Saturday, 25 April 2015

Baked apples with an oaty crumble stuffing

It's getting to that time of year again where I crave warming wholesome desserts. And while traditional apple crumble may be a little heavy handed on the sugar and butter and a little lacking on the apples, these baked apple crumbles are anything but. Individual half apples, baked, with an oat and almond crumble filling piled high and served with my low sugar creamy vanilla custard (see my profiterole post for the recipe), these are full of fibre and protein and are 1/2 a serve of fruit each. 

Note: you can prepare the crumble filling ahead of time, but once baked, these are best eaten straight out of the oven!

Baked apples with an oaty crumble stuffing

3 green or red apples, halved horizontally with the core scooped out
Juice of 2 lemons
¾ C rolled oats
½ C almond meal
¼ C plain wholemeal flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp linseeds
1 heaped Tbsp chopped almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp butter/margarine 
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Drizzle cut apple surfaces with lemon juice to prevent them turning brown. Place into a baking dish with 2cm of water and set aside.
  3. Combine oats, almond meal, wholemeal flour, brown sugar, linseeds, chopped almonds and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add butter/margarine and rub with your fingertips to form a crumble.
  4. Divide crumble mixture amongst apple halves, spooning into hole and piling up on top. You may have to press the mixture down so it all fits and doesn’t just fall off.
  5. Bake apples for 30 minutes or until apples are soft and crumble is golden brown.
  6. Serve with custard or ice-cream.
      Serves 6.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Product Review: Oats + Chia Apple Spice

We're heading into the cooler months, when porridge sales increase 10-fold (I'm just making that up, but surely it's a lot right?). And when you decide it's time to make the warming switch, there'll be one extra brand to choose from. The Chia Co are now making oats! Plus chia of course

I decided to put it to the test on a recent overnight work trip, and there were 3 main things I was looking for: convenience, nutrition and (most importantly) taste! So how did it fare?


Oats + Chia come in a small foil-lined sachet with instructions to either add cold water and microwave or add boiling water and let sit for a minute (literally one). Being that I was in a hotel room with no microwave and only a kettle, I went for the second option. And it worked really well! I poured the Oats + Chia into a mug, added the boiling water, waited and stirred. Super quick and simple and perfect for travel times like these (or early morning dashes out the door!).

One drawback? The price. A pack of five will set you back $7.30 compared to a 12-pack of Uncle Toby's quick oat sachets for just $4.00. A lot of this will be due to expensive ingredients though, including the chia and coconut oil. 


Chia + Oats contain maple sugar, dried apple, virgin coconut oil and spices along with the main stars oats and chia seeds. Now, while I can applaud the short (and identifiable) ingredients list, I'm not sure why you'd need coconut oil (or any type of fat for that matter) in a porridge? It doesn't have a manufacturing purpose that I'm aware of, and I certainly couldn't taste it, but it does significantly add to the saturated fat content.

On the plus side, this new porridge is a great source of fibre (6.1g or 25% of your RDI per serve), has a reasonable sugar content (given it is 10% apple) and some omega-3 ALA (from the chia). But I'd probably want to have it with some yoghurt or milk for a bit of calcium and extra protein to balance it out for brekky.


I sampled the apple spice flavour, which certainly lived up to its name. There was plenty of nice large apple pieces and lots of spice! While a combination of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, the main standout flavour was the ginger. A bit different to the standard apple cinnamon flavours you normally see, but I couldn't help but feel like I was eating a ginger nut biscuit in porridge form!

The final word?

Not a bad option when it comes to quick and satisfying winter breakfasts and certainly flavoursome, but I'd probably save the sachets for work trips and stick to my own home made version of oats and chia porridge on a day-to-day basis to save some dough and cut the oil.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Ginger-lime chicken lettuce wraps with coconut rice noodles

When I was in Hawaii earlier this year I had this great meal. So fresh, so light, and so flavoursome! It was like a version of tacos (just as messy too!) but using Asian inspired flavours: ginger, lime, chilli and coconut. And of course I had to recreate it. 

Rice noodles are great because they cook quickly, but they also take on whatever flavour you cook them in, which is why cooking them in coconut milk really gave them a life of their own. I served these with the chicken and rice noodles hot, which is a good contrast to the cold bean sprouts, carrot and of course lettuce! The dipping sauce adds some spice and is based on a Donna Hay dipping sauce recipe (but with a lot less sugar!). Enjoy sharing this one for your next family meal...

Ginger-lime chicken lettuce wraps with coconut rice noodles

1 cos lettuce, leaves rinsed and separated
125g rice noodles
375g tin coconut milk or coconut flavoured evaporated milk
1 C water
2 chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
2 large handfuls bean sprouts
2 medium carrots, grated or finely sliced

Chilli and ginger dipping sauce:
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and shredded
1 long red chilli, deseeded and shredded
1 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp castor sugar
1/3 C water

  1.  Combine minced ginger, garlic and lime juice in a large non-metallic bowl. Add chicken breasts and toss to coat. Cover with cling film and put in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.
  2.  Make dipping sauce: add all ingredients into a small saucepan and place over medium heat, stirring, for 3-5 minutes, until sugar is dissolved and the flavour of the chilli and ginger permeates through the sauce. Refrigerate until needed.
  3.  Cook chicken in a large frypan over medium-high heat until golden brown and cooked through. Remove from pan and slice into thin strips.
  4.  Meanwhile, heat coconut milk and water in a medium saucepan until just boiled, add rice noodles and reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes or until noodles are cooked. Drain.
  5.  Serve lettuce leaves with grated carrot, bean sprouts, coconut rice noodles and marinated chicken, to roll into wraps and dip into dipping sauce.

Serves 4 (3-4 'wraps' each).