Gluten-free apple yoghurt cake with chai spices

14 Aug
Gluten-free apple yoghurt cake with chai spices

Gluten-free apple yoghurt cake with chai spices

I think it was about a year ago that there was a lot of chai spice action happening in the blogosphere. Gorgeous recipes coming out with chai spices baked into all sorts of things. I love, love, love chai spices. Chai tea, mmmm. All those beautiful aromas wafting from a teacup. I think that was enough to stamp chai spices into my subconscious. And that’s where chai spices stayed, running around inside my head, until I saw this showstopping Chai Cake with Ginger Cream-Cheese Icing and Pomegranate Syrup in delicious. magazine a few months ago. I mean, seriously? Amaaazing, even though it’s loaded with gluten.

Then the idea gelled for this cake. I hope you make it, I hope you like it. We sure did, and the cream cheese icing made it even better. Iced cakes don’t often make an appearance in my kids’ lunchboxes, but as a special Friday recess time treat, they loved it.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cake

2 eggs

125 g butter, softened

200 g brown sugar

75 g tapioca flour

125 g sorghum flour

50 g brown rice flour

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

30 g baking powder

30 g Pixie Dust (or 3 tsp xanthan gum)

1/2 cup Greek yoghurt

250 g peeled, cored and grated apple (approximately 3 apples)

125 ml oil

1.5 tsp vanilla essence

Icing

250 g cream cheese

1 tsp vanilla essence

200 g gluten-free icing mixture

1 tsp (approximately) ground cinnamon

Method

Cake

Preheat oven to 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven) or 180° Celsius (conventional oven). Grease and line a 24 centimetre round cake tin.

Using the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat eggs on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add butter and sugar and beat on medium speed for a further 3 minutes.

Sift into the bowl the flours, spices, baking powder and Pixie Dust (or xanthan gum). Add the yoghurt, apple, oil and vanilla essence. Beat on low speed until combined.

Pour batter into cake tin and bake for 65 minutes.

Icing

Combine cream cheese, vanilla essence and icing mixture in large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until cream cheese is softened and ingredients are combined.

Once cake is completely cool, spread icing evenly over cake. Sprinkle ground cinnamon over top of icing.

Makes 8-10 generous slices.

 

Australian Gluten Free Life Magazine issue #2

11 Aug

Well, lookey here!

The second issue of Australian Gluten Free Life Magazine has just hit the newsstands, and I am honoured to be part of it. You’ll find 3 of my recipes, an interview and some happy snaps from page 76. There’s also loads of other good stuff included this month, including some beautiful recipes, a great article on how gluten can affect the brain, and a great gluten-free travel wrap-up of Singapore.

You can pick up a copy of the magazine at any good newsagent, or subscribe online here.

As ever, if we want these publications to stick around, we need to support them, so please check it out!

Gluten-free in Far North Queensland

5 Aug
Port Douglas in the late afternoon

Port Douglas in the late afternoon

Just last Wednesday, my family and I returned from a warm and sunny 10 day holiday to Port Douglas and Palm Cove, in the glorious tropics of Far North Queensland. It was the first visit to Queensland for most of us (except for my Husband, who is a far more seasoned traveller than I), and the first time we’ve attempted air travel with the kids since my daughter’s diagnosis.

So there were a few issues to sort: food on the 3 hour flight to Cairns, grocery shopping at our destinations, eating out. Best to tap into some local knowledge, so I got in touch with Joanne, author of the lovely blog Help! My Teenager has Coeliac Disease for a bit of advice. Joanne is based in Townsville which is a bit further south of our destination, but still in touch with what’s happening around the traps. Joanne blogs about the unique challenges of feeding a Coeliac teenager, and her site is well worth a visit.

Joanne generously provided me with an extensive list of supermarkets, restaurants and information about the general area and just to be on the safe side, I also read her post Travelling the Gluten-free Way, which detailed her family’s trip overseas. Even though it focussed on international travel, there was lots of good advice.

We departed bitterly cold Adelaide armed with loads of gluten-free snacks and lunch. Our day started at 4.00 am and we weren’t due at our accommodation in Port Douglas until 2pm, so I was packing food for the day. That worked out well, as the only gluten-free food that seemed to be available on our Jetstar flight was a cookie. Good for a special treat but not really sufficient to quell a hungry tummy!

I was quite unprepared for the beauty of Port Douglas. Basking in a gentle summery warmth, it is a cosmopolitan township with an incredible beach – gorgeous palm trees lining the sand. It’s a tourist town, so our food options were good.

Coles Supermarket in the centre of town carried a pretty good range of gluten-free food, although our bread of choice was so popular that it was often sold out. We had no problems finding gluten-free supplies (including icecream cake) for my daughter’s birthday celebration – novel to have a “summer” birthday in the middle of winter! IGA Supa was located a little way out of town. It had a few bits and pieces but the range was very limited.

Eating out was the thing that worried me the most – it’s always a risk – but most places had gluten-free options marked on their menus and staff were generally well-informed about suitable dishes, how food was prepared and cooked and the risks of cross-contamination.

Italian Restaurant Bucci had a dedicated kids’ menu with a couple of gluten-free options. Our daughter chose the Pasta with Cheese. There were lots more gluten-free dishes marked on the main menu.

We had take-away from Han Court Chinese Restaurant. Menu items weren’t specifically marked gluten-free, but when I asked about options, I was given a list of gluten-free dishes to choose from. Easy!

Just nearby was Zipangu Sushi Teriyaki. It only had a couple of tables for eating in, but on another night we ordered the takeaway and the kids all happily feasted on California rolls. Zipangu even provided some gluten-free soy sauce. And, it has to be said, that if any of your tribe can eat gluten, the udon noodle soup was absolutely to die for. Seriously the best chicken broth I’ve ever tasted.

For coffee and cake, Taste on Macrossan (near Coles Supermarket) was the go. My daughter loved the gluten-free chocolate cake (made by The Hungry Hummingbird who had a stall at the Sunday markets). We went there for brunch one day and my daughter happily tucked into the bacon and eggs with gluten-free pumpkin bread. There were a number of other gluten-free options on their lunch menu, including the kids’ menu, and the café had an impressive range of gourmet foods for sale, many of which were also gluten-free. Wow!

St Mary's by the Sea Church, Port Douglas

St Mary’s by the Sea Church, Port Douglas

The reason for our trip was the wedding of my cousin. The ceremony was held in the charming St Mary’s by the Sea Church, and the reception was over the road at Salsa Bar and Grill. I enjoyed a magnificent main meal of barramundi, and just check out the dessert platter of pana cotta, chocolate tart, macarons, crème brulee and more (taken on my iPhone):

Salsa Bar and Grill Dessert Platter

Salsa Bar and Grill Dessert Platter

Salsa’s website menu doesn’t indicate whether any meals are gluten-free, but it’s worth asking – the food is amazing and many dishes would lend themselves beautifully to gluten-free.

We also took a day trip to the Low Isles on the Great Barrier Reef. It involved an hour-long boat trip, followed by snorkelling, island walk, glass-bottomed boat ride, or just basking on our own island for the day. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea were all provided. We chose he Wavedancer Cruise because it seemed the most family friendly of all the cruises on offer (thanks to my relatives for doing the research!).

I was pretty worried about this one. Even though I called ahead and informed them that we were bringing a gluten-free child, I thought that if there was some issue with the food, my daughter would literally be stranded on an island without anything to eat. So I boarded the boat with a backpack loaded with snack foods. I needn’t have worried. There was a special plate set aside for our daughter with more food than she could eat, and it was really, really good stuff – healthy salads, good quality carbs, lean proteins – all a little body needs for a day on the Great Barrier Reef! But even then, there was more. The delicious spread for the rest of us was largely gluten-free. More healthy salads, meats and soup. The bread rolls (the only gluten-containing food at lunch) were placed in a separate dish well away from the rest of the food, so there was minimal risk of cross-contamination. The very attentive staff gave me a folder filled with nutritional information about the spread, so I was content to allow my daughter to choose what she wanted to eat. It was amazing and oh so rare!

Low Isles, Great Barrier Reef

Low Isles, Great Barrier Reef, taken on my iPhone

Getting off the gluten-free track, one night my husband and I called in my parents to babysit so that we could dine with friends. We decided to head out for a sneaky gluten fix at Chilly’s Pizza and Trattoria for some pretty amazing pizza. Most of the menu items looked like they were gluten-filled, but maybe the risotto or paella would be gluten-free. It’s worth enquiring, if only to take in the surprisingly delightful and rustic night-time atmosphere.

And a word about our accommodation. We opted for a holiday unit for our week-long stay. It was immaculately clean, well presented, brilliantly set up for kids, a 10 minute walk from the main part of the town and a five-minute walk to Four Mile Beach. It was also relatively cheap. You can check it out here.

And then there was Palm Cove. *Sigh.* Knocking it out of the ball park with its amazing beauty. I found it even more stunning than Port Douglas and also with a totally different vibe. It was more like a sedate little village. The main strip is on the beachfront, which really adds to the charm, nestled in amongst huge eucalyptus trees, with palm trees lining the beach. You can see from the picture below that the buildings are actually built around the huge trees. It was just fantastic to see huge old gum trees growing up through the middle of the patios and verandas!

Palm Cove by night

Palm Cove by night

We only spent 2 nights at Palm Cove, but I did have a look at quite a few menus as I walked the strip. Very few places had gluten-free options marked, but I’m sure that most would offer something. Just ask.

We had lunch at Cocky’s at the Cove and even though their menu didn’t identify any gluten-free options, when I enquired I was delighted to discover that they could do gluten-free hot chips, soup, nachos, chowder and with gluten-free bread, there were various hamburger and other options. We had a great meal.

Our other dining out experience was poor, so for legal reasons I’ll not document it here! If I started on about all the things that concerned me, I’d never stop!

20140730_064827

I was so delighted by Palm Cove that I think we will have to return there one day and when we do, we’ll be visiting El Grekos Greek Taverna. Their menu looked amazing and included a kids’ option of gluten-free lamb souvlaki. A family favourite!

There are three very small grocery stores in Palm Cove, with limited gluten-free options among them. But there is a shopping centre 0n the highway at nearby Clifton Beach, with a supermarket well-stocked with gluten-free everything.

It was a great holiday. I’m so glad we went and I’m pretty sure it will be some time before we do anything like that again. But what a privilege to experience a totally different aspect of this vast and beautiful country!

Gluten-free apricot popcorn clusters

26 Jul
Gluten-free apricot popcorn clusters

Gluten-free apricot popcorn clusters

Here’s a quick and easy recess-time idea for you, but not suitable for younger children because popcorn can be a choking hazard. The trick is to use the freshest kernels you can get your hands on. I used rice malt syrup as a sweetener in this recipe. It’s fructose-free, so a better choice than honey. But you can use honey if that’s all you have, or if it’s all your tastebuds will allow. Continue reading

Gluten-free bread and butter puddings

19 Jul
Gluten-free bread and butter puddings

Gluten-free bread and butter puddings

 

“Bread and butter puddings for the lunchbox?” I hear you say. Yes, and please let me explain.

I’ve had a loaf of gluten-free raisin bread sitting in my freezer for some time now. I bought it by accident – I thought it was a plain white loaf – and my daughter doesn’t think much of raisin bread so refused to eat it. I couldn’t bear to waste it so it’s been in the freezer in the hope that one day I’d come up with an idea to use it. The day arrived. I worked out that slightly warming a slice of the bread in the microwave and then rolling it flatter makes it behave like a lovely little pastry case. If it cracks or has holes in it, it doesn’t matter for this recipe. You just press it into the cavity and let the edges overlap. Continue reading

Gluten-free potato and chorizo tortillas

11 Jul
Gluten-free potato and chorizo tortillas

Gluten-free potato and chorizo tortillas

Righty-ho. If you think you’ve seen something like this before, you’d be right. In May last year, I published this recipe for the first time. But recently I re-worked it and re-shot it, and was pleased with the results, so I thought it worthy of a second post.

This recipe calls for roast potatoes. Leftovers from your Sunday-lunch-roast-with-all-the-trimmings are just perfect except for the obvious problem: whoever heard of a leftover roast potato? There are never any leftover potatoes in my house, but maybe you and your family can exercise more restraint than mine. Or maybe, like me, you’ll be roasting the potatoes just for these tortillas.

Even if that’s the case, they’re worth the fairly minimal effort. They take a bit of time to cook, but not to make, if you know what I mean. And just think – they have great finger-food potential – just cut them into bite-sized portions and then send the leftovers to school the next day.

I used a mini-loaf tin for this recipe, but a standard muffin tin will work just as well. If your kids don’t like the taste of the chorizo sausage, you can leave it out. Although I just love the way the fat from the sausage infuses the potato when it’s all roasting in the same tray. Gosh! How’s that for a bit of culinary enlightenment?

Enjoy!

Ingredients

550 g  peeled and quartered roasting potatoes

2 tbs oil (I used grapeseed oil)

Generous pinch of salt

125 g raw chorizo sausage, halved lengthways and sliced

7 eggs

Salt and pepper to season

Method

Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (conventional oven) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven). Grease and line a roasting tray.

In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in oil and salt. Spread in a single layer in roasting tray and cook for 50 minutes. Add chorizo sausage and cook for a further 10 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through and golden brown.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Grease and line 6 cavities in a 175 ml mini-loaf tin or 8 cavities in a half-cup capacity muffin tin.

When potatoes are completely cooled, cut into 3-4 millimetre slices.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs until well combined. Add potato and chorizo sausage, with generous amounts of salt and pepper to season. Gently combine ingredients, taking care to separate slices of potato so that they are well coated in the egg.

Spoon into loaf tin, ensuring that potato slices are spread evenly in each cavity, and spoon a little extra egg mix over the top.

Bake for 20 minutes, until egg is set and tortillas are golden brown.

Makes 6 (or 8, if using a muffin tin).

 

Gluten-free pear and ginger cookies

28 Jun
Gluten-free pear and ginger cookies

Gluten-free pear and ginger cookies

You may have noticed that I’ve been doing a bit of cookie baking of late. Can’t help myself – it’s just so quick to whip up a batch of cookies, and they’re so unfussy. If it’s an odd-shaped cookie, it’s rustic, right?

Anyway, this recipe is a variation of my Mango and Vanilla Bean Cookies, and it’s also the same flavour combination as my Pear and Ginger Cake with Crumble Topping, for good reason – it’s yummy! But if you don’t think you’d like the pear, leave it out and you have a ginger cookie. Continue reading

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