Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Choc-Chip Streusel Muffins

The inspiration for this recipe came from trawling through the internet (something I love to do) and stumbling upon a recipe from a blog called Cream Puffs In Venice - not a gluten free blog by any stretch and my recipe has diverted quite a bit from the original but nevertheless was my influence here :)

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 + 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 + 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract - I used Queen Natural Vanilla Concentrated Extract
1 + 1/2 cup gluten free vanilla yoghurt - I used vaalia French Vanilla
2 + 1/2 cup gluten free plain flour - I used 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic Coconut Flour & 1 + 1/2 cup White Wings Gluten Free Plain Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 + 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Bi-Carb Soda 
3/4 cup choc chips

Pre-heat oven to 200°C and prepare muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine all of your dry ingredients in one bowl - set aside.
In another bowl, combine oil, brown sugar, orange zest and eggs.  Once mixed, add yoghurt and vanilla.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Add choc-chips.  Don't over mix. Your mixture will be similar to cookie dough in consistency.
Spoon the mix into your muffin cases dividing evenly.
Bake for 15 minutes at 200°C then add streusel topping (see below)

Make your streusel topping *

* 1 Tablespoon butter
   1/3 cup brown sugar
   1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
   1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (or your choice or omit)

Combine above ingredients with your fingertips until you have a crumbly consistency.
Divide between the twelve muffins - sprinkling on top - return to oven at a reduced temperature of 180°C for a further 10 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean. (watch so they don't over colour).
Allow to cool on a wire rack.

You could totally make these with an apple filling (just add a bit of pie apple in the middle of the muffin filling part) and they would be AWESOME.  I'm SO doing this next time :) 


Sunday, 28 April 2013

War food and other misdemeanors

There's a running joke in our house about war food.  My husband must have had a terrible youth. Honestly, the way Garrick tells it, his mother subjected him to the most unnecessary evils from the kitchen it would make your hair curl..  Pfft.. I know better.  Tell your story walking Garrick.
If you ask me, I reckon he had it too good.
Roast silverside and white sauce.. WAR FOOD.  Hearty casseroles.. WAR FOOD.  Tuna sandwiches.. WAR FOOD.

You are kidding right. 

So an opportunity arose to make MEATLOAF.  The godfather of WAR FOOD. Bwahahahahahahaha <cackling like the wicked witch>  I'm SO DOING it

The inspiration for this wicked idea came from a culmination of the recent Donna Hay magazine (issue 68 April/May 2013) and Super Food Ideas magazine (issue 146 April 2013).  Both had some awesome meatloafy ideas which started the creative juices flowing. I'm sure I could transform this old sea dog into a gluten free goddess and convert the unbeliever.. or could I?

and so doubting Thomases this is what I did..

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic - I used 3 teaspoons of Gourmet Garden Garlic Paste (contains no allergens)
12 slices of gluten free pancetta
1 cup fresh gluten free breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
400g lamb mince
400g pork mince
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup Fountain gluten free steak sauce
1/4 cup gluten free tomato sauce
2 tablespoons of Italian Herbs

Make some mashed potato for the topping - totally your preference for potato (I used Nadine) 50g butter, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup grated cheddar (not rocket science people) 

Preheat oven to 180°C.  Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add onion and garlic and fry until softened and slightly translucent.

Line a large loaf tin with pancetta slices slightly overlapping each piece.

Add the milk to the breadcrumbs and set aside 

Combine meats, egg, steak sauce, tomato sauce, onion mix, herbs then add the breadcrumbs once milk has been absorbed.  Get in there and use your hands people.  Feel the meatloafy goodness.. be at one with the meatloaf..

Press the mix into your meaty lined loaf tin, press down to expel any air and basically look pretty and fold over overhanging pancetta.  Place on a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes.  Wait 5 minutes before turning out, then once out, put back into the oven for around 10 minutes to give your pancetta some colour.  Spoon or pipe on your mash (I piped of course - I was on a mission to impress), dot with butter and into the oven she goes again for approx 20 minutes (until golden). 

The funniest thing was, Garrick wasn't even home but it was a triumph God Dammit.  I road tested it on my teenage son, my two littlies and my son's friend - it was sleepover night (I know.. it could have ended very badly) but I was quietly confidant.  They inhaled it.  I'd say that was a sure fire sign if ever I'd seen one.  He he - this little black duck has just added to the dish it up list.. war food my bum.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Gingerbread Men

So the plan was to make ANZAC'S but I somehow got sidetracked and ended up with Gingerbread Men..

I found this recipe in the thousands of torn out and hastily scribbled recipes I have collected over time. I suspect the original may have come from the fabulous Donna Hay but I have tweaked it here so as it is GLUTEN FREE.  ENJOY!

125g Butter softened
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Golden Syrup
2 &1/2 cups Gluten Free Plain Flour, sifted
2 tsp Ground Ginger
1 tsp Bicarb Soda

Pre-heat oven to 190°C.
Place butter and sugar in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until light and creamy.  Add Golden Syrup, GF Flour, ginger & bicarb & mix to form a smooth dough. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes or until dough is firm.

 Roll out dough between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to a thickness of 4mm.  Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter.  Bake for approx. 8-9 minutes - until golden brown.

Cool completely on trays before moving. Don't be tempted to lift or move until completely cooled or you will end up with a few casualties.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Hart Bean Salad

This is the all-time fav in our house and has become really popular with friends asking for the recipe often.   Maybe it will become a fav with you too. I hope so :)

WARNING: There are no real measures here.  None with any scientific basis anyway. 


Steam some green beans until just cooked - I like to leave them with just a smidge of firmness definitely not limp - this would be a serious injustice

I use a punnet of green beans from WOOLWORTHS - use the whole lot.  You can buy a bag from COLES which has around the same amount. Too easy.

Dry Fry some natural Macadamias - a generous amount - if you're anything like me it will be QUITE generous.  I LOVE Macadamias (it's no secret) and our Aussie Macadamias are fantastic :)  Dry fry until they get a nice colour to them.
Fry some thinly sliced Gluten Free bacon - again a generous amount (to your taste really but why skimp on flavour).

Then gently combine everything. Add some crumbled Danish Feta just before serving. Voila!
It's so easy it's ridiculous.


Friday, 5 April 2013

All paths lead to SPRINGSTEEN

So I was fortunate to travel to Melbourne recently with a great friend.
There was no hidden agenda.  I was making a beeline to SPRINGSTEEN.
It's no secret. I have been a big fan for like.. oh.. forever.  I was excited. Forget the posters from the walls of my 14 year old self.  I was gonna see the man himself. In the flesh. I was beyond excited. And I was childless for 2 whole days.  Don't get me wrong, I love my kids but.. was it wrong to skip across the tarmac? What?

Plus we're talking Melbourne. Melbourne God I love ya. Melbourne. The town just hums doesn't it?

The shopping.. ahh the shopping.. and the coffee.. glorious.  Did I mention we were staying at Crown? Crown. Is there an echo in here? Yes you read correctly. You can skip back a bit and read it again if you like.. just to be sure. Am I spruiking a bit. My oath. I had just 2 days of freedom.

Now I don't  know if it's just me but are Melbourne people really friendly or what?  Everyone we came in contact with.. yes everyone.  Even the man that wasn't quite the full quid singing to the moon (literally) performing his solo interpretational dance en route to Crown inspired me.  The man was happy God dammit. He made me feel happy although I'd be totally lying if I said I didn't feel  just a smidge uneasy watching him.. What?  He was like 3 feet away.. talking to people that weren't there ( well I couldn't see anybody).

So we hit the CBD the first day. No surprises there.  A bit of retail therapy never hurt anyone.  I said ANYONE..  hip pocket you were destined to be a casualty. Par for the course I'm afraid.
We did lane ways, we did coffee, we did macarons, we did department stores, we did China Town, we did sushi, we did nails, we did a lot of walking.. We did well!

We hit Richmond on our second day in.   More nice folk.  Trams. I even loved the trams.  Even the driver was smiley..  and helpful.. Whoa yes I said helpful.  My myki card was a dud but who cares. It appeared I rode for free but I paid I tell you!  Take it up with Flinders Street - clearly the man was too busy talking when issuing my card. Hey these Melbourne people have a lot to say. This is my kind of place.  I think Jo was amazed at my public transport cluelessness.  She is a professional at these things after all.  But in my defence she has quite the repertoire of solo travel experience. I was happy to follow.  In hindsight, she could have led me to the gates of hell but I trusted her completely. Just maybe next time give me the heads up before scaring me half to death by announcing "this is it Tara, quick get off" as the doors were closing.. and I had armfuls of bags..  pfft.. just saying..

Enter fabulous boots.  I redeemed myself from my last visit and my indecisiveness.. 

We shared a love of Springsteen (well I did) with all who would listen.. some were subjected to listening whether they cared to or not. The Italian shoe shop lady was a peach - she shared a love of Springsteen and shoes.  I will be shopping there again.

..and then we headed off to Three Ducks Gluten Free Gourmet - gluten free compadres in Richmond.  The sweetest little shop around.  A Mecca for the gluten impaired and friendly faces to compliment the decor.  I had been chatting to them via the www and it was great to finally meet.  I stocked up on gluten fee goodies and we were again on our way.

More coffee to refuel then back to base (that would be Crown) to prepare for the biggest night of my life. We water taxied it. Up the mighty Yarra on our pilgrimage to Springsteen. We met some people on the way that shared their disbelief that some people they had met earlier, had travelled all the way from Perth to see The Boss.  Imagine.  "That's where we're from" we disclosed.. GASPS all round.. haha.

Unbeknownst to Jo, I had a brief moment of sheer terror inserting my concert ticket into the machine at Rod Laver Arena - what if. .  My whole world could come crashing down in a matter of seconds..

Perish the thought.
We were in! JUBILATION! More skipping.

We found our seats.  Great seats. Not mosh pit. Not nose bleed. Just great seats with a great view.
and then.. before we knew what was happening.. there he was. OK so there may have been tears..
 I don't expect you to understand.  It's complex this SPRINGSTEEN love of mine.  The man rocked out for 3 solid hours.  He engaged the crowd. He was quite simply.. sensational. Best night of my life. Seriously. It's right up there with Garrick (the love of my life) and the birth of my children.  Glory Days indeed... 

PS I saw you wink at me Bruce - it will be our little secret ;)


Thursday, 4 April 2013

4 years on

I was reflecting this morning.. 

It's been 4 years on this gluten free gig and we're travelling OK
It's funny when you look back and think we were totally clueless about Coeliac Disease.  Coeliac Disease.. eww WHAT'S THAT??  Ignorant? I was the poster child for ignorant. Talk about being thrown in the deep end.. and now.. haha well, I can happily report our Coeliac-ness has become the norm.  We have embraced it like an annoying cousin. Hey this clown is NEVER LEAVING!! 

Gluten Free has come along way in the past 4 years.  For all of the gluten laden goodies out there there is at least one gluten-free equivalent - sometimes many!  It's true.  It means that my Coeliac girl doesn't have to miss out when others are indulging.  Quite often we spy those looking at Abb's gluten free spread with envy  ('tis true I tell you)  OK so I like to jazz things up to make her feel extra special. Why the hell not! and Abb.. well she is the picture of health and hey that's what it's all about isn't it?  Being a kid, feeling great.. LOVING your life even if it comes in a gluten free wrapper :)