Browsing Tag

dairy free

Lord of the Fries, Sydney

Reviews September 1, 2013

Amongst much hype, the popular Melbourne franchise “Lord of the Fries” has finally opened its doors to the public in Sydney and quite a frenzy has ensued! With lines up to an hour long, Sydney-siders have been queueing like crazy to get a taste of their famous fries.  Lord of the Fries is completely vegetarian (all their burger/hotdog patties are meat free) and is also vegan and gluten free friendly, which is fantastic news for allergy-sufferers of gluten and dairy as well as vegans and vegetarians alike. The menu  is stuffed with all kinds of tempting sauces including spicy mango chutney with sour cream to belgian mayo, thai satay and onion and who could go past the poutine-esque French Canadian sauce (shredded cheese and hot gravy?!).

With all the hype surrounding LOTF, I couldn’t resist a visit and soon! About a week or so after it opened, I managed to end up there on a Tuesday evening (good time to go, wait lines were much shorter – we only waited about 5 minutes!) to sample the fries for myself.

The Story (Lord of the Fries)

The idea behind Lord of the Fries began over late night snack excursions early in 2004. Mandy (Toronto) and Mark (Melbourne) met while living in Taiwan (Tainan). Their love for fries drew them closer, and their disdain for nasty frozen chemical fries inspired them to create the perfect fry.

They wanted fresh potatoes, thick but not too thick, crispy but not too crunchy, delicious and saucy, the mission began.

It was the beginning of a fast food revolution.

Landing in Melbourne in August, 2004, they decided to take the best fries you will ever try to the people! What better way than a mobile chip van now all they needed was a name.

This is where Sam (Mark’s brother) comes sizzling into the story. Being a creative wiz, he crowned the venture LORD OF THE FRIES.

The Lord was born!!

The van was on the road by October and they were traveling around the country serving up golden, crunchy, fries in a cone, with home-made sauces all inspired by flavours found across the globe. The people rejoiced!

Finally a fry that was NOT drowned in beef tallow and juiced up with gluten; NOT cooked in the cheapest oil money can buy; NOT smothered in watered down tomato sauce and sitting in a bain-marie since the beginning of time.

East LA. Hot Cheese Sauce, Salsa and Japalenos
Regular fries ($4.95) + Deluxe Sauce ($2.50)

The cheesy sauce in this East LA sauce really went nicely with the salsa and fries and was surprisingly more spicy than we expected.

French Canadian. Shredded Cheese and Hot Gravy
Regular fries ($4.95) + Deluxe Sauce ($2.50)

This was definitely the winning sauce of the evening – with a super tasty gravy and melted cheese coating the crispy fries. I was excited to have my first taste of what was closest to famous Canadian poutine, which I believe is more traditionally served with softer cheese curds rather than the shredded harder cheese that we had with this version.

Mini Burger $4.95

The perfect little snack burger goes well with their regular serving of fries for a good sized lady lunch!

I enjoyed the fries at LOTF and think it’s worth trying for those who appreciate a good chip! It’s great news for allergen sufferers and vegetarians/vegans who I don’t feel have very many franchises that cater for them specifically, especially not smack bang in the CBD. I probably wouldn’t queue up for them for over an hour, but they are a tasty treat that I would return for, especially the cheese and gravy sauced ones. I really want to give those sweet potato fries a try!

Lord of the Fries on Urbanspoon

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Basic Baked Doughnuts (dairy-free friendly)

Recipes June 23, 2013

I absolutely love doughnuts. I mean, who doesn’t? As a child, they were never something that my parents indulged in frequently but on the rare occasion, my mum would buy the cinnamon ones from Coles where I developed the unsurprising power to make a good handful disappear in not much time at all.

Nowadays, I have a love-hate relationship with doughnuts. I love how they taste but their high calorie count makes me (slightly) more hesitant to scoff quite so many as I did in my childhood. On a day-to-day basis, I generally stare lovingly at doughnuts behind the glass counters at Gloria Jeans, or even the slightly sad looking Krispy Kremes sold at my closest 7/11 whenever I go to fill up on petrol. Some days I find it extremely tempting to buy a deep fryer (homemade fried chicken! homemade doughnuts!?!?! homemade fries!!!) but I know I probably wouldn’t have enough self control to not deep-fry myself straight to the hospital. So you can probably imagine how happy I was to discover a six-ring doughnut pan at Peter’s of Kensington last Friday for only $15. Baked doughnuts definitely seem ‘healthier’ than their fried counterparts and, hey, I can put whatever I like in them!

Okay, full disclosure. I may or may not have made these doughnuts three times in one weekend. They are incredibly moreish but, more to the point, they’re so easy to make. 1 cup of self raising flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of milk and one egg, some oil and basic spices – I mean these are super cheap ingredients that most people are pretty much guaranteed to have on hand almost all the time. Plus, the batter is a snap to put together and they bake in about 15 minutes or less. That’s right, you could have piping hot fresh doughnuts in only 20 minutes! The only thing I will mention is that these aren’t as doughy and soft like fried doughnuts – they have more of a cakelike texture but, covered in glaze, they are still pretty easy to put away!

I am super excited to try out new doughnut variations armed with this doughnut pan – gluten free, sugar free, vegan, and of course there will be a couple of decadent versions to try as well.. I”m thinking: dulce du leche doughnuts, coconut doughnuts, white chocolate macadamia doughnuts, maybe choc orange doughnuts? Mmmm, possibilities!

Mix wet ingredients with dry to form the batter.

Spoon doughnut batter into tin and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

And now for the fun part, coating them in sugary goodness!

You can try coating them in a simple glaze (Krispy Kreme style).

Or try the classic cinnamon doughnut (toss them in a mixture of caster sugar with a few dashes of ground cinnamon).

Basic Doughnuts

Dairy free, nut free

Makes: 6 doughnuts
Time to prepare: 5 minutes to make batter, 15 minutes to bake

Basic Doughnuts

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 a cup milk (I used soy milk but feel free to use whatever you have on hand)
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar (to sour your milk to turn it into buttermilk. I’ve only successfully used this with cow and soy milk, so unsure of results on almond, rice, etc. If you just have those on hand, I would recommend skipping the vinegar step.) If you have buttermilk on hand, you could of course use this in place of the milk/vinegar mixture.
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon oil (or melted butter or vegan butter such as Nutellex. I used macadamia oil, but you could use another mild flavoured oil such as soy bean or rice bran)
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of nutmeg (optional)

Simple glaze

  • 1 tablespoon of butter, melted (I used Nutellex)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon of milk of choice, or water

Mix all ingredients together until it forms a thin icing. If you prefer a thicker consistency, add more sifted icing sugar. For a thinner consistency, add more milk/water. Dip (or double dip!) doughnuts into glaze and place on a plate and allow the icing to set.

Cinnamon sugar

  • 2 tablespoons of butter, melted (I used Nutellex)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Brush cooled doughnuts with melted butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and dip in doughnuts. Serve.

Equipment needed: one bowl, one wooden spoon and one doughnut pan (I used a six doughnut pan by Wilton)


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and grease doughnut pan so it is ready for the batter (I used oil, you could use melted butter/non dairy spread.)
  2. Sift flour into your bowl and add sugar, salt and nutmeg if using.
  3. In a small jug, add your milk of choice, then vinegar and allow to stand for about 20-30 seconds. Crack egg in and beat into milk mixture. Add oil/melted butter to milk mixture.
  4. Pour in your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until completely mixed together.
  5. Spoon doughnut batter into tin and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden and the doughnut springs back to touch.
  6. Allow doughnuts to cool before adorning with frosting, dipping into glazes or rolling in cinnamon sugar. Enjoy!

This recipe doubles or triples nicely, but I only made enough batter to fill my doughnut pan once.

These doughnuts are incredibly versatile. You could sift in a few tablespoons of cocoa powder into the dry ingredients to make chocolate doughnuts, or you could add chopped nuts, or chocolate chips to the batter as well. Why not try adding a couple spoonfuls of grated zest from lemons, limes, or oranges to the batter to give it a bit of zing? You can also go nuts with the toppings – try dipping your doughnuts in chocolate ganache, then in crushed nuts? Or dip them into salted caramel or a cream cheese frosting? The possibilities are endless!

I attempted to make chocolate peanut butter fudge to sell at the Cake Sale vs Bake Stall, but it didn’t set, so I melted it down and dipped the doughnuts in the melted fudge to frost them in and they turned out not too bad! I will definitely try to adapt an easier version of this recipe to make again soon (instead of making fudge to melt!).

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Raspberry and Coconut Marshmallow Slice

Recipes April 5, 2013

Hello from Tokyo!

I hope you are all doing well. What’s the weather like in Sydney? I’ve heard its been a bit rainy, so I hope you’ve all been keeping warm indoors! (and hopefully snuggling up to a hot chocolate.)

It’s been raining a little bit here but yesterday and today had the sun peeking out which gave me a good opportunity to check out some beautiful cherry blossoms around Tokyo.

While I’m over here, I thought I’d share a quick recipe I tried out not too long ago – something to help me satisfy my sugar cravings without using butter, cream, milk, yoghurt or wheat flour in a quick and easy recipe that doesn’t take long or use up a lot of ingredients (yep, that’s me!)

This is basically your marshmallow rice crispy slice, but I also used raspberry marshmallows and added some dessicated coconut for extra texture and flavour that I think turned out pretty well. I also managed to demolish the entire thing (shamefully without that much help) in a few days (so wrong but so right). I really love the chewy texture of the marshmallows and the crunch of the rice bubbles, especially with the raspberry and coconut flavour. Hope you enjoy this easy gluten and dairy free snack as much as I did!

Raspberry and Coconut Marshmallow Slice


Serves: 6-8 people (depending on how many slices you want and how big you make them.)
Time to prepare: About 15 minutes to prep and 2-3 hours to set in the fridge

Raspberry and Marshmallow Slice

  • 250 grams raspberry and vanilla marshmallows (I used one bag of Pascall Marshmallows from Coles)
  • 3 tablespoons of butter (I used Nuttelex)
  • 1/2 cup of dessicated coconut
  • 4 cups of rice bubbles

Equipment needed: 1 medium size saucepan, wooden spoon, lined brownie/cake tin


  1. Melt together marshmallows and butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no more marshmallowy lumps and the mixture is smooth.
  2. Add dessicated coconut and rice bubbles and stir until rice bubbles are thoroughly coated with the marshmallow mixture.
  3. Press rice bubble mixture into a lined brownie or medium size square (or round if you like) cake tin and refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
  4. Cut into pieces with a sharp knife and serve. Keep refrigerated. Enjoy!


While I’m here, I thought I’d share a few holiday snaps of our trip (some of which you may have seen on my Instagram or Facebook page.)

The cherry blossom season has been absolutely magnificent this year. I can’t get over these beautiful trees and have been going mad snapping photos of them!

A pretty pond at Shinjukugyoen

We discovered bunny cafes in Tokyo! Will definitely be posting more about this later! How cute are they!?

Hope you all had a wonderful chocolatey-stuffed Easter and are having a relaxing (and shorter!) week.


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Star Wars Coconut Pancakes with Lime Coconut Caramel Sauce

Recipes March 15, 2013

Wahey! Only 14 days left until my trip to Singapore/Japan and I cannot waiiit! I am hoping for some serious cherry blossom action to meet me while I’m over there! I hope you’re looking forward to a flurry of Japanese posts when I get back because I plan to get writing with all the things we see and do!

It wasn’t too long ago that my bf received these adorable Star Wars pancake molds as a birthday gift from a close friend and what better excuse on the weekend to whip up a batch of pancakes to give these a try?

I must admit I botched a few pancakes on my first few goes so it took a little practice, but after some trial and error, it wasn’t too hard to get the pancakes out of the molds. I will give you two pieces of advice should you want to make these though, number one being always oil the pan before adding batter for each new pancake. A teaspoon or so of oil should do it each time. The second piece of advice I will give you is to use a butter knife to help ease the cooked pancake out of the mold – they have a tendency to tear, but if you’re gentle, you should have a well formed pancake to pop out.

The pack actually came with three molds – one storm trooper, one of Darth Vader and also one of Yoda, but I found that even my largest pan couldn’t fit the Yoda mold.. so sorry, no Yoda pancakes this time around! I’ll need a griddle or super large pan to make that one I think!

Ever since going dairy free lately, I have become slightly obsessed with using coconut milk/cream in my everyday recipes to replace that creamy flavour from cream and milk (maybe I should change my blog name to Coconut Crusade?) and these coconut pancakes from fit the bill very nicely!

Unfortunately these pancakes are not gluten free. I have been experimenting with gluten and manged to eat a couple of these pancakes without too heavy consequences (hooray!) and will try and experiment with myself a bit more. I have tried box mix buckwheat pancakes (Organ brand) but they weren’t too great – kind of cardboardy and with a not awesome texture. Might need to do a bit of experimentation on that front, but this time around, self raising flour did the job pretty well.

These pancakes are very moreish with that great coconut flavour from the coconut cream and dessicated coconut (which also gives it a nice texture). You could try eating these with maple syrup, powdered sugar and freshly squeezed lime juice, lime curd or wherever your imagination takes you! If you don’t have the Star Wars molds, just try cook the batter as you would do your regular pancakes – they will still turn out great!


Coconut Pancakes with Lime Coconut Caramel Sauce (dairy free) pancake recipe from, lime coconut caramel sauce by

Serves: 3-4 people
Time to prepare
: About 10 minutes to prep. I chilled my batter in the fridge overnight but you could do this for just 20 minutes or less

Coconut Pancakes

  • 1 cup self raising flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (or grated palm sugar)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dessicated coconut (If I had a bit more time, I would have liked to toast this before adding to the batter)
  • Butter OR vegan margarine OR rice bran oil OR coconut oil (you decide!) to fry pancakes in

Lime Coconut Caramel Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons kaya or coconut jam (I bought my jar of coconut jam from a Filipino grocery store)
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk

Equipment needed: 1 large bowl and wooden spoon for the pancakes, a pouring jug, 1 fry pan and a spatula and one small microwave safe bowl for the sauce


  1. Combine flour, sugar and dessicated coconut in a large bowl and mix to combine. Add coconut milk and crack in eggs and stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into a jug, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes or overnight to be ready for breakfast in the morning.
  2. Heat a large fry pan over high heat and add your choice of butter, oil, etc. Place your Star Wars pancake mould (or not) into the hot fry pan and swirl with oil (others have suggested also spraying the moulds with oil prior to placing in the pan). Turn heat down to medium, erring on medium low and pour the batter into your mould. Allow to cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until there are plenty of bubbles on the surface and the batter pulls away from the edges of the mould.
  3. Gently ease the pancake out of the mould with the assistance of a butter knife, remove mould and flip pancake. Fry for about 1-2 minutes or until cooked in the middle and well browned on either side.
  4. For the lime coconut sauce, simply combine all ingredients in a small microwave safe bowl and microwave on ten second bursts. Stir well until combined and drizzle over pancakes. If your sauce is too thin, you might like to thicken it with a paste of cornflour/water and reheat in the microwave until you reach your desired consistency (but this is of course optional).

These Star Wars pancake moulds are made by Williams Sonoma. For my US readers, you can find these pancake moulds here on (unfortunately they do not ship these to Australia). For Aussies, I would recommend typing in “Star Wars Pancake Molds” into eBay – I found a few when I last checked it out – you should be able to find them on there. Otherwise it seems tricky to buy them in-stores! If anyone sees them please let me know and I will update this post!

Hope you are having a very happy Friday – the weekend is very nearly upon us and that can only ever be a good thing!

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Dairy Free Lime Cheesecake

Recipes February 18, 2013

On my latest adventures in ‘no gluten or dairy’ land (see here to read more), I came up with this dessert gem. I’d often seen Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ in the cold section in supermarkets, but dismissed it as being one of those tofu replacements that tasted, well, kind of awful. Not to mention the price – almost double what I would normally pay for cream cheese.

Well, I decided to give it a try, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The texture is pretty much exactly the same as cream cheese and it tastes very similar, without a soy or tofu-like aftertaste. I was very impressed and tried it out with my vegan mushroom pâté and it worked out really well. I am looking forward to trying it out in new recipes – definitely more cheesecake flavours. Maybe even some frozen cheesecake pops? Cream cheese frosting?! The possibilities are endless!

I had a jar of American marshmallow cream sitting in my cupboard waiting to be experimented with and wondered how it would go when combined with Tofutti and lime juice and it was a surprisingly delicious and easy to make filling. 

For the cheesecake crust, I wanted to go with something gluten free without compromising on flavour. Why avoid the gluten? Well I’ve been having a few digestive issues lately and gluten doesn’t seem to help, plus experimenting with gluten free foods is always a fun challenge! I wanted something biscuit-y tasting but without the gluten. Enter roasted almond meal mixed with coconut oil – it tasted soo biscuit base-like, your guests really will never be able to tell the difference 😉 I also added some vanilla bean paste to give it some extra flavour, yum! I was really surprised how similar this tasted to regular cheesecake bases. 

In future, I’ve love to experiment with making this the more traditional cheesecake route, pressing the crust into a pie pan and filling like a tart, but for small dinner parties, the deconstructed look in pretty glasses works well and is incredibly easy to put together. I was really amazed how much these tasted like ‘real’ cheesecakes as well, I could barely taste the difference! So rejoice, gluten and dairy free foodies, there is still cheesecake-y hope for the future! 😉 

Lime Cheesecake with Vanilla Almond Crust (100% gluten and dairy free!!) an original recipe by Cooking Crusade

Serves: 5 (I half-filled 5 drinking glasses)
Time to prepare
: About 10 minutes to prep and at least 2 hours to chill in the fridge

Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 x 227g tubs Tofutti cream cheese (or regular cream cheese if you like)
  • about 1 cup of marshmallow fluff (I used a 7oz container I found at the Reject Shop)*
  • zest and juice of two limes
  • 1.5 teaspoons of agar agar, dissolved in cold water (optional) I think it would still set pretty well without this. This was more of a ‘just in case’ measure
  • 1 lime, sliced, to decorate (optional)

Vanilla Almond Crust

  • 1 cup roast almond meal (I used Lucky Nuts)
  • 1.5 T coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Equipment needed: Chopping board, sharp knife, a food processor/blender, 5 decorative cups or dessert glasses to serve in


  1. Place cream cheese, marshmallow creme and zest/juice of limes into food processor and blend. Add dissolved agar agar (if using) and blend again until creamy.
  2. To make crust, mix together all vanilla crust ingredients in a bowl and stir until fully combined.
  3. Place 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each glass and press down with the back of a spoon. Divide cream cheese mixture among glasses equally and top with another tablespoon of vanilla crust. Add sliced lime to decorate and chill in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Serve and enjoy! There, wasn’t that easy?!

If you don’t have marshmallow creme, don’t despair! It’s quite easy to make (from what I’ve seen online anyway – I haven’t tried it yet) – it seems like it’s basically a meringue made with egg white, sugar and corn syrup. I reckon this would probably work well without the corn syrup as well. Here’s a great recipe for a handy guide.

If you’re not averse to using gluten/dairy in your cooking, then I’m sure that using regular cream cheese and/or replacing the almond meal with crushed bikkies would also work a treat, but give this is a try anyway as I think you may be pleasantly surprised! Additionally, Tofutti cream cheese has lower fat content than regular cream cheese, making this dessert a good alternative for those trying to cut a few calories.

Hope you all had a super relaxing weekend full of lovely sleep and incredibly delicious food and are looking forward to the week ahead, I know I am !


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Vegan Mushroom Pâté

Recipes January 21, 2013

I have a bit of a confession to make.

I used to be a bit of a mushroom-hater. I have a vague recollection of eating something mushroomy as a child and enjoying it, but for the greater part of my childhood/teen life mushrooms, for me, were not an option. Family and friends would go out of their way to make sure shared dinners didn’t include them – and I avoided them like the plague. I think it was the texture and the taste I disliked so much.

It wasn’t until I was about 22 and traveling through Japan that I remember the change taking place. I was visiting a friend who lived in Osaka who made me a big bowl of steaming vegetarian nabe (Japanese soup) on my first night at his place. He added a handful of sliced Japanese mushrooms to the broth. They didn’t look too bad and smelled great… Suddenly all my mushroom reservations fell away. I took a tentative bite and was completely hooked. It opened up the world of mushrooms to me and I loved it. Suddenly cup mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms and portobello mushrooms were brand new friends and thus my love affair with mushrooms was born.

I still remember the surprise on my best friend’s face when, cooking dinner at her house after that trip, I insisted we add mushrooms to the stir fry we were preparing. “What, really?” she said, with big eyes. “Yes, REALLY,” I replied. From then, I was mushroom-obsessed. They literally could not go into enough of my meals. I was just so excited to finally try all these mushroom-related recipes I had avoided before, as well discovering that mushrooms added a wonderful flavour to so many of my regular go-to recipes such as stir fries, pastas, omelettes and so much more!

It’s funny how much a simple trip overseas has the ability to change a person. That five week trip to Japan was my first real adult trip without my parents and it really opened my eyes to a whole lot of things, especially food. I fell in love with not only mushrooms, but also avocado, feta as well as mochi and curry udon (two of my biggest food-loves).

I could gush on and on all day about how much I love Japanese food and travelling there, but if you like, you can take a read a bit more on my post all about that by clicking here. I’m sure I’ll write something similar after my cherry blossom trip there in a few short months too!

Anyway, back on track and back to the Mushroom Pâté!

Australia Day is coming up and everyone knows that means BBQs-a-plenty and lots of family get-togethers! I find that I’m often asked to bring appetisers to parties so I tried to come up with a recipe that’s low in fat and incredibly delicious that everyone can enjoy, including those with common allergies and vegans.

After a bit of thought, I came up with this Mushroom Pâté recipe, and the good news is that it’s totally simple to put together. Why not whip up a batch of it this Australia Day and try something a little different from the dips and pâtés you would normally pick up from your local grocery shop this summer? It’s much fresher and better for you, without all the hidden nasties and preservatives you often find in those packaged dips!

Now, on to the recipe!

Start out with a bounty of baby bellas.

Slice ’em up and whack them into a pan with already-sautéed garlic and onion. After a minute or so, add the pan lid and cook on high for about 5 mins.

After about five minutes on high with the lid on it should look something like this and have developed some liquid. Some recipes opt to add some flour to thicken it at this stage but I didn’t feel it necessary. If yours develops quite a bit of liquid, I would recommend adding about a teaspoon of corn flour (dissolved in water to avoid lumps.) By the way, it was so hard not to eat the mushrooms just like this – especially on a piece of crusty bread. Bliss!!

After a few more minutes – this is about the final stage I wanted them at before cooling in the fridge – a good part of the liquid has evaporated, but you do want a little bit in there to smooth the pâté out some.

The next few steps are easy – place in the fridge until cool and then pulse in a food processor/magic bullet/blender with cream cheese until you get a fairly chunky consistency. Make sure you don’t go overboard with the blender as you don’t want a paste! I found a few pulses with my processor were more than enough.

Mushroom Pâté (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 1 small bowlful of pâté but serves at least 8 guests with crackers/veggie sticks.
Time to prepare: About 10 minutes to prepare ingredients, 10 minutes of actual cooking, 1-2 hours cooling time and about 2 minutes to blend.

  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, grated (Use two large cloves, or 3 smaller ones – whatever you have on hand)
  • 400g Baby Bella mushrooms (2 punnets)
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 large (I used a soup spoon) spoonfuls of cream cheese (I used vegan cream cheese – Tofutti from Coles)

Equipment needed: Chopping board, sharp knife, 1 saucepan, a food processor/blender.


  1. Clean and slice your mushrooms. Place saucepan on high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Fry onion until translucent (about 5 minutes). Add garlic and fry for a further minute. Add mushrooms. Add extra tablespoon of oil if needed.
  2. Fry mushrooms for about 1 minute on high. Cover with saucepan lid and keep on medium high heat for another 5 or so minutes until mushrooms are cooked through. Stir through balsamic vinegar. Remove to a bowl and cool in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until completely cool.
  3. Place cooled mushroom mixture in your food processor and add cream cheese. Blend for about thirty seconds until the mixture comes together but do not blend for too long – you don’t want it to become a paste – its much nicer with some texture to it.
  4. Serve with crackers, veggie sticks, melba toasts or corn chips! Enjoy!

Looking for some more ideas about what to use your leftover mushroom pâté for? It’s incredibly versatile and easily able to lend its great flavour to a bunch of snacks and other dishes!

  • Stirring it through freshly-cooked spaghetti, with a good glug of olive oil for good measure
  • Spread on toast, top with a softly poached egg for breakfast – great with freshly chopped herbs
  • Stirred into a nearly-cooked risotto for instant mushroom risotto
  • Folded into scrambled eggs for the perfect creamy omelette with mushroomy goodness
  • Spread onto a wrap with some of your fave ingredients (e.g. salad, caramelised onion, feta or other cheeses, cold meats, vegetarian sausages, etc)
  • Adding a few tablespoons of heated cream, or added to a creamy, cheesy sauce for pasta, steaks, or on baked chicken breasts or fish fillets. You could also try a version of this with steamed veggies too
  • Spread on top of savoury pikelets, then top with slices of smoked salmon, chopped dill and lemon juice
  • Fold into pancake batter for savoury mushroom pancakes

Mushrooms are so wonderfully versatile, not to mention naturally low in fat and a great source of Vitamin D (good for your bones and heart!) as well as lots of great minerals (potassium, phosphorus, copper, selenium and more!) for maintaining your health. Read more interesting facts about health and nutrition relating to mushrooms here. There were a lot of interesting facts about mushrooms I learned that I really had no idea about – it’s great to know that something so delicious is also so good for us too! 🙂

This post was sponsored by the Australian Mushroom Growers. Cooking Crusade would like to thank the AGM for this fantastic opportunity to be paid to blog about such a delicious ingredient! Thank you! 🙂

Another week has gone by! Hope you all had a lovely weekend – and the next one will be a long one 😉 Woohoo!



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Dairy-free Strawberry Ice-cream Pops

Recipes January 8, 2013

Happy New Year folks!

How have you been enjoying 2013?

I hope you all had a lovely and relaxing Christmas break filled with lots of fun and delicious treats!

I spent my break with friends and family in Sydney. I also spent a good chunk of my free time playing my new Christmas pressies on the XBOX, Lord of the Rings and Batman 2 Lego games 😀

I do have a bit of annoying news for myself though – and that is I’ve been feeling a bit intolerant lately. I’ve been feeling quite ill for the past few months. I’ve seen the doc, had my blood tested for a few things, and have also tried a few elimination diets to try and figure out why my digestive system was on the fritz.

Prior to this I’ve had similar sorts of stomach upsets but this was lasting a lot longer than it had in previous times. Long story short, I seem to have some sort of intolerance to wheat AND dairy – much to my disappointment as I clearly love both of these things with a passion. Fortunately I seem to be able to consume a smallish amount of either without much consequence but any more than that seems to have.. side effects. Side effects that I would rather not bore you with, but I’m sure you get the idea!

Anyway, that being said, while I still intend to share my favourite gluten and dairy recipes with you all (as I will still make them from time to time) I suppose I will be venturing into more gluten- and dairy-free recipes. Time to don my creative hat, as eating gluten- and dairy-free is certainly a new thing for me. I suppose I am still in a bit of a teething stage and part of me hopes that it may not be permanent (my blood test revealed that I am definitely not coeliac). All this being said, I am looking forward to trying out new GF and DF recipes and I will still of course be only posting the easiest and most delicious ones I can find!

One particular dairy-free treat I’ve missed indulging in the most (and especially in this heat!) has been ice-cream. I am a big strawberry lover and love all things strawberry scented and flavoured: ice-cream, body wash, shampoo, creams, all of it! So when I got inventing in the kitchen, it was not a tough decision about which flavour to try first.

I did a bit of brainstorming and figured I would make a strawberry syrup from fresh strawberries, blend it with coconut cream, then freeze. To my surprise, it worked out even better than I imagined.

This recipe is beautifully creamy with a great strawberry flavour and a light coconutty aftertaste. Not only is it dairy-free, it is also gluten-free and vegan, but I promise that you will not miss the usual cream and egg yolks normally packed into regular ice-cream!

If you wanted to try a different spin on this recipe, I expect this would also be a lovely treat blended with Greek yoghurt instead of the coconut cream.

I really was surprised at how well this recipe turned out – I kept sneaking bites during the photographing process, hehe. Even as I type, I’m still finishing off the last few scoops – pretty handy on this intensely hot day! I think this may well be one of the best recipes I’ve ever come up with! Another bonus is that this easy recipe is only five simple ingredients. Woohoo!

This recipe is a snap to put together, however it does require you to pop a can of good quality coconut milk in the fridge the night before (to separate the hardened coconut cream from the thinner coconut water in the can). I’ve heard of those who don’t refrigerate their cans of coconut milk overnight with success, but I haven’t tried it.

One day after refrigerating your coconut milk, flip the can, open it, scoop out the hardened coconut cream and place in a bowl. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge.

Slice up two punnets of strawberries and chop a medium sized lemon in half.

Add sliced strawberries to a saucepan, followed by a cup of water, a cup of white sugar and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Place on high heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Careful though, as this has a tendency to overboil! Keep an eye on it. After 20 minutes on high, lower the heat to medium-low and keep it on there for a further 20 minutes.

Take it off the heat when the strawberries are nice and syrupy. Cover and put in the fridge until completely cool (at least 2 hours.)

Pour cooled strawberry syrup into a blender and add coconut cream.

Blend until creamy and a pretty pale pink.

Pour into pop moulds and freeze until solid.

With the rest of your ice-cream mixture, pour into a plastic container and freeze in the fridge. Every hour or so, take it out and mix thoroughly with a spoon to break up any ice crystals forming until completely frozen and creamy. For an even better explanation on how to make ice-cream without an ice-cream maker, click here for David Lebovitz’s great tutorial. You could of course just pour this into an ice-cream maker and churn after blending.

Note: This ice-cream is also a little icy after freezing. David Lebovitz once again comes to the rescue with tips on how to soften home-made ice-cream – click here to read on!

Dairy Free Strawberry Ice-Cream (an original recipe by Cooking Crusade)

Makes: 1 litre strawberry ice-cream (approx)
Time to prepare: Overnight for the coconut cream, about 1 hour for the strawberry syrup, 1 minute to blend and about 2-3 hours to freeze.

1 can of coconut milk
2 punnets of strawberries, washed and hulled
1 cup of granulated sugar
1 cup of water
the juice of half a small lemon

Equipment needed
chopping board, small knife, 1 small saucepan, 2 bowls, wooden spoon, a food processor or blender, ice-cream pop moulds

To start this recipe you need to begin one night beforehand by putting your can of coconut milk in the fridge. You can make the strawberry sauce 2 hours ahead of ice-cream making time, as it needs to be cooled, but if you’re starting the night before that would probably make things more convenient to cool it overnight in the fridge and you’re ready to go the next morning.

  1. Slice strawberries and place in a saucepan. Sprinkle over sugar and add water. Turn heat on high and heat until sugar melts. Simmer for about 20 minutes on high, but please keep an eye on it, as this mixture is prone to overboil! (I learned this the hard way!) Lower heat to medium-low for about another 20 minutes until the strawberries are quite syrupy, but there is still quite a good amount of liquid. Take off the heat and pour into a bowl, cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or until completely cool. You should have about 600mls of liquid in total.
  2. While the syrup cools, remove the can of coconut milk from the fridge and flip (be careful not to shake it). Remove can lid, drain off the watery liquid and scoop out the hardened coconut cream at the bottom of the can. Place in a bowl, cover and place in the fridge while syrup cools. This should slightly thicken the cream.
  3. When syrup is completely cooled, pour into food processor, or a blender. It is not too difficult a job to blend, so even a cheap blender should do the trick. Blend until creamy and a pale pink.
  4. Pour into popsicle moulds and freeze for about 2 hours or until frozen solid. To release from the popsicle moulds, run the moulds under hot water to help loosen the strawberry pops. Serve and enjoy!

Hope you are all surviving the heat and having a super lovely week!