Red Wine Beef Ragu (DF + NF)

Small humans. Even medium sized humans (you know the teenage kind?) take up time. Heck, I'm now in my 30's and my Mum was recently here helping me out; distracting our little cookie, doing dishes and just generally being the helping, loving Mum that she is. Yep, she pretty much sums up my parenting goals. Gotta love Mums.

Back to small humans. They take up time. As in, they take up our time with activities, with outdoor play, with laundry and dishes and shopping trips. It becomes our life. A life that is full of adventure. Or at least, that's how I view ours, one big adventure. This adventure is one that needs fuel. A. Lot. Of. Fuel. No, I'm not really talking about our little cookie (20 month old small human) but me. I'm an eater. Our little cookie is an eater too, oh boy is he! Then my man cycles, so that's a lot of carbs that get guzzled down (and the only gluten that's in the house; his oat based muesli and bread, occasionally he sneaks in licorice, the bastard!)

The answer to all this food consumption?

A plan.

Not crazy two week plan of meals, but a few days worth and a few extra things in the freezer. Thinking of how we're currently living (working, playing, sleeping on the floor next to our little cookie when he sleeps, sleeping when he sleeps due to lack of aforementioned sleep, play, laundry, did I mention laundry?) I thought I'd share how our meals work out, most of the time. I mean, there's days when we eat toasted sandwiches for lunch and dinner, or our little cookie gets a bowl of pasta with a little tuna mixed in or he only wants to eat scrambled eggs when he's teething. This is life. This is our around-about-winter-menu for a week.

Being a big fan of the fresh produce at our local farmers market; Manning Farmers Market, it rocks! our menu starts there. Our pantry is stocked with gluten free staples (I'll share more about that soon) but our weekly market shop usually includes a bunch of staple fruit and veg and seasonal items, this weeks was something along the lines of;

  • carrots,
  • broccoli,
  • cauliflower,
  • capsicum,
  • cucumber,
  • corn,
  • pumpkin,
  • potatoes,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • peas/beans of some kind,
  • onions,
  • avocado,
  • bananas,
  • pears,
  • oranges,
  • strawberries,
  • spinach,
  • basil
  • and coriander.

It's winter, I don't do salads in winter - too damn cold! So, this is our...


  1. Nachos, a double batch. It's vego, with green capsicum + a bottle of beer (gluten free, obvs). Half was frozen. The other half did two meals for three people. The second night as stuffed sweet potatoes with cheese, baby spinach and plenty of smashed avo on top.
  2. Basil Pesto, a jam packed food processor full of basil, a little parsley and a good handful or two of baby spinach, for extra green. We made Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta, with enough to feed 4 adults and that growing small human of ours. There's still basil pesto in the fridge that's being used on toast with scrambled eggs or in toasted cheese sandwiches with leftover and on pizza.
  3. Moroccan Chicken Cauliflower & Chickpea with rice (cook extra rice, recipe in Vol 4 of The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine). Drumsticks ahoy! Chicken legs come to life with moroccan seasonings and is filled out with half a cauliflower and a tin of chickpeas. This meal did 2 dinners for 3 adults + a small human.
  4. Fried Rice (by no means, traditional). If there's leftover rice I'll make up a huge batch of homemade fried rice. I use most veg in my fried rice and always bacon, sometimes with leftover shredded chicken. It's usually about 60% rice, 40% veg; onions, carrot, capsicum, broccoli, corn, peas, snow peas, zucchini, cauliflower and some fresh basil. This usually does about 2 meals for 3 adults + I freeze another meals worth for later.
  5. Spiced Chorizo Pasta with Roasted Capsicum Sauce. You can make the sauce, or simply finely dice and saute a red capsicum to throw into a store-bought sauce with some black olives, sundried tomatoes and pan fried chorizo. Top with fresh ricotta and a dollop of pesto. Feeds 4.
  6. Pumpkin + Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger. A big pot of this gets us through lunches with toasted cheese and pesto sandwiches for a few days.
  7. Roast Lamb (whichever cut you love or whatever meat you love) with roasted veg; all the carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, a few roast onions and some slow roasted garlic cloves... You could do a potato gratin or broccoli cauliflower cheese if you wished. Leftover lamb would be thrown on top of pizza along with the leftover roast veg and pesto the following night.

There's often a ragu in the mix somewhere, such as the beef ragu below which is a cinch to make and spends most of it's time slowly bubbling away in the oven. This recipe is a favourite of mine from Vol 4 of The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine... ahem cookbook, which you can grab from my online store or pop down to my Market Cake Bake Stall at the September Upmarket. 

Red Wine Beef Ragu

/ Serves 6 / from The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine, Vol 4


Preheat oven to 140 C.

Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large, lidded, cast iron pot over medium heat. Brown beef in batches to create a lovely golden brown edge to the beef. Don't overcrowd the beef or it will stew, rather than brown. As the beef browns, place in a bowl along with any juices, and set aside.

If the pan is dry, heat another glug of olive oil in the pan and saute the onion, carrot & celery for 5-8 minutes until soft. Throw in the crushed garlic, return the beef and stir for a minute to cook the garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover pot tightly with lid or foil and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until beef is falling apart, this may take a further half hour to an hour depending on the cut of beef. Stir every hour to ensure nothing has caught on the bottom.

Remove beef from the sauce and roughly pull apart with two forks to shred. Set aside, covered, to keep warm and avoid drying out. Remove the bay leaves from the luscious gravy. If you would like a thicker sauce, place the pot back over a low heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Keep in mind when you add the beef back in it will be thicker simply due to the beef soaking up that little bit extra sauce.

Return beef to pan and heat through. Season with pepper.

Serve over piping hot gluten free pasta or gnocchi with plenty of Parmesan cheese (please amend serving suggestions if dairy free)

Equally delicious with a cup of frozen peas and diced steamed carrots tossed in and topped with mashed potato as a shepherd's pie or use as a rich sauce for homemade lasagna, you could even make some ragu filled crepe cannelloni for something different.


1kg casserole beef, chopped into 4cm cubes

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 sticks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups (500ml) gluten free vegetable or beef stock

1 cup (250ml) dry red wine (or stock)

2 bay leaves

A sprig each of rosemary, thyme and oregano, chopped

Capsicum & Sausage Pasta with Ricotta (NF)

Spring is here in Oz. Naturally, this means beers, barbeques, salads and sausages. The latter of which were laying around in my fridge waiting to be eaten midweek. I love sausages. Hot. Meaty. Gluten Free (of course!). Barbecued with onions and a little barbeque sauce in some (now gluten free) bread. Don't forget that gluten free beer, short shorts, sunscreen and a backyard of men barricking for different ports teams too!

Yes. I love my barbeques. This recipe, funnily enough, isn't to do with barbeques (oops!) but it IS to do with sausages...because what do you do when you've got a dozen in your fridge and don't feel like a hot dog (because your man isn't really a fan of 'snags' and is slightly allergic to onion?) plus youe don't have any potatos to make bangers and mash? Well.... you get a little more creative,a little spicy and make Capsicum & Sausage Gluten Free Pasta with Ricotta and my gosh this was delicious. Better yet - the man lapped it up!

Capsicum & Sausage Pasta with Ricotta

250g Gluten Free Pasta

500mls (2cups) Gluten Free Pasta Sauce

4 Gluten Free sausages

6-8 button mushrooms, washed, sliced

1 red capsicum, chopped

1/2 onion, diced

handful of kalamata olives, whole or sliced

1 red chilli to taste or 1tblspn gluten free sweet chili sauce

Boil a large pot of water and cook the gluten free pasta according to the instructions. Drain with hot water.

Meanwhile, cook the sausages until just done and remove from frypan and slice thickly.

Heat a tablespoon olive oil in the warm frypan and add the onion and cook until soft. Add the mushrooms and capsicum and saute lightly. Add the gluten free pasta sauce and stir until warmed through. Add the olives and chilli and sausage. Stir and add the cooked gluten free pasta. Heat on a low heat until hot.

Spoon into bowls and top with some fresh ricotta cheese and pepper.

Pesto Pasta with Chicken & Tomatoes

Gluten Free Scallywag_Chicken N Rocket Walnut Pesto Pasta_Close Up

Weeknight dinners should be a simple affair . In my opinion, whether you've been at work all day, had a day off, or have been running around after your kids, the last thing you want is to make something complicated for dinner.

Enter - the simple pesto pasta . We make this at least once a week in our house. Mixing it up either vegetarian steamed broccoli and peas with toasted pine nuts or add some chicken for extra protein - it really is simple pasta!

The great thing about this delicious gluten free dinner is that it can be made in less than 15minutes - and that includes making fresh homemade pesto - because you weren't organised on the weekend.; too busy walking briskly around the lake in the early morning, enjoying late gluten free breakfasts at your favourite cafe (thanks hun!) and having a cool bevvy at the sailing club on Sunday afternoon (no, I don't sail, the man does - I just get the perks of parking at the club and the bar tab - he really shouldn't have told me about that part!)

Gluten Free Scallywag_Chicken N Rocket Walnut Pesto Pasta

Gluten Free Simple Pesto Pasta

Enough for 2

1 hand full gluten free spaghetti


walnut & rocket pesto

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cooked chicken breast, roughly shredded

1/4cup parmesan, plus extra to serve

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water. Drain under hot water when cooked, al dente. 

Add to hot pan with pesto, tomatoes and chicken. Reduce heat and toss to coat pasta with pesto, until warm. Stir through parmesan. 

Warm serving bowls in low oven for a few minutes. Serve hot with parmesan and a little cracked pepper. 

Veggie Bolognese Style Pasta Bake (NF)

The Gluten Free Scallywag, Pasta Bake,

Sometimes, when the weather is a little chilly as it has been these last few weeks in Perth, you just want something warm, something comforting, something that will make enough for two nights so that the next night, when you can't be bothered cooking you can simply serve and reheat. I love leftovers and this certainly does the job on a cold wednesday night!

I also love to cook a bit more than what we'll eat so that I can take it for lunch the next day. This means that I don't have to go looking for something Gluten Free and saves me a lot of money that could be spent elsewhere - like back into your mortgage, a savings account, or just blow it on a new pair or shoes, which reminds me, my black minnie mouse heels just died so it looks like that is where those lunch dollars will be going.

This is also great for cooking the night before and simply reheating for approximately an hour before the family gets home, or make it and then reheat to take to your Dad's place, as I am doing tonight. It looks like I'm late - sorry Dad! - so I better run. Oh and make sure if you're taking this over to Dad's place that he provides dessert; Gluten Free - Of Course!

The Gluten Free Scallywag, Pasta Bake,

Gluten Free Scallywag Veggie Bolognese Style Pasta Bake

1 packet Gluten Free Pasta (I used

San Remo's Gluten Free Penne


500g lean beef or lamb mince

200g tomato paste *

1 can peeled whole tomatoes *

1/2 onion, peeled and thinly sliced

6button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced

1 handful parsley, washed and chopped

2 carrots

1 corn

3tblspn pouring cream

2handfuls grated cheese (mix of cheddar and Parmesan works well)

pepper to taste

Cook pasta till aldente, drain in cold water to stop cooking and set aside.

In a large frying pan heat oil and cook onion till soft , add mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the mince and separate with a wooden spoon. Stir continuously until the meat is browned. Add tomato paste, parsley and tinned tomatoes, stir and allow to gently simmer for 20minutes. Taste and add pepper or maybe some mixed herbs to taste.

Meanwhile, cook and cut the corn, wash and grate the carrot (I don't bother peeling them as this preserves all the skin of vegetables usually contain most of the goodness!)and grate some cheese. Add the corn and carrot to the mince, stir to combine and repeat with the pasta. Transfer to a large baking dish, or if you made this in a large stovetop to oven dish (like Le Creuset) you can simple cover the top of the pasta with a few handfulls of cheese. Pour the cream over the top and transfer to the oven. At 180Deg C this took about 25minutes.

*You can use a bottle of Gluten Free tomato pasta sauce instead.

This recipe easily feeds 4-6people and the veggies can be interchanged. Tonight I had no corn so I used a grated zucchini instead, etc, etc.