Gluten-free pumpkin & feta muffins

With the new year’s health regime underway I decided to try my hand at savoury muffins instead of buying those oh so delicious sweet muffins readily available at any cafe. I will confess here that I’m no baker, and yes, making muffins to me is baking (I have never baked a cake…); the most my oven gets used for is pasta bakes, roast veggies and pizzas.

So after trawling the internet in search of inspiration, I came across one from martha goes green that didn’t send me running to the bakers to sample their wares! I adapted the recipe to be gluten-free and made a few minor modifications to suit my needs, and the end result tasted pretty good if I do say so myself. I’ll definitely be ‘baking’ again.

For a healthy lunch, serve with a broad bean, asparagus and quinoa salad.


Gluten-free pumpkin & feta muffins

Makes 6 jumbo muffins


300g diced pumpkin

2 tbsp oil

50g diced feta

40g baby spinach

1/4 cup chopped parsley

30g sunflower seeds

20g grated parmesan

3 tsp whole grain mustard

2 cups gluten-free plain flour

3 eggs

175ml milk

2 tsp baking powder

1tsp cayenne pepper


1. Toss pumpkin in olive oil, salt and pepper and then bake in an oven preheated to 200°C. Bake for 25 minutes until soft and then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

2. To the mixing bowl add: feta, spinach, parsley, sunflower seeds, parmesan and mustard and combine with the pumpkin.

3. Beat the eggs with the milk and add to the pumpkin mixture.

4. Sift the flour, baking powder and cayenne into the mixture, and add salt and pepper.

5. Fold the mixture to combine all the ingredients.

6. Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tray.

7. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 200°C.

8. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.


Gluten-free granola

In an attempt to make up for some of the excesses that I put my body through over the festive season I took on FebFast like a woman possessed. As well as excluding alcohol, milk, cheese, refined sugar and caffeine from my diet, I also decided to go gluten free! Yikes! It was tough to start with but I got into it after a few days and the only thing I really craved throughout was coffee…

gluten free, gluten-free, granola, breakfast, berries

Gluten-free granola with berries

It was during this time that I really realised the importance of a good breakfast. My breakfast of choice for FebFast was homemade gluten-free granola with natural yogurt, bananas and fresh berries. Not being a coeliac I did include gluten-free oats in my granola as I wasn’t concerned about contamination, though the oats I bought were labelled ‘gluten free, uncontaminated’.

I’ve never made my own granola or muesli before so this was a first for me – I looked at a few recipes online to get some ideas and then took on the challenge. It turned out to be so delicious that I’ve just made another batch. I am a bit concerned about what I’m going to do once summer’s really over and I can’t get fresh berries any longer…

gluten free, gluten-free, granola, breakfast

Gluten-free granola

Gluten-free granola
3 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup puffed rice
1 cup puffed quinoa
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup linseeds
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup sultanas
1 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup peanut butter (pure)
¾ cup coconut oil (melted)
80 mL agave nectar
Coconut flakes

1. Preheat the oven to 160 Celsius.
2. Line two large baking sheets with paper.
3. Combine all the dry ingredients (not the coconut flakes) in a large mixing bowl.
4. Combine the coconut oil, peanut butter and agave nectar in a small pan and whisk until smooth. You can add a couple of pinches of salt if you like.
5. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry mixture and combine to coat.
6. Spread the mixture out on the baking trays and place in the oven.
7. Bake for 20 minutes stirring once after 10 minutes.
8. After 20 minutes stir through the coconut flakes and bake for another 10 minutes (it may take less time depending on your oven just make sure that the coconut flakes don’t burn).
9. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the granola to cool before storing in an airtight container.
10. Eat with banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and natural yogurt!

Quinoa & black bean salad

I discovered a delicious and healthy summer salad that’s full of protein and really easy to make. Mexican food seems to be the new big thing in Sydney at the moment, so I thought I’d get on the bandwagon with this Mexican-inspired salad.

As I’ve previously mentioned I tend not to measure ingredients unless I’m following a complicated recipe, so if you try this just go with your own instinct.

quinoa, mexican, salad

Mexican style quinoa & black bean salad


Quinoa (cooked as per packet instructions) – I’ve used white quinoa here but I prefer the red variety

Black beans/Kidney beans


Red capsicum/pepper






Olive oil

Lime juice

Garlic crushed

Chipotle chilli finely chopped/Cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper

Caster sugar – just a pinch


All you have to get this on the plate is combine the salad ingredients in a big bowl, mix the dressing and pour over the salad. To add a bit of crunch to this dish I serve it with corn chips.



QT Hotel Sydney

With the new QT Hotel opening in Sydney the other day I couldn’t help but find myself wandering towards it on Saturday for a bit of a stickybeak.

After an hour or so of shopping we headed to Parlour Lane Roasters, an Italian style cafe on the ground floor of the hotel. From the moment I walked in I felt like I was in Europe. We snacked on delicious sandwiches and focaccia pizzas, washing it all down with a couple of glasses of prosecco – well that’s what they do in Europe isn’t it?

Following lunch we felt that it would be rude not to check out the rest of the hotel, so up we went for a bit of an explore. The hotel itself couldn’t have been more different in look and feel to the ground level which keeps in theme with the State Theatre. Entering the hotel reception, you don’t know where to look it’s an amazing mix of retro, quirky and eclectic – where else could you sit on large stuffed rhino!

Next stop – Gowings Bar & Grill – a large brasserie-style restaurant with a bar at one end with the largest wine fridge I’ve ever seen. We grabbed a couple of bar stools and sipped on a Moscow Mule and Passion Fruit Pisco Sour – both mouthwateringly yummy. It would have been easy to stay longer and try a few more cocktails but the shops were calling…

Moscow Mule

Moscow Mule

Looking forward to trying out the restaurant and having a night out at the Gilt Lounge.

Kale and mushroom pasta bake

In my quest to find how to make kale a part of a main meal and not just sauté it and have it as a side dish, I came across a very tasty sounding recipe from Fig & Cherry.

Crunch crust kale pasta bake – a vegan recipe that I thought I could adapt to my tastes. I’ve only listed my adaptations below as I have pretty much followed the original recipe, which can be found here.

  • As well as kale I also included mushrooms and some crushed garlic. I cooked them all together with olive oil.
  • Substituted soy milk with light milk
  • To the original topping of breadcrumbs, lemon rind and parsley, I added Gruyere cheese (yum).
  • Finishing it off with a sprinkling of paprika before baking.

I’ll definitely be making this again as it’s delicious (I even have leftovers for tomorrow). 🙂

Food likes & dislikes

This post may explain some of my future recipe posts…

So, other than being a vegetarian I’m not particularly fussy about food. I am however, not a huge fan of onions so I rarely use them in my cooking – I’ve been know to be reduced to tears just being within the vicinity of sautéing onions! If any of my recipe posts look like they need an onion or two, go ahead and throw them in.

I absolutely love mushrooms and if possible would eat them everyday. I tend to cook mushroom risotto pretty often, thought it’s not a dish I would necessarily order at a restaurant as my own creation is pretty tasty.

My real addiction is chillies – they tend to go into everything, even the most unlikely dishes! To ensure that I’m never left short there’s always a jar of these red hotties in my freezer.

A bowl full of hotties

Time to think about my first recipe post…

Ciao for now

More than just mushrooms and tofu

Mushrooms galore at Borough Market, London

Welcome to my blog!

Blogging is a new activity for me, I don’t think I’m going to be great at this or as good as many out there but it looks like fun so I’m giving it a shot! 🙂

I (like many others out there) love food and am constantly thinking about it – what am I making for dinner, reading all the new cafe and restaurant reviews, watching cooking shows – I’m obsessed!

The problem I have is that I’m vegetarian… Some of you might find it surprising to hear (or disagree) but Sydney doesn’t offer as much variety as I had hoped for. Things are slowly changing and restaurants are moving on from the old faithful (mushroom risotto), but still many only offer one vegetarian option as a main course. I have found though that some restaurants will make you something different if you ask and explain your situation.

I love discovering new eateries, which offer something slightly different from the norm, and also revisiting old favourites. So it’s very likely that I’ll be writing about my delicious experiences.

As well as eating out I love cooking (not much of a baker though), which I find fairly therapeutic, but I’m not a big recipe follower so I tend not to measure ingredients and just go by feel/taste. If I do post any recipes here it’s highly likely that there won’t be many measurements so please take it all with a pinch of salt… 😉

In addition to my obsession with food I am also partial to the odd glass of wine or a cocktail, so don’t be surprised to find a post on wines, cocktails or bars from time to time.

If you take the time to read my posts I hope you find them useful. I hope to improve with time.

Over and out!