Monday, 28 January 2013


Australia Day. Celebrations of the lucky country kind.  Lamb. Lamingtons. AND Pav.
No BIG celebrations for us this year.  Just keeping it real  & on the down-low at Hart Central and visiting friends around the corner.

There was going to be a bit of a bake fest happening in my kitchen this Australia Day morning.  I make no apologies for the madness that ensued.  I had the cooking urge and I had it bad.  Lamingtons and Pavlova were on my agenda.  That and Triple J's Hottest 100.

Abb and I needed some sustenance to kick start our Aussie celebrations.  MIGHTYMITE - Vegemite's lesser known distant cousin.  WHAT? OK so it's not the Godfather of the spread world but it IS gluten free and it is Australian (and it actually tastes great not too bad). We eat it a lot actually.

I was on the hunt for the greater good of the gluten free girl (and guy).  I had scoured the Internet for hours OK maybe 10 minutes tops.  I was after some tried and true recipes and found a great one for the Pav.  I was on a mission to find a great lamington recipe.  I wanted to keep things simple.  I wanted to use ingredients that everyone (of the gluten free persuasion) would have in their pantry.  I didn't want anything too fancy schmancy otherwise people can't be bothered.  Let's be honest.  So then, amazingly (I know I need to get out more - <scratches brow> I say this often) my friend Laura sent me a link for those chocolaty coconuty pillows from heaven - it was like she channelled my inner lamington.  The funny thing is, Laura doesn't even have to eat gluten free and yet she is my eagle-eyed scout without even asking (Laura clearly you need to get out more..)

So two fab recipes later and here 'tis  (with pictures) - my baking bonanza, my mixing manifesto, my.. enough already.  Thank you for the Pav inspiration (make sure to use gluten free cornflour not wheaten cornflour if Coeliac or gluten intolerant) and thank you Move Nourish Believe for the lamington love.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Peach Polenta Cake

In the January/February 2013 edition of the Coles food magazine (the free one) there was a recipe just screaming out to be baked.  Nectarine polenta cake.  I made it tonight using peaches instead of nectarines - it's easy, it's delicious and here it is.. ENJOY

Original Nectarine version can be found here -
150g butter, at room temperature, chopped
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 eggs
1 cup polenta
100g almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
200g plain yoghurt
peaches, apricots, nectarines - whatever takes your fancy really - I used peaches :)

1. Preheat oven to 180° or 160° fan forced.  Grease a 20cm square cake tin and line base with baking paper.
2. Using a mixer, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Fold in polenta, almond meal, baking powder and yoghurt.
3. Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the top.  Lay fruit pieces on the surface being careful not to press down as the fruit will sink slightly during cooking.  Bake for 55 minutes - until risen, golden brown and just firm when touched lightly in the centre.  I always use the 'if the skewer comes out clean trick' it's cooked.
4. Leave in tin for 5 minutes.  Invert onto a wire rack, remove paper then flip right side up and allow to cool.

We had ours with home made choc-chip ice-cream but you can have it with whatever you like.  Dust with icing sugar, serve with a big splodge of cream - whatever floats your boat.

Best served fresh out of the oven while still warm - as if it would last any longer anyway.. 

Thanks Coles!

* The other day I discovered a packet of polenta that had a gluten warning on the side so be sure to read your labels.  Polenta itself is gluten free but there could be a contamination issue if produced on the same line as other gluten containing foods so be careful. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Apocalypse? This was a test right?

and so.. Christmas is over, we saw in the New Year with a BANG (fireworks over the back fence - I know, fancy right?) and we are fast hurtling towards Australia Day.  When will it end.. well not 2012 CLEARLY.  Those crazy Mayans.. pffft.. you guys..really? You had me there for a minute.. well played.

So what a year it's been.  Let's reflect.. you know you want to

JANUARY brought the notion that I could perhaps try this blogging thing..  I discovered I actually liked it. A LOT.  I mean it's no secret I LOVE talking, so a vessel to channel this energy gift and go on.. and on.. and on.. seemed like a natural progression.. right?  Right.  Plus good therapy and cheaper than ACTUAL therapy.  Plus gives Garrick a break as I channel it all through the blog.. rather than in in his ear.. bwahahahaha as if.. as if Garrick would get off that lightly.  It also kicked off with a brief  INTRODUCTION to our gluten free world and a whole lot of fumbling in the dark in the blogosphere.  Steep learning curve.

FEBRUARY saw this blogging thing develop into a crazy ride as I ventured out and about discovering new and exciting places and gastronomical delights of the GLUTEN FREE variety and shared them..  A visit here ALTERNATIVE BITES   A visit there GRILL'D  and new food discoveries along the way WHAT'S ALL THE FUSS ABOUT QUINOA? A lot of laundry.

MARCH brought fear and trepidation into our hearts as we embarked on the most scariest of rides - Abbey's OPEN HEART SURGERY 

After 4 scheduled surgeries were cancelled in the preceding twelve months, we mustered the last shred of strength we had left and held each other tight as Abb was wheeled into theatre.  She practically danced through it the cheeky blighter.  Good grief.  So proud of our girl.

APRIL celebrated CHOCOLATE AND LOTS OF IT.  Easter.  My birthday pffft skip that. Some cooking and a lot of some eating.. including a small triumph using quinoa as a substitute for oats in ANZAC Biscuits and more laundry

MAY brought some nougaty goodness by way of a visit to Mondo Mondo Mondo OK not quite Engelbert but just as sickly.. I kid of course, the nougat is wonderful.. sheesh sorry Engie.
A discovery of bacon & egg cupcakes via Sarah from a dynamite blog - sarah wilson then sharing my find and baking them a lot (goodbye waistline).  Spending a bit of time on the facebook page in between blogging GFH on facebook and sharing great resources like the wonderful girls from The Allergy Menu - doing great things and changing lives. Yet more laundry..

JUNE Hmmm I cooked a bit, blogged a bit, facebooked, drank a lot of coffee and pondered more blogging ideas over more laundry..

JULY  Abbey turned 5.  We have a beautiful, gluten free, whole-hearted (get it - no hole anymore plus the whole Heart/Hart thing). Lame.  I still laughed.  How much washing can one family produce? A lot it seems. Maybe I should just sleep in the laundry.. 

AUGUST  Ben turned 2.  Our beautiful blonde haired boy who has quietly observed, taken everything in his stride, was about to turn a corner - and get his own back on Abbey for all the tormenting. Passive no more.  He's reaching developmental milestones.  Next target payback.
Some bread making, fights discussions with a certain teenager about electronic devices,  pizza baking.. one blog post.. this month was action packed.  Sarcasm don't fail me now.  I was in a lull - what do you expect?  It was cold.. brrrr.  Can you be in a lull? I was in one.

SEPTEMBER There's a teenager in the house.  That explains all the laundry..
HAPPY BIRTHDAY J MAN.  This was also the month our great pals from Queensland set foot on WA soil.  We were meeting up. We were SOUTHBOUND.  Abbey made her debut in the Australian Coeliac Magazine telling her coeliac story and made the Sunday Times and Perth Now with her heart journey - ABBEY HART.    Garrick and I also skipped the light fandango and left the house briefly.  Together.  Without kids.  My favourite post for the year - ROCKPOOL

OCTOBER  Garrick's birthday.  Still a spring chicken and a big spunk.  He also wasn't here for it. Bummer.  We bought him a smart TV.  Turns out, it's not so smart.  It hasn't worked properly since we got it.  Still in discussions with Samsung.  After all that coffee, I briefly entertained the idea of tea.  I drank some.  I did enjoy it.  NATURE'S CUPPA.  I am a coffee girl at heart though. Baked a bit,  facebooked, found new gluten free products and spruiked about them on facebook. Ate  a lot a few of Bodhi's Bakehouse fruit buns. Toasted with lashings of butter. What? Abb also made it a trifecta by featuring in the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation bear facts summer edition.
Going through OMO like a freight train.

NOVEMBER Are the supermarket people going to start questioning my OMO usage?  Is it EXCESSIVE consumption?  Is there some sort of reporting system in place?  I hope not.  Am I running some sort of illegal commercial laundry operation? What?  I feel like 100 eyes are on me as I approach the cleaning aisle..

DECEMBER What! A whole year has gone past. We discovered CAKE POPS  - so easy I can make them without having a conniption.  They are awesome.  We ate a lot of them - just straight out with it, an open admission right there.  The J Man got a good report.  An 'A' in drama - who'd have thought?  A natural progression as an member of the Hart family perhaps? Don't fight it Jai.  Abb also got a great kindy report although clearly a more concerted effort is required for listening on the mat without calling out and also we need to hone in on those 'not interrupting others' skills.. pffft.. times are tough when you're 5.  But they loved her.  She got a certificate to prove it - and I quote "Always a fabulous and dramatically expressive class member".  Ha ha proud moments.  We ventured south again.  On a serious note, we had an unscheduled hospital stay A Tough Lesson .  We bounced back.  We wrote to people to educate.  We got a great response and positive change is being implemented. A win for the gluten challenged amongst us.  CHRISTMAS arrived before we knew it.  We did the family thing.  To our horror we discovered Alby Mangels lives amongst us. We met a lot of people in Wembley.. 

Things I have learnt along the way -
Hit save frequently
Doh! the frustration of losing stuff when you're on a roll and then having to try and be witty all over again.  It loses it's shine the second time around..

Tell the people that matter you love them.  Often.  You never know what's just around the corner.

Standing on die cast matchbox cars and small aeroplanes with sticky- outy-bits, in the dark, in the middle of the night, is comparable to standing on Lego.. in the pain stakes

The pantry and refrigerator are the strongest magnets in the universe for children 5 and under.  Don't fight it.  It too shall pass.

Bad habits I have acquired along the way -
Calling everyone darl.  From the Maccas drive-through kid to Abb's teacher and everyone in between.  Where did it come from? How did it start? I have no idea. Mum doesn't even do it.  I don't know anyone that does it.  It's like a germ I picked up somewhere along the way and can't shake.  A parasite feeding off my normal vocabulary and making me feel like a twit immediately after uttering. Incredibly annoying. Must stop.  

Thoughts to leave you with -

the shinbone is a device for finding furniture in a dark room - unknown

nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realise you're wrong - unknown

Still here? - thanks for stopping by..  Have a great year :)