Banana bread: no egg, no gluten, no milk

Food-free banana bread

What do you do with three overripe bananas? You make banana bread, that’s what. But this is a banana bread that has no milk, no gluten and no eggs. A food free quickbread: a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free. You can even leave out the sugar, if you want to. Best of all, it’s quick and easy to make.

Linseed crisps

Linseed crisps

Cooking for people who can’t eat grains, including wheat, can be a challenge when it comes to snacks and finger foods. It’s all very well to keep putting out those celery and carrot sticks on the table, but sometimes, you just want to do more for people. These linseed crisps do just that.

Smoked salmon pasta salad

This summer pasta salad of smoked salmon, avocado, fennel, lime and preserved lemon managed the high accolade of ‘my favourite pasta salad ever’. It’s easy to make and filling. You can also leave out the pasta for an easy, grain-free option.

A food-free mini cupcake - no wheat, no dairy, no egg

Food-free chocolate cupcakes

‘Food free’ is a label we invented for a very restricted diet one of our relatives was forced to endure for a few months: no gluten, no egg, no dairy, no legumes, no nuts, no spices. It’s pretty limiting, especially if there’s a demand for, oh, a birthday cake for a child. We still have food…

Excellent energy biscuits

Malar’s excellent energy biscuits

The search for healthy snacks has been part of our quest to avoid refined sugar. Malar’s healthy cookies—biscuits without egg, oil, butter or sugar—are an excellent and delicious energy biscuit that would be ideal for a mid-morning school snack, or they might be great for extra energy on the bushwalking trail. I’ve even been known to sneak a few for a pre-breakfast (followed up with fruit, of course), and they are indeed delicious.

Little lemon cake

Little lemon cake

The lemon in this cake lemon gives it a delicious tang that goes oh so well with a good cup of tea or coffee. The cake also rises fairly evenly, so it’s very easy to make a layer cake just by making two and sandwiching them together with whatever takes your fancy. But we usually just make a single cake, decorate it with dark chocolate chips, and cut the cake into 1-inch squares round each chip to give delicious little bit-sized serves.

Rhubarb and apple crumble - too good to leave

Super healthy apple-rhubarb crumble

This crumble is our easy-to-make dessert of choice. The tartness of the rhubarb is offset by the sweetness of the apple, so you don’t need to add any extra sugar to the filling. The crumb is a mixture of oats, coconut, honey and olive oil, whizzed in the food processor for just a few seconds.

Our everyday chocolate cake

Our everyday chocolate cake

When you just need a chocolate cake to keep the family happy, this is it. There are no special ingredients: everything this cake needs is almost always in the cupboard. And best of all, everyone likes it. I’ve taken this to parties, church fetes, work morning teas, playgroups, you name it. It’s always a hit.

Almost easy-mix, spicy-topped apple cake

Our almost-easy-mix spicy-topped apple cake (egg-free)

If you’re looking for an easy-mix cake, then this would be it if you use eggs. Pureed apple, used instead of egg, makes the baking a bit fiddlier, but it also cuts down on the amount of refined sugar needed in the cake mix. A sprinkle of sugar and spices across the top give a tasty, crusty substitute for icing. It’s always been well received, and no one has ever thought they were missing out.

Cinnamon honey cake

Cinnamon honey cake (egg-free)

The combination of honey and cinnamon in this cake fools a lot of people into looking for the ginger. There is no ginger, but they still all love it anyway. The egg-free version opens it up to a wider audience, especially in settings where you might have children with egg allergies running around.

The other good thing about this cake is that it takes about 10 minutes to mix and half an hour to bake, making it useful for those “Oh no, I need a cake for today!” moments.

Breakfast: Polenta with rhubarb and almonds

It’s polenta for breakfast

This is a great, not-too-sweet alternative for breakfast. If you’re not a morning person, this is an easy way to prepare polenta for breakfast. No boiling and stirring in a saucepan with the resulting mess and washing up. No, just a quick soak in boiling water (the polenta, not you), and a microwave zap of rhubarb and it’s done.