Saturday, 27 October 2012

Bread reveiw #1 - Common ground Bakery

Twolicious are on a mission. To find or create the best gluten free bread. Not just a good enough for gluten free, but good bread. Yummy bread.
I can't stop eating this bread!
So good you'll want to check the ingredients twice to be sure it's gluten free!
Its' bread, Fred


So to give you run down on what to expect with each review (although they will all be different), I thought I'd start here.
We'll look at different categories of bread. As in their origin.

1: bakery bread/ store bought
2: make at home packet mix
3: bread made from recipes

I think that about covers all breads (unless you guys know of another!)

Common ground multiseed gluten free loaf
Category 1:

Common ground Bakery

Logo

To be completely honest I had in my mind a whole nother idea when I finally arrived at Common Ground at the base of Razorback (their bakery and sweet little cafe is in what used to be the Razorback inn, at the front of where the 'woolshed' is/was).

You see I'd been hearing about a wonderful gluten free sourdough or ciabatta. Admittedly it was just hearsay, but I still got a bit excited by the thought of gluten free bread- real bread.

At the time I didn't think that it was at all possible, and to be real about this whole idea, I have never really enjoyed bread the way other people seem to. I actually didn't miss it at all when I had to go GF.
I kinda felt a little relieved that I didn't have to have sandwiches for lunch, I didn't have to consider it at all (for me at least- I still had to consider the needs of my gorgeous husband).

So when I spoke to the lady (and I say "Lady" because she was warm and beautiful, and kind with her words, but also held herself as a Lady should- I don't even really know what that means!)

However when I asked about the GF bread (they didn't actually have any left from the weekend market), the GF sourdough or ciabatta that I'd heard wonderful stories of... it was non existent :(

Instead their range of GF bread were made from a batter (so I class that as a savoury cake).



They did have a few options like a white loaf, this seeded loaf and a wholemeal like loaf.
I would've gone home empty handed only she remembered a lost loaf without a date on it (so it could not be sold- I still would've paid for it).

She gave me this loaf, saying that they were not able to use it and that I really must just take it. I felt terrible just taking this loaf so I bought mr4 a muffin (he was not interested in staying as they have some play equipment in the garden out front).

It was of dense texture, and a very moist crumb. The seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, soy, flax seeds, and I think almond) gave it a nice crunch and an interesting flavour with each bite. I enjoyed it.

This was the last slice!

2/10: Would I go back for more? nope, It'd get me by in a pinch. But as I said I don't love bread that much. Their bakery is also about half an hour out of the way for us. If I was driving by I might stop at their cafe and try some of the other GF items on the menu.

cost?

6/10: Longevity? I got this bread when it was already 3 days into its' little life, and it was still edible for two more days. After the fifth day of it's life, it grew mould. Day 4 and 5 the bread needed a little refreshing in the microwave oven,

4/10: Freezing? It froze and refreshed fairly well, coming back with a little less moisture, and as it cooled the crust was a bit crunchy (without toasting).

7/10: Toasting? Brought out the oils in the seeds, and was probably the best way to eat this bread. Which is not unusual for GF breads.


So then overall this bread gets a 4.75/10.

As I said throughout, this bread is pretty average for GF breads there is not really any wow factor to it, and it is pretty much what I had come to expect for GF breads in general.

They do have a beautiful setting out at Razorback Inn, I wish I'd taken some photos. Their philosophy is simple and wholesome. They grow all their greens and make everything from scratch, I like that!

I think we actually need more of that around so if you are going through Picton or Katoomba, check it out, I doubt you'd be disappointed any.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Last chance to win today!

Last chance today!

Win me!!


And me!!
Head on over to the allergy revolution and justleave a quick comment!
Yep, that's all!
Oh I can only post Aus, not that I don't love the reat of the world, cos we do.
We'll have to think of something for you guys soon!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Not to market...anymore

So my heart is a little heavy, yet in some way excited and relieved?


It is a strange combination.

After 5 months of going to my monthly market at Bowral public school markets, we have decided to stop.

At the moment it is not a viable option for my family. And they come first.

We have decided that my time and our resources will be better spent via other options, like etsy, madeit, this blog, and finally a facebook business page!(like me, please like me!!!) ... and maybe twitter ( I had a few people ask if I twittered-is that the right word (I am such an IT virgin)? So that may be another option, but let's just take it one step at a time.

Do I regret doing the market? In a word- No.

If anything I have slight regret for stopping so soon. In saying that I do not regret the extra time it will give me for my family.

I did the market for, well, market research in a way.

It was great to actually see what people were really wanting. I know it is a different environment, with people wanting a treat to eat at the market, rather than something to take home.
Dark and milk chocolate join forces with caramel sauce and walnuts in this brownie.

So doing the market helped develop different product lines, and helped me gain a better understanding of what people expect and want from my product.
I don't know if Blondies have more fun, maybe the caramel and walnut help with that.




I started out with one brownie, and now from selling out in the first market, I have three types of brownies and two blondies. All of which I sold out of most every month there.

This is the 'healthy' brownie, please meet Lady Vegan Dark Chocolate and Real raspberry.
I also found that people love the mini cupcakes I had, and so from starting with just the one flavour again, each month I developed and introduced a new flavour to get more feedback.
Yummy red velvets, just look how light and moist they are, mmm....

I was quite lucky to have return customers who were happy to give honest feedback, so I knew what was working and what did not.
Oh, cookies and cream, why won't you stand up? everyone is looking now. (I'm never gunna figure this thing out)

I will miss seeing the forlorn look turning to delight on peoples faces when they realised it was all gluten free, or hearing someone call out to their partner or friend "Hey this chick does all gluten free, quick- have a look". It was like... I don't actually know how to describe it, but for me, it's like someone telling you that the only cake you'll ever eat again is made of almond meal. at first it is lovely, and you are just happy to be eating cake, but then years of the same birthday cake becomes like porridge in your mouth. Soooo when you are expecting only to ever have 'porridge' and someone says you can have anything and everything... it's like that elation you thought would never come!

I'll also miss having the opportunity to just take two steps to buy some lovely organic veg, I'll miss the most delicious hot lemon drink (a lot), and I'll miss the excitement of the market itself, not my excitement, but the atmosphere.

Also, almost every month I would have someone say 'Oh, I'd love this, but I have to have gluten free:( -frowny face- Which was almost my favourite phrases to reply to with 'It's all gluten free'. Then it would be either one of two responses.
1- 'OOOooooOOOooooohhhhhh.....well I'll have.......' or
2- 'I better not, I'm trying to loose weight'.
Well even if this is Gluten, Dairy and egg free... a mud cake ain't gunna help you lose weight!

Some really good things happened too. I mean on top of making other gluten free-ks feel good.
-I had my first wholesale enquiry and order!!!
-I was pushed to develop new recipes for various needs (like fructose malabsorbtion- on top of being dairy and gluten free)
-I found the market stall holder community was very welcoming, supportive and cheerful.
-I found that there were people all around me who wanted to support me, something I did not expect.
-My babies got to have some real one on one time with dada.
-People are interested in giving their coeliac friends something nice when they come over for a cuppa
-People definitely cannot tell that my goodies are gluten free! Actually most of my customers were confused as to why I was asking them if they needed gluten free! It was a bit funny actually.

There were also a few things that caught me off guard, or that confused me a little.
-questions like "how do you do this... I want to make some for..."
-comments such as "don't you have anything that cost less than $3?"
-very windy days! Even though I had weights and pegs in, I still found there were moments where I had to grab onto the tent as it lifted up!
-whether or not I should have been charging the market director for her purchases?
-if other stallholders expected a discount or special offer? Which I always gave, if I knew they were stallholders.
I think some of these things will leave me  pondering for a while.

I do want to say that without the support of my gorgeous husband, I would not have been able to get out there even one time. He came through for me (as he always does) in so many ways...how do I count the ways.. I cannot, there are simply too many.

So Imma finish up now so I can go help him in the shed, cos that's where he is, and I want to be with him!



Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Lemony Delights!

Winter is a fantastic season for delicious and fresh citrus ... and plenty of free lemons in the office staff room! People who own a lemon tree are overloaded with so many lemons in Winter, that they are more than happy to give them away for free. But as Winter draws to a close, I have been trying to cook with lemons as much as possible, and have really found some new favourite recipes.

Lemon curd is one of the easiest and most delicious things! So I have thought I would write a couple of blogs to show some uses of lemon curd.

Lemons, Lemons, Lemons!

Lemon Tarts

These are so easy and delicious! And if you make them in mini muffin trays, they are also an impressive party food!

Ingredients
1 packet of Arnott's rice cookies, crushed
125g butter, melted
2 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
80g butter, chilled
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
Icing sugar for dusting

Method
To make the base, mix together the crushed biscuits and melted butter in a bowl. Press into mini muffin tray to make the casing (I use silicone trays as it is easier to remove the cases). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.

To make the curd, whisk the eggs, yolks, and sugar in a saucepan until smooth, then place pan over a low heat. Add butter, juice and zest and whisk continually until thickened. Let the lemon curd cool in the fridge.

When cool, remove the biscuit cases from the tray, and spoon the lemon curd mixture into the biscuit cases. Dust with icing sugar to serve.


Delicious Lemon Tarts!

These are so easy, quick and delicious! Stay tuned for an update on another delicious lemon recipe.

Or you know take it real simple and slather some lemon curd on some fresh bread!
 
Or maybe you remember these babies...
Add caption
 
 
 
So stay tuned for more lemon love

Monday, 8 October 2012

Vegan chocolate mud cake





I do apologise for the poor photography, inside and night time, not my best time to shoot!
For our son's birthday he requested a 'Choclick Mater cake'.
I just love to hear his own interpretation, his own take on the English language. He used to say 'twolicious' for delicious- not anymore...breaks my heart a little, but hey it happens every birthday.

So I used a devils food chocolate sheet cake. It was so delicious... I still hear about it.

Actually I found an off cut in the freezer the  other night while searching for dessert, seriously, they just breathed it in!

This is a good thing, when that happens, I know it's just right.

So when I had a request for a Vegan Mud Cake, I looked through my mud cake recipes and found a couple that could work easily, even one that goes well white, as it has no cocoa.

But I kept thinking about that 'choclick cake'.



The Flavour was right.

It was moist and delicious.

It could work a bit muddier.

So I set about to make it a bit muddier today, and veganise it (I'm sure that's a word, right? Spellcheck doesn't think so)

So basically I took out the eggs and added chocolate, a lot.

But I'm in need of critique, so if you're free come round for a slice (maybe you should call first...you know what they're like around here with choclick cake!!)
This was your slice, Mr4 ate it up

Friday, 5 October 2012

Bread review teaser!!!!

Whaaaat?? is that a gluten free calzone? YUM!

Stay tuned for more about gluten free bread reviews in the near future!
The real stuff.
 
Do you have a fave bread, or a bread you like on the list? Leave a comment, and we're onto it!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Mistakes that make a carrot cake

look at those lovely little flecks of vanilla seed
 


Have you ever had one of 'those' days. You know when things seem OK to begin with but then as the day starts to unravel, well so does everything.

I had one of 'those' days this week.

It seemed fine, the babies had breakfast, and somehow even though they were contained by the table, it seemed there was cereal coating everything!

Then I notice as I'm checking the weather out, there was something in the grass.

Oh, only the $30 Tupperware drink bottle that I had just had replaced as the top had not worked for so long. It laid all alone, now rejected by the puppy who had now finished mauling it into an unrecognisable shape!

It did not stop at that.

Even though I set out to be early for swimming, a little one found a delightful mud puddle. This is not usually a problem, and when we are having a simple day at home, we rejoice in exploratory play. This was not a day at home. This was a day where clean feet were needed for the pool, for the car we were about to travel in, for the sake of social cleanliness-really!

Another little one decided that it was toilet time for the next twenty minutes. As I said, this is not usually a problem, however...

This was the whole day, just lots of little things, one on top of the other, accumulating into one huge mess at the end of the day.

how nice are those cupcakes, I just love the styling for women's weekly cookbooks!


The last straw was the crucial ingredient, left off the shopping list, so also left at the grocery store.

I tell you these things, not so you may hear the whiny tone you think I'm using, but just to illustrate how you can think everything is coming undone when you are in the middle of of the cyclone, but to those who don't get to see all the little things adding up, they just enjoy the carrot cake, and smile!

I had an order for a breakfast option for Primary teachers. They were going to be having a planning day, starting with a delicious breakfast. There were lots of quiches and bacon and egg muffins coming, fruit platters and the like, a regular cast of breakfast characters. So we were not left with a lot of options. Someone suggested carrot cake (apparently a preferred food for those looking for a healthy option- well it is full of fibre!).


Imagine this with your cuppa after breakfast
I had never made a carrot cake before, and I'm not usually thrown by these kinds of requests ( I always have a back up plan ready to go, just in case- cue the cinnamon scrolls!). But it just wasn't my day.

So I researched a bunch of recipes. Ones from my cook books at home and a variety from the web. They all seemed to have the same method, the same ingredients and most had a very similar ratio. The few variants were the spices, pineapple(-eww!), nuts,  and the number of eggs.

I decided on a recipe that had more eggs than the others. Being gluten free, I thought this should help with the leavening.

Well it would have only I halved this recipe, that is I halved the ingredients, all except the grated carrot. Big mistake. One of a thousand things to go wrong.

Or was it?

The reports from this cake are why I am making a post about it.

So to those who requested the recipe, this is the one that works, it tastes just as great, is delightfully moist, but has not twice the carrot it was supposed to, so make this cake just the way it is supposed to be!

So I changed the flour to my gluten free baking flour, sticking to the ratio.
I simplified the spice selection- I wanted the carrots to shine.
I also reduced the sugar slightly, there was a whole lot of sugar- 3 and 1/2 cups (no thanks, no one needs to eat that much sugar for breakfast!).



(apparently)

THE BEST CARROT CAKE IN THE WORLD

(still to be confirmed- your reviews will help this situation!!)

 
Original unadulterated recipe found in 'the essential recipe guide' put out by Spotlight stores in 1999 ( you know, back in the day)

40-55minutes (depending on tin) 180C / 350F
 

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside, or whisk. Either way you will get flour dust on your lovely timber venetian blinds!:

  • 2 cups Gluten free baking Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon

  • In a large bowl, or in the bowl of you stand mixer beat together until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes):




  • 2 cups caster sugar or superfine sugar
  • 1 cup Vegetable Oil (yeah...about that, I didn't have any mild vegetable oil, only herb oil, so I used softened butter in its place)
  • 4 whole Eggs
  • Then add and combine completely:

    
    Aren't these just beautiful!


  • 2 cups Grated carrot (I used a superfine grater, I think this really makes a difference to the end result)
  • So I've made this cake about 15 times in the last 2 weeks to get it right and try new things. This was a new thing, using heirloom carrots. They look beautiful before they are cooked, but the colour does change when cooked, and it's not nice!

    Once combined turn mixer to low and spoon in dry ingredients mixing until completely incorporated.

    These are optional (I did not add these) and can be folded in last:

  • 250g crushed pineapple (eww! sorry if you enjoy cooked pineapple, but , no thanks!)
  •  1 cup chopped walnuts ( I didn't add these as they were going off to a nut free school)

  • Spoon mixture into your greased and floured bunt pan (bake for 50-55m) or 2 x 23cm round tins (bake for 40-45m), or your patty pans (bake for 20-30m depending on the size of your cupcake).
    Be sure to smooth over your cupcakes so they are nice and easy to ice when cool.

    I do love cream cheese frosting, it has a wonderfully balanced flavour. I do find that most recipes like the one in the book are way over the top with sugar!
    
    Cream Cheese Frosting:


    
    Even Miss2 cannot resist the calls of the cream cheese frosting
     
  • 250g softened butter (how much butter do you need! I only used 125g)
  •  250g softened cream cheese (you could totally make this dairy free with tofu cream cheese and dairy free spread of coconut oil)
  •  250g icing sugar or confectioners sugar (see what I mean, really too much, use you discretion here)
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla essence (I prefer to scrape a vanilla bean, cause you can see the seeds through the frosting, and I like that).

  • Any way as I was saying earlier, this (the cream cheese was what I left off the shopping list. So I was unable to make any frosting for the cakes going out.

    Mum did make some, and this was her version that went out on the cakes to the school that day:
    Beat together until thick and white (about 3-4m, you really want the sugar to begin to dissolve into the butter):
  • 4 Tablespoons of softened butter
  •  1/2 Cup of caster sugar

  • mix until combined:
  •  2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  •  250g softened cream cheese (mum made this frosting the morning of, and left the cream cheese out all night to soften, she believes this is what helped bring the frosting together, so don't miss this step, you do not want little chunks of cream cheese throughout the frosting!)

  • Beat until just thickened (don't go too far)!:
  • 100ml of single cream (no need to use thickened cream, or double cream as you already have butter)

  • 
    This was fun to watch the kiddos try to eat, that is if you do not have an aversion to frosting nostrils...well they loved it and that's all that matters
    So maybe not one for the guests.

    Keep at room temperature until cake has cooled.
    Smother your cake/s in this wonderful cream cheese frosting, of course this carrot cake is delightful without it, but it is such a wonderful partner.


    The sister has been telling me about her lemon curd cream cheese frosting- yum. I bet that would set this cake off. Let me know if you try it!



    These cakes keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerate for up to a week. So if you have guests coming, make up a batch, there will be no disappointing them here!

    If you make this cake, please share how it goes!