Anzac biscuits

Recipe: Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits

It’s been ages since I’ve eaten Anzac biscuits because they are definitely not gluten-free and. I know there are several paleo versions floating around in the interwebs but oats are such an important ingredient in this particular cookie that IMO they don’t deserve to be called Anzac biscuits at all.

Back when I reintroduced oats in my diet to follow the Chinese doctor’s nagging recommendations, I tried a few brands of gluten-free (by US standards, which are less strict than Australian) and uncontaminated oats. I didn’t have any issues with any of those so I use them regularly. For this recipe I used this brand of Australian uncontaminated oats. To learn more about oats, gluten and contamination click here.

I also bumped up the protein content by adding some whey protein powder and used a relatively low amount of unrefined sweeteners (coconut sugar and maple syrup), hence the name “better Anzacs”. Don’t be fooled though, these are still treats!
Hope you’re having a great Anzac Day!

Better (gluten-free) Anzac biscuits
Yield: about 14 medium chunky cookies

Better Anzac biscuits

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

  • 1 cup uncontaminated oats
  • 1/2 cup plain whey protein isolate
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients

  • 75g butter
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced works best).
  2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients in a saucepan and melt on the stove (or place them in a bowl and melt in the microwave).
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix well with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
  5. With your hands, make golf-sized balls with the batter, pressing firmly to make sure everything sticks together. Place on a tray lined with wax paper and flatten with your hand.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your taste (20 minutes will yield darker and crunchier cookies).
  7. Let cool down and enjoy.

Recipe: Puré de espinaca (spinach mash)

This is such an easy and middle-class recipe that I’m almost ashamed of posting it. But it brings warm memories of my childhood and of food from home. Eat with roast chicken, burger patties, fried eggs… whatever you fancy!

Puré de espinaca
Yield: 4-5 servings

Puré de espinaca

Ingredients

  • 0.5 kg potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 0.5 cup chicken broth or milk
  • 1-1.5 cups spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Peel, cube and cook potatoes.
  2. Mash potatoes while hot, add butter and mix.
  3. Heat up broth/milk, pour over spinach in a blender and blend until puréed.
  4. Add spinach mix to potatoes, mix well and season.

Recipe: Jugo surtido (“assorted” juice)

The funny thing about this juice is that the name tells you nothing, however everyone in Lima (possibly in Perú) knows exactly what to expect. The taste of a classic jugo surtido is, I’m sure, ingrained in the memories of millions of limeños who have ever set foot in a juguería (juice bars). When I was growing up, the best juguerías could be found in mercados (markets). Popular flavours were papaya, lúcuma con leche (lúcuma and milk), fresa con leche (strawberries and milk), plátano con leche (banana and milk), surtido and especial (surtido plus algarrobina and egg). I hated lúcuma until my mid-20s, the other single-fruit ones were common at home and especial was too intense for me. Therefore, surtido was my go-to choice.

Jugo surtido
Yield: 2-3 servings

Jugo surtido

Ingredients

  • 1/4 papaya
  • 2 slices cooked beetroot
  • 1 banana (fresh or frozen)
  • 6-8 strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2-2.5 cups water

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients, pretend you are in a Peruvian mercado and enjoy.

Product review: Chrissy’s Cuts sausages (plus recipe inside)

These paleo-friendly sausages are made with quality cuts of meat that come from ethically farmed free-range and grass-fed animals. In addition, they do not contain any fillers, flours, nitrates or additives. I love her tagline “because meat shouldn’t be a mystery”.

Pork shoulder sausages with bacon and maple syrup

The current varieties on offer are beef brisket with smuggled greens and pork shoulder with bacon and maple syrup (killer combo!). I got a pack of the latter to sample. As you can see from the photo below, the ingredients list is super clean.

Pork shoulder sausages with bacon and maple syrup

Instead of just cooking the sausages and throwing them on a pile of coleslaw (my default modus operandi), I decided to use them to make a version of a breakfast that I’ve been digging lately: Scotch eggs. I normally use pork mince and season it with herbs and spices, but these sausages made everything so much easier. This can literally be a 2-ingredient recipe (if you serve it sans dipping sauce), and works beautifully for breakfast, as party/picnic food or as a snack on the go.

Bacon & maple Scotch eggs with chipotle mayonnaise
Yield: 2-4 servings

Scotch eggs

Ingredients

To serve

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, homemade if possible
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp chipotle powder

Directions

  1. Hard-boil the eggs to your liking. Here’s my method: put in a pot, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and wait 2 minutes. Turn heat off, leave eggs in the pot for 20 minutes. Drain water off the pot, leave eggs to cool down for approximately 50 minutes.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
  3. Squeeze sausage contents from the casings. Divide in 4 even portions.
  4. Extend a portion flat in the palm of your hand, forming a circle. Place an egg on top and wrap it with the meat. Make sure the coating is even and there are no gaps.
  5. Put wrapped eggs on a tray and bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
  6. Mix mayonnaise and chipotle powder.
  7. Dip eggs in chipotle mayonnaise and enjoy.

Chrissy’s Cuts
www.chrissyscuts.com.au
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Recipe: Egg & olive salad

More egg salad madness! This variation includes olive oil mayonnaise and olives, a combo that is very familiar for Peruvians. If this variation doesn’t appeal to you, try the egg & cucumber or egg pesto recipes.

Egg & olive salad
Yield: 1 serving

Egg & olive salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs + 3 hard-boiled yolks (or 3 hard-boiled eggs)
  • 6 pitted black olives (I used kalamata)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise (I used this recipe)
  • pepper
  • parsley to garnish

Directions

  1. Chop the eggs and olives.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, season with pepper.
  3. Garnish with parsley.

Recipe: Egg pesto salad

Another egg salad recipe. I told you there were more variations coming! (see the egg & cucumber variation here). This version includes two of my favourite sauces (pesto and mayo), which for some reason I never thought about mixing together.

Egg pesto salad
Yield: 1 serving

Egg pesto salad

Ingredients

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs + 3 hard-boiled yolks (or 3 hard-boiled eggs)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pesto
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cherry tomatoes and extra basil leaves to garnish

Pesto

  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pine nuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
  • 2 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • pepper

Mayonnaise

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 250ml avocado or macadamia oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper

Directions

Pesto

  1. To roast garlic cloves: wrap unpeeled cloves with foil and pop in the oven at 170-180°C for ~30 minutes or until very soft. Then squeeze the garlic out of its skin. You can do this while baking something else. Roasted garlic will keep for a few days in the fridge.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. This recipe will make plenty of leftover sauce.

Mayonnaise

  1. If you have never made mayonnaise before, check out some YouTube videos before proceeding.
  2. Put the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor or blender.
  3. Start the motor and slowly pour the oil in a thin stream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. This recipe will make plenty of leftover sauce.

To assemble

  1. Chop the eggs.
  2. Mix all the ingredients, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Garnish with halved cherry tomatoes and basil leaves.

Recipe: Egg & cucumber salad

We’re not big on egg salads in Perú. Yes, we have “huevos a la Rusa” (Russian-style eggs, a spin of the classic Olivier salad) but not the typical chopped egg salad as it’s known in the anglo world. Now that I’m doing the AltShift experiment, egg salad has entered my breakfast menu.

I made the mayonnaise with organic avocado oil, which gave it a very cool green colour as you can see in the photo below.

This is a basic recipe with cucumber. There are infinite variations to this recipe; I’ll be posting more in the future.

Egg & cucumber salad
Yield: 1 serving

Egg & cucumber salad

Ingredients

Salad

  • 2 hard-boiled eggs + 3 hard-boiled yolks (or 3 hard-boiled eggs)
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 lebanese cucumber
  • salt and pepper
  • dill, to serve

Mayonnaise (makes about 1.5 cups)

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 250ml avocado or macadamia oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper

Directions

Mayonnaise

  1. If you have never made mayonnaise before, check out some YouTube videos before proceeding.
  2. Put the egg yolks, lemon juice and mustard in a food processor or blender.
  3. Start the motor and slowly pour the oil in a thin stream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Salad

  1. Chop the eggs.
  2. Peel and slice the cucumber.
  3. Mix all the ingredients, garnish with dill.

Recipe: Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo (smashed plantains, mussels and chorizo)

Last time I went to Tienda Latina to buy food for my birthday I noticed they had sliced and pre-cooked ripe plantains in the freezer. I grabbed a bag without even asking for the price and started thinking what to do with them.

Frozen sliced ripe plantain

It didn’t take me too long to decide: I wanted to make a version of majarisco, a dish from the North of Perú that features plátano majado (smashed plantains) and seafood. To keep things simple, I used frozen mussels and chorizo (also bought at Tienda Latina) for this version.

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo
Yield: 5-6 servings

Majado de plátano con choros y chorizo

Ingredients

  • 500g frozen pre-cooked plantains (or 500g fresh plantains, sliced and cooked in fat)
  • 500g chorizo
  • 1-2 Tb fat of choice (I used ghee)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tb chilli paste (I use Peruvian ají panca but any kind will do)
  • 1kg frozen mussels
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup fish (or vegetable) stock
  • 2 Tb apple cider vinegar

To serve:

Directions

  1. Smash plantains with a pestle or similar heavy object.
  2. Slice chorizo.
  3. Chop onion and garlic, cook in fat on medium heat until soft. Add chilli paste.
  4. Add chorizo, stir until completely cooked.
  5. Add plantains, stir.
  6. Add mussels, wine, fish stock and vinegar, reduce until a thick sauce is formed.
  7. Serve with greens and salsa criolla, garnish with coriander.

Recipe: Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables

As much as I love collecting and trying new recipes, there are some times when I have a particular craving and I know I won’t find the recipe in a cookbook. Luckily, it wasn’t anything too crazy or complicated to make. Hope you like it as much as I did.

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables
Yield: 5-6 servings

Pesto beef with Mediterranean vegetables

Ingredients

Vegetables

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 3 zucchinis
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 medium fennel
  • 1 medium onion
  • 200g Portobello mushrooms
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt

Pesto

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup macadamias
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Beef

  • 2 tablespoons fat of choice
  • 1kg ground beef
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 170°C.
  2. Chop the vegetables in large chunks, place in a large roasting tray, season with olive oil and salt.
  3. Wrap garlic cloves, unpeeled, in foil and place in a corner of the roasting tray.
  4. Roast vegetables for 40-50 minutes.
  5. Turn off oven and remove garlic from tray (leave the tray in the oven to keep the rest of the vegetables warm), squeeze cloves into the jug of a food processor or blender along with the rest of the pesto ingredients. Process until it reaches desired consistency, season to taste.
  6. Heat fat of choice in a saucepan and brown meat. Season with salt and pepper, stir until cooked through.
  7. Mix beef and pesto and serve on top of vegetables.

Recipe: Vegan causa

Yes, vegan. Before you think I’m crazy for bastardising one of my national dishes, let me explain. I made this version for an assignment for which I had to modify a recipe for social (i.e. religious, ethical, etc.) reasons. I thought of causa because I know people make vegetarian versions all the time (not me, I love it with seafood) but I have never seen a vegan version out there. Not only I had to ditch the main protein, but also the eggs used as garnish and in the mayo. I combined a few vegan soy-free mayonnaise recipes I found online and the result was awesome! Also so much easier to make than regular mayo. I served this vegan causa to a bunch of friends and everyone (including Alvaro) liked it.

Vegan causa
Yield: 8 servings

Vegan causa

Ingredients

  • 8 (1500g) floury potatoes
  • 4 Tbsp (60ml) ají amarillo (Peruvian yellow chilli) paste
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 4 Tbsp (60ml) macadamia oil
  • 1/2 cup (80g) finely chopped red onion
  • 500g white mushrooms
  • 1 Tbsp (15ml) olive oil
  • vegan mayonnaise (see below)
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 4g salt
  • 8 (20g) black (preferably botija) olives
  • 1 (65g) heart of palm

Vegan mayonnaise

  • 3/8 cup (50g) raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) avocado oil
  • 2 Tbsp (30ml) water
  • juice of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tsp (4ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
  • 1/4 tsp (1g) mustard powder

To serve

  • cherry tomatoes
  • lettuce

Directions

  1. Blend the mayonnaise ingredients.
  2. Place the chopped onion in a small bowl with the juice of 1 lime and season lightly with salt. Set aside to marinate while the potatoes cook.
  3. Cook and mash the potatoes, let cool down. Mix with chilli paste, juice of 3 limes, macadamia oil and salt.
  4. Slice mushrooms and sautée in olive oil. Let cool down, mix with mayonnaise (method below).
  5. Oil a ring mold. Press half of the mashed potato mixture into the bottom of the pan. Cover with the mushroom mixture in a smooth layer. Top with slices of avocado. Layer the other half of the potato mixture on top and smooth the potatoes with the back of a spoon. Top with slices of hard-boiled eggs and olives.
  6. Serve chilled with lettuce leaves and cherry tomatoes.