Jim Beam Honey marinaded steak with French Onion Rice

I’m not a huge fan of steak, nor do I like Jim Beam, but when the steak is marinaded in the mix, then the mix is used to make a sauce, it’s pretty good. The marinade mix is for four steaks, but you could marinade two, then keep the leftover cooked sauce in the fridge for a couple of days for something else (it’s pretty good on sausages too). This is best if you can marinade the steaks the night before you need them, but as a minimum you should leave it in at least 1 – 2 hours.

Jim Beam Marinated Steak & Onion Rice


Four steaks (I used small t-bones, but you could use whatever you like);

1 tbsp olive oil;

1/2 cup Jim Beam Honey;

1/2 cup brown sugar;

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce (you can get a gluten free variety);

2 tsp mustard powder;

1 tsp garlic powder;

1 tsp sweet paprika;

1 cup basmati rice;

1/2 sachet gluten free powdered french onion soup mix;

Snipped ends of spring onions to serve.


Mix Jim Beam, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices together in a jug, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Place the steaks in a dish and pour the marinade over. Turn the steaks occasionally. (I have a great Tupperware marinader, it has two halves that completely seal together as a base and a lid, all you have to do is flip it over every now and then and return it to the fridge). Store in the fridge overnight.

Take steaks out of fridge for at least 20 minutes before cooking, to allow to come up to room temperature.

When ready to cook steaks, heat the oil in a frypan or griddle pan until the metal is hot, then take each steak out, trying to shake off excess marinade back into the dish. Sear the first side, then turn the steaks over, turning the heat down so that the steak cooks more gently once it is sealed. Even though most chefs say steaks should be served medium rare, my household likes them less red, so I cook them longer , probably about 15 – 20 minutes in total, depending on thickness.

While the steak is cooking, drain the marinade into a small pan and bring to a boil. It should thicken a little in about five minutes.

Take the steaks out and rest on a warm plate for a couple of minutes.

Meanwhile, put the rice and the soup mix in a microwave safe bowl with a lid, add 2 & 1/2 cups water and put the lid on the bowl. Cook for 8 minutes, then remove and stir, and cook for another couple of minutes until water is absorbed (it will depend on the power of your microwave).

Pour sauce over steaks and serve with garnished rice and salad greens.

Gluten free Blueberry Friands

The good thing about these, is there’s not a lot of flour, so using gluten free flour (which often gives not as good a result as “regular” flour) doesn’t matter much to the end result. I used a muffin tin for these, but if you have a friand tin, that’s even better. Whenever I made something that uses the yolk of an egg only, I freeze the white in a tiny container. After a while I get sick of all the little containers building up in the freezer, and look for something to use them in.

Blueberry Friands


5 lightly beaten egg whites;

1 & 1/3 cup almond meal;

2 tsp lemon rind;

1 tbsp lemon juice;

1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar;

2/3 cup gluten free plain flour;

150g melted butter;

2 cups blueberries.


Preheat oven to 170 celcius (fan forced). Grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Put all ingredients except the blueberries in a bowl and mix. Spoon into muffin pan. Top with berries.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes. Friands should be golden and firm.

Red Capsicum Soup

Winter is just the time to enjoy warming soups, and this one is rich and a little sweet because of the red capsicums of course! It serves 4 to 6, depending on how hungry you are.

Red Capsicum Soup


1 glug of olive oil for the pan;

4 red capsicums, seeded and chopped;

1 large onion, also chopped;

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped;

3 tbsp tomato paste;

1 tsp turmeric;

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil;

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock;

Finely grated rind and juice of one lime;

Sour cream to finish (basil leaves too if you have them).


Cook the capsicums and onion gently in the oil in a covered pot for about five minutes, shaking the pot occasionally.

Sitr in the garlic, then add the turmeric and chopped basil with the tomato paste. Stir in half the stock, then bring to the boil. Cover the pan again, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for ten minutes.

Puree the mixture, then add the rest of the stock.

Add the lime rind and juice to the soup, season with salt and pepper. Bring soup back to the boil, serve in bowls with a spoonful of sour cream and a scattering of herbs (preferably basil).

Gluten free baked Creme Caramel cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust

This is great if you are entertaining as you can make the cheesecake a day ahead, then just decorate it when you need it.

Creme Caramel Cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust


1 & 1/2 cups gluten free biscuits (like a shortbread or other plain biscuit);

1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios;

125 g melted butter;

500g softened cream cheese (get it out of the fridge while you are preparing the base);

3 lightly beaten eggs;

125g castor sugar;

1 tsp vanilla extract;

2 tbsp gluten free cornflour (not the wheaten variety);

150g sour cream;

1 cup sugar;

1/2 tsp vanilla extract;

Extra pistachios for decoration.


Heat the oven to 150 celcius (140 fan forced). Combine the crushed biscuit crumbs, chopped pistachios and butter in a bowl, then press over the base and a little up the sides of a 23cm spring form cake pan.

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cornflour and sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Pour into cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn the oven off without removing the cheesecake and let it cool in the oven for two hours (don’t open the door). Remove, cover with cling film and refrigerate. I left mine overnight but you could use it with a minimum of an hour’s refrigeration.

When almost ready to serve, transfer the cake to the serving plate while it is still cold from the fridge.

Place the sugar in a small saucepan over a high heat and bring to a dark caramel. You can shake the pan occasionally to let the melted sugar mix with the unmelted sugar.


Stand back a little and be careful – add one third of a cup of water, letting the bubbles subside if you need to before stirring with a long handled spoon. If you aren’t careful, the bubbling mixture can come up the spoon and burn you severely, so take care and make sure the kids (or the dog) aren’t underfoot at this point. Stir until the mixture is a thick liquid, but only just, because if you leave the caramel on too long, it can become bitter. Stir through the vanilla extract and pour over the cheesecake. Decorate with additional pistachios.

Allow it to stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving, to let the caramel set a little, and to prevent burning if people try to eat it while hot.

My Moroccan beef soup

My Moroccan Soup

This soup is so thick and hearty, we had it for dinner one night. You could serve it with any type of bread and it would taste good. This will serve 6 not very hungry people, or 3 – 4 hungry ones!


Several large glugs of olive oil;

500g chuck steak, cut into chunks and put in a bag with 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour (seal and shake the bag to coat the meat with flour);

1 onion, chopped;

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped;

2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped;

1/4 tsp chilli flakes;

1 tbsp paprika (you can use the hot type, but I like the sweet, even if it isn’t authentic);

2 tsp cumin;

1 litre vegetable stock;

4 X 400g canned chopped tomatoes;

1 X 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained;

2 tsp caster sugar;

Sour cream to serve (you should use Greek yoghurt – use it if you prefer, but I love the sour cream with these combination of flavours).


Heat several glugs of olive oil in a heavy based soup saucepan, then add the flour coated meat, a little at a time and brown well, stirring frequently to prevent the meat sticking. (Even if it sticks a little, you can scrape it once you add the stock, just don’t let it burn);

Add onion, ginger, garlic and spices, stir for a minute or two, then turn the heat down for another minute or two, still stirring;

Turn the heat back up and add the (hot) stock and the tomatoes, combine well and check that nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pot;

Bring to boil, season with salt, pepper and the caster sugar;

Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours, checking occasionally;

Lightly whizz with a stick blender (or you can take it out and put it in a standard blender), don’t turn it into a puree, blend some but leave some chunks to give body;

Add the chickpeas and heat through.

Serve with a blob of sour cream (or yoghurt if you are a traditionalist!) and whatever bread you fancy.

Nutella Mousse with Gluten Free Popping Rocks

Serves 4

Surprise everyone!

I love the sensation of popping rocks in confectionery, but I am never sure with commercial confectionery if the rocks are gluten free, so when I found some in a packet, I bought them and stashed them in my bulging, messy pantry “just in case”.

As my daughter is a Nutella freak, I decided to make this Nutella Mousse, and in a naughty mood, “decorated” it with popping rocks before handing dishes over to my family.

Well, I thought it was funny anyway!


100g dark chocolate buttons (or chop up some chocolate if you have it in block form);

300ml of chilled thickened cream;

1/2 cup Nutella.


Melt chocolate, either by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), or melt it in the microwave. I prefer 30 second bursts, stirring in between.

Let it cool for 5 minutes, meanwhile beat the cream until soft peaks form.

Add the Nutella to the cream and gently whisk until combined, then gently fold the chocolate through, marbling it if you like. Spoon the mixture into serving glasses, just before serving sprinkle with the popping rocks.

Beetroot, red onion and carrot coleslaw – gluten free

I have to do a bit of “blowing my own trumpet” here, I used home grown beetroots!  I have had good crops of carrots too, but unfortunately I didn’t have any when the beetroots were ready, so this salad was only partly from homegrown ingredients – but it was very tasty.  The dressing has a bit of vinegar in it, if you don’t like it too vinegary, put a bit less vinegar in it, as there is plenty of liquid in this dressing anyway.  If you put green finishing touches on it, you could almost call this a “Christmas themed” salad as it is almost red and green, although beetroot is more crimson than red.


2-3 medium to large beets, raw, peeled and sliced on a mandolin, but if you can slice them into very thin matchsticks, that will do;

6 medium carrots, sliced the same as above;

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced;


1/4 cup red wine vinegar;

2 tablespoons lemon juice;

1 tablespoon of honey;

1 tablespoon of garlic flavoured olive oil;

1/4 cup regular olive oil;

3 tablespoons dried parsley, or 1/2 cup fresh & chopped;

Salt and pepper to taste.


Place sliced vegetables in a large bowl (it’s best to use a different bowl for mixing and then put it into the presentation bowl later, as the beetroot does make a bit of a mess.  Combine dressing ingredients in a large jug.  Pour into vegetables and mix.

Dress with a little more parsley if you like, or I used some sliced snow peas.  You could use chopped nuts if you prefer.

BBQ chicken, ham & haloumi bake – gluten free

Of course you need a gluten free bbq chicken to make this gluten free, but if you can source one of those, life is easy!  I love the squeaky texture of haloumi, I know not everyone does, but as this cheese doesn’t melt it suits a “bake” type of recipe.

This is not really a recipe, just a way of ‘using up’ a lot of that stuff I had hanging around the fridge – I was tired and didn’t want to cook, so this was dinner.  Depending on how long your oven takes to heat up, if you put the oven on before you start assembling and chopping, you could have dinner done in little more than half an hour after walking in the door.

It was actually very tasty, but I have categorised it as a light meal as it wasn’t very substantial.  This will only serve about two people.

BBQ chicken, ham and haloumi bake

1/2 a bbq chicken;

250g haloumi cheese;

3 to 4 slices of ham (I had the triple smoked, it adds a good flavour, but whatever you have in the fridge);

1/2 cup of frozen peas;

1/2 cup red wine & garlic marinade (the gluten free one that comes in a bottle), mixed with 1/4 cup water.


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (fan forced).

Chop the chicken and ham, dice the haloumi.

Pour half of the marinade & water mixture into the bottom of a 4-6 cup covered casserole dish (or use a small baking dish which you will cover with foil later), toss in the chicken, cheese, ham and peas, pour the rest of the marinade over the top.  Mix well, cover and place in oven for 20 minutes.

As the chicken and ham are already cooked, only the peas need to cook, and they should steam as the liquid is trapped by the lid of the dish (or the foil).


Serve with crusty bread.


Pineapple and Mango Smoothie

Ok, Ok, I know it’s not actually cooking, but it was pretty easy (and Lazy) so I decided to post it anyway.  I made some hamsteak and pineapple (shock horror, using tinned pineapple) and ended up with all the juice from the tin left over.  Since Melbourne is enjoying a hot spell, I decided to put the pineapple juice to good use.  I drained an 825g tin and got approximately 1 cup of juice.  If you have a little more or a little less, it doesn’t matter, this isn’t baking and measurements don’t have to be exact!  You will get two glasses from this recipe.

Pineapple and mango smoothie


Approximately 1 cup pineapple juice (unsweetened preferably);

1 ripe mango;

1 cup of Greek Yoghurt (the creamy kind, not the kind that is almost separating).


Put the juice into a large jug and slice up the mango directly into the jug.  Using a stick blender, blend to a smooth puree.  Spoon in the yoghurt and mix.

Pour into two glasses (chill the glasses if it is a really hot day) and enjoy.


This recipe does not have any added sugar, and is very refreshing.  If you have sweet tastes, add a dollop of honey and swirl through.

Slow cooker beef, beetroot and root vegetable casserole

The vegetable patch is finally yielding some vegies, but I got beetroots in winter, so didn’t really feel like putting them in a salad!  This should serve four, with crusty bread to accompany.

Beef and root vegetable casserole

1 tsp olive oil

500g gravy beef, cut into 2cm pieces

1 onion, finely chopped

2 beetroot, chopped into 2cm cubes

6 carrots, sliced thickly

1 parsnip, chopped into 2cm cubes

2 tbs gluten free flour, to dust

1 tsp gluten free worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sufficient beef stock to just cover the vegetables and meat in the slow cooker

1 tbs gluten free cornflour, if necessary to thicken at the end of cooking


Fry the onions in oil until soft, add the meat and just brown. Sprinkle flour over meat to coat, and stir in worcestershire sauce to combine.

Place in slow cooker with vegetables. Use just enough stock to cover the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker.

Cook on low for 9 hours.  If the liquid is too runny when it is cooked, make a dredge with the cornflour and just enough water to mix, then quickly stir through the casserole, turning slow cooker to high for 15 minutes.  The beetroot will colour the parsnip and leach into the gravy a little bit, but a bit of colour is good!

Season to taste and serve.