Christmas Eve in Collage

collage11. Aviators love. 2. Lemon juice in water for breakfast. 3. Sunnydale Banana Milk  4. Gluten-Free toast with banana for breakfast.  5. Our colourburst necklace, great for the beach.  6. Grubby yellow thongs we live in (yes, flipflops are thongs to us!).

We thought we’d capture our Christmas Eve (so far) in collage…. I know that the idea of spending Christmas at the beach is very foreign to most. This year the weather is a few degrees cooler than sweltering and incredibly pleasant. We spend a lot of time in the water, eating outdoors, going for walks, eating fruit and light foods and soaking up the sun.

collage21. Our reindeer antler card ready to give to a friend.  2.  Banana Milk.  3. Cane hat by Stella McCartney for Target.  4.  Wrapped.  5.  Me, Calvin + Millie  6.  Bikini  7. Bling from Indo 8. Candy cane from our advent calendar  9.  Aviators love.

collage31. Sarong to wrap up in for lunch.  2.  Australian flower pendant designed by a friend (now departed)  3.  Niulife Coconut Vinegar – delicious  4.  Mango!  5. Flowers delivered by lovely friends.  6.  Favourite Spanish heels.  7. Our delicious Roast Vegetable Salad.  Good enough to live on, recipe coming soon.

collage41. Bathing suit.  2.  Real Living Magazine for a bit of afternoon relaxing.  Presents all done.  3.  Coconut water with guava nectar.  4.  Bright pink mirrors love.  5. Wrapped and ready to go thanks to Millie.  5.  Our tassel and bone necklace.

And still to come, another dip in the Indian Ocean, meeting up with friends for drinks, dinner with other friends and Midnight Mass…. followed by a mad rush home and me staying up well into the night wrapping presents and making a few extra cards. We hope your Christmas Eve is relaxing and wonderful.

If you like this Pin It, and enjoy!

Recipe: Thai Pumpkin + Fish Curry

fishcurrytitleThis is one of my favourite dishes of all time.  I make it a lot at home.  It is a go to comfort food and tv dinner, and also a great dish to serve to guests.  When you make it just make sure you have a lot in the pot because your guests and loved ones will want more.  It is light and gorgeous but also hearty enough for a winter’s night.

This meal is easy to make and only takes me less than half an hour to whip up. Before you start make sure to put on the rice to cook so that it will be ready to go.  The Thai flavours are heavenly.

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Ingredients

400ml coconut milk (we use light)
1kg pumpkin (butternut squash) (peeled and cubed)
500g salmon (cut in large chunks)
1 bunch of bok choy or pak choy
2 tablespoons Thai green or yellow curry paste (found at Asian foodstores)
350ml fish stock
3 tablespoons fish sauce (high quality and without msg)
2 tablespoons grated palm sugar or can use brown sugar
3 lemongrass stalks
3 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Juice of 1 lime
Handful fresh coriander

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Method

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1. Place a big pot onto medium heat on the stovetop. Pour in the coconut milk and add the curry paste. Mix together with a wooden spoon while it is heating.

2. Let this mixture simmer a bit while you add the fish stock, sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric.

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3. Bring to the boil and add the pumpkin chunks to the mix. Cook the pumpkin for fifteen minutes or until it has gone quite soft.

4. Add the fish chunks to the sizzling mixture and gently stir so as not to break up the fish. This part will only need a few minutes. When the fish is white they are done.

5. The last part is to wash and separate the bok choy leaves. Leave the mixture simmering and lay them out over the top of the mixture. As they begin to wilt, gently mix them into the curry.

6. Your delicious meal is done. Serve it over rice and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

We hope you enjoy. If you like this Pin or Twitter It. And if you like us, Like Us on Facebook. Keep coming back for more food goodness…

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Recipe: Baby Roma Tomato & Bocconcino Christmas Starters

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To begin our Christmas food tutorials we thought we would start with one of our longtime favourite starters.  These little Santa-like food structures are so easy to make and make a gorgeous minimalist statement.  And most importantly, they are delicious to eat!

Ingredients

Mini Bocconino balls (a delicious little cheese ball)

Mini Roma tomatoes

Fresh mint leaves (or basil)

Pepper

Olive oil

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Method

1. Carefully slice the bottoms of the tomatoes, trying to make them as level as possible.  We use a Japanese ceramic knife which makes life a lot easier when slicing.

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2. Turn the tomatoes and slice of the other side so that they are now shaped like little barrels, keeping them as level as you can.

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3. Using the other end of a spoon, de-seed the tomatoes.

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4.  Wash the mint leaves and push one mint leaf into the centre of each tomato.

christmasentree65. Place a mini bocconcino on top of each tomato.  They will just be perched on top but will stay quite well.
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6. Display on a white platter.   Crack some pepper on top and drizzle Olive oil over the top.

Hand them around to your guests who will love them.   Check out our other Christmas tutorials, we have a Birdie Advent Calendar, Star + Cane Advent Calendar, Felted Wreath and plenty more coming in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

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How To: Lacto-Fermented Vegetables

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After working as a research assistant on a probiotic study a few years ago, I was hooked on the incredible benefits of fermented foods and amazed to discover that nearly every culture has fermented foods in it.  I am not a food scientist but I have a little understanding from my dad and his wealth of knowledge as a nutritionist.

This is a simple lesson about your gut.  Basically your gut contains good bacteria which is necessary for breaking down your foods and also plays a strong role in maintaining your immune system and fighting disease.  Good bacteria from foods such as yoghurts, kimchi, fermented vegetables and other sources, contain probiotics and prebiotics which encourage the growth of this good bacteria.  When buying a yoghurt, make sure that it contains the bacteria like acidopholus and lactobacillus or they do not work as a probiotic.

This recipe is an easy way to get started with fermenting your own foods.  A word of warning, if this recipe grows a black or white coating on top, do not eat it.  Also it will not smell and the flavour will be mild.  Use your nose also.  If it smells mouldy, don’t eat it.  There will be no offensive odour from the jar.  This recipe will take about half an hour to make (after a night with your yoghurt standing) and it is really simple.

When I have made few batches of this, I eat a few tablespoons as a condiment with my lunch and dinner.  It is so delicious and really helps digestion and to stay ummmm.. regular.

Ingredients & Materials

1 Mason Jar with lid

1 Nut Milk Bag (or your can use cheesecloth to make your own)

1/4 green cabbage

1/4 purple cabbage

1 large carrot

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

2 teaspoons sea salt

500g yoghurt (I used Mundella pot-set which is jam-packed with probiotics but is only available in Oz)

Spring water to fill the jar (don’t use tap water as the chlorine and fluoride halt the fermentation process)

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Method

1. Put your nutmilk bag over a mason jar and pour the yoghurt into it.  Suspend the yoghurt toward the top of the jar so that the whey drips into the bottom of the jar.  The whey is a yellow colour.  Leave this jar for 24 hours in the open.  When it is done there will be a few inches of way at the bottom of the mason jar and in the top of jar there will be fermented cream cheese.  This cream cheese is tangy and delicious and can be used to spread bread or bagels or anything you like.  Just leave it in an airtight container in the fridge.  It will keep for a few weeks, at least.

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2. Slice your cabbages and grate your carrot.  Measure out your caraway seeds.

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3. Remove the nutmilk bag from the mason jar and you are left with the whey.

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4. Combine all the vegetables in a mixing bowl.  Add the caraway seeds and the salt.

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5. Add two tablespoons of whey to the mix and massage the vegetables with your hands for about five minutes.  They will become a lot more limp and some of the juice will be massaged out of them when they are done.

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6. Put the massaged vegetable into the mason jar and pour the left over vegetable juice in with it.

7. Pour another tablespoon of whey over the top.

8. Fill the jar with spring water, making sure that all the vegetables are covered.  At this point many people will put a weight in the jar to push the vegetables down to make sure that they are not in contact with the air.  This is optional and I have never had a problem with mould.

9. Seal the mason jar with the lid and leave it on the kitchen bench for 2 -3 days.  As the fermenting process starts to take place you will notice little air bubbles starting to rise to the top of the jar.

10. After a few days make sure that the mixture has no pungent odour and has no mould on top.  Place the jar in the fridge and use as a condiment with your meals.  It is absolutely delicious to eat.

It takes good when eaten with just about anything,  rice, sandwiches, quiches.  I eat a little with everything.

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How To: Open-Fire Cooking

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We love open-fire cooking.   In Australia, due to the many months of hot, dry weather, we have fire bans for much of the year.  We took advantage of the cooler weather to make an open-fire meal.  Cooking on an open fire is so much fun and it just tastes so much better.  Camp cooking is the best, but even a small fire at home is so much fun for family and friends.

Here’s a few great recipes and tips…

1. Make sure that you are allowed to light a fire where you light it and that it is safe.

2. Light a fire using kindling (small sticks) or with fire starters and then add bigger pieces of wood, newspaper or heat beads.  A helpful tip is to make sure that you buy heat beads that are easy to light or you could be there for a long time just trying to get the fire going.

3. To cook the food all you really need is some sort of  a grill or grate to put over the fire.

4. Use foil to wrap the food.  Fish is great when cooked in foil, with olive oil and butter.  To steam vegetables, just wrap them in foil with any spices you like and add a half cup of water before you seal it.  To cook potatoes, just wrap them in foil.

5. Stay close to the fire at all times and make sure that it is completely out before you leave the area.

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Recipes for an open-fire cooked meal

Fish:  Buy (or catch) a fish from the fishmonger.  Ask you fishmonger to gut the fish.  Fresh fish need very little done to them to make them taste delicious and melt in the mouth.  Just slice a lemon and push them inside the fish, coat the fish with a small amount of olive oil and some coarse sea salt and then wrap it in foil.  Place the foil on the grate.  Fish cook very quickly and it will probably only take 20 minutes to cook.  For this cookout we used a pan-fry Snapper.  This works well because it is not too crumbly and is very sweet to taste.

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Corn:  Take a corn in its husk.  Open some of the husks and pour a small amount of water into it.  Place fresh corn, still in the husk, directly onto the grill.  These need to be turned a few times and take about the same time as the fish to cook.  Cooked corn can be smothered in butter before it is eaten.

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Sweet Potato:  This takes the longest to cook and can be started an hour before the rest.  Or if you are close to home you can cheat and put the potato, with the skin on into the microwave for a few minutes on high and then wrap it in foil and put it straight onto the grill to cook.  Once cooked, open the potato, melt butter in the middle and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Cabbage:  Chop half of a purple cabbage into small strips.  Place the cabbage onto a piece of foil.  Fold the edges up slightly then coat the cabbage in Balsamic vinegar and add a dessertspoon of sugar.  Add a little extra water if you wish.  Seal the foil leaving a little space at the top for the steam to build.  This will take about half an hour to cook on an open flame.

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When everything is cooked, just open the foil packages and serve.  It is so easy and taste is fresh and a little smoky and  ….. just better.

Other food that goes well in an open fire:

  • Mushrooms, put some butter and herbs with them, sprinkle with a little sea salt and wrap in foil.
  • Bok Choy or other greens.  Wrap them in the foil with water and some soy sauce.
  • Onions, chop them into rings and put some butter or oil in with them.  Wrap them in the foil.
  • Onions, tomatoes and sausages.  Dice the onions and tomatoes and chop the sausages into small chunks.  Add some butter and some sweet chilli sauce and wrap in foil.
  • Carrots.  Par-boil them then add honey, butter and a little water to them.

cookout11After your meal, place some marshmallows onto a stick and cook them in the flame, until their outsides are browned and the insides are sticky and gooey.  And very yummy.

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How To: Indonesian Satay Sauce

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On our recent trip to Indonesia, we ate a LOT of satay.  It is the most wonderful nutty flavour, fresh with a little kick.  And so versatile,  it can be used to make Gado Gado, or used with chicken or beef and served with rice.  This recipe was constructed from ingredients given to me by our wonderful driver, Wyen,  while in Indonesia.  He gave us this recipe while sitting eating Nasi Goreng and sipping on coconut juice in a rural outdoor restaurant, set in the midst of green fields with rice growing.  Brown sugar has been used instead of the traditional palm sugar, because that it was what in the pantry.  Feel free to use palm sugar but please make sure it is ethically sourced.
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Ingredients

2 cups fresh raw peanuts

Juice of 1 lime

1 Tbs brown sugar

1/4 tsp chilli flakes

2 Tbs Kecap Manis

2 Tbs Soya Sauce

1 cup water

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Method

1. Add all of the ingredients to your high speed blender.  Blend ingredients for about a minute on an average speed.  If you leave it for longer, all of the peanuts will become smooth.

2. Scoop out the sauce into a small bowl to serve.  This sauce also stores well in an airtight container.  It will keep for up to a month in the fridge.

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3. Use this simple method to make beef satay.  Cut your beef into small cubes and place five or six of them onto a wooden skewer.  Marinate the skewers in the satay sauce and then cook on a bbq.  Serve the satay sauce with it as a dipping sauce.

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How To: Homemade Tagliatelle with Tomato + Bacon

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At OHC we love homemade pasta.  Today’s pasta is a great one because it doesn’t require a pasta maker and it is one of the easiest to make.  Pasta is really easy to make and tastes delicious when made from scratch.  Homemade pasta can either be thrown into a boiling saucepan of water, and cooked straight away, or it can be folded and stored in shoebox, with baking paper neatly wrapped between each layer.

Making pasta is a great way to include the whole family in the kitchen and provides an entry point for introducing children to the joys of cooking whole foods, made from delicious fresh ingredients.  This recipe was not gluten-free but we will follow in the future with more gluten-free pasta recipes.

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Ingredients

300g Tipo ’00′ flour

3 large free-range eggs

Pinch salt

Method

1. Measure out the flour and pour it into a mound on the table.  Use a closed fist to make a well in the centre of the flour.

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2. Crack open the three eggs into the centre of the flour well.

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3. Starting from the outside of the flour, begin to push it towards the centre, mixing it with the eggs.  Work your way around the outside of flour, doing this.

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4. Once the flour and egg are mixed into a ball, begin to knead the dough ball.  To knead, hold your hands together and push your palms into the dough.  The dough ball will turn as you go.  Knead the dough until it begins to feel smooth and silky, no longer rough and floury.

5. Divide the dough into four balls.  Put flour onto the table and using a rolling pin or your pasta maker, roll the pasta into four long pieces.

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6. Take a length of pasta and starting from one end, dust it in a little extra flour, then roll it.  Do this to all four rolls.

7. Using a sharp knife chop the pasta rolls into small slices.

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8. To cook your pasta, place it in boiling water with a pinch of salt.  Fresh pasta will only take a few minutes to cook.

This pasta was served with tomato and bacon.   This will take a few minutes to cook up.  Take about three tomatoes, cut them in half, seed them and then dice them.  Finely chop half an onion.  Cut the fat from three rashers of bacon and dice them.  Fry these three ingredients together in a frying pan with oil for a few minutes until they have mixed and are softened and fragrant.

Toss the tomato and bacon into the pasta and serve this dish with fresh basil.

Enjoy!  and if you like this, pin it.

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How To: Gluten-Free Strawberry Clafoutis

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Clafoutis is a beautiful, rustic French dessert which is easy to make.  It is a sort of mixture between a pudding and a cake.  Light and refreshing and tastes delicious, clafoutis is traditionally cooked with cherries.  Strawberries also taste very good with it. The berries will bubble and dye the batter a gorgeous, bright pink. We guarantee that children love clafoutis! This recipe is both gluten-free and dairy-free (made with coconut milk).

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Ingredients

1/3 cup (70 grams) natural cane sugar
3 eggs
1 cup (225 ml) coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
1/4 cup (35 grams) superfine brown rice flour
4 Tbs (40 grams) almond flour
pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 punnets strawberries

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Method

1. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and eggs.

2. Add the coconut milk, vanilla seeds, brown rice flour, almond flour, salt and cinnamon.

3. Place the strawberries into the dish (or small dishes).  We cooked our clafoutis in four wide-mouthed mason jars and this was wonderful.

4. Pour the batter over the top of the strawberries.

5. Sprinkle sugar and almond flour on top for a lovely crunch.

6. Bake them at 180C/375F for 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of the dish.

7. The clafoutis will set in the middle.  Do not overcook it as it tastes better if it is like custard on the inside.

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Spring Picnics

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This post is a blast from the past for OHC (from 2010)…..  Everybody loves a spring picnic and outdoors is the perfect setting for a springfood gathering.

Tips for a Wonderful Spring Picnic:

  • No fuss.  Whole foods are so easy to take. Keep it simple.
  • Edible flowers are a perfect addition to any picnic.
  • Our rolls are filled with ……  fetta cheese, baby tomatoes, edible flowers, semi sundried tomatoes, dressing.
  • Chocolate is great for spring,  chocolate in summer in Australia melts.  By Christmas chocolate melts in five minutes.
  • Backpacks are perfect for picnics on a bike.
  • Bring a lightweight blanket for your picnic.  Less carrying + less fuss = more fun.

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Recipe: Gluten-Free Lime & Pistachio Meltaways

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These meltaways are divine.  They are so full of flavour and literally melt in the mouth. The lime rind pieces are like tiny pieces of candy that pop in your mouth, and the sugar coating is perfect.  These cookies use a mixture of cornflour, amaranth and quinoa flour, which we find to be a great gluten-free mix for biscuits like these.

Ingredients

120 grams butter

125 grams castor sugar

zest of 2 limes

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Juice of one lime

40 grams cornstarch

80 grams amaranth flour

80 grams quinoa flour

40 grams pistachio nuts – finely crushed, almost to meal

1/4 teaspoon salt

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Method

  1. Cream the butter, castor sugar and lime zest together until it is the mixture is light.
  2. Add the lime juice and mix.
  3. Shell the pistachios and place in boiling water on stove for one minute to blanch.  Put into cold water and peel away the red casings to reveal the bright green nuts.  (this step is really worth taking the few minutes to do).
  4. Place the pistachios in a food processer and grind until the pieces are just bigger than nut meal.  Set aside.
  5. Sift all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
  6. Add these to the creamed butter.  Mix until it comes together.
  7. Add the pistachios, vanilla extract and salt and mix some more until it is a dough.
  8. Transfer the dough onto a sheet of baking paper and shape it into a log that is about 2 inches in diameter.
  9. Use the baking paper to tighten the log and wrap it up.
  10. Place the dough in the fridge for at least two hours.
  11. Cut the log into 1/4 inch thick discs.
  12. Place the discs onto a baking tray and bake at 350°F/180°C for about 12 minutes.  Don’t let the biscuits get brown but leave them white.

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Cool the biscuits on a cooling rack and coat with a thick layer of powdered sugar while they are still a little warm.  These are best eaten within a few days and should be stored in an airtight container.

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