Tegan Salad

I tend to get a little concerned when I hear the 'vegetarian' conversation going on in the background while I'm cooking. It goes something like this: my partner being quizzed by our dinner guest along the lines of "so are you vegetarian too?", "do you always eat vegetarian meals?", "do you mind not eating meat at home?", "what about protein?", etc., etc. Fast forward an hour or two and said guest has not only complemented the meal but scraped his plate clean and even volunteered to do the washing up (actions speak louder than words)... I think maybe I've changed someone's mind on vegetarian cooking!

Egg & quinoa salad with Moroccan spices & lime-infused yoghurt

If visiting family interstate for a couple of weeks taught me something it's this: eating out of someone else's kitchen is the mother of culinary invention. If you're travelling, house-sitting, or for whatever reason don't have access to your favourite go-to ingredients, rather than getting frustrated or feeling defeated why not view it as an opportunity to get creative? It's moments like these when some of my favourite meals come into being; I may not even know quite what I'm making until I'm almost done, I just start putting things together and see where the food leads me. In this case it was to a refreshing, satisfying and nutritious lunch. Can't have too many yummy salad ideas methinks.

Crunchy mixed greens with mustard vinaigrette

"There might not be enough food... the boys are coming and they eat A LOT"Lil' Sis reviewing my plans for Christmas lunch. Despite being fairly confident that there would be plenty of food I agreed to add an extra dish, opting for a leafy salad to complement the already substantial meal. As it turns out, we were still polishing off the left overs three days later! (Admittedly left-overs are almost compulsory following Christmas lunch.) In this case it definitely worked out for the best because this creation is really very good (am I allowed to say that about my own recipe?)

Warm Mediterranean rice salad

Like many cooking enthusiasts I spent the days leading up to Christmas planning lunch for Christmas day, with little thought given to Christmas eve. "I'll throw something quick together" I thought. Christmas eve night arrives and I find my self staying with my sister, who mentions a mate's helping her out with something and could we feed him too please? Okay, so now I'm in someone else's kitchen, with someone else's pantry and we've got guests for dinner. Oh dear. A quick (read 'frantic') rummage through lil' sis' supplies and ideas are starting to form. This is what I came up with and it was good enough to warrant photos and a recipe request from lil' sis.

Orange, kale, carrot & tofu salad

Summer has arrived and doesn't the warmer weather just make it so much easier to eat well?! Here's another idea for a refreshing and tasty salad to enjoy and feel good about. To my readers in the Northern hemisphere, the key fruit and vegetables: oranges, carrots and leafy greens, are in season during winter too, and it's never the wrong time of year to eat well!

Stuffed capsicums with parsley pesto

It is possible to overdose on parsley? This is the question my partner's been asking as he shares his suspicions that I'm trying to poison him with the herb, we've been eating that much of it lately! No, I don't have a weird parsley obsession or craving (and I most certainly am not trying to poison anyone), we just have two parsley plants that are on a mission to take over the world, starting with our veggie garden. 

Wild rice & quinoa pilaf with baked ricotta

"It was a dark and stormy night during a miserably cold winter. Fortunately, thanks to Fresh & delish, they had the cosiest comfort food ever to warm them."

Okay, so please keep reading to discover that my culinary skills really are better than my somewhat lacking literary talents. This is absolutely one of my favourite meals for a cold stormy night; pair it with some warm mulled wine and you're all set to beat the winter chills.

Cheese & herb cornbread

Winter is not my favourite time of year, but there are many things I do like about the cold weather: fluffy blankets, oversized jumpers, hot chocolate and warming soup being among them. The problem is what a coeliac, who's had little success with gluten-free baking and doesn't want to spend a small fortune on average-at-best gluten-free bread every week, have to accompany her soup? That's where this cornbread comes in.

Fruit and nut energy balls

Okay, so to say this blog's been neglected lately is something of an understatement. Sometimes life just gets in the way and there are only so many things you can keep up with at once. Well, life has settled down somewhat lately, and I've been getting a number of requests to start posting again, so here goes...

I've also been getting several enquiries around the gym about some of the concoctions I'm seen snacking on so I'll start by sharing some of those. I eat these fruit and nut balls as a high energy-density 'fast' food to keep me going during long training sessions. If I'm doing two classes back-to-back I generally need to eat in between or my blood sugar can drop too low, but I don't have much time and need something light enough that I can keep working on straight away.

For a seasonal touch: these would also be a nice treat as part of a Christmas spread.

Buckwheat porridge

Winter has well and truly settled upon Canberra, and winter means cold mornings and warm breakfasts. The medical advice in Australia is that oats are not safe for those with coeliac disease. (I know this varies in other countries.) When I was first diagnosed my gastroenterologist explained that the reason for this is two-fold: First, oats and wheat are usually grown in adjacent fields and processed on the same equipment so the risk of cross-contamination is very high. Second, oats contain a protein (called avenin) which is similar in structure to gluten and which around 1 in 5 coeliacs also react to. Coeliac Australia explain that there is no way to test who will react to avenin in advance, and so they actually class avenin as a type of gluten and advise that coeliacs shout not eat oats. I developed this recipe the first winter after I was diagnosed with coeliac disease and it has been our regular cold-weather breakfast ever since.