Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Sausage Rolls (Potato Pastry)


I've been thinking about making sausage rolls for a while but the perfect pastry has always been a bit elusive.  Some store-bought ready-rolled pastries have been non-performers, a bit lacklustre,  leaving me feeling frustrated and a little annoyed at wasted ingredients.

So I decided to give potato pastry a try.  It's important to note that this pastry is quite different to the traditional flaky pastry that usually encompasses the sausage meat.  Nevertheless, it is quite tasty, lends itself well to this type of baking, browns nicely and produces a good looking baked product on completion.  Further more, all of the ingredients are general pantry items and can be easily purchased from your regular supermarket.  

I decided to road-test the following pastry recipe I found at www.bestrecipes.com.au




1 cup plain gluten free flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 large potato, peeled and cooked until tender
60g butter softened
60g Philly cheese, softened
Oil spray (I use Rice Bran Oil)
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds - totally your preference



I used Birregurra Farm Foods Gourmet Sausage Mince as I really wanted to concentrate on the pastry today.  Don't discount this meat filling though, it is a quality product, already shaped into 2 convenient logs and ready to go.  It is made with beef, pork, fresh parsley, roasted garlic & sautéed onions.  You can purchase this product at Coles.

Alternatively, making your own filling is a cinch and basically comprises of approximately 500g of sausage mince, your choice of herbs and any additional flavours you choose to enhance flavour.

 

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°C

2. Drain cooked potato and allow to cool
3. Sieve dry ingredients & combine

4. Place potato into mixer bowl and beat until smooth -add butter, Philly and dry ingredients and beat (starting slowly) until mixture comes together and becomes firmer then increasing speed so that mix becomes lighter and more aerated. 
5. Squash the dough together, form into a ball, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
 6. Roll out pastry between 2 sheets of baking paper.  Roll into a large rectangular shape and aim for about a 3mm thickness.  Don't stress about an exact shape because as long as you have the desired thickness and enough width to cover the meat filling you can be more accurate with your knife ~ trimming and adjusting.  You can then roll the excess pastry into a ball for your next one and repeat the process.
 7. Utilise the baking paper to help you roll the pastry over the meat filling.  Place the sausage roll seam side down on a paper lined tray, spray with oil and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds and bake. 
 8. The recipe stated 10-12 minutes but my rolls were quite large and so I baked for a total of 25 minutes checking after 12 minutes initially, then every 4 or 5 minutes until browned to my liking.






I was pretty happy with the end result but it was a HUGE hit with Abb - who gives the harshest critique.  My 6 year old Coeliac judge and jury.

So there you have it.  Next stop.. sour cream pastry and maybe one day soon, dare I say it..  I will tackle a gluten free puff! EEK!













Friday, 28 March 2014

Little Fishy Fabulous

Whilst my kids would happily eat sausages and salad every night of the week.. - EEK!  I had a hankering for something different, something nutritious, something tasty, but most of all something SIMPLE.

"We really don't eat enough fish!" I declared.. but no-one was listening..
and so, while the wee folk feasted on sausages.. AGAIN..
I decided that I was going to cook myself a little fishy fabulous!

Really simple.  Really quick. 

1 medium sized piece of skinless salmon (or leave skin on - totes your call)
Season with pepper only as the soy will provide enough saltiness in the sauce 

Fry your piece of salmon in a little butter and olive oil - approx. 4 minutes either side ,depending on portion size - set aside to rest.

Steam some Pak Choy for around 4-5 minutes (tops)

You can't go wrong with the following combination I like to call The Holy Trinity - GARLIC CHILLI & GINGER

2 cloves of garlic finely chopped  or do as I do and use Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic Paste

Fresh chilli - roughly a 1/4 of a long red chilli  or 1 teaspoon of hot chilli paste - I use Gourmet Garden Hot Chilli Paste
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger - I use Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste

Mix together the following in a separate bowl ~  


2 Tablespoons Water
1/2 teaspoon GF cornflour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon GF soy sauce

To a clean pan add a little oil and fry garlic, chilli & ginger until fragrant, then add your soy sauce mix (as above). Stir until desired consistency is achieved.

Plate up!  Pak Choy first, place fish on top and finally drizzle with sauce.

Melt-in-your-mouth DELICIOUS.  Happy days.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Meringues


Essentially Meringues are egg whites, caster sugar and a pinch of salt. 

Most meringues include these three staples, however some include cornflour and vinegar, which I have incorporated here.

This recipe contains a LOT of sugar.  So if you're a SUGAR PHOBE you may want to leave the room now.  Also, if you have NO PATIENCE, you may also wish to excuse yourself.


These babies require a lot of baking and cooling downtime so if waiting is not your thing, you may have to reassess your love of the humble meringue.

A little tip ~  make sure your eggs are at room temperature.  I discovered this years ago when attempting my first lemon meringue pie and my egg whites wouldn't fluff up after vigorous beating for eons  weeks A BLOODY LONG TIME.

Clueless I whinged lamented about my egg white beating skills (clear lack of) to my friend Kym.  Quite the master baker herself and winner of several prestigious country show awards, (where the competition and judges are FIERCE) she replied..
"You are using eggs at room temperature aren't you?" "Pfft.. of COURSE I am..."

Some omit the vinegar but I have read, that a little helps to crisp up the outside of the meringue whilst keeping the inside a softer consistency.  Worth putting in.  My mum used to put vinegar in everything. Toffees, meringues, poached eggs..  I guess old habits die hard.

Ingredients
4 egg whites  
Pinch of salt                                                    
1 cup caster sugar
2 teaspoons GF cornflour
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Pre-heat your oven to 100°C   

Method

Make sure your mixing bowl is clean.  Any trace of fat can bring your meringue merriment to a screeching halt.  Using an electric mixer, beat your egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually add sugar.  Beat until mixture becomes glossy and all of the sugar has dissolved.
If you rub a little between your thumb and forefinger and the mix is no longer gritty, you're good to go.  At this point, add cornflour, vinegar & any colour preference (mix until just combined).

Use a piping bag with a wide star tip to create your meringues.  Aim for about 4-5 cm diameter and allow space between each on a lined baking tray.  Abb & I sprinkled GF 100's and 1000's on ours but GF sprinkles or small cachous would also look fab.

Bake for 2 hours until meringues have a hardened shell and sound hollow when gently tapped on the bottom.

Now for the hard part.  The waiting..
Turn your oven off and allow meringues to cool for a couple of hours.  I stick a wooden spoon in the door so it remains ajar whilst meringues are cooling.  I also do this when making lemon meringue pie.

Well done! You made it.  ENJOY!                                  

 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Blackberry & Orange Frangipane Tart


This recipe is my absolute FAV at the moment.  Just saying.

Before Christmas, I made a wise investment and purchased a copy of The Gluten Free Scallywag magazine (Vol 3, 2013).  The hard copy (let's not muck around - this book was going to get a hammering).  Within it's crisp pages lies the magic that is of the gluten free kind, including this very fabulous and very delicious tart recipe.

I blame this recipe for the extra couple of kilos that have surreptitiously attached themselves to my hips but I also attribute this recipe to the cheeky pinch on the bottom from my husband this morning & beaming smile that I cannot wipe from my face (from the tart.. totally from the tart).  It's good people.  It's VERY GOOD.

Jas' recipe calls for Strawberry Jam but I have utilised a small jar of Margaret River's The Berry Farm Blackberry & Orange Jam here and only last evening, experimented with another TBF success story - Apricot & Almond.  Both with resounding success.  I'm telling you, this little baby is only open to your imagination.

And so, without further ado, here she is.  ENJOY!

Blackberry & Orange Frangipane Tart               


pastry
125g cold butter, chopped into 2cm cubes
100g pure gluten free icing sugar
250g plain gluten free flour
2 egg yolks
1 to 2 tablespoons ice cold water

frangipane
100g butter, room temperature
70g caster sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
100g almond meal

1 cup of Blackberry & Orange jam

In a food processor pulse the butter, icing sugar and flour together a few times so it resembles bread crumbs.  Pulse in the yolks, so the pastry begins to come together, you will need a little more liquid, so add in a tablespoon of cold water and pulse again.  The pastry will slowly form a ball.  It may be
tempting to add more water but don't, unless after about 30 seconds the pastry still hasn't come together.

Turn out onto your bench and form into a 2cm thick disc.  Wrap in glad wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.  At this stage the pastry can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Before rolling out your pastry, pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Roll the pastry out between two pieces of baking paper to 3mm thick.  Carefully turn into loose bottom 22cm round tart tin.   Press the pastry carefully, into the fluted edges of your tin and trim off the excess.  Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden. 

Place a piece of baking paper on the top of the prepared tart base and fill with baking beads/pie weights or beans.  Rice will also do.  Bake for 10 minutes then carefully remove the baking paper and beans.  Return pastry case to the oven for 5-8 minutes to become golden.  Remove from oven.

To prepare the frangipane topping pulse all ingredients together in the food processor until combined.

Spread the jam onto the baked pastry.  Dollop the almond frangipane mixture on top of the jam and roughly smooth out over the top.  It doesn't matter if a few bits of jam show through, as the mixture will spread a little.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool and serve with cream.



Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Chilli Beef Lettuce Wraps



This recipe is by Gordon Ramsay.  LOVE him or LOATHE him, he is a master of fabulous food and this recipe although very simple, is testament to this.  I first saw him prepare this on LifeStyle FOOD from the programme Gordon's Ultimate Cookery Course.  If you are a fan of Asian flavours and whipping up something delicious, super fast (and who isn't?) then look no further.

200g minced beef

200g minced pork
Sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
(I used Gourmet Garden Chunky Garlic paste)

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
(I used Gourmet Garden G
inger paste)
1-2 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp fish sauce
Zest of 1 lime, juice of 1/3
3 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Baby Cos lettuces, separated into leaves to serve
(You can also use Iceberg or any lettuce where the leaves form a cup)

DRESSING

1 tbsp. GF soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 red chilli, thinly sliced
Small bunch of coriander leaves chopped
(The first time I made this, I used Mint instead of Coriander and this also works well)
1-2 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp. olive oil
(I omit the olive oil here as I think the sesame oil is enough but totally your call)

1. Heat a large frypan and add a little oil. Mix the beef and pork and season well with salt and pepper.  Fry the mince in the HOT pan for 5-7 minutes until crisp and brown and broken down to a fine consistency.  Gordon recommends to drain the crisp mince in a sieve - this will help it stay crispy.  (Who's game to argue with Gordy?? Not I..)  Set aside.

2. Wipe out the pan. Add a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli.  Fry with a pinch of salt and the sugar for 2 minutes. Add the drained mince and combine.

3. Add the fish sauce and heat through. Stir in the lime zest and juice, then add the spring onions. Turn off the heat.

4. Mix all the ingredients together and adjust to taste.

5. To serve - spoon some of the mince mixture into the lettuce leaves, drizzle with a little dressing and serve.


I find, if I make the dressing first & set aside, it allows the flavours to infuse and gives you a better result.  Also, do yourself a favour and do all your chopping, measuring out beforehand.  It pays to do this & makes for a very quick cooking process.

The flavours are amazing.  ENJOY!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Being Thankful - Happy Australia Day


As I sit here in the perfect 31degrees of it all I am THANKFUL.

I am thankful for the sunshine.
I am thankful for the cool swim.
I am thankful for the lifestyle we have as AUSTRALIANS.
I am thankful for the freedom.
I am thankful for the environment.
I am thankful for the good nature and decency of 98% of people that live in the lucky country.

I am NOT thankful for the dickheads who get off on lighting senseless fires.  I AM thankful for the unwavering bravery of our fireies.


I am NOT thankful for the dickheads who get off on king hitting some unsuspecting soul.  I AM thankful for constructive action to implement positive change.

I am NOT thankful for the bullying that is plaguing the youth of today.  I AM thankful for zero tolerance and positive role models.


I am thankful for the health of my family.  I am especially thankful for a diagnosis for my Coeliac daughter.  I am NOT thankful for the Coeliac part but I AM thankful that it is easily tackled, requires no medication and that a gluten free lifestyle means a happy & healthy little girl.  THRIVING even. 
I am also extremely thankful, that without her diagnosis, my own could quite possibly never have happened and could have led to dire straits later on (and not the Money For Nothing kind).  Every cloud has a silver lining.

and I am thankful for L A M I N G T O N S
<gluten free of course>