Strawberry and Rhubarb Kiisseli

University has gone back this week and as a mother and a student I find myself playing catch up most semesters, because I can’t seem to get organised.  It might also be an addiction to deadlines, I’m not sure.  But this semester I am planning to do all my readings, get started on assignments early, all while pretending to be super mum and working on my business.  People only know what you tell them right??  Anyway while My studies are back on, my chipmunks are still on school holidays and buzzing with boredom and energy.  I’ve decided to add fuel to fire by mixing up a quick, sweet and sugary desert from the motherland.  Taking advantage of the hearty rhubarb bush growing at the back of the garden.  While Strawberries aren’t traditionally a winter fruit, rhubarb seems to be hearty enough to source locally in the winter time.  My strawberries are from Queensland so the food mileage isn’t too detrimental.  However do try to cook in season when using fresh fruits and vegetables where you can. Minimize your foot print.  Kiisseli is a popular dessert in Finland.kiisseli top

Here’s how I make mine,

Strawberry and Rhubarb Kiisseli ingredients

  •  6 rhubarb stalks (chopped)
  • 250g of whole strawberries (quartered)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5 cups of water
  • 4 tablespoons of corn flour
  • the juice of 1 orangekiisseli ingrediants

Let’s Cook!

  • Pour the sugar and 4 cups of water into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer till the sugar dissolves
  • Add the rhubarb and simmer for 5 mins
  • Next add the strawberries and orange juice, simmer on low for 8 mins
  • Now in a separate cup mix 1 cup of cold water with the corn flour
  • Then slowly pour the cornflour mixture into the saucepan, mixing it through, the sauce should begin to thicken
  • Remove from heat and and allow to cool (or you can enjoy it warm)kiiseli side

Serve with dairy free/lactose free ice cream or rice porridge

I sprinkled mine with a few sultanas and ate as is!

Health and Happiness

Katri x


Tangy Red Lentil Soup

This morning the littlest chipmunk woke me up early, woke me up early to tell me something Very important.  “What is it??  Mum’s still sleeping, it’s dark outside” I moaned into my pillow.  “It’s very important mum” she responded, followed by “did You know that chocolate is really really good for you?? cos coco and stuff”.  I don’t know why she was up that early ready to provide me with this important information, but I suspect that her little mind was devising a scheme to catch me off guard and to allow her to indulge in chocolate before breakfast.  Not a chance, even when I’m half asleep my mummy senses are tingling.

Later I was thinking of how we might sometimes try to convince ourselves things are good for us so we don’t feel guilty for eating.  “Oh but it’s good fat” or “The lemon juice on the fish batter breaks the batter down in my system so I don’t absorb the saturated oils”.  Alright so I made up the last example but you get the picture.  Chocolate does have antioxidants but I think the benefits are from dark no less then 70% cocoa, not from chowing down a block of dairy milk.  One thing I do know is healthy for us are red lentils.  They boast benefits from anti-aging to lowering cholesterol and are cheap and easy to prepare.

Today we had Tangy Red Lentil Soup for lunch, another winter warmer that keeps you full and something you don’t have to feel guilty about.  Lentil soup

Tangy Red Lentil Soup ingredients

  • 1 heaped tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion sliced
  • 2 cups of red lentils
  • 3 celery stalks (chopped)
  • 3 medium size carrots (chopped)
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 400g tin of vine ripened chopped tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of rock salt
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 lemonlentil soup ingrediants

Let’s Cook!

  • In a large saucepan melt coconut oil over medium heat, add onion and garlic and saute for 5-8 mins till onion looks semi transparent
  • Then add tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste, stock, salt, oregano and curry powder, simmer on low-medium heat stirring occasionally for 10 mins.  The lentil should begin to thicken
  • lastly add the chopped celery, carrot and water
  • bring to the boil then allow to simmer on low for 30-40 mins, stirring occasionally, add more water if needed

Serve with freshly squeezed lemon juice, drizzled over the top!lentil soup side

Health and Happiness

Katri x

Apple Crumble

At the moment, Jupiter is in full swing and is the brightest “star” in our night sky.  The chipmunks and I were marveling at the planet on a drive home from the supermarket last night.  Although my 8 yr old is certain it’s not Jupiter or a ‘wishing’ star it is in fact Never Never Land.  The great land of Peter Pan.  “It probably is Never Never Land”  I replied, “I guess we’ll Never know.. unless peter pan looses his shadow again and he escapes into your room at night”.  How exciting, in their little minds I’m sure it could very well be a possibility.  The life of a child is filled with the uncertainty of the reality of fantasy, fairies, magic and even Peter Pan.  When do we lose that as adults.  When do we stop believing in the mystery and wonder of the world.  Maybe it happens when we “grow up” and replace our childish notions with watching the important and always depressing news.  Maybe when we realise our own short comings, our trust for all things great begins to unravel.  We don’t need to believe in elves and alternate realities but we can benefit from taking time to see the magic and beauty in everyday “real” life, plants, love, resilience of humans, the curious nature of animals.. The addictive sweet taste of sugar.

I’m not ordinarily a sweet tooth, but it is winter after all, and although I don’t promote Mary Poppins motto of a Spoon full of sugar (in one go) I do think some sweet treats from time to time, sooth the soul. Tonight we had Apple Crumble. crumble side

Apple Crumble ingredients

  • 2 cups of gluten-free original muesli
  • 1/2 cup of gluten-free flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 5 medium size apples (peeled, cored and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 75g of nuttelex
  • Juice of 1/2 a grapefruitcrumble ingrediants

Let’s Cook!

  • Preheat oven at 180°
  • In a bowl toss brown sugar through the apple pieces
  • in a separate bowl mix nuttelex, flour, muesli, white sugar and cinnamon
  • Arrange apple mixture in a baking dish, squeezegrape fruit juice over the top of the apples
  • Top the apples with the crumble mixture, pressing down firmly
  • Cook in oven for 1 hr

All done!  Gooey goodness, I served mine with sweet coconut cream and a cup of tea!

Health and Happiness

Katri xcrumble front

Mixed Mushroom Stroganoff

It was cold this morning.  I had to get up at 6:30am to move my car and the whole darn thing was covered in frost.  Nothing that couldn’t be resolved with a jug of hot water.  Last night the power went out at home, while I was standing next to the heater, checking my emails, watching television and waiting for my oven potatoes to cook.  Suddenly it was dark and cold and a whole lot less stimulating.  What to do with no power that early in the night?  I fumbled my way to the kitchen to look for light sources in the form of candles , I felt a little adventurous, Maybe I’d finish my crocheting by candle light.  15 minutes later after I’d pulled out a candle and marveled at the spookiness of it all, the lights came back on.  I was bathed in the bright fluorescent goodness of the kitchen light.  The heater hummed back into action.  Never have I felt so grateful for power on a cold night, I’d be able to eat my potatoes after all..

Earlier in the day the power was in full swing but the cold was relentless so I pulled out the mushrooms and popped them in the sun for an hour, the girls and I could have a hearty belly warming midday meal.  Mushrooms in the winter are great because they can provide us with sunlight vitamin D, which so many lack during the colder months.  Just make sure you put them outside for a while to soak up the rays before cooking or placing them in your salads.

Here’s what we had,stroganoff

Mixed Mushroom Stroganoff ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 large brown onion (chopped)
  • 3 tablespoons of gluten-free flour
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon of gluten-free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of dried sage
  • 70ml coconut milk
  • 600g of mixed mushrooms
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Let’s Cook!

  • In a large saucepan heat oil on medium heat, add onion and saute for 4 min
  • Next add the flour and stir for 1 min till the onions are coated in the flour
  • Then add the stock, soy sauce and lemon juice, stirring continuously till the sauce becomes thick and bubbly
  • Lastly add the mushrooms, thyme, sage, vinegar and coconut milk, cook for 5-10 mins till the mushrooms have shrunk in size
  • Salt and Pepper to tastestroganoff1

Serve with rice or mix through GF pasta!  Yum!

Health and Happiness,

Katri x

Simple Green Stir Fry

Today started of as a regular school holiday day.  No getting the kids ready for school, no constant nagging to finish their breakfast with threats of running late.  Nope, this morning was a stress free morning.  School holidays are great.  There is however the small issue of coming up with good lunch options everyday for the kids and I.  My girls hate gluten free bread so sandwiches are out.. but stir fry is in.  for lunch yesterday my 8 yr old chipmunk and I made one of my favourite quick meals, simple green stir fry.  Broccoli and cabbage are referred to as “cruciferous vegetables,” they are a rich source of vitamins and minerals—including vitamins C, E, K, and A, as well as folic acid, iron, magnesium, and fibre.  Which basically means they are super healthy and great for warding off the winter lurgy.

Here’s how we cooked ours:

Stir Fry ingredients

  • 1/4 of a Chinese cabbage (wombok), finely sliced
  • 1/2 head of small broccoli, roughly chopped
  • 100g of whole snow peas
  • 100g of vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of chili sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugarstirfry prep

Method: Rice Noodle prep

  • vermicelli rice noodles are easy to prepare, soak them in hot water for 5 mins,  drain, stir through a teaspoon of coconut oil (to stop clumping) and put aside.

Let’s Cook!

  • In a wok or large fry pan heat coconut oil on medium-high
  • add the cabbage, snow-peas and broccoli, stir fry on medium-high for 5-8 mins
  • next add the ginger and garlic and cook for 2 mins till the garlic and ginger is fragrant
  • follow with the soy sauce, chili and brown sugar, cook for a further 5 mins
  • lastly toss the rice noodles through the vegetables till the noodles are hot and the sauce is stirred through

Note: stir fry is  easy to over cook, so make sure you keep stirring

Quick and easy!  I left the chili out for the chipmunks and added it to my own later.

Health and Happiness,

Katri x

Chana Masala

Hi, it’s winter here in Tasmania and the cold has really set in.  Being gluten free and vegetarian I find my only real take out options are Indian or Thai.  I’ve recently moved out of the city so it’s almost impossible to get restaurant delivery to where I am, unless I can convince a friend to visit me for dinner and pick up the goods on the way.  I am normally intimidated by cooking curries from scratch, because of the dense combination of spices.  I have however decided it’s time to learn, because nearly all the packet curries or pastes contain fish sauce anyway.  I’m starting with Chana Masala a delightful chickpea curry, which turned out incredibly delicious.  Hint:  Make sure you soak your chickpeas overnight (or be prepared to cook them forever).  My chipmunks loved it too, we ate over a game of rummy with no complaints #winningmummy.

chana masala 1

Curry ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon of whole cumin seeds
  • 1 brown onion (chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of minced ginger
  • 1 whole green chili (roughly sliced)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of garam malsa
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoons of sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 1 400g can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 500g of organic dried chickpeas or 2 cans of chickpeas
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1/3 cup of water

Note: try to get organic where you can

Method: Chickpea prep (only if you are using dried chickpeas)

  • soak chickpeas over night covered in water
  • boil in water for 60mins before starting the curry or until they are soft

Let’s Cook!

  • in a large saucepan heat oil on medium heat
  • add cumin seeds and toast the seeds till they are golden and fragrant (be careful not to burn the seeds, turn down the heat if you need to)
  •  then add the onion, garlic, ginger and chili pepper, cook these for 5 mins
  • stir in the garam masala, coriander, turmeric, sea salt and cayenne pepper, cook for 2 mins
  • Add tomatoes (including the juice from the can)
  • stir the the tomatoes in breaking them apart with your wooden spoon
  • Raise the heat slightly and add the chickpeas, cauliflower and water
  • cook for 15 – 20 mins stirring regularly, allowing the onions and cauliflower to soften and the flavors to infuse.

Yum, you’re done.  Serve with rice.

health and happiness

Katri x chana masala