The Blog! Archives

Valentine’s Day

So this weekend we got to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  I made up a fancy menu for Grant and tried to cook the dishes he likes … obviously!

Friendly granolaValentine’s Day started out with some home-made granola, just for Grant, as I still don’t have any gluten-free oats yet.  I used a different blend of fruit and nuts with which had more seeds than normal.  And I also added some coconut, rather than maple syrup, to give it the sweetness he likes.  He said it was really yummy, so meal 1 – tick!




 White chocolate crackle cookie failI wanted to try my chocolate crackle cookies, but making them into a white chocolate version.  I thought I could just substitute the milk chocolate for white chocolate and leave out the cocoa powder … massively wrong assumption.  The cookies spread out in the pan and just didn’t work!  The taste was there – probably use it as crumbles on top of ice cream in the future!




Bacon & broccoli spaghetti carbonaraSpinach peach saladFor lunch I made a spaghetti carbonara with bacon and panchetta, with a side salad of spinach and peach salad.  Both of these were winners with the whole family, which was a good feeling after the failure of the white chocolate crackles!




Chocolate cheesecake brownie Chocolate cheesecake brownie (full)

Dessert I got a little too creative for my own good.  I made a gluten-free brownie base (from a packet mix), topped it with a cream cheese/icing sugar/cream filling and then chocolate pudding on the top with shaved white chocolate.  Tasted good, but it was a little confused as to whether it was a slice or a cheesecake or something else.  But it was in a heart-shaped pan for Valentine’s Day, and the whole family enjoyed, so meal 2 – tick!



Chocolate prune energy bars

 I also found a recipe for a healthy slice/bar thing that uses prunes, rather than dates or raisins … and I just had to try it.  Couldn’t really taste the prunes in it, but the chocolate (cocoa powder and milk chocolate) made it nice and rich.  All using natural ingredients … apart from the milk chocolate!  Don’t think this will become my favourite (that’s currently my healthy granola slice recipe here) but still good for a change.

My goal is to go through all the recipes I’ve posted here, make them all and take photos so I can use my own pictures, rather than those from the website.  And hopefully I’ll get better at my photos as well!  Any suggestions for better photos (and recipes) are always welcome – just comment on either the recipe or the Suggestions page!

Bars, slices, cobblers and more

I had lots of time to play in the kitchen this weekend, as evidenced by the commentary below. And I’ve also started taking photos of everything I cook – I’m sure I’ll get better with lighting and arranging as I go through this process!  Any suggestions are welcome to make the photos (and this site) better – I’ve added a Suggestions tab for any comments you would like to leave.

Lessons learned this weekend:

  • Pizza crusts need bread flour, not just plain flour, or gluten-free substitute plain flour.
  • Always measure the baking pan you’re planning to use BEFORE putting the mixture in.
  • When a recipe says to process dried fruit first, before adding the rest of the ingredients, do it – don’t just process everything together and hope it will hold together.

Started out on Friday night, where I wanted to try a few different things:

Quinoa barsI made my quinoa bars, but realised I didn’t have enough cooked quinoa for the whole batch and had some leftover puffed rice cereal, so thought I could combine these in the recipe.  The taste was there, but it was very crumbly and didn’t stay together, even with more peanut butter being added (you can never have too much peanut butter in my opinion!).  So I added about 2 tbs of honey but still it was very crumbly.  They’ll still get eaten over the course of the next week or so, though.  Once frozen, they seemed to stick together a little better and still very yummy.

Raw energy bars

I also wanted to make a ‘raw energy bar’ using a recipe I found somewhere – I had copied it down on a piece of paper without referencing where I got it from, so it could have been from one of my e-books, or a website from somewhere.  But the recipe is here – and this worked really well.

Flourless brownie cookies

And then I got a craving to make some cookies.  And I found this recipe for flourless brownie cookies from and it was very yummy.  I’ve put that it made 16, but in actual fact I only made 15 … the other bit of dough didn’t quite make it to the oven! 

Pancakes & Fruit

Saturday mornings the kids traditionally make pancakes for breakfast.  Yes, they actually do the measuring, mixing and cooking generally.  But this weekend I was in a generous mood and wanted to try something out for them.  So I used Grant’s pancake recipe and added fresh fruit, cream and maple syrup – trying to get creative with my ‘plating up’! 


Peach cobblerNectarine muffins  Then the PLAN was to make a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, but I soon realised that the dough just wasn’t going to work, so ended up just using a gluten-free base I had bought a week ago for myself and some other bread roll-thing for the rest of the family.  Still quite yummy, but not quite the outcome I wanted.  And then we continued to get stuck into the fruit from our backyard … with a peach cobbler, and nectarine muffins.

The final attempt for the weekend was to make some quesadillas using chorizo sausage – we saw this on an episode of ‘Kitchen Boss’ and it looked quite good.  But baking the corn tortillas in the oven I used a little too much oil, the chorizos themselves were quite oily, so it ended up being quite greasy.  The photo I took of this really isn’t worth posting … maybe next time when I use some other ingredients, and just fry it in a non-stick pan with no oil, like I normally do!




Wk #1 February

So my wonderful husband (Grant) has helped with the web-site this week and set up ‘The Blog!’.  Here is where I think I’ll keep you all up to date with my adventures in the kitchen, what worked (and what failed).  Obviously, if a recipe was a success, it will go onto the main part of the website for all to enjoy …

I spent a reasonable amount of time in the kitchen last week and over the weekend, and here is the run-down:

White chocolate fudge – from a Facebook post from one of our friends.  Worked well enough, but probably not enough white chocolate taste in there for my liking.  Grant and the kids really enjoyed it, though!

4 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge. No candy thermometer, no stove - just a microwave and a big bowl! 

Peanut butter fudge – this was a winner in my book – and will be added to the website shortly.  I found it here at Sally’s Baking Addiction and tweaked it a little.  I think this will become the middle bit of my ultimate chocolate peanut butter slice (which is hopefully soon in coming to a plate near you!).



I asked the kids what dessert they wanted me to make for the weekend – I try to make a really nice meal for Saturday lunch for the family to sit down and eat together – and they asked for a chocolate raspberry pavlova that we saw on one of Nigella Lawson’s shows.  It used 6 egg whites, and I didn’t want to throw away the yolks, so I looked up recipes with egg yolks. 



Grant has always had a soft spot for any pasta with alfredo or carbonara sauces, so when I found that most recipes for alfredo sauces used egg yolks, I found a recipe from an obscure website (so obscure I can’t find it again), but basically used the egg yolks, cream, butter and parmesan cheese.  Unfortunately, the parmesan cheese that we get here in Chile is not as flavourful as we’re used to, and we also didn’t have enough of it, so we added about 60g cream cheese.  It made the sauce pretty gluggy, but still relatively tasty.  I also fried up some bacon (which we amazingly found here – it’s not a staple supermarket ingredient), and added some broccoli, as a variation on my Creamy Bacon & Broccoli Fettucine recipe.

Lemon Coconut Slice

And with the other egg yolks (since the alfredo sauce only needed 2), I made some cookies.  I made half of this recipe from, used my gluten-free conversion for the flour and added some lemon zest to it.  These cookies then became part of the base of a lemon coconut slice (recipe here) as we still had some lemons leftover from our backyard trees. 

So for our Friday night dinner, the bacon and broccoli alfredo, followed by the lemon coconut slice were a winner with one and all.


Saturday lunch was planned to be Honey & Tamari beef with rice noodles (vermicelli), followed by the chocolate raspberry pavlova.  I marinated the beef stirfry in the honey & tamari marinade, but, as opposed to when we did it with chicken, tipped the whole beef and marinade in the frying pan at once.  It kind of lost some of the flavours – I’ll learn from that!  The pavlova … well, let’s just say that my son, Henry, makes a better pavlova than what I ended up with.  Crunchy on the outside, yes, but not chewy on the inside.  It was more a big crunchy chocolate cookie, topped with cream and raspberries.  Still good to eat, but not exactly what I was after.

Sunday I tried to make a chicken masala using some of the seasoning we bought on our recent trip to Australia … the less said about this the better.  Way too spicy, not at all creamy, desperately need to try again and get it right this time!

So, it was a pretty busy time in the kitchen, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself this weekend.  I wonder what I’ll make next weekend … my brain is already ticking over!

Happy cooking!




Update – January 2014 #3

Peaches, peaches and more peaches.  Our backyard has two peach trees that have just started producing really yummy, really ripe peaches.  And the question was, what should I do with them?  I can find lots of recipes for peach crumbles, peach cobblers, etc, but wanted to branch out into using peaches more in the main meal.  And I found this salad recipe – it was awesome!  And the dressing is amazing as well!!

Spinach peach salad

I also had a craving for hamburgers, but had run out of gluten-free bread (and didn’t want to pay the outrageously high price for GF bread that tastes more cake-like than bread).  I had this recipe from last year so thought I’d try it again – and it worked well enough to hold the hamburger fillings, as well as a number of other sandwich varieties I tried with the rest of the bread.  The kids also thought it was pretty tasty with jam and cream – kind of a pseudo-pancake.

Cloud bread

One day I came home from work and had a serious chocolate craving, but my husband and I are trying to eat relatively healthy during the week (trying to combat the Christmas over-indulgences!).  I love chocolate no-bake cookies but most of them have oats in them, which need to be gluten-free for me, and are not available in Chile.  So I found this recipe and adapted it slightly to make use of what I had in the cupboards and it was absolutely delicious!  Really fudgey and yummy … healthy in the sense that it uses all natural ingredients and has no added sugar – not low calorie …!

Healthy chocolate fudge nut slice

Other new recipes that I’ve added to the website, that are tried and true (by me only, since no one else in my family likes pumpkin!) include:

Please feel free to comment on any of the recipes here – I’d love to hear your feedback!

Cheers, Sarah


Update – January 2014 #2

I’ve had a bit more time at hand this month so I’ve been able to try and post more recipes.  All of these have worked absolutely fantastically  – I’m on a roll with successes at the moment!

Check out these for some new ideas!

Breakfast ideas:                 Pseudo-Bircher muesli

Slices:                                   Rocky Road slice

Cakes & other desserts:    White chocolate berry baked cheesecake

Sauces:                                 Honey tamari marinade

I’m also on a quest to find the best chocolate peanut butter slice recipe – so I’ve tried these combinations:

Attempt #1               I used flourless peanut butter cookies (1 batch), processed and added a little melted butter (approx 50g) to form the base, then put the Chocolate peanut butter slice recipe on top.  Worked well, but didn’t put enough melted butter in the crust so it was a little crumbly.  I also added about 1 tbs cream in with the milk chocolate for the top – not quite the soft, but hard, texture I was after.

Attempt #2               I used the ‘graham cracker crust’ for the base, then a peanut butter pudding recipe (I need to add this recipe to the site) for the filling.  I topped it with melted milk chocolate and cream, but had way too much cream so it didn’t set very well.

Comparisons between attempts #1 and #2 had about equal favourites – I handed samples of both of these around to a group of friends for their opinions.  I personally couldn’t choose between the two, but realise I could have improved on both (and will try …!)

Attempt #3               I found a recipe for frozen chocolate peanut butter pie at and made some chocolate peanut butter cookies for the base, and thought it was interesting since it used sour cream in the peanut butter filling.  I used a normal pie tin, but found that I really needed to put some baking paper down before pressing the base down (melted butter didn’t really assist in the removal of the slices).  Also, the pie tin was too wide, so the filling was very thin – could have worked much better in a smaller tin and having thicker toppings.

Attempt #4               My Husband and I adapted our widely successful cookies & cream cheesecake slice recipe to having the flourless peanut butter cookies for a base, and for being chopped up through the cheesecake bit, then added milk chocolate instead of white chocolate into the cheesecake, plus about 1 tbs cocoa. Very more-ish!

Comparison between attempts #3 and #4 has #4 winning from all who tried both!

We have more ideas about things to try, especially on the cheesecake front, but am always open for other ideas on the slices as well!

Hope you enjoy!!

Update – January 2014 #1

I’ve been experimenting with different ingredients for a lot of my ‘classic’ recipes:

Aji de gallina – instead of using a whole loaf of gluten-free bread for the sauce, we’ve found that poaching the chicken in milk, then coating with aji amarillo paste and cream works just as well, and much easier!  Thanks to my husband for working this one out xx

Cookies & cream cheesecake slice – we tried this with gluten-free ginger nut biscuits for the base, and then blueberries in the filling instead of Oreo cookies.  Very more-ish, we’d pay money for a slice of it!

Chickpea chocolate peanut butter cookies – I found some chickpea flour and thought I could just substitute the actual chickpeas with the flour.  It worked ok, but needed an additional tablespoon of honey to avoid them being too crumbly.

Almond chocolate chip cookies – again, wanting to see what chickpea flour could do so I substituted the almond meal for 1.25 cups of chickpea flour.  Also cooked for less time than the almond recipe called for.  The overall taste was interesting, but still edible.  I’m not sure if I’d try this again, though!

Rice flour pancakes – Another trial for the chickpea flour.  I used 1/4 cup of chickpea flour to 1 egg and 1/4 cup of milk.  The pancakes were a lot less runny but possibly a little too dense.  Gives me some ideas for further experimentation.

I’ve also added a few little tips and tricks that may help you in your cooking – feel free to let me know if you have others!

There’s lots of new recipes that I’ve added, and as I have time, I’ll keep adding more.  Hope you enjoy trying them out!!



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