Cook this: T2 Lamington Tea porridge

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Monday morning, ready to take on another week! But not without a good breakfast. And this one is an absolute beauty. But before I get to that, let me explain how the ridiculous idea of making porridge with a cup of tea came about. I stumbled on a great find last week in the Extraordinary Routines site. This project, put together by Madeleine Dore, is exploring the daily routines of creatives such as writers, artists, designers and other who “bring a unique spirit to the world around them.” It’s really interesting to read how these successful and happy people run their days, and has some fantastic inspiration if you’re looking for a bit of a change!

Being food-minded though, it wasn’t long before the RECIPES menu caught my eye. The first image I saw was what looked to be a pretty little bowl of porridge or overnight oats or something, so I clicked on that to find myself face to face with a recipe for earl grey porridge. Sorry, WHAT?!

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It’s no secret that I love my tea. As you may be able to tell from the picture above: that’s all of the tea. No, that’s a lie – there’s more in the pantry And more tea cups and mugs. So many more.  I also love oats, in just about any form. So the idea of combining these two of my favourite things? Yup. All sorts of yup.

I mentioned this earl grey porridge idea to husband, to which he replied, “I bet it’d taste good with that Lamington tea you’re so obsessed with at the moment.” Damn, why didn’t I think of that?! Done deal! I love T2’s teas (their Melbourne Breakfast is a HUGE favourite in our house), but they’ve really outdone themselves with their Lamington Tea; as you can see below, it’s a gorgeous black tea with coconut flakes, cocoa nibs and tiny little chocolate drops. Heaven!
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I’m sure whatever the recipe on the site was was perfectly good, but I didn’t actually bother reading it. Once I’d seen the title, I figured I’d be able to get it right myself. And surprisingly, I actually did (not all of my ideas work out so well)! Here’s how you can make your own bowl of lamington porridge breakfast happiness..

For one bowl of porridge, you’ll need:
– 1 cup of tea. T2’s Lamington is perfect for this, but if you don’t have any/can’t be bothered buying any, just use your favourite black tea. Brew it with ¾ cup boiling water, steep for a few minutes, then mix it ½ cup milk.
– ½ cup rolled oats
– Toppings of choice – I used a few raspberries, crushed toasted almonds, shredded coconut and toasted cacao nibs

 

To cook it:
1. Combine the tea and oats in a pot over medium heat. Bring to boiling point, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until porridge reaches your desired consistency. Serve immediately with your toppings of choice.

A one step recipe. So simple. So delicious. It’s also the perfect starter meal for the day for me, being gluten and lactose free (I use almond milk), as well as low FODMAPs. So much stomach can’t bitch up later on. And just to get a bit more tea in, I made a cup of the English Tea Shop’s organic green tea to go along with it.That, my friends, is the way to breakfast.

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Cook this: Hazelnut, coconut & dark chocolate biscuits (gluten free, low FODMAPs)

These biscuits are really different, but surprisingly delicious – they’re the sort of gluten free biscuits that you’d eat even if you weren’t gluten intolerant! They are surprisingly light, and I really love the taste that the hazelnut meal gives them. If it’s not for you, any other nut meal will work just as well – almond, cashew, whatever! IMG_2975.JPG You’ll need:
– 100g butter, softened
– 100g caster sugar
– 1 egg, at room temperature
– 1½ cups hazelnut meal
– ½ cup gluten free plain flour (or you regular plain flour if you don’t need it to be gluten free)
– ½ cup shredded coconut, toasted
– 2 tbsp dark chocolate, finely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a large oven tray with baking paper.

2. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl with an electric mixer for 3 – 4 minutes, until it becomes noticeably thicker, lighter and creamier. Then, beat in the egg.

3. Fold the nut meal and flour into the creamed mixture with a spoon, followed by the coconut and chocolate. This recipe is incredibly adaptable, so feel free to substitute the coconut and chocolate with anything else you’d like – seeds, chopped dried fruit, chocolate chips, whatever!

4. Roll the mixture into tablespoon sized balls, flattening them slightly when you place them on the tray, and bake 12 – 15 minutes, or until they start to turn golden around the edges. Cool completely on the tray.

Cook this: Crunchy toasted cacao & coconut muesli (gluten free, low FODMAPs)

Consider this my new favourite breakfast, afternoon tea, pre-bed snack, and binge food. Seriously, I’ve been just eating it straight out of the container. With my fingers, if I can’t be bothered with a spoon. I don’t know what it is about this muesli, but I am utterly and completely addicted. My only consolation is that I keep telling myself there are worse foods out there that I could be stuffing my face with… right?!

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When I make muesli, I prefer to make a large batch – it keeps surprisingly well in an air-tight plastic tub, and the recipe below should last around 2 weeks (I half half cup serves for breaky, and yes, just grab handfuls to snack on when the craving hits. Don’t judge. It’s delicious!).

The other great thing about this, and a fact that seems to be quite little known, is that oats actually are gluten free by nature, if they’re pure and processed on specialised equipment! Low FODMAPs diets call for wheat free though, but you can buy specifically wheat free oats too, so shouldn’t be an issue. Oats are also a great source of fibre and protein, and have also been shown to help lower cholesterol, heart disease, assist in weight management (by keeping you fuller for longer) and helps stabilise blood sugar and energy levels. They’re the ultimate super food, and my breakfast of choice, every morning!

Here’s what you’ll need:
– 7 cups rolled oats (use wheat free if you need to keep it low FODMAPs)
– juice of 1 large orange
– ½ cup maple syrup
– ½ cup mixed seeds (I like sunflower and pepita seeds)
– ½ cup cacao nibs
– ½ cup shredded coconut

Easiest muesli recipe ever…
1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a large oven tray with non-stick baking paper. Make it an extra large piece that hangs over the edges a little – it makes life easier later, trust me!
2. Pour 5 cups of the oats in a large bowl.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine the orange juice and maple syrup – microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then mix into the oats until they’re well coated.
4. I’m a bit pedantic about not having burnt bits in my muesli, so here’s what I do next:
– Put the oats in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
– Add the seeds, mix around to combine, and place back into the oven for another 10 minutes.
– Finally, mix through the cacao nibs and shredded coconut, and bake for a final 10 minutes.

Then, just let it all cool completely on the tray, mix through the remaining 2 cups of untoasted oats, and pop it all into an air-tight container for storage. That simple!

The recipe is also pretty basic, so feel free to add whatever you like to your muesli. Other combinations I love are macadamia, coconut and dried cranberry, dried fig and pistachio, and cashews and sultanas. Anything goes, really! Just keep an eye on the muesli as it toasts – if your oven is super strong, you may want to check every 5 minutes to mix it around so it toasts a bit more evenly.

Cook this: Breakfast – chocolate & peanut butter porridge! (gluten free, low FODMAPs)

Thanks for re-visiting Vietnam with me over the past few days 🙂 I’m heading back to the real world for the weekend and thought I’d share something that I’m obsessed with, yet haven’t actually blogged about yet: breakfast!

I don’t understand non-breakfast people. How anyone can operate on an empty stomach first thing in the morning is utterly and completely beyond me. Maybe it’s that I’m a crappy sleeper, and 5 interrupted hours is a good night. Maybe it’s that I get up at 5.45am almost every morning to workout before work. Maybe it’s just that I’m Italian, so food is a big thing. But I cannot physically leave the house in the morning to face the day without eating breakfast.

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My weapon of choice is (and has been for a long time now) oats. I’ve been known to make my own muesli, and recently got completely addicted to the overnight oats thing. I thought I’d have a change for a week or two though, and go back to making my own porridge each morning, which is actually no where near as difficult or time consuming as it sounds. If you want to make this really easy, do as I do and combine all your dry ingredients in a jar or tub the night before, so you can just tip it all in the saucepan with the milk in the morning without having to worry about spending time measuring it all out!

I love to play around with different flavours with both porridge and overnight oats; some favourite combos have been pistachio, fig & honey, raspberry & coconut, and chocolate, vanilla & almonds. This time, I decided it had to be my good old favourite – chocolate and peanut butter. If there’s a better combination of foods in the world, I don’t believe you, nor am I interested.

To make a most spectacular breakfast for one, you’ll need…
– ½ cup oats (wheat free, if you want to keep it low FODMAPs)
– 1 tbsp chia seeds
– ½ tsp cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder if you prefer)
– 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
– 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
– 1 tsp cacao nibs (or chocolate chips!)

1. Combine the oats, chia seeds, cocoa powder & milk in a small saucepan over high heat.
2. Bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook, stirring constantly until your porridge is at your preferred consistency – mine usually takes around 3-4 minutes of simmering.
3. Remove the pot from the heat and stir through the peanut butter. Pour it into a bowl and top wth cacao nibs and/or anything else you want! Enjoy 🙂

Cook this: quick & healthy – easy pork bun cha

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I decided to make a version of my favourite Vietnamese dish for dinner the other night – bun cha. I ate it all over Vietnam, with some of my favourites being this one and this one. I grabbed out my very trusty cook book that I got at the Morning Glory Cooking School for some inspiration from Ms Vy’s version, which calls for minced pork patties.

Because I’m giving this whole low FODMAPs thing a go, it sadly lacked the shallots and garlic I’d have usually used, otherwise I really didn’t change a lot! After glancing quickly at the picture in the cook book for a little inspiration, I made up a quick and easy version that will be super easy to re-create for dinner even on the nights I’m in a bit of a hurry.

To make this quick and healthy bun cha for 2, you’re going to need:
– 300g minced pork
– finely grated zest of 1 lemon
– 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
– 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
– 1 small shallot, finely diced, as well as 1 crushed clove of garlic (leave these out if you need it low FODMAPs!)

– rice noodles, as much as you want, cooked as per packet instructions
– 1 carrot, peeled and grated
– 1 cucumber, halved lengthways and thinly sliced
– fresh coriander and chives, to serve

To make the pork patties, combine all of the ingredients and mush them together with your hands. Roll them into balls and flatten slightly, cooking them for a few minutes on each side on a hot pan sprayed with cooking oil. Or, if your very Aussie husband is cooking them while you’re preparing the rest of the meal, cook them up on the BBQ. We are coming into BBQ weather, after all.

To serve, pop your noodles in a bowl. Add the carrot and cucumber, then the pork patties. Sprinkle some fresh coriander and chives over the top, and spoon some sweet and sour chilli sauce over it, too (recipe below). How easy is that?! It’s also highly advisable to double the quantities so you can have the leftovers for lunch the day after!

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SWEET CHILLI SAUCE – if you’re keen and want to make your own (which I’d recommend, it’s actually really easy!):
– 3 tbsp lemon juice
– 3 tbsp fish sauce
– 1 tbsp caster sugar
– 2 tbsp cold water
– 1 small shallot, diced and crushed a little
– 1 small red chilli, sliced

To make your chilli sauce, just combine everything in a bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. To be perfectly honest, this is not a perfect science; the taste can easily vary depending on your lemon and type of fish sauce, so it is absolutely imperative that you taste it and just adjust accordingly! Once it’s all done, just set it aside – left over sauce also keeps really well in the fridge for a week or so in an air-proof container or jar.

Cook this: peanut butter oat slice (gluten free, lactose free & low FODMAPs!)

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You may have noticed, I’m doing some more special diet-friendly recipes at the moment. I’ve noticed that there’s not a lot out there if you do have certain intolerance, and the food that is out there isn’t always amazing. With my past as a personal trainer and degree in exercise science and nutrition, I actually really enjoy playing around with recipes to make them a little healthier and/or friendlier to sensitive tummies and what not. I’ve also been quite ill lately, and am trying to find out if there’s something my body perhaps can’t tolerate, like lactose or gluten or who-knows-what.

Anyway, as has been well documented, I am a nanna, I like tea, and I cannot have my tea without a slice of cake or a biscuit or even more cake with it. It cannot and should not be done. While I’m cutting out gluten and lactose and some other foods as per the low FODMAPs thing, I refuse to accept my only tea time treats as the crappy packaged “special” biscuits available at supermarkets. I’m not eating that stuff.

I adapted this recipe from a baked porridge recipe I came across and adjusted to perfection a few years ago – rather than making a baking dish full of baked porridge (which is amazing, by the way!), I decided to spread out the mixture over a larger, rectangular tray, so it would be a bit of a cake/slice/biscuit hybrid kind of thing.

 

You’ll need:
– 1½ cups oats (use wheat free to make it GF/low FODMAPs friendly!)
– 2 heaped tbsp brown sugar (if you prefer to go sugar free, you can use honey instead, 2 tbsp should do it!)
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 2 tbsp cacao nibs
– ½ cup mixed seeds (I used sunflower and pepitas)
– pinch of salt
– 1 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
– ¾ cup peanut butter (Mayvers, of course, my favourite!)
– splash of vanilla extract

And the super easy part:
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a tray with non stick baking paper.
2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
3. Add all the wet ingredients.
4. Mix them together until they’re completely combined.
5. Smooth the mixture out in the tray, put it in the oven, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes

That’s it. Just let it cool completely before slicing it up and chowing down.

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It came out exactly as I wanted – soft and crumbly, great flavours, still sweet without being overly sugary, and chock full of things that are actually good for you and provide nutrients, rather than the processed and genetically modified stuff you buy in a package. The other great thing is that you can (obviously) play around with the add ins and use what ever you want – nuts, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, whatever! Have fun making this one your own – would love to hear other combinations you guys have tried too!

Cook this: gluten & lactose free, low FODMAPs super easy microwave chocolate cake!

AND it doesn’t taste like crap!!! Who’d have thought?! Honestly, special dietary requirements can be a pain in the ass, but they don’t have to mean sacrifices in taste. I know those of you who are afflicted with conditions like gluten and lactose intolerance have probably heard it all before, but I swear this cake tastes really good!

But seriously, I found the original recipe on Secret Squirrel Food and thought I might give it a try – a few standard Jess modifications, and here’s what I came up with…

To make 4 of these mini bundles of chocolatey love:
– 2 tbsp almond or hazelnut meal
– 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour
– 1 tbsp cocoa or raw cacao powder (depending on your requirements)
– 1 tsp gluten free or regular baking powder
– 1 egg, whisked
– 2 tsp oil of choice (I used vegetable oil because it’s what I had at the time. I think any nut oil, like maybe coconut oil, would work well though)
– 2 tbsp maple syrup
– ¼ cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)

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Combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another.

Add the wet to the dry and mix well until totally combined.

Divide the mixture into 4 silicone cupcake cases.

Microwave for 2 – 3 minutes (microwave dependent – mine took 2½ minutes until they were firm on top and cooked through without being dry or rubbery).

Top with your choice of deliciousness – I like a bit of Mayvers crunchy peanut butter, cacao nibs and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt flakes.

Enjoy 🙂