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!