Sunday, March 4, 2012

Back on track with a cinnamon banana cake dream

 So after an extended hiatus from this blog and a mammoth effort to finally finish/update/publish previously neglected posts, we are finally back on track.

After several months of morning sickness, several other months of supporting (and feeding) my mum through chemotherapy for ovarian cancer (what a survivor she is!) and now 5 weeks after the birth of my beautiful son, I think we are finally back on track!

Oh how I have missed playing with joy and gay abandon in the kitchen! How I have longed for the time, inclination and appetite to experiment without guilt, nausea or pregnancy nutrition on my mind! And here at last it is.

Three things that I want to get to this week:
  1. Test the new cook book I got for Christmas (achieved today!)
  2. Cook with truffled honey
  3. Use the purple corn flour that has been hiding in my cupboard

This afternoon I hit up 'Daisy' -my languishing yellow kitchenaid- and broke in a recipe book that was given to me for Christmas (2months ago) by my gluten intolerant and healthy eating advocate bestie JD. Okay, so we trialled one recipe over NY (courgette and chamomile cupcakes), but since that delicious NYE taste test my beautiful gift had been gathering dust on my cookbook shelf.

Let it be noted here- the book is an absolute winner:
Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.

The premise behind the recipes is simple- conventional cake making is limiting, we should look beyond wheat flour and dairy for the joys that gluten free and added vegetables can bring to cake baking.

And Eastwood is more than right.

So finally this afternoon some soggy looking bananas yielded the fluffiest cinnamon banana bread you can possibly dream of, all sans dairy or wheat. Taaa-Daaa! And Thank You Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache, pg 97.

There was a little tweaking of the recipe to make it fit what we had in the cupboard- but that's what I love best about cooking in my own kitchen when I am in my right mind... substituting. And some minor changes yielded a spectacular result.


  • 2 bananas
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 140g caster suger
  • 150g rice flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt (I used tahitian vanilla salt from Gewurzhause) 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (which can be left out if you have the vanilla salt)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
  • 50g LSA mix
  • sprinkling of trail mix (or any seeds/nuts you like) for dressing the top of the loaf
Preheat oven to 180degC and use veg oil to grease a loaf tin.
In a separate bowl mash the bananas well and set aside. In a large bowl (or kitchenaid/mixer) whisk eggs and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the banana and mix well. Add all remaining ingredients (except dressing nuts/trail mix) and stir thoroughly. Pour the mix into the prepared loaf tin and sprinkle the top with reserved trail mix/nuts and then bake for 45mins or until golden and firm. 
Remove from oven and cool for 5mins before turing out to a wire rack to cool.
Best served hot with a cup of single origin stove-top espresso, but it's great at any time of day really... and it's gluten and dairy free. Who's have thunk. Particularly when it turns out so light, fluffy and delicious! 

Sigh of relief... kitchen, I am back! Stay tuned for more kitchen capers. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

honesty... pregnancy... food

I'm about to be incredibly honest.
And it won't just be in this post.
It's been a while since I've had a chance to write at this blog. Not because I haven't been writing (quite the contrary), but simply because I have been swept up in a tide of life-changing happenings.

First- my mother was diagnosed with and treated for stage 2 ovarian cancer. 20 weeks of hospitals, chemotherapy, dietary and lifestyle changes and now we wait.
Treatment - for the most part - went well and has been as successful as we could hope for. Now we wait to see what the future holds for a woman who aside from this silent affliction was so healthy you could see it in her eyes.

Second- (and very excitingly) I have fallen pregnant with my first baby. This of course has taken up my time and mental space for many reasons, but the the most prominent and unexpected change to my life has been the prolonged and severe morning sickness that it has brought with it. 18 weeks on I am still running to the bathroom at least 4 times a day to lose my lunch and my kitchen forays have been curbed by a hyper-sensitive nose and gag- reflex. Quite a restriction considering my life interests.

Both of these major events have impacted heavily on the way I interact with food, in positive and negative ways. Certainly the certainty I used to feel surrounding my food choices has been somewhat diminished in the last 5 months. Quite a surprise for my food focused lifestyle.

There's a lot to be said for dietary changes supporting chemo treatment- and more (even if not all of it is good) to be said for the sliding diet of a severely ill mother-to-be. From one extreme of healthy eating to a desperate grope for anything that will stay down, the last 5 months have been nothing if not a wild roller-coaster ride of different food choices.
What have I learned? Never take any food choices for granted- you never know when your list of favourite dishes will be turned on it's head, or be tossed out the window.

Here's a foodie confession for you- salty hot chips (whilst not a nutritional tick) may well be god's gift to the morning-sick expectant mother. I never thought I'd be so happy to see them. And I have a new-found respect for the deep fried potato.
Whilst I'm not 100% back on track with my rational food choices, I am ready to start exploring food again and it's exciting to be back.
In the next few posts I'll share with you some fabulous recipes my mum and I explored to support her chemotherapy and some guilty secrets that got me through the worst of my pregnancy nausea. Sure they might be varying messages when it comes to nutrition, but they are all valid and interesting food experiences.
Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for my afternoon hit of chocolate milk (*cravings*).  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Reclaiming creative food space

It's time to reclaim this blog.
To pull it back from the brink of only-the-previously-published and use it as a creative outlet for my cooking and wild food adventures- rather than as a portfolio of published work.
For the other stuff drop by and click on the portfolio link.

From here on in these pages are dedicated only to the adventures that I don't write about professionally- or those aspects of the adventure that don't get an airing in conventional press [like the post about how deer hunting made me feel]. There has been much overlooked in the melee of deadlines and I would like to begin to rectify this- after all, sometimes the unofficial version is so much better.

The things I have failed to comment on thus far are:

The advantages of finally getting involved with a piping bag: witness a beautiful tower of rose-water and meadow honey cupcakes- that was somewhat lost amid the rukus of a trivia night.

How I feel about substituting almond meal when a Korma recipe calls for pistachio. And what magnificent results is can yield.

The effects of cramming a bunch of multicultural shopping into four days with friends.

And what happens when you match coffee and cheese- with a wildly high temperature and a bout of the flu.

But suffice to say that people get derailed from time to time- even by the good stuff.
No more.
I say back on the tracks people- and let the redirection begin.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Absence makes the heart grow fonder: Food Guru

Absence makes the heart grow fonder: From local markets to online offerings, when remote locations create great Australian food products.

"Food Guru talks to a couple of Australia’s gourmet food producers about how distance shaped their gourmet Aussie products."

By: Jane de Graaff

Check out the full article here- featured at

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - Our Picks: Broadsheet

*Note: sure it's over now... but here's what we were recommending... 

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival - Our Picks
"The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival may be in full swing, but here are some of the events that are still to come in the second half of the city's most indulgent week."

By: Jane de Graaff

Check out the full article here- featured at

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gluten Free: Food Guru

Food Guru looks at the importance of understanding and offering Gluten Free 

"For those of us who don’t require a Gluten Free diet the concept of Gluten Free (GF) dinning and why it’s necessary can be fairly confusing- and not without good reason."

By: Jane de Graaff

Check out the full article here- featured at