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October (mid) 2016

I'm loving our fresh look website.  It's a great incentive to create some new, easy to prepare scrumptious things to eat. So, this weekend with two chicken breasts as the base, a few salicylate safe ingredients, a pan, hot element and 20 minutes of time, a delicious chicken toss was the result.  


Chicken Toss

2 skinless chicken breasts, finely cut in strips

1 stick very finely diced celery

1/2 white part of leek, very finely sliced

2 rashers bacon, finely chopped

1 clove garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped chives

1 to 2 tablespoons rice bran oil for cooking

1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan cheese

splash pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon finely ground rock salt


Sauce mix together

1 teaspoon cornflour with 1/4 cup water, 2 tablespoons cream, 1 tablespoon whisky 

Heat oil in pan, lightly cook leek, bacon, chives and garlic together, stirring a little till slightly golden.  The smell is fabulous.  Next add chicken, and cook, stirring  from time to time to combine with mixture.  Stir in parmesan cheese, maple syrup, salt and celery.  Cook a futher minute or two.  Stir through combined sauce ingredients.  The liquid will thicken in a minute or two and the dish is ready to serve with a side of rice, mashed potato or quinoa, plus a crisp green salad or steamed Chinese cabbage or Brussels Sprouts. 

Serves 4


September (middle) 2016
We've been enjoying home baked custard.  Our favourite is delicious tasting Creme Caramel.  Easy and great for guests or as a treat at any time, I make 6 individual little pots, small souffle/ramekin size, at a time.  I don't unmould the custards, so there's the added delight of melted caramel when you dip your spoon in the custard.
Creme Caramel
For caramel - 1/2 cup fine caster sugar plus water
For custard -   2 1/2 cups full cream milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence or 1 vanilla pod
1/2 cup fine caster sugar
3 whole eggs
3 egg yolks

Make caramel by putting 1/2 cup caster sugar in a small saucepan with enough water to cover sugar.  Heat, stirring to melt sugar till mixture turns a lovely golden colour.  Remove immediately from heat so caramel doesn't burn.  Pour equal amounts into the bottom of 6 little souffle/ramekin dishes and swirl to cover bases evenly.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. 
Heat milk and vanilla in saucepan till just about to boil.  In medium size bowl, whisk together sugar, whole eggs and egg whites.  A little at a time, whisk milk (remove vanilla bean if used) into sugar/egg mixture. Pour combined mixture over set caramel, into the 6 small souffle/ramekin dishes. Put dishes in large oven dish and pour hot water to reach half way up their sides.  Carefully place in oven and cook about 35 minutes till firm when touched. 
Makes 6

September (early) 2016
I try very hard to make a weekly batch of Anzacs.  They are the homemade biscuit, that without fail, all our family and visitors enjoy.  (Scoll down to September 2012 and you'll find the easy salicylate free recipe). 
It's lovely to try new things too and some time ago I saw a yummy looking recipe for Brown Sugar Shortbread, using walnuts. Replacing these with cashews and making the method really easy, the result was fabulous.  A creamy, crisp Brown Sugar Cashew Shortbread that also keeps incredibly well.

Brown Sugar Cashew Shortbread
150gms butter, melted
1/2 cup fine brown sugar
1/2 cup finely ground cashews (can be raw or lightly roasted but not salted)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
20 whole cashews  (can be raw or lightly roasted but not salted)

Preheat oven to 150C/300F or fanbake 140C/280F (I used two trays so cooked with fanbake).
Melt butter, add sugar and beat together 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in ground cashews and then add sifted flours.  Mix well to combine to a firmish dough.  Sprinkle a little extra brown rice flour on board and form biscuit dough into a ball, then roll into a solid sqareish shaped log about 4cm/1 1/2 inches.  You can make a little fatter if you like.  Cut into 1cm/1/2 inch slices.  Re-form a little if you need too.  Press a whole cashew fairly firmly into the top of each uncooked biscuit.  Bake on baking tray/trays lined with baking paper for about 40 minutes. 
Makes about 18 - 20.  

August 2016
Away for a few days on holiday with the family we were having a delicious homemade terrine for dinner using finely minced turkey breast, served with onion jam and a plum and Medeira chutney.  I knew all the ingredients in the terrine were totally safe but the enticing relish options were hopeless.  I had the perfect solution.  In twenty minutes I had made a simple yummy piquant pear sauce which everyone wanted to eat too.
In a small saucepan I combined a peeled, finely diced pear;  a couple of tablespoons of malt vinegar; a pinch of rock salt; a tablespoon of pure maple syrup and 1/2 cup or so of water.  I let this simmer away, mashing the pear as it cooked.  That's it!


July 2016
When most balms, inhalations and repair lotions boast a whole list of salicylate high natural ingredients, from tea tree and eucalyptus to menthol, lemon, echinacea, ginger, lavender, turmeric and many other herbs, it can be quite a challenge for the salicylate intolerant suffering winter ills.
I'm currently saying goodbye to over 10 days of dealing with a cold virus.  I found a few safe solutions that may help you too. 

  • To soothe the skin underneath and around a sore, irritated nose, raw from frequent blowing or cracked lips, Lucus Papaw Ointment and smearing the area with Vasaline give some protection.

  • Use hypo-allergenic tissues.

  • Saline nasal sprays can be helpful to relieve a runny nose and congestion.

  • Steam inhalation for nasal congestion

      - Put a cup or so of very hot water in a bowl and with a towel over your head, breathe in and out as deeply as  

        you can for a few minutes.

      - Run a hot shower, close bathroom doors and let steam build up.  Breathe in steam filled air for a few minutes.

  • Elevate your head while sleeping.  I use 3 pillows.

  • Sip a hot drink.  Either a pure vanilla drink as described below or just a cup of hot water is helpful to replace lost liquid and help clear congestion.


I have always enjoyed a cup of tea first thing in the morning but of course, tea is a very high salicylate drink.  I've replaced this with a hot drink made with pure vanilla, either by steeping a vanilla bean in very hot water or by adding a teaspoon of pure vanilla paste to hot water.  When I'm feeling well, a cup of decaf tea, which is placed somewhere between moderate and high on the salicylate list, tastes like magic.  I think it's all about having a hot drink and my other option is to sometimes have a decaf coffee, which joyfully is salicylate low.   


June (late) 2016
At long last some very good news for us.  The perfect breakfast for the health conscious is also perfect for the salicylate intolerant.  A report yesterday in the Daily Mail Australia, gives poached eggs on wholemeal toast a health rating of 10/10. 
"This provides a balance of protein and wholegrains to curb appetite, an slow-release fuel; eating eggs for breakfast has been shown to cut calorie intake over the next 24 hours by 400.  A good source of iron and B vitamins". 

I am also very pleased to be able to share details of a salicylate free, well priced, refreshing, good tasting toothpaste. It's called Alfree Plain Toothpaste. I bought it when visiting Melbourne recently, from the Chemist Warehouse, a discount chemist with stores all over Australia. I see they also sell online. I use it twice a day and have found the 100g tube lasts over a month.


June (early) 2016
It's mid-year already and cold and damp in Auckland as we move into winter proper.  At the moment, I'm making lots of chicken stock for warming soups and casseroles.  I like to have several containers full in various sizes waiting in the freezer. 
Perfect for cooler days, I've also been whipping up rich green chive pesto and stirring it through all sorts of pastas, sometimes with a touch of cream or extra rice bran oil for a lovely consistency. The pesto is also great for a pizza base or as a treat on top of hot toast or as a dip for crackers and chips.
Scroll down to April 2015 for Potato and leek soup, December 2014 for Chicken stock and May 2014 for Chive pesto recipes. 


February 2016
Unbelievably, Christmas and New Year 2015 are already over a month behind us.  It's always a busy time of year  enjoying family with lots of happy times spent preparing yummy food to share. 
Souffle filled baked potatoes is one recipe that was a great success.  Perfect for lunch with a crisp green salad and  freshly baked baguette,  they were also delicious served alongside meat, chicken or fish for a longer sit down  evening dinner. 
Use the potato skins as shells (potato skins are moderate)  to hold the souffles or as a low salicylate option, pile high into ramekin dishes. This is a marvelous way to use up extra egg whites left over after making creme caramel or meringues.  You could also add some finely chopped chives to the potato mixture. 

Souffle filled baked potatoes
6 medium size white potatoes (old season)
2 to 3 tablespoons butter or rice bran spread
2 tablespoons liquid cream
1/2 cup tasty grated cheese
rock salt to taste
2 to 3 egg whites, beaten till stiff

Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F

Prick washed potatoes all over and bake whole till soft.   About an hour at 180C/350F in oven or around 10 minutes or so in microwave, amount of cooking time depending on wattage.  Remove and cool a little.  Cut a 1cm/less than 1/2 inch slice off the flat top of each potato.  Carefully scoop out flesh from under top and inside of potato.  Put in medium size bowl.
Mash potato with butter or rice bran spread till smooth.  Add cream, grated cheese and rock salt to taste.  Stir till all mixed together.  Fold in beaten egg whites, starting with just a couple of tablespoons and then adding rest in two lots.  Spoon creamy mixture into potato shells or 6 greased ramekin dishes.
Bake in heated oven about 30 minutes till golden. 


May 2015
I was looking through my salicylate notes and found this excellent little write-up.  It's a great reminder.

Anyone who has a salicylate sensitivity/intolerance should remember a few general rules: -

  • Be cautious anytime you eat or use a product you haven't used before.  Try only one new thing at a time

  • Always read labels/ingredients

  • Always ask cosmetics specialists, chemists/pharmacists and health care professionals if salicylates are in the products they are recommending or prescribing 




April 2015

A fabulous New Zealand summer has come to any end and cooler Autumn temperatures are bringing a change to our cooking choices.  For us this time of year is full of birthdays and with the coming and going of family and friends, I've found two fabulous tasty salicylate safe options to make and share with our visitors.  One is a delicious creamy soup, perfect for a light lunch with crusty bread and perhaps some tasty cheese on the side, and the other a totally moreish light muffin, just sweet enough for the perfect energy lift mid-morning or afternoon.
The soup is one of the best potato and leek combinations I've had and the muffins filled with pear and the flavour of pure maple and golden syrups, melt in your mouth.  

Potato and Leek Soup
1 large leek
3 large old season potatoes
1 cup frozen peas
2 cloves garlic
3 to 4 cups chicken stock (recipe below in December 2014 blog entry)
2 tablespoon rice bran or canola oil
1 teaspoon rock salt
1 cup cream
finely choppped chives to sprinkle on top

Chop white part of leek and garlic, and peel and dice potatoes.  Heat oil in large pot and panfry prepared vegetables and garlic a few minutues, tossing all the time, till slightly golden. Cover with chicken stock and simmer for about 30 minutes till soft.  Add frozen peas and salt (if necessary, taste to see).  Cook further 6 to 8 minutes.  Add cream, stir all together, heat gently then remove from heat and blend till smooth with electric whisk or in a blender. Serve in soup bowls with a sprinkle of chives on the top. 
(You could leave peas out and reduce chicken stock to 2 - 3 cups to make this low salicylate.)

Serves 4 to 6

Maple Muffins with Pear
Pre-heat oven to 180C fan bake or 400F/200C
1 3/4 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch salt
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 egg
400gm/14 oz tin pear pieces

Sift, flour, baking powder and salt together in large bowl.  Lightly whisk egg, milk, oil, maple and golden syrups together in separate bowl.  Chop pear pieces into small cubes.  Add wet ingredients and chopped pears to dry ingredients and stir carefully until just mixed. Spoon mixture into muffin paper cups, placed in standard muffin tray till each 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 minutes until golden and skewer inserted in middle of a muffin comes out dry.  Makes 8 delicious moist muffins.  Serve hot with a little butter. 


September 2014
I've just had another nasty reminder, not to ever be complacent where salicylates are concerned.  Good health came to a grinding halt last week when I woke up on Thursday morning feeling nauseous and incredibly tired, with a nasty headache and swollen eyes with heavy fluid bags beneath them. It didn't take me long to recognise why.

I'd made a big mistake.

I was trying to be 'normal', save money and take the option always being suggested by my hairdresser to keep colour going longer by using special shampoo and conditioner.  Over the years, I've read the ingredient list on many products that fall into this range.  I finally found a special 'blonde highlights' Schwartzkoff conditioner I could use now and then, without noticeable health effects.

Suddenly this was gone from the market place, replaced by a whole new look Schwartzkoff hair product range.  The ingredients of the new conditoner (now a spray and leave) were just a little different from the previous one, which with care I knew I had been able to use.  I got so carried away, I also thought I would try the new shampoo.  I used them both last Wednesday and my hair looked and felt great.

But, as I said this was a big mistake.  Overnight the salicylate content roared through my system and was enough to make me feel very unwell for 2 to 3 days, with gradual improvement coming as the days went by.

As you can guess, it's back to my shampoo and conditioner salicylate free choices which I order online from Cleure and Andrea Rose in the USA.  This is not a cheap option given the high cost of postage to New Zealand, but thank goodness there is a safe option available. 


June 2014

It's been nearly a decade since Sally had to modify her cooking to suit salicylate intolerance. As the daily challenge became easier and the range of successful recipes grew, Clever Cooking for Salicylate Intolerance with Salicylate Sally was put together and published. The response has been amazing and heart-warming, with copies going all over the world, from New Zealand where Sally lives, to Australia, The USA, England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa, Canada, Norway and France. It has been a joy to receive so many positive comments and share experiences.


With many copies sold, we have just reprinted incorporating small variations to salicylate lists following on-going laboratory testing and clinical knowledge.


Here is a brief taste of the updated recipes:-


Banana Chutney 

1/2 kg/1lb bananas (4-5 depending on size) (moderate), peeled and sliced thinly

2 tablespoons malt vinegar

1/2 teaspoon rock salt

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon citric acid


Put all ingredients in large saucepan.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cook about 15 minutes stirring till thick and banana slices are broken up.  The chutney will be a rich caramel colour.  Pour into warmed sterised jars and cover with cellophane jam covers.

Makes 2 jars.  Keep in fridge.


May 2014
The weather is cool here in the Southern Hemisphere.  We had a frost yesterday morning in Auckland on a day reported as being the coldest May morning for nearly 40 years.  We've already had a taste of winter chill having just spent two weeks in the South Island of New Zealand.
We travelled over 4,000 kilometres, staying in cottages, motels and apartments. After a day driving long distances, or busy spent exploring, the nights were times to cook simply and cleverly.

Two salicylate happy choices were hot golden slices of French Toast with bacon and a little salad, and some delicious vegetable patties created from bits and pieces we had left over.

French Toast
4 slices bread (we used a sourdough loaf)
2 eggs
pinch salt
2 tablespoons milk
1-2 tablespoons butter
4 slices bacon, grilled (we used free range bacon without honey in the preparation)

Whisk eggs, salt and milk in bowl till well combined.  Soak each bread slice in egg mixture, turning over to use up all the liquid.  Melt butter in frying pan, add 2 slices bread at a time and cook on both sides until golden brown and the centre of the French toast is set. 
Serve wtih crispy bacon and a simple green salad of Iceberg or Cos lettuce with a little chopped celery or sugar snap peas (mange-tout).

Vegetable Patties
2 old season potatoes, peeled and cooked
1 spring onion, lightly pan fried in a little oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 slices ham, finely diced or 3 slices bacon, chopped small and cooked till crisp or both
2 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons cheese, grated
rice bran or canola oil to cook

Crush potatoes with fork in medium bowl until very roughly mashed.  Add cooked spring onion, ham or bacon or both and if you wish *any of other vegetables listed you may have on hand.  Lightly beat eggs, add to mixture and stir well.  Tip in grated cheese and flour, stir till all combined.  Form into round patties, a size to suit you.  I make about 6 - 8.  Pan fry on each side till golden, firm and cooked through, about 6 to 7 minutes.  (*you could also add 1/2 cup any sal safe cooked vegetables roughly chopped - Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beans, leek pan fried in a little oil with small clove garlic).
Serve with a little salad again, any meat or chicken choice and a spoon of **chive pesto on the side.

**Chive Pesto
1 cup chopped chives
3/4 cup lightly roasted cashews
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/2 cup canola or rice bran oil
1 small clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
1 teaspoon rock salt

Put all ingredients in small food processor bowl and process till well mixed.  Stir and re-process if necessary.  A beautiful colour, this pesto is great to have in the fridge at all times.  It can be used as a dip with crackers and pita crips, on a pizza base or as a flavouring in savoury dishes. 
Makes 1 cup and you can freeze if you like. 


February, 2014


It was after Christmas, nearing the end of 2013. It had been a busy time, buying, wrapping and exchanging presents; catching up with friends and celebrating with family.  Just before New Year I realised I had no energy, having to force myself to do anything at all.



Not only was everything a huge effort, but my head was tight with pain across the forehead.  Strong flavours and smells made me feel ill.  Not even my favourite, life-saving decaf coffee or gentle food like rice, light chicken and dry crackers appealed.  On the left side of my face (always the susceptible side) the ear was blocked and sideways movements brought on vertigo giddiness. My eyes were sticky and running, my finger joints sore and stiff.   When I caught sight of my face in the mirror, it was pale with fluid bumps under the eyes.  I realised I had been hit by a full blown salicylate attack.  A horrible spaced out condition I had almost forgotten.


The feeling had crept up on me, but how quickly I remembered being like this so many times in the past.


I thought with the passing of time, especially with the care I took with salicylate intake and use, I would never feel this way again.


I‘d been so careful.  Only after being clear of symptoms following a careful low salicylate diet, did I cautiously introduce more moderate, high and even a few very high salicylates sparingly and very gradually, into my world.  It was trial and error.  Among the highest salicylate successes for me were firm, just ripe avocados and good quality low alcohol French red wine.


Not all food items, however, have turned out so well.  Lemon in any shape or form is always hopeless, most high fruit, particularly rockmelon along with all herbs need to be treated with great caution and pepper in particular, along with tomatoes and olive oil are no, nos.   


So, having been reasonably well for such a long time, what had caused this now?

In strong health, I realised the introduced salicylates side effects had been kept at bay, but with so much going on, I could see my resistance would be down. 


It was also possible, salicylate levels were tipped over the edge when I used a new Clinique eye makeup. 



I usually keep to sal free brands, but some Clinique products are OK.   In this case, amongst the ingredients were a couple of very small amounts of salicylates.  In good health this probably would have been alright. This time, I was fairly certain it definitely was not.


I threw it away, went back to absolute basics with my food and to my immense relief, a few days later, my good health returned.

It’s a huge reminder that the intolerance has not and may not ever go away.  I know I won’t ever knowingly, make the same mistake again. 


March 2013
It's nearly Easter and over the last few days, our home has been filled with the delicious, warm, smell of yeast cooking.  I've been making Easter buns with salicylate free ingedients and thought you might like to bake a batch too.  These light yeasty buns are filled with yummy chocolate, instead of tradtional very high salicylate dried fruit. They are fun to make and a delicious treat for Easter.

Easter Buns
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 cup milk (heat in microwave about 30secs till lukewarm)
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
40gms/1 1/2 ozs butter, melted
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
30 dark chocolate buttons (70% if you can)

Paste for crosses: - 2 tablespoons flour mixed to a smooth paste with 2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Stir yeast and sugar into warm milk and leave in warm spot about 10 minutes until mixture is frothy

Sift flour into a large bowl and add 1/4 cup sugar.  Push flour mix to outsides of bowl and in hole left in middle, pour in melted butter, egg yolk and vanilla essence.  Add yeast mixture and stir all ingredients together with a wooden spoon to make a smooth dough. Knead dough on a clean surface sprinkled with flour for about 5 mins until smooth.  Divide dough into 10 pieces and roll into balls.  Press 3 chocolate buttons into the top of each ball and push into dough. Roll again to form a ball enclosing buttons. Place buns on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Cover with teatowel and place in a warm place* for about an hour or until doubled in size.  Cut a cross in the top of each rasied bun with a sharp knife.  Fill each cross with piped paste.  Glaze buns with lightly beaten egg white. Bake about 15 minutes till golden.  Eat warm with a little butter.
Alternatively, buns can be baked without crosses and iced with piped melted chocolate or white icing (confectioner's sugar).
*If you don't have a warm place, tray can be placed in oven on lowest setting, so just barely warm, for raising.


January 2013
Happy New Year.  And what better way to start the year than with a success story.  Tooth whitening is possible, if you have a salicylate intolerance or sensitivity.

My Take-home Teeth Whitening system success story

This worked for me, at a time when my salicyalte sensitivity is under control
by eating carefully and using only sal free health and beauty products


Recent major surgeries required the taking of various medications over a long period of time.  One of the side-effects was a noticeable increase in teeth staining.  Not pleasing at all, and with a salicylate intolerance/sensitivity, could I do anything about it?

Initial research was not at all encouraging.  Products involved in the tooth whitening process use salicylate ingredients, with flavours like mint featuring strongly.

Fortunately, I have an excellent dentist who uses unflavoured products for my dental visits and to my joy, after considerable investigation, a custom-made take-home kit system that appears to be salicylate free was found.

In preparation for the whitening process, the dentist made an impression of my upper and lower teeth using uncoloured Vynal Polysiloxaine, a very rapid setting non-flavoured impression material.  The impressions were filled with plaster to create a cast, on which the whitening trays were made with liquid plastic.  These took a couple of days.

The product I used was, 'regular Opalescence tooth whitening systems PF35%'  My tooth whitening purpose-made zipped kit bag consisted of the two custom-made teeth covering trays, 16 syringes of non-flavoured bleaching gel and an instruction booklet.  I kept the syringes in the fridge.

Each morning after cleaning my teeth, using a third of a syringe I applied a small drop of gel inside each tooth impression in both trays, placed these over my teeth and left them there for 30 minutes.  During this time, I usually had a shower, got dressed and did my make-up.  But this could be done at any time of the day to suit.   After each whitening session, I removed and rinsed the trays carefully with warm water.  I also rinsed my mouth, being careful as instructed, not to swallow any of the gel.

Each night after cleaning my teeth with flavourless floss and my own salicylate free toothpaste, I dabbed some vanilla flavoured *GC Tooth Mousse on my first finger and rubbed this over my teeth.  Containing calcium and phosphate, "in a special milk-derived protein called RECALDENTtm (CPP-ACP)", this replaces lost minerals from the tooth surface.

I repeated this procedure for 48 days, but you may achieve the level of whitening you desire sooner.  I'm absolutely thrilled to bits with the result.

*GC Tooth Mousse is "derived from milk casein and is edible, so can be swallowed, but would not be good for people with milk protein allergies or sensitivity to benzoate preservatives".  It "comes from the milk of finest Australian and New Zealand cows".


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