gluten-free Lunch salad Vegetarian

Barley and Pomegranate Salad

When you date a gluten-free vegetarian you have to like salad. It’s easy to get sick of lettuce too, so when we had this amazing barley and pomegranate salad on the weekend at a BBQ I was blown away.


By gosh, was it delish. We had to go before I could grab the recipe, but I think, *think* this was what’s in it:


  • 1.5 cups of wholegrain barley, washed, and then boiled for 35-40 minutes in 5 cups of water. You could also probably soak it overnight in 3 cups of water and lime juice and then quickly cook it off. Don’t soak or boil it for too long or you’ll end up with mush. Let it cool down before you serve it.
  • A block of good, strong, Greek goat feta, cut into cubes, or crumpled. 1cm Cubes would look better with the round pomegranate seeds
  • The seeds from three pomegranates, or more if you’ve got heaps. Go nuts.
  • Juice from two limes
  • A tablespoon of olive oil
  • A good handful of roughly chopped coriander
  • A cup of mint leaves
  • Pine nuts, if you want


Put the ingredients in a bowl.

Corn Vegetarian

Barbecued, Smokey-dokey Vegetarian Nachos

I was supposed to be reading and writing these holidays, but it’s been all arithmetic. Cups, quarters of cups, 165 grams of this, 250 grams of that. I’ve never had so much fun cooking, even if I am stuck on an island with a vegetarian. I’ll forgive her though because she’s an amazing photographer and has been indulging my cookbook fantasies by taking gorgeous pics of the treats I’ve been dishing up. It’s forcing me to be more creative with the way I put food on a plate and I’m discovering little tricks like putting a few strands of red cabbage here and there for visual effect.

Vegetarian Nachos
Vegetarian Nachos

I’m also discovering barbecues aren’t just for meat.

The place we’re staying is in a tiny little settlement called Flinders Beach on North Stradbroke Island, about 30km off the coast from Brisbane. I’ve been here many times before, but always with a gang of male carnivores. There’s usually enough smoke rising off the hotplates to start a war between the Sioux and Cherokee. This time it’s a little different, but I had the idea of putting the smoke to good use.

There’s a grove of paperbark trees nearby and I know Alby Mangels and Co. loved baking with the stuff. The BBQ where I’m staying had no lid, but I figured out a way to use a couple of cast iron pans to create a smokey-dokey setup which channeled the fumes of delicousness onto the food without also funneling ash. Results varied between raging bushfire and birthday candles, but ended up under control and not entirely dissimilar to the way I saw it being done on a beach in San Jose Del Cabo a few years ago.

Mexican food should be smokey. I had no chipotles but I had enough capsicum and birds eye chillies to improvise.


Mushy Bits

  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • 1 brown onion
  • 2 birds eye chillies
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 2 tablespoons of cumin (or more, or less, to taste)
  • Squeeze of lime
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 corns
  • 3 garlics
  • 3 tbsp white truffle oil (optional, but divine)

Other Bits

  • Gourmet fancy-schmancy corn chips
  • Guacamole (make it yourself, it’s dead easy)
  • Coriander leaves to garnish


  • Char-grill the tomatoes and corn on the BBQ and dice everything else (don’t dice the guacamole or chips, actually, do, it’ll be funny).
  • Put all the mushy bits into a cast iron pan and place it on the BBQ
  • Wrap the outside sides of the pan with paperbark bark
  • Place a larger cast iron pan over the top of the first one so that it holds the paper bark in. Make sure there’s room for air to circulate into the first pan.
  • Cook until the smell of smokey paperbark and nacho mushy bits is so overpoweringly delicious you have to eat it.
  • Eat
Breakfast gluten-free Vegetarian

Bircher Muesli with Blueberry Sauce

Bircher Muesli
Bircher Muesli

Bircher Muesli used to be something of an enigma for me. A metaphor for health retreats and people named Sven. An option on a breakfast menu you chose if you didn’t eat bacon. It contained sultanas, and oats and fibrous things which stirred the bowels but not the soul. Then I discovered blueberry sauce and vanilla soy milk.

This bircher muesli recipe is still super-healthy, but it’s delicious and creamy and as boring as a weekend away with Bear Grylls. You need to make it the night before. Or for best results, two nights before.

Muesli Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of oats. Good ones
  • 2/3 cup of apple juice
  • 1/3 cup of mandarin juice
  • 1 cup of natural greek yoghurt. As healthy or as fatty as you like. Doesn’t matter either way
  • 2 large teaspoons of vanilla paste
  • A sprinkling of cinnamon

Mix all that in a bowl and leave overnight.

Blueberry Sauce Recipe

  • 2/3 cup of blueberries
  • 1/3 cup of strawberries, stalks removed
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water

Put that in a saucepan and simmer over a medium heat until it’s bubbling slightly. Mash it up with a potato masher. Reduce it a little until it’s syrupy, but not tooo syrupy, it needs to be easily pourable. Strain it into a jug so there’s no pulpy bits. Refrigerate.


The next day (or the day after) put the muesli in a bowl. Pour a large hint of vanilla soy milk over the top. Cover gently with strawberries, blueberries, mango, macadamia nuts and a big dollop of mango yoghurt. Drizzle with blueberry sauce. Add a sprig of mint.


Breakfast Corn Vegetarian

Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa

Corn Fritters
Corn Fritters

I had Bill Granger’s corncakes not long ago. At his signature restaurant in Surry Hills. They were f***ing terrible. As was everything else about the restaurant. They put bacon on my vegetarian girlfriend’s plate. They didn’t even realise they hadn’t wiped the table down until 3/4 of the way through the meal. They got the coffees wrong. They said they were out of potato and leek soup and that we could have pumpkin instead and then brought potato and leek soup anyway. They were even out of orange juice, at breakfast time. And we weren’t the only ones complaining. Don’t go there.

Corn cakes should be so easy to get right, I don’t know how people fail. They always come out too dry. The trick is to go heavy on the corn. And add onion for sweetness. You want mostly corn in there, with two grains of flour and enough egg to make it stick together. Get them crispy on the outside, but don’t burn them.


  • Corn. Der. Heaps of it. So much corn you vision turns yellow. Cut up a few cobs or use a whole tin if you’re lazy. About a cup if you have to measure.
  • 1/2 cup flour or so
  • 4 eggs
  • Coriander leaves, 1/3 loose cup
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • 1/3 of a small red chilli
  • Juice from 1/3 of a lime


  • Mush
  • Fry in oil, like pancakes, but with more oil

Serving Suggestion

  • Rocket and lime juice on the side
  • Avocado/Tomato/Coriander/Lime/Salt/Spanish Onion salsa
  • Greek yoghurt

Serves: 2.5 people

Breakfast Vegetarian

Homemade baked beans with eggs and white truffle oil

Homemade baked beans
Homemade baked beans

Wow. How poncy. So delicious though. SOO delicious.

  • Broad beans (just the beans, not the pod)
  • Fresh as ripe red organic tomatoes
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • A splash of white wine
  • Some healthy dollops of white truffle oil
  • Salt
  • Cumin
  • Brown sugar (1-2 tablespoons)
  • A little lemon juice

Chop the tomatoes up really roughly. Put that all in an oven-proof receptacle of some kind and bake for an hour.

Crack eggs on top. Cook them until the whites all turn white, not a minute more. You want those yolks to stay nice and runny.

Sprinkle with truffled pecorino and a dash of pepper. Let that melt. If that isn’t the best vegtarian breakfast ever I’m a deep-fried truffled hindu cow.

Ponce on.


Gluten free dinner party menu for the 2010 Election


A national broadbean network
with a mirin and murray basin climate change sea salt seasoning
A selection of rice crackers and a liberal serving of dips


Spicy tomato and sage soup with crispy tofu
and Crusty gluten-free rye bread

Main Course

Annabelle Crab Cakes with a sweet Julia ‘ginger’ Gillard soy dipping sauce


Flourless chocolate cupcakes


Chive and Sesame Tofu

Doesn’t sound very appealing if you’re a meat-eater does it, but look at the photo. Holy cow, it’s enough to turn you vegetarian. I found this in Map Magazine, they got it from The Eastern and Oriental Cookbook by Will Ricker.  I’ve never been a big fan of bean curd, but next time one of my vegetarian friends comes around for dinner I’m making this. Which reminds me of a joke that was going around after the first Gulf War. “What have Saddam Hussein and Little Miss Muffet got in common? They’ve both got Kurds in their way”.

Vegetarian Wrap tour of Brisbane

The Wrap tour of Brisbane — Stop 2: Bar Merlo, Fortitude Valley

Vegetarian, toasted. Fetta, Pumpki, spinach, thinly sliced spanish onion

Price: $7.90

Pros: Fantastic tortilla, perfect mix of flavours, perfectly toasted

Cons: Not quite filling enough for my manly stomach desires and $7.90 isn’t exactly a bargain

Verdict: It’s the closest wrap to the office so the economics work out well

Desserts Fruit Vegetarian

Edible Blooms

I’d heard of Edible Blooms but didn’t realise how cool they were. A client left them in the office as a thanks to us for doing something good. Delicious, and sexy looking too!

Edible Blooms
Edible Blooms
Soup Vegetarian

Tomato Soup with Crusty Bread

Tomato soup isn’t comfort food. It’s an edible doona in front of an open fire. High on valium. And spooning. It’s August of course, but even in the middle of Winter Brisbane doesn’t tend to get very cold, at least in theory. This afternoon, I needed some comfort.

I buggered my knee a month or so ago you see; running too hard and too fast up and down the hill next to the Story Bridge. I’d been resting it and thought the ligament would have healed by now so with the mercury hitting 26 and the sun high in the sky, I left the house for a run at about 2.30pm. I was running down to New Farm Park (to where my new house is) and back to Spring Hill (where the G/F is). It’s a gorgeous jogging route down past the old World War II shelters and the mansions on the river, but pretty much smack bang on the half way mark the searing pain came back and I could barely walk. There’s a ferry back at least, but by the time the City Cat pulled back in to Eagle Street Pier at 4pm, the sun had disappeared behind the CBD highrises, the breeze was up on the river and my face was blue. Winter had lost its shyness.

I’d made a giant batch of tomato soup yesterday, as a part of ‘operation no wisdom teeth in G/F’s mouth’ but she couldn’t even get the spoon past her teeth, so it was still sitting there in the fridge, untouched save for some samples I’d stolen to make gazpacho for dinner last night and relish for breakfast this morning. I was starving and there were icicles hanging from my testicles, so I considered eating it cold, but some of the missing wisdom must have found its way to my mouth and I ladled it into a small saucepan, threw the oven on and baked some frozen rolls leftover from shit-hot dogs. It may well have been the best thing I’ve eaten this week.

The recipe is straight from Maggie’s Harvest (page 159 if you’re playing at home), but I embellished a little. Sour cream, cheese and chives are the kind of condiments you get at a sub-par steakhouse, but on this ridiculously simple, home style soup, they’re suddenly very classy. Watching bits of bread crust fly around the room as you swamp them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar is kind of fun too.


  • 8-10 Very ripe, but diceable roma tomatoes, diced
  • 5 large onions, diced as small as you can go without shaving your fingers
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (the better, the better)
  • 5 garlic cloves, squashed with your knife and then diced
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 cup verjuice (that’s how you can tell it’s a Maggie Beer recipe) – use dry white wine if you don’t have any
  • 1 litre of boiling water
  • Crusty old white rolls/thick bread
  • Chives
  • Sour Cream
  • Cheese (anything firm and yellow will do)
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar to dip the bread into


  • Remove the tomato cores and dice them into pieces about the size of your little toe
  • Add the oil to the pan and cook the onions until they’re starting to go brown, but not burning
  • Add the garlic and salt, cook until the garlic is doing its thing
  • Add the tomatoes and sugar and get things a little mushy
  • Add the water and verjuice
  • Simmer for 45 mins
  • Put it in the fridge for a day
  • Re-heat on the stove
  • Serve in bowls, sprinked with diced chives, a dollop of sour cream and grated cheese
  • Warm the bread in the oven so it’s nice and brittle, but still fluffy inside
  • Dip bread into healthy doses of oil and vinegar and make a mess
  • Get comfortable

Drink with

A merlot or a dark ale