Monday, March 28, 2016

Dutch Easter Bunny Bread (SRC)

how to make Dutch Easter Bunny Bread from

This month's Secret Recipe Club has given me one of my most favourite baking projects in years. I was delighted to be assigned Tara's Multicultural Table by, you guessed it, Tara. She has 2 young children and a beautiful blog themed by country, meaning she has cooked and baked her way around the world and back again!

Being Australian I of course had to first check whether she had any recipes from my region and loved that she has baked Sausage Rolls and Pikelets, both of which are quintessentially Aussie.

Tara has dozens of recipes which caught my eye but to be honest, once I saw this one for Dutch Easter Bunny Bread I knew I didn't have to look any further. The fact that reveal is the day after Easter seemed like it was meant to be!

Paashaasjes (Easter bunnies in Dutch) are a basic bread rolled and shaped into bunnies with raisins or chocolate chips for eyes and holding an egg which becomes perfectly hardboiled when cooked with the bread.

While mine are nowhere near as neat as Tara's, the boys and I had a great time rolling, shaping and decorating these little bunnies and they certainly loved eating them too.

Dutch Easter Bunny Bread
Adapted for Thermomix from Tara's Multicultural Table

250g water
1 1/2 ts instant yeast
1 ts raw honey
500g plain flour
120g buttermilk
1/2 ts salt

6 eggs, at room temperature, washed and dried
18 chocolate chips or sultanas
1 egg, beaten with 1 tbs water

Place the water, yeast and honey into the bowl and heat for 3 mins / 37 degrees / SP 1.

Add the flour, buttermilk and salt and knead for 3 mins / closed lid.

Shape into a ball and placed in a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rest for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius / 170 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper and set aside.

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Shape one ball of dough at a time and leave the rest covered until ready to use. Roll the dough out into an oval approximately 7 inches tall. Cut as per the pictures below to form the bunny shape.

Lift the dough shape onto the prepared tray. Place an egg into the middle lower third of the dough then fold over the arms. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes until puffed.

Place 3 chocolate chips on each for the eyes and nose of the rabbit. Use a toothpick to draw whiskers and mark the paws. Brush with beaten egg. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Makes 6

how to make Dutch Easter Bunny Bread from

how to make Dutch Easter Bunny Bread from

Aren't they gorgeous?

Dutch Easter Bunny Bread from
How to make Dutch Easter Bunny Bread from

Thanks for a great month Tara! I loved making these with my boys and I think we have now found a new Easter tradition.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Our Easter Round-up

This year our Easter was the closest to 100% homemade as we've gotten!

For the first time ever we didn't buy a single hot cross bun from the shops, instead I baked up a storm for nearly the whole of March, trying and refining hot cross bun recipes to find the one that we love. Which we did - using white spelt flour, rice malt syrup, loads of spice and a good handful of organic sultanas. Delicious!

spelt low sugar hot cross buns from

If you've ever looked at the ingredients on supermarket hot cross buns you were likely as horrified as I was - vegetable oil, loads of sugar, emuslifiers and preservatives. Let me tell you it does not have to be that way! Making your own hot cross buns is easier than you might think and a great activity to get the kids involved with (my recipe is scrawled in a notebook but I will get it on the blog when I can, hopefully sometime before next Easter!).

The Easter Bunny brought our boys some lovely winter pyjamas and a single dark chocolate Lindt Bunny. This was the only commercial chocolate the boys received as we had requested non-choc gifts from relatives. Everyone awesomely obliged and boys were gifted board games, books and some rabbit ornaments. We also did an Easter Egg hunt this morning with the boys searching for plastic eggs with little chickens inside and I love that they loved the experience of the hunt so much they didn't notice there was no chocolate involved!

Our junk food philosophy can be summed up as 'party food is for parties' (borrowed from Sweet Poison by David Gillespie) meaning we don't stop the boys eating anything but we clearly treat it as sometimes food and we don't have it in the pantry.

The boys all wanted to eat their chocolate for breakfast but unlike the other two, Mr 5 scoffed the lot before 7am and then felt so sick for most of the day that he has refused all other chocolate and can't even stand the smell of it. He usually doesn't have an off-switch when it comes to sweets so perhaps this has been an effective lesson for him! I'm interested to see how long the aversion will last and whether it will affect how much chocolate he eats on other occasions.

We also didn't purchase any chocolates for each other or for family but instead experimented with some homemade treats. Our homemade chocolates were made using Quirky Jo's dairy-free raw chocolate, Alexx Stuart's real marshmallow and Against All Grain's mandarin truffles. This was my first time using cacao butter to make real wholefood chocolate and I was so impressed with how easy it was to use and how delicious the results were. The marshmallow was out of this world and although obviously it contains sugar (rice malt syrup) it's so much cleaner than the bought stuff. I will be playing around with different flavours and ingredients for Christmas gifts too.

I have such fond memories of making chocolates with praline, nougat, marshmallow and cream fillings for Easter and Christmas with my mum. I still have all these moulds and loved digging them out to use with my boys. Making memories and delicious food like this really is at the heart of what My Wholefood Family is all about.

I hope you and your family have enjoyed a wonderful Easter. What are your traditions - do you go camping? enjoy a seafood feast? what special treats did you bake, make or create? Let me know below ...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My Spelt, Cranberry and Oat Cookies (Thermomix)

Spelt Cranberry and Oat Cookies for Thermomix from

I'm never quite sure where I stand in the cookies v biscuit debate. Being Australian I have always called them biscuits but now cookies seems to be more universally accepted. Especially if they have chocolate chips, or in this case cranberries.

Lately I've been baking up a storm but it's been weeks since I made any cookies. If you've been following me on Facebook you will have seen loaf after loaf of bread and several batches of hot cross buns recently and not much else!

Ever since I bought the Well Nourished Lunchbox (not an affiliate link - I'm just a huge fan), my go-to take-a-plate dish has been Georgia's Gruffalo Crumble Cake which is a banana cake with a spiced crumble topping. I encourage you to check out the book if you haven't already because this cake is a standout and I've had rave reviews from kids and adults alike for everything I've made from it. However we were completely out of bananas so instead I thought I would whip up some cookies to take to a play date last week.

Spelt Cranberry and Oat Cookies Thermomix from

The cookies were delightful. Tender, buttery and studded with tart and chewy cranberries. They are not overly sweet (which I liked) but if you are used to sweet things you could add a few tablespoons of your preferred sweetener. If you have coconut sugar it's caramel notes would work perfectly.

Spelt Cranberry and Oat Cookies Thermomix from

Spelt Cranberry and Oat Cookies (Thermomix)

120g butter, at room temperature
60g rice malt syrup
1 egg
1 ts vanilla extract
60g rolled oats
150g wholemeal spelt flour
100g dried cranberries
1/2 ts bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius / 150 degrees fan-forced. Line 2 trays with baking paper.

Place butter, syrup and vanilla into bowl and beat 10 secs / SP 5. Add all other ingredients (except cranberries) and mix for 10 secs / SP 4. Add cranberries and mix for 10 secs / SP 2 / REVERSE.

Place spoonfuls of mixture onto prepared tray leaving room to spread.

Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely. They will firm up as they cool.

Makes 18

I think this will become a regular on our rotation as it is just so easy and also very adaptable. Use sultanas and add a teaspoon of cinnamon instead of the vanilla or add chocolate chips instead of fruit for a wholefood choc chip cookie. Yum.

Do you have a dish you are famous for? Or do you panic when asked to bring a plate?

Monday, March 21, 2016

Menu Plan Monday (21st March)

Well here we are, just a week until Easter and then 2 weeks of school holidays! I don't know about the kids but I am counting down the days at this point. We have a busy week coming up with parent-teacher interviews and Easter Bonnet Parade at school and a ton of assignment writing for me before I lose my child-free days for 2 weeks.

With such a busy week coming up I am looking for easy, healthy meals that I can throw together with just a few ingredients or cook all in pot. You will see there is absolutely nothing fancy here (unless you count quinoa but if you don't have any you could easily use brown rice instead). Roasts, curry, bolognaise, curried sausages and even tuna mornay. These classic meals are cheap, easy, filling and most importantly delicious.

Have a great week!

What we'll be eating this fortnight ...

Monday - Roast chicken and vegetables

Tuesday - Chicken and quinoa salad (using leftover chicken and veggies)

Wednesday - Chickpea curry with rice

Thursday - Tuna and vegetable mornay

Good Friday - Fish, wedges and salad

Easter Saturday - Brinner

Easter Sunday - out for lunch - DIY dinner

Easter Monday - Curried sausages with cauliflower rice

Tuesday - Spaghetti bolognaise

Wednesday - Stir fry (leftover chicken)

Thursday - Vegetable lasagna

Friday - Hash browns and eggs

Saturday - DIY

Sunday - Mexican pulled pork with wraps and salad

Thursday, March 17, 2016

My Vegetarian Chilli Bowls (Thermomix)

Whether you are vegetarian or not, there is definitely a place for vegetarian meals in your diet. We really enjoy meat and choose to buy it direct from the farm. But just 1kg of mince, 1kg paleo sausages and a big organic chicken does the 5 of us for a fortnight. The other nights? We tend to choose vegetarian meals which are still packed with protein and tons of flavour. Not only is it healthier to simply be eating more vegetables it's also much kinder on our budget.

One of my favourite places to grab meal ideas is from other blogs and one of my favourites is Vegie Head. Adele is vegan and she has created an amazing and inclusive community along with tons of great plant-based recipes. Being (mostly) dairy-free I have found vegan recipes to be a great place to start when looking to replace ingredients or to get inspiration.

We love Mexican food and these vegetarian chilli bowls were a huge hit, so much so that there wasn't any left for my lunch! Boo hoo. A few fresh ingredients and a handful of pantry staples and you could be having this for dinner tonight!

I have only included Thermomix instruction below but you could definitely make this on the stove top with a few simple alterations. Enjoy!

My Vegetarian Chilli Bowls
Inspired by Vegie Head

200g quinoa
700ml water
1/2 ts salt
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Place the quinoa into a bowl, cover with water and leave to soak for 20 minutes while you prepare the sauce.

Add the water and salt into the thermomix bowl. Drain the quinoa into the simmering basket and place into the thermomix. Drizzle the oil over the quinoa.

Cook for 20 minutes / Varoma / SP 4.

Tip the quinoa into a thermoserver and set aside.

1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 bunch fresh coriander, roughly chopped
20g coconut oil
2 heaped ts cumin
1 heaped ts dried coriander
1/2 - 1 ts chilli flakes (to taste, or leave out entirely)
60g tomato paste
2 tbs vegetable stock paste
500g water
2 x 400g tins red kidney beans
1 x 400g tin corn kernels
juice 1 lime

to serve:
2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 avocado
lime cheeks
natural yoghurt

Chop onion, garlic and coriander stems 10 secs / SP 8, scraping down the bowl a few times if needed, until finely chopped. Add the coconut oil and cook for 3 mins / 100 degrees / SP 2. Add the cumin, dried coriander, chilli, tomato paste, stock paste and water and cook for 3 minutes / 100 degrees / SP 2.

Insert the butterfly, add the beans and corn and cook for 8 minutes / 100 degrees / reverse / SP 1.

Add the lime juice and check for seasoning.

Pour the sauce over the cooked quinoa, cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve topped with fresh tomato, diced avocado and a dollop of yoghurt.

Serves 4-6

Do you do a meatless meal every week? Please share some of your favourites as I am always looking for inspiration!

Linking up with Domesblissity's Thriving on Thursdays

Monday, March 14, 2016

My top 5 No-Bake Snacks for Kids

So you may have noticed that I like to bake. A lot! But in reality we're not eating baked goods all the time. I always make big batches and stash at least half in the freezer for another time. Things like muffins and biscuits and slices are brilliant to have on hand to pop into lunchboxes or to grab out when we have a playdate.

But there are also plenty of times when to be honest, I just don't feel like baking. Or we're too busy or it's too hot ... you get the idea. I also want to mix things up a bit so we're not eating the same things all the time and if the kids have had a muffin in their lunchbox they are certainly not getting cake for afternoon tea.

It's a good idea to have a range of no-bake options that you can whip up quickly as soon as the hungry horde descends after school.


This is a no-brainer! A smoothie can be a meal in a glass if you pack it full of nutrient dense (and delicious) ingredients. I personally have been down the green smoothie road and can say with certainty that they don't agree with me. I just don't feel good drinking them even when they taste good. But there are other ways to get in some goodness. This is my go-to smoothie formula for the kids:

Per child:
1 cup milk (we use rice, almond or coconut)
1/2 frozen banana or handful berries
1/4 avocado
1 ts chia seeds
1 ts mixed ground seeds (sunflower, pepita and linseed)
cinnamon, vanilla or cacao
probiotic powder

Place all ingredients into a high powered blender and process until smooth (TMX 1 minute / SP 9).

Bliss balls

So these require a little more planning but once they are made they can be stored in the freezer and will keep for ages. There are loads of bliss ball recipes out there but as most of them are packed full of dried fruit they are very high in sugar. Two of my family favourites are my Almond and Chia Bliss Balls which are fruit-free and my Chocolate Bliss Balls which are nut and coconut free but do contain some dates. You can really let your imagination run wild here though - you can swap the nuts, the sweetener, the fruit to whatever you happen to have on hand. Just taste as you go and when the mixture sticks together they are ready to roll!


An oldie but a goodie. Is there anything better than popcorn? I'm talking the homemade stuff here not anything with synthetic 'butter flavour' that is artificially coloured yellow. There are 2 easy ways to make popcorn. First you can heat up some oil in a large pot (coconut oil or ghee are brilliant), toss in the kernels, cover and wait for them to stop popping. Or you can buy an air-popper really cheaply from places like Kmart. We have had an air popper for years and it gets used at least once a week. Simply throw in the kernels, turn it on and voila, popcorn!

We always have lots of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt on our popcorn and the kids love it. We recently switched to Honest 2 Goodness brand organic popping corn and have been amazed by how fresh and tasty it is compared with the stuff you can buy from the supermarket. And it is GMO free unlike most of the corn products you buy at the shops.

Here's an extra tip, if you start noticing that you are left with heaps of unpopped kernels in the bottom of the bowl it means that they have dried out and are stale. The kernels only pop because the water inside them turns to steam and they basically explode from the inside. No moisture inside means they can't pop. So always store your popping corn in an airtight container to keep it fresh!

Apple slices with peanut butter

Ok this one sounds like a cop-out but the kids love it! It's as easy as slicing up an apple and spreading some peanut butter on each piece. That's it. Adding the peanut butter means they are getting some good fat and protein and it keeps them fuller far longer than just an apple on it's own.

Can't have peanuts? Use cashew or almond butter or even tahini instead. Make sure you choose a good quality nut butter than is 100% nuts with no oils, salt, sugar or preservatives.

Crackers, veggie sticks and cheese

I do make homemade crackers on occasion but they can be fiddly and time consuming to roll out and slice and I'm not doing that every day (or even every week). When I buy crackers there are 2 types I choose, either brown rice crackers like the Eat Rite brand or an organic rice cake (Pure Harvest brand is good). Throw some crackers on a plate with whatever veg your kids like to eat raw - think carrot sticks, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and some cheese and that's afternoon tea sorted. My fussy Mr 5 LOVES soft cheese like brie or camembert so if there happens to be some on special I might surprise him with some. Easy as.

So that's it, my top 5 no-bake snacks for kids. Do you have a favourite afternoon tea for your kids? Do you bake for afternoon tea or only for special occasions?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

How to: Cook a Perfect Roast Chicken

How To Perfect Roast Chicken from

Whether it's a special occasion or just a Sunday roast, knowing how to cook a roast chicken is practically a life skill. What other food is as comforting and economical as the humble roast chook?

Growing up we regularly had roast chicken but apart from the drumstick it was never my favourite thing. The breast meat was always quite dry and powdery and without smothering it in gravy it didn't really have much flavour. But after learning a few simple tips and tricks I can finally say I have mastered the roast chicken and we have one every fortnight.

Forget buying a ready roasted chicken that is packed with nasty ingredients from the supermarket, my perfect roast chicken will become a staple at your place.

First things first, you need to choose the right chicken. If your budget allows then organic and free range is definitely the best and if you choose a large one it should give you enough meat for 2 dinners and a litre or so of broth from the bones.

To make sure you have enough meat for 2 dinners don't serve the chicken whole at the table. Instead carefully strip the meat off the bones and reserve some immediately. I allow just over half with roast vegetables for the first night then freeze the rest for risotto, stir-fry or just a salad loaded up with green veg, avocado and a great dressing. Don't forget to save all the bones for a broth - you can pop them straight into the slow cooker if you have one with some veggies and a few litres of water (I will be posting the full recipe for my bone broth soon so keep an eye out for that).

My top tips for a perfect roast chicken:

1. Check your timing - a good rule of thumb is to cook your chook at 190 degrees Celsius for 25 minutes per 500g plus an extra 20 minutes.

2. Flavour the chicken from the inside - lemon, onion, garlic and herbs are all brilliant.

3. Turn it upside down to rest - this will guarantee juicy breast meat.

4. Rest the meat for at least 20 minutes or anywhere up to half the cooking time, just cover with a few sheets of alfoil and a folded towel to keep in the heat.

5. Use the pan juices to make amazing gravy - you will see in the recipe below what I do to make an easy chicken gravy.

How To Perfect Roast Chicken from

My Perfect Roast Chicken

1.7kg chicken
1 onion, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 ts salt
1/2 ts cracked black pepper
1 sprig fresh rosemary or 2 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups water

1.2 kg potatoes, sweet potato and pumpkin, cut into 4cm pieces
2 tbs duck fat
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius. Place the duck fat into a large baking dish and put in the oven to heat up.

Place the chicken into another large baking dish (I use pyrex). Place the garlic and half the onion inside the cavity.

Pour the oil over the top of the chicken, sprinkle on the salt, pepper and rosemary and massage them all in well. Add the onion to the dish and pour in the water around the chicken (this will form the basis of the gravy later).

Carefully remove the hot baking dish from the oven and tip in the chopped vegetables. Use 2 spoons to toss the veggies in the duck fat, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place both baking dishes in the oven and roast for 1 hour 40 minutes.

Remove the dishes from the oven. Place the chicken onto a serving plate and using tongs, carefully turn the chicken upside down (breast side down). Cover with foil and leave to rest for at least 20 minutes.

To make an easy chicken gravy:

Pour the pan juices and the onion into the Thermomix bowl along with 25g butter, 25g white spelt flour and 1 ts vegetable or chicken stock paste. Cook for 5 minutes / 90 degrees / SP 3. The puree for 10 secs / SP 9. Check for seasoning.

Linking up with Domesblissity's Thriving on Thursdays.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Meal Plan Monday (7th March)

Oh Monday, you come around so quickly these days!

I'm one of those (seemingly) rare people who doesn't hate Mondays. It always seems like a fresh start to me - lots of things to do and a whole week to do them in. Plus all 3 of my boys happened to be born on a Monday so there's that!

I have decided to post my meal plans every second Monday from now on. We plan and shop fortnightly anyway so it makes more sense. It will also give you more of an idea of how I cook once- eat twice, as very often the meals in the second week are based on leftover bulk ingredients from the first week.

This Monday will be a big prep day as I am picking up our 20kg bulk meat order and packaging it all up for the freezer.  I will also prepare the vegetable base for the bolognaise sauce and mix up the spices for the curried sausages and burrito bowls.

What we are eating this fortnight ...

Monday - Peanut Sesame Noodles

Tuesday - Spaghetti Bolognaise

Wednesday - Curried Sausages

Thursday - Mexican Burrito Bowls

Friday - DIY

Saturday - Veggie Fritters

Sunday - Homemade gnocchi with mushrooms

Monday - Green Quiche

Tuesday - Butter Chicken (leftover from freezer)

Wednesday - Lasagna (bolognaise sauce leftover from freezer)

Thursday - Chicken stir-fry (roast chicken leftover from freezer)

Friday - Grain-free Pancakes with Strawberry Chia Jam

Saturday - DIY

Sunday - Roast Chicken and vegetables

Have a great week!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

My Mango Coconut Custard

Mango Coconut Custard - dairy free - no refined sugar - from

We may be officially in Autumn now but it hasn't cooled down one bit and we are still blessed with an abundance of summer fruit.

We've eaten our fair share of mangoes over the past few months - the kids always argue over who gets the seed and there are now lots of t-shirts with faint orange stains down the front. The last few mangoes in the fruit bowl were calling my name this week and I was determined to make something with them rather then just watch them get gobbled up.

Mango and coconut are a match made in heaven. Being dairy-free we use a lot of coconut milk and cream in this house, sometimes as a substitution for dairy but other times like this you really want that creamy lusciousness. My first thought was to make ice cream but our freezer has been a little unreliable lately and I wasn't sure the ice cream bowl would be frozen enough for it to work.

Anyone with a Thermomix will tell you it makes great custard, so that's what I decided to do.  And the result? Well this mango coconut custard went down a treat on a hot Autumn-but-feels-like-Summer afternoon.

My kids had theirs for afternoon tea but it would be the perfect dessert to serve after a Asian or Indian meal. Cool, sweet, fragrant and just delicious.


My Mango Coconut Custard

2 ripe mangoes
500g coconut milk
3 eggs
40g arrowroot
75g rice malt syrup
20g coconut oil

Reserve half a mango and set aside.

Add the flesh of 1 1/2 mangoes and the coconut milk to the mixing bowl and process for 10 seconds / SP 8 or until completely smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add all remaining ingredients.

Cook for 8 minutes / 90 degrees / SP 4.

Pour into heatproof glasses and place in the fridge to chill completely

To serve, top with reserved mango (finely diced) and garnish with mint leaves or lime zest (optional).

Serves 5

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Baked Banana and Blueberry Pancake

So baked pancakes. Did you know that was a thing? We love pancakes and pikelets in this house. I love that you can pack them full of good stuff and the kids still eat them. The kids love them just because they taste good.

Most days though we just don't have time to stand at the stove and cook pancakes 4 at a time in a pan. Enter baked pancakes. You mix up all the same ingredients, pour them into a preheated pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes or so while you go and do something else. Brilliant!

My version uses lots of eggs, wholemeal spelt flour and the sweetness of banana, blueberries and a small amount of coconut sugar. I took it out of the oven just before I left for school pick up so it was ready to eat as soon as we all got home.

This was a delicious afternoon tea for my boys but it would be a perfect weekend brunch as well.

Happy baking!

Baked Banana and Blueberry Pancake
Adapted from All Recipes

3 eggs
1 large very ripe banana
1 tbs coconut sugar
1 ts vanilla extract
1 cup wholemeal spelt flour
1 ts baking powder
pinch salt
1/2 cup blueberries
4 tbs butter or coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius / 180 degrees fan-forced. Add the butter or coconut oil to a 20 x 30cm baking dish and place the baking dish into the oven to preheat as well.

Place the eggs, banana, coconut sugar and vanilla into a food processor or blender and blitz until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (except the blueberries) and process for a few seconds until well combined, scraping down the sides if you need to.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven and swirl it to coat the bottom evenly with the melted butter or coconut oil. Pour in the batter, scatter the blueberries over the top and return to the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes. It will be golden brown, puffed up and smell amazing.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before slicing or leave to cool completely and serve at room temperature.

melt butter or coconut oil in pan

bake for 20 -25 minutes
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