Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Mamma Mia!

Mum and her three daughters
With Mother’s Day coming up, I thought this was a great opportunity to dedicate this post to our mum.

When we were diagnosed with coeliac, I think mum took it the hardest. Having skipped the coeliac gene herself she felt awful that not one but two of her daughters had the disease. At first there was the shock… “What am I going to cook for you?” Then there was the guilt – guilt that she could indulge in foods that her daughters no longer could.

For our mother, food is everything. It always has been. Growing up in a small Italian village, life was not easy. Food was sparse and most was home grown or made. Many locals would share their produce with one another and vice versa. This meant food was always fresh, however if something were in season this would determine what was for dinner for the rest of the week!

Bread was homemade and cooked in wood fire ovens. Fresh tomato sauce was jarred and wine was bottled. Drinking water was collected fresh from the mountains. Small things we now take for granted were a luxury. I remember mum telling me how my grandfather would on the very rare occasion take home a small slab of fresh pure butter. It was shaped in a log and wrapped in silver paper. And when nobody was looking she would sneak just a tiny sliver and let it melt slowly in her mouth, enjoying every second it lasted.

Today with so much more food available, mum makes sure she experiments as much as she can. She loves her kitchen and creating new and exciting dishes for her family to enjoy. She loves the food channel, cooking magazines and anything food related! We still continue the traditions of homemade produce such as fresh tomato sauce, pickled vegetables, cracked olives and sundried tomatoes. Mum even makes her own breadcrumbs!

Since our diagnosis mum has been our biggest support. She now has a new passion – to make gluten free foods just as tasty as the rest of her cooking. From day one she has been experimenting in the kitchen for ways to change recipes to make them gluten free. It hasn’t been easy. Those of you who have baked gluten free goods before will know that dough’s are sticky and cakes are crumbly. But her determination has resulted in amazing food – from homemade pasta to gorgeous meatballs. Mum has adapted all her traditional recipes passed down from her mum to be gluten free. And she makes sure we never miss out on a dish. The flavours of her cooking are indescribable. She is the master of the kitchen!

Mum you are our inspiration and passion. We hope that one day we can be half the mum that you are to us. Ti amiamo.

Here is the recipe to one of mum's famous cakes.


10 peeled figs, cut in quarters
3 eggs
250 g. gluten free self-raising flour
150 g. sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Pinch of salt
Lemon zest of 1 lemon

1. Pre-heat oven to 180°c. Grease a 22cm tin.
2. Beat egg yolks with sugar until pale in colour. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and beat until light and fluffy. Add flour and continue beating. Add milk and mix well.
3. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites & salt until peaks are formed.
4. Fold egg whites into above mixture.
5. Pour into greased tin and place the figs on top of mixture. Bake for 45 minutes.
6. After cake has cooled down, sprinkle with icing sugar.

Serve and enjoy!

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