Healthy veggie bites and back to school lunch ideas

The Reject Shop asked me to come up with some back to school ideas for them recently. It really got me thinking.

 

About how my eating habits have changed since I was at school. And to be honest, they’ve pretty much stayed the same. I still LOVE food, I don’t think I’ve ever been a fussy eater.

 

It helped that my mum always made the best lunches. I was the girl at school with lunches that other people envied – leftover schnitzel wraps, salad sandwiches piled high with delicious fresh vegetables, spag bol… she set such a high precedent that I worry that I’ll disappoint my future children! My own mother set the lunch bar so high that it makes me evaluate my work lunch choices much more harshly than most.

Roast peaches and Summer flavours

closePeaches and ice cream scream summer treat to me. This simple little recipe is just a slight twist on that summer classic.

I realise that in summer the last thing you want to do is have the oven on. But believe me, this little treat is so worth it. The pain of having the oven on is short-lived, and the results are delightful.

Australian Halloween and pumpkin puree

seededHalloween was never big in Australia. Growing up, my parents didn’t even acknowledge it! Since starting the blog I’ve tried to overcome this ingrained notion of Halloween not being Australian, because, let’s face it, I’ll take any opportunity to bake.

But before I share some recipes that I consider traditional Halloween fare,  I need to have a whinge: SO MANY of the recipes that I find on Pinterest, FoodGawker, etc, need tinned pumpkin or similar. 

No-churn berry ice cream and Summer

aboveI have a love-hate relationship with Summer. I love the wild-eyed excitement that sunny weather awakens in people. I hate that it’s too hot in the kitchen to bake all day. I love the amazing curls that sea water brings to my hair. I hate how I manage to get awkward burnt patches, despite religiously applying sunscreen. I love Summer fruits. I hate being stuck indoors when all I want to do is be in the glorious sunshine.

Omelette waffle and new toys

aboveI bought a waffle iron. I could not be more excited. The minute I got home from buying it I made this recipe. Things just taste better waffle-shaped! I got it from Wheel and Barrow, on the recommendation of Alice from Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind. (Thanks Alice!)

So even though I had intended on posting this tart today, I can’t. This waffle omelette (wamelette? Omelaffle?) needs to be introduced to the world. I’m too excited about it.

This all started because of my trip to Mooberry, where I had delicious plain waffles drizzled in melted milk chocolate – so simple, but SO good. But now that I’ve got my own waffle maker, there is no end to what I can make!

Vanilla rhubarb jam and Father’s Day

spillIt’s Father’s Day, and I’m on my way to visit my favourite father, so I’m going to keep things short and sweet. Coincidentally, that is also a perfect description of this recipe!

This rhubarb and vanilla jam is so speedy to whip up that you will wonder why your fridge is not filled with every single delicious home-made jam in the world.  You can have it made in under 20 minutes! I tend to think that the less ingredients your jam has, the better, so with four ingredients, this rhubarb and vanilla delight is a winner.

I made it for Father’s Day because my dad is a bit of a rhubarb fiend. I have vivid childhood memories of him stewing it slopping it over ice cream. Slop is exactly the sound I recall it making as he scooped it from the pan into his dessert bowl.

Sorry dad, but it never looked appetising! The beautiful, vibrant colours would leech out of the stalks and into the water, leaving everything looking a bit anaemic.

It was only recently that I re-discovered rhubarb. I like it best when it’s complimented with sweetness, like in my rhubarb glazed doughnuts, or in a lovely syrup and served with porridge, like I had for brekkie the other day.

Vanilla rhubarb jam:

Makes one cup.

  • 3 tbsp waterjam
  • 300g rhubarb, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 cup sugar

Grab a large, heavy-bottomed pan and put the water in first, this will stop the sugar from catching on the bottom of the pan and burning.

rhubarbAdd the rhubarb, vanilla paste and sugar. I used Heilala vanilla bean paste because it’s slightly more concentrated than vanilla extract. If you’re using regular vanilla extract, add a dash extra.

Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved completely. You’ll notice the syrup start to turn a beautiful pinky-red colour.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat up to medium-high and stir constantly for 12-14 minutes.

As you’re stirring press down with your wooden spoon to get rid of any big chunks of rhubarb. When the jam has thickened and most of the liquid has disappeared, it’s done.

spoonScoop into a sterilised jar with an air tight lid and pop into the fridge to cool down and firm up.

This jam is delicious on toast, the vanilla gives it a mellow sweetness which makes it taste like rhubarb with custard!

Date and cashew fudge and adventures

icingOne of my friends lives about an hour out of Sydney, so every now and then I go on an adventure to Elderslie. It’s really not that far away from where I live, but it’s so different. There are farms and horses and farm fresh veggies at ridiculously reasonable prices. There are some pretty cute cafes, and I’m slowly working my way through each of them.

It’s beautiful as well – because of the slight climate difference, the cherry blossoms in Sally’s area start earlier than they do in mine.

And around Christmas the jacaranda blooms come out with such vibrancy that it takes your breath away; they carpet the streets with their purple, silken flowers. The reason I’m telling you about her is because she’s a little bit of a health-nut, and I made this dessert to take to her. She runs an Instagram account dedicated to raw/vegan/healthy food…her page is pretty much the antithesis of Baking with Gab!

Earl grey truffles and indulgences

plateChocolate is something that I don’t often buy for myself. I buy baking chocolate lots, but given the amount of baking that I do, I try to avoid chocolate bars. I’m not always successful, but I try.

So when I get cravings for, I try to get creative and make them a little indulgent. This is how these amazing little morsels came about. They’re teeny tiny, so you can eat 20 of them before you have to worry about stopping! (I may have exaggerated slightly, maybe don’t eat 20…)

Garlic and artichoke conchiglie and a Menulog giveaway

ingredientsYou may or may not have put up with me whinging about my lack of oven recently. The oven seems to have miraculously fixed itself for the moment, but while it was out of action, I had to get creative with everything.

I love baking (stating the obvious slightly, I know) because my dinners tend to be baked, not just my desserts! Lasagnes, roasts…I even like to roast most of my vegies that I make into soups. So having no oven was a struggle.

Blueberry baked oat bowls and breakfast obsession

aboveI ADORE BREAKFAST.

It’s no secret. On days where I’m at work, it pains me slightly to have a measly slice of toast, or a pathetic bowl of rice bubbles. I start work at 7, and I’m not that much of a morning person, so I literally don’t have the time to make myself something epic for brekkie every morning. It’s not that I don’t appreciate toast and rice bubbles…they just don’t knock my socks off.

So on days where I’m not working, I prioritise breakfast. I debate whether I want to make baked eggs or chocolate pear bread.

Or if I want to go to a café and get poached eggs (a personal favourite.) Or grilled peaches on muesli. Or scrambled eggs. Or avocado on on toast…. you get the point.