Tag Archives: gluten free

Wholefood Salt Caramel Slice ; Simply to die for, plus a Pureharvest giveaway

11 Sep

whole food salt caramel sliceWhen I was asked if I would be interested in receiving a hamper of goodies from Pureharvest I was pretty keen. Although not traditionally a super, mega organics shopper you know I am very aware of what I feed the family, and besides I’m not one to look an organic gift horse in the mouth when it comes to products I’m actually keen to sample.

In my pantry I already stock the Pureharvest Rice Malt Syrup as it’s a low GI, complex carbohydrate blend of glucose and maltose used as a sugar alternative. I like to mix up my sweeteners and Rice Malt Syrup is considered one of the gooduns.

The argument about fructose versus glucose is a valid debate, but I’m not going to be entering into it today. Partly because I’m not that sugar-free chick and partly because I have cracked a ‘healthy’ version of a caramel slice that’s to die for and I can’t wait to tell you that instead.

I’m just going to give you a disclaimer –


Now, where were we?


whole food salt caramel sliceI met founder, Don Lazarro, at ProBlogger and he told a story of how back in the late ’70s he had a health food store that sold mostly dried legumes and seeds.

In the early ’80s Don took a punt and bought 1000L of soy milk into Australia on a big, heavy pallet to try to sell in his shop. He had no idea if it would fly, but he thought a non-dairy milk alternative was a good idea.

It was better than a good idea. It was bloody brilliant.

I’m not a fan of soy milk for loads of reasons but I’ll tell you what- Pureharvest have cracked almond milk, rice milk and Coco Quench milk. I’ve been experimenting with them in my cooking – oatcakes, French toast, scrambled eggs have all had the Pureharvest treatment and I reckon it definitely adds something good. Nuttiness? Earthiness?

D Man has gone nuts for the CocoQuench on his cereal. It’s a cross between rice milk (made from brown rice) and coconut milk. Seriously bloody yummy with great nutritional benefits.

Late the other night I made a Coco Quench hot chocolate with organic cocoa, sweetened with rice malt syrup as an experiment. I went one step further and chucked in 2 marshmallows and a fat slug of whiskey. Not sure if that’s what Pureharvest had in mind however it rocked my socks.

Will I completely switch from cow’s to these alternatives?

No. But having options and mixing it up is something I love. Options.

Anyhoo, I’ve been ploughing my way through their products but I wanted to make a little something amazing as I do see a great trend towards gluten free, dairy free, sugar stuff…. don’t screw your face up, it can be even yummier than traditional baking. Give this a shot and tell me it’s not ALL THAT.

whole food salt caramel slice

What you will need : 

For base – 

  • 2 cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1/2 cup desiccated coconut
  • 2 heaped tablespoons cacao (or cocoa powder if that’s what you have)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran syrup
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 270ml tin coconut cream (I like Ayam brand as it’s pure)

For salt caramel – 

  • 140 ml coconut milk
  • 2.5 tablespoons rice malt syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • a big pinch of salt

For top – 

  • 2 squares of Lindt dark salt chocolate

What you will need to do :

Line a tin, I used 25 x 15, with baking paper.

Stick all of your ingredients for the base into a food processor and wazz it until it starts to stick together and clump.

Tip into your tray and press down with your fingers so it’s nice and even and then pop it in the fridge.

whole food salt caramel slicePop your ingredients for salt caramel into a saucepan on medium heat and bring to boil. Leave at a medium boil keeping an eye on it until it reduces, thickens and darkens to a rich caramel colour. About 20 mins.

whole food salt caramel slicePour immediately onto your chilled base, spreading it evenly, and using a microplane or the finest grater you can grate the salt chocolate over the top whilst it’s still hot and it will melt on contact.

whole food salt caramel sliceEnsure an even coverage and pop back into the fridge for an hour or so until all cooled.

Cut into pieces as large as you wish. It’s fairly rich so you don’t need much.

whole food salt caramel slice


Would you like some of this Pureharvest goodness for your very own?

They have offered for me to give one of my peeps a generous hamper like my own if you can just name this slice.

Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, no bake salt caramel slice is a bit of a mouthful in more ways than one.

Leave a comment on my Facebook page or right here to go in the running. Winner will be announced Wednesday 17th September.




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Cook Once, Feed All is about making your life easier whilst preparing nutritious and quick food for your family. Hailed by Mouths of Mums as the ‘must have recipe book for all families’, this book is a collection of family friendly recipes, all accompanied by stories from my life.

To order your hardcopy of Cook Once, Feed All head to the Holsby Shop right now.

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When life gives you lemons, make gluten- free Lemon Meringue Pie

6 Oct

lemon meringue pie ingredients

I can remember standing in our kitchen in Coffs Harbour when I was just a wee girl. At that time our kitchen was orange laminate and fake brown woodgrain linoleum on the floor. Interior design 1970’s Oz style.

I was standing in front of the wall mounted oven, on my tippy toes, (probably salivating onto the floor) trying to peer through the murky glass to see the mountain of cloud-white meringue that was inside. I knew that in just mere minutes, my mum would pull out a pie bursting with lemon curd and crumbly pastry topped with the soft, and crunchy meringue that I so adored.

I loved me some lemon meringue pie as a girl. It was my all time favorite.

lemonsAs I got into the full swing of my food nazism, that was the kind of stuff that was the first go. Too much sugar, too much butter, too much joy on a plate. It couldn’t have been good. I’ve learned as I got older that one piece of pie is not the undoing of the human body. It’s an accumulation of things over a day, day after day, after day.

Who ate all the pies?

Have you noticed heaps of wholefood treats out there lately? You no longer need to mindlessly reach for a packet of Tim Tams. You can make your own from raw and organic ingredients.

Except it’s never really quite the same. Let’s be honest.

Although reducing sugar and wheat is important, we also need to remember that substitution treats, are still not exactly salad. We’re reducing the intake of the shitty things, otherwise known as processed stuff and hidden numbers, and that’s awesome.

We are creatures geared towards hedonism enjoyment, and sweet food ticks all our boxes, and makes our brains go all pokie-machine-jackpot bells and whistles. We can substitute till the cows come home, but really sweet yummies are sweet yummies.

The body breaks down different sugars in different ways so some are ‘better’ than others, but if you eat a whole pie, it’s still a whole pie.

I read this great post yesterday, by the gorgeous Alexx Stuart, about mindful eating, which really resonated with me. I’m totally guilty of eating at my computer, and offering the kids food while they’re playing. Are you?

Food rant aside, I wanted to mess with my dear old friend, Lemon Meringue Pie, and mindfully scoff  savour as much of it as possible in one sitting.

More than anything this was a science experiment and this baby worked. It was everything a lemon meringue pie should be.

gluten free, sugar free pie crustThe issues I struggled with was getting the curd thick enough. The extra liquid from the maple syrup, and the lack of sugar messed with the chemistry, but I got there in the end. Also, it needs to be eaten immediately, because the meringue can’t hold the weight of the maple for too long and it weeps a little.

That said, it was still damned tasty the next day, just a little moist with maple goodness around the edges.

gluten free, sugar free lemon meringue pieWhat you will need :

For the base –

  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup sesame, sunflower, linseed and pine nut mix
  • 120g dates, pitted
  • 3 teaspoons coconut oil, or butter

For the lemon curd – 

  • 3 lemons, juice and finely grated rind only
  • 8 tablespoons cornflour
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 80 g unsalted butter

For the meringue – 

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • a pinch salt

What you will need to do :

Lightly grease a 30cm tart dish with removable base with butter or coconut oil.

Chuck all of your base ingredients into a food processor, and blitz until it forms a sticky paste. Press into your tart dish with wet hands, ensuring it goes up the sides a little.

Pop a saucepan with water onto the stove and place a heatproof bowl over the water creating a bain marie. Add your lemon zest and juice to bowl.

In a seperate bowl, add three tablespoons water to your corn flour and stir to combine. If it solidifies too much add another tablespoon of water until you can make it into a paste. Add to lemon juice and whisk well to combine.

Add one cup of water. This is where things got a little crazy for me. I stirred and stirred and stirred and it didn’t get thick enough, but after four years (prone to exaggeration) of stirring I added more corn flour. You guys should be fine with this quantity as I did the hard yards for you – You’re welcome.

So, stir until quite thick, it will need to be quite hot, and then add your egg yolks and you butter and keep stirring like  mo’fo to ensure your curd comes together smoothly. Keep on stirring until it’s quite thick, ie when you spoon a blob out it sits on top for a minute before joining the rest.

Put into the fridge to cool.

gluten free lemon meringue pie fillingWhen it’s cool, spoon into your pie base and spread evenly. In a clean, dry bowl, beat your egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form little peaks. Slowly, slowly add your maple syrup ensuring it’s well combined. Do not over beat or they will flop like, well, a floppy thing.

Spoon on top, using the back of your spoon to create peaks. You could pipe it on if you could be arsed, but I like it a little more rustic.

trusty blowtorchTo brown the top, I used my trusty blow torch, which I recommend everyone owns, but if not you could pop it under a grill for a few minutes to brown. The grill will melt your base, however, so you’ll need to pop it back in the fridge for a minute.

I recommend you eat immediately to stop any maple weepage. Eat it all. Eat the whole pie.

Just be sure to savour it.

gluten free lemon meringue pie






I’m hooking this recipe up as part of this month’s Our Growing Edge monthly blogging food extravaganza with Bunny Eats Design and Nom Nom Cat. Check out more about Our Growing Edge here.

If you liked this post be sure to like my Facebook page or follow my twit twaddle @theholsbys to ensure you can always keep up with the Holsbys.

Mad Cow and Gluten-Free Chocolate Biscuits

23 Apr

I wasn’t planning on blogging these tasty little morsels but, after I bragged about them on Facebook on Saturday, I was asked for the recipe.

I was stuck in the house on a torrentially wet day. It was the kind of day you wonder if you should crack out the Paddle Pop sticks and start building an Ark, but my glue gun is AWOL and GluStick was never gonna cut that shit.

D Man had had a bad night with a fever and I thought an early morning dose of Panadol was a wise move.

Au contraire, mon petite chou fleurs.

His morning milk curdled and my Big Gay Salmon (official colour title) couch was the recipient of a candy-pink Linda Blair special. Of course, I felt for him, but I also felt for the BGS couch, oh, and my hair. Once it’s in your hair you’re smelling da vom-vom all damn day.

sick d manHe dozed on and off for hours, with his fever ebbing and flowing. He’d pop his head up for a few minutes, like a little blonde meer cat, then rest it back down as if it was too heavy for his neck.

It really breaks your heart when they’re poorly.

My head goes to all kinds of weird places thinking it’s some horrible exotic disease, rather than some 24 hr bug. Maybe the fever will give him brain damage or spark epilepsy, or, or, or any one of many other horrible fates…I’m a rather dramatic type.

As sad as it was to see my external heart ailing on the sofa, it was nice to have a few moments of peace.

Straight to hell, me.

I needed distraction. There was only one thing for it.


Not for him. He was sick.

For me.

After a couple of abysmal false starts, I’m really enjoying experimenting with coconut flour.
It definitely has a slightly cakey consistency but I can work with that.

Coconut flour is very high fibre so needs more liquid, and you use much less of it than you would wheat four…..which is lucky because it ain’t the most economical of flours. It does last quite well, however, as you actually use about a quarter as much as normal flour. That said, you don’t cook with it like normal flour at all.

It will never make an awesome crusty sourdough (I discovered it kind of ferments in the process and goes somewhat boozy smelling and bubbly – could be my get  rich quick scheme? Boozy bread), but it can make for some interesting and healthy baked goods.

I’m learning that the fats in coconut oil and coconut flour can actually aid in weight loss. The medium chain triglycerides are digested differently than other fats. I won’t bang on about it, but if you’re interested, read about it. I’m not actually trying to lose weight, but many people would contest that coconuts are full of fat.

It’s good fat, that’s all.

These chocolate biscuits cheered me up no end. All thoughts of childhood disease were banished.  In fact, the reason there’s only one in the picture is because it’s the last one left… I needed to be sure I banished them bad thoughts good.

gluten free, guilt free chocolate biscuit

What you will need :

  • 1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, plus 15 drops of stevia (if you’re not watching your sugar, use 1/3 cup sugar)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour, whisk it separately in a bowl to remove lumps first.
  • a few cheeky dark chocolate chips if you’re so inclined

What you need to do:

Preheat oven to 175C

In a saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Remove and leave to cool.

In a bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla, and stir in your cocoa mixture. Whisk your coconut flour in ensuring there are no lumps.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes, it will thicken and puff slightly as the flour absorbs the liquid.

Add choc chips now if you’re going to.

Drop teaspoon sized dollops onto baking paper on a tray and whack in the oven for 14-15 minutes. Makes about 16-18 cookies.

Store in the fridge.

Easy, ready in 20, and yummy! The recipe was courtesy of the Bruce Fife, N.D. Cooking With Coconut Flour Book.

It turns out that we do have something a little bit exotic, if you like a little farmyard with your childhood illness.

Hand, foot and mouth disease.

Just the words make me think of Mad Cows going crazy and eating each other.
Apparently, it’s super common in kids, and highly contagious.

After my blues last week, I’d filled my week this week with great, fun, nurturing outings for us, but now we are sentenced to a week of quarantine.

That should lift my spirits.

Better make some more biscuits….. think this calls for some real ones, no?

Are you a comfort eater?

Eat to live or live to eat?


Hooking up with the fabbo Jess, for Ibot. Head to EssentiallyJess for some more blog love.

Food Philosophy and Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Prawns

3 Apr

gnocchi ingredientsThere’s been a little dietary shake-up at the Holsby Bar and Grill.

My Facebook friends would have seen that after a tumultuous year of illness, I’m trying a stint of no wheat and no sugar because there is some evidence that perhaps these things are not great for the human body.

Such blasphemy.

Many people have exulted at the news and kindly send me websites and recipes with substitutes and sweet treats that are actually great for you… if you like that kind of thing.

I’m sceptical about whipping up an avocado and pretending it’s chocolate mousse, and biscuits made from chick peas and mashed banana tasting like TimTams, but I’ve agreed to give this thing a whirl.

I could use this time to cleanse my body from carbs and treats, but that’s really not my style. Instead, I’m getting creative. I’m discovering ways that I can still make my treats using different products.

potato in the ricer for gnocchi

My philosophy has always been that cooking your family’s food from scratch is the way forward. I still believe that baking your family’s biscuits and slices is a million times better than buying packets of stuff.
I’m now experimenting with different flours, and natural sweeteners that are better for you than sugar. Coconut flour, sweetened with fruit puree – still not a TimTam, but you know, it’s pretty good.

Use what YOU want to use. Use my recipes as a guide.

I’m not turning ethno-bongo-paleo-tastic, I’m just trying something different for a few weeks to see if it does make a difference to my wellness, because I’m sick of my illness.

Do we as a society consume too much wheat?


Are we as a society addicted to sugar?


If you are interested in finding more out about what the effects of these things have on your body, google it. This is not that blog so I’m not going to bang on about it.

I think the biggest thing to remember is variety. Some wheat is ok, but if you’re eating half a loaf of bread for breakfast, sandwiches or noodles for lunch, muffins for snacks and pasta for dinner, then you’re consuming too much.
Not pointing any fingers, certainly not at any triathletes I may or may not know.

I promise to blog the Easter gluten-free orange cake with sugar-free ganache that was such a hit on Facebook. I don’t want anyone to worry about my calorific intake.

Speaking of calories, I finally made gnocchi.

rolling and cutting gnocchi

I saw a Maggie Beer recipe that I wanted to try so I used that but replaced the wheat flour with gluten-free rice and corn flours. It worked fine and was supremely yummy… probably had something to do with the large amounts of butter in the buerre noisette sauce.


My mum was here to eat it and she agreed that my gnocchi was a much greater success than hers, then she reiterated that until I cooked a goose I could not touch her crown.

Gauntlet was officially thrown.
If you see me with a cross-bow at Centennial Park, give me a wave.

Yield – 4 adults

What you will need :

  • 750g waxy potatoes, scrubbed. I used Dutch Cream but you can use Nicola.
  • 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 125g plain flour (gluten free if you want to be cool like me)
  • 170g cold unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 1/3 verjuice
  • 40 sage leaves (about one bunch)
  • extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
  • 16 raw king prawns or yabbies
  • sea salt and cracked pepper

gnocchi finishedWhat you need to do – 

Steam unpeeled potatoes until cooked through (about 30mins) but not palling afart. Pop aside until cool enough to handle, then slide their skins off. Press hot potatoes through the potato ricer over a bowl, then add eggs and salt.
Spread flour into a rectangular shape on the counter and spread your potato mix over it. Quickly mix it using a cutting motion with a pastry scraper or flat edged knife. When it comes together to form a dough, give it a little squeezey love with your hands but resist the urge to knead.

Divide into quarters and rolls into a sausage about 2.5cm wide. Cut off 1.5cm chunks and gently press with a fork to leave an indentation that gathers sauce.

Preheat oven to 200C

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, and in batches cook your gnocchi until it rises to the top and floats. Mine took about a minute or so. Drain well and transfer to a flat dish.

Place 150g butter and sage into a large flat baking dish. You want a single layer so a big roasting tray or large lasagne dish works well. Bake butter for 5 mins or until sage starts to cook and go all fragrant and yummy.

Increase oven temp to 230C. Transfer poached gnocchi to your melted butter tray and bake for 5 minutes. Flip or turn each gnocchi with tongs, then drizzle 1/4 cup verjuice over the lot, before popping back into the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining butter in a pan woth a splash of olive oil until the butter goes nut brown. Reduce heat and quickly cook your prawns until pink each side and just cooked through.

Season and deglaze pan with remaining verjuice. Place this lot into your buttery gnocchi goodness and give a toss.

Serve immediately.

gluten free gnocchi with prawns

I’ve been wanting to try gnocchi for ages, but kept putting it off, so I reckon it’s perfect top hook up with my homegirl, G, at Bunny Eats Design for this month’s Our Growing Edge.



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