Tender and delicious Italian American meatballs in tomato passata

Gluten Free Italian American Meatballs in Pasta Sauce

Gluten Free Italian American Meatballs in Pasta Sauce

I haven’t made meatballs in the past; for some reason I thought they would be really tricky to make. I found these to be super easy and have now made them both in passata and oven baked. The two cooking styles create different textures – if you cook in passata they will have a softer, moister mouthfeel whereas oven baked meatballs will be drier and denser (good to dip in an accompanying sauce). Both ways are great!

This recipe will make a big batch of meatballs so feel free to halve it if desired (or to cook half in passata and half in the oven to enjoy both styles!)



  • 150g breadcrumbs / gluten-free breadcrumbs / cooked quinoa
  • 3/4c milk / almond or rice milk
  • 600g beef mince (ground beef)
  • 1 small finely chopped onion
  • Optional: 1/2c parmesan cheese (powder or finely grated)
  • 1T ground chia seeds
  • Salt & pepper
  • Parsley (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Chives (dried or finely chopped fresh)
  • Garlic (dried granules or crushed fresh garlic)

Tomato Passata

  • 2x 700g jar tomato passata
  • Fresh basil (finely chopped)
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Allergies: gluten free*, dairy free*, egg free, soy free, nut free.


  1. Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk until the liquid has been absorbed.
    • If you’re using cooked quinoa instead: put the quinoa in the mixing bowl for the next step and add the milk after the other ingredients are roughly combined (you may not need to add all the milk).
    • You can do Steps 2 & 3 while the breadcrumbs are soaking. The pasta sauce will then simmer while you carry on making the meatballs.
  2. In a large pot (or electric wok), mix the tomato passata, basil, sugar, salt, pepper to your taste.
  3. Bring the sauce to a boil over a medium heat and then reduce to simmer.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients (including the soaked breadcrumbs). Mix until combined. The mixture will be a little sticky but should be thick and not overly wet.
  5. Lightly oil your hands and roll meatballs; I like to do lots of small ones (approx. 2T of meat mix). You can sit the rolled meatballs on a sheet of baking paper or a lightly oiled plate until you’re ready to cook them.
  6. Add the meatballs to the simmering sauce.
  7. Give a gentle stir after 5 minutes. Cover and simmer for another 35 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  9. Serve with spaghetti, gluten-free pasta, or rice noodles.


Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

Pan fried fish, coconut rice, seared mango, and stir fried green beans

This is the best coconut rice I’ve made and it turns out the secret was unrefined raw coconut sugar. I cooked basmati rice (in the rice cooker) with 200ml coconut milk + water, approx. 1T coconut sugar, and salt. This gave the rice a beautiful light brown colour and a lightly sweet coconut taste that paired well with the chilli.

I stir fried the fresh green runner beans in rice bran oil, garlic, and chilli. The slices of firm mango were next (picking up the rest of the chilli), followed by the ruby (fish) fillets.

Miss 2 loved this dish so much that she asked for more rice and ate it all up! An easy and tasty gluten free dish!

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free.

Yummy things to make with feijoas!


It’s feijoa season which means it’s time to indulge in fresh fruit, smoothies, and baking! Why not try some new recipes:


Tip: Instead of cutting the feijoas in half and scooping out the middle, try this method to maximize the amount of flesh that you’re getting. It ends up being much quicker when you’re trying to get lots of feijoa!

  1. Top & tail the feijoa.
  2. Stand it on it’s end and with a sharp knife cut away vertical strips of peel. It doesn’t have to be completely perfect as the peel is edible.
  3. Cut in half (or into sections) to serve to toddlers or for blending.


Fruit Crumble (allergy free!)

Gluten free fruit crumble

Gluten free fruit crumble

Looking for something easy to make for the family over Easter? Why not try old fashioned fruit crumble? Warm, delicious, comforting, and the leftovers also make a great breakfast. This recipe is a bit of a twist on an old classic as it is free of gluten and other key allergens.


  • 3-4c stewed fruit
  • Brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Ginger
  • Allspice


  • 1c rolled oats
  • 1c superfine rice flour / plain all purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp guar gum or xanthan gum if using gluten free rice flour.
  • 1/2c cornmeal (polenta)
  • 150g Nuttelex (allergy free vegan spread) / margarine / butter
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3-4T honey, or brown sugar, or maple syrup.


  • 1/2c finely grated carrots
  • 1/4c almond slivers
  • 1T ground linseed
  • 1T chia seeds

All extra ingredients that I would like to try in the topping! (Though I don’t think I’d add all at once).

Allergies: dairy free, soy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.

Stewed Fruit

Some fruit does need to be stewed before being used in the crumble; these are mainly harder fruits like apples. You can chop apples up finely, add a little water, and cook them quite quickly using a microwave steamer.

If you have a food processor then it’s easy to blend fruit before putting it in the crumble dish. You’ll still need to stew fruit like apple but the food processor will help get them smooth. You can also put tinned fruits straight into the food processor and soft fresh fruits like feijoas.

Fruit crumbles are a great way to use up leftover fruit (like those apples that your toddler took ONE bite out of). For this crumble I used: 1 1/2 apples, a handful of sultanas, most of a 400g tin of apricots in juice, and a big bunch of fresh feijoas.

Serve with

Depending on allergies and budget, this is delicious hot and cold.  You could serve it with things like:

  • Whipped cream
  • Custard (can be made with almond milk)
  • Berry yoghurt
  • Ice cream (can use coconut yoghurt)



  1. Prepare fruit. Cook and stew the fruit if required; consider blending the fruit in a food processor.
  2. Pour the fruit into a cooking bowl (i.e. a Pyrex cooking dish or a silicon cake tin).
  3. Mix in sugar and spices. Remember that it’s easy to add more but you can’t take any out! I suggest starting with 1T brown sugar and a pinch of each of the spices. Keep adding until it is to your liking. Keep in mind that sweet fruits (like strawberries) may need some lemon juice to balance the flavour whereas acidic fruits (like feijoas) may need more sugar. There is also some sweetness being added to the topping so the fruit doesn’t need to be overly sweet.
  4. Mix all of the topping ingredients together. (I used the food processor again!). It should turn into a malleable topping that you can roll into balls in your hands and then squish and place over the fruit.
  5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 190’C for approx. 25 mins.

Making 3 meals out of one roast chicken


I  love this rotisserie style chicken recipe and that there’s the option to either simply slow-cook it (for a soft skin, beautifully flavoured, almost Hainanese style result) or to follow up the slow-cooker by placing the chicken under the grill to crisp up the skin.

The other wonderful thing about cooking the chicken in the slow cooker is that the chicken juices + the dry rub marinade create a beautiful chicken broth that you can then use to create yummy slow cooked corn on the cob to go with the roast. You can put whole carrots in the broth to cook as well (as opposed to roasting them with the other root vegetables).

That chicken broth can then stay in the slow cooker to form the basis of Meal #2 Hearty Chicken Pumpkin Soup. You can create a hearty pumpkin soup using more of the vegetables that you stocked up on to make the roast meal. The soup can largely vegetable based or you can include shredded chicken from the roast.

More of that roast chicken can be used to make Meal #3 Breaded Chicken Nuggets (gluten free). The same breading mix can also be used to fry up vegetables to accompany, like Kumara Fries or Zucchini Chips.

Creamy coconut pumpkin curry (dairy free!)

Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl.jpg

Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl

This delicious Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl is creamy, sweet, and lightly spiced. It’s a wonderful balance of flavours, it’s cheap, it’s filling, it’s nutritional, and it’s easy to make. I’ve used a slow cooker for this recipie as it means you can prepare the vegetables ahead of time if you want and then just throw everything in so you can be occupied with other things while it’s cooking. It’s also wonderfully allergy friendly!


  • 60ml neutral oil (I like rice bran oil)
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/2 chopped pumpkin (flesh only, skin & seeds removed)
  • 2 potatoes, diced.
  • 200g yellow split peas (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1/2c sultanas
  • 3T curry powder
  • 400g can coconut cream

You can substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash or kumara if desired.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.


For sizing, I used half of this pumpkin.


  1. Put everything in the slow cooker and mix.
    • I suggest putting in half the can of coconut cream to begin with. You can then decide part-way through cooking if you want to add the other half. It will take longer for the full can to be fully absorbed but it does give a wonderful creamy flavour.
  2. Cook on high for 2-4 hours.
    • I added the second half of the coconut milk after two hours and switched it to warm after four hours.
  3. Eat on it’s own, with flatbread, or with rice. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Easy Butterscotch Pudding (Gluten free!)

Easy butterscotch pudding.jpg

Easy butterscotch pudding



  • 1c fine white rice flour / 1c plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum) / *not needed if using gluten containing flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2c sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4c neutral oil (I used rice bran oil) / 60g margarine (i.e. Nuttelex) / 60g butter
  • 1/2c water / milk of choice (i.e. almond milk)
  • egg replacement i.e. 1T ground linseed + 3T warm water / 1 egg, whisked


  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 1c boiling water

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free.

NOTE: This is a delicious and easy self-saucing pudding that can be made free of all major allergens. I’ve included options so that you can tailor it to your needs; i.e. I made my batch gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and included the egg. You can also tailor the sugar to meet your sweet tooth; i.e. you can use less sugar in the sponge (and just have the sweet sauce), or make less sauce, or dissolve maple syrup in boiling water for the sauce.

I was thrilled when Mum sent this to me – gluten free and doesn’t require mixing several types of flour together! It’s also versatile; you could add cooking cocoa to the sponge and sauce to make this a chocolate pudding, or serve with spiced stewed apple, or with warm custard etc.

Mum mixed and cooked hers in a Pyrex dish; I cooked mine in five ceramic ramekins. It occurs to me that this would be a great gluten free option to serve at kids parties (especially winter birthdays!). It’s easy to make individual serves (if you don’t have enough ramekins consider using the large silicon muffin trays) and then kids could add to them with with things like custard, sliced fruit, fruit sauces, ice-cream, marshmellows, lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut spread etc.


  1. Mix all the ingredients together.
    • Choose whether you want to cook this in a single dish (i.e. Pyrex bowl) or individual serves; if the first option, you can mix it up in the dish it will be cooked in.
  2. Pour into cooking dish or ramekins.
  3. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top. Slowly pour on boiling water (you may want to pour over the back of a spoon to help disperse it more gently).
  4. Cook in pre-heated oven at 180’C. Takes approx. 25 mins in ramekins or 35-40 mins in pudding bowl.

Quick & Easy Breaded Kumara Fries (Gluten Free!)

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries.jpg

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries



  • All purpose Gluten Free Breading mix
    • Remember this stores in the fridge for several months! Alternatively, you can halve all the ingredients if you’d prefer to make up a smaller amount.
  • Kumara (sweet potato)
  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Neutral oil.
    • I like rice bran oil personally and it has the advantage of a high smoke point.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free*, nut free.


  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Slice up the kumara into fries.
  4. Dip each piece of kumara into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix.
  5. Cook in batches in a neutral oil until golden and crisp. This took about 8-10 mins.
    • Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep fryer; I did a shallow/medium fry in the electric wok! Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking. Generally this will take about 20-25 mins.


Quick & easy Breaded Zucchini Chips (Gluten free!)

Quick & easy Breaded Zucchini Fries (Gluten free!).jpg

Quick & easy Breaded Zucchini Fries (Gluten free!)



  • Zucchini
  • All purpose Gluten Free Breading mix
    • Remember this stores in the fridge for several months! Alternatively, you can halve all the ingredients if you’d prefer to make up a smaller amount.
  • Optional: Parmesan powder.
  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.


  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Slice up the zucchini. Up to you whether you choose rectangles (fries) or circle (chips).
  4. Dip each piece of zucchini into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix. Place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking. Generally this will take about 20-25 mins.

Handy tip: You can cook these in the oven at the same time as other parts of the meal (like the sausages and potato hashbrowns in the photo above!)

Sweet cornbread muffins


Cornbread muffin

So I’m starting to experiment with other grains as part of our journey to reduce (or eliminate) gluten, dairy, and egg from our diet (as well as needing to be 100% soy free). I picked up some cornmeal really cheaply and went looking online for what I could make up. I’d vaguely heard about cornbread in reference to America and that seemed a good place to start. From what I could gather, after looking at about eight different recipes, cornbread tends to be sweeter in the North and more savoury (and maybe a bit drier) in the South. Its often made with buttermilk which was a problem for me as (a) it’s expensive, and (b) I wanted to make these dairy free.  I finally found a Northern recipe for sweet cornbread that looked suitable to adapt and make in muffin trays.

Note: I only wanted to make a small batch so this makes 5-6 muffins, double the recipe to make more.

Ingredients (Dairy or Dairy Free)

  • 1/2c yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2c plain flour
  • 1/2T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T Brown sugar
  • 2T liquid honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3c milk*
    • I used coconut milk.
  • 1/4c butter*
    • I used rice bran oil.

These turned out beautifully; they were quite sweet with 2T brown sugar & 2T liquid honey. I wouldn’t have known they were dairy free. They were light, fluffy, and delicious warm & cold. Made 5 muffins.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Ingredients (Dairy Free & Egg Free)

  • 3/4c yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4c plain flour
  • 1/2T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T liquid honey
  • 1T ground linseed soaked in 3T warm water
  • 1/2c – 3/4c coconut milk.
  • 1/4c rice bran oil.

With this batch I was aiming to increase the size of the mix, replace the egg and reduce the sugar. I find, in general, that linseed works well as an egg replacer but you may need a little more liquid. These still turned out well although not quite as fluffy as the first batch. Makes 6 muffins.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.


  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix till combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Put mixture into muffin trays. Bake at 180’C for 15-20 mins until golden brown.