It Just Has To Be Delicious

Archive for November, 2012

Food Intolerances

Hi everybody. Sorry that my blog has been a bit quiet lately. Firstly, I have had visitors staying for the last 3 weeks, and secondly, I have had some news that has turned my diet upside down – I am intolerant of cow’s milk.

I first noticed a few years ago that ‘normal’ cow’s milk made my skin a bit dry, so I switched to soy milk for my cereal, but I didn’t worry too much about it, and if I went out I still ate cream and ice cream and other dairy products. However, I have always had sinus problems which were made a lot worse this year by a nasty sinus and lung infection and I started to wonder if there might be a particular food which affected my sinuses. I dithered over paying for a food intolerance test, and when my tax rebate came through, I decided to go for it. I used Imupro, which tests almost 300 different food types. I eat absolutely anything, with no obvious ill effects, so I wasn’t really expecting more than a few intolerances.

The results come back in 4 categories of intolerance, ranging from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe), and I have a total of 72 intolerances.

The good news is that I have no intolerances to fish or shellfish whatsoever, and I am ok with most meat although I have a mild (category 1 ) intolerance to chicken.

I have a severe intolerance to cow’s milk, guar flour (or gum) and quail’s eggs.

I had another 13 foods in category 3 with some surprises such as carrot, kiwi, pineapple, ricotta, mandarin, red cabbage, radish, oats and leek.

I also found that I have a category 2 intolerance to gluten containing cereals, but I am ok with maize and corn.

I have therefore decided to completely eliminate my category 3 and 4 foods from my diet, as I figured that 19 foods to remove would be easier to deal with than 72, and with the others, I am just aware that they are a problem, so I am only eating them in minimal quantities.

My biggest challenge now is to find replacements for dairy products that I usually eat which contain cow’s milk. I have decided to try rice milk for my cereal (which will now be cornflakes with strawberries), I have found Nuttelex a good butter substitute, but I haven’t yet found an alternative for cream, yoghurt and ice cream.

The problem with yoghurts and ice creams is that most of them, even if they are dairy free contain guar (E412) as a thickening agent or a smoothing agent to avoid ice crystals. So it looks like I might have to make my own sorbets and ice creams so that I know exactly what goes into them. It is going to be tough – but it’s a challenge that I find interesting, so look out for some quirky recipes in the future where I work out how to make chocolate mousse, tiramisu, bread and butter pudding etc all within the confines of my new regime.

The motto is still that ‘It just has to be delicious’, but now it has to be delicious and good for me too, and the good news is that my breathing is the best that it has been in ages. My recipes will still show you how to make good food using dairy products, but I will include my optional milk-free variations too. It’s going to be interesting….

More from Cantina 663

I had dinner at Cantina 663 again tonight. Here is a photo diary of the dishes I chose from the tapas menu:

Swordfish ceviche with avocado, radish, tomato, onion and parsley.


Ham hock terrine with char grilled bread and green bean chutney


Peppers stuffed with eggplant

Duck parfait with char grilled bread and caramelised onions

Bresola (salt beef) pure and simple





Spicy Kung Po Chicken

This is a nice recipe for mid-week dinner. You can pretty much make it up as you go along – it’s probably not the definitive authentic kung po recipe, but it works for me and is very tasty.

Kung po chicken

Serve it with rice. You can vary the veggies that you add to it depending on what you have in the cupboard, but traditional favourites are carrot, onion, baby sweetcorn, capsicum and tomatoes. You can also add peanuts and extra chilli if you like it hotter.

It contains dried chillies, which are quite hot, if you don’t want it to be quite so spicy, leave the dried chilli seeds out.

You can also use fresh chilli instead of dried – use whatever you prefer or have available – even a teaspoon of chilli paste would work.

This recipe is for chicken, but you can use prawns or pork instead.

Recipe – serves 2 :

300g chicken sliced into thin bite sized strips

1 tablespoon cornflour

1/2 teaspoon crushed szechuan peppercorns

2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon dark soy

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 or 2 chopped dried red chillies with or without seeds

Mixed veg, sliced thinly for stir frying e.g.:

Carrot, baby sweetcorn, red onion, capsicum, tomatoes, mushroom, broccoli, beansprouts, snow peas.

Peanuts (optional)

1. Mix the cornflour with the crushed peppercorns, and coat the chicken with the flour mixture.

2. Mix together the sauce ingredients in a jug – hoisin, dark soy, rice wine vinegar and dried chilli.

3. Prepare your veggies of choice by washing and slicing them thinly – allow a handful of veggies per person.

4. Heat a wok with 2-3 tablespoons of vegetable or groundnut oil in it.

5. When hot, add the chicken and stir fry for approx 4 minutes.

6. Now add the veggies and peanuts and stir fry for a further 3-4 minutes.

7. Add the sauce (rinse the jug with a little water to get every last drop). Heat the sauce through and stir it to coat all of the veggies and chicken. When the chicken is cooked, it is ready – cut through a piece of chicken to be sure.

8. If you like it salty, you can add some salt at this stage, but I find that the dark soy adds plenty of salt flavour.

Serve with rice and enjoy.

Pizza in the Joondalup area

I’m a bit fussy about pizza. There are a lot of bad pizza parlours around, and I know I’m eating a good one when the last slice tastes as good as the first one did. To me, a bad pizza is greasy, too heavy on the dough, has toppings that don’t complement each other, or has ridiculous toppings like chicken tikka. Don’t put chicken tikka on a pizza – if you like chicken tikka, have it in an indian restaurant with salad and yoghurt sauce, or even better, make it yourself. So yes, I could rant about bad pizza all day.

Now what makes a good pizza ? It’s a personal choice, but I prefer the traditional Italian pizzas with a thinner crust. I think that meat on a pizza can be too heavy, so I prefer the simple vegetarian styles, but I do occasionally have a hankering for a Pizza Express Pollo ad Astra, and because they don’t have Pizza Express in Perth, I have to make my own with chicken, red onion, sweet capsicum peppers, garlic, cajun spice, mozzarella and tomato.

My benchmark is a margherita – if a pizza parlour makes a good margherita, then I know that all of their other pizzas will be good too. If I am fed up after 2 slices, then forget it.

So – where to go for pizza in Joondalup ? There are three parlours that I like, I don’t have a favourite out of these three – they are very different atmospheres, so really the choice boils down to what kind of evening I fancy.

The first restaurant is Davini’s in Regents Park Road.
UPDATE – Sadly, Davini’s has now permanently closed.
Davini's Italian Pizzeria & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
This is a family run Italian deli and pizza parlour. They have a few tables inside and some on the pavement outside. The owner is delightful, a really nice man, and the pizzas are delicious, nicely loaded up and good pizza dough. They will also prepare a salad if you ask. The only drawback is that you shouldn’t come here if you are in a hurry. The pizzas are delicious because a lot of love goes into them, and if they are busy you will wait at least 40 minutes for your pizza – even if they are not busy, you will probably wait 25 minutes.

Davini’s pizza

The second pizza parlour is called A Slice of Italy. This is located on Edith Cowan University’s Joondalup campus. You can’t park right outside, you have to park in an adjacent car park, but it is only a short walk to get there. The restaurant has a view of the campus lake, and has tables outside on the decking.

Slice of Italy Cafe Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Inside looks very ‘uni’, it’s a bit messy with comfy  sofas and cushions that look like a Rubik’s cube, and you can play Connect 4 while you wait. You can also get a ‘Study cup’ of coffee with 5 shots of coffee in it. However, what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in friendliness and quality. The owner is such a lovely guy, he will even make you a ‘half and half’ pizza if you want to share with somebody, but you don’t want the same toppings.

Half and half pizza – margherita + italian

A Slice of Italy offers local delivery, they are open at weekends, they have a nice selection of soft drinks, and they sell Lavazza coffee. On my last visit the owner even gave us some free palmier biscuits.

Palmier biscuits

The third restaurant that I like is Leapfrogs cafe at Wanneroo Botanical Golf. Of the three, this is one that you can dress up to go to – or you can go casual, it doesn’t matter. It is licensed and has a lovely setting amongst the botanical gardens. All of the pizzas are cooked on the woodfired oven and you choose your own toppings.

Leapfrogs Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

You generally have to book – they are open Thurs-Sun for pizza, and they also offer quite a varied menu of non-pizza items. They usually have entertainment, which is sometimes good, and sometimes not so great depending on the kind of music that you enjoy. It is very pretty setting with fairy lights and has a resort feel to it. For me, the only drawback is that it is very family-oriented, so a fairly romantic evening can be interrupted with children misbehaving close by. For others, the fact that it is child-friendly is an advantage, so it all depends on your point of view. The most important thing though is the food – and the pizzas are good.

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