Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cabonara with Asparagus

First of all, this can work just fine without the asparagus or be substituted for another veg but it does pair very well with egg and bacon (poached eggs and bacon on asparagus is also excellent).
Cabonara is a very simple dish but there are some challenges, mostly in making sure the pan isn't too hot when the egg mixture is added or the egg scrambles, if the pan and pasta are too cold the egg won't cook enough.

  • Eggs (approx. 1 per person)
  • Bacon (streaky is best, approx. 50-100 g per person)
  • Pasta (fettuccine or tagliatelle work best)
  • Asparagus (few pieces per person)
  • Parmesan
  • Salt & pepper

  1. Add pasta to boiling water and start frying bacon on a medium heat, if the pan is too hot the fat doesn't render very well
  2. Cut asparagus into bite sized pieces
  3. Crack eggs into bowl, add parmesan, salt and pepper to bowl, lightly beat and set to the side
  4. Briefly cook the asparagus in a strainer in the pasta pot
  5. Add the asparagus to the fry pan for the last few minutes and remove from heat
  6. Save a little pasta water and drain the pasta
  7. Add drained pasta to the pan, pour over egg mix and stir through.  Add a little pasta water if the sauce is too thick (or if the pan was too hot)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sweet Potato & Chickpea Brown Rice Baked Risotto

I was tempted to add 'Moroccan' to the title however it was already long enough and I don't really know a lot about Moroccan flavours but I think it might be close.  Regardless, it is and easy tasty one pot dish full of veggie goodness.


  • Brown rice (medium grain works better than long or basmati)
  • Sweet potato
  • Chickpeas (tinned or re-hydrated)
  • Celery (or onions if preferred)
  • Greens (I use zucchini or beans or both)
  • Stock (I usually uses Massel 7's chicken flavoured)
  • Garlic
  • Paprika (I usually used a lot of paprika including some smoked)
  • Cumin
  • Rosemary
  • Coriander seeds
  • Turmeric


  1.  Pre-heat the oven 180 degrees C
  2.  Fry up the celery in a stove and oven safe pot with some oil
  3. Add rice and garlic and continue frying for about 1-2 minutes
  4. Add crumbled stock cubes, chopped sweet potato and pre-boiled water
    • The quantity of water can be hard to judge but about twice as much as you have rice
  5. Add herbs and spices
  6. Bring to boil, put on the lid and place in the oven
  7. After 20 minutes add chickpeas and greens.  Add water if required
  8. Cook for a further 20 minutes in the oven
  9. Serve on a bed of baby spinach and top with balsamic vinegar

Options and variations

  • Add/substitute pumpkin to/for sweet potato
  • Use beef flavoured stock for something different
  • Add a tin of tomatoes and lessen the water a little

Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicken and Asparagus Carbonara

A really quick and really tasty meal, after a little prep it only takes as long as the pasta takes to cook!
The idea for this recipe is completely ripped off from Donna Hay creamy asparagus pasta however we didn't have any cream and we needed to use up some chicken.  So rather than a cream based pasta sauce I thought I'd try and recreate the creaminess like you do with a carbonara sauce using only egg...


  •  Chicken breast
  • Asparagus
  • Pasta (we used gluten free fettuccine)
  • Egg(s)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Lemon (for zest and juice)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Chopped parsley
  • Butter


  1. Chop chicken into cubes, cut the asparagus spears into three or four pieces (after removing the bottom bit) and zest the lemon
  2. Crack your egg(s) into a bowl, add grated cheese, salt and pepper and beat it with a fork or whisk till combined
  3. Add pasta to a pot of boiling water (preferably one that can have a steamer basket) at about the same time add the chicken into a fry pan with a little oil
  4. With about 5 min to go on the pasta, start steaming the asparagus and add some butter and the lemon zest to the fry pan (now on a low heat)
  5. Add some lemon juice to the egg mixture and whisk it through
  6. When the past is done turn off the fry pan (yes I do mean the fry pan), add the asparagus to the fry pan, and drain the pasta (saving some of the water
  7. Add a little water to the fry pan and then add the drained pasta and stir through a little
  8. Now add the egg mixture and stir through (you need to make sure the pan has cooled sufficiently to do this, if it is too hot then the egg will scramble) and the hot pasta and sauce will cook the egg
  9. Add the parsley at some point while stirring through the egg and then serve.  Add some pepper, extra parmesan and lemon juice to finish.


We used one chicken breast and 2 eggs for two people which worked out about right with myself being a bigish eater.  The butter is added because a carbonara sauce usually makes use of the fat that is rendered when cooking down whatever cured pork is being used which chicken breast usually doesn't provide.  Because it only used parmesan cheese it should be pretty much lactose free.

Moroccan Style Pot Roast Chicken

I was looking for an easy roast chicken recipe, low carb, low gluten and low number of dishes and this is what I came up with.  Super tasty.


  • Celery
  • Sweet potato
  • Other hard veg (carrot, sweet, etc.) - Optional
  • Chicken
  • Lemon
  • Tinned tomatos
  • Chickpeas (I just used tinned ones)
  • Cauliflower
  • Other soft veg (beans, zucchini, etc.) - Optional
  • Cummin
  • Paprika
  • Garam masala
  • Garlic


  1. Pre-heat oven to 170 degrees C.
  2. Chop up celery and hard veggies and fry them in a stove and oven safe pot (i.e. cast iron) with some olive oil and garlic.
  3. Prep the chicken by putting the lemon inside it and rubbing some spices into the skin (you can add a little oil to help it stick) .
  4. Add some spices to the veggies in the pot and cook a little longer.
  5. Add the chicken on top of the bed of veggies and put in the oven with the lid on.
  6. After about 40 min (or 25-30 min before the chicken is cooked if it is large) tip in the chickpeas and tomatos around the chicken and return to oven with lid on.
  7. After a further 15 min add the coarsely chopped cauliflower (and other soft veggies) and return to oven with lid on.
  8. Cook for a further 10-15 min until the cauliflower is cooked and serve

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Chicken and Kale Filo Parcels

This dish came about because I felt like chicken, there was filo in the fridge and kale was on special...


  • Chicken
  • Kale
  • Sweet potato
  • Carrot
  • Mixed herbs
  • Grated cheese
  • Filo pastry
  • Butter/milk/egg (for wash)


  1. Pre-heat fan forced oven to 190 degrees C
  2. Chop chicken and kale, both quite small/fine
  3. Grate sweet potato and carrot (I didn't use a lot of either of these)
  4. Fry up chicken and then add veggies and herbs and cook until kale has wilted
  5.  Lay out two sheets of filo pastry together and add some mixture, sprinkle cheese on top, fold into a parcel of some sort and then place on a greased oven tray
  6. Brush butter/milk/egg onto the filo package
  7. Cook for about 20 min until brown
Would probably also work with other pastry as more of a pastie.
I may also have added a chicken stock cube to the filling mixture.
A little paprika sprinkled on the packages after they have been brushed looks cool too.
I decided to try chopping the kale and grating sweet potato and carrot with a food processor and it worked ok.
I also served this with home made sweet potato wedges which were super easy and tasty.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Massel 7’s no longer fructose friendly

Update (25/3/2014): Chicken stock onion and garlic free
I'm pretty sure this happened over a year ago but I thought I should still report it here.  The chicken stock is specifically lists 'Contains not onion or garlic'.  
Update (14/7/2011): Massel to redevelop a 7's Fructose Friendly Formula
I just got an email from Mark at Massel to say:
"We have had many emails from people such as yourself and have now 'heard the call'. To this end I am happy to report that our R&D department is now working on an onion free version to cater for the Fructose Malabsorbtion community."
This is great news! Thanks to everyone that contacted Massel to request the change, and thanks to Massel for their quick action!
In the meantime continue checking your packets as I suspect it will take some time for the new formula to hit the shelves and I'll keep you informed with updates as soon as I know.

I recently heard that Massel now puts onion in their "7's" stock.  Beware!  The onion (and garlic) is clearly listed in the ingredients but the rest of the packaging is the same so be sure to check.
As far as I know this was the only fructose friendly stock you could buy, not only that but it was also gluten free, vegan, cheap and tasted good.  For me it was the perfect stock to use when cooking for a variety of different dietary needs.  I have no idea why they changed it but there are a lot of people that would like it changed back.  If you are one of them then please contact Massel and let them know you liked it the way it was, without the onion.
Also if you know where to find some of the old formula for sale somewhere then let us know in the comments!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Vegan Chinese Soup

I've been trying to eat more vegetarian and vegan food for a few reasons; health, sustainability and cost. Plus it's a challenge to create something new and I'd just bought some black fungus. The problem I have is that I often struggle to feel full if I don't have any meat. I assume this is because of a lack of protein so I attempted to put together something filling, healthy and of course tasty! This is my first attempt and I'm making it up as I go along so I'm open to suggestions and this post is subject to improvement.

Recipe: Vegan Chinese Soup
Special Needs Categories: vegan with GF & FF options
Special Needs Translated: no meat or animal products

  • Onions (obviously avoid for fructose free - celery substitute)
  • Firm tofu (check ingredients, particularly if flavoured)
  • Dried shittake mushrooms
  • Black Fungus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Zucchini (some fructose intolerant people avoid this)
  • Stock (obviously choose fit for purpose, 7's for FF GF & vegan)
  • Soy sauce (pick a GF one if needed)
  • Chinese five spice (check ingredients)
  • rice wine
  • ginger
  • garlic
  • chilli
  • sesame oil
  • noodles (again choose fit for purpose, check particularly for wheat, milk or egg content)
  • fried onions & kecap manis (sweet soy) for seasoning (if you can eat them, GF & FF warning)
Start by re-hydrating and marinating. Put black fungus and shittake's into separate bowls and cover with boiling water (not the black fungus expands a lot), they need to soak for 20-30 min.

For the marinade combine; soy sauce, ginger, tamarind paste, rice wine, Chinese 5 spice, few drops of sesame oil, some olive oil, chilli in a bowl with a little water to fill it out. Add a little crushed stock cube if you need more flavour. Cut the tofu into bite sized pieces and put in a bowl to marinade. I only marinaded for about 30 min which didn't impart a lot of flavour but I had also intended to fry the tofu before starting the soup till I decided I couldn't be bothered, will see if it adds more flavour next time.

Next fry up the onion (or celery) in a wok or saucepan, when it softens a little then add garlic. Fry a little longer and add stock.
Next slice the black fungus and add them, the shittake's and a little of their water to the wok/saucepan. I like to cook these a little longer than the rest of the of the veggies.

After a few minutes add your veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, zucchini) and the tofu (make sure you save the marinade).

Now all the main ingredients are in it's time to work on the flavour. First added some of the tofu marinade to get things started as it has most of the flavours you want. Then adjust with; rice wine (sharpness & tang), soy sauce (salt & flavour boost), Chinese 5 spice (complex spices), ginger (sharpness & base spice), chilli (heat & flavour), stock cubes (overall flavour), garlic (flavour boost). Then cook till veggies are ready.

While all this is going on prepare your noodles in another saucepan. Cook them for the amount to time recommended on the packet then drain and add them to your serving bowl. When the soup is ready you pour it over the time. Season with fried onions and kecap manis if like them.

Further thoughts:
  • Maybe fry the tofu with the onion to see if it helps hold the flavour and add texture.