Archive for August, 2010

What do I look forward to the most when I come to Austria to visit my family? -Apfelstrudel! (And the fam, of course…!) More specifically, Geli’s Apfelstrudel! Ever since my dad’s girlfriend veganized her Apfelstrudel for me last year, I have been waiting in anticipation to return and indulge in it again. Seeing as I’m Austrian, I think it’s about time that I shared a traditional dish from my country of birth… In Austria we buy a ready-made pastry that is especially for the Strudel, but it can be used interchangeably with Phyllo – which is what I recommend for this recipe. When you prepare your pastry Geli suggests leaving it to sit for a few minutes after brushing it with oil, so that the Oil can soak in and make the pastry a bit more flexible. Just make sure you have it lying on a damp cloth to stop it from drying out. According to Geli, the trick to making a juicy Apfelstrudel is to grate the Apples instead of just slicing them – it works a charm! The measurements are all a bit rough as she eyeballs her ingredients, so be sure to add more or less, according to your taste.  So here it is – Geli’s delicious (and easy) Apfelstrudel!

Ingredients: (makes one medium-sized Strudel, about 5 servings)

2 sheets Phyllo (if using frozen you need to defrost in refrigerator over night)

Canola Oil to brush pastry

4 large (or 6-7 small) grated Braeburn Apples, or a mixture of Granny Smith & Gala [slightly sour Apples are better than too sweet]

juice of 1 Lemon (or less, depending on how sour/sweet your Apples are)

2 tsp. Cinnamon

1/4 cup Brown Sugar (again, you might need to add more or less, depending on the Apples)

2 Tblsp. Maple Syrup

generous amount of Amaretto, or Liqueur of your choice (about 1/4 cup)

Optional: handful of Raisins

Icing Sugar, to decorate at the end



Preheat oven to 160C, and lightly grease or line a baking tray.

– Have two cloths ready: wet one of them with hot water, and wring it out so it isn’t dripping wet. Lay it on the counter, and cover with the other dry cloth. Remove one sheet of Phyllo and lay it over the top of the cloths, then thinly brush it with Oil covering the whole surface. Carefully lay the other layer of Phyllo over it, and allow the pastry to stand whilst preparing the filling.

– Place the grated Apples in a large bowl and add fresh Lemon Juice, Cinnamon, Sugar, Maple Syrup and Raisins. Pour the Amaretto over it, and mix well. Taste and adjust sweetner/Lemon Juice as needed.

– Spoon the Apple mixture over the bottom third of the Phyllo square, shaping it into more of a dome (don’t make it too flat or your roll will end up flat). Carefully lift the towel up from the bottom edge and use it to slowly roll the pastry over the filling, making sure not to touch the pastry, and also keeping it rolled tight over the filling. Do this all the way to the end until you have a tight roll that is nicely shaped. Tuck it in at both sides, and then using the cloth from underneath, slowly move it to the tray.

– Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. until the top is browned and the Apples are cooked through. Once out the oven, allow to cool and dust with Icing Sugar.

*Traditionally served with Vanilla Custard, but Vanilla Ice Cream will do the trick…



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Spaghetti Bolognaise & Lasagne were my two most requested dinners when I was young – I’m sure my Mum must have gotten tired of making them! They were also the first dishes I learnt to make when I moved out of home, before that my specialty was melted Cheese on Toast…To this day I still love a good Bolognaise, except now I make it without the smelly Mince-meat (which used to make me gag when I was cooking it!). This recipe is pretty basic as I just used what I had around that night, but feel free to add some other veggies if you like – Eggplant, Courgettes or Carrots would go well too. You could also roast your veg first, rather than pan-fry, and then add them to the Tomato Sauce before blending, mmm…The ultimate comfort food – tastes just like Mum’s Bolognaise!

Ingredients: (2-4 servings)

1 pkt. Gluten-free Spaghetti Pasta

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/2 Onion, diced

1/2 each of Red Bell Pepper & Yellow Bell Pepper, diced

1 Tomato, diced

1 tin crushed Tomatoes (Fire roasted is good)

handful of Kalamata Olives, halved

3-4 Sundried Tomatoes, rehydrated & chopped

pinch each of dried Basil & Oregano

a few leaves of Fresh Basil, chopped finely

Optional: 1/2 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes (if you want it to have a bit of spice…)



– Boil water with a dash of Olive Oil & Salt, and cook Pasta according to instructions on packet.

– In a large Saucepan heat some Oil and sauté Onions until they begin to soften. Add Garlic and sauté until it begins to release its aroma, then add Bell Peppers and pan-fry until they begin to soften.

– Add Tomato, dried Herbs, optional Red Pepper Flakes, and Sundried Tomatoes,  and stir to combine. Pour in the tin of Tomatoes, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer (add a little water if mixture looks too thick). Allow to cook on low until the vegetables are cooked & softened (about 15mins.), then add Olives & Basil and remove from heat.

– With a hand blender (or in a blender), purée the Sauce leaving about half of it chunky. Add drained Pasta, and serve in a big bowl…

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