breakfast · dessert · Drinks · Recipes · snack · Vegan

Quick banana-almond smoothie (GF, vegan)


Do you ever get hangry?

That’s angry – or highly irritable – because you’re really hungry? My bf J never seems to suffer from this, but hangriness definitely hits me hard. While he’s the type who can, for example, forego breakfast no problemo, I can’t function without it. Even if I have an insanely early flight and I gotta be up and out by 4am, I gotta have something. And every three-four hours or so, my tummy starts to notify me that food is needed. And if I don’t heed the call? Well, best you stay clear.

So what to do if time is short and I don’t want to alienate all my family, friends and colleagues? This smoothie can be the answer. And it’s flexible! If you’ve had a light meal it can be a tasty dessert – or be bulked up to keep you full on its own for a few hours. It’s a perfect quick brekkie and post work-out treat.


Banana almond butter smoothie (vegan, GF)

Makes one serving

Tags: Gluten free, vegan, breakfast, snack, dessert, post-workout, smoothie, drink


  • 1.5 cups of dairy-free milk (I use coconut)
  • 1/2 ripe banana
  • 1 heaped tsp of almond butter
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp flaxseeds
  • 1/2 tsp agave syrup or 3/4 tsp of maple syrup

Optional additions:

  • 1 scoop of pea protein – great for post or pre workout!
  • For something heavier or as a breakfast replacement I’ll add 1 or 2 tbs of gluten-free rolled oats (dissolved in about 3 tbs of hot water for easier blending and digestion)
  • I love the taste of coffee and if I feel like a slight coffee taste I add 1 tsp of decaf coffee (dissolved in 1 tbs of hot water and stirred before throwing in the blender)
  • 3-4 ice cubes for those extra hot days

Instructions: Blend for a minute or two and enjoy!

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below!


breakfast · dessert · Gluten-free · Recipes · snack · Vegan

Moist one bowl vegan gluten-free banana-walnut bread (GF, vegan)


I woke up this morning with an uncontrollable urge to bake. And thank goodness for that, because nothing beats the mouth-watering sweet smell of banana bread baking in the oven.

I’m no Nigella, so this isn’t a feeling that strikes me regularly. But maybe because it’s a  public holiday week here in China because of the Lunar New Year (happy year of the pig by the way!) and because J and I were heading out for a long wintry walk across the city that afternoon, carbo-loading on something comforting seemed like the perfect thing to do.

Banana bread holds a special place in my heart. One of those bad boys toasted with a side of coffee was my go-to snack before and between heading to classes as a university student in Sydney. Sitting at the campus cafe, reading the paper while nibbling that piece of gooey comfort, little did I know that half a dozen years later I’d be in Beijing baking up my own version.

Lots have changed since then. Firstly, my significant other is a celiac, and secondly, my metabolism is not today what it was when I was 21 (early-thirties can I get an Amen!) Thirdly, I’m thankfully much more conscious of the things I put into my body. So here’s my gift to you, a recipe for a banana-walnut loaf with all delicious moist sweet chewy goodness, and a less of the pre-packaged bad:

Moist one bowl vegan gluten-free banana-walnut bread (GF, vegan)

Makes one loaf 
Tags: Gluten free, vegan, breakfast, snack, dessert


  • 4 medium-sized or 3 large ripe bananas
  • 4 tbs agave syrup
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup of coconut milk (or  use another dairy-free milk)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 psyllium husk ‘egg’ (1 tbs psyllium husk whisked together with 4 tbs water)
  • 1 cup of buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oats
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob Red Mills)
  • 3/4 cup of walnuts chopped into small pieces


  1. Preheat over to 170 degrees Celsius (about 338 Fahrenheit)
  2. In a large bowl mash up the bananas, add the coconut milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, agave, brown sugar and coconut oil and psyllium husk ‘egg,’ and give it a good stir
  3. Add the baking powder and stir
  4. Add all gluten-free flour, buckwheat, almond, oats and mix
  5. Stir in the walnuts
  6. Pour into a bread baking tin
  7. Bake for 1 hour – or until it’s golden brown and cracking across the top
  8. Let cool and serve!

This will keep in the fridge in an air-tight container for a few days, or (in the highly unlikely scenario that they’re not gobbled up in that time)  you can slice them up and freeze them for a longer period.

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Gluten-free · Mains · Recipes · Vegan

Creamy coconut-almond noodles with mushrooms and spinach (GF, vegan)


It’s freezing winter here in Beijing, which means that most days I’m in the mood for something warm and comforting.

This dish is something I threw together which includes a lot of my favourite flavours – almond, coconut and mushroom! Add some broccoli and spinach, and these nutty creamy noodles make for a delicious and filling meal – a perfect dish to come home to after a windy cold day out in the city.


Creamy coconut-almond noodles with mushrooms and spinach

Serves 4
Tags: Gluten free, vegan, main dish


  • Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • 1 medium onion/half a large onion, diced
  • 3 – 4 cloves of garlic, chopped into small pieces
  • 400g of Broccoli, chopped into florets
  • 500g of spinach
  • 500g of mushrooms (I like to use a mix of white and brown button mushrooms) sliced
  • 2 tbs of almond butter
  • 1 tbs of nutritional yeast (optional, but adds a slight creamy cheese-like flavour)
  • 200 – 300 mL of coconut milk (depending on how thick you’d like the sauce to be)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 water (if steaming for extra soft broccoli)
  • 4 servings of Gluten-free pasta (here I’m using a chick-pea based low carb pasta)
  • Handful of fresh basil to serve/garnish


  1. Place olive oil in pan. Sauté chopped onion for about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add the diced garlic and sauté for another minute or two (be careful not to burn the garlic)
  2. Throw in the mushrooms and fry until mushrooms shrink and turn medium-dark brown (about 10 minutes)
  3. Add coconut milk to mushrooms, cover pan and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes, until you can see the coconut milk begin to turn a brown mushroomy-colour!
  4. Take the liquid and some onions from the mixture and pour into a blender or food processor. Set aside the mushrooms in a bowl.
  5. Add almond butter and nutritional yeast to liquid in blender, pulse or blend for a minute or two, until well-mixed. Check the consistency, if too thick, add extra coconut milk and a tsp or two of almond butter if needed
  6. In a medium-sized pot, fry the broccoli in olive oil until florets are tinged brown. If you’d like them softer, add a 1/4 cup of water to the pan and cover and steam for three minutes.
  7. Start to prepare the pasta per packet instructions
  8. Add coconut-almond sauce in blender to broccoli in pot, add spinach and mix together lightly. Let cook for about 5 minutes until spinach is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Drain pasta and add to pot (use extra water from the pasta to add to the sauce if you’d like a thinner consistency)
  10. Serve and top with mushrooms set aside earlier, garnish with basil. Enjoy!

Tried this recipe? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Life in China

Being gluten-free in a gluten-filled world


Noodles, dumplings and soy in everything. It ain’t easy being a celiac in China.

Up until I started dating my boyfriend J, I had never known what a challenge it was. Being a celiac or gluten-intolerant just isn’t a thing here. When you add my inability to stomach dairy and our flexitarian tendencies, the restriction list can add up.

But there are ways to survive and thoroughly enjoy the delicious and diverse food culture here. Not only are restaurants slowly recognising gluten intolerance as a disease (and not just a fashionable lifestyle choice!), grocery stores and specialty online sellers are increasingly stocking food allergy-friendly ingredients, making it easier to cook-up our own tasty gluten-free/plant-based recipes at home.

This blog will chronicle our adventures in gluten-free eating, (mostly in Beijing, but also around the world), as well as my forays in the kitchen.

So that’s the Bread‘ part of the blog. How about the ‘Lily‘?

I’ll also be posting about my non-culinary passions – mindfulness and meditation, culture and travel, interiors and urban gardening and Beijing life in general. I can’t wait to share all these things with you.

Welcome to Bread and Lily!