Thursday, 16 April 2015

Gluten Free Donuts

When I learned I had Coeliac Disease, there were a lot of never agains..

Never again will I experience the softness and deliciousness that is REAL bread
Never again will I enjoy the crisp taste of an icy cold REAL beer
Never again will I relish the taste sensation that is a REAL donut..

NO!  I refuse to believe there will be no donuts in my life.  NO!

and so..

I bought a donut pan on Amazon and while I waited patiently for it to arrive, I scoured the internet for gluten free alternatives.

and you wanna know what I found..

HEAPS! Yes HEAPS of gluten free donut recipes. All is not lost.  Now to experiment..

I liked the idea of baked not fried (hence the donut pan) and so I road-tested an Apple Cider Baked Donut recipe except that I didn't in fact have any Apple Cider on hand..  
however, I did happen to have Apple Cider Vinegar.  Turns out, not the greatest substitution haha 
but hey - nothing ventured, nothing gained right?  
You will find an excellent Apple Cider recipe HERE from Gluten Free on a Shoestring
but you know what? Sure mine were DIFFERENT tasting but they weren't awful.  

Anyway further experimentation saw me making donuts today with sour cream.
Sour Cream has long been used in baking, yielding great results.   Those using this ingredient believe the end product to be moist and richer in taste.  Lets see shall we?

So the following has been adapted from a recipe by The Semisweet Sisters  

1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg (I use 700g free range)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup rice bran oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup gluten free plain flour ( I use White Wings)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon Bi-carb Soda
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

Pre-heat oven to 180° C
Spray donut pan with cooking oil or alternatively, butter well
Combine sour cream, egg vanilla, oil & sugar on a  medium speed in a mixer
Add dry ingredients and mix until all ingredients are combined
Fill an icing bag with donut batter (for ease of transfer to donut pan).  Fill each mould to about 2/3 full and bake for 15 minutes until just browning around the edges.
Allow to cool in pan for approximately 5 minutes then invert onto a cake rack.

1 cup pure icing sugar
1 tablespoon GF cocoa powder
2-4 teaspoons of milk
(add additional milk a little at a time to achieve the right consistency - not too runny) 

Dip the top of each donut in the glaze and kind of twist each one, ensuring the top is coated well and then turn over onto a plate (lined with baking paper) to set.

The verdict..
My kids wolfed these down.  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do :) 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Gluten Free Madeleines

MADELEINES!  One of the school mums had mentioned how her husband (I know right? Fantastic!) loved to make Madeleines.  I had never heard of them before so I did some research and introduced myself to the delicate French teacake. I had seen the beautiful shell mould pans in kitchen shops many times and thought to myself - a gluten free version? 
How hard could it be?

Turns out.. not hard at all.  ENJOY! 

4 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter (melted & cooled)
1 cup GF plain flour (sifted)  *I used White Wings GF Flour
1 tsp lemon zest

Pre-heat oven to 195°C 
Butter Madeleine pan very well, sprinkle with flour and tap out excess

Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, sugar & salt together until a pale fluffy consistency is achieved.  Add vanilla halfway through process
Add flour, a little at a time and mix well after each addition
Add lemon zest (optional)
Remove bowl from mixer,  add butter and FOLD in until totally incorporated into mix

I used a small ice-cream scoop* to fill my moulds purely for ease of transferring batter across and to ensure consistency in size.  
(*smaller than the regular sized scoop - purchased from a kitchen shop) 

Bake for 8-10 minutes watching closely to ensure Madeleines brown just around the edges.  Don't overcook!  
Allow to sit in pan for just a couple of minutes then invert & give the pan a sharp tap onto a cake rack and allow Madeleines to cool.

These are perfectly lovely dusted with a little icing sugar or you could drizzle with white or milk chocolate (or both) or dip in a little chocolate.. the possibilities are endless really.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Penne with mushroom, chicken & chorizo (with chilli & garlic pesto)

Quick dinner ideas.. yes please!

After a long day I'm afraid quick dinner prep is very appealing.   
Thing is, I have some fussy eaters in the ranks right now.  Ugh..

On the upside, the youngest of the crew requested sausages and salad and coincidentally, there winking at me from the fridge were some I had prepared earlier.  Sausages anyway.  
Leftovers are a Godsend sometimes aren't they? Yes Sir.

So that took all of about 5 minutes to prepare.  WINNING.

For the big kids (yes me included) PASTA was on the menu.  I drew a bit of inspiration from the fabulous Donna Hay and used a combination of store-bought and fresh ingredients to prepare the following super quick.  ENJOY!  


GF Penne Pasta
1 Tablespoon Oil - I like to use Rice Bran Oil
500g skinless chicken thigh fillets sliced into smaller pieces - You could use chicken breast here but I think the thigh fillet has more flavour
1 Chorizo sausage - I use HANS Deli Selection   
1 small punnet of sliced mushrooms
Chilli & Garlic Pesto - I used a store-bought pesto by Jamie Oliver which was gluten free by ingredient (always check labels carefully) - I used 1/2 of a 190g jar - and let me tell you, it had a bit of KICK.
Parsley and a quality Parmesan to serve

Prepare Penne Pasta according to packet directions
I used 250g San Remo Gluten Free Penne for this recipe but there are heaps of fabulous GF pastas available

While the pasta is cooking, brown your chicken pieces in a little oil on a medium/high heat.
When almost cooked through, add sliced chorizo sausage. 
Remain on this heat until chicken is cooked through and a good colour is achieved with the chorizo.
Add mushrooms.
Drain pasta and add to your chicken/sausage/mushroom mix reducing heat to a minimum.
Stir through pesto ensuring pasta is well coated.
Serve with freshly chopped parsley and a good parmesan.

Too easy. 

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Friday, 28 November 2014

Did someone say Chocolate??

As the Christmas month draws near, it seems timely to run a festive GIVEAWAY along with an added dollop of Christmas cheer 

Have you heard of Sweet William? Did you know that all Sweet William products are free from dairy, lactose, gluten, peanuts and tree nuts?  
The Sweet William Chocolates are wonderful and at Christmas time they release a special Santa Minibar pack!  

Sweet William operates a totally dedicated facility and implements strict procedures to ensure their products are free from allergens. In addition every supplier of ingredients is screened intensely to make sure that every single ingredient is free from dairy, gluten and nuts. Sweet William also regularly sends out batch samples for analysis to make sure there are no allergens present. All these procedures combined ensure peace of mind for people dealing with allergies and food intolerances.

All Sweet William chocolate is also free from preservatives, and artificial colours and flavours. In No Added Sugar products they are naturally sweetened with Stevia. No artificial sweeteners are used.

Sweet William have kindly offered up the following prize pack for this giveaway.

The Prize:                                      
(RRP Value $40) 
- 3x Santa Minibar Multipack 155g 
- 3x assorted Sweet As 'No Added Sugar' Blocks 100g each
- 1x Dark Orange Chocolate 50g
- 1x Dark Velvet Chocolate 50g
- 1x Choc Chips 150g  
- 1x  White Delight Block 100g                                              
The Santas are available in Coles nationally as well as selected IGA and health food stores.  They make great stocking fillers or just a sweet gluten-free treat.

Enter via RAFFLECOPTER below and leave a comment on the blog to say you dropped by and why you would like to win the Sweet William pack (always a pleasure to have you x) **ENDS FRIDAY 05/12/2014**
This is not a paid promotion.      


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 24 October 2014

Blueberry Muffins with Almond Meal

I had a craving for a muffin this morning so started playing around with ingredients I had in the pantry.
Here's how things panned out.

Dry Ingredients    

3/4 Cup GF Plain Flour (Sifted)
1/2 Cup Almond Flour (Sifted)
1 tsp GF Baking Powder
3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum
1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients

2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 Cup Coconut Oil (melted and cooled)
Grated zest of 1 lemon

I whizzed my wet ingredients up quickly in my mixer then added to my dry mix until just combined.
I then added 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen).  Do not over-mix.

Divide evenly between 12 muffin cases and bake at 175 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until golden on top, spring back when lightly touched or when a skewer inserted comes out clean.


Happy with these although on the smaller side, they were light and delicious.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Melbourne - Our Gluten Free Sojourn

We  OK 'I' have always been a little apprehensive about venturing outside of our comfort zone since we boarded this gluten free bus.  After all, we have had some not-very fun glutening episodes with our girl that have previously rocked the holiday vibe. And not in a good way.  Yeah that.

BUT you can't live in a bubble forever can you.  Well you probably can but where's the fun in that.  Not if you don't have to anyway.  Because that would be.. well.. STUPID.  

We have stuff to see, cool things to do, people to meet and best of all delicious gluten free food to eat and all of this OUTSIDE of our suburb.  It's out there.  Our mission: GO. SEEK. FIND.

I had my big girl pants on.  We were breaking out of this gluten free comfort zone.
Naturally I did a lot of research.  I mean A LOT.  

We were going on a real life HOLIDAY.

Qantas kicked things off nicely.  Upon checking-in ~ "2 Gluten Free meals Mrs Hart?" Yes indeed.  
Too easy.  Aside from the in-flight entertainment (loosely translates to HEAVEN when travelling with kids), everyone with their OWN channels and OWN headphones and OWN choices and.. subsequently no arguments.  I settled in with the latest copy of Australian Gluten-Free Life.  I was set.  "Come Fly With Me.. Come Fly.. Come Fly Awaaaaaaaaayyyy.."

Qantas did good. We had gluten free bread, we had Mediterranean Lamb & vegetables, we had Rowie's Cakes and Good Lord we even had Salted Caramel Ice-cream thank-you very much.
I was loving this.   You might even say the corners of my mouth were even curled in an upward fashion.

Our first night saw us experience the delights of Mrs Parma's on Little Bourke Street.  
Mrs Parma's have full disclosure on their menu and website about possible traces but I had done my research, was informed and prepared.  Upon divulging our Coeliac status,  the staff member politely explained whilst they could not claim to be a 100% gluten free kitchen because of the fact that they use wheat products in the same kitchen, they would take great care when preparing my gluten free meal.  I can happily report no adverse effects.  What a great start.

Cafe Andiamo Strawberry Crepes
The next morning saw us walking the streets of the bustling CBD, discovering magic and hidden laneways at every turn.  And then we found it.  Degraves Street and the Holy Gail that is Cafe Andiamo.  Degraves Street like many Melbourne laneways has an uncanny resemblance to Diagon Alley.  Harry Potter fan or otherwise, you will love it.  The cafes and the hustle and bustle is fabulous.  The aroma of delicious coffee is all consuming.  So what led us here?  Strawberry Crepes my friends. Strawberry Crepes.  All gluten free and all as perfect as your imagination is allowing you right about now.  We frequented this establishment almost every day of our sojourn.  The kids ~ Coeliac and non-Coeliac alike, were lapping this culinary excellence right up and so was I.  The silence of breakfast satisfaction to the nth degree was truly golden.  I relished these morning moments while I slurped my superb coffee. And oh it WAS superb.  These Melbourne baristas have nailed the coffee thang. 

The rest of our stay consisted of ambling through the Queen Victoria Markets, people watching in Federation Square with a cheeky wine to accompany a late lunch at Transport Bar Federation Square, a tram ride to St Kilda for a look-see, some serious retail therapy in the CBD ~ a personal favourite The Emporium (the place is seriously A-M-A-Z-I-N-G), a trip to The Melbourne Zoo and frequent visits to Southbank of an evening to discover all the gluten free delights on offer - and there were many.  We experienced amazing buskers, artwork and friendly faces and help wherever we went.  The weather was also pretty fabulous.  I know right??

Gluten free is abundant in Melbourne. Not only that but there is a great understanding of gluten free, safe food prep/cross contamination issues in general.  These folk are really switched on where gluten free is concerned.  Hallelujah!

SpudBAR Fan

SpudBAR was a fav with my daughter.  With a 100% gluten free menu how could you go wrong?  Seriously yum.  We also enjoyed the likes of THRIVE in The Emporium and old favourites like Grill'd (various Melb locations).  Evenings saw us savour the delights of Bluetrain (Southgate Complex, Southbank) with various gluten free options and a very good understanding of GF prep and cross contamination issues, World Restaurant and Bar with various GF options and a separate fryer for chips :)  We also enjoyed a delicious GF risotto and wonderful service at the fabulous Tutto Bene - Southgate Complex (mid level), Southbank.  Fantastico.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms 
If you're in Melbourne, have a sweet tooth, are looking for a bit of extravagance and have the time ~ be sure to check out the delectable Hopetoun Tea Rooms (Block Arcade - CBD).  This place is the Aladdin's cave of cakes.  I'm not kidding. Decadent and delightful and lots of gluten free options.  Perfect for afternoon teas with mothers and daughters,  grandmothers and granddaughters or just with that someone special. 

Please understand this is a personal record and reflection of our wonderful experiences dining out in what is a fabulous destination for the gluten free traveller.  Please be vigilant about reading labels and assessing risks and make your own judgement about where you choose to eat - taking into account any possible cross contamination issues.  Menus change, Management changes.  Things always change. That's life.  Do your research, ask questions & make informed choices.  Be on top of your game.  Look after your health.  If in doubt, leave it out.  This is a priority as a person living with Coeliac Disease and will make for an extremely pleasant holiday.

Special thanks go to some especially lovely people & information sourced from -
The Australian Coeliac (September 2014 Issue), The Coeliac Plate (a fabulous website and reference point), Coeliac Victoria and Tasmania who went above and beyond to provide some invaluable information via email before we left and then delivered an information pack to our hotel,
Gluten Shmooten (an informative gluten free eating-in-Melbourne guide including fish & chips!) and finally Jas from the perfectly gorgeous The Gluten Free Scallywag - a wonderful blog that is worthy of some serious pouring over, who sent me a lovely email with the gluten free heads up for Melbs.


I would also like to make special mention of the very sweet shopkeeper at a certain IGA 24 hour store on Queen street in the CBD who chased me up the street shouting "Miss! Miss!" just so that he could give my 2 littlies a Chupa Chup (GF of course) 'on the house' after frequenting his establishment on a few occasions.  WOW I love your people Melbourne.

I love your funky vibe. 
I love your bustle.
I love your FOOD.
I love your TOWN.

Until we meet again...

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

New - Barilla Gluten Free Pasta

When Barilla approached me recently and asked if I would be interested in sampling their new gluten free pasta, naturally I was delighted.

Barilla, already the world's largest pasta producer, has recently launched a gluten free pasta range that I was more than happy to road test.

Tonight I made my family a Chicken, Chorizo and Olive pasta dish using the gluten free Penne and incorporating the Barilla Basilico pasta sauce.
Out of interest, did you know that the entire Barilla pasta sauce range is gluten free?  Fantastico.

Let me start by saying that there are only 2 Coeliacs in my house, myself being one of them. The other - my 7 year old daughter hasn't quite developed the discerning palate as that of her older brother and dad - the two biggest and heartiest eaters in the house.  So whilst there are endless variations of delicious pasta dishes, this particular dish was aimed at the big boys. 

Tough crowd. I had my work cut out for me. Let's do this.


340g Barilla Gluten Free Penne
1 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic glove finely chopped
1 long red chilli de-seeded and finely chopped
1 red onion finely sliced
2 medium chicken breast finely sliced
1  GF Chorizo sausage finely sliced
400g jar of Barilla Basilico sauce (Tomato Sauce with Basil) 
A generous handful of gluten free Kalamata olives
Finely chopped Continental Parsley to serve
Plenty of good quality shaved Parmesan to serve


To 3 litres of boiling salted water I added the Penne and cooked for 10 minutes as recommended on the pack. 

Whilst the pasta is cooking, in a heavy based fry pan over a medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and an equal amount of de-seeded & finely chopped chilli. Sauté for about a minute before adding onions.  Once onion becomes limp and slightly translucent, remove from pan.   

Add thinly sliced chicken breast & sliced chorizo and sauté until chicken is just cooked through and desired colour is achieved. Turn heat down to low, return onions to the pan and add Basiico sauce. Drain pasta straight from the pot (I use a small sieve) - don't rinse and add immediately to sauce.  Make sure pasta is coated well.

Add a generous amount of Kalamata olives. Dish up a generous serving, dress with Continental Parsley and Parmesan and enjoy.

Barilla pasta is made in Italy in a dedicated gluten free factory and is a unique formulation of naturally gluten free flours (corn and rice) rather than refined starches.
The pasta is available in Spaghetti, Penne or Elbows and will be available nationally in Woolworth's stores from October and currently in independent grocers (RRP $3.69).

and the verdict..

Well.. from my point of view as the 'cook' AND the 'coeliac' the pasta cooks and tastes like regular pasta.  There was no strange aftertaste, no gritty or slimy end product and an 
al dente result was easily achievable.

and the big boys.. 

Let's just say there was almost no need to clean plates as they were almost scraped clean.  My husband stated, and I quote.. "That tasted just like normal pasta!"  
I'd say that's a WIN right there.  Nice one Barilla.  

and if you were wondering what the small people in the house ate.. they most certainly did not miss out.  I whipped them up an extra special Broccoli Mac and Cheese Gratin using the Barilla Elbows.  Perfect for little tums and taste buds.  A post for another day.. 

Barilla sent me the above products to sample
All opinions expressed are my own.  I was not paid for this post.