out to be a cinch to make this one FODMAPs-friendly. I plated it up and fed it to BIke Boy, who didn’t even notice that it was different… Yes, I’m sneaky like that.

Read on for the modified recipe.

Note: It’s very difficult to make any kind of casserole look attractive in a photo – no matter how delicious the dish may be, it generally looks like brown glop. This particular photo got no zhooshing either, as it was my dinner, I was starving and was just about to scoff it.

You’ll just have to trust me: it’s very, very tasty.


Serves 4-6

1 to 1.5kg chicken pieces (skin removed)
6 spring onions, bulbs discarded and green tops roughly chopped
1 tsp chopped ginger
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tsp garlic-infused olive oil
2 tsp peanut or olive oil*
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
½ cup low-lactose Greek yoghurt (I use Jalna)
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
extra chopped coriander to garnish

Blend spring onion tops, ginger and fresh coriander in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Heat both oils in a heavy saucepan and fry the blended mixture, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, garam masala, salt and chilli powder and fry for a further minute. Stir in yoghurt and tomatoes and fry until liquid dries up and the mixture is the consistency of a thick puree. Add chicken pieces, turning them in the mixture to coat, then turn heat low, cover tightly and cook until chicken is tender (about 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces). If liquid from the chicken has not evaporated by this time, uncover and raise the heat to dry off excess liquid. Stir gently at base of pan to prevent burning.

Garnish with chopped coriander.

I sometimes add a big lot of chopped spinach to this at the end of the cooking time for extra veggies.

*The reason I’ve used two different oils is that the only garlic-infused oil I can find is extra-virgin and that isn’t really recommended for frying. It’s also quite expensive, but luckily has a very strong garlic flavour, so two teaspoons should be enough. If you’re not fussed about losing the beneficial compounds in the oil and/or want to ward off vampires, by all means go ahead and use a full tablespoon. 😉

Mediterranean lamb shanks

This is a guest post by my husband (a.k.a. Bike Boy), who does most of the cooking in our house –  and it’s a beauty! I’ve added notes for some simple adjustments to make the recipe low-FODMAPs and gluten-free at the bottom of the page.

The key to this recipe is the long, slow cooking time. This builds a deep, dark and rich palette of flavours, offset by caramelised veggies. The meat should be dripping from the bone, as all the fat and sinew will gelatinise into melt-in-the-mouth consistency.

Mediterranean lamb

It’s perfectly acceptable to pick up that bone and gnaw every last bit of meat from it.

Serves 4


2 tablespoons plain flour*
4 lamb shanks
1 large brown onion, diced*
2 carrots, diced
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Knob of butter
4 whole cloves of garlic, peeled*
1 cup good quality red wine
440g can diced Roma tomatoes
1 cup beef stock


2 Tbsp finely chopped continental parsley & 1  tsp grated lemon rind, mixed


Roll lamb in flour seasoned with salt and black pepper. In an oven proof casserole or Dutch oven (preferably non stick) heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until foaming. Add lamb, brown on all sides then remove to a plate.

Add onion, garlic and carrots to pan and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until onion is golden. Add thyme and bay leaf and cook for a minute or two longer, until fragrant.

Add wine, simmer for a minute, then add tomatoes and stock. Return lamb to casserole, arranging on top of the sauce. Cover and bring to boil. Place in slow oven (150 Celsius) for 2.5 – 3 hours. Check liquid levels every hour and turn the lamb. Stir in half a cup of water if the sauce is starting to blacken at the edges.

To serve, arrange shanks on plates, spoon sauce over and sprinkle with gremolata.

Goes beautifully with mashed potatoes and steamed green beans.


* To make this a low-FODMAPs and/or gluten-free dish:

– Ditch the onion and replace it with 5-6 chopped spring onion tops (the green part only). You can also beef up the onion flavour with some asafoetida powder, available from Indian groceries. Add half a teaspoon with the stock and tomatoes and stir it through.

– Leave out the garlic, and use a garlic-infused oil instead of the plain olive oil. 

The small amount of flour shouldn’t be a problem for those with fructan intolerance (like me), but if you’re very sensitive OR you have coeliac disease, then just replace it with a suitable gluten-free alternative.

Hummingbird cake – gluten-free, lactose-free, low-FODMAPs

This is something I’ve been trying to perfect for a while and… Eureka! I finally nailed it.

Hummingbird cake is one of my favourite sweet morsels, and this version is packed with bonuses: it has a little protein boost, less sugar than the traditional recipes and is safe for folks like me who can’t tolerate polyols, lactose or fructans OR for those with coeliac disease. The recipe is for one large cake, but I changed my mind at the last minute and poured the batter into muffin pans, making 18 nicely sized cupcakes.

Healthy hummingbird cake

Healthy hummingbird cake

170g gluten free SR flour
80g unflavoured rice protein or casein
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
120g brown sugar
50g Natvia
440g can crushed pineapple, drained
30g desiccated coconut
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2 eggs, lightly beaten
250ml coconut milk

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Grease and line the base and sides of a 23cm square cake pan. Sift flour, protein and spices into a large bowl. Add sugar, pineapple, coconut, banana, walnuts, eggs and coconut milk. Stir to combine.

Spread into the lined pan and bake for 40 minutes* or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Place on a rack and set aside to cool.

Moist, fruity and delicious

Moist, fruity and delicious

Stats for 16 pieces:

Calories 187
Fat 7.4g
Protein 7.2g
Carbohydrate 22.6g

For 12 pieces:

Calories 249
Fat 10g
Protein 10g
Carbohydrate 30g

*If you opt to do as I did and make cupcakes, reduce cooking time to about 25 minutes.



If you don’t have rice protein or casein, or just don’t want to use a protein powder, simply replace it with the equivalent weight in additional flour. Obviously, the result will be lower in protein.

You could replace all of the sugar with Natvia or another sweetener, but be aware that you’ll alter the taste. Brown sugar gives hummingbird cake its lovely caramel flavour.

And of course, if you don’t have problems with wheat or gluten, you can just use ordinary self-raising flour.

You could probably use low fat coconut milk if you want to, but the texture and moistness may be compromised, as there’s no other added fat in this recipe other than the egg yolks.