Recipe of the Week: Slow Cooked Mediterranean Lamb

After my family, my slow cooker might be my next greatest love. I love the idea of throwing in a big old piece of meat with some herbs, spices and seasoning in the morning, and coming home to restaurant-worthy meat-in-the-mouth goodness. This slow cooked lamb flavoured with lemon and oregano is no exception…

Ingredients:
– 1 leg or shoulder of lamb
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 cloves garlic, crushed
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– Flaked salt and ground pepper
– 2 lemons
– extra-virgin olive oil

Method:
1. Pre-heat your slow cooker on Low
2. Pop lamb in slow cooker and pour in juice from one lemon and a drizzle of oil over the top.
3. Season lamb with oregano, salt and pepper and garlic.
4. Add enough water so liquid comes up 2-3cm around the sides
5. Leave lamb to cook for 8 hours on low, or 6 hours on high.
6. Turn the lamb over every hour until it falls apart

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, some salt and ground pepper.

TIP: Serve as a traditional roast with roast veggies, or pull the meat and serve in wraps or pitta bread with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, grated carrot, cheese, and greek yoghurt with cucumber. Also delicious served this way as left overs the next day!

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Recipe of the Week: BBQ Ribs

Slow cooked ribs are pure comfort food. Whilst time is required to cook them, this recipe can be prepared in minutes with simple ingredients. Pop them all in your slow cooker in the morning, and you’ll return home to the glorious aroma of slow-cooked meat.



Ingredients:
Spice Rub:
– 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
– 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
– 2 teaspoons of chilli (optional)
– Half a teaspoon of ground black pepper

BBQ Sauce:
– 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
– 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
– 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
– Half a cup of tomato sauce
– Half a cup of water

Method:
1. Combine dry spice ingredients and rub over the meat well. You can do this the night before and leave in fridge overnight for extra flavour.
2. Turn slow-cooker on low
3. Combine BBQ sauce ingredients on a bowl
4. Place meat in slow cooker and cover with sauce
5. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 6 hours.

TIPS:
– Serve with grilled vegetables and mash, or salad and chips.
– This rub and sauce also work well with pork shoulder roast. Pull the pork and serve with coleslaw in buns for the perfect pork sliders.

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Recipe of the Week: Zucchini Slice

School’s back for our household this week, so I’m on the look-out for easy, healthy recipes for school lunches and dinner.

We also have a glut of self-sown zucchinis that I’d like to make the most of, so the obvious choice is zucchini slice – a firm favourite in our household.

Similar to a quiche, this slice is made quicker and easier without having to worry about pastry – just mix all your ingredients together and you’re good to go!

Ingredients:
2 zucchini (grated)
2 (at least!) rashers bacon (chopped finely)
1 cup grated cheese (as mild or tasty as you like, depending on your dinners’ tastes)
1 cup self-raising flour
2 tablespoons of melted butter (or you can use oil if you prefer)
5 eggs
Salt and pepper for seasoning to taste

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 170°C and grease a baking tin. I like using spray oil and baking in my ceramic casserole dish.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the zucchini, bacon, flour and cheese. Add the melted butter and lightly beaten eggs, and combine all together.
Add salt and pepper to taste and pour into your baking dish.

3. Bake for at least 30 mins, or until golden and set. It will be easier to cut if you let it cool a little first.

TIPS:
– Add corn and grated carrot for an extra boost of veg for the kids.
– Add feta or blue cheese and finely sliced roasted capsicum for a gourmet version.
– Omit the bacon for a vego option
– I enjoy a slice of this for breakfast. Thanks to the eggs and bacon, this is a filling way to start the day.
– Serve with a side salad as a healthy lunch or dinner.

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Recipe of the Week: Dark Roasted Peanut Butter Pancakes

Pancakes are one of the ultimate weekend breakfast indulgences. They are also super versatile, as you can top them with whatever you like: fruit, or maple syrup and icecream for the kids! This delicious recipe makes pancakes accessible for everyone as it it gluten free, dairy free and vegan. 

Ingredients:
Serves: 2-3

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tbsp Mayvers dark roasted peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 ripe mashed banana
  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (for pan)



Method:
1. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the wet ingredients. Stir to combine.
2. Heat a pan over medium heat and add coconut oil, spoon batter in the pan, cook for 2 minutes either side.
3. Top with your favourite toppings

This recipe was provided by April’s Taste Tester Emerson McMaster from @emerson_cooks

More about Mayver’s:

Mayver’s creates the tastiest, healthiest 100% natural nut spreads that kids can’t get enough of. Available at Coles, Woolworths and health food stores. For recipe inspiration head to Mayvers Recipe Book.

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Mother’s Day Recipe: San Telmo Rudderfish Ceviche

San Telmo is an Argentinian fine dining institution based in Melbourne, and its Rudderfish Ceviche is a crowd-pleaser. Lemon cured rudderfish is the key ingredient in this recipe, prepared with chilli, sweet potato and onion. The dish is easy to prepare and plate at home – perfect for those who would like to prepare a fabulous lunch for their mum’s for Mother’s Day.

Ingredients:
Serves five


Juice
– 1/2 tsp table salt
– 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
– 1 tsp grated ginger
– 250ml lemon juice

Ceviche
– 20 leaves coriander or micro coriander leaves
– 10ml extra virgin olive oil
– 25g red chilli finely sliced
– 300g Rudderfish or any white fish
– 100g sweet potato peeled and cut into tiny cubes.


Method:
1. Place the salt and thinly sliced onion in a bowl and mix
2. Leave to rest for 10 minutes then add grated ginger and lemon juice and
refrigerate overnight.
3. The next day, strain the juice from onion and store both separately for use
when plating up. The onion should look vibrantly pink
4. In a pot, boil or steam the cubed sweet potato for about four to five minutes
or until cooked through and allow to cool completely
5. Slice the Rudderfish into thin pieces, no thicker than 5mm

Plating up:
6. Place the sliced fish down on a plate (something with a small lip to ensure
the liquid won’t spill) followed by the chilli and sweet potato then top with
the remaining ceviche juice
7. The fish will begin to cure and turn opaque. Garnish with the marinated
pink onions and fresh coriander
8. Finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

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Mother’s Day Recipe: Berry Nice Waffles

Who doesn’t love breaky in bed? Indulge mum with a sensational breakfast-in-bed with these delicious berry waffles. Aimee Clark, food and cooking coach from Primal Influence has shared this favourite waffle recipe with us, and explains: “This is a recipe I came up with when I was gifted a waffle maker and wanted to put my favourite healthy cooking ingredient to the test… green banana flour! Which is now available in supermarkets so it’s easy for the kids to source and use in this recipe to treat mum on this special occasion.

Berry Nice Waffles that are free from grains, gluten, dairy, refined sugars, legumes but full of flavour and deliciousness
 – so everyone can enjoy them!

Ingredients:

  • 3 pastured eggs, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup pure coconut milk
  • 5 tbsp coconut oil, liquefied
  • 2 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups green banana flour 
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp each baking powder and bicarb soda (look for aluminium/gluten/rice-free)
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen and thawed organic berries of choice
  • Smidge of extra oil for the waffle maker

Optional: extra honey, berries and coconut milk to pour over before serving, slices of banana to garnish, maple syrup to drizzle on, desiccated coconut, thick coconut cream, paleo ice cream to top with…the options are endless!

Kitchen Gadgets:

  • Waffle maker
  • Silicon spatula or tongs
  • Mixing bowl and spoon

Method:
1. Follow waffle maker instructions to heat up the plates 
2. Whisk eggs, coconut milk, apple cider vinegar, oil and honey together to form a runny mixture
3. In a separate bowl combine all dry ingredients and blueberries then pour the egg mixture in and stir well
4. Place some mixture onto the waffle iron to make the size you like (you may want to make mini waffles by placing a small amount of batter in the centre, or spread the batter evenly across to make full-size waffles)
5. Cook waffles as per the instruction booklet for your maker, remove each waffle once cooked through and starting to become golden brown with some crisp edges
6. Serve and enjoy!

Aimee Clark is Food + Cooking Coach for Primal Influence


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Mother’s Day Recipe: The Perfect Lamb Shoulder Recipe by Vintaged Bar + Grill’s Head Chef, Matthew Wood

Roast lamb is a staple Sunday meal that many people would be familiar with. This version is a tender and fragrant preparation that is best accompanied by something fresh, acidic, and vibrant. 

A classic Greek salad would be ideal, but so would some steamed green beans and baby chat potatoes with lemon and olive oil, so it really is up to you. 

Whole spices are the preference here and everywhere. They keep much longer, so they are less likely to have gone completely stale since the last time you used them. Plus cracked whole spices work particularly well on roast meats, think of the crust on a good pastrami. No need to pre-toast them though, the oven will do that work. 

Cooking time including preparation is roughly seven hours so get started before lunch. 



Roast Lamb Shoulder Serves 4 – 5 

• 1 ½ tablespoons whole coriander seeds 
• 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds 
• 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns 
• 1 tablespoon fine sea salt 
• ½ teaspoon paprika 
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
• ½ teaspoon dried thyme 
• 2 tablespoons olive oil 
• 1 whole bone in lamb shoulder 
• 1 whole head of garlic 
• 2 whole onions 
• 2 bay leaves 
• 3 tablespoon olive oil
• 750ml chicken stock 
• ¼ lemon 

1. Take the lamb out of the fridge at least an hour before you’re going to cook it and score the flesh lightly with a knife by making shallow cuts across the top of the meat, two or three millimetres deep. 

2. To make the spice rub, we need to first crack the whole spices. A mortar and pestle is perfect for this but failing that you can use a high speed blender. Just be sure not to leave it running, instead pulse it on and off until the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and peppercorns are roughly crushed in three quarter sized pieces. 

3. Once you have cracked the whole spices, put them into a small bowl and mix in the salt, paprika, oregano, thyme, and olive oil. Rub this mixture all over the lamb shoulder and set aside at room temperature for one hour to marinate. While you’re waiting, preheat the oven to 220°C. 

4. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a deep heavy roasting pan. Cut the two onions in half through the root so that they stay together, remove the skins, and place the four halves cut side down in the roasting pan. Cut the garlic head in half through the middle to expose the cloves and place it cut side down in the pan and group the onions and garlic together to form a platform in the middle of the pan. 

5. Sit the seasoned lamb shoulder on top of the onion-garlic plinth and roast in the oven for thirty minutes. 

6. Take the lamb out of the oven and turn the temperature down to 150°C. 

7. Add the bay leaves and chicken stock to the roasting pan, and then cover the whole thing with a lid of aluminium foil pinched down at the edges to stay attached to the pan. This will keep the shoulder of lamb moist but allow some of the steam to escape so it doesn’t sweat too much. 

8. Place the pan back in the oven for five hours, checking halfway through and toping up with a bit more stock or water if the pan appears dry. 

9. When the time is up, remove the pan from the oven and transfer the lamb to a serving platter. Remove the onions and garlic from the pan and strain the remaining liquid through a sieve into a bowl. 

10. Squeeze the head of garlic gently to remove a few cloves and discard the skin. Place these cloves on a chopping board with the onion halves and roughly chop into a coarse paste. Stir the onion mix through the strained pan juices with a small squeeze of lemon juice to make your sauce. 

11. Serve the lamb in the middle of the table with a small bowl of the onion gravy and the salad or vegetables on the side.

Since becoming a chef, Matt has worked in some top-flight kitchens including stints at ARIA and Stokehouse Q. Now Matt has taken on the role of executive chef at Hilton Brisbane, which includes overseeing the menu at Vintaged Bar + Grill

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8 Easy Swaps to Make Your Meals Healthy

Can’t give up some bad habits? Do you love a sneaky soft drink or do you get the tub of ice-cream out for just two (six) scoops? Well, what if you could still enjoy them? You just have to be a little inventive and make some small changes.

Have you ever tried frozen banana in the blender? Well, it is a game changer, tastes exactly like ice-cream! You’re going to learn to make some simple changes that will have you eating healthy in no time.

1. Totally Tasty Pudding
Chocolate pudding is great for when you want something decadent and sweet for dessert. Usually, this milk-based chocolate treat can get you into some calorie trouble.

Try cutting out some of the calories by using an avocado base instead of cream. Yes, that’s right, you can make your pudding with avocados. You want to blend some cacao powder, non-dairy milk, avocado, and sweetener in your heavy-duty blender. Let the mixture chill in your fridge for a few hours. The result is creamy chocolate which is also really good for you.

Try using an avocado base (instead of cream) for your choc pudding

2. Make Your Own Chocolate Bars
If you find you a get a hankering for chocolate, try making it yourself. There is a huge difference between cocoa and cacao, so just by making the conscious decision to understand what is in your food, will significantly improve your health.

Cacao powder is packed with nutrients and tastes just as yummy as cocoa. We love making our own truffles, it only takes a few simple ingredients such as coconut oil, cacao powder and sea salt.

3. Can’t Give Up Mac and Cheese?
Processed pasta is not a good thing to eat on a regular basis. Get rid of boxed mac and cheese and make some at home. You can make a velvety cheese-based sauce with added butternut squash. This sweet taste on mac and cheese is sure to be satisfying.

Take it a step further and replace your high carb noodles with a plant-based pasta made out of chickpeas or legumes. The texture may be a little grainier than regular pasta but it tastes almost the same.  

4. Get Your Snacks in Order!
Processed snacks might be convenient but you need to think outside the wrapper! With a little planning and prep, you can have all the snacks you need. Looking for something sweet? Create little packs of dates, almonds and coconut shavings. Like your savoury snacks try making your own bacon jerky or sundried tomato, feta & green onion muffins.


5. Sweet Dreams Are Made of Cheese
Whether it is salty, creamy, stinky or sharp we all have our favourite cheese. A pastime we couldn’t dream of giving up!

Have you ever made a cake and thought twice about having a third piece when you remember the two cups of sugar in it as well as the stick of butter! Well what if you could make your own cheese, then you will know how milk, cream and salt your consuming!

Start off with something easy like ricotta, all need is some milk, salt and a cheese bag (can’t find one, just make you own). You will be eating a delicious combination like blueberries and ricotta on sourdough or spinach and ricotta ravioli in no time!

Make your own delicious cheese



6. Homemade Muesli
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so start it off the right way.

Instead of kicking off the day with a bowl full of commercial cereal, which is sure to be filled with processed sugars and other preservatives, try having a bowl of homemade muesli as a healthy alternative!

Treat your body and taste buds the right way, by adding in your favourite fruits into your healthy homemade bowl of muesli!

Make your own muesli to reduce processed sugar

7. Use Steam Instead
Cooking veggies and fish by steaming them is a super healthy alternative. You retain all of their natural yummy flavours, whilst cooking them to perfection. By steaming your food, you’re adding no extra calories to your meal, making your favourite (usually unhealthy) meals, much healthier. You can top fish with flavourings like lemon and chilli and use the steam to infuse the flavours into your food.

8. DIY Pizza
You have two good options when it comes to pizza. You can make a pizza bread crust with cauliflower, but if is the classic pizza dough is that you crave? Then why not make it from scratch and just switch out what’s on top of the pizza?

So how do you get started? Have your homemade pizza dough ready – spread it out on a baking pan that has been properly floured – brush the pizza dough with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle on your veggies as well as a moderate amount of your favourite cheese. (If you’re feeling a little fancy, feel free to mix some black pepper, garlic powder and some of your favourite spices in with your veggies beforehand!)



9. Healthy Fried Rice, That Still Tastes like Rice
Rice can be good in moderation, however, if you find that when you cook it there is enough for the whole village (and you managed it eat it all) it might be time to find an alternative.

All you need to do is roughly chop your cauliflower and throw in a food processor for a minute. You will find that the texture is very similar to rice. Use this ‘faux’ rice can be used in any dish where you would have normally used white rice and it tastes just the same. One of our favourites is cauliflower fried rice, the family didn’t even blink an eyelid when I served this one up!

Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Rather than denying yourself or overindulging just a few tweaks here and there won’t have you missing out on anything. Turn these ideas and behaviours into habits to ensure you lead the healthiest lifestyle possible (while still enjoying it)!

Brittnay Sharman has a BA in Health Science and her passion lies in creating a healthy lifestyle for her family

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CHRISTMAS RECIPE: Homemade Eggnog

We recently bought some Eggnog from the supermarket and the kids absolutely LOVE it. I dilute it with milk (it’s quite high in sugar) and add an ice-cube for the perfect after-school refreshment. Whilst supermarket Eggnog is tasty and convenient, it’s pretty easy to make your own (and reduce the sugar). Here is one tasty recipe I found: https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com/homemade-eggnog/
My husband also has some Butterscotch Schnapps I would love to try with this…


Lunchbox Ideas: Choc Chip Cookie Monster Recipe

It’s the first week back at school after the holidays. If you were scrambling for things to put in your child’s lunchbox this morning, try Ocea Marie’s healthy cookie recipe…

“I would buy so many cookies from the bakery section at the supermarket. It was ridiculous! As our eating habits changed and we developed a healthier relationship with food, finding cookies that weren’t filled with nasties became a challenge. So I took to the kitchen and after much ‘toddler testing’ here is what I call the ‘Choc Chip Cookie Monster Recipe’. It’s a perfect guilt-free treat to satisfy a craving and fits neatly in a lunchbox!” – Ocea Marie


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Almond Meal
  • 1 cup Oats
  • ¼ cup Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsps Pure Maple Syrup
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 150g Chocolate Chips


Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C 
2. Blitz the oats until they have ’flour’ like texture.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond meal, oats, salt, and baking powder, then add the coconut oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Mix well until all the ingredients are wet.
Fold in the chocolate chips. 
4. Using a rounded tablespoon, scoop up the batter and then roll into balls, drop the cookie batter onto a baking pan lined with baking paper.
5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown. 
6. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking pan. You can eat them while they are warm, be mindful that the melted chocolate chips are hot! I actually prefer the taste and texture once they are at room temperature.

TIP: Double the batch and freeze the extras, this is always my intention but never happens.

Ocea Marie is a Wife, Mumma, Nonna, entrepreneur, writer and eternal optimist dedicated to helping you live, love and create a little more abundance every day. Learn more at www.oceamarie.com

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