Category Archives: School lunch

Dark Chocolate and Date Bakes

These are seriously dangerous to have in the house!

A great gluten free bake that is very forgiving.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

125g pitted dates

130g ground almonds

3 egg whites

60g caster sugar

40g melted dark chocolate to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

Line a 12 hole muffin tray with baking parchment.

In a food processor, blitz the chocolate until you have a light crumb. Tip into a large bowl.

Next, check each and every date for a stone and then blitz them in the food processor until finely chopped too. Tip the dates into the chocolate crumb.

Weigh the ground almonds into the same bowl and then, using your finger tips, break up any big chunks of dates so you have an even mix.

In another large bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, add the sugar, a table spoon at a time until all of the sugar is incorporated.

Fold the chocolate mix into the egg white mix and spoon into the prepared tins.

Bake for 20 minutes. Once golden, turn the heat off but leave the bakes in the oven, with the door a jar, to cool completely.

Melt the remaining chocolate and then drizzle over the cool bakes.

Baked Egg and Zucchini Cups

These are versatile little cups that we have for dinner when the non gluten free boys are having quiche.

This recipe makes 6 standard muffin cups.

Ingredients

3 large eggs, beaten

70mls milk

130g grated zucchini

30g ground almonds

15g fresh coriander, chopped

1 red chilli, shedded and sliced finely

Salt and pepper

1-2 teaspoons black chia seeds

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Take out a muffin tin and cut squares of baking parchment to line 6 of the muffin holes.

Squish the paper up under a running tap and then shape to line the holes.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the chia seeds, in a bowl.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins and then sprinkle over the chia seeds.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until risen, they will sink again as they cool.

Brownie Cakes

We have an ongoing argument in the family as to what to call these, bruffins is the boys choice but they really are just a brownie.

As they are a brownie, they come out of the oven puffed in the middle and rapidly fall as they cool, the icing then fills the gap but be warned, these are rich!

Makes 16.

Ingredients

120g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids

120g butter

70g smooth peanut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

300g caster sugar

120g ground almonds, almond meal

3/4 tablespoon baking powder

3 eggs

ICING

130g butter, at room temperature

225g icing sugar

25g cocoa powder

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Centigrade.

Take two muffin tins and line 16 holes with muffin cases.

Either over hot water or carefully in the microwave, melt the butter and chocolate gently, stir in the peanut butter and vanilla.

In another bowl, measure out the sugar, ground almonds and baking powder.

In a third bowl, whisk the eggs until light and fluffy.

Pour the chocolate into the dry ingredients and then fold in the eggs gently.

Spoon into the prepared cases and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.

Once the cakes are cool, make the icing.

In a food processor, blitz the icing sugar to get any lumps out or sieve it.

Add the cocoa powder and then beat in the butter.

Spread a little icing into the middle of each cake and then grate over some white chocolate.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Rub

It’s always handy to have a rub recipe up your sleeve!

This is one of my favourites, not too spicy and the boys love the sweetness.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon oregano, rubbed

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chipotle chilli powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Freshly ground pepper

2kgs chicken wings, tips removed

Method

Combine all of the rub ingredients together.

Sprinkle the rub over all of the chicken and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Centigrade and line a baking tray with parchment.

Place the wings in the prepared tin, skin side up.

Bake for 60 minutes, basting regularly.

Cheese and Chorizo Puffs

These little Brazilian breads are an absolute delight and so easy to make.

The batter also keeps for a couple of days on the fridge so you can make them fresh as you need them.

Makes 60-70 mini muffin sized puffs.

Ingredients

100g chorizo

170g cheddar, finely grated

350g tapioca flour

350mls milk

150mls oil

2 eggs

Method

Cook the chorizo over a high heat until crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and place on some kitchen paper to remove excess fat. Allow to cool completely.

Grease 3 x 24 mini muffin tins if you are using all of the batter.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Once the chorizo is cool, place in a food processor and pulse until it creates a chorizo crumb.

Now add all of the other ingredients and whizz to form a batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared tins, no more than two thirds full.

Place the trays in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes.

Cheese And Bacon Puffs

I have shared my cheese puff recipe before but these combine two of my all time favourite foods.

These little gems are crispy on the outside, slightly gooey on the inside and utterly delicious!

I like to use a smoked bacon as it gives more flavour.

Makes 48-60 mini muffin sized puffs. Leftover batter happily lives in the fridge for 48hours.

Ingredients

200g bacon

350g tapioca flour

170g Cheddar, grated

2 eggs

150mls oil

350mls milk

A pinch of cayenne pepper

A little salt

Method

Over a high heat, fry the bacon until crispy and the fat has rendered.

Spoon the cooked bacon onto some absorbent kitchen towel and squeeze to get as much fat out as you can.

Place the bacon in a food processor and pulse to create bacon crumbs.

Now add all of the remaining ingredients and whizz to form a thick batter.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade.

Grease 2 x 24 hole mini muffin tin, I just use the fat from the bacon!

Fill the muffin hole to two thirds and pop the tin in the oven.

Bake for 15-18 minutes. 

Depending on the size of your muffin tins you may have batter leftover, you can repeat the above or cover and keep it in the fridge, it will last 48 hours.

Brazilian Chocolate Orange Balls

These are a rather dangerous treat to have in the house!

I get the boys involved in rolling the balls out as they are often for their social events or cricket club morning teas.

Makes 28 balls.

Ingredients

30g butter

395g tin condensed milk

100g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa

Zest of one orange

150g desiccated coconut

Method

In a large heavy based pan, heat the butter and condensed milk over a low heat, slowly bring it up to the simmer and simmer, stirring all the time, until it thickens, around ten minutes.

Take the pan off the heat and beat in the chocolate.

Once the chocolate has melted add the orange zest and 100g of coconut. Stir well and set aside to cool.

Once the chocolate mixture has cooled, pour the remaining coconut onto a plate and roll walnut sized balls of the chocolate mixture in the coconut. Repeat until all of the chocolate mixture has been used up.

Keep in a cool place.

Roast Chicken With Creamy Lingonberry Sauce

Six ingredients make this a seriously tasty dish that’s as simple as combine, bake and baste.

If you don’t have lingonberry sauce, cranberry sauce works just as well!

You can mix the ingredients the day before you bake them if you want and this freezes well, just add a little more cream when you reheat it gently in the oven.

If you aren’t keen on chopping up a chicken, drumsticks, wings and thighs will work just as well.

Serves 6.

Ingredients

1.8kg whole chicken, cut into 10 pieces

4 tablespoons lingonberry sauce

2 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce

4 garlic cloves, crushed

250mls cream

Salt and pepper

 Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

In a roasting tin, combine all of the ingredients.

Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes covered.

Remove the foil, baste with the sauce in the pan and return to the oven.

Bake for a further 30 minutes, basting regularly.

Once cooked and golden, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Almond And Cherry Mini Cakes

With the start of cricket season here in Western Australia it is time to get back to baking for the shared morning teas when the boys play matches at their home ground.

These are lovely sweet treats that disappear quickly. Any leftovers freeze very well and are perfect for school lunch boxes.

Makes 48 mini cakes.

Ingredients

150g ground almonds, almond meal

140g gluten free plain flour

80g caster sugar

1 tablespoon gluten free baking powder

100g butter, melted

140g Greek yogurt

1 egg, beaten

125mls milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

140g cherry conserve

Method

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade. Line 2 x 24 hole mini muffin trays.

In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, flour, sugar and baking powder. Give it a whisk to get rid of any lumps.

In another bowl combine the butter, yogurt, egg, milk and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and begin to fold in, don’t over mix it.

Spoon the conserve into the batter in dollops and then fold in gently.

Spoon into the prepared cake tins.

Bake for 17-20minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Slow Cooker Spice Rack Pork


At the beginning of winter I bought a slow cooker and a few months later I am a complete convert on nights when we are all coming and going.

The seasoning for the pork is very simple but don’t be tempted to add more liquid, it really doesn’t need any.

I love chimichurri and it goes so well here, cutting through the rich meat and adding a gorgeous splash of colour.

Serves 8. Any leftover meat freezes well with the pan juices and the boys have wraps with salad, pork and chimichurri for school in the days after we have this.

Ingredients

2kg boned pork shoulder/pork butt cut into 5-7cm dice

1 large orange, juiced

3 teaspoons dried thyme

4 teaspoons dried oregano

3 teaspoons sweet paprika

1 teaspoon cayenne

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

Chimichurri Ingredients

20g parsley leaves

80g fresh coriander, leaves and stalks

1 green chilli, deseeded

1 lime juiced

2 garlic cloves

75mls olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Combine all of the pork ingredients in the slow cooker.

Cook on high for six hours.

To make the chimichurri…….

Process all of the ingredients, add a little more oil if you need to.