Friday, August 29, 2008
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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!
My current mission is to reduce the amount of meat we eat and increase vegetable intake. After shopping at a gorgeous Fruit and Veg place and finding a whopping great cabbage was only $2.79 I studied the cook books I have to see what could be made gluten free.
Stuffed Cabbage Leaves.
500 grams minced veal
one cup cooked white rice
one medium onion, chopped finely
8 large cabbage leaves
2 cups stock
2 cups crushed tomatoes
Preheat oven to 180C.
Mix veal, egg, onion and rice as if you were making hamburgers. Add salt and pepper if you wish. Blanche the cabbage leaves for two minutes to soften.
When soft, put one eighth of the mixture into the centre of the leaf and wrap into a tight parcel. Place the parcels in a baking dish. Pour in two cups of stock. Over the top pour two cups crushed tomatoes. Pop into oven and cook for an hour.
Voila! Cool little package of healthiness with no dairy nor gluten in sight!
Monday, August 18, 2008
With the drought, the taste of the water here is getting worse and worse. I know I need to drink water, but even after boiling it and cooling it, it tastes kind of sulphuric. Blerk!
So rather than buying bottled water or buying cordials to disguise the taste of the water, I've resorted to using what I have on hand to make cordials. I went through a weird phase of trying to use herbs to heal myself of what later turned out to be coeliacs symptoms. So at last the shelf full of dried herbs in my pantry can be put to use, because frankly as teas they were scary.
So today I thought I'd try and concoct some Nettle Leaf Cordial.
I put the following into a medium saucepan:
2 cups water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dried nettle leaves
I brought to the boil. I simmered for 15 minutes. Strained through muslin into a bowl. Stirred in one tea spoon of tartaric acid.
Allow to cool. Bottled and refrigerated! Tasted quite refreshing in a very green kind of way.
Friday, August 15, 2008
So why am I about to write down the recipe and method? Because it didn't go to waste, and after a little more research I discovered I hadn't gone totally wrong. I also live in hope that another gluten free blogger will spot this and leave a comment so I can know where I went wrong.
Ingredients: Stage 1.
3 cups gluten free all purpose flour (I used Orgran's)
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
1 sachet (7g) of dry yeast
1.75 cups low fat soy milk
80 mLs tepid water
0.5 teaspoons baking soda
Stage 1. Mix flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add soy milk. I used a hand-mixer and mixed on low for about 5 minutes until a thick dough was formed. (Was the hand-mixer my mistake?). Leave for half an hour to allow the dough to rise.
Stage 2. Mix baking soda into water and mix into dough to form a batter. (Again I used the hand-mixer...I'm starting to think I should have whisked it by hand).
Set aside while you get everything ready for cooking. Preheat non-stick pan, and lubricate egg rings to help your batter stay nicely formed.
TIP! - Pour a little oil into a small ramekin, and roll the egg ring through the oil!
This is where I realised something was wrong. I am sure the recipe I glanced over in the paed's waiting room said to pour the batter into the egg rings. Mine wasn't runny enough. It certainly wasn't being poured in. In fact, I pretty much plopped or dolloped the batter into the egg rings. And then I waited patiently for the bubbles to form. I was armed with a knitting needle (it's ok, it was clean. I still can't knit!) waiting to pop the bubbles to create the "holes" in my crumpets. And they never came. *sob*
I was pressed for time at this stage with two hungry children sitting at the table waiting for their lunch. So I flipped the buggers of things over and bolted to the freezer for some berries. I raced back to the kitchen and ransacked the pantry and pulled out a jar of golden syrup. I finished cooking the unholy crumpets, flipped them onto plates, topped them with berries and drizzled with golden syrup. Voila! Lunch was served.
And then I discovered a blog by KitchenMage which talked about all the ins and outs of crumpets and after reading that I went on to find more information at Cakebaker.co.uk.
Neither of these sites are gluten free. And from their recipes it's hard to tell where I went wrong.
Anyway, all I can say is Thank the Gods it's Friday. It's been an interesting week. I've had really bad back pain until this morning when I got to my chiropractor. It's starting to get difficult having Torin at school for only 3 days a week. With the constant rain, it's hard to keep the kids out of each others' faces and entertained. We need the rain, and I am grateful for it, don't get me wrong.
Did you know:
* Bundaberg Rum, which is made in sunny Queensland, Australia is gluten free?
* The Bundaberg Rum emblem - a polar bear - was to represent the rum would ward of the chills?!
* Bundaberg Rum is made from molasses?
Visit the Bundaberg Rum Website.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
After paying exorbitant amounts for some gluten-free baked goods yesterday, I decided the time had come to get my bottom into gear and try a few recipes for pastry.
I'd tried packet mixes, but found them crumbly and dry. So I put Google to work and discovered the website for "The Cook and The Chef" on ABC TV. In 2006 (Series 1) they did a show dedicated to "Catering for different diets". Maggie Beer has concocted the MOST AWESOME GF PASTRY RECIPE EVER!
It was easy and it worked beautifully. The only thing I changed was I used Nuttelex instead of butter and it was fine.
So now that I was armed with a wonderful pastry, I gazed into the refrigerator for inspiration for fillings. I had some lovely free range chicken breasts and mushrooms which sounded great to me. So here's my recipe for Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie.
500 grams chicken breast
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 teaspoons Vegeta vegetable stock
1/2 cup of diced vegetables ( we used peas and corn kernels...so not diced per se)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon cornflour (make sure it is made from corn, not wheat!!!)
In a saucepan, heat the oil and add crushed the garlic. Add the chicken and cook until browned. Slice up mushrooms and stir in.
Stir vegetable stock into water and pour into pan. Throw in vegetables. Cook covered for about 5 minutes. When vegetables are tender remove from stove. With a slotted spoon remove ingredients and place into pie dish (which already has the pastry on it, ok?). Return the liquid to the stove and add cornflour. Mix quickly until blended and allow to thicken to gravy consistency. Pour over chicken and vegetables.
Pop pastry on top and seal edges. Bake in oven for 25 minutes at 210 decrees Celsius.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
School: Torin has started at a state primary school in grade prep after quite a few too many bloody hiccups.
He commenced kindergarten in 2006. Got through that year without a hitch. He *was* enrolled at the school nearest his kindergarten but then there was apparently a boo-boo made on his application for funding for an aide (as he has autism). So his teacher-to-be essentially told me I could either keep him home or drag my baby daughter along and spend the day at school with him.
Now I have no problem doing what I can to help my child. But she didn't just cross the line there. She leapt over it. End result was I panicked and home-schooled for term one in 2007.
Now you hear stories about how home-schooling is great for autistic children because they can learn at their own pace and the environment doesn't upset them and all that jazz. Except you don't seem to hear about how HARD it is for the parent. I felt out of my depth and in Term 2, enrolled him in prep at the local Steiner School. THAT was the best thing I ever did. His teacher "J" was new to teaching and was amazing. She went above and beyond my expectations.
But this year, he went into a bigger combined class, had a different teacher and I don't think things were helped by the surprise premature arrival of Edan and he didn't cope very well. So midway through the year I decided to find him a state primary school so he was eligible for funding for an aide (which he sorely needs) and we found his current school. I also made the decision to put him back into prep as, academically, I felt that was best.
All he needed to know was there is computers there and he was rapt!
Health: As usual, he's as fit as a Mallee bull. Still needs very little sleep.
Developmental: He's still pretty delayed with his speech. I often feel he understand more than he lets me know. Is very good at finding loopholes in rules as he finds it hard to actually break rules. Emotionally he still reacts in a way I can only describe as toddler-esque. We still get tantrums sometimes and his auto-response to any direction is "NO".
His new emotion is "angry". Rather than saying "no", I now seem to get "I angry you Mum" or "I so angry Mum" or "Don't you angry me".
Likes: LOVES his Nintendo DS. Favourite games are Sonic, Super Mario Brothers and Yoshi's Island. Is quite obsessed with Super Mario and all his school work comes home completed and then he has filled the back of the page with drawings of Mario, including full "scenes" from the game.
Wants to eat Rice Cakes with Peanut (Free Nut) butter all day long.
Dislikes: Getting in the bath and later, getting out of the bath.
And while I sit here and look at what I have written it seems quite negative, but I do remember he was NOT talking AT ALL this time 4 years ago. And 3 years ago it was pointing and a single word. So he really has come far.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Here's my recipe:
Sweet Potato and Potato Gnocchi.
4 large potatoes, peeled, boiled, cooled then mashed.
1 medium sweet potato peeled, steamed, cooled then mashed.
1.5 cups Orgran All Purpose flour.
1/3 cup warm water.
3 heaped teaspoons Orgran "No Egg".
Put cool mashed potato and sweet potato in a large mixing bowl.
Beat "No Egg" into warm water with a fork. Add to mixing bowl.
Add flour to mixing bowl.
Work into a dough consistency with a spoon or spatula.
Tip out onto well-floured work surface.
Knead for 5 minutes until you have a nice smooth dough. Cut off little bite sized pieces and roll into little egg shaped balls. Pop into freezer for 30 minutes to "chill".
When ready to cook, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Gently lower about 20 gnocchi pieces in at a time. They will sink. They will dance. They will float about on top. After floating for about a minute, retrieve with a slotted spoon and place in a colander to drain further. To prevent sticking, drizzle with olive oil.
Super Easy Sauce for Mums on the run!
One large tin of crushed tomatoes.
Garlic (crushed), basil and oregano to taste.
Gently saute garlic in saucepan in a little olive oil. Add herbs then tomato.
Taste. Add more herbs if necessary. Gently ladle over gnocchi. Eat! Enjoy! This should probably feed up to 2 adults and 4 kids as we had a lot left over!
My children and I ate from the plate pictured. "Huh?" I hear you thinking. Yes, we eat from a communal plate and here is a few reasons why:
- Bridie can have her own plate which has exactly what I am eating but still refuse to eat hers and want mine.
- There is less dishes.
- It reminds me of my childhood on "fish and chip" night where the meal was unwrapped and the paper was spread over the table. Sauce was squirted onto the paper for dipping and later, easy clean-up.
- The kids see the food is good because I am eating it.
- It aids interaction at the meal table, which I find important with a toddler and an autistic older child.
"Water you talking about???" LOL!
Monday, August 11, 2008
I don't hate autism.
- I hate the way I have trouble understanding autism.
- I hate the way society doesn't accept autism.
- I hate the way people refuse to educate themselves on autism - and I am talking family members, the parents of children who befriend autistic kids, teachers and health professionals.
- I hate the way the Australian Government has created packages for children with autism that STOP once they reach school (because Autism doesn't stop).
- I hate the way people pretend to listen to me about aspects of autism and completely ignore what I say.
But the things I love about Autism are as follows:
- The way Torin's language delay makes him mis-pronounce some words. When he began speech therapy he pronounced "elephant" as "abacus". He still asks for "pitter-patter" (Peanut butter) sandwiches. When I tell him off he says "Piggapardon" (LOL!) and his response to "Don't argue with me" is "Don't arg-me with you". It provides many a chuckle!
- I am fascinated to watch the way he interprets what he sees and re-produces it and how creative he can be with his mediums. He knows his alphabet but writes in a very strange way.He reproduces scenes from "Super Mario Brothers" out of Duplo blocks. And his drawings (which are also Super Mario Brothers *sigh*) are so intricate and detailed.
- It's shown me how to compromise.
- It's taught me to be more careful about what I say. Don't say "Let's go home" if we're going home via the shops.
- The main thing I have learned is to respect the fact that not everyone is affected by something in the same way. While I find listening to children learning to play the recorder or violin irritating, to Torin it's literally PAINFUL!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
After buying Orgran Self Raising Flour today (I usually buy White Wings, but Orgran was cheaper at Safeway this week), I decided to Google their website to see what recipes they had. I came across this muffin recipe
and decided to adapt it for what I wanted to make.
My version is as follows:
- 3 Cups Orgran SR Flour
- 1 Cup white sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 cup of soy milk
- 90 mls sunflower oil
- 1 cup frozen wild berries
Allow to cool on tray for 10 minutes, then they're ready to eat or allow to cook completely and store in an airtight container.
Something to fill a corner of the old lunch box at any rate! :)
Saturday, August 9, 2008
And leave their big stompy footprints all over the environment for following generations.
So I'm going to start listing the little things I do to try and reduce my family's impact on the environment to show people how simple it is.
- Buy energy saving light bulbs. They're a little more expensive but they last ages and your power bills will be smaller.
- Replace something disposable with something reusable. Use handkerchiefs, cloth nappies, cloth pads or Diva cups.
- Try and buy recycled. I have no idea why people insist on having luxury toilet paper. You are wiping POO on it! If you're that sensitive see #2 (point two, not secret code for poo) and make some reusable botty wipes.
- Walk instead of driving. It's refreshing to go for a walk. Stop being in such a rush and go meandering with your kids.
- Nothing on TV - turn it off! Read a book, bake a cake or paint your toenails.
- Try not to leave appliances on "stand by". Switch them off at the wall and save yourself money.
- Never run a washing machine or dishwasher until it's full. Or better still - wash dishes by hand once a day and buy a front loader washing machine with a good water rating.
- Use an environmentally friendly laundry powder, and then use a grey-water hose to run the water onto your garden bed or lawn.
- Invest in some super glue, a sewing kit, elastic bands and string. And next time something breaks, try fixing it before binning it.
- Try and choose items from the supermarket with reduced packaging. I know the rice cakes we buy are only inside one packet whereas others have a packet inside the packet which is just wasteful in my opinion.
Some links with info about the suggestions I have made:
Cloth Pad Shop.
Information about cloth (reusable) menstrual pads and shops to buy them from.
One Less Disposable.
A blog about how using just one cloth nappy a day can help.
Environmental news and information.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Yesterday I finally had an answer to all my health problems.
I tested positive for DQB1*02 and DQA1*05 in a genetic test for coeliac disease. The strange thing is I suspected Bridie had a problem (which she certainly may have and we start allergy testing and so on for her next week) but ended up solving a LOT of my own issues by removing gluten from the family diet.
Just as we did the elimination diet as a family (a number of times) for Torin, we all went gluten free for Bridie and we all felt better for it. So I have had to re-learn to shop, cook and eat. But I am enjoying it.
I’ve always pretty much cooked from scratch. So now it’s down to removing gluten from my recipes. We’re currently still Dairy Free as well (and have been for over 12 months) but hopefully in time we can reintroduce that down the track. I miss cheese!!!
Today was rather productive. Bridie and I sat down and looked through a cookbook for babies and toddlers to see what I could tweak (I actually had Edan in mind). She spotted teddy bears made from croquettes and insisted it had to be made for dinner. Our recipe for Teddy Bear Croquettes was super easy:
- 4 cups cooled mashed potato.
- 1 cup cooled cooked chicken.
- 1 cup frozen peas and corn.
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- Polenta to crumb
The cooked chicken we used was a whole size 14 chicken, covered in water. Brought to boil and then simmered for 90 minutes. It literally falls apart on the plate which saves a lot of time. And we still have quite a bit left over for stir-fries, sandwiches and the like. We keep the liquid too - as chicken stock for soups. If we could grind the bones to make our bread it’d be zero wastage, but alas we’re not giants. And a good, home-made gluten free bread still alludes me at this stage.
While all the chicken cooking was going on, I had popped 3 pears and 4 small granny smith apples in the slow-cooker with 2 cups of water. Later they were pureed for baby food and I had a sudden thought - why waste the liquid??? So I made this up:
Apple and Pear Cordial
- 2 cups left over fruit stewing water
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 teaspoon citric acid
- 1 teaspoon tartaric acid
Simmer to dissolve sugar, add citric and tartaric acids, bring to boil then quickly remove from heat. Allow to cool, bottle and refrigerate.