Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Healthy soda recipes: Real Fizz Lemonade

This was my fave soda post by another blogger Holistic Squid. I liked that she had a couple of other sodas there already... But this one stuck out cos I had just bought a few punnets of strawberries on sale, and I didn't just want to do my usual thing of washing and freezing for later use. I wanted to see if I could use them in a soda. And it works!

Cultured Strawberry Soda at Holistic Squid
you should totally check them out!

I really was hoping to share a roundup of a bunch of great recipes, but well I actually only had 2 recipes I used from the net. Other wise I used these recipes as a base and swapped out the flavours for others.

The strawberry soda became... Passionfruit soda, and Raspberry soda-YUM!

Then as I talked with the kids about which flavour they would like next, Brother bear decided on Lemonade. We didn't have any lemons, but as he told me Nanny has heaps at her tree, and oranges. So he rang Nanny who happily offloaded close to a dozen lemons and oranges.
Lemonade? Yes, Please.


This is his recipe:

Tools:
Large saucepan
Knife
Zester, or fine grater
juicer
cup measure
funnel
sterile bottles for storing your lemonade (with a twist or swing top)

Ingredients:
10 Large Lemons freshly zested and then squeezed and strained.
2L Filtered water
1C sugar
1 cinnamon quill
1 vanilla bean

Method:
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, simmer 20 minutes uncovered (your house will smell delicious!)
Let sit for a couple of hours until the brew comes to room temperature 25*C- 35*C (80-100*F).
Strain and add 1C of ginger beer plant to your lemon mixture, stir and pour into your bottles. If you need more details pop over here for a tic

Leave to brew for 4-7 days, checking for fizz intensity after 4 days. My kiddos do this for me. They love to open the bottle and hear that 'Psshht'! I have to admit, it is fun.


Keep it simple. after you have made a couple of brews, you will be a seasoned professional.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Lest we Forget


Lest we Forget.

This year we grew the Flanders red poppy seeds that we brought back from the Capital War Memorial last year.

These are a couple of pics of our first poppy from the plants that grew.

There has been a consistent bloom of poppies for months.

Brother Bear even brought some in for news. Apparently he had a great deal to say, his friends were quite enthralled, so I am told.


Today we picked Poppies in the pouring rain, along with some rosemary. We tied them with twine and the kiddos each laid a posy on our local war memorial.

Do you pause to remember on Remembrance day?

Do you bake or make something special?

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Part 2...Making Healthy soda : Ginger beer

Hopefully by now you have been feeding up your ginger beer plant for about 2 weeks with some fresh ginger and sugar everyday. If you missed a day, never mind, just pick up from where you left off.

Your plant should look a little something like this:
Can you see the bubbles?? That's what'll make your drinks fizz!

Each time you add a little more ginger and sugar you should start to get a bit of a reaction, if your 'plant is not bubbling or fizzing about when you stir the sugar in, your plant is not ready. Or possibly you may need to start again, it may be that something was not sterile...

This is the sort of reaction you are looking for- Check out that bubbling action. I love it!

I have been making smaller batches, of about 1.5L- 2L. This gives the family more variety, so we are not stuck all drinking ginger beer for a month and nothing else (most of the recipes i found a couple of years ago made 4-6L batches)! It also allows me to tweak a recipe to their tastes, and try new flavours.

This is the ginger beer recipe that our family likes the best (according to dadda, it's still not as good as bundy ginger beer, so if anyone has a recipe for that, we'd be so grateful:).

Tools:
Large saucepan
Wooden spoon
Sieve
Cheese cloth or muslin
Cup measure
Funnel
enough sterilised bottles to take 2.5L of fluid either swing top or twist top.

Ingredients:
4C filtered water
1 Thumb Root ginger chopped 
1 C Brown sugar
1 Vanilla bean
2 Cinnamon sticks broken
1 Nutmeg cracked
6 Cloves
I like to use whole spices as they are easier to sieve out, and do not leave gungia in the actual beer as it brews, but this is just a personal preference.

Method:
In your large saucepan place all your ingredients*. 
Bring the water to a boil, and let simmer for 20 minutes uncovered.
Turn off the heat and bring the liquid to room temperature. This may take a few hours, or if you like do it overnight, just keep it covered. This is an important step, if you add the ginger beer plant to the ginger beer mixture while it is too hot, there will be no fizz, you will have killed off all the lacto- bacilli that create the fizz. Fail (dunnit). Then you will never want to do this again. So chill.

Remove the spices with the sieve.

Take your ginger beer plant (the one you have been feeding for the past 2 weeks), use the cheesecloth or muslin the strain 1 cup of liquid from your plant. Retain the ginger pieces in the ginger beer plant and start feeding from week 2 (when you add the cup of water back in, remember?).

Stir in the liquid from the 'plant' into your ginger beer mixture.

Decant into your sterilised bottles using the funnel (take it slowly as this can be a bit messy). 
Make sure to leave about 30mm -40mm breathing space above the liquid (we don't want any explosions!).

This is an example of how much breathing space I leave for my brew.
Then pop the lids on (not super tight), and leave to brew for 4-7 days in a cool dark place (I use my laundry because it's outside, and although I haven't had a top pop off yet, I don't really want to deal with that sort of mess in my kitchen.


Write your date of brew on your bottle, to be sure. Or use cute labels.

Start checking for fizz after 4 days, as it depends on the room temperature. A warmer room will brew faster.

Yay!! Ginger beer! Enjoy!

Oh, and just so you know this is the method I use for all my healthy soda. Just using different flavours.

I'l share The creaming soda recipe next, it is a fave at our place. And just in case you are not really liking ginger beer... the creaming soda is a sweet mild soda. I think you'll enjoy it too!


*You can make a bouquet garni with the herbs to make it easier to take them out when we are finished.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Healthy Soda Paradox

There is so much going on around the place with this fermented foods Phenomenon. Pheeew! That is a mouthful.

I really hadn't thought much about it until I realised I was already part of it.
Say hello to my little friend

Strange I knew what I was doing was good for digestion, but I thought that it was more about the ginger I was using, not the fermentation. You know... anytime you have an upset tummy someone offers you ginger something or other. I remember this from my second pregnancy, "ginger will help with that", "have you tried those ginger pregnancy lollipops"... I smiled and listened, but, I don't much like ginger.

Dadda however, likes him some Bundy gingerbeer. I enjoy a taste. Brother bear Looooooves it. Bunny likes anything sweet.

We rarely had softdrink/ soda when we were growing up. I don't know who to thank there, frugality, or my hippy mother (you wouldn't know it to look at her- but she is).

We would have water, or milk. On the odd occassion or celebration mum would but these huge tins of golden circle 100% juice, and then to make it really spesh we got to use a soda syphon to fizz it up. Yaaay! Well at least at the time it was fun at the time.
 A couple of years ago we caught a flight to see my Grandparents. I miss them a lot. Especially my Grandma, we get on well.
I love to hear about when she was young and married, what she used to bake (eclairs, vanilla slices, all those things that were delicious and too expensive to enjoy regularly way back when). This last visit she was telling me about the gingerbeer that she used to make for my Grandfather. He loved the stuff. So she shared her secret.
Then...
This is just about all you need- Simple, Right?
When we got back I was chatting to a friends father and gingerbeer came up. He told me about how he remembered his mum and sister taking the ginger root out of the garden to make ginger beer and using brown sugar. He couldn't recall the recipe, just shared his precious childhood memories.

Well this had me intrigued. The recipe Grandma gave had used yeast with powdered ginger. The new one seemed more... authentic.

So I googled, as we all do to find out more. All I could find were recipes using yeast and powdered ginger.
I decided to follow their recipes with the ginger root and no yeast.

It works.

I'll share what I do. So you can too.

Tools and equipment:

Glass jar (approx 1L- 1.5L)
grater or sharp knife
cloth to fit over the mouth of your jar
and a rubberband to hold it there
wooden spoon

Ginger root and brown sugar ready to stir in
Ingredients:

Ginger root
Brown sugar
Filtered water (I just use cooled boiled water)

Method:


  1. Sterilise all equipment. I wash mine and then put through the dishwasher and then sit them in boiling water. I know it seems like overkill, but you do not want one speck of anything left as it will cause bad fermentation instead of fermenting the good lacto bacilli that is found on the ginger root.
  2. Pour 2 cups or 500ml of your filtered or cooled boiled water into sterile glass jar.

Grate or finely chop 1 teaspoon of the ginger root (I grate mine directly into the jar, save dirtying the chopping board).
Plop 1 heaped teaspoon of brown sugar (you can use white, I don't think it actually matters what type of sugar, so long as you feed the lacto bacilli sugar).

Stir with your wooden spoon, don't worry if the sugar does not dissolve, just stir to distribute it throughout the water.

Check that Fizz!
Cover the mouth of you jar with the clean cloth (about the thickness of muslin or a handkerchief), pop the elastic band around to keep it in place. If you use the jars lid it will suffocate your 'plant', you just want to keep the bugs and dust out.

Each day at about the same time add another teaspoon of ginger and sugar in the same way for about 7 days. You may notice some bubbles or a little fizz. I do mine before I pack the dishwasher after dinner. It is something that I do everyday, so this is where it fits well into my routine. Just find where it will fit into your daily routine and you wont even notice it.

A couple of seconds a day makes for a pretty easy drink.

After 7 days of adding 1 teaspoon each of ginger and sugar, double your plant by starting at step 2 again. Add the water to the jar again, and this week add 2 teaspoons of grated ginger root and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Stirring with your wooden spoon.

Next week I'll share my recipe for ginger beer.

But that's not all this plant can do. We have been enjoying strawberry soda, creaming soda, lemonade, fanta, and this week I'm going to try some passionfruit soda!

So get to making that ginger beer plant, and by the time it's readily fizzing, you'll have a couple of recipes to choose from to make some soda- cheap as.

Oh, you might want to start saving bottles with twist tops on them now, I use Dadda's 340ml JD bottles (that's what is readily available for me to recycle). You could just pick up a couple of swing top water bottles at the cheap shop, I use them too.


Friday, 4 October 2013

Frocktober 2013

Frocktober is on, and frocks are going on.

I didn't actually know much about this until my littlest cousin (umm she's in her 20's now, but she's still the littlest!) enlightened me last year.
Kimberley
Here's Kimmy, frockin' it like you knew she could.
I love it,
I love the idea of frocking things up a little,
I love the cause behind it too. Cancer just seems to take too many people before we are ready for them to go.
So, show your support, and if like me you really don't have many frocks to get your own frocktober going, get out there and support our everyday heroes. Like Kimmy.

As I'm not the avid frocker, I'm supporting Kimmy in an edible frockin kinda way!

theGFCookie,
My personal fave is the Piet Mondrian dress, I love the mod look (the Mod look does not love me back, however)

When Kimmy approached me to show some support, there was an option of using my regular range or doing something really special. So when I thought about it, frocks I mean, I wanted something that would grab you a little, not because it was incredibly eye catching, but because it was familiar.

Audrey Hepburn, she's totally sigh worthy.

I started with a board on Pinterest, just pinning frocks that I thought were iconic. Those frocks that make you remember a moment in time. Significant people who were just killer in frocks, and totally iconic in their own right.

theGFCookie
Do you think this could be the most famous dress of all time?


 Oh yeah, you can buy these cookies if you like! All will be donated to Kimmy's page
iconic dresses, theGFCookie
I think I did this one for my own selfish pleasure, I just LOVE Bjork, her music, her love for her culture and appreciation of the quirky. I still think this was really a beautiful dress, even though she ended up on the worst dressed list. Boo!

theGFCookie, frocktober 2013, iconic dresses, cookies
Yep, just for me...
But When you do something for someone else (like donate to Frocktober) you kinda are doing something for you, and your sisters, and everyone who loves you.

Go Kimmy- you rock... I mean Frock! We Love you and what you do, x

Thursday, 25 April 2013

ANZAC Day

It was this day last year that we rose before the sun.
We rugged up our babes, and made our way to the war memorial.
It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I have ever witnessed. Not because of the sun, but because of where we were, who we were with and what it was all about.

Flying at halfmast in their Honour
Now I really wanted this post to be like our minutes silence today, so I will share some photos we took on that day.
War memorial Canberra

And as I said last year, this always brings tears to my eyes, I cannot help it, it is the day to remember those who would go to protect our little families with their lives. It is our History.
Thousands of Poppies placed at the names of those whose served

Lest we forget
 
I still can't get this upright. This is our little guy checking out his great Pop's medals


The tomb of the unknown soldier


Pool of Reflection



Friday, 19 April 2013

The breakfast bar is open

Quinoa Date cookies, low cal, sugar free, healthy
Would you choose these from the breakfast bar?
I don't know about you, but new years resolutions kinda don't stick well. I always forget what it is I am supposed to be aiming for. Don't get me wrong, I have goals, and I get there, I'm just saying I don't know if a NYR is the best way to stick to your goals.

One of my goals this year was to find some healthy options for a quick breakfast. There are just some days that too much needs to happen before leaving the house, and my breakfast is last on the list.

Smoothies are good. Actually smoothies are great. One of my faves is a banana choc smoothie with chia and flax- no need for sweetening with the ripe bananas. And these smoothies leave me full all morning, but there is only so much smoothie I can do, so the search was on .

I was looking in particular for a breakfast bar kinda thing. They were everywhere. but not exactly what I was looking for. They all seemed to need sugar or honey or the like to bind them, that is not what I need first thing in the morning, it just makes me crave sweet things all day.
easy quick breakfast

That is until I found this recipe, it needed a little adaptation to fit my needs, but the basics were there and that is all I needed. Just to know I could do it.

Quinoa date breakky bikkis

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Quinoa flakes
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used Macadamias, just cos I had 'em)
1 cup dried dates chopped

3 ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

grain free, paleo,
delicious and easy
 
Yeah that is it! I got about 17 rounds at about 65mm diameter each
 
Preheat oven to 175C. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine quinoa, nuts, and coconut.
Stir in spices.
Add chopped dates and stir until well and evenly mixed. Make sure the dates are no longer sticky.

In another bowl, melted coconut oil, mashed banana and vanilla extract.
 
Combine all ingredients stir until well combined.

Spread the batter evenly onto the baking sheet, about 10-12mm high.
Or I used my scone cutter and pressed a couple of tablespoons of the batter into it for each one.
 
Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown. They tend to brown at the bottom first, so be sure to be careful.
Let cool completely, store in airtight container and keep in the fridge. Or freeze, they freeze really well.
These really are a healthy breakfast option at about 80 calories each round and 2gs of fibre and protein-awesome!
This opens up the breakfast bar...bar? well It just makes making breakfasts bars easy :)
So next time you notice those bananas getting nice and ripe, get set to make these.



Good, anyway you look at it!
 

Monday, 8 April 2013

super easy dairy and flour free brownies

So after crashing down from the sugar high of the super simple, super sugary flourless chocolate cookies. I came to and figured it might be time for some thoughtful food.

I have seen black bean brownies, and chickpea brownies, I bet they taste delicious, but legumes and me- we're not good friends. Sure they pretend to like me and I have a good go too, but when it comes to long term relationships- we just don't work (digestive wise).

I saw Nigella had some flourless brownies, I was ready to go. They looked great. However I have made it a mission of mine to not use almond meal or nut meals. Dadda just does not like the texture, and if it doesn't pass the Dadda test, well it just doesn't cut it.

Martha Stewart had some too, and they looked great, but so many steps. I really did not have the patience when it cam to making these. I wanted something simple, something accessible, something my brothers could easily make!

Then I found this recipe, it was almost exactly what I was looking for, so with a few changes, I had delicious brownies in a flash!


Super Easy Flourless Chocolate Brownies


twolicious, theGFCookie, gluten free flourless brownies
who could refuse such a tempting treat?


1 + 1/2 cup coconut sugar (use brown sugar if you don't have coconut sugar)
180g coconut oil (as it's a solid, it's easier to weigh)
4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla
140g or 1 1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts or more chocolate if you'd like to be nut free (I had cashews on hand).

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C or 350*F.
  2. Line an 8x8 inch square baking pan.
  3. Place sugar and oil into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until well combined (you can easily use a hand mixer and the biggest bowl you can find!).
  4. Pop the eggs in (I like to do it one at a time) and combine completely.
  5. Next is the vanilla. Mix until combined and a bit fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  6. Add the salt and cocoa and blend until smooth.
  7. Fold in the chocolate and nuts.
  8. Pour into prepared pan and bake about 25 minutes. until glossy on top and when you shake the pan it no longer jiggles in the middle (if it still jiggles give it another 5).

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Happy Easter! Gluten Free Hot Cross Bun Review

I have to admit that hot cross buns are not something I have truly missed since being gluten free, as we never really ate them at Easter when I was growing up. But this Easter, I was determined to be like everyone else and enjoy this part of our Easter celebrations.

So this all started when I visited Three Ducks Guten Free Gourmet (read my previous blog post about them here). They had tastings for Jane's gluten free hot cross buns. They were amazing! So I ordered half a dozen to try at home and share with a gluten free colleague.

My next source for hot cross buns was from Just Yummy, a gluten free bakery in Chirnside Park (45 mins from Melbourne). Another colleague offered to pick me some up because she lives right by there, so of course I gratefully accepted!

And of course I had to try and bake some hot cross buns. I picked up a recipe from Three Ducks using the Springhill GF bread packet mix.

1. Jane's Bread Hot Cross Buns


So yummy with soy cream cheese!
Jane's hot cross buns are darker in colour than most, probably because they are so full of flavour, and the colour is from all the spices. The stand out flavour was cinnamon, while most buns usually just have mixed spice, so I loved this difference. When heated in the oven and toasted, all of the flavours are intensified and I really love the aroma they bring!

The amount of fruit is not overbearing which is nice, however they are very dense, and still resemble a cake like bun. In saying this though, they are so moorish due to the flavour combination Jane has created that I wish they were available all year round!

These are only available in store from Jane's Bread at Three Ducks Gluten Free Gourmet Food in Richmond. Get in quick!!!

2. Just Yummy Hot Cross Buns

Just like 'normal'


In contrast to Jane's, these hot cross buns are light and fluffy, and I can't believe how big they are! They look just like a normal hot cross bun, and their taste and texture is also pretty similar; so as far as a replicated gluten free hot cross bun, they get top marks! However, they are like a standard hot cross bun in taste, rather than a gourmet version. Just Yummy also do chocolate and fruit free versions, so those with fructose intolerance can also enjoy these too.

Just Yummy is located in Chirnside Park, about 45 mins from Melbourne, but they are definitely worth the drive. They also do a number of breads, and their bread rolls are famous- they sell hundreds every day they are open!

3. Home Made- Springhill Hot Cross Bun Recipe

The finished product

I have heard great things about the Springhill bread mix, but am yet to try it as a loaf. I picked up the recipe for the hot cross buns using their packet mix at Three Ducks, but you can also find the recipe on their website here.

It was pretty easy- just combine all of the ingredients and mix with a dough hook for 10 mins, roll into balls, let them rise and then cook them.

A few things I would do differently if I had my time again!
1. Less fruit! This recipe asks for 3 cups of fruit which I felt like was way too much. I would cut this back to 1.5-2 cups
2. Mix the warm water with yeast separately, and mix all the dry ingredients together first before adding the water.
3. Add an extra teaspoon of cinnamon (I loved Jane's cinnamon taste but this might not be for everyone).

Anyway I wasn't 100% happy with the finished product. The buns failed to rise for some reason, so they were really dense and hard, but they were still delish! Again, there was far too much fruit, but this might be what other enjoy, but it wasn't for me.

As for all gluten free bread products, the hot cross buns are best eaten fresh, or otherwise if frozen, defrosted at room temp (not in the microwave) and then toasted in the oven.

I think hot cross buns are quickly becoming my favourite thing about Easter (especially since I can't enjoy chocolate as freely as I used to!) Yum!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Best Gluten free hot cross buns!

As you know (if you've been here before) Twolicious are on a mission to find the best gluten free bread ever.

Bread- Gluten free, store bought or recipe.

theGFCookie, twolicious hot cross buns
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, hot cross buns. 

This is a great Hot Cross Bun recipe from Recipes for Living, a fellow Etsian. If you've been reading along with our bread reviews you will have already met Chris's bread. It's good stuff. And this recipe is no exception. It's good, it's pretty easy and so adaptable.

Actually I found it by accident. Just doing a search for gf hot cross buns. A regular occurrence about this time of year. I clicked onto this site, and found Chris' recipe. And to be honest, unless I knew the author of the recipe, I wouldn't have tried it. The pictures do no justice to the results you'll get. Or at least that I got. The response I got from the pics I posted on the FB page were pretty impressive too.

The best part about Chris's recipe is that not only is it gluten free, it's dairy free, grain free, easilyt made egg free, soy free, and tasteful, flavourful, delicious!
So try them, you'll be impressed too.


Here's a Temporary Link to Chris's original Gluten Free, Dairy free Hot Cross Bun Recipe. It's only available until the end of Easter, so go quickly. If you are gluten free and haven't tried a Recipe For Living, this is your chance to trial one and see the difference they will make on you outlook on gluten free bread.
Recipes for Living original recipe


So a few substitutions that I've made so far:

-Swapped buckwheat flour and tapioca flour for my GF flour mix- Light and fluffy, Lighter in colour and very close to flavour and texture of wheat flour HCB's.

-swapped out the 2 eggs for 1/4C ground flax seed mixed with 1/3C hot water and whisked until viscous( this may vary so please rely on the consistency, adding water as needed or heating for 10sec in the microwave to achieve that magma like viscosity)

- swapped 10g of gluten free flour for 1T of cocoa, and the fruit for chocolate chips.

-I'd love to swap out the choc chips for cacao nibs, but didn't have any on hand.

- made sugar free by swapping 2T of sugar with 1tsp of stevia (I used the natvia brand) and using 1tsp of gelatin in 3Tsp of cold water to bloom about 2min. heating for 30sec in microwave, stir, then 10sec, until completely dissolved. add 1tsp of stevia and 1T of cool water at a time to make a smooth consistency. Use this as the glaze to brush over your buns as you pull them out the oven.

-I'm also going to make a fruit free, sugar free (fructose friendly) recipe this weekend swapping the fruit for macadamias and using the sugar substitutions I tried with earlier batches (mentioned above)- can't wait!
:::Update on fructose free- Delicious, however not nearly as sweet as a regular HCB, you may like to up the stevia to 1Tblspn, or swap out the sugars for glucose or dextrose (keeping it a fructose friendly HCB).
The nuts were a nice surprise within the bun, and provided a slight sweetness and variance in texture also.



These are made with gluten free flour mixture, and ground flaxseed eggreplacer.

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns


Ingredients:

375g or about 3C Gluten free flour mix (I have used White Wings gluten free flour with good results previously)
20g or 4 tablespoons psyllium husks
28g or 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups mixed fruit of your choice (we just used sultanas)
1tsp lemon zest
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp dried yeast
1/3C ground flax seed gel (made by whisking 1/4C ground flax seeds + 1/3C hot water until gel like)
4 tablespoons oil
400ml warm water

Ingredients – crosses

1/3 gluten free flour
25 ml warm water

Ingredients – glaze

2 tablespoons GF icing sugar
1 tablespoon water.

Method:

I do this in my stand mixer, but it is easily done by hand
Mix dry ingredients and fruit in a large bowl.
Mix in eggs, oil and warm water.
Mix well. Make sure the ingredients are completely combined (I use the paddle attachment for about 3-4minutes)
Cover and Set dough aside in a warm place to rise for at least 20 minutes, or until double in size.
Prepare your baking tray (line with baking paper)
Knock down dough and knead for a few minutes (I popped the dough hook on and mixed on medium for 2 minutes).
This is a very sticky dough so be sure and liberally dust your surface with a gluten free flour of your choice (I like to use tapioca) and add as required to prevent sticking to the bench).
Shape dough into a log about 50-60mm diameter.
 Cut the kneaded dough in half, and divide each into half again, then into thirds. You’ll end up with 12 bits of dough, around the same size.
 
Roll each piece into a ball and place on the lined baking tray with a little tapioca flour sprinkled.

Cover and Set the dough to rise somewhere warm for 15-20 minutes. I preheat my oven at this time with my HCB's sitting covered on top of the oven where it is nice and warm.

While the rolls are rising make the paste for the crosses: mix the gluten free flour and water to make a paste.
Spoon the paste into ziplock bag, the cut the corner when ready to pipe.

If you can tolerate eggs, make an egg wash with 1 egg and 2Tablespoons of water whisked, brush this over the buns. This gives them a golden glow. I have also used oil to brush them with good results.

When the buns have risen and are ready to bake, lightly score a cross into the top of each bun with a sharp knife, and follow this line as you pipe the cross mix.

Bake the buns at 200*C for 35 to 40 minutes.

While the buns are baking, make the glaze: mix sugar and water in a small saucepan and stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is almost boiling. Remove from heat.
When you remove the buns from the oven, brush them liberally with the glaze then place on kitchen paper, on a wire rack to cool.





Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Coeliac Awareness Week: Three Ducks Gourmet Gluten Free Food

I have to admit that after 7 years of gluten free eating, I am always experimenting with gluten free baking and cooking (sometimes with disastrous results), but I rarely buy many ready made products, mostly due to their cost. So when my sister told me about an open night with product tastings at some place called Three Ducks in Richmond ("that's close to you isn't it?" she said), I thought, what have I got to lose...plus I get free food!

After detouring to Richmond on my way home, I entered Three Ducks Gluten Free Gourmet Food and the place had a buzz. There were people everywhere in this beautifully presented little shop, with so many different and new products that I had never seen before. It was exciting to discover so many fantastic products.


The most delicious marshmallows. So much better than that squishy stuff from the supermarket.

On taste were a number of Easter inspired treats, all displayed on stunning vintage plates (sourced from Minettes Vintage just up the road). There were Easter cookies, a chocolate gingerbread loaf, marshmallow hearts, and of course (the reason I came) Jane's gluten free hot cross buns. I must admit that they were all amazing, and not having eaten marshmallows in so many years, they were a real treat, but what I couldn't believe was how great the hot cross buns were. The last couple of years I have searched for GF hot cross buns, and have been forced to purchase the only options available in Thomas Dux. While I have previously been happy to have something that sort of resembles a hot cross bun, never again will I purchase the inferior supermarket varieties that are hard-as-a-rock and get stuck in your throat, needing a drink to wash it down (I mean really, how do these products even make it onto the shelf?!).


Decorated Easter cookies. Yum! And that gorgeous detailed plate from Minettes Vintage. Ali runs pop up high teas using these beautiful plates so I will be on the look out for the next high tea at Three Ducks!

Jane's hot cross buns really are worth the trip over to Three Ducks. After waiting a few minutes for some to be heated I couldn't believe how soft, light and delicious they were! Not too much fruit or spice...just right! Yum! You can order yours for Easter now and pick them up in store. It's never too early to have hot cross buns!

The mind, brilliance and passion behind Three Ducks is the wonderful Ali. I can't thank Ali enough for giving me a mini tour around her shop. Hearing her enthusiasm for fantastic gluten free products was really refreshing. Having moved from Sydney to Melbourne almost 3 years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the food this city has on offer, but not having any gluten free comrades to share my quest for amazing gluten free food, I do it alone. I realised that there is a whole gourmet gluten free society in Melbourne that I have been missing out on, and Ali is keeping everyone happy with her continual search for fantastic products.



Pumpkin bread- thanks for finding this bread Ali and thanks for the recommendation. So soft and light.  Bread made by Black Ruby.

I can't finish this blog without mentioning the amazing bread that Ali has sourced. I have never seen anything like it- gluten free bread that is the same size as regular bread. A normal sized loaf! Bread that is soft and light (not dense and cakey), tastes delicious, and allows you to create a sandwich (I mean one that you can fit the normal amount of fillings on and it won't crumble apart). It's a miracle! This bread is from Black Ruby in Carlton. Their cafe is definitely on my list to try for breakfast very soon.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw how big this loaf was.



 I could have bought the whole shop, but seeing as I knew I had to move on the weekend, I refrained. But I will be back! All products are tried and tested by Ali, so you know that whatever you get, it will be good...not like the products you sometimes find in the supermarket!

Now to order some delicious hot cross buns! Jump online to see what Ali has on offer and you can even order online. Sadly, the hot cross buns are in store only.


My first real sandwich in 7 years. I was in heaven!

Monday, 18 March 2013

I took a piece of your custard pie,

We are continuing coeliac awareness week celebrations here at twolicious with an easy naturally gluten free dessert: Baked Custard.

This is so simple you can mix it up while the kettle boils. Which is handy especially if you have friends over for an impromtu dinner
You will look all flash and so posh whipping this dessert out after your delicious gluten free dinner.


Baked Custard:

Set oven to 170C or 325F
Add to bowl:
3 eggs
6 yolks (save the whites for another recipe like meringue or crepes)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Bring just barely to boil:
3 cups Full cream Milk (easily done with full fat soy or coconut milk)
2 tsp natvia stevia


  1. As soon as you see bubbles forming around the edge of the pan, take it off the heat.
  2. Pop all eggs and egg yolks, maple syrup (if you are using it) and salt into your stand mixer and with the paddle start beating on low (you don't really want much air in it, just to completely combine it.
  3. Once the eggs are combined, keep mixing on low and begin to slowly pour the milk into the eggs (so you don't scramble the eggs). Continue till all of the milk is incorporated.
  4. Pour into Individual ramekins or a pie dish coated with butter or coconut oil, or even a pie crust and make yourself a bakery style custard tart!
  5. Place the dish in a roasting tray or baking tray with sides in the centre of the oven. Carefully fill the baking tray with boiling water halfway up your ramekins or dish.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the custard is just set in the middle. Jiggly just a little, if it is too jiggly give it another 5 minutes until only a little jiggly in the centre.
  7. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or we like just plain nutmeg grated ontop while they're still hot.
  8. Let rest on the counter before serving.
well I only took a little piece of your custard pie

Delicious hot or cold, now skip to it!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Coeliac Awareness Week: Red Robyn Gluten Free Cafe

I am so excited to tell you all about my new favourite breakfast place in Melbourne. And the best thing is that it is completely gluten free and so friendly for lots of other allergies too!

The search for an allergy friendly cafe came after a friend of mine was diagnosed with egg, soy and rye allergies. After a decade of feeling sick and thinking it was IBS, she finally got all the tests done and was relieved to know what was causing her stomach pain. However, eating out became a real issue.






Avocado mash with feta, mushrooms, tomatoes. Yum!

We began eating at a vegan cafe (no eggs on the menu) which was a nice change from the usual egg overloaded breakfast menus, until my friend told me about Red Robyn. I checked out the website and was so pleasantly surprised to see that not only did they have a completely gluten free menu, but they also catered for fructose intolerance, egg, soy, dairy allergies, vegan diets, and nut allergies too!
Red Robyn on Urbanspoon
Check it out on Urbanspoon to read how much everyone else loves it too!
I must admit, the menu can be quite difficult to navigate on first attempt. They use letter codes to mark out which diets the menu item is suitable for. Check out the menu here yourself- Red Robyn Menu


However, as someone with an allergy, or if you have ever dined with someone with a food allergy, you are probably so used to trying to navigate menus and then choose something that you hope the staff understand your dietary requirements for, that it is such a relief when the Red Robyn staff understand all food allergies and are so knowledgeable about their menu that they can suggest something delicious anyway!



I chose the dukkah crusted eggs with prosciutto, chickpea patties and tomatoes. Delish! 

The other thing is their coffee. They offer a number of milks so that everyone is catered for. Their main dairy milk is A2 (perfect for those that can't tolerate normal milk), and they also offer lactose free milk, rice milk, and soy milk. And don't worry- the dairy and non-dairy milks even have their own dedicated milk steamers. Wow!

The look and feel of the cafe is great too. It feels really cosy and homely. It's warm and inviting and the staff are so lovely and friendly. They never seem too rushed to help you out or to stay for a short chat. And did I mention that they are really knowledgeable about the menu so you don't need to worry about your food allergies here?! It's great.


It's hard not to get excited when you know you can have anything on the menu!

They also do lots of yummy take home treats too. I picked up a jam donut (gluten/dairy free) and a yo-yo biscuit (gluten free/vegan). They were so delicious and I forgot to take a photo before I woofed them down! I love this place and if you are a coeliac in Melbourne or having breakfast or lunch with a coeliac in Melbourne, this place is a must. And once you go the first time, you will want to make it your new favourite place for breakfast too!





Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Coeliac Awareness week: Naturally Gluten free Cookies

 

 Celebrate Coeliac Awareness Week! March 13-20, 2013


Celebrate by making something easy, delicious and naturally gluten free!
Who loves chocolate?

If you answered no, I think you'd better just make these to be sure (they make a lovely gift!).

These are great cookies to make if you have someone coming around who is gluten free, and even Dairy free!

Mostly you'll have the ingredients already in your pantry, Just be sure to check the ingredients- even the nuts- so they are free of traces of gluten.

Use baking paper on your baking trays so there is no risk of cross contamination from previous baking episodes.

So get to it, whip up a batch and impress everyone.
You know what's gunna happen here,
that little hand is subject to subliminal mind forces: "must eat cookie, must eat cookieeeee"
She can't help herself.

Ingredients

  • 450g or 3 cups Pure icing sugar (Double check the ingredients to be sure it's gluten free, Bundaberg and CSR are both GF, and are labelled so)
  • 75g or 3/4 cup Pure cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 140g or 5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (I use Dullo brand as it's free of gluten, dairy and animal products, check your packaging for traces of gluten cereals)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts or more chocolate!
  • 100g about 4 large egg whites (I've tried a few egg replacements, without success)

slightly demolished


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 160*C or 325*F.
  2. Into a large bowl, sift together sugar and cocoa.
  3. In a second large bowl whisk up your egg whites until doubled in size and foamy
  4. Fold in sugar/cocoa 1/4C at a time.
  5. Stir in chocolate and nuts
  6. Drop mixture by tablespoon, about 50mm apart, onto baking paper lined baking trays.
  7. Chill about 15 minutes (it's probably not necessary, but it's habit).
  8. Bake until cookie tops are dry and crackled, about 20-25 minutes, rotating trays halfway through.
  9. Pop trays onto wire racks and remove cookies when completely cool or pop in the fridge.
  10. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days (they will somehow vanish before you get to the 5 day mark, so watch out for that)