Archive for October, 2011

Sumptuous Thai-style steak marinade

October 26, 2011

Want to know a simple trick to elevate your humble hunk of steak to stellar heights? Fish sauce, along with fresh garlic and ginger, is an easy way to add an umami depth of flavour to your next steak dish – whether a straightforward meal of steak and veggies or perhaps a beef salad. Once you try a simple marinade like this, you may never go back to plain, undressed steak again.

Some other marinades I’m keen to try soon are the coffee marinade from The Food Lovers Primal Palate and similarly, their chimichurri marinade. Fun times.

Fish sauce steak marinade

  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger root, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce

Marinade for 3-6 hours in the fridge before cooking. Ensure meat is brought to room temperature before cooking. For an even better taste, consider using a cast iron grill or the great Aussie barbie.

* Enough for 4 medium size steaks

Marinated steak

Marinated steak with steamed and grilled veggies


Paleo rock cakes

October 20, 2011

Who remembers rock cakes from their childhood? Anyone, anyone? My nana used to make them every time we went up to visit her on the Central Coast of NSW every month or so. They’re a little like scones, but with the texture and look of rough rocks. Only thing is, they don’t make for good pets unlike other rocks. I used to love them as a kid, but now I think back to it, the wheat flour used to leave a nasty aftertaste in my mouth which I’m not too keen on repeating these days, especially since I know wheat flour isn’t a requirement for straightforward and delicious baking adventures.

I used an Elana Amsterdam recipe, tweaking it a little and trying to get the shapes as rock-like as possible…I failed a little in that they weren’t jagged enough – they turned out more like rocks smoothed by the action water. I even made a special batch just for my Dad with some icky fake cherries in them just to cater to his desire to return to the era when his Mum would make these treats for him.

These make for a great treat to take out for a picnic or just for a snack on the go. You can also adapt them and include any ingredients you wish. Of course, that is if you can resist eating all them as soon as they come out of the oven!


  • 2 cups almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup dried peaches, cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pecans or hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
  • 1 tablespoon rice or maple syrup


  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and soda
  2. Stir in dried fruit, seeds and nuts
  3. In a small bowl combine egg/s and syrup
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  5. Use your hands to form dough
  6. Shape dough into 3 x 3cm rough rock shapes  and about 2cm thick
  7. Cut dough into 16 squares
  8. Bake at 165C° on a lined baking tray for 10-15 minutes
  9. Serve
Rock cakes

Rock cakes

Spring salad: Grated beetroot and apple

October 11, 2011

This is a colourful and flavourful salad right in time for the warmer days ahead and, like everything else I tend to make, easy! Plenty of antioxidants, healthy fats and flavour are to be had with this salad which tastes super fresh.

Just be careful of getting beetroot stains all over you when making it – though, for the ladies, beetroot makes for a great blush.


1 large raw beetroot, peeled and grated
1 large apples, peeled and grated (go for a sweeter variety rather than a tart one)
1 orange, juiced
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup walnuts, either whole or roughly chopped


Combine all ingredients in a bowl! That’s it 🙂

Beetroot and apple salad

Beetroot and apple salad


Sweet potato almond loaf

October 7, 2011

In these trying financial times, where bananas are priced like gold bars, the humble sweet potato is a more than worthy replacement in baking recipes that call for some of that sweet yellow mush. Of course, in many Asian countries, sweet potato is a common ingredient in desserts, less so in the West. Of course., Americans are in sway to their iconic pumpkin pie, so it’s no great leap to think of a sweet potato in dessert or cake terms.

When I saw this recipe for sweet potato hazelnut cake on Chris Kresser’s wonderful site, I just knew I wanted to make it the next thing on my baking list especially considering the great banana crisis of 2011 had left a bit of a hole in my cooking repertoire. One of the commenters on Kresser’s post had also branched out to make the cake with spices, in the tradition of Scandinavian spice biscuits, which I love but are full of sugar and other nasties in commercial preparations. The first time I made this cake, I used hazelnut meal and included the spices – unfortunately, the spice flavouring overpowered the hazelnut flavour, so now I leave out the spices but will return to them later to make biscuits.

My more recent attempts at this cake (or loaf as I have made it) were using almond meal which is cheaper than hazelnut meal and is a real staple in my pantry. It has turned out perfectly each time – the sweet potato has a beautiful richness to it, especially since it is baked whole with the skin on before preparing the cake mix. Just like with banana, the sweetness means you can get away with much less sweetener than in traditional cakes.


  • 2 cups almond or hazelnut meal
  • 1-2  small to med sweet potatoes (these should be relatively thin so they bake quicker)
  • 2 med eggs
  • 2 tsp. sweetener (coconut sugar, rice syrup, maple syrup, etc. – this is optional)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 50g nuts and/or seeds, chopped roughly (pecans, pistachios, pumpkin seeds all work well)
  • 30g raisins
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon


Pre-heat the oven to 175C or 160C for a fan forced oven. When the oven is ready, put the sweet potatoes on a baking tray and put them in the oven where they should remain until the sweet potatoes are quite soft when tested with a fork – you’ll probably notice some syrup comes out of them – no need for alarm! They usually take about an hour. Turn the oven off until the loaf/cake mix is ready. Let the sweet potatoes cool on a wire rack or overnight and peel the skin off.

Pre-heat the oven to 175C or 160C fan forced oven. When the skin has been peeled off completely and any hard parts of flesh have been discarded, mash the sweet potato thoroughly to ensure it is as smooth as possible. If you prefer, you can place all the ingredients in the food processor. If not, mix the dry ingredients together and also the wet ingredients (in separate bowls). Then, combine the two bowls of ingredients, mixing thoroughly. Pour into a 9×5 inch loaf tin lined with baking paper, making sure to evenly distribute the mix and smooth the top. Place in the oven, baking for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife entered in the centre comes out clean.

When ready, remove from the oven and cool in the tin.

This loaf can be sliced with a sharp bread knife and either stored in the fridge or frozen – it’s best to slice and then freeze each slice flat on a tray otherwise the slices may freeze together and be annoying to separate. The loaf toasts really well, making for a great raisin toast replacement.

Sweet potato almond loaf

Sweet potato almond loaf


Sweet potato almond loaf

Sweet potato almond loaf