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.

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.

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.

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.

A tasty way to serve rice: spinach and rice and pumpkin slice

Spinach and rice and pumpkin slice

This rice and spinach based slice is an excellent way of serving up these two ingredients as a tasty side supporting act for ratatouille or a casserole. There are no eggs, so the pumpkin adds a layer of flavour and colour, and it holds this slice together long enough to transfer it from baking dish to plate, just.

For starters: green shallots with tagliatelle pasta

Easy and elegant: shallots with tagliatelle

It’s almost too easy. This combination of creamy, melt-in-your mouth shallots and tagliatelle is so simple it makes a perfect entree on a busy night. And it looks great. The bulbs cook down into a creamy sauce for the pasta while the tops hold their shape and colour, just to make it all look good.

Pizza with rosemary, potato and zucchini

An entrée pizza: potato and rosemary

An entrée pizza with potato and rosemary isn’t a pizza for consuming between main courses, although you could do that if you want. And it’s not the main course either. No, here it’s a first-course pizza: to refuel hungry teenagers when they get home from school, and to feed hungry guests as they walk in the door.

MiniMinimalist foccacia: a small and quick foccacia with rosemary and salt

The minimalist snack focaccia

How hard can it be to make a mini-foccacia? Not too hard at all: it has only a cup of flour, with a bit of yeast salt, water and … And it uses some lovely prostrate rosemary in our garden. This is the ideal school snack. It even lasts in the lunchbox (so it survived the soggy-bread test), and tastes so good one child thought, maybe, it was pizza.

Chapati: delicious and easy to make

Chapatis: easier than they look

Chapatis are not a lot of work to make. If you’re Australian, think scones. A bit of flour, some butter and some whey (or water), and there you have them in a flash. They go well with whatever Nepalese, or Indian, curry we happen to have.

Cream of mushroom soup

Sunday soup: cream of mushroom

Sunday night is for soup. Tonight it’s cream of mushroom, using the beautiful orange saffron milkcap mushrooms we picked on our mushrooming adventure. Because we have people in the house who just don’t like cream, we’ve gone vegan and used cashews for the ‘cream’ part of the soup. It’s really tasty and surprisingly filling.

Gran's chocolate caramel slice: rich, sweet and chocolatey

Gran’s chocolate caramel slice

Chocolate caramel slice is an afternoon-tea staple in my mother’s house. She always has some made and ready to serve when guests or hungry family come through. It is so easy to make, and so very rich: when she offered to teach the kids how to make it, they eagerly accepted the offer.