Choko Pikelets (apple pie style!)

Choko pikekets (apple pie style!)

Choko pikekets (apple pie style!)

I posted earlier about why choko are awesome and such a versatile vegetable; as well as being nutritious they are also cheap, easy to grow,  and low in natural food chemicals (amines, salicylates, glutamates) which makes it suitable for sensitive guts, and those following a RPAH Failsafe diet (often useful for allergy sufferers).

It easily takes the place of fruits like apple or pear which means it’s a great way of adding a vegetable into your baking! Miss 2 loved these apple pie style Choko Pikelets and kept asking for more!

I’ve kept the spices mild but you can definitely play around with them to suit your palate! Try increasing the cinnamon to 1 tsp, or adding 1/2 tsp ground ginger, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of ground cloves, or a combination of these!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup + 1 Tbsp brown sugar, or, 1/4 cup white sugar.
  • 1/2 cup grated fresh choko
    • Just like grating potatoes, a lot of water comes out. Pat the grated choko dry before use.
  • 3/4 cup milk (can use almond or rice milk)

Note: Other names for choko include – chayote, sayote, labu siam, seemai kathrikai, Buddha’s Hand Melon, lóng xü.cài, ishkus, इस्कुस, স্কোয়াশ, Bangalore brinjal, chou chou, pipinola.

Tip: Although the recipe is gluten based, you can easily use Nana’s Yummy Gluten Free Pikelets and just add the choko + spices.

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

Directions

  1. Whisk the egg and 1/2 cup milk until frothy.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients.
  3. Stir in the choko. Then mix in the frothy egg + milk mixture.
  4. Slowly mix in the additional 1/4 cup milk until you have a smooth consistency.
  5. Allow mixture to stand for a few minutes.
  6. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Wait until it is hot and then brush with butter or allergy-free spread (like Nuttelex).
  7. Drop level tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and cook for half a minute or until bubbles appear on the surface.
  8. Turn over and cook other side for 1 minute until golden.
  9. Allow to cool and serve with butter / spread and honey or jam.

Hearty Chicken Pumpkin Soup

Hearty pumpkin chicken soup.jpg

Hearty pumpkin chicken soup

 

This meal is wonderfully tasty, economical, and saves on time because you’re able to use the same equipment you’ve been using anyway to make the rotisserie style chicken.

Tip: You can also use the leftover chicken to make yummy gluten-free chicken nuggets.

Ingredients

  • Broth from rotisserie style chicken
  • Onion (from the rotisserie style chicken)
  • 1/2 Pumpkin
    • You can use a small whole pumpkin if you want; this soup is a good way to use a half pumpkin if you’ve just roasted the other half as part of the roast chicken meal.
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Zuchini
  • Any other vegetables that you have leftover from making the roast.
  • 400g tin of brown lentils (drained & rinsed)
  • Coconut milk or coconut cream
    • You can also try with cream, rice milk, or almond milk depending on what your household drinks. I personally like coconut milk as it has a naturally sweet and creamy taste.

 

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

 

Pumpkin.jpg

For sizing, I used half of this pumpkin.

 

Directions

  1. Finely chop the vegetables. This includes the whole onion that was inside the chicken while it was slow cooking!
  2. Once you’ve finished making your roast chicken meal (including the slow cooked corn on the cob if you’re making that), pop the veggies and lentils into the slow cooker. The chicken broth is all fresh and natural, not to mention already beautifully flavoured from the dry rub used on the chicken.
  3. Cook for an hour on High in the slow cooker. Check the flavouring and adjust seasoning if you wish. Add coconut milk until it’s achieved the level of creaminess that you prefer.
  4. Cook for another hour on High.
  5. You can leave the soup with a chunky texture if you want or blend (i.e. with a stick blender or in a food processor).

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.

Quick & Easy Breaded Kumara Fries (Gluten Free!)

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries.jpg

Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries

 

Ingredients

  • 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.

Directions

  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!)

 

Ingredients

  • 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.

Directions

  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!)

How to make quick & easy fried gnocchi (a.k.a. rapid roastini)

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Pan fried quick & easy gnocchi – so much yum!

So I was trying to make gnocchi for the first time this afternoon and decided to make a mini batch that excluded egg. I could tell (from the many blogs / tips & tricks / recipes that I’d read prior) that this batch would not make good gnocchi. It was much denser then the first batch that I’d made. On the other hand, being a frugal mumma means experimenting in the kitchen so I proceeded to roll it out and make little gnocchi. I was pretty sure that they were just the right texture to pan fry and they turned out as a delicious gluten-free snack that Miss 2 thought was delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1/2c potato flakes
  • 1 tsp parmesan powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp smoked garlic salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4c boiling water
  • 1/4c plain flour

Note: This makes a snack for one adult (to share between adult & toddler) just multiple the ingredients by the number of serves you want to make.

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

Directions

  1. Put the potato flakes, parmesan, garlic salt, and onion powder in a bowl. Add approx. 1/4c boiling water and stir.
  2. Add flour and stir / knead to combine into a thick dough. The mixture should be smooth, thick, and not sticky. Don’t over knead.
  3. Roll mixture into 2 balls (or more depending on if you’ve doubled / tripled the recipe etc.).
  4. Using a floured bench, roll each ball out into thumb width ‘wriggly worms’ (as Miss 2 deems them).
  5. Chop them into 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.
  6. If you have a gnocchi board then you can use that to do the ridges. I don’t and used the alternative method which is to press and roll them off a fork and indent the back with your thumb.
  7. Heat a frying pan and cover the bottom in a thin layer of oil (I use rice bran). Once the oil is hot drop in the gnocchi.
  8. It only takes 1-2 mins to fry them on each side (you can turn using silicon tongs or a spatula).
  9. Place them on a paper towel and lightly pat off the oil.
  10. Serve with chili mayo or your choice of dips.

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Companion planting in the garden

companion-planting

Growing vegetables can not only be cost effective but it’s also a great way to involve kids in garden-to-table cooking. They can feel a real sense of accomplishment in growing and cooking something. My toddler (like so many others) goes through odd phases with vegetables. Sometimes the only vegetable she’ll reliably eat is dried seaweed, or peas and corn, or one month it was cucumber and another it was broccoli.

She does, however, have a distinct interest in eating anything she can pick from the garden herself – strawberries, sun-warmed tomatoes, sorrel, peas-in-a-pod, harvesting baby potatoes. We only a small raised square bed but I try to always have something in there (with some plants being more successful than others).

Companion planting is a great way of making the best use of your space and working out what plants are happiest co-habitating. I can only assume that tomatoes and potatoes are not happy flatting together – not only because of this eye-catching infographic but because my potatoes flourished below-ground while the tomato plants dies above-ground.

Potato Latkes

latkes

Potato Latkes

Ingredients

  • Potatoes
    • I use around 450g per batch.
  • 1 small red sweet onion, finely diced.
    • I have used brown onion as well for more of a hashbrown flavour.
  • 2 eggs, beaten.
  • 3T flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste.
  • Oil (or butter) for frying.
  • Toppings: sour cream & apple sauce.

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

Directions:

  1. Grate the potato.
    • A food processor is great for this! I have also hand grated. In some countries you can buy bags of frozen pre-shredded potato.
    • Note: if using a food processor for the potato then you can also use it for the onion but remove the potato first.
  2. Squeeze the potato with your hands to remove excess moisture and then pat dry.
  3. Put the potato in a mixing bowl and add onion, eggs, seasonings, and flour. Mixture should be thick and cohesive.
  4. Heat and oil a frying pan and fry batches of potato mix (I use about 2T for each patty).
  5. Fry for several minutes on each side.
  6. Drain on paper towels and serve immediately or keep warm in the oven on an oven tray lined with baking paper.
    • If you want to wait and have everyone eat together then you can brown each side of the latkes on a higher temperature, cook for a slightly shorter time, and then finish them all off in the oven for 5-10 mins.

Smashed avocado (easy avocado dip)


This is an easy dip to make that is great to eat outside in the garden paired with home made crackers.

Ingredients

  • 1 large avocado
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1T lemon juice
  • Salt to taste

Note: This is an easy recipe to scale to the number of people you’re serving. If you’re using a small avocado then change the olive oil & lemon juice from a Tablespoon (15ml) to a dessert spoon (10ml).

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

Directions

  1. Scoop out the avocado with a spoon.
  2. Smash up with a fork.
  3. Mix in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.

 

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