Gluten-free Cauliflower and Pea Bites

23 Sep
Gluten free cauliflower and pea bites

Gluten-free cauliflower and pea bites

Well! I’m fresh back from my first ever visit to sunny Brisbane, the sub-tropical capital of Queensland in northern Australia. I was there to attend Eat Drink Blog 2014 (another first for me), a conference for food bloggers, run by food bloggers. It was a fantastic experience and great to meet some other bloggers in person. I’ll write a post about that in a week or so.

But for now, I’m pretty snowed under with some other work (I should be working now, but I am procrastinating. I became an expert in procrastinating when studying Law way back when. But, oh, wait – I digress. See what I mean?).

Anyway, because I haven’t had time to get into the kitchen, I’m sharing this recipe with you – it’s one that I developed for the September 2014 issue of Nourish Magazine and you’ll find it, and another recipe of mine, in the fussy kids’ feature from page 31. It’s perfect for school lunches. Just throw in a few vegetable sticks for a bit of crunch.

Enjoy!

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Seasonal cauliflower, pea and coconut combine to give a delicate flavour that even the fussiest of eaters will find hard to resist. If your child isn’t into curry powder, try replacing it with ¼ teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.

Ingredients

250 grams cauliflower

70 grams fresh or frozen green peas (if using fresh, weigh peas after they have been shelled)

55 grams gluten-free self-raising flour

20 grams coconut flour

½ teaspoon mild curry powder

¼ cup coconut milk

1 egg, lightly beaten

Pinch of salt

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional oven) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven). Grease and line 12 cavities in a mini-muffin tin (25 millilitre capacity).

Roughly chop the cauliflower into large chunks. Steam for 15 minutes, or until tender. Remove from heat and set aside. Steam the peas for 5 minutes (if using fresh peas) or 2 minutes (if using frozen peas).

In a large bowl, mash the cauliflower. Add the steamed peas and allow to cool a little.

Sift in the self-raising flour, coconut flour and curry powder. Add the coconut milk, egg and salt. Stir to combine.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray, filling each cavity.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12.

Gluten-free birthday party lunchbox

17 Sep
Gluten-free party lunchbox

Gluten-free party lunchbox

Time flies when you’re having fun.

I’ve just realised that my second blogoversary has just passed. Goodness, it’s come around quickly! But I’m not whipping up a new fancy cake recipe to celebrate this year, mainly because I’ve got a few projects on the go at the moment, so I’ve not done much recipe development lately.

Rather, I’m going to tick this post off my “to do” list. My blog is about lunchbox food after all, and the birthday party lunchbox is in some ways just as important as the school lunchbox. Although it’s full of indulgent food, it’s important for our gluten-free little ones to feel included in the celebrations and to be able to go to a party and enjoy themselves just like any other kid.

Yep, I’ve packed rather many party lunchboxes and so I’ve been meaning to do a party lunchbox post for – er – nearly two years now. So now you know that my to-do list is a mile long!

When my daughter was younger, we had a special Disney Princess Lunchbox that we bought especially for parties. Here she is four years ago on the day we bought it:

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If your child is younger, I recommend a lunchbox just for parties – it helps to make the whole occasion all the more special.

But anyway, let’s move on to the food. I send a combination of sweet and savoury, a bit of cake and a little bag of confectionary for the goody/lolly bag/party favours, or whatever you customarily call it.

When my daughter recently went to a party, this is what I packed:

  • Pizza. I always keep home-made gluten-free pizza in my freezer. It’s just so handy. In my recent post on gluten-free birthday parties, I detailed my tips for making pizza. It’s a quick and easy option for a meal and always passes as bona fide party food.
  • Plain potato chips (or crisps).
  • Wicked Chocolate Balls – I keep these on hand in the freezer. You can make them from off-cuts from any previous birthday cakes. Waste not, want not!
  • Chocolate biscuits. I used Leda Choculence biscuits. No complaints, no leftovers!
  • A cupcake to eat when the birthday cake is served. I always have a cupcake supply in the freezer. I like Coles Simply Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes.
  • A selection of confectionary for the lolly bag, including chocolate freckles, Fantales (they’re not labelled gluten-free but there doesn’t appear to be any gluten in the list of ingredients), lollipop and Cadbury Caramello Koalas.

Note that about a year ago, Cadbury changed its labelling to say that its chocolate products may contain traces of gluten. Coeliac Australia does not recommend that its members consume any products that carry such labelling. I decided to take the risk with the Caramello Koalas, because my daughter hardly ever has them and honestly, the chocolate options would become rather limited if I took Cadbury out of the picture.

If you have any special tips or tricks for your own party lunchboxes, please share!

Review: Barilla gluten-free pasta now in Australia

16 Sep

Gluten Free SpaghettiGluten Free PenneGluten Free Elbows

In huge news on the pasta scene, Barilla has launched its new gluten-free pasta range in Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on some samples of the pasta and pasta sauces and I have to say, woo hoo!

I’ve road-tested it on the whole family and there’s been no complaints. Happy little pasta-mites all round.

Have you ever experienced gluten-free pasta that collapses when cooked? And it always tastes a little odd? Well, Barilla’s pasta has a “normal” pasta taste, but even better, it’s strong enough to retain its shape when cooked. So at least you’re not having your Bolognese sauce with a side of pasta mush.

Barilla uses corn and rice flours rather than refined starches, and the pasta is made in a dedicated gluten-free facility. It’s a great way to ensure that there’s no cross-contamination with gluten, but I’d really love to see Barilla go the extra mile and put the pasta into sealed plastic bags in addition to the cardboard packaging that is currently used.

Gluten-free spaghetti, elbows and penne are currently available and Barilla’s entire range of pasta sauces are also gluten-free. We loved the basil pesto.

The pasta is available at Woolworths stores all over Australia and also at selected independent supermarkets. But hold onto your hats, folks, because perhaps the best news is that its recommended retail price is $3.69. Crikey, that’s low!

Representatives of Barilla provided me with products to sample. All opinions are my own.

Gluten-free Wild Strawberry and Rhubarb Bircher Slice

13 Sep
Gluten-free Wild Strawberry and Rhubarb Bircher Slice

Gluten-free Wild Strawberry and Rhubarb Bircher Slice

I’m cheating a bit with this post. It’s a recipe I developed a few months ago, for a competition. Mamamia Food Blogger Idol, to be exact.

Yup, crazy name, amaaaaazing prize, as you’ll see if you click on the above link.

Anyway, I didn’t get anywhere with it and shelved this recipe. It was probably a bit too off-the-wall, come to think of it. But I thought I’d dust it off just for you, and here it is. The name sounds fabulously exotic. It’s because the competition terms required that one ingredient be a particular brand of yoghurt. Don’t worry if you can’t find Wild Strawberry and Rhubarb yoghurt. Just go for whatever flavour you like. It will still work. And you could also add a little fresh, frozen or dried fruit for colour and flavour.

I included a recipe for stewed rhubarb as well, for a scrummy breakfast treat. Or just pack the slice into the lunchbox for a lovely recess.

I also had to take about a gazillion photos for a photo journal of me making the recipe, so what the heck, there’s a pic of me below in my ancient kitchen. I am now a master of the self-timer on my camera. And using a tripod. That’s what I call skill development.

Here’s my entry.

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Oh, how I love Bircher muesli. I adore how the oats, soaked for hours, become all mooshy and absorb the flavour of the other ingredients. I love the yoghurt, the apple, the endless possibilities of flavour combinations. I just love it.

Since my daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease more than 3 years ago, Bircher muesli hasn’t featured very prominently on our household menu. She cannot tolerate the gluten-like protein in oats, so we don’t rub it in too much by parading it around in front of her.

Whilst it’s true that there are plenty of gluten-free Bircher muesli options, I haven’t come across any that I actually like. So I’ve been thinking about doing my own version of gluten-free Bircher for some time now.

Then, as luck would have it, Mamamia decided to run the Food Blogger Idol competition, with Rachel’s Gourmet Low Fat Yoghurt being the featured ingredient. So I decided Bircher muesli was the go, but I’ve put it into a slice so that it can easily be included in kids’ lunchboxes. It’s still soft and mooshy, still has those lovely flavour combinations, and I’ve included a recipe for stewed rhubarb so you can make the most of it and have it for a special breakfast, if you wish.

Enjoy!

2014-05-29 11.37.05

Ingredients

1 cup gluten-free cornflakes

2 cups gluten-free puffed rice

2 peeled, cored and grated apples (approximately 150 g of grated apple)

½ cup Rachel’s Wild Strawberry & Rhubarb Gourmet Low Fat Yoghurt

1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional oven) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven). Grease and line an 18 x 28 centimetre baking tray.

Put gluten-free cornflakes into a large plastic bag. Tie or seal the bag and lay it on a flat surface. Gently hit the bag with a rolling pin until the cornflakes are smashed.

Tip cornflakes into a large bowl, along with all other ingredients.

Stir with a metal spoon to combine and tip into baking tray. Spread evenly in tray, pressing down with the back of the spoon and ensuring mixture is evenly spread to all sides and corners of the tray.

Bake for 20 minutes. When completely cooled, cut into 3 x 5 centimetre slices.

Makes approximately 14 slices.

Serve cold as a lunchbox treat or accompanied by stewed rhubarb (recipe below) and Rachel’s Wild Strawberry & Rhubarb Gourmet Low Fat Yoghurt for a special breakfast.

Stewed Rhubarb

Ingredients

Bunch of rhubarb (approximately 500 grams)

½ cup white sugar

Method

Wash and trim the rhubarb, ensuring that all leaves are removed and discarded (as they are toxic).

Cut rhubarb into 2 centimetre pieces.

Put rhubarb in medium-sized saucepan, along with sugar and 2 cups of water. Stir to combine.

Put saucepan on high heat on stovetop. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rhubarb has softened and broken down. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Makes approximately 2 cups.

 

 

Gluten-free little Tah Chins

6 Sep
Gluten-free little Tah Chins

Gluten-free little Tah Chins

Oh, okay, okay, I know it’s a fancy schmancy name, but stick with me and all will be explained.

The one and only time I’ve ever come across a Tah Chin was in the June 2014 issue of delicious. magazine (page 111). It was a Jamie Oliver recipe and I was so intrigued by the photo that I just had to try it for myself. Click here and you’ll see what I mean. According to Mr Oliver, a Tah Chin is a Persian dish, with a layer of beautifully rich and tender meat sandwiched between layers of rice. The rice is crunchy and golden on the outside and fluffy and moist on the inside, topped with a scattering of pomegranate seeds.

In all its slow-cooked gloriousness, Jamie Oliver’s recipe is really worth a try, although it does take quite a bit of time from start to finish. But it had me thinking about a quick lunchbox version. Instead of slow-cooking chunks of lamb fillet, I used lamb mince and made a quick hotpot. I served it with some green vegetables and rice for the evening meal, and then in about 10 minutes, I whipped up these little tah chins for the next day’s lunchboxes. I sent them to school with some carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices. The kids loved them. It’s worth noting, though, that my version does not have the same golden crunchy exterior. That reward comes only with patient slow cooking –  another reason to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe.

Enjoy!

Little Tah Chins

Ingredients

2 cups cooked basmati rice (method follows)

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup Greek yoghurt

Pinch of salt

1 cup lamb hotpot (recipe follows)

2 sprigs flat leaf parsley, to garnish (optional)

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced). Grease and line 6 cavities in a half-cup capacity muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the rice, egg, yoghurt and salt. Mix well. Spoon into each cavity and press down with back of spoon until each cavity is about one third filled.

Spoon one heaped dessert-spoonful of the lamb hotpot into each cavity and spread so that it evenly covers the rice.

Spoon one heaped dessert-spoonful of the remaining rice over the top of the lamb and gently press down with the back of a spoon so that the rice evenly covers the lamb.

Cover the tray firmly with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove and discard the foil and bake for a further 5 minutes.

When cool, garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

Makes 6.

Lamb Hotpot with Basmati Rice

Ingredients

2 cups basmati rice (uncooked)

1 tbs oil

500 g lamb mince

1 onion, peeled and diced

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground coriander

1 gluten-free beef stock cube, or 250 ml gluten-free liquid beef stock

2 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley

Method

Put rice in a saucepan, along with 4 cups of water and place on stove over high heat. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium so that rice continues to simmer steadily. Simmer until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside.

In the meantime, put a large frypan over high heat. Add the oil and heat a little, and then add the lamb mince and onion. Allow to brown, stirring from time to time and breaking up the mince into small, finer chunks.

Once the meat is browned, add the peas, cumin and coriander. Dissolve the stock cube in 250 ml water (or use the liquid stock) and add to the pan.

Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium. Allow hotpot to simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.

Set aside 2 cups of the cooked rice and 1 cup of the hotpot to make the tah chins. Immediately serve the remaining rice and hotpot.

Serves 4-5 people as a main meal.

 

Gluten-free birthday party

26 Aug

Gluten-free cupcakes

Gluten-free cupcakes

 

A few weeks ago, my daughter celebrated her eighth birthday with a party. If I’m a bit of an indulgent mother from time to time, it comes to the fore here. You see, I thought it would be nice if her own birthday party would be the one occasion at which she could walk up to a table of food and choose anything to eat. You know, choose anything to eat without first having to ask whether it’s gluten-free. Not that she minds having to ask, but it was great for her to have a little break from the everyday.

So I resolved to do a food spread that was entirely gluten-free. And that wouldn’t break the bank.

Nothing like a challenge. Continue reading

Review: Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit

24 Aug
Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit

Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit

A little while ago, the folks at Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit asked me to try out their new SunGold Kiwifruit. “What the heck?,” I thought to myself. I don’t often review products, but I am partial to a bit of kiwifruit every now and again, so thought I’d give it a whirl.

The SunGold Kiwifruit have a smooth skin and yellow flesh. They’re said to be nature’s multivitamin, rich in vitamin C and also with folic acid, fibre, potassium, iron, Vitamin E and other antioxidants. They’re also low in calories. Continue reading

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