Gluten-free Strawberry and Vanilla Ricotta Cakes

15 Nov
Gluten-free Strawberry and Vanilla Ricotta Cakes

Gluten-free Strawberry and Vanilla Ricotta Cakes

It’s been a super-duper bumper strawberry season here in South Australia, so a couple of weeks ago I took the kids strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm in the Adelaide Hills. We had a ball - the kids really loved picking the food that they would be able to enjoy later. We don’t have a vegetable garden at home so this experience was a novelty for them.

Strawberries 1

We ended up with a whopping 3 kilograms of strawberries. I make lots of preserves, so making some strawberry jam was a no-brainer for me. We ate the rest – they were amazing. I even let the kids melt some chocolate for a fondue as a special treat.

Strawberries 2

So with all these amazing strawberries in season, it was only fitting that I post a strawberry recipe of some description.

Here it is. These little ricotta cakes are great for entertaining and handy for a recess-time snack.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

250 g fresh strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled and quartered

350 g ricotta cheese

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

50 g butter, melted

200 g gluten-free icing mixture

100 g gluten-free plain flour

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional oven) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven). Grease and line 9 cavities in a 125 ml capacity muffin tray.

Put strawberries in a small saucepan with 125 ml water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool a little. Purée.

In the meantime, beat ricotta cheese and egg in large bowl of an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add vanilla bean paste and butter. Sift in icing mixture and flour and mix until ingredients are combined and batter is smooth.

Spoon ricotta mixture into muffin cases until approximately three-quarters full. Over the top of the mixture, spoon 2 tsp of strawberry purée into each cavity. Using a teaspoon or skewer, gently stir each cake to combine the strawberry mixture with the top of the cake batter.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Makes 9

 

Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Salad

7 Nov
Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Salad

Gluten-free Chicken Noodle Salad

 

With a little organisation, it will take you less time to throw this salad together than it would to make a gluten-free sandwich. Trust me!

I usually keep cooked chicken breast on-hand in the refrigerator. It’s to keep me on the straight and narrow – if it’s there I’ll eat it for lunch (tossed through some brown rice with other salad ingredients) instead of just grazing on whatever else I happen to find, healthy or otherwise. To cook, I butterfly the chicken, lay it out flat under the grill and leave it for about 10 minutes, turn and grill on the other side for about 5 minutes.  Sometimes, I put chicken breast fillets in the slow cooker, covered in water, and let them gently steam all day. That night, there’s gloriously tender chicken breast for the family meal, plus plenty left over for everyone’s lunches. Either of these methods would work beautifully for this recipe, or you could just poach the chicken breast as I’ve outlined below. The important thing is, however, that you do it in advance so that you can quickly throw the salad together in the morning. Continue reading

Gluten-free Apple and Raisin Weet-Bix Slice

29 Oct
Gluten-free Apple Raisin Weetbix Slice

Gluten-free Apple Raisin Weet-Bix Slice

Well, y’know, it had to happen. I mean, it was pretty momentous when Gluten Free Weet-Bix was launched in Australia just a few months ago. You could just about hear the collective cheers from gluten-free folk across the nation. There was certainly a great celebration in our household and amongst the extended Coeliac family members.

So it was only a matter of time before I worked out how to put my daughter’s new favourite breakfast cereal into her lunchbox. Continue reading

Gluten-free Sweet Tea Cups

20 Oct

 

Gluten-free Sweet Teacups

Gluten-free Sweet Teacups

A few weeks ago, my baby turned four. Of course, I really shouldn’t call my four-year-old a baby, but as he’s my youngest I’m allowing myself a little creative license.

Those four years have gone by awfully quickly. He was only a few months old when my daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and was the most placid of babies. Now he is a blustering, rambunctious chatterbox who is more than a little ready to take on kindergarten.

For their fourth birthdays, all of my kids have had their first kiddy party. On this occasion, we decided a jumping castle would be the go. That would make it a nice, easy, simple party with some nice, easy simple party food to match. Right?

Wrong. Continue reading

Gluten-free Bircher Style Tapioca Pots

14 Oct
Gluten-free Bircher Style Tapioca Pots

Gluten-free Bircher Style Tapioca Pots

I was delighted to have this recipe included in the September 2014 issue of Nourish Magazine. It’s a really versatile and simple dish that you can whip up for breakfast (just soak the tapioca pearls in the orange juice overnight), send to school in a sealed container with a spoon for recess, or even as an after school snack or healthy dessert.

The tapioca has a starchy, creamy texture and you can use an endless combination of flavourings. Think seasonal fruits, nuts, pepitas, chia seeds, citrus zest … the list goes on! You can even drizzle over some rice malt syrup for a bit of extra sweetness.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

½ cup tapioca pearls

200 ml freshly squeezed orange juice

1 medium-sized apple

½ cup Greek yoghurt

6 large strawberries

Seeds of ¼ pomegranate

Extra strawberries and pomegranate seeds, to garnish

Method

In a large bowl, combine the tapioca pearls and orange juice. Cover and refrigerate overnight (or for at least 4 hours, until the pearls are soft and have absorbed most of the liquid).

The next day, peel, core and grate the apple. Add to the tapioca, along with the yoghurt, hulled and quartered strawberries and pomegranate seeds. Stir to combine.

Serve in small pots or bowls (approximately ¾ cup capacity). Garnish with extra strawberries and pomegranate seeds.

Makes 4 small serves.

Eat Drink Blog 2014

8 Oct

A few weeks ago, I made my first ever trip to Brisbane, Queensland, to attend Eat Drink Blog 2014, the Australian Food Bloggers Conference.

It was all pretty exciting, actually. Not only did I score 3 kid-free nights interstate, but I was also able to visit my brother, who has lived in Brisbane for the last couple of years.

And then, of course, there was the opportunity to meet other food bloggers. And learn some stuff. In short, it was good. Damn good.

Until then, I’d only met a couple of other food bloggers in the flesh, so it was great to meet people from all over Australia, whose blogs covered the range of food topics, including recipes, reviews, travel and yummy discoveries along the way.

Eat Drink Blog (EDB) is a conference organised by a committee of volunteer food bloggers, for food bloggers so it was an odds-on bet that the programme was going to be full of hot food blogging topics.

The conference kicked off on Friday evening 19 September with welcome drinks at The Kitty bar, in the stunning Treasury Casino in the city centre.

The Kitty, Treasury Casino

The Kitty, Treasury Casino

Then the following morning, we gathered at Wandering Cooks for the conference proper. An amazing breakfast of quiche, pastries, fruit and yoghurt and other delights was supplied by Flour & Chocolate Patisserie, Chester Street Bakery and Bar, and Emma & Toms Juices. And then there was the coffee. A coffee bar was set up on site, serving made-to-order coffees all day long, thanks to Merlo Coffee. Mmmmm latte. Mmmmm espresso. Mmmmm. Need I say more?

The keynote speaker was Singaporean blogger Nathaneal Ho, of Rubbish Eat Rubbish Grow. His entertaining presentation was about restaurant review blogging, and bloggers, in Singapore.

Following a stunning morning tea of chocolate truffle cakes by Passiontree Velvet, a session on Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Guidelines for business and review platforms (including food blogs) was presented by Claire Davie of Melbourne Gastronome.

Damien Condon of Lucid Media spoke about the evolving media landscape and the important role of social media.

Lunch

Then Lunch. Oh, lunch. A stunning spread, supplied by Wholesomeness, Stella May Fine Foods, and the Australian Mushroom Growers Association. And beautiful wines by Sirromet.

After lunch were two panel discussions on keeping motivated as bloggers, and Chef versus Blogger, with four of Brisbane’s finest chefs forming the panel: Brent Farrell from 85 Miskin St, Tony Percuoco from Tartufo, Philip Johnson from E’cco and Josh Okron from Prive 249.

Afternoon tea was supplied by Lick Icecreams and, sadly, Merlo Coffee announced last orders, but I guess all good things must come to an end!

Brenda Fawdon, owner and Chef at Mondo Organics gave a thought-provoking presentation about ethical food and the difference we can all make to our environment with our food choices.

And then finally, one of the best sessions of the day, Christina Soong of The Hungry Australian presented on blogger economy – how to earn an income from food blogging.

It was a day packed full of useful information and a fantastic experience for me. I’ve got plenty of notes about things I need to implement and change over the coming months. If only there was more time in the day!

That night, we gathered at 127 Bar and Bistro for a cocktail party with some fairly amazing canapés and drinks by De Bertoli Wines and Sofi wine spritzers.

Then, the following morning, we shook off our sore heads and gathered again for one of three workshops. I was lucky enough to be in the Food Styling Workshop, with Sarah Bazar of Emotive Light Photography. It was great to see the set-up of a food shoot, to see and discuss a huge range of props and backgrounds and to have a go at setting up my own shoot (although the results aren’t worthy of publishing here!). I picked up some great styling tips and it was also really useful to see how other bloggers were setting up their own shoots.

That was the end of the conference and it was indeed fantastic. I just hope I can make it to next year’s conference, wherever in Australia it may be. It was such a great learning experience.

Goodies #1

And then, there was the goody bag. My goodness, all this gear, most of it gluten-free! Sirromet wine (yes, that’s an empty bottle you see, and it was lovely), Merlo Coffee voucher and thermo cup, Go Natural Bars, Roza’s Gourmet Sauces, a huge tube of Queen Vanilla Bean Paste, Mantle & Moon Spring Water (not pictured) and a clever “Supoon” by Dreamfarm.

Goodies #2

And then another bag as we were leaving – A Chester Street Bakery and Bar Brownie, and Passiontree Velvet Chocolates. Wow!

On Sunday afternoon, I headed out to Ferny Grove to see my brother and his café, Poshamocha. It was impressively lovely, especially the selection of gluten-free cakes and treats. Seriously, there must have been about eight to choose from. And then there were all the other GF options on the menu. Fantastic!

Then on Monday, my brother and I wandered around the sites of Brisbane, enjoyed a beautiful seafood platter for lunch, and then finally I made my way to the airport to return home to my Husband and three excited kidlets who all missed me. It was great to have some time away, but even better to have such a warm homecoming!

Eat Drink Blog 2014 was a free event, thanks to the hard work of the organising committee and the generosity of the sponsors and presenters. I funded my own accommodation and air travel.

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.

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