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.

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.

 

 

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