Welcome back (and a meal plan)

Hello everyone, it’s been a long time since I posted. I was busy with work, then busy with all the Christmas lead-up stuff, and then I went away.  But now that life has settled down, I’m going to start blogging again.

I’ve also decided to make a few changes to the blog. I’m going to move beyond just writing recipes to write some posts about life with CF (and life in general).

I’m also going to post weekly meal plans, to show how I balance my dietary needs with Lachie’s over the course of a week. As you can see, I don’t make two versions of every meal. Lunches, and the dinners where we don’t eat the same thing also play a big part in ensuring that we both eat the way we’re supposed to. If I make a light meal for dinner, the leftovers will become my lunches, and if it’s a heavier meal, the leftovers become his lunches.

Meal plan – Summer plan 1


  • Brunch – Toast with avocado, smoked salmon and saganaki. Lachie also had a mango smoothie.
  • Dinner – Barbecued salmon and green vegetables (recipe to follow soon)


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot (recipe to follow); Lachie: Rendang curry and rice.
  • Dinner – Thai beef salad with chilli garlic dressing (recipe to follow)


  • Lunch – Tess: Leftover beef salad; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice.
  • Snacks – hummus and carrot sticks
  • Dinner – French onion and lentil soup (recipe to follow) and radish salad


  • Lunch – DIY instant soup pot
  • Snacks – hummus and radish sticks
  • Dinner – Out


  • Lunch – Tess out; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice
  • Dinner – Honey soy chicken and red cabbage


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot; Lachie: Chicken korma and rice
  • Snacks – hummus and radish sticks
  • Dinner – Tess: Chinese omelette and stir-fried veggies. Lachie: Leftover honey soy chicken


  • Lunch – Tess: DIY instant soup pot; Lachie: Leftover onion soup with cheese.
  • Dinner – Out.

When the penny dropped

I thought I’d share something a bit personal for once. About two years ago, I’d just started going out with Lachie. I knew he had a disease called cystic fibrosis, and I knew he had to take a bunch of medicines every day. (I also knew that the need to do physio every night put something of a dampener on a new romance …) But that was all I knew. I didn’t realise how serious it was. That changed after his second clinic visit into the relationship. He’d been feeling unwell (more so than he’s let on to me), and his weight and lung function were down a bit, so he and his doctor had decided he should be hospitalised. I hadn’t realised that was a possibility, so when he called me to tell me this, I freaked. Even though he tried to make it sound like a routine thing, it didn’t feel that way to me. I didn’t know how worried to be, so I went for expecting the worst. When I got home that night, I handled the whole thing very maturely. I drank a bottle of wine and then started googling cystic fibrosis. Big mistake. As far as conversations with new partners go, ‘Wikipedia says you have ten years to live, and also can’t have children. Is that true?’ isn’t a fun one. Later I found out that the life expectancy figures were out of date. Still later someone explained that numbers like that were a lagging indicator, and Lachie would probably be better than that. Eventually I stopped stressing about every clinic, and started focusing on the stuff I could do to help. But that first night, when I was alone, and drunk, and first realising just how sick he was, was awful. I guess the point of all this is – I know it can be hard to talk about your illness. But sometimes it’s better if the people you care about learn about it from you.

Rosemary and parmesan pull-apart


This bread is amazing. It’s based on the recipe in the Thermomix Everyday Cookbook, but I added cheese, salt and chilli to make something that’s absolutely bursting with flavour.

I recently made it for a friend’s barbecue, and it was a real hit. A few people even expressed surprise that it hadn’t come from a bakery.

It is a little bit fiddly, but well worth it. You could save some time by making the butter ahead, or by mixing the garlic and rosemary through softened store-bought butter.


  • 450g lukewarm water
  • 1 sachet of dried yeast (1 tbs)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 750g baker’s flour
  • 100g olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 600g pure cream
  • 500g water, chilled
  • 1 tbs sea salt, unground
  • 1/2 a cup of grated parmesan
  • 1 tbs chilli flakes
  1. Place 450g water, yeast, salt, flour and oil into the Thermomix bowl and mix for 6 seconds on speed 6, then knead for 2 minutes on the kneading function.
  2. Transfer dough onto a lightly floured bench top and work into a ball. Wrap with a tea towel and leave in a warm area to prove for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  3. To make the herb butter, place the garlic cloves and rosemary leaves into the Thermomix bowl and chop for 3 seconds on speed 7. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Insert the butterfly and add the cream. Mix for 3 minutes on speed 4 or until solids have separated. Remove the butterfly. Strain the butter through a cheesecloth, reserving the buttermilk for later use.
  5. Return the butter solids to the mixing bowl with 500 g of chilled water. Mix for 10 seconds at speed 4. Use the cheesecloth to strain the butter again, squeezing as much water out as possible. Set the butter aside.
  6. Once the dough has doubled in size, knock down the dough and roll it into a large rectangle that is just under 1cm thick. Dust with a little flour. Spread the herb butter over the dough, and then sprinkle with the chilli, salt and half the cheese.
  7. Grease a 24 cm cake tin. (I like to do this by rubbing the cheesecloth over the pan, to use any residual butter on the cheesecloth).
  8. Using a butter knife, cut the dough into 4 cm wide strips. Fold each strip into a concertina pattern and place into the cake tin and press the strips together. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.


Coconut pancakes with palm sugar syrup

IMG_1277.JPGA few months ago I was in Bali with my family, and it was absolutely gorgeous. The food there was fantastic as well. I even did a cooking class, which was one of the highlights of the trip (even if I’m yet to make anything from the class yet).

While I was there, one of the desserts that I loved was coconut pancakes – very thin, delicate ones, served in a martini glass with icecream and caramel.  This is my home-style version of that.

As a bonus, using coconut in the mixture increases the fat content of the pancakes, as well as making them delicious.  You can leave out or reduce the icecream for a lower fat version. If you can’t be bothered making palm sugar syrup, try using caramel sauce instead.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 100g palm sugar
  • Butter
  • Vanilla icecream
  1. Crack the egg into a 1 L measuring jug and beat lightly. (If you don’t have one use a mixing bowl, but making it in the jug makes life easier.) Add the flour, baking powder, milk and coconut and whisk until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In the meantime, combine the palm sugar with a cup of water in a small saucepan. Simmer until the sugar is completely disolved and reduced by about half (takes around twenty minutes).
  3. Put a large frying pan over medium heat and melt some of the butter (about a tablespoon). Once the butter is melted, pour enough of the mixture into the pan to make a thick layer. Cook the pancake until golden on both sides (about two minutes each side).
  4. Once the pancake is cooked, push the pancake into a small bowl, so that the bowl is effectively lined with the pancake. Add two or three scoops of icecream, and drizzle with the palm sugar syrup.
  5. Repeat steps three and four with the remaining mixture.


Red rice salad with yoghurt dressing


I’m getting into a bit of a salad kick as the weather warms up. This particular salad is great with grilled meats. I like to make it for summer barbecues when I know that other people are bringing salads as well, so there will probably already be a green salad and a potato salad.

This is another salad where the dressing is served separately. For a lower-fat version, you can use a little bit of dressing and top with some lemon juice, or make a second dressing with low-fat yoghurt and no olive oil.


  • 1 cup of red rice
  • 2 large beetroots
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed.
  • 1 cup shredded kale (or use beetroot greens if your beetroots came with leaves attached)
  • 1/4 cup each of mint and parsley, chopped.
  • 1 cup of plain yoghurt
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 tbs sumac
  1. Preheat oven to 200C. Trim the beetroot so there is only about an inch of stem still attached. Place in the oven for forty minutes.
  2. Cook the red rice with two cups of boiling water in a saucepan. The rice should take about half an hour to cook.
  3. Spread the cauliflower over a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Once the beets have been cooking for twenty minutes, place the cauliflower in the oven and cook for another twenty minutes.
  4. Heat some olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and cook the kale until it turns bright green (about five minutes).
  5. To make the dressing, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, sumac and one tablespoon of olive oil.
  6. To serve, toss together the rice, lentils, beetroot, cauliflower herbs and kale in a large salad bowl. Serve onto plates and drizzle over some of the dressing. If you are serving the salad with meat, you can reserve some dressing to drizzle over the meat.

Prawn salad with green goddess dressing


Prawns, roast potato and avocado are three of my favourite foods, so this salad is definitely a winner. Plus, there’s hardly anything to do other than roasting the potatoes and throwing everything together (and the potatoes can be roasted in advance), so its a great recipe for a summer night when you don’t really feel like cooking

To vary the fat content, you can vary how much dressing you put on each salad. Squeeze some lemon over the salad if you’re serving it without a lot of dressing. If you’re really trying to lower the fat content for the non-CF version, you could use boiled potatoes instead of roast potatoes. You can also leave out the avocado when tossing the salad, and only add it to the CF-version.


  • 4 medium sized potatoes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 a cup of fresh herbs (I used a mixture of basil, parsley and chives, but use whatever you have)
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp French mustard
  • 500g cooked, shelled prawns
  • 100g rocket
  • 5 radishes, finely sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the potatoes into 3 cm cubes and spread out on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and roast for 25 minutes or until crispy.
  2. To make the dressing, combine half an avocado, the herbs, mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and half a cup of cold water in a blender or food processor and process until the herbs are finely chopped and the dressing is combined.
  3. Dice the remaining avocado.
  4. To serve, combine the rocket, prawns, avocado and radishes in a large salad bowl. Serve onto individual plates and add dressing.


Gnocchi with pumpkin and blue cheese sauce


This was actually one of my treat meals before I was living with Lachie. It’s pretty quick to make and only has a few ingredients, so it was a good meal on nights when I was cooking for myself. Sometimes I’d even skip making a sauce, and just add lumps of blue cheese then let everything mix through. Yum.

For a light version, leave out the sauce and serve the gnocchi and pumpkin with some steamed spinach, a bit of low-fat ricotta, and some salt and pepper.

Serves 4


  • 1 butternut pumpkin, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • Olive oil
  • 2 500g packets of gnocchi
  • 250g cream
  • 125g blue cheese (gorgonzola is good)
  • 100g baby spinach
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat the oven to 200C. Spread the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. Bake for 25 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, cook gnocchi according to the packet instructions.
  3. Once gnocchi is cooked, pour into a colander to strain. In the same saucepan, add the cream, cheese and spinach and simmer until the cheese has melted and the cream has slightly reduced. This will take 5 to 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. To serve, combine the gnocchi and pumpkin in bowls and spoon the cream sauce over.
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