Asian Pulled Pork (GF, DF)

pulled pork

It occurs to me that I haven’t had a chance to put up one of our favourite meals in quite a while. So I made certain that when we had this amazing pulled pork for dinner I rushed home from work and tried to snap a photo before the light faded too much. It’s an amazing recipe, and is quite versatile. It’s meant to be served on sliders, but I much prefer it as we make it, with extra sauce and served on a bed of rice – or even wrapped in lettuce. It’s so delicious! It’s a little bit tangy, quite soft and more-ish, and can be eaten again and again and again!

But I have a particular fondness for pulled pork. From the first bourbon barbecue sauce pulled pork bun I ever ate, to now, that love has not diminished. In fact I am still chasing a flavour of pulled pork to rival the flavours I had in that bun. I have come close with the local cafe/restaurant – Frankie’s at Forde, and also with the most incredible meat-centric restaurant ever – Smoque. But I am determined to keep looking.

In the meantime this dish has been fantastic, and I know there are other pulled pork fans out there who will love this! So Happy FF!

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Pumpkin, olive, fetta and sundried tomato muffins (GF)

pulled pork 2

Hello, hello, hello! It’s been a hectic week and weekend, and is at last slowing down! Yesterday was the hens night for my good friend Emma, and as her maid of honour I was determined to make it a good one. I was so thrilled to see all her friends coming along to the high tea part of the event, having fun with all the games. I know my sides still hurt from laughing over one game in particular! Who would have thought newspaper dresses could be so hilarious! But the rest of me is sore in general, as the last part of the hen’s night was an amazingly fun salsa dance class. I had an absolute blast, and Emma looked stunning!

Now. I have seen this all-things-pumpkin-craze sweep across the internet several times before. But I have never been all that keen to take part. I have eaten pumpkin pie and the like before and it made me gag a bit. Unfortunately I couldn’t come to love the texture of the filling! But I decided to see if I couldn’t make something that would convince me to become a pumpkin fan. I faced the initial challenge of pumpkin puree not being available where I live. But after I whipped some up at home it was into the recipes I went!

I tried pumpkin scones, but the results were less than impressive, and it wasn’t just a lack of a sweet tooth on my part either. I had a few taste testers who also weren’t all that impressed. It got me thinking about how we eat pumpkin here, and the fact that for me it’s never been paired with desserts or sweet treats with all that much success. So I decided that to make the perfect pumpkin snack for me, I would need to go with something savoury. I then stumbled across this recipe from I Quit Sugar.

pumpkin cupcakes 1

First of all. I quit sugar is an amazing website. It has a tonne of great recipes and for the few of those that come from outside sources, the website does link to their blogs or websites. I’ve found a some new cooks and bakers to investigate because of this! But this recipe is what impressed me the most. I adapted it to be gluten-free and it worked a treat. I also added different herbs and ingredients to give it more flavour and texture. These muffins are seriously good, especially when warmed up and slathered with nuttelex or butter.

I added more liquid to the recipe as it didn’t seem smooth or wet enough to be using the gluten-free flour. Feel free to go in the other direction and reduce the flour rather than upping the liquid. But I think the extra lactose free milk added a nice creaminess. I also chose to use lactose free milk as the lactose in the feta would be enough for me. So feel free to use regular milk if that’s not such a problem for you. I also didn’t use bacon as we had none on hand, but feel free to toss some cooked bacon in as well.

Happy FF!

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Dessert Hacks and Healthier Snacks: Mango Macadamia Ice-cream (DF, GF)


It’s been both hot, and stormy around here this past week. One moment the sun will be out, and the next it’ll be storming, raining, and filling the sky with thunder and lightning. But before the weather took a turn for the wetter, I did get a chance to put together a batch of mango macadamia ice-cream, which reminded me a lot of the Weiss Bars I used to eat sometimes as a special treat when I was little.

This is a thrown together recipe, able to be changed to suit each person’s particular tastes. Some people, for example, might not want to add cream to theirs. So that ingredient is optional. I’m a vanilla fiend, so I add vanilla to things that it doesn’t strictly need to be added to. So that’s also optional. I love mango flavour, so I added a full cup of frozen diced mango, and a little extra banana for firmness. But if you don’t need such strong flavours you can stick to one and a half frozen bananas, and a little less mango. So really, this is a recipe that can be changed as you like!

Making banana-based ice-cream is proving to be quite a good trend, and it’s made for some quick, easy, and healthy desserts around our house as well. Whenever we need a cool treat we know we can whip up a little something, so I always try to keep some frozen, sliced banana in the freezer!

Happy FF!

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Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (GF, Optional DF)


One thing I’m finding about health recipes, is that there are all sorts of sneaky ways of making things that tiniest bit healthier. One particular trend I’m investigating is putting vegetables in desserts. This one appeals to me quite a lot, because I struggle to eat certain vegetables, and because it’s a whole new trend in baking I haven’t had much to do with before. So I thought the first thing I would give a go are chocolate zucchini cupcakes.

This is a recipe I have seen all over the shop, and this flavour combination isn’t limited to cupcakes. I’ve seen chocolate zucchini bread, pancakes, and even cake. Now green vegetables are not at all my favourites, so I was curious to see whether I would be able to taste them, or feel their texture, even when baked into a delicious chocolate cupcake. I couldn’t taste it at all! I was extremely delighted at how rich and moist the added zucchini made these cupcakes, especially as I adapted them to be gluten free.


And I’m not sure whether it’s that I don’t eat a lot of sweet things, especially since I’m not doing a lot of traditional baking at the moment, or whether it’s a general change in my tastebuds. But I’m developing an “anti-sweet” tooth. I kept these cupcakes quite sweet, and people loved them. No one could tell there was a hidden vegetable in them! But if it were me I would halve the sugar, and use a much more bitter cocoa powder. So feel free to change the recipe to suit your taste buds!

Happy FF!

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Pizza Scrolls (GF)


Pizza scrolls are a rather nostalgic treat for me. I hadn’t had one in a long, long time, before I decided to make a batch at home. I realised that I had all the ingredients on hand to both make the dough, and fill it with some delicious vegetables! It seemed a bit pointless to make the traditional pizza scrolls, which tend not to have more than a bit of tomato and a bit of olive, spread inside them. I wanted something more filling, more flavoursome. So I added some prosciutto, some roasted sweet potato, some roast capsicum, and some diced olives. Mm-mm! It ended up being an extremely delicious savoury snack!

I don’t often work with dough, so it was also a lot of fun to get into rolling the dough out. But the dough recipe I chose makes a heck of a lot of dough! It’s designed to be used for several actual pizzas. So I used the remaining dough to make a sort of cinnamon scroll-biscuit, style treat. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough ingredients left to make pizza pockets. But I think that this dough would work quite well for that sort of thing as well.

So happy FF!

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Dessert Hacks and Healthier Snacks: Strawberries and Cream Ice Blocks (GF, DF)

strawberries and cream ice pop

It feels as though it’s been a long time coming, but the winter weather is over at last. We’re now into the hotter weather, and I’m so glad! The days are longer, and the weather is so nice I’ve been able to get out and have fun getting used to my new bike! It’s an upright cruiser model, and it’s been a huge improvement over my last bike, which unfortunately got crushed during that car accident I mentioned on the blog awhile back. It’s been such good weather that I’ve managed to get out and take a few little rides all last week, and one this weekend. I’m still working up my stamina, and there was a near miss involving a magpie too, but so far it’s been a lot of fun.

But the heat also means needing snacks that help to keep us cool! I have an old ice-block set, so all I needed to do was find some good recipes. When I stumbled across this one, I knew it would fresh and delicious. The main ingredients are coconut milk, and strawberries, a delicious combination. It looked really nice, and so I gave it a go.

It was lovely to be able to go to the freezer and be able to pull one of these out on a hot night. I definitely recommend giving them a go!

Happy FF!

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Dessert Hacks and Healthier Snacks: Chocolate Avocado Mousse (GF, DF)

avocado chocolate mousse

Hello, hello, hello! I’m late! It’s been quite hectic over this past week or two as I’m now changing workplaces! Although I have still been cooking, and of course eating, I haven’t had the chance to write a single thing down! But I’m back, and I have another snack hack which I have been meaning to put up here for quite a long time now. It was in fact the first healthy snack I ever worked on!

Now most health food aficionados will not at all be surprised to hear about this treat which I am bringing along to this FF! There are literally thousands of variations of this recipe all across the internet! But for me, the thought of combining avocado and chocolate was unheard of. This is not just because it seems like an odd match, but because I do not like avocado. Sacrilegious, I know. But I’m not an avocado fan. I will rarely, if ever, even eat guacamole!

But I had been craving a little something, something different from my other snacks and treats. And as I had seen this trend growing in popularity I thought it would be interesting to give it a go. I had all the right tools, and the right ingredients. So I did it!

I can call myself a convert now. You would not believe how light, but filling, this mousse becomes. It’s fluffy, but somehow still quite dense, and the avocado soaks up the chocolate flavour and doesn’t at all stand out! I like having mine with a little lactose free cream and some flaked almonds, but mum recommends using dark berries as she thought the flavours worked well together.

Happy FF!

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Dessert Hacks and Healthier Snacks: Pistachio Ice-cream (GF, DF, Vegan)


That’s right, you heard me, a healthy ice-cream. But how could ice-cream be healthy! Well, as it turns out I am rather slow in noticing this trend to make ice-cream based on frozen bananas. I think we might have done it a long, long time ago as a snack. But I had never thought about making up a proper batch until I realised I had two old bananas, which would either needed to be used or frozen, and I had some leftover pistachios that would need eating soon too. It was then that I was struck with inspiration. I remembered having read about frozen banana ice-cream, and thought that this would be a much healthier version of a naughty treat – one that wouldn’t upset allergies, or my current health trip!

I chopped the banana up and put it into the freezer overnight, the next day I did some research on recipes. There were an immense amount of recipes out there, but ones which required adding sweeteners, etc. I didn’t believe that the ice-cream would need sweetening because these bananas had almost been overripe, and so were going to be quite sweet all by themselves. I stumbled across this recipe by A Whisk and Two Wands, and I knew this one was it.

Now, my food processor really is quite small and is more designed for chopping and grinding small amounts of things. It did struggle a bit with creaming the frozen banana, but once it got going I could see what the people on internet had been raving out. It was incredible, the banana becomes smooth and icy cold and creamy, exactly like soft serve! After that I added the pistachios, a splash of almond milk, and whipped it all together. I believe that a bigger processor or a blender would do an even better job than my little processor, but I am still incredibly sold on the final product. It was sweet and creamy and soft, and the pistachio flavour was undeniable.

A great way to get that ice-cream craving what it wants, without having to eat all the bad stuff! Happy FF!

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Dessert Hacks and Healthier Snacks: Chia Seed Pudding (GF)


One thing I have often struggled with in terms of attempting to be healthier is that I have constant food cravings. It’s not that I crave any particular food, it’s that I crave food in general. I want to eat all the time. I could in the past, if I weren’t watching what I was doing, eat up to eight large meals a day, plus snacks. But to be honest, being hungry all of the time is exhausting. You do run out of things to eat too. So we have done some research into foods I can eat to help me feel fuller for longer, and into what could be causing this ridiculous appetite. We have discovered a few things to work on, and I am steaming ahead! Strangely enough it appears that I have been quite dehydrated without realising it. Now we try to get me to have a drink each time I feel hungry, and the results have been pretty incredible. My appetite has halved, I feel fuller for longer, and it gives me more of a chance to be selective about what I eat.

Something that I do want to work on is healthier snacks. It can be hard to find something healthier to eat, especially when you’re craving something sweet. I have started having nuts on hand, a wider variety of fruit, and the dreaded carrot sticks. But interestingly enough, I have been recommended to eat things like Greek Yoghurt by the doctor. Typically they contain less lactose than regular yoghurts, and the doctor has advised me against cutting it out of my diet altogether. His advice was to stick to more beneficial things with lower amounts of lactose, but which have other good things for my body, and which had good fats and good proteins.

This recipe for Chia Seed Pudding ticks all the boxes. It is delicious, but also nutritious. It’s based on almond milk, chia seeds and greek yoghurt, and is served with fresh strawberries. I thought it was tangy, filling and delicious. I hadn’t realised quite how filling a simple thing like that could be! I’m planning to keep a little it of this on hand for a refreshing breakfast snack! Now the reason I call this a dessert hack is because you could eat it for dessert, or for an anytime snack. It’s so rich and creamy, and although it’s healthy it makes you feel like it’s naughty! But it’s been a great help at work, as eating it really cuts my cravings.


Happy FF!

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Cooking Up a Storm: Episode 1, Coq au Vin

Cooking up a storm 1

Emma, a good friend of mine, decided to put a cooking group together with the apt title of Cooking up a Storm. It’s a group for people who want to teach and learn new recipes, which can be snacks, desserts, mains – whatever we like! Each person who wants to teach a recipe acts as the host, and they get to tell other people all about a recipe they like. I think it’s an absolutely fantastic thing, and I loved the first session.

Emma chose a delicious and rather iconic dish to teach us, called Coq au Vin. Coq au Vin – or Rooster in Wine – is quite a famous French dish. Apparently it was traditionally made with Burgundy, but different regions in France are known to use different varieties of wine to cook this dish.

Coq au Vin begins with onions, garlic, mushrooms and lardons, and browning of the meat. In goes the wine – in our case stock too, and soon the whole lot goes straight into the oven. It’s a glorious, comfort-food dish.

One thing I have noticed with a lot of older dishes is that it’s difficult to know where their exact origins lie. Some people argue that this method of cooking chicken in wine has existed since the reign of the Roman Empire, but other people argue that what we know as Coq au Vin is more recent – appearing somewhere in the last couple of centuries. But what people do agree on is the fact that one chef in particular popularised this dish across the United States and made it a household name. Julia Child.

So thanks again to Emma for hosting the first session of Cooking up a Storm. I look forward to more, and to hosting one myself! Happy FF!

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