ruby red grapefruit, smoked salmon and roquette

This fresh, summery salad is ridiculously quick and easy. Inspired by a love of Japanese food, it’s perfect as a delicate little entree, a light lunch or for all those ‘I-can’t-be-bothered-cooking’ dinners. In fact, I couldn’t even be bothered crushing the cashews on this particular occasion. Reckless or just plain lazy? Who cares! Less chat. More salad tossing.

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  • 300g smoked sliced salmon
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 150g mizuna (a Japanese mustard leaf) or roquette
  • 1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped coarsely

Optional additions…

  • 1/2 small red onion, sliced thinly (frucmal friends – I left this one off!)
  • 3-4 tsp capers

Pop four slices of salmon aside and slice the rest into thick pieces.

Segment the grapefruit over a large bowl and slice along the spine of each to remove any pips and release some of the juice. Add oil, mustard, mizuna or roquette, nuts and salmon slices. Mix gently.

Divide salad among serving plates and top with the remaining salmon. Serves four.

Note…I’ve used a couple of generous handfuls of roquette here as mizuna was nowhere to be found at the time I happened to pop to the shops. It has a similar bold, bitter mustardy character so the two are easily interchangeable.

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mike’s rice pudding

After a Thai-inspired dinner party I was left with an obscene amount of leftover rice. What is it about rice that makes it so tricky? It’s either burnt or gluggy, the wrong grain or too much grain! As it was I miscalculated my measurements and ended up with mountains of the stuff clogging up my fridge. But with a little trip down memory lane, I managed to find a very tasty way to start my day with an old favourite. My Dad used to cook us up this soul food for supper when we were kids. While this has a bit of an alternative spin on his recipe, I’m sure it would do him proud.

  • 1 cup cooked medium-long grain rice
  • knob of butter (use Coconut Oil or Nuttelex for a dairy-free alternative)
  • Tsp ground cinnamon
  • Tsp vanilla extract
  • Soy or almond milk to cover (or other milk alternative)

Optional additions…

  • Tblsp Linseed, Sesame and Almond meal (LSA)
  • Tblsp coconut flakes

In a small saucepan, melt the butter/oil. Add the cooked rice and stir through for 30 seconds. Sprinkle cinnamon over and stir through vanilla extract. Finally, add enough milk to cover the rice and simmer until the rice starts to soak it up. It will continue to thicken slightly on standing so make sure you take it off the stove with some liquid.

Serve immediately with another sprinkle of cinnamon. Some chopped banana on top might be a welcome addition too.

Serves 1.

Try this! Swap the rice for white quinoa and add some chia seeds or psyllium husks (one tablespoon should do the trick). Chia seeds and psyllium tend to soak up any liquid they can find. Chia then tends to bind together while psyllium becomes gel-like – both or either would help bind the quinoa together to create that ‘pudding’ consistency.

two sweet nut balls

spirulina & sesame balls

Ok, before you run away – don’t freak out at the colour of these. I promise they won’t burst into tiny green alien goop balls in your stomach. Spirulina is a rich vegetable protein and high in vitamins which make it a great addition to any diet, though particularly for vegetarians, and (look out: fun fact ahead…) is apparently used by NASA as astronaut food! So as that dark green cloud settles over the rest of your ingredients (and down your front, and on the bench, and under your nails) just remember, you’re entering a space age where everything radiates a little brighter and a little stronger. This is the new norm.

  • 1 tblsp spirulina powder
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds or linseeds
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds for coating

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coconut & almond balls

While they look less like alien fodder, these little balls of bliss could be described as ‘out of this world’. Proof: I took a full batch of these to work and between six, these little beauties were devoured. So make sure you cover all your bases and leave some extras at home in the fridge because once you offer these up over morning tea, trust me on this – you’re going home empty handed.

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup mixed raw nuts, crushed
  • 1/2 jar or 7 tblsp almond or cashew spread/paste
  • 3 tblsp tahini
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp stevia granules
  • extra sesame seeds or crushed nuts for coating

Alternatives and additional extras (measurements may vary to taste/consistency):

  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao nibs or cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup goji berries
  • 1 tblsp rice malt syrup (instead of stevia)

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until combined. Set aside a small dish containing the extra crushed nuts or sesame seeds.

Roll a tablespoonful of the mixture into a ball in the palm of your hands. Roll each ball in the dish of nuts or sesame seeds until they are covered all over.

Place the balls on a tray or plate lined with grease proof paper. Keep refrigerated so that they stay firm, but perhaps pull them out half an hour before you serve them up so that they soften slightly before everyone pounces.

Makes 14-16.

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choc nut balls

choc nut balls

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WARNING: PROCEED CAREFULLY – HIGHLY ADDICTIVE

Inspired by Sarah Wilson’s chocolate nut balls and Nora (Gedgaudas)’s nut balls, come these tasty morsels of nutrient-dense goodness. I have had to impose a strict rationing on these as I’ve caught myself on more than one occasion jolting back to the quiet stillness of my kitchen from some far-off delightful planet, to find one hand scratching around on the bottom of that once abundant jar of chocolatey balls, clutching it fiercely to my chest with the other, licking and smacking my coco-nutty lips in wonder. Only when I realise the gluttonous beast has defeated my feeble mind again do I sadly replace the empty jar back in its rightful place. The belly ache that comes later from much too much nutty coconut bliss is almost like the war cry of the beast – and I know we shall meet again on the battle field. One day…soon.

  • 1/2 jar nut spread (preferably almond, but whatever takes your fancy)
  • 2 1/2 cups raw mixed nuts, crushed roughly (my mortar and pestle get a work out here!) or chopped in a food processor
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, softened (or a couple of tblsp of non-dairy Nuttelex, melted)
  • 4-5 tblsp coconut oil, melted or unsweetened powdered/crushed vanilla beans
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Optional extras (measurements to taste/consistency)

  • almond meal
  • LSA
  • chia and/or sesame seeds
  • psyllium husks
  • stevia
  • cacao nibs
  • protein powder (Sarah Wilson suggests 180 Natural Protein Superfood which already contains most of these extras – without all the undesirable ones on top!)
  • goji berries

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and adjust the dry-wet levels by adding any extras – if you have too much liquid, chia seeds and psyllium are great for soaking up any excess and helping to hold these babies together.
Roll little handfuls of the mixture into bite size balls and place on a tray or plate lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for an hour until they are firm. These will keep for a few weeks (if your gluttonous beast doesn’t come to visit first) but keep refrigerated to be sure they don’t soften or melt. They’ll travel with you pretty easily but just be aware to keep them wrapped in grease proof paper or transported in a cool bag (or similar) if they can’t be in a fridge for an extended period of time.

Makes around 24 balls.

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spirulina + sesame balls
coconut + almond balls

no crust no fuss quiche

This has become a staple in our ‘sensitive’ home. Inspired by Lee Holmes’ crustless quiche, this one has all the bases covered on the ‘feel good’ front. My gluten-free, dairy-intolerant housemate and fructose free me love baking up a big batch of this for the week ahead. It happily travels with us to work, it’s comfortably waiting when we stumble through the door at the end of a long day…and peps us up with a belly full of warmth after a morning at the gym. We’ve been known to mix up the veggie selection, add bacon, sliced chicken or a tin chilli tuna for a carnivorous alternative or mix and match herbs and spices. But one thing’s for sure, we keep on coming back for more.

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  • 8 eggs
  • 125ml almond milk (or milk alternative)
  • 2 tblsp nutritional yeast flakes (optional – cheesey flavouring for the non-dairy, or alternatively add your favourite baking cheese)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sautéed chopped mixed vegetables (we love garlic, spinach/kale, zucchini, red capsicum, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin/sweet potato as a good combo…and I like to mix up the oils in the sautéing to include sesame, coconut or olive)

We also love..

  • A sprinkle of paprika
  • Tsp or two of chilli paste or chopped fresh red chilli

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease a 22cm diameter pie dish. I tend to lay grease proof paper for easy removal later.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl, then whisk in the milk and yeast flakes. Scatter the veggies (and meat, if using) in the pie dish and pour the egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 25-30mins or until it is set in the middle and the top has lightly browned.

Serves 4.

madame anne’s orange brothel cake

This is a tribute to one of my most favourite of lady friends. She has recently become a new Mum for the first time and boy, if she wasn’t an amazing performer before, that woman is going to be (capital D) Devine in this new role! Lovely Sarah posted this on an Australian tour we were blogging about for a little show called Red Sky Morning…trust me on this – we talked about this for days…!

madam anne’s orange brothel cake

Before you read on, I must warn you that this blog has absolutely nothing to do with theatre and everything to do with my stomach.

I am not a big blogger – if you have been reading this you will discover that I have managed to post about umm…once in 6 weeks. This is entirely due to a combination of severe inertia coupled with a disastrous track-record with losing things stored on computers. This means I manage to stay away from them as much as possible ( try rewriting 10 000 words of a thesis and you may understand my fear )

You can, therefore, imagine my consternation when I finally opened this blog to find that the lengthy tome I had written some weeks ago – my homage to all things edible- had been lost in translation. Not a real tragedy, but it does mean that no one, yet, has read of the superb meal we consumed in Queanbeyan and more importantly, been able to recreate one of the most orgasmic cakes I have ever tasted. Yep, the theatre blog has been infiltrated by the food obsession we all share and so, it would be remiss of me not to re-introduce you to the recipe for madam anne’s orange brothel cake.

The cake is so named because madam anne, who resides with the lovely richard (brother of Dave, creator of internationally renowned glass sculptures) is an incredible class A cook and very generously invited us all over for a sumptuous dinner. Naturally we accepted with pleasure and tried not to eat most of that day. Much.

Richard and Anne live in an incredible converted warehouse – once a house of ill repute, hence the ‘brothel’ in the cake title – and now an extraordinary split level light and art filled space. Wow is not the word.

So dinner, in the ex bordello, began with Veuve in sexy glassware… and went uphill from there. Morroccan lamb tagine, asparagus spears, salads of rocket and beetroot with sheeps milk fetta. Yum. Yum. And yum. To this little touring party, existing in outer Canberra without kitchens and with the culinary delights of tinned tuna to inspire us, it was heaven in foodie form.

So, as I said, this post has nothing to do with theatre but lots to do with the good things in life –  Madam Anne’s orange brothel cake being one of them. I can’t tell you if it is easy or hard as I haven’t made it yet – However! it is Tom’s birthday on monday and it is my turn to cook the family dinner so will keep you posted…here it is

  • madam anne’s orange brothel cake
  • 375 grams of Honey Murcott mandarins and Meyer lemons (or ordinary old oranges if you can’t get the exotic ones)
  • 250 grams almond meal
  • 175 grams caster sugar
  • Teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 eggs
  • Cook oranges in a pot of boiling water for 1.5 hours. Cool. Remove seeds and pulp, skin and all. Add sugar to the citrus pulp. Beat eggs until light and fluffy then add the almond meal and fold together. Combine with the orange pulp mix, and pour into a greased loaf tin. Bake for approx one hour at 190. Check at half and 45 min marks. Serve with chantilly cream – whipped cream with caster sugar and vanilla bean paste mixed through.

– 3rd November, 2011

easy peasy pancakes

This is one recipe I won’t be giving up for Lent! As the first Tuesday of the Easter season rolls around, in my nostalgic world that means PANCAKES! I’ve stumbled across many gluten-free recipes with a billion obscure flours that just might take most of a Saturday afternoon to track down. But who’s got the time?! The simpler the better, I say. And it just so happens that there are a few recipes floating around advocating just that.

Did someone say two ingredients? Sweet!

  • a large banana, mashed (1/3-1/2 cup when mashed)
  • 2 eggs

The smooth optional add ins:

  • 1/8 tsp baking powder (this will make them light and fluffy)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew), almond meal, LSA, chia seeds or dessicated coconut
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

The chunky optional add ins:

  • 1/4 cup blueberries/ raspberries/ chopped nuts
  • 2 tbsp mini chocolate chips

Peel and mash the banana, stir in the egg. Mix in any smooth ingredients. For a really smooth batter consistency, blend with a food processor or stick blender.

Heat a non stick skillet and lightly spray with oil or melt a nob of butter (use Nuttelex for a dairy-free option) on the pan. Tun the heat down to medium-low.

Pour about 1 or 2 tbsp of batter in circles onto the pan.

Cook until golden brown on the underside (around 1 minute) sprinkle on any chunky ingredients, then flip with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the other side (30 seconds to 1 minute).

Serve warm with a drizzle of your favourite syrup, yoghurt or a pile of fresh fruit on top.