Monday, 25 January 2016

Casalare


GLUTEN FREE
WHEAT FREE
DAIRY FREE
YEAST FREE
GMO FREE
EGG FREE
PEANUT FREE
TREE NUT FREE

Australian owned and operated - Casalare gets a big thumbs up from me right off the bat.  What also really impresses me, are methods utilised in the manufacture of their product to reduce our carbon footprint and to be environmentally sustainable.
Now that's forward thinking.

Sticking with tradition of drying pasta in the sun, Casalare have been quite the innovators incorporating the same time honoured process with modern technology and coming up with a unique drying tunnel to achieve a premium product. SMART.

Many are already familiar with CASALARE - having been around for over 20 years - they have recently re-designed their packaging (for those not immediately recognising the products) with a sleek, modern new look [refer image].

I recently road tested the dry LASAGNE SHEETS, SPAGHETTI and SPIRALS and can attest to their excellent texture and taste. A snap to cook, free from artificial colours and flavours, their gluten free pasta range will appeal to even the most discerning palate.

A 'twist' on the humble Mac'n'Cheese

Mac'n'Cheese with a crunchy topping


Ingredients

250g Casalare Gluten Free Spirals 

50g Gluten Free Corn Flour
50g Butter
500mls Milk
1 Cup Good Cheddar (grated)

1 Pure Bred Round Hamburger Roll (blitzed into fresh breadcrumbs)
1 Tbs Butter for frying

Method

Cook pasta according to packet directions. 

Whilst pasta is cooking make cheese sauce. Gently heat milk to a boil.
In a separate saucepan, melt butter and add flour stirring to form a roux. Gently add milk and continuously stir to a smooth and thickened consistency. I find a flat whisk really handy for these types of sauces.  Once completely smooth, add cheddar and incorporate well into the sauce. Set aside for a moment.

Melt butter in a frypan and add fresh breadcrumbs. Gently fry until golden brown.

Drain pasta. Add cheese sauce and fold gently into the pasta so it is generously coated.
Add fried bread crumbs and serve immediately or can place into a warm oven until ready to serve.


Casalare is available from quality health food stores, IGA and other independent supermarkets


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

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Cannelloni



There are some excellent cannelloni tubes in dried pasta form but with the release of new fresh gluten free lasagne sheets, I recently had a go at making my own tubes with them.
It produced excellent cannelloni and so I thought I would share what I do.

Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni


Ingredients

2 Chicken Breasts
1 litre GF Chicken Stock
125g chopped Spinach (I use frozen)
250g Ricotta
30-40g slivered almonds roughly chopped 

Method

I like to poach my chicken breast first, so in a medium sized saucepan, bring 1 litre of gluten free liquid chicken stock to the boil (I use Massel) add chicken breasts and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes.  Cook spinach during this time and set aside.

Remove chicken from stock and blitz in a food processor together with the cooked spinach.
Combine chicken/spinach mixture with chopped almonds & ricotta and incorporate well.

Heat lasagne sheets according to packet directions/individual microwave power.  This aids in ease of rolling but you must still work relatively quickly.  Keep remaining sheets under plastic wrap whilst working on another.

I like to use a store-bought pasta sauce keeping the flavours simple - remembering that the hero here is the pasta filling. Any sauce should compliment not take over.  I like to use a gluten free (by ingredient) Passata type sauce. Italian Tomato and Basil. Perfect.

Spread a little sauce in the base of a rectangular lasagne dish. Arrange cannelloni in a single layer immediately on top and cover generously with more sauce. Dress with cheese and a sprinkling of Italian herbs, cover with foil and into a 180°C oven for 45 minutes, removing the foil in the last 5 minutes.

Delicious and moreish. Enjoy!

(The above ingredients made about 15 tubes so I made 2 dishes. A large dish holding 10 tubes and a smaller rectangle with 5)








Monday, 10 August 2015

New & Improved from Lifestyle Bakery


Aren't we lucky that we have such an array of gluten free products available to us nowadays?  Especially bread.  I shudder to think of the gluten free selection (or lack of..) of days gone by..


You may have noticed a familiar face in the bread aisle recently.  Lifestyle Bakery are no strangers to gluten free.  They have provided us with a soft and tasty range for some time now and I am very happy to report that they have developed a NEW AND IMPROVED range of Soft 'n' Light gluten free bread.  



The range includes a Super Soft White Loaf - New Thicker Slice, Multigrain with Red Quinoa, Super Seed with Chia Seed and a Spicy Fruit Loaf made from 100% Australian grown fruit.

Super Soft White with it's improved taste and new thick-cut slices was a popular choice in my house. Toast was a hit this morning at brekky and both my younger children happily skipped off to school with a fab new sanga made with the same loaf. Only one child is Coeliac but let's not split hairs.

The Superseed is my fav.  Naturally kids are going to be kids when it comes to bread with 'bits' in but for me, I embrace the bits. With a combination of chia, red quinoa plus amaranth and teff seeds, it's loaded with essential nutrients but I just love the taste. In fact, this afternoon, I lightly toasted a couple of slices, loaded them up with thick chunks of vine ripened tomatoes, added a sprinkling of salt and pepper and it was lunchtime perfection. It's the little things..

The new range was launched on 3rd August 2015 and has replaced all previous Lifestyle Bakery Soft 'n' Light Gluten Free loaves.  RRP $5.89.  Available NOW in Woolworths WA and selected Woolworths stores in SA and NT.  

Alternatively, products can be purchased online at  www.lifestylebakery.com.au 






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


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Clear out the Pantry Biccies



So it is a constant source of annoyance when the kids ask for NEW cereal when they haven't finished the existing box. You're with me, right??


"Please mum pleeeeeeaasssse, can we? can weeeeeeee? pleeeeeeease"

and even if you dare to stand your ground and say "NO.. you have to finish the other box first"
you know deep in your heart, that very same box will be sitting high on the shelf in six months time taunting you with it's uneaten contents <groan>

AARRGGHH!!

So today I'd had enough of the taunting.  Those 2 cups of uneaten cornflakes (plus a few other pantry items) were going to be put to good use.  It's raining and I'm hungry and the oven is beckoning..

This recipe adapted from a base recipe from Taste.com


INGREDIENTS

110G butter, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup gluten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups gluten-free cornflakes
1/2 cup pistachio, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Craisins
1/2 cup gluten-free chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius
Line a large flat tray with baking paper

METHOD

Cream the butter and sugar together until you have an icing-like consistency
Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt and then add remaining ingredients. 
Mix well to combine.  Add butter mixture and mix well, ensuring all dry ingredients are incorporated well.  Don't be afraid to crunch up the Cornflakes in the process.

Spoon or roll tablespoon sized portions onto tray.  If you are feeling daring, you can and place 3 rows of 3 but be warned - the mixture does spread so be prepared.  
I would recommend 3 rows of 2 - spacing well apart.

Bake for 12 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack

These biscuits are buttery and yum but I think this recipe will appeal more to the older child or an adult palate - AHEM.. 
<complimented with screwed up, pained expression> 'What are those BITS in it? 
What are those GREEN THINGS? 

I'd like to tell you that the kids inhaled them.. BUT that would be a bald-faced lie.
There seemed to be a lot of picking things out and tiny mouse-like bites.  You can't win 'em all.
More for me.  
And you know what?
I'm OK with that.










Monday, 1 June 2015

Pumpkin Soup




Easiest soup, great to disguise some other veggies in and super yum.

Ingredients
2 x 1L GF Chicken Stock 
1 whole Butternut Pumpkin cut into small pieces
1/2 Brown Onion chopped
2 Carrots chopped
1 large Potato chopped
2 Celery sticks chopped
1 tsp Ground Cumin
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 cup Thickened Cream

Method
In a large heavy based pan, brown the Onion, Cumin and Coriander.
Add stock and vegetables and bring to the boil.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer for approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Using a stick blender (right in the pot), carefully blitz until you have a smooth consistency.
Add 1/2 cup Cream and Nutmeg and stir in well.
Serve with a dollop of Creme Fraiche and chopped Chives.

Enjoy! 



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..
HANG ON..

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  



INGREDIENTS
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

METHOD
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.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE
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! 

INGREDIENTS
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

METHOD
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.