Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chocolate chicken. Seriously.

I have been wanting to try this dish forever. It's been so long since I first heard about it, I can't even remember where I heard about it.l And today I took the plunge.

Chocolate Chicken.
2 chicken breasts
1 tablespoon of cocoa
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
0.5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 180C. Blend all ingredients until a runny but thick sauce is formed. Place chicken in an ovenproof dish and paint with the chocolate sauce. Bake for about an hour.

We had them sliced on top of home made mini tortillas with roasted capsicum strips. I am SO glad I tried this. It was utterly awesome. The kids were intrigued that I could dare serve up chocolate chicken!!! But ate it nonetheless. It will definitely make it's way into my work-in-progress menu plan as a summer dish as I can see it working really well with salad.

I've been an absolutely lazy blogger of late. I have excuses though!!! I have had several orders through my store which I have been churning out as quickly as I possibly can, as well as finally getting some sewing for my kids done, a little Xmas shopping and organising Torin's 7th birthday which is this coming Saturday. So once I stop running about like a headless chicken, I will try and be a better blogger.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Better Batter.

We're pretty lucky to have a Gluten Free Fish & Chip shop here in Ballarat. It means that from time to time I can have night off from cooking!
Another store I have been pleased to find is Abunda - a dedicated gluten free mini supermarket.

So last week I went into Abunda and got some rice noodles. I'd been checking the supermarkets and couldn't find any, and I had been hankering for a stir fry instead of fried rice!

Stir fry is simple here - snow peas, capsicum, water chestnuts, yellow beans - tossed in the wok with sea salt and ginger and rice noodles.

But we will be moving one day, and there mightn't be a fish and chip shop that does gluten free so I thought I'd use tonight to try out a gluten free batter recipe as well. I've never made batter before really, other than the once time I cooked oysters in tempura batter from my Jamie Oliver cookbook. I think I even used packet mix tempura batter for the last chicken nuggets I fried *blush*. This batter is simple and light, and I can see it working for all sorts of things, chicken, fish, vegies, the lot!

Gluten Free Batter for Deep Frying
1/4 cup cornflour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
3/4 cold water
Whisk together until the batter streams in a ribbon off the fork or whisk. It needs to be runny, but not too runny. Coat fry-able item in batter and toss into hot oil. Remove when golden brown.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving and TGIF!

Apologies - I know I'm a day late, but we don't celebrate it here. But happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US. Anyone manage to catch the rickroll in the Macy's Parade?

Well it's Friday again. I've been a lazy blogger because I've been sewing! More Christmas outfits for some friends. So tonight was an easy meal.

Spiral Pasta with spinach, pine nuts and bacon
1 packet of pasta, cooked according to directions
2 rashes or bacon
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 handfuls spinach leaves
Olive oil

Gently toast pine nuts, toss in garlic and bacon. When bacon is tender, stir through spinach leaves. Drain pasta and stir through, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately. Easy!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The shortcut to Ratatouille!

We went fruit and veg shopping this morning. And I went a little overboard. Rather than decide in advance, we went in without a list and bought everything we thought looked fantastic. I'm still not so great at menu planning. Don't get me wrong. I am a planner. But menu planning seems to get undone by life's little hiccups so it hasn't happened for us yet.

But when looking at the pile of delicious vegies sitting on the kitchen bench I was inspired to try something I kept meaning to try... which also happened to be a summer vegetable dish. Ratatouille!

So this is my spin on Ratatouille with a little bit of a time saver involved ;)

Roast Vegetable Ratatoille
1 medium sweet potato, cubed
1 medium eggplant, cubed
1 ear of corn, with kernels cut off
2 medium zucchini, cubed
7 cloves of garlic, whole
7 spears of asparagus, trimmed
olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
cayenne pepper (about a teaspoon)
and the shortcut ingredient - a jar of salsa. I used Maloa House Lecs├│ (Hungarian Salsa)

Preheat oven to 230 C. Place vegetables and garlic (excluding asparagus) into an casserole dish. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Toss. Lay asparagus spears on top and roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon salsa over the vegetables. Combine gently with a spoon. Pop back into oven for 15 minutes. Serve on a bed of brown rice.

This turned out fantastic and with plenty of leftovers to make omelettes for breakfast or quesadillas for lunch!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Real Men Don't Eat Quiche.

Or do they???

In fact, I've never met a man who doesn't but then I've never really been around men that read books!

But call it what you will - quiche, tart or flan - the fact remains they taste great!

Ours was simple. We had success again with Maggie Beer's GF Pastry recipe and the filling was simple, and as follows:
  • 250 grams shaved ham, torn up
  • 5 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 5 mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1/4 cup grated cheese
Basically, after lining the pie dish with the pastry, I assembled the quiche in that order. Baked for 30 minutes at 220C and there it is.

I'm having trouble with the GF blogs I follow. Most of them are based in the US or Canada so they're cooking gorgeous autumn and winter dishes and I have to remember Spring is almost over and Summer is on it's way. Although it's easy to forget when it's chilly and raining like today. But quiche is great in that it can be eaten cold with salad. So I'm back on track.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ice Ice Baby - a Summer Treat

And with a new season on it's way in, our gluten-free, dairy-free journey has taken another step. Different foods on the menu, mean more items to be closely examined in the supermarket.
So Good soy ice cream is safe if it's Vanilla. But not if it's chocolate. Nestle Icy Poles are safe (and now marked gluten free on the package) but I've never really forgiven them for that bad thing they did.

So before investing in an ice cream maker and doing it all myself, I thought I'd give sorbet a go by hand first.
When I spotted Kiwi Fruit on special, it was all the inspiration I needed. But having never made sorbet before, I had a lot of research and reading to do.

My first port of call was my friend Skipper. She had loads of wonderful recipes on hand but hers contained egg. As Baby E hasn't had egg yet, I kept looking. And I stumbled across a familiar place - the blog of Pig in the Kitchen, another Mum with an allergy child! And even better, a starting point on how to make sorbet!
I particularly liked how her recipes were more rustic (so many recipes demand you force the fruit through a strainer).

Kiwi Fruit Sorbet.
250 grams white sugar
600 mls water
9 kiwi fruit, [peeled and roughly chopped
0.25 teaspoons xantham gum
1 teaspoon citric acid

In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water. When dissolved, throw in the fruit and remove from the heat. Allow to cool. Pour into a blender. Add citric acid and xantham gum. Blitz until smooth. Pour into a metal tin (I used a cake tin) and freeze for an hour. Remove from freezer and beat with a handmixer. Put into freezer containers and re-freeze.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So it's almost Christmas.

And I was trying to be all bah humbug about it. But when you have friends who are Christmas-obsessed it's hard to just pass it all by.

Today, I was innocently standing in my kitchen making the kids some corn tortillas from scratch for lunch. As I rolled out the dough and daydreamed, I somehow ended up grabbing a cookie cutter. I must say, it was easier than having very wonky circles because I cannot for the life of me roll balls of dough into circles. When I'm rich, I'll buy a tortilla press!

I am pretty happy with how these turned out. Even happier to be able to say they are free of gluten, dairy, egg, yeast and fructose and are still tasty!

Corn Tortilla Recipe.
1.5 cups cornflour
0.5 cups cornmeal/polenta
1.5 cups hot water
1 teaspoon Nuttelex dairy free spread

In a bowl, mix the cornmeal and cornflour. In a jug stir the margarine into the hot water until melted.
Pour liquid into the corn mix and stir with a metal spoon. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, knead until smooth. Roll dough out between two pieces of plastic (I used shopping bags!). Carefully peel back plastic and gently fry in a dry pan for a minute on each side. You can use cookie cutters to make shapes, or for larger tortillas, use balls of dough about the size of a peach rolled out.
If you make smaller ones with the cookie cutters, you could probably cook them a little longer to dry them out and use them as chips for dipping.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pumpkin and Pine-nut Risotto.

This is a simple dish and one that everyone seems to adore.

Pumpkin and Pine-nut Risotto.
Half a butternut pumpkin, peeled, cooked and mashed
2 cups arborio rice
4 cups vegetable stock
nutmeg to taste *optional
small handful of pine nuts, lightly toasted
oil for cooking

Heat oil, add rice and stir through until translucent. Add stock one cup at a time until completely absorbed. In between the 3rd and 4th cup of stock, stir through the mashed pumpkin (and add nutmeg is you like). Add last cup of stock. Serve garnished with toasted pine nuts.

Ok. So some of mine were a little more than lightly toasted. Feel free to turn a blind eye!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I did sew!

Yes!!! I actually finished three Christmas outfits. And would you believe I had cut them out LAST Christmas. But being pregnant and having hyperemesis gravidum was not conducive to a lot of sewing. A lot of sleeping perhaps, but nope, no sewing.

So my store is no longer as empty as it was!

I adore this dress....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Three Jars Full!

Well there will be three, but currently there is only two.

I've put my food processor to hard work this morning and have already made Pesto (sans cheese) and Macadamia Nut Butter. To complete the trifecta, I will be adding Hommus once the chick peas are all soaked.

Please excuse the shocking photo. It's from my phone as I can't find my rechargeable camera batteries.

Dairy Free Pesto is super easy. I can honestly say I think I have only ever bought pre-made Pesto once.
All you need is Fresh Basil, a little garlic, some pine nuts and olive oil (which isn't even really necessary in my opinion). I pick 3 handfulls of basil leaves. Process in food processor. Add 1 handfull of pine nuts, lightly toasted (I pop mine under the griller for a very short time). Process a little longer. Add one clove of garlic, crushed. Process until you're happy with it. Add oil if you wish. But remember if you use pesto for lots of different things, it doesn't always need to be "oily" so you can add the oil later if you need to.

Even simpler again, Macadamia Nut Butter. Take one 250 gram bag of natural macadamia nuts (not roasted not salted, just plain naked). Add a handfull at a time to food processor until the consistency you prefer. If they get dry, add a little oil (I used rice bran oil). And there you have an awesome spread for your toast!

And yes. In realise it looks like someone has been stuck into the pesto. I was hungry and I can recommend it with cheese in an omelette!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dammit! I contaminated us all!!!!

And would you believe it only took One Single Litre of Soy Milk to do it?

I have learned, yet again, to read EVERYTHING. Even read it twice. Freedom Foods, which makes so many foods we can usually eat, makes Soy Milk which contains gluten.

I did wonder why I was itchy as hell. And why Bridie's "output" was a little pale.

I guess you live and learn....

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No Tomato Pizza - A new challenge

With Bridie reacting to all things Fructose, we've had to avoid tomatoes a bit. But with Torin begging for pizza, I've had to put my thinking cap on. Now there are other ways of avoiding putting tomato on your pizza. Pizza Bianca uses dairy, such as sour cream, but we're dairy free. Some pizzas have pesto (which generally also contains dairy in the form of parmesan cheese) but my basil is yet to grow. It has little tiny shoots but it'll be a while yet.
And I wanted RED! Sweet and red....So this is what I did:

Roasted Capsicum and Garlic Pizza Sauce
2 large red capsicums, de-seeded and quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic

Place capsicum skin side down on tray. Place whole garlic bulb on tray. Roast in oven preheated to 180c for 30 minutes. When soft the garlic will jump out of his skin with a gentle squeeze. Pop the garlic cloves and capsicuim in a food processor and whizz until chopped. There's your sauce!

For the base we used this recipe except we used White Wings GF flour this time and a little more water.
We topped it with chopped mushrooms and soy cheese, 20 minutes in the oven (190 C) and it was great!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Semi Free-form Kangaroo Meat Pies.

Yay! I managed to get meal prepared for the October challenge Vittoria is hosting.

There is one disadvantage to being Australian and it's culinary. Our country doesn't have a long history, unless you consider the Aboriginal people. And, sadly, a lot of their history is lost, or handed down by word of mouth. The other difficulty was that they lived on the land and we kind of use kitchens to prepare meals.
So I thought about this for a long, long time until I could find a way to bring all of Australia to the table.

There is nothing more Aussie than a meat pie. Granted Australia is not the only country who eats meat pies, but ask any Australian what is an "Aussie" food, in amongst the Vegemite and beer, someone will mention meat pies.
But that alone, wasn't Indigenous enough for my liking. So I figured no other country has Kangaroos! We're going to whip up a Kangaroo meat pie to die for! On top of that, it's gluten and dairy free!

For the pastry, I again used Maggie Beer's Gluten Free pastry recipe. As usual, I replaced the butter with Nuttelex dairy free spread. I have called them "semi free-form" because I did use pie dishes but I rolled the pastry out to a larger size and just kind of gathered and tucked the extra over to form the tops. I filled each with my delicious kangaroo filling and baked in the oven (220 C) for 20 minutes.

Kangaroo Pie Filling
(makes about 4 small pies)
400 grams kangaroo steak, cubed
1 tablespoon rice bran oil
1 Massel Easy Onion cube
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 cup vegetable stock, hot
1 tablespoon cornflour

Heat the oil in a saucepan. Brown off the meat and stir in the sage. Crumble in onion cube and add hot stock. Pop lid on and lower the heat, allowing to simmer for 30 minutes. (This is a good time to roll out the pastry).
Remove the lid, stir and add cornflour. Turn the heat up and stir from time to time until a gravy has formed from the liquid. Then it's ready!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

'Go ahead honey, it's gluten Free!' October Challenge - Indigenous foods.

Yay my first challenge!
This month Vittoria is hosting the "Go ahead honey, it's gluten free" challenge and her twist was we are to use ingredients indigenous to our region and country.

I've also been menu planning. I've been extremely unmotivated lately and I am pretty sure the kids are no longer ok with eating fried rice twice a week.

So stay tuned because I am working on some ideas.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Funky Town.

I'm feeling a bit blerk with the blogging thing.

Cooking is getting waaaaay too boring to blog. The good news is that now I've removed fructose, dairy AND gluten Bridie seems to be better. Her excema is clearing and she is now having no tummy troubles (without going into graphic detail).
So now that she's not having tummy issues, she wants to start toilet training. That started today. So I had one little picannini running about all rudey nudey all day long.
Toilet training tally today:
Wee: 3 on the carpet, 1 on the bathroom floor, 2 outside!
Poo: 1 on the carpet.

Now poo on the carpet would normally freak me out due to her previous consistency issues. But this was a normal poo and the mess was easily remedied.

So bear with me while I master our newly restricted shopping list, and I'll see if I can come up with something exciting!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Potato and Lentil Patties with Satay Sauce.

I am SO utterly bored with food right now. And to top it off, tonight we were GOING to have meat. But alas! I forgot to take it out of the freezer so last minute eeeek! what shall we have for dinner!!!

So time to scan the pantry (yes, it's becoming a habit) and I spot potatoes and lentils. Then I *sigh* because how utterly boring can you get? Resigned to my fate of cooking the most boring dinner in the entire universe, I wander over to tidy up the bench from lunchtime and spot the peanut butter.

And then one of those weird little light bulbs appeared above my head. LOL!

Potato and Lentil Patties

4 medium potatoes, cooked, mashed and cooled
1 cup red lentils, cooked in two cups water
2 tablespoons No Egg beaten into 1/4 cup cold water
OR 1-2 eggs lightly beaten

Scrunch it all together. Form into patties and shallow fry. Easy!

Satay Sauce
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 large tablespoon oil (I use rice bran oil)
1 generous teaspoon ground coriander]
1 clove garlic, crushed

Pop the lot in a small pan. Stir until mixed and runny.

I am grateful it is Friday. I plan to ignore the dishes and put my feet up!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

When rice cakes are good.

Inspired by Vittoria's "Beyond Rice Cakes" post, I've been pondering the different ways one could make rice cakes interesting.Years ago, before any knowledge of coeliacs disease, I would go through stages of living on rice cakes in the name of weight loss. But really, after a while they do tend to taste like polystyrene. They are boring.

I have to say, rice thins have made a difference. Less blandness, easier to disguise with a nice topping/filling. It's also good to see corn thins or rice and corn. Makes it taste a little less "white".

Now Torin is more than happy to eat Rice cakes with peanut butter until the cows come home. But I am certainly not. I get bored with food VERY easily. So the following are things I top or fill my boring old rice cakes with to make life a little "sexier".

* Tofutti "Better than cream cheese" and smoked salmon. Open sandwich style. Sometimes with a little dill.
* Home made hommus, spread thickly
* Fresh mashed avocado
* Home made dip - pumpkin, basil and chickpea
*Apricot jam and chopped walnuts
* Ham, mustard and cheese (although the cheese we buy is soy cheese, but that's only for dairy free folk)
* Grilled eggplant and tahini
* Mashed, cooked kidney beans and salsa
* Mayonaisse/Salad cream and shredded chicken
* Sundried tomato and grated cheese
*Cream cheese (or replacement) and jam
* Tuna, mayo and chopped celery
* Cream cheese and sultanas
*Peanut butter and chopped celery

Now that's all we have had so far. And it's certainly not boring or dull. You just have to know that the rice cake is just replacing the bread. And the bread didn't "make" the sandwich. Then lunchtime gets all Zen. *wink*

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

GF Banana Pikelets for Baby!

I had to share this recipe. The little kids had it for lunch. It lasted about 4.7 seconds. I even had a bite (which is a big thing for me because I loathe banana) and they were good! Really good! Very quick and easy too.

GF Banana Pikelets
One large banana, mashed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 cup GF flour

Stir banana and orange juice together. Beat in flour (I used a handmixer and it took no time at all).
Drop spoonfulls into a hot frying pan. Fry until brown on each side. Allow to cool and serve.

This made 7 wee little pikelets. See photo below so you get what I mean.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pasta Spirals with Creamy Tofu Sauce.

I'm still on a mission to eat less meat. I'm also wanting to ensure the children have an adequate intake of iron and calcium. So the perfect food seemed to be Tofu! And my evil plan was to turn it into something the kids would eat. We've had it in the past in dishes such as stir-fries, but they always seem to spot it and leave it aside. I don't even think it's because they don't like the taste. I just think it looked weird.

So tonight I tried a different (and successful) tactic.

Pasta Spirals with Creamy Tofu Sauce.
375 gram block or organic tofu
1 cup soy milk
2 garlic cloves, crushed
12 button mushrooms, sliced
12 baby spinach leaves
Oregano and basil

Pop Tofu into a blender with the milk. Blitz until creamy. In a small amount of oil, gently fry the mushrooms, garlic and spinach. When soft, pour the tofu mix in and stir through. Add as much or as little oregano and basil as you like. Serve over cooked pasta spirals.

I have to point out something too. For some reason, the tofu mixture takes a while to heat up. So do check it's really nice and warm before serving. It doesn't seem to retain the heat very well and cools quickly. I CAN say, however, that it makes a great nutritious baby food. Edan was very impressed!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Grilled Eggplant and Vegetable Nachos.

We're back into routine! Hooray! After driving Torin to school, the littlies and I went to the green grocers. And Bridie was allowed to choose a vegetable and she chose a rather massive, shiny eggplant. So I thought about what I could do with it all the way home.

I used to LOVE grilled eggplant on foccacia in the days before coeliacs. So that was the obvious choice. So I sliced it into slabs about 1 centimetre thick and grilled it in the griddle. I found the pan had to be well oiled or the eggplant tended to just char. It cooks quite quickly though, so then I put it aside and did some more wondering.

I'm trying to cut down on our meat consumption. It's not environmentally friendly. It's not a VITAL part of our diet. And it's expensive. I can buy so much more food from the greengrocers if we just skip the meat. So with this in mind I did some fridge and pantry gazing (I seem to do that a lot, hey?) and decided I COULD do vegetarian nachos. I could even do VEGAN nachos! And the bonus is the preparation time can be broken down into steps (see, I've already grilled the eggplant) and assembled when you're ready to cook and serve.

Grilled Eggplant and Vegetable Nachos.
1 large eggplant, sliced and grilled
1 medium zucchini, grated
1 medium carrot, grated
1 handful baby spinach leaves
1 tin of kidney beans, washed and drained
1 packet Burrito seasoning
1/4 cup water
A little oil
1 packet corn chips
Grated cheese (Ours is still Vegan. We use Vegan soy cheese)

Place zucchini, carrot, spinach leaves and kidney beans in a saucepan with a dash of oil. Cook over low heat until tender. Add seasoning and water and stir though. Once thick, put aside.

Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter corn chips over an oven tray. On top of that, place circles or strips of grilled eggplant. Then make a layer of your seasoned vegetable and bean mix. Top with cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bacon and Baby Spinach stuffed Mushrooms.

I'm running out of ideas. I needed to try something new. I have found myself stuck in a kitchen rut.

Bridie has hit the "Oh I am two and I can't possibly eat anything you serve me" stage. Thankfully, Torin missed that stage but he's now on the "I am sooooo very hungry Mummy, I want MORE" stage. So we seem to be eating piles of rice, anything that can be squished into patties or croquettes, mountains of pasta and corn tacos, tortillas and chips by the shipping container.

So I wanted something different. And I took my time today cruising around the fruit and veg. shop and saw these awesome big fat field mushrooms. And they spoke to me. They did, honest. They told me to get stuffed.
So I had my revenge!

Bacon & Baby Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms.
(For each serve you will need...)
1 enormous mushroom (think Alice in Wonderland)
1 loose handful of baby spinach leaves
1 rasher of bacon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
A little grated cheese

Preheat oven to 180C.
In a saucepan, heat a little oil and cook the bacon and crushed garlic. Throw in the spinach leaves and warm through.
Wipe the mushroom clean and place on an oven tray, top down. You could remove the stem if you wish but I didn't bother.
Fill the mushrooms hat with the bacon/garlic/spinach mixture and grate a little cheese on top. (We use Delre Mini-chol Soy Cheese -it's vegan!)
Place in oven for 20 minutes.
Laugh like a maniac for getting revenge on those ill-mannered mushrooms.
Serve. We eat small. Maybe it's an entree. Could also be a side-dish? It could even be a breakfast!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mother Hubbard's Fried Rice.

School holidays do my head in. I'm normally pretty organised and have my routine down pat. Monday is shopping day. But last Monday I drove to Melbourne so Torin could stay with his Nana for the week. Which meant no time for shopping. Then when I did shop, I bought less because Torin wasn't here. It's amazing how much a break in the mundane routine can work against you though.

This afternoon, I was wondering what to cook for dinner. I knew I had some gluten free sausages but they were frozen! So a meat free dish was on the menu. A quick browse through the fridge and pantry (and having a read of Dixiebelle's blog) made me decide on Fried Rice.
Mind you, Dixiebelle's is a little more gourmet. But Edan is finally starting to enjoy solids so this is very basic.

Fried Rice
1 Ear of corn, kernels shaved off
1 bunch pak choy, finely sliced
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 cup frozen peas (preferably local but mine were from New Zealand)
1 cup of rice, cooked
2 eggs (whisked lightly)
soy sauce
oil for cooking

I heat the wok up and then make a mini omelette from the eggs. I then remove that and put aside for garnish.
Than add the vegetables and stir fry. Add the rice and stir everything through. Cover and lower the heat and cook for about 10 minutes. Uncover, drizzle soy sauce over and stir through. Serve, topped with strips of cooked egg.

I just want to say Hi!

Ok. I've been watching the FEEDJIT Tracker and I've noticed there are readers from all over the place!

Now I know a few people that read and comment.
donna - I know in real life ;)
Vittoria - Often leaves comments and I stalk her blog!
Some of you I know from Essential Baby (well a lot of you since the link is in my signature).
But some of you are strangers.

So Hi! Here's your chance to say hello :)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sweet Potato and Tuna Patties.

These were so unbelievably good. Honestly, I'm normally pretty *meh* about food. But these patties hit the spot and were so easy!

Sweet Potato and Tuna Patties.
1 large sweet potato (peeled, cooked, mashed and cooled)
1 bunch Pak Choy (sliced finely)
1 425 gram tin of tuna in olive oil
1 egg
Cornflour to coat.

Mix sweet potato, tuna, pak choy and egg until combined. Scoop up fistfulls (the mixture is quite "wet"). Coat in cornflour and gently fry until browned on each side. These could probaly also be done in the oven if you preferred.

The kids loved them! Always a plus ;)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Chicken and Corn Risotto.

It appears that Miss Bridie may have fructose malabsorption on top of Coeliacs! So I've had to revise my weekly shopping list.

So I decide this week we'd get a few things we don't usually get. Ears of corn was one of those things.

Chicken and Corn Risotto
1 cup arborio rice
1 chicken breast
1 ear of corn
4 cups warm vegetable stock.
Oil (for cooking)

I used the same method as I used for the Garlic Chicken Risotto but made a few changes.
I used half as much rice, but the same amount of stock. This is because I shaved the kernels of corn of the ears and added them to the risotto after the second cup of stock. This gave them a nice cooking time and allowed the risotto to have a true corn flavour.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I am still here!!!!

Just a quick update.

It's school holidays and everything is a little hectic.
So I don't have much blogging time and am a little uninspired in the kitchen.

But next week is a new week ;)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dont Mourn For Us. By Jim Sinclair.

I'm sharing this with you, because it's an article that really turned things around for me as the Mum of an autistic child. Jim Sinclair has written some amazing articles explaining autism from an autistic perspective. I will always be grateful he has chosen to do this, as it's helped me immeasurably.
Thank you, Jim.

Parents often report that learning their child is autistic was the most traumatic thing that ever happened to them. Non-autistic people see autism as a great tragedy, and parents experience continuing disappointment and grief at all stages of the child's and family's life cycle.
But this grief does not stem from the child's autism in itself. It is grief over the loss of the normal child the parents had hoped and expected to have. Parents' attitudes and expectations, and the discrepancies between what parents expect of children at a particular age and their own child's actual development, cause more stress and anguish than the practical complexities of life with an autistic person.

Some amount of grief is natural as parents adjust to the fact that an event and a relationship they've been looking forward to isn't going to materialize. But this grief over a fantasized normal child needs to be separated from the parents' perceptions of the child they do have: the autistic child who needs the support of adult caretakers and who can form very meaningful relationships with those caretakers if given the opportunity. Continuing focus on the child's autism as a source of grief is damaging for both the parents and the child, and precludes the development of an accepting and authentic relationship between them. For their own sake and for the sake of their children, I urge parents to make radical changes in their perceptions of what autism means.

I invite you to look at our autism, and look at your grief, from our perspective:
Autism is not an appendage
Autism isn't something a person has, or a "shell" that a person is trapped inside. There's no normal child hidden behind the autism. Autism is a way of being. It is pervasive; it colors every experience, every sensation, perception, thought, emotion, and encounter, every aspect of existence. It is not possible to separate the autism from the person--and if it were possible, the person you'd have left would not be the same person you started with.

This is important, so take a moment to consider it: Autism is a way of being. It is not possible to separate the person from the autism.

Therefore, when parents say,

"I wish my child did not have autism,"
what they're really saying is,
"I wish the autistic child I have did not exist, and I had a different (non-autistic) child instead."
Read that again. This is what we hear when you mourn over our existence. This is what we hear when you pray for a cure. This is what we know, when you tell us of your fondest hopes and dreams for us: that your greatest wish is that one day we will cease to be, and strangers you can love will move in behind our faces.
Autism is not an impenetrable wall
You try to relate to your autistic child, and the child doesn't respond. He doesn't see you; you can't reach her; there's no getting through. That's the hardest thing to deal with, isn't it? The only thing is, it isn't true.

Look at it again: You try to relate as parent to child, using your own understanding of normal children, your own feelings about parenthood, your own experiences and intuitions about relationships. And the child doesn't respond in any way you can recognize as being part of that system.

That does not mean the child is incapable of relating at all. It only means you're assuming a shared system, a shared understanding of signals and meanings, that the child in fact does not share. It's as if you tried to have an intimate conversation with someone who has no comprehension of your language. Of course the person won't understand what you're talking about, won't respond in the way you expect, and may well find the whole interaction confusing and unpleasant.

It takes more work to communicate with someone whose native language isn't the same as yours. And autism goes deeper than language and culture; autistic people are "foreigners" in any society. You're going to have to give up your assumptions about shared meanings. You're going to have to learn to back up to levels more basic than you've probably thought about before, to translate, and to check to make sure your translations are understood. You're going to have to give up the certainty that comes of being on your own familiar territory, of knowing you're in charge, and let your child teach you a little of her language, guide you a little way into his world.

And the outcome, if you succeed, still will not be a normal parent-child relationship. Your autistic child may learn to talk, may attend regular classes in school, may go to college, drive a car, live independently, have a career--but will never relate to you as other children relate to their parents. Or your autistic child may never speak, may graduate from a self-contained special education classroom to a sheltered activity program or a residential facility, may need lifelong full-time care and supervision--but is not completely beyond your reach. The ways we relate are different. Push for the things your expectations tell you are normal, and you'll find frustration, disappointment, resentment, maybe even rage and hatred. Approach respectfully, without preconceptions, and with openness to learning new things, and you'll find a world you could never have imagined.

Yes, that takes more work than relating to a non-autistic person. But it can be done--unless non-autistic people are far more limited than we are in their capacity to relate. We spend our entire lives doing it. Each of us who does learn to talk to you, each of us who manages to function at all in your society, each of us who manages to reach out and make a connection with you, is operating in alien territory, making contact with alien beings. We spend our entire lives doing this. And then you tell us that we can't relate.

Autism is not death
Granted, autism isn't what most parents expect or look forward to when they anticipate the arrival of a child. What they expect is a child who will be like them, who will share their world and relate to them without requiring intensive on-the-job training in alien contact. Even if their child has some disability other than autism, parents expect to be able to relate to that child on the terms that seem normal to them; and in most cases, even allowing for the limitations of various disabilities, it is possible to form the kind of bond the parents had been looking forward to.

But not when the child is autistic. Much of the grieving parents do is over the non-occurrence of the expected relationship with an expected normal child. This grief is very real, and it needs to be expected and worked through so people can get on with their lives--

but it has nothing to do with autism.

What it comes down to is that you expected something that was tremendously important to you, and you looked forward to it with great joy and excitement, and maybe for a while you thought you actually had it--and then, perhaps gradually, perhaps abruptly, you had to recognize that the thing you looked forward to hasn't happened. It isn't going to happen. No matter how many other, normal children you have, nothing will change the fact that this time, the child you waited and hoped and planned and dreamed for didn't arrive.

This is the same thing that parents experience when a child is stillborn, or when they have their baby to hold for a short time, only to have it die in infancy. It isn't about autism, it's about shattered expectations. I suggest that the best place to address these issues is not in organizations devoted to autism, but in parental bereavement counseling and support groups. In those settings parents learn to come to terms with their loss--not to forget about it, but to let it be in the past, where the grief doesn't hit them in the face every waking moment of their lives. They learn to accept that their child is gone, forever, and won't be coming back. Most importantly, they learn not to take out their grief for the lost child on their surviving children. This is of critical importance when one of those surviving children arrived at the same time the child being mourned for died.

You didn't lose a child to autism. You lost a child because the child you waited for never came into existence. That isn't the fault of the autistic child who does exist, and it shouldn't be our burden. We need and deserve families who can see us and value us for ourselves, not families whose vision of us is obscured by the ghosts of children who never lived. Grieve if you must, for your own lost dreams. But don't mourn for us. We are alive. We are real. And we're here waiting for you.

This is what I think autism societies should be about: not mourning for what never was, but exploration of what is. We need you. We need your help and your understanding. Your world is not very open to us, and we won't make it without your strong support. Yes, there is tragedy that comes with autism: not because of what we are, but because of the things that happen to us. Be sad about that, if you want to be sad about something. Better than being sad about it, though, get mad about it--and then do something about it. The tragedy is not that we're here, but that your world has no place for us to be. How can it be otherwise, as long as our own parents are still grieving over having brought us into the world?

Take a look at your autistic child sometime, and take a moment to tell yourself who that child is not. Think to yourself: "This is not my child that I expected and planned for. This is not the child I waited for through all those months of pregnancy and all those hours of labor. This is not the child I made all those plans to share all those experiences with. That child never came. This is not that child." Then go do whatever grieving you have to do--away from the autistic child--and start learning to let go.
After you've started that letting go, come back and look at your autistic child again, and say to yourself: "This is not my child that I expected and planned for. This is an alien child who landed in my life by accident. I don't know who this child is or what it will become. But I know it's a child, stranded in an alien world, without parents of its own kind to care for it. It needs someone to care for it, to teach it, to interpret and to advocate for it. And because this alien child happened to drop into my life, that job is mine if I want it."

If that prospect excites you, then come join us, in strength and determination, in hope and in joy. The adventure of a lifetime is ahead of you.

[This article was published in the "Our Voice," the newsletter of Autism Network International, Volume 1, Number 3, 1993. It is an outline of the presentation I gave at the 1993 International Conference on Autism in Toronto, and is addressed primarily to parents.]

Friday, September 19, 2008

Perfect Potato Curry - Slow-cooked and Kid-friendly

3 tsps cumin seeds
3 tsps coriander seeds
0.5 tsp brown mustard seeds
5 curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric
0.5 tsp chilli
1 Tbsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic crushed
1kgs spuds
2 tsp sea salt
2 cups hot water
1 cup peas/spinach
1 tin of crushed tomatoes

Grind up seeds (mustard, coriander and cummin) in your mortar and pestle.
Throw everything in slow cooker, except peas/spinach.
Stir so spices evenly coat everything.
Turn slow cooker on and walk away!
One hour before serving, add peas/spinach.
Stir again to mix vegetables through.
Have a cup of tea.

If gluten and dairy are ok - I'd suggest naan on the side and natural yogurt on top.
If gluten and dairy free - pappadums (made from lentil flour) and coconut milk to taste.

My kids even eat this. It's a very mild flavour, absolutely delicious.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Facebook. Oh dear...

Ok. So I succumbed to peer pressure.
And I've actually had to tear myself away to get housework done.
So this morning (after making yummy pikelets for breakfast) I limited myself to one quick test.

ISTJ - "Trustee". Decisiveness in practical affairs. Guardian of time- honored institutions. Dependable. 11.6% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Gluten & Dairy free pikelets:
2 cups GF flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
300 mLs soy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence.

Sift flour and baking powder. Has anyone else noticed how hard it is to sift GF flour in a sifter thingie?
Pour wet ingredients into dry and whisk until batter is smooth.
Cook in a heated frypan, flip and serve.
We had ours with Freenut Butter or Tofutti "Better than cream cheese".
So while I spring clean today I will ponder the point of having all these mock products in the house...and consider making some jam.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Garlic Chicken Risotto.

This risotto is absolutely basic, and simply delish! The great thing about risotto is all that time you spend stirring, gives you a little bit of daydreaming/thinking time. Which as a solo parent, I don't get very much of.

Garlic Chicken Risotto.
500 grams skinless chicken breasts, cubed
8 cloves garlic, crushed
olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock (warm)
2 cups arborio rice

Gently heat the oil and saute the garlic. Add the chicken and brown. Remove from pan and put aside. Pour rice into pan and stir until coated with oil (you may need to add a dash of oil). Heat until rice becomes somewhat translucent. Then add a cup of stock and stir until absorbed by the rice. Continue adding stock a cup (or ladle) at a time until it is absorbed. The rice is ready when nice and plumped but al dente in the middle. Pop the chicken back in the pot. Stir through and dinner is ready!

I have to say, this Gluten and Dairy free gig hasn't been all that hard. Dishes like this risotto have been part of my cooking repertoire for years. Other dishes we've frequently made have only had to have parts replaced. Now that we've found a great GFCF Cheese, we are once again enjoying nachos and tacos. With the help of ready made gluten free flours, pizzas, pikelets and cakes have become simple. And with Summer on it's way I am looking forward to eating a lot of salads and fruit. I am ashamed to admit that I don't eat any fruit. I buy it for the kids but I've never really got into it myself. So I have plans to make use of melons (cantelope and honeydew) for breakfasts. And I'm going to learn how to use my own barbecue!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Gluten & Dairy Free Gingerbread-style Biscotti

Last week I went to visit my friend D. She's one of those hospitality goddess type friends who make sure they cater for everyone ;) Anyway, the visit was last minute so I told her I'd bring my own allergy-friendly stuff. The time before her husband had grabbed some stuff which was delicious so I went to grab the same things. And my jaw absolutely dropped at the price. I was embarrassed that friends had gone *that* much out of their way to make my life easier. So I swore I would find a way to make my own biscotti for next time we had coffee together. So here it is!

Gingerbread-style Gluten & Dairy Free Biscotti.
2 cups gluten free flour.
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon bicarb soda
110 mLs water
1 tablespoon treacle
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg

Preheat oven to 180 C.
Put flour, sugar, cinnamon, ground ginger, ground cloves, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl. Stir together.
In a small saucepan, gently heat water and treacle, until dissolved. Add bicarb soda and stir briskly. Tip into dry ingredients and stir well. Lightly beat egg and add vanilla essence. Stir into mixture with a rubber spatula until the dough is smooth and shiny and the consistency is not unlike Play-Doh! On a baking tray lined with baking paper, form a flat rectangular shape. Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and allow to cool. Cut into slices about 2 cms thick. Lay slices on their side (so the cut surfaces are either up or face down) and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over and cook the other side for 10 minutes.
Remove again and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. The biscotti may still be soft while warm, but will harden by the time they've cooled down.
Enjoy with a good strong cup of coffee!

The big 2 being "friends".

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sesame Cornbread - Gluten and Dairy free.

Sesame Cornbread.

250 mLs Soy Milk
1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2/3 cup polenta
1/2 cup GF flour
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2/3 cup cheese *optional*(I used Delre Mini Chol soy cheese)
1 egg
25 mLs oil

Preheat oven to 200 C.
Add vinegar to milk. This will make the milk curdle, and is essentially mock buttermilk. Leave aside while you measure out remaining ingredients (30 minutes is best so maybe have a cuppa as well).
Place polenta, sesame seeds and flour into a large clean mixing bowl.
When time is up briskly stir bicarb soda into milk/vinegar mix, then pour into dry ingredients and combine.
Lightly beat egg, add oil and pour into mixing bowl and stir through.
The batter should be quite runny. If you're adding cheese, gently stir it through now.
Pour batter into greased loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes.
For best results, allow to cool in tin. Serve with a smear of dairy free spread (and we're having it on the side of our Broccoli Soup!).

Had to share these pictures of my cute two littlies as well.

Bridie and Edan enjoying some lovely watermelon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Broccoli Soup in the Slow Cooker

I really worry about us all missing out on calcium being dairy-free. You might have noticed I sneak sesame seeds into a lot of stuff. I went to the dentist on Monday and he said my teeth were certainly very healthy but my gums are receding and I may have bone loss. Yet another side effect of coeliacs disease. So I'm off to get x-rays to check on my poor old bones, and in the meantime am on antibiotics to clear up any infections in my gums.

Back to calcium! For anyone on a dairy free diet, there ARE ways to still get enough calcium.
Leafy greens are good (bok choy is best!), blackstrap molasses and sesame seeds are high in calcium. And soy beans and soy milk contain lots too! I found a very helpful list, which shows you how much calcium you're getting from alternative sources here.
Broccoli Soup.
4 "trees" of broccoli
2 large potatoes
2 litres vegetable stock
2 teaspoons of cumin
2 cloves of garlic, crushed

Cook in slow cooker for 6 hours (low) or 3 hours (high).
Puree in blender. Then serve or freeze.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

GF Crumpets, Take Two! (Success)

I never would have thought I would be so utterly, insanely impressed with being able to make my own crumpets.
But there they are>>>>

Before I give you the recipe, I'll give you a few tips to make life in crumpet-making town a little easier.

  • Make sure your batter is runny. If in doubt, add water.
  • Do NOT mix the batter between rounds. The air bubbles need to stay there.
  • Be prepared to spend a little time making these. Keep the heat LOW and go slow.
  • Don't expect them to look like shop-bought ones, because they're not.
  • Keep It Simple!
The Amazing GF Crumpet Recipe:
300 Grams gluten free all purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 sachet dry yeast (7 grams)
1 teaspoon caster sugar
400 mLs tepid water

Sift flour and baking powder into a clean dry mixing bowl.
Mix yeast and sugar into water and pour into flour. Mix until you have a nice smooth batter (I used a hand-mixer on low speed). Allow to sit while you prepare your egg rings and frying pan.
Once the batter has air bubbles that can be seen it is ready to cook. Pour into egg rings until 3/4 full and cook over low heat until bubbles form on the surface. Cover and cook until top is no longer runny.
Makes 12.

When cool, pop in toaster and serve with drizzlings of honey. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Steamed Sesame Chicken balls.

I've been thinking about what to do with chicken mince for a while. So tonight, I came up with these.

Sesame Chicken Balls:

500 grams good quality chicken mince
a cup of finely chopped broccolli
a grated carrot
an egg
1/4 cup sesame seeds
3 garlic cloves, minced
a bowl of white rice

Mix everything except the white rice in a bowl until combined. Roll into balls and then roll in the rice to cover. Place in a steamer that has been lined with lettuce/cabbage/silverbeet over boiling water and steam for 30 minutes. Serve with honey soy dipping sauce.

This made too many for us, so I popped some assembled but not cooked into the freezer for a rainy day.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Father's Day Quesadilla Breakfast...and a mistake...

Breakfast Quesadillas.

1 packet Diego's GF Corn Tortillas
Grated mini chol soy cheese
scrambled eggs (free range, organic)
middle bacon
button mushrooms, sliced

To make this all happen at once, I preheated the oven to 230 C and popped the bacon in on an oven tray. Bake for 30 minutes.

I popped the mushrooms in the microwave with a knob of dairy free spread in a covered dish. Four minutes for 1200W microwave.

I scrambled the eggs in a saucepan with dairy free spread and a splash of rice milk.

For the tortillas, I sprayed one side with olive oil spray and heated until soft. Flipped over and sprinkled grated cheese on top. When cheese was melted, I removed from the pan, popped bacon, mushrooms and scrambled eggs in and folded over. Serve with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

The mistake didn't happen in the kitchen. My mistake is kind of really a vent...
All of this was planned for my ex-husband. He sees the kids EVERY SUNDAY. And sometimes he's late. Like today.

And this means me trying to get the kids to wait for something until Daddy is here ends in tears. So while his lovely breakfast is congealing on the kitchen bench, Torin is howling in his room and Bridie is sulking. And I typed this one handed because the howling woke Edan who is now climbing all over me.

I give up trying to be nice. I really do...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

***NEWS FLASH*** Baby Milestone!

Baby Edan can now sit! (Aged 7 months, 1 week).

GFCF Mini Pizzas and some fun in the sun!

These were easy and another thing I could pop in the freezer for the looming school holidays.
Pizza dough:
2 cups SR GF Flour
1 cup water
3 tablespoons oil
0.5 teaspoons salt

Mix together to create a sticky dough. Pre-heat oven to 190 C.
Place on an oiled tray with a tablespoon and pat down to form small circles.
I topped them with tomato sauce (I forgot the tomato paste!!!), small circles of cacciatore, mini-chol soy cheese, oregano and slices of button mushrooms. Bake for 25 minutes and serve (or allow to cool and freeze).

We are loving this Spring sunshine. Finally I can coax the kids outside to explore the garden and enjoy the sun. After all the Spring cleaning it's a good thing too as they're not messing up the house! :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Easiest GF Sausage Rolls in the Universe!

Ha! Told you I was lazy!

But in all honesty, I don't completely trust mince some days. Whereas I do know the gluten free sausages we buy are hunky dory. I must write about the brand next time we buy them (I threw the packaging away) but they are marketed as "Kids Sausages" in IGA Supermarkets, are made in Geelong and are Gluten Free.

So anyway, this is how I made the super simple sausage rolls.
I had to pre-heat the oven to 210 C for the pastry. So I figured while it was pre-heating it's little self I'd save energy and use it to do some work while it was getting itself all ready. So I popped the sausages in a casserole dish. Poured boiling water over them (enough to just cover), placed the lid on and sat them in the oven while I made the pastry. My reasoning behind this was after tummy bugs and with all the food issues we've had, the least I could do was make sure the meat was absolutely, positively cooked. Because it's hard to tell once something is encased in pastry.

While they were baking, I again made "The Maggie Beer GF Pastry" replacing butter with Nuttelex and chilled it for 30 minutes before assembly-time.

So basically, 45 minutes after popping the sausages in the oven, I took them out and drained them. I then rolled out the pastry between sheets of baking paper, cut it into sausage width lengths and rolled the sausages up. Placed them on a lightly oiled tray, brushed them with water and sprinkled sesame seeds on top.

I made two lots. One for our tummies and one for the freezer. With school holidays only a few weeks away, I want the freezer stocked with snacks!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Nested Eggs and Red Soldiers!!!

Oops! I had visitors today and forgot all about dinner until it was nearly dinnertime! So a quick assessment of the pantry and fridge and I came up with this kid-friendly dish. Eggs poached in mashed potato nests served with a side of sweet potato chips for dipping!

Red Soldiers (sweet potato chips)
Preheat oven to 220 C.
Peel one large sweet potato. Cut into think chips/wedges. Lightly coat in olive oil, season with sea salt and ground pepper. Bake for 45 minutes (but shake the pan every 15 to make sure they cook evenly).

Nested Eggs (eggs poached in mashed potato)
Make up mashed potato as you normally would. One small potato to one egg is the best ratio.
Spoon mashed potato into baking receptacle. I used ramekins which each fit 2 potatoes worth of mash and two eggs. Muffin trays might work? Or one big baking dish would also be fine.
With a spoon, poke little wells in the mash. Crack eggs into a cup and pour into the holes. Bake for 20 minutes so the yolk is still runny.

Serve with soldiers and dip into runny egg!

I found this dish good because once everything is in the oven, you have time to set the table and so on. Pretty low maintenance dish.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Spring Fever!

I have been madly spring-cleaning. Yes! Even with sick children!

I can see I am going to have a mountain of stuff to get rid of. But it feels so good being organised again!
Next I'll do something really weird like...recipe plan. LOL!

I have to say a BIG THANK YOU to Ms Skipper at Domestic Guru.
Being the type of person who has been distressed about an untidy house, her site has helped me break it all down into "bite-sized chunks" which makes housework so much less daunting.

So I'll recommence blogging ASAP with a tidy house!

Friday, August 29, 2008

California Rolls.

This is my second attempt at california rolls. I bought all the right stuff and then panicked when I read that the rice vinegar was made from "glutenous rice". Thankfully I found this site, which makes buying groceries a lot less worrying.

We're still all suffering coughs and colds so I'm not adding my recipe. Directions should be on the back of the packet of seaweed/yaki nori.

For ours the filling was simple - cucumber, avocado and tuna (for kids)/smoked salmon (for me). Served with gluten free soy sauce.

Tip! If you don't own a bamboo mat for rolling the sushi, use a sheet of waxed paper.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend. ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Aussie Shepherd's Pie.

After absolutely falling in love with Maggie Beer's GF Pastry recipe I decided to use it again. Plus the kids love pie!

I think my pie dish might be too big though. I only just had enough for the top last time. So I thought I'd make a few little pies to freeze and top them all with mashed potato so I concocted an Aussie Shepherd's Pie.

Chock full of protein and vegetables and with garlic, it should help fight off our tummy bugs and colds.

For the filling I used:
500 grams Kangaroo mince
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
1 large carrot, diced
1 cup cabbage, chopped finely
8 brown swiss mushrooms, sliced
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vegetable stock powder
1 tablespoon cornflour

In a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in a drizzling of oil. Add mince and stir through until brown. Add mushrooms, stir through. When mushrooms start to brown add the carrots and cabbage, the stock powder and water. Turn down heat and cover. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.
I use this time to grab the pastry from the fridge and prepare the pie dishes.
After 15 minutes, use a slotted spoon to lift the ingredients from your saucepan and place into prepared pie dishes. After all solid ingredients have been removed, add the cornflour and gently heat and briskly stir until you have a thick sauce. Pour over pie filling.
Top with mashed potato and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes (for a large pie) or 20 minutes for individual pies.

Tip! I added a Massel easy Garlic tablet to the mashed potato as it dissolves right in without being lumpy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Eggs Benedict. (Feels like it should have roman numerals after it....)

Does anyone else get all gloaty and smug when they pull something off a supermarket shelf, and read the ingredients panel to rule it out and find it is actually ok to eat??? I must confess I do. I have absolute pity parties in the supermarket and to find products I desire and can actually have without being ill is enough to put a bit of bounce in my step.
Now I am a pretty lazy cook. Well I'm not *that* lazy. I do cook. From scratch usually. We very rarely eat out. But if I can find one thing that makes my life a teensy bit easier, I'm all for it. Which is why I have never actually made Hollandaise Sauce before. And that, in turn, explains why I didn't know it could be ok to eat! But the sachet pictured below has no dairy and no gluten and I am a happy little camper! w00t!!!So anyway, Eggs Benedict is so easy even I can make it with an eye patch on. But being the lazy chick that I am, I will let you follow instructions from the sen-bloody-sational Gordon Ramsay. And if you are less lazy than I and can tolerate dairy he even has the recipe for the sauce.

Funny little story here...I named my youngest son Edan Benedict. Being a non-Christian type person I didn't actually *know* that was the Pope's name. Well I probably did but I was too busy crossing bad baby names off the list, ya know?
And you know those scary pregnancy hormones that make you have unusual (yes. I do mean erotic) dreams? Gordon Ramsay every time.
So don't go overboard with Eggs Benedict ;) LOL!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dahl - Bowls of lentil-y goodness. Slow Cooker style.

I always find weekdays hectic. Being a single parent often means juggling a crying baby (or worse - breastfeeding while cooking!), listening to the schoolboy read and watching the toddler being a princess/dancer. On a good day, I get dinner made while the two little ones are sleeping. If I sense a bad day, I pull the slow-cooker out of the cupboard and work with what I have.

Today my head was possibly going to explode. The school boy had an upset tummy so he was home all day. Which meant the three kids were all out of routine. Recipe for disaster in this house.

So to balance our universe I went for my recipe for nirvana - slow cooker dahl.

I actually use a recipe a friend of mine told me about with a few adjustments. But her method needs more TLC than I have to spare. So after throwing it in the slow-cooker a few times with success, that's just how I do it now.

500g red lentils, washed and picked over
10 curry leaves
2 teaspoons ground sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
6 cups hot water
1 large onion, diced
1 large (810 gram) tin crushed tomatoes
2 carrots, diced
2 tsp garam masala
2 tbs lime juice

Whack everything except garam masala and lime juice in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. When ready to serve, stir in lime juice and garam masala.

Tonight we just had this with crusty slabs of toasted GF bread. We usually have this with rice and pappadams. Enjoy :)

Monday, August 25, 2008

GF Kangaroo Meatloaf with Polenta Chips.

After still being unable to cook Tempeh without making it taste nasty, I went back to basics for tonight's dinner. This particular version of my meatloaf is very different to my standard version. I wanted it healthy - high protein and low in fat. And really...who's ever seen a fat kangaroo?

500 grams Kangaroo mince
300 gram block of tempeh
1 egg
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 cup polenta (the crumb-y kind)
1/4 cup sesame seeds *optional*
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup cushed tomatoes
1/4 cup brown sugar

Block of solid polenta cut into wedges.

Preheat oven to 180C.
Combine meatloaf ingredients in a large bowl. Squish until mixed thouroughly.
Brush oil around a cake tin (I use the type with the hole in the centre).
Press meat mixture into cake tin.
Brush oil across a baking tray. Place cake tin upside down on oven tray.
Pop into oven.

After 15 minutes, remove from oven. Gently lift off cake tin (the loaf should now hold it's shape). Stir glaze ingredients together and pour over. Place back in oven and bake for a further 45 minutes.

Brush oil over griddle-pan. Heat pan and gently place solid polenta wedges on to heat and crisp.

Serve with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Easy Rice Rolls....TGIF!

These are one of the things I always wanted to try and I am so glad I did!

I bought a packet of Vietnamese rice paper rounds. Followed the directions on the packet. Filled them with cooked rice noodles, shaved ham or chicken from deli (I was pressed for time), julienned carrots and splodges of avocado with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

They were awesome.
Next time I will remember to have GF Soy or some other dipping sauce on hand though.

I am looking forward to trying a few different fillings and possibly adding them to Torin's lunchbox.

Torin had a wonderful day out with my Aunt today. And we're both quite shocked with something amazing he did. She took him to a play centre. There was one of those machines you put a dollar in and the try and pick up a toy with the claw. I've never let him play them before truly believing they were rigged. But my aunty let him have just one turn.

Not only did he win a toy, he actually won the toy he wanted! He is now the very proud owner of a Yoshi toy.
I told you he was obsessed with Super Mario Brothers & friends.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Home-made pizza with no gluten, dairy OR meat!!!

I had one of those evening where I was looking forward to making a recipe I had spotted on the internet (it was in fact Karina's Eggs Diablo on Polenta). But Torin was having a really cranky day and he was on the computer. I had a mere 45 minutes to get dinner on the table! What ever was I to do???!!!

I grabbed my "Destitute Gourmet" cookbook and flicked through looking for a polenta recipe. No luck. Then I spotted a quick and easy pizza recipe. The recipe was written for normal ingredients but I decided to have a go!

Pizza Base Recipe

2 cups Orgran SR Flour
0.5 teaspoons ground sea salt
3 generous tablespoons oil (the recipe called for two. Bridie knocked me and I poured in too much so I am estimating three)
half a cup of lukewarm water.

Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Mix together too a smooth dough.
Spread out on a pizza tray.
Top with crushed tomatoes, basil, oregano, onion, garlic, chopped mushrooms.
Replace cheese with 0.5 cups of polenta soaked in 0.5 cups warm water. (I read this on someone's blog. Please leave a comment if it is you or you know who it is sop I can give due credit).
Bake for 25 minutes.
Dinner is served!