Friday, December 30, 2011

Serving up luck for the New Year

There are many foods thought to bring good luck and fortune in the New Year. In the Italian tradition lentils are eaten, as they are thought to resemble coins, bringing with them prosperity in the New Year. 

Not only are lentils naturally gluten free, but they are also jam packed with nutrients and health benefits. Lentils are high in fibre and a great source of B vitamins. They are also high in iron, making them an excellent meat substitute for vegans and vegetarians. Lentils are a cholesterol lowering food and are full of protein. 

So with all these health benefits in mind, and hope of some extra luck in 2012, we have decided to make a lentil salad to serve on New Years Eve. See recipe below. 

2011 has been such an amazing year and we would like to thank you for all the support you have given us! This year we kick started our blog and even started up our very own Facebook page. If you haven’t already, head over and click LIKE on our page, or you could be missing out on loads of extra tips and gluten free news! 

Wishing you a safe and happy new year and looking forward to more great adventures and surprises in the kitchen in 2012! 

2 rashers bacon, diced 
1 tin (400g) lentils 
1/2 Spanish onion, finely sliced 
1/2 tin (200g) whole baby beetroot 
25g walnuts, roughly chopped 
2 tablespoons continental parsley, chopped 
1 tablespoon mint, chopped 
60g goats cheese, crumbled 
Juice of 1 lemon 
1 tablespoon oil 

1. Fry bacon in a non-stick pan until browned and crisp. Once cooked, place on a plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb the oil. 

2. Drain and rinse the tinned lentils and place into a medium bowl. Add the bacon, Spanish onion, walnuts, parsley and mint, and stir together. Cut the baby beetroots into quarters (or halves depending on size) and add to bowl. 

3. Whisk lemon juice and oil in a separate bowl and pour over lentils. Season with salt and pepper. 

4. Add crumbled goats cheese and toss through salad.

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Red Velvet Christmas Tree Cakes

One more sleep left till Christmas and so much cooking to do! 

At least we have our desert sorted. We are making these cute little Christmas tree cakes, made from a red velvety cake mixture and luscious cream cheese frosting (see recipe below). 

We wish you all a very Merry GF Christmas and Happy New Year! 

2 1/2 cups GF plain flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
1 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (unsweetened) 
50ml red food colouring 
1/2 cup (approx 113g) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 1/2 cups caster sugar 
2 eggs, at room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature 
1 teaspoon white vinegar 
1 teaspoon baking soda 

Cream Cheese Frosting 
250ml cream cheese, softened 
50g unsalted butter, softened 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 1/2 cups GF icing sugar mixture*, sifted 
pinch of salt 

1. Preheat oven to 180°. Butter and flour 6 Christmas Tree cake moulds. 

2. Sift together the GF flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, mix food colouring and cocoa powder to form a thin paste without lumps and set aside. 

3. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla and the red cocoa paste, scraping down the bowl with a spatula as you go. Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, beat well, then beat in half of the buttermilk. Beat in another third of flour mixture, then second half of buttermilk. End with the last third of the flour mixture, beat until well combined, making sure to scrape down the bowl with a spatula. 

4. Make sure you have cake moulds nearby. In a small bowl, mix vinegar and baking soda. Add it to the cake batter and stir well to combine. Working quickly, divide batter evenly between the cake moulds and place them immediately in the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 

5. Allow cakes to cool completely before frosting. 

6. To make the cream cheese frosting, blend together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in icing sugar mixture, salt and vanilla extract. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Spread over cakes. Use immediately. 

*TIP: Sift cake flour once before measuring, then sift again with the other dry ingredients per recipe instructions. 
If you prefer a sweeter and/or stiffer frosting, more icing sugar mixture can be added (up to four cups). But remember, the more sugar you add, the less you’ll be able to taste the cream cheese.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Christmas time brings back a childhood memory of being in the kitchen with my two sisters making snowballs. Food has always been a passion for us, so it was only natural for our mum to get us started at an early age. I remember making these delicious chocolate coconut balls with condensed milk goodness... my sisters would roll the mixture and I was given the task of coating the balls with the coconut. Being the youngest, I really had no choice! They told me I was too young and that was all I was allowed to do. 

Traditionally these were made with milk arrowroot biscuits. But since being diagnosed with Coeliac it got me thinking, why not make a gluten free version! I searched high and low for the recipe and finally found it. 

With the school holidays coming up, these are great to keep the kids entertained. And they would also make a gorgeous Christmas gift! So here is my version of gluten free snowballs. 

{Gluten Free Recipe} SNOWBALLS 
1 packet (200g) plain, dry gluten free biscuits* 
50g linseed meal 
40g gluten free cocoa powder 
45g desiccated coconut (plus extra for rolling) 
1 tin (395g) condensed milk 

1. Crush the biscuits until fine and place into a mixing bowl. You can use a food processor for this, but I find it easiest to place the biscuits into a tea towel and pound using a rolling pin (great to de-stress!) 

2. Add linseed meal, cocoa powder and coconut. Stir together. Then add the condensed milk and stir until it forms a wet mixture. 

3. Pour some extra coconut into a separate bowl. 

4. Take teaspoons of the mixture and roll into balls, then roll through coconut and place onto a tray. Continue until all the mixture has been used up. 

5. Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. 

*TIP: Use dry biscuits, such as Eskal Tea Biscuits. Try to avoid buttery biscuits like shortbread. 

These snowballs are kid-friendly but for a naughty adults only version add a splash of rum, or why not even try Malibu to go with the coconut flavour!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

‘Tis the Season to Bake Gingerbread Cookies!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… With less than 2 weeks to go, the spirit of Christmas is truly in the air! This is one of my most favourite times of year. There are flashing lights everywhere, Christmas carols can be heard from buskers, shop windows are filled with sparkling decorations and no matter where you go you will most probably end up with glitter all over you! But most importantly Christmas is a time for sharing food with loved ones. 

Nothing says Christmas more than gingerbread cookies. When the cookies are baking, the smell of Christmas floats through the kitchen, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves... 

The following was adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe. 

2 cups GF flour, plus more for rolling 
1 teaspoon xanthan gum 
2 teaspoons ground ginger 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg 
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
1/4 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup (approx. 113g) unsalted butter, room temperature 
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar 
1/3 cup unsulfured molasses* 
1 egg 

Icing to decorate (I used Queen decorating icing which is GF!) 

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda and salt; set aside. 

2. With an electric mixer beat butter and brown sugar, in a separate bowl, until smooth. Beat in molasses and egg. With mixer on low, add dry mixture and mix just until a dough forms. Place dough on floured plastic wrap and pat into a 20cm square. Wrap well and chill until firm (1 to 2 hours). 

3. Preheat oven to 180°C . Divide dough in half. Working with one half at a time (rewrap and refrigerate other half), place dough on floured baking paper; roll out 1cm thick, turning, lifting, and flouring dough (and rolling pin) as needed. Freeze dough (on paper) until firm, for about 20 minutes. 

4. Loosen dough from paper. Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and transfer to baking tray. Handy hint: for the neatest edges, dip cutters in flour before cutting out each cookie. 

5. Bake for 10 to 18 minutes, depending on size, until firm and edges just begin to darken. Cool completely on baking sheets. 

6. Decorate cookies with icing. 

Makes 40-50 cookies (depending on size of cutters) 

*NOTE: Unsulphured molasses is made from mature sugar cane. It is a sweet, sticky syrup used commonly in baking. This can be found in supermarkets and health food stores.

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