Creating a Healthy Home

Healthy Home

Did you know that creating a healthy chemically free home is easier and cheaper than you think!

Swap out chemically laden, corrosive, toxic products with natural alternatives and not only will you be making your family healthier, you’ll be helping the planet too. 

Laboratory made cleaning fumes are marketed as being able to wipe out any offending bacteria or germ and all you need to do is take a trip down the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket to see how many different products there are to choose from.  But seriously the effects of the toxic ingredients contained within most cleaning and skincare products will astound you and worse still, the accumulation of these toxins in our bodies can lead to poor health. 

Widespread use of anti-bacterial cleaning products is also linked to the alarming increase in allergies and continued use of them can put you and your family at risk of accumulated toxins.

If you’re wondering what goes into many store bought cleaners, check out this short list of home cleaners and the toxic substances they contain:

Oven Cleaners contain ingredients such as ethylene glycol, ethers, lye (sodium and potassium hydroxide), methylene chloride and ammonia. These substances are highly corrosive to the skin and eyes, and, when inhaled, can affect internal organs. If you do use oven cleaners the best thing to do is to ensure that you are wearing heavy rubber gloves, an apron and goggles to protect your skin from the effects.

Disinfectants contain the immunotoxicants cresol, phenol, ethanol, and formaldehyde, which reduce the ability of the immune system to fight the germs they are killing. It takes over twelve months to eliminate the toxic effects of spraying ¼ cup of disinfectant in the home. The best alternative for disinfecting is distilled vinegar and lemon.

Air Fresheners release a constant amount of artificial fragrance into a room to create an intoxicating aroma. But the fragrances in all air fresheners are not only intoxicating they can actually affect your sense of smell as they release nerve-deadening agents and leave oil build up in nasal passages.  The agent which is used is known as methoxychlor, a pesticide that can accumulate in the body in the fat cells and can also over-stimulate the central nervous system, leaving you jittery and anxious.  If you’re looking for a natural air freshener why not try burning essential oils, dried spices or citrus juices they smell beautiful without the harmful side effects.

Toilet Bowl Cleaners these innocent looking little hanging ducks contain ferocious cleaning chemicals especially as they tend to be lodged under the bowl of the smallest room of the house and usually a room that is unventilated.  The ingredients are typically oxalic acid, hydrochloric acid, lye (caustic soda) and naphthalene. A good alternative cleaner to use is baking soda and neat vinegar which will remove stains and rings from around the toilet.

Glass Cleaners contain a mixture of ammonia and water. When you are cleaning away it’s very easy to inhale the vapors as you spray it onto windows or glass.  The best solution for squeaky clean glass and windows is using distilled white vinegar and using elbow grease buff with scrunched up newspaper.

Bleachers inhalation of chlorine and chemical vapors is known to be a strong irritant to the tissues in our lungs and a suspected cause of asthma and bronchitis. When laboratory workers handle it they use protective gloves, face masks and they always make sure working areas have adequate ventilation.  Even aware of the dangers doesn’t stop chlorine from being used freely in many cleaners such as laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid and hand cleaning liquids. It’s also an ingredient in our drinking water and is used in pools and spas to purify the water.

The best and healthiest option to a healthy home is to use natural alternatives that do just as good a job of cleaning your home without having to look down upon withered cuticles and flimsy nails.

Do you remember the Palmolive “just soaking in it” ad? Makes me shudder just to think about how we have been misled by the marketeers trying to sell their products with no thoughts as to how the chemicals damage our bodies, even labeling is another minefield of misinformation.

So just before we get started, let’s look at the ingredients of a typical dishwashing detergent to see the kinds of chemicals it contains:

• Aqua
• Sodium laureth sulphate
• Alcohol denat
• Lauramine oxide
• C9-11 pareth-8
• Sodium chloride
• 1, 3-Cyclohexanedimethanamine
• PPG (polypropylene glycols)
• Dimethyl aminoethyl methecrylate/hydroxyproply acrylate copolymer cirate
• Parfum
• Geraniol
• Limonene
• Colourant

Without getting too technical, many of these ingredients can cause irritation to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. The perfumes are allergens for many people and the alcohols, sodium laureth sulphate and C9-11 pareth 8, can be contaminated with the carcinogen 1, 4 dioxane. When you combine the detergent with hot water it creates chemical vapors which you are breathing in and inhaling as steam, therefore drawing the chemicals right into your body, causing severe irritation to the eyes and respiratory tract.  All of these chemicals are then poured down the drain, and eventually end up polluting our environment and endangering our animals.

Natural products are truly all you need to clean and sanitise your home without the toxic by-products of their chemical counterparts. The best cleaning products that are inexpensive and easy to find at your local supermarket are bicarbonate of soda, lemons, distilled white vinegar, alcohol, essential oils and olive oil.  There are also brand new organic cleaning products made from organically-grown ingredients which you can purchase from natural food and health shops which don’t contain harmful chemicals.

Here are a few natural cleaners and their uses:

Baking Soda

Baking soda cleans as well as deodorizes.  It can be used to scrub the film and grease off surfaces as well as furniture and carpets.  If you place baking soda in the bottom of your bin it will soak up unnecessary smells and deodorize the bin. You can also place in a box in the refrigerator and freezer to absorb odors.


Vinegar is a fantastic all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant and deodorizer and can be used all over the house in many different areas in particular the bathroom and diluted as a floor cleaner.  It can be used to clean the stove top, kitchen bench, appliances and surfaces.  Use I cup of vinegar to one of water and place into a spray bottle. It can be used neat on the toilet and on tile grout to clean.  The vinegar smell will dissipate when it dries. In the laundry vinegar can be used as a fabric softener.  Just add ½ cup.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is fantastic at dissolving soap scum and hard water deposits, scrubbing dishes, surfaces and stains and can be mixed in with baking soda to create a cleaning paste. Lemon cleans brass and copper leaving it shiny and smear free. I like to put a lemon in the refrigerator to soak up all the smells and deodorize the fridge.

Now for the fun part…

How to make your own cleaning products:

Here are just a few items you will need to get started:

  • Plastic spray bottles in various sizes
  • Glass jars with screw-top lids
  • Cotton cloths
  • Rags

All Purpose Cleaner

This can be used on most surfaces and for so many areas of the home.  To give the cleaner a beautiful scent when cleaning just add 10 drops of essential oil, which will make the house smell amazing.


  • 1 tablespoon soap (plant based is good)
  • 1 litre hot water
  • ¼ cup white distilled vinegar
  • 1 lemon squeezed
  • 10 drops of essential oil for fragrance

Mix together and pour into a cleaner trigger spray bottle shake carefully until mixed.  Then use as a spray and wipe down surfaces.

Dishwashing Liquid

  • 1/4 cup soap flakes
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup glycerin
  • 1/2 tsp. lavender or lemon essential oil

Mix soap flakes and water in a medium bowl or glass jug and stir until the soap is dissolved and let cool

Stir in glycerin and essential oil

As it cools it will form a loose gel

Stir then pour into a bottle or squeezie container

Furniture & Floor Polishes

  • 1/4 cup of Olive Oil
  • ¼ cup of lemon juice

The best way to polish an item is to use an equal mixture of olive oil and lemon juice and apply with a soft cloth to furniture.  Mayonnaise is also highly effective.

Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

  • 1/2 cup liquid plant or animal fat based soap
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 4 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

Mix together soap, water, lemon, tea tree and vinegar

Pour into squeeze bottle.

Use 1 TBS per wash

2 TBS baking soda can also be sprinkled over dirty dishes to absorb odors

Microwave Cleaner

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 2 tsp. vinegar
  • 6 drops essential oil

Combine all ingredients to make a paste

Apply inside microwave with a soft cloth

Rinse well and air dry for 15 mins

Disinfectant Spray

  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/4 Cup White Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. Tea Tree Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Lavender Oil

Combine and store in a spray bottle

Shake and use when needed

Oven Cleaner:

  • Warm water
  • 2 teaspoons borax
  • 2 TBS liquid soap
  • 1 cup Baking soda

Combine baking soda with enough water to make a paste

Apply it to oven surfaces, and let it sit for 15 mins

Now take a scouring pad and scrub the inside of the oven remove deposits and then wipe dry

It’s a good idea to use gloves and glasses if you have them

If you're using a microwave, apply inside with a soft cloth

Floor Cleaner

  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1/4 cup washing soda
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil-based liquid soap
  • 2 litres hot water

Combine all ingredients, stir well and place in bucket

Glass Cleaner

  • 1-1/2 cups vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 drops citrus essential oil of choice

Combine all ingredients in a pump spray bottle and shake well before use

Spray solution onto mirror and wipe with a dry cloth or scrunched up newspaper

Fabric Softener

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 4 cups water

Mix these ingredients and use 1/4 cup per load in the final rinse

Laundry Detergent

  • 1 ounce liquid castile soap
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1 cup white vinegar

Mix ingredients and add to wash

Happy and Healthy Cleaning Everyone!

Dehydrating Food

Dehydrating Food is Fun

About Food Dehydration

There are a number of ways to preserve food naturally and food dehydration is one of the oldest forms of food preservation. The process of dehydrating is much healthier than modern preserving methods and during the process; water is removed from the food, therefore not allowing mold and bacteria to grow, making foods less likely to spoil.

Dehydration only minimally affects the nutritional value of foods, especially when you dehydrate foods yourself.  And you can enjoy beautiful chemical and preservative free foods all year round. Dehydrating locks in the flavour and foods become richer and darker in color, more fragrant, and sweeter in taste.

The great thing about dehydrating food at home is that many commercial drying uses additives and preservatives and doing it yourself allows you to create natural and wholesome snacks. You can be as creative as you like and use herbs, nuts, fruits and vegetables and meats, buy them in bulk and dehydrate quantities for later usage.

It’s a great way to cut down on packaging and storage space too.  You’ll be able to fit a lot more in your cupboards and help the environment at the same time!

Dehydrated foods are nutritious, delicious and available at the drop of a hat when you just want a crunchy, healthy snack.

Drying Methods:

Sun Drying

You can use this method for tomatoes and herbs although you do need three consecutive sunny days to allow the process to work.  Summer is the best time of the year when choosing to dehydrate by sun drying. If you don’t have access to a dehydrator start with sun or oven drying and once you get the hang of it you may like to invest in a dehydrator.

Oven Drying

Oven drying is a great way to dehydrate foods if you do not own an electric dehydrator, finely sliced vegetables (chips) and nuts work well.  The oven temperature should be 90 degrees Celsius or less.  Leaving the oven door open slightly during the process helps to circulate air throughout the oven to help bring moisture out of the food. I always dehydrate my sea salt and apple cider vinegar almonds in the oven at 50 degrees Celsius for 4 hours or more depending on how crunchy I am having them.

Electric Dehydrating

Is an excellent way to dehydrate most foods.  The new electric dehydrators are energy efficient.  The great thing about electric dehydrators is that they work on extremely low temperatures and therefore food maintains its nutritive values. Electric dehydrators have automatic heat control and a fan which helps to maintain air circulation during the drying process.

I have a five tray round dehydrator which I use weekly.  They are easy to use and clean and a great addition to the kitchen. I usually brush a bit of extra virgin olive oil on the trays when making vegetable chips.

Tips on How to Dehydrate Food

  • Always start with fresh, high quality food and buy in bulk which will work out cheaper in the long run
  • Check the food for spoilage or bruising, if damaged do not purchase
  • It’s a good idea to slice food uniformly and thinly for even dehydration as smaller foods take less dehydrating time and also remember to space food evenly apart on food trays
  • Blanching certain vegetables before placing in the dehydrator can help fight bacteria, preserve color and maintain flavors
  • You can also marinate, salt, spice or sweeten with stevia any foods before you dehydrate them
  • When drying food in an oven don't keep temperatures too low or too high, a good temperature is 50-60 degrees Celsius. If the temperature of the oven is too low it could result in the growth of bacteria on the food and food will not dry out if the temperature is too high resulting in the food being cooked as opposed to dehydrated
  • Turning food and rotating trays whilst the food is drying is a great way to ensure that food is evenly dehydrated
  • Food will be ready when it has no pockets of moisture and feels leathery to touch Vegetables should be crispy and meat should be tough. Nuts should also be crispy
  • Cool dehydrated food before storing and store in airtight containers or plastic freezer bags to keep moisture out as dried food will attract moisture from the air.  For best results, store containers in a cool, dark, dry place

Additional Equipment to Speed up the Process:

If you are planning to dehydrate foods a few other kitchen items can make the process easier, although they are not essential:

  • One good sharp knife
  • Medium saucepan for blanching
  • Sieve
  • Salad spinner for washing and drying herbs
  • Spatula
  • Chopping Board
  • Food slice to remove food from trays
  • Processor with slicing blade (optional)
  • Paper towels to dry of excess moisture before dehydrating

Drying Guide- Vegetables

It’s a good idea to wash, slice and then blanch vegetables for three to five minutes in boiling water before dehydrating and then run them under cool water for a second before towel drying and placing in dehydrator.  You don’t need to blanch onions, garlic, capsicum or peas in fact you don’t need to blanch foods at all if you prefer to skip this process, although blanching does enhance the colour and flavour of the finished product, but it’s entirely up to you.

Drying times vary depending upon the water and sugar content in the food along with the sizes of foods and the air temperature inside the dehydrator.

Here is a list of approximate drying times which will come in handy but follow your dehydrators instructions.

  • Broccoli: cut into small florets and place in dehydrator for 4-8 hours until dried
  • Carrots: Peel and slice finely and place in dehydrator for 6-10 hours until brittle
  • Cauliflower: cut into small florets and place in dehydrator for 4-8 hours until dried
  • Green Beans: Cut into 1-inch pieces and place in dehydrator for 6-10 hours until brittle
  • Herbs: Approx. 2 hours in oven at 50 degrees Celsius or place in dehydrator for 2-4 hours until brittle
  • Kale: 1 hour in conventional oven at 50 degrees Celsius or place in dehydrator for 2-4 hours until brittle
  • Nuts: 4-6 hours in oven at 50 degrees Celsius or place in dehydrator for 4-6 hours until brittle
  • Onions: Slice into 1/4-inch thickness and place in dehydrator for 6-10 hours until crispy
  • Peas: Place in dehydrator for 5-10 hours until crunchy
  • Peppers:  Remove seeds and slice place in dehydrator for 5-10 hours until leathery
  • Potatoes: Slice into 1/8-inch thickness and place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until crispy
  • Tomatoes: Dip in boiling water to loosen skins, peel and slice and place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until crispy
  • Zucchini: Slice into 1/8-inch thickness place in dehydrator and dry for 5-10 hours until brittle

Fruit Drying Guide

Fruits can be dipped in orange or apple juice beforehand to retain the color of the fruit before, during and after the drying process. Ensure that you wash all fruit remove seeds if possible and slice thinly. Arrange fruit in single layers on trays. If you are drying fruit in the oven then the temperature should be 50 to 60 degrees Celsius.

  • Apples: Peel, core and slice thinly and evenly. Place in dehydrator for 6-8 hours until pliable
  • Apricots: Cut in half and turn inside out to dry. Place in dehydrator for 8-12 hours until dry
  • Bananas: Peel and then slice into 1/4-inch place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until dry
  • Blueberries: wash and then place in dehydrator whole for 6-12 hours until crispy
  • Peaches: Peel and slice into quarters place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until dried
  • Pears: Peel and place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until pliable
  • Pineapple: Core and slice place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until dried
  • Strawberries: Halve place in dehydrator for 6-12 hours until crispy

Meat Drying Guide

Choose ham, turkey, roast beef, or chicken slice to 1/8 of an inch or cut into one inch strips and place on the dehydrator trays. Dehydrating meat takes 6-8 hours.

If you're looking for dehydrating recipes visit supercharged.wpengine.com and click on the dehydrating link.

Coconut and Almond Bliss Balls

I love these healthy bliss balls anytime of the year, but they are particularly good rolled out at Christmas time, dusted in coconut and looking like they've spent a night in a snow dome. Whipped up on the fly, these guys are super easy to pull together, you literally just lump everything in the processor and voila... blissed out in no time. Plus they're a wonderful snack-happy treat for kids to be Santa's little helpers,  getting the ball rolling and exercising their play dough making skills to create bundles of natural goodness for the whole family to enjoy.

There's a bit of trial and error with the consistency of the mixture, it should be slightly gooey and moist, not too runny or rock hard so that the ingredients crumble in your hands.  The nut butter and tahini are perfect for allowing the mixture to hold which makes an easy rolling experience.  Wheel them through  sesame seeds or coconut to get the full afffect, then refrigerate and enjoy these mouth-watering munchies.

Coconut and Almond Bliss Balls

Makes 12 medium sized Bliss Balls

½ cup almond meal
5 TBS almond nut butter
½ cup tahini
8 drops liquid stevia
1 cup chopped nuts, almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, hazelnuts
½ cup coconut flakes
¼ cup sesame seeds plus extra for coating

Place almond meal, coconut and nuts into food processor and mix
Add stevia, almond nut butter and tahini and continue to mix until combined
Remove and roll into balls on a flat tray
Place extra sesame seeds in a bowl and roll balls to coat the surface
Refrigerate and enjoy

Gluten Free Christmas Ham

Christmas Ham 1

For a mouth-watering main meal why not try this sumptuous Christmas ham with all the trimmings? It will most certainly be enjoyed by all.

The wonderful thing about this dish is that it’s so super easy to prepare and looks stunning when you serve it on a wide white platter dish accompanied by seasonal apple cider vinegar roasted vegetables.

Decorate with a Christmassy tartan ribbon bound around fresh rosemary for a visually elegant feast.

Gluten Free Glazed Christmas Ham with Rosemary


Serves 8

What you’ll need:

  • 1 large leg of ham on the bone
  • 6 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 1 packet whole cloves
  • Filtered water for baking
  • 1 TBS peppercorns
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Rosemary for decoration


  • 1 tsp stevia powder or to taste
  • ½ cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 6 TBS sugar-free seeded mustard
  • 4 tablespoons ripe fresh apricots or peaches smashed (optional)


  • Preheat Oven to 160 Celsius
  • Remove the skin from the leg of ham place your finger between the rind and the fat, and move back and forth while gently removing the skin with your other hand
  • Score the ham in a criss-cross diamond pattern with a knife just cutting into the fat 2cm apart
  • Place the cloves into the diamond points in the ham and sprinkle with peppercorns, and sea salt
  • Now it’s time to make the glaze, place apricots, mustard, ACV, cinnamon and stevia into a small saucepan and whisk over a high heat, bringing it to the boil. Cook for 5 minutes to reduce the glaze. The consistency should be like syrup.  Remove from heat
  • Place the ham on a roasting dish grate with 1 inch of water beneath it in the pan and spoon the glaze over the top of the ham
  • Place in the oven and bake for 2 ½ hours basting every half an hour
  • After 1 ½ hours place whole unpeeled garlic into baking dish
  • Remove when golden brown let sit and cool then decorate with fresh rosemary

Merry Christmas!

Planning Your Gluten Free Christmas Menu

It's Party Time!

Can you believe it?? With less than one month to go, Christmas is just around the corner. And this year there’s no need to miss out on delicious Christmas fayre, you can eat, drink and be merry this festive season tucking into tasty treats that even Aunt Millie will enjoy sinking her brand new teeth into. With a few basic modifications to the traditional Christmas menu it’s easy to come up with delightful Christmas recipes for everyone to savour.  Discovering new ways to use fresh and unadulterated ingredients can be fun and in no time you can be making your own health-promoting seasonal dishes that you’ll be proud to bring to the festive table.  If you’re cooking for others, here are a few quick tips to remember when creating a supercharged Christmas lunch.

  1. About a week before Christmas plan your menu and check recipes ensuring that ingredients are suitable for guests.  If you’re using any store bought ingredients check the labels to ensure there are no hidden ingredients. Sometimes the words; all natural, added spices, natural colourings and flavorings and maltodextrin are included on the labels and these ingredients can be a disaster for many people who cannot tolerate gluten, additives and preservatives.
  2. To get the show on the road with cracker and dip options, why not experiment by making buckwheat and herb crackers and teaming them with dairy free pesto, tahini or guacamole? You can also slow bake crunchy sea salt and apple cider vinegar almonds a few days earlier and have them sitting around as tempters, which will be gobbled up in no time whilst guests are getting into the Christmas spirit and letting their hair down.
  3. If you’re planning on cooking a traditional turkey, why not bake it with the stuffing on the outside? Or better still flavour-up the turkey by making up your own stuffing by combining crushed nuts or brown rice or quinoa with celery, onion, garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, sage, an egg yolk, chicken stock, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  4. If you’ve decided to ham-it-up this Christmas, just bear in mind that when purchasing store bought ham glazes it’s a good idea to check the label before you buy, as many packaged ham glazes contain chemical additives and preservatives as well as gluten.  There’s a great Christmas Ham recipe that I roll out every year, it’s delicious, tasty and will knock your guests out with its intense, exotic flavour and tenderness. Try it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  5. When it comes to dessert ideas, pre-baking a lemon flan or pumpkin pie and then serving it with dairy free ice cream, or mock or cashew nut cream is a good option for people wanting to go the extra mile and indulge in a delicious dessert.

For recipe ideas visit supercharged.wpengine.com

Gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar-free cooking!

I’m Think I’m Turning Japanese…

Japanese Daikon Paper Rolls

I'm turning up I'm turning down I'm turning in I'm turning out... I  love these Japanese Vegetarian Daikon Rolls. I really think so.

This is the ultimate Japanese dish for rookies with no conveyor belt, high chair or colour coded plate in sight.

If you're bored with inside-out-rolls or  criss-cross mayo filled bento boxes with hot-to-make-you-trot wasabi and wheat-ladened soy sauce, why not bring the outside in with this alternative gate to plate, raw vegetable kick-starter.

It's a wonderful get-real party starter and all round healthy alternative to traditional deep fried spring roll temptations that follow you round endlessly on a platter  at a social gathering or event begging for attention.

When you're dealing with fresh herbs and vegetables you can't go wrong...

The Party Guests

  • 1 large daikon radish
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 2 long spring onions sliced lengthways
  • Warm water for soaking daikon papers
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and julienned
  • 1 knob ginger, peeled and julienned
  • 1 long yellow capsicum
  • 1 long red capsicum
  • 1 TBS wheat free tamari (optional)
  • 3 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cup snow pea shoots
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • ½ cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1 lime juiced

How to Get the Party Started...

Hard at Work

Peel daikon. Using a mandolin or peeler, slice thinly into 5cm x 7cm rolls.

I Could Have Done With a Bigger Peeler or a Mandolin

Soak daikon paper rolls in a bowl of lemon juice and warm water for 20 mins.

How Do you Say Julienne in Japanese?

In the meantime place julienned cucumber, capsicum, spring onion, ginger, snow pea shoots, ACV, sesame oil, coriander, mint, and lime in a bowl to marinade for 10 mins.

I've got it! ジュリエンヌ

Remove daikon rolls from water and pat dry on paper towel.

Minty Freshness

Take one roll and place a small amount of filling at the bottom of the roll.

It's Just How I Roll

Roll up with your hands to firmly enclose filling.

Crunchy Goodness

Who Says Porridge Is Only for Bears?

Toasted Almond and Cinnamon Kasha

I have a new breakfast BFF.  A friend that's that's high in iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and zinc. It's so versatile too and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner and served with sweetness or spiced up at a moments notice.  And it's from a very good family too. The rhubarb family.

And the good news is, despite it's name, there's no connection to the wheat family, so great news for anyone who's avoiding the wheats, those annoying neighbours that seem to play loud music in your digestive system at 4am and keep you awake at night with their drilling in the lining of your intestines.

Hello buckwheat... It is nice to meet you.  I know you and me will be firm friends cause I need a friend who's available all year and one that makes me feel good and energises me. PS...I've heard you're very popular in China, with your  unique ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels due to your rich supply of rutin a phyto nutrient which acts as an antioxidant in the body. Now that's impressive.  Anyway that's enough about me let's talk about you...what do you think about me?

If you're looking for buckwheat, here's how to find it...Buckwheat is characterised by it's triangular shape and to make it edible the outer hull is removed. You can purchase it unroasted or roasted (Kasha) and the tastes do vary. It's a bit like good twin, evil twin,  the roasted version has a more nutty, robust taste, unlike unroasted which is delicate, soft, and subtle. I prefer Kasha, the evil twin.

Buckwheat comes in all shapes and sizes, it can be ground into flour, used  in baking, bread making, decadent muffins and stack-em-high pancakes.  Adding brown rice flour or almond flour when baking adds to its ability to make gorgeous baked goods.  Groats can be a welcome addition to soups, stews or savoury casseroles and add depth, flavour and bulk to create a hearty meal.  It's super easy to pop them into a casserole dish with mixed spices and throw in broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, green beans and tomatoes for a sumptuous and satisfying evening meal. Very exotic. And chilled buckwheat salads are divine in summer too.

I love to use  roasted groats to make a heart warming pot of delicious breakfast porridge and once you've tried buckwheat porridge you'll never go back to the traditional version...

Toasted Almond and Cinnamon Kasha Porridge with Almond Milk


  • 1 cup roasted buckwheat groats
  • 2 TBS butter
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2/3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp powdered stevia or 6 drops liquid stevia

Roasted Buckwheat AKA Kasha

The How To

Rinse roasted buckwheat in cold water and set aside

Cinnamon Infused Toasted Almonds

Toast flaked almonds in pan with a sprinkle of cinnamon over medium heat when ready transfer to bowl

Toasted Cinnamon Flaked Almonds

In the same pan melt butter over medium heat

Meanwhile, combine beaten egg and buckwheat and 2/3 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl

Mixing it Up

When mixed add it to the melted butter

Six Degrees of Separation

Over a medium heat stir until buckwheat has dried out and separated

Add enough water to cover to the pan and bring to the boil then reduce heat to low and cover with a lid for approx. 10-15 mins being careful not to overcook

Melt-in-the-Mouth Buckwheat Porridge

Transfer to a bowl and serve with almond milk and crispy cinnamon almonds. Scrumptious!

The Stock Market

It's raining today, not heavily but the kind of rain where cascading droplets trickle slowly down the unshuttered window panes and collect in tiny pools along the weather beaten sills. It's hard to imagine yesterday afternoon was spent lollygagging at the beach, sweltering under a stripy umbrella until the clouds turned black, and the wind came from around the corner, threatening to turn our umbrella inside out, pick it up and parachute it away.

Has Anyone Seen My Umbrella?

We spent the best part of the morning wandering around an authentic farmer's market, located in an inner city renovated railway workshop.

Eveleigh Farmer's Market Produce

It was bustling with locals chatting to food artisans and farmers, herding around the profusion of springtime offerings proudly on display.

The market stalls looked so alive. Photogenic fruits and vegetables, gleaming, their vibrant colours catching the dappled morning sunlight.

Heaven Sent Tomatoes

The best tasting healthy food, quality grass fed meat from local farms, organic and free range eggs, herbs and spices filled the air as we crunched, munched,  nibbled and taste-tested our way through the myriad of merchants.  It's such a fun way to shop, from the people who grow your food and share with you it's history. And by the time we reached the end our basket was firmly ladened with spring season treasures.

I Need a Bigger Basket

On Sundays I like to make my own full flavoured stock, with some of the left over vegies I have in the fridge and a whole chicken. I let it simmer on the back burner while everything else is happening.  Once you've made your own stock you'll never go back to the store bought packaged ones again. And you'll be able to sniff out an additive filled stock cube from ten paces.  Real stock tastes so much richer and enhances everything. And it's so easy to make...

Basic Chicken Stock

The Players
1 whole chicken
2 litres of filtered water
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 large onion chopped
3 celery sticks chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch rosemary
1 bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
Sea salt and pepper to taste

The How To
Place chicken in a large stainless steel pot with water, lemon juice and all vegetables and herbs
Bring to a boil, and remove foam that rises to the top
Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 hours
Remove whole chicken with a slotted spoon
Remove chicken meat from the carcass and reserve
Strain the stock into a large bowl and refrigerate until fat rises to the top and congeals
Skim off fat and place stock in a jar or covered container in your refrigerator

Exquisite Pesto Filled Zucchini Flowers

On Saturday evening we had an amazing dinner at my sister-in-law Emma's house to celebrate her husband's birthday. Emma is an extraordinary home cook and she never ceases to amaze me with the wonderful flavoursome meals she comes up with. I've never met anyone who can present meals so exquisitely too...in fact sometimes they literally look too good to eat. I love being in her kitchen you open her spice draw and this intoxicating aroma hits you like you've travelled to a far off destination full of eastern promise.  There are spices in there I can't even pronounce and she is the master of coming up with exotic dishes that stay on your mind for days.  I've even been known to actually have dreams about her cooking and one Christmas - from Boxing Day to New Year I had a succession of dreams about her Christmas Ham! I believe it was the star anise that was doing it to me or perhaps it was the cloves.

Masterchef Emma

Emma had been to Everleigh Markets the morning of the party and picked up 3 bags of beautiful eye-catching Zucchini Flowers to serve as part of the entree.  Zucchini flowers are versatile and can be cooked a variety of ways, sauteed, roasted or steamed. You can also chop them and add them to frittatas and stir-frys. We decided to STUFF EM with pesto. And the good thing about an entree like Zucchini Flowers is you can prepare them earlier in the day and then once guests arrive, they just need to be sauteed at the last minute (The Zucchini Flowers, not the guests!)

Here's how to make this wonderfully delicious starter for all to enjoy. Serves 4.

The Players

16 zucchini flowers
1 Cup Olive Oil

Dairy Free Pesto
1 1/2 cups freshly picked basil leaves
2 garlic cloves minced
1/2 lemon Juiced
1/2 tsp minced lemon zest
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS pine nuts
1 TBS nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
ocean sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Combine pesto ingredients in blender until pureed
Chill and serve


2/3 cup (100g) rice flour
3 TBS Soda water

The How To

  • Make the pesto as per the directions above, it's easy peasy and then just chill it in refrigerator until you're ready for it.
  • Meanwhile, hold a zucchini flower, and gently open the petals.  Reach inside and gently remove stamen from the centre of flower. Do this to all the remaining flowers and chop of the end of the stem.
  • Open the Zucchini Flower and place 1 tsp of pesto inside and then twist the top closed. Set aside.
  • To make the batter, place flour and soda water in a bowl and mix until its like pancake mix not too thick and not too runny.
  • Place paper towels on a platter dish and then place olive oil in frying pan and heat over a medium heat.

I Was Stuffed After This Lot

  • Dip the flowers in the batter and then place in frying pan until golden then remove with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to soak up excess oil.


Creamy Cauliflower and Turnip Soup

I love experimenting with vegetables and cauliflower is one of my favourites due to it's anti inflammatory properties.  It has such a mellow flavour (some might call it bland) but the trick is to spice it up when time is right and get those florets tap-dancing in your mouth.  Cumin, cinnamon and coriander go well with cauliflower and it's fabulous in Indian cuisine.

This creamless "Creamy Cauliflower and Turnip Soup" hits the spot for a chilled out night in and although earthy and mild in flavour still manages to be melt-in-the-mouth sweet and creamy.  With a couple of  half cauliflower heads in the fridge which had honestly seen better days and some turnips on the turn I turned around this heart-warming healthy soup in no time at all. It's rich and satisfying and beats commercially made soup any day.

Creamy Cauliflower & Turnip Soup

The Players

  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 small round turnips, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 sticks celery chopped
  • 1 TBS fresh ginger, crushed and sliced into 2 or 3 chunks
  • 2 TBS nutritional yeast flakes
  • Handful of continental parsley
  • 1 1/2 tsp ocean sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked pepper
  • 3 cups home made or no additive chicken stock or filtered water

The How To

1. Warm oil in a large pan and add onions, celery and garlic

Saute Away

2. Sauté over medium heat and stir until well coated with the oil then add cauliflower and turnip and cook for 10 mins

Flourishing Florets

3. Add ginger, ocean sea salt and pepper, yeast flakes, parsley and stir well.
4. Add chicken stock and bring to boil stirring a couple of times
6. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for 20 minutes
8. Transfer to blender, or use a hand-held blender, and puree. Return to the pan if it needs warming up

Serious Comfort Food

Oven Baked Sweet Turnip Fries

Last night I cooked my favourite oven baked sweet turnip fries.  I never feel like I'm missing out on chips when it's so easy to make delicious fries from turnips. These guys are alot healthier  too and once you start making and enjoying them I guarantee you won't even want to go back to conventional potato chips. Who says living a gluten, wheat, dairy, yeast and sugar-free life is boring? Not me!

Turnips are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and originated in Western Asia. Eating turnips is said to improve circulation of qi (energy) in alternative medicine and is also used as a detoxifier of the blood.  Once considered a poor man's food, now, due to their health promoting benefits, turnips are popular all over the world from Mexico to the Maldives.  Turnips contain disease-preventing phytochemicals which help the immune system to ward off and detoxify cancer-causing substances. I like the sound of that!

The great thing about turnips is that they are fantastic source of Vitamin C, calcium and iron. If you were to juice a turnip you would find that they have double the amount of vitamin C as orange juice and without all the fructose. Turnips are also great for treating bronchial problems and clearing mucus, coughs and asthma. *ahem, cough*

Looking for Mr or Mrs Right?

Turnips are like people and come in all shapes and sizes, colours and tastes. In general, the smaller the sweeter, the larger the easier to cook and peel.  When choosing a turnip feel for a smooth outer layer with density and depth and one that is not light or squishy to the touch- just like when choosing a potential life partner! The greens can also be consumed and reported to have enormous health benefits being rich in phytochemicals, vitamin A, C and E.  Turnips should be stored in a cool, dry, place for up to 3 months but remember to remove the greens before storage. The greens can be popped in a sealed container or bag and put in the fridge.  Turnips can also be placed in the fridge inside the vegie crisper and will last up to 2 weeks.

Oven Baked Sweet Turnip Fries:

The Players

  • 4 round turnips sliced into chips
  • 2 TBS extra virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 TBS Rosemary

The How To

  • 1.Preheat oven to 240°C.
  • 2.Place turnip in a baking dish
  • 3.Drizzle on Olive Oil and sprinkle on sea salt and rosemary
  • 4.Toss to coat evenly
  • 5.Roast in oven for 30 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy
  • 6.Remove from oven; place in a bowl or on a platter, sprinkle with pepper











Dressed and Oven Ready





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