January 2, 2014 § 4 Comments
I just love fresh, warm bread with a chewy, crunchy crust, mmm, slathered in avocado and thick slabs of tomato with a few leaves of basil from the garden. My favourite was this excellent no-knead bread – stupidly easy to make even for kitchen beginners like me back when I was a gluten-loving fiend. Sadly it no longer feels the same way about me.
The alternative is a couple of toasted slices of storebought gluten-free bread, and there are a few great ones out there now. I’ve even made my own, but you know what? The long list of ingredients puts me off. Gums and starches and stabilisers. Is it so much to ask for a simple loaf? Well after my mum brought home a lovely little gluten free loaf from the Oneroa markets last weekend with a short list of ingredients I thought it was time I gave it another go.
The result is a mix between a sourdough loaf with its crusty shell and a dense Breadman type loaf on the inside. And by dense I mean very dense. As in, this isn’t sandwich bread, but it toasts beautifully and fills your tummy with just one or two slices, and the flavour is pretty mild. I wouldn’t say this recipe is perfect, I still have plans to try the no-knead version plus a couple of other ideas – but let me know if you try out a variation on this recipe and how it goes. I will update with any improvements.
Oh and as an extra tip: this recipe also doubles brilliantly as a flatbread, pizza base, crackers etc – please share any experiments you do!
Notes: you can use store-bought flours or make your own using a high-speed blender. For an extra health kick you could sprout and dehydrate your grains first (I didn’t).
Basic Gluten Free Bread (vegan, oil-free, gluten-free)
2 tsp active dry yeast + 2 tsp sugar (I used coconut sugar) + 5 tbsp warm water (ok this is three ingredients I’m counting as one, but it still works right?
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup ground golden flaxseed (little over 1/4 cup whole seeds makes 1/2 cup when ground. I haven’t tried with brown flaxseed/linseed but I imagine it’s the same, just darker)
Salt is optional, I didn’t add any but if you like it add a tsp or so
Combine yeast, sugar and water in a non-stainless steel cup or small bowl, give it a stir, then set aside for at least 10min (it will grow). Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Once yeast has risen, add to the dry ingredients along with 1 cup water. Stir well until combined. Turn out onto a (rice) floured bench and knead very well for at least 10 minutes. Keep adding a little brown rice flour to prevent sticking.
Place back in bowl and cover with a clean, dry teatowel and leave somewhere warm (not in sunlight) for an hour or so. Its rise will be modest and it is a small loaf but it should gain in size.
Turn out again onto a lightly floured bench and knead for at least another minute. Shape into a little loaf, score the top with a knife and place on tea towel in bowl, cover with rest of tea towel and sit in a warm place for another hour.
At least half an hour before dough is ready, turn oven to 220degC and place a heavy, covered pot in to heat (I have a cast iron Le Creuset I picked up for $30 at an opshop which works well). Once ready, remove loaf from bowl and tea towel and place carefully in hot pot, covering with lid and placing back in oven. After 30 min check on the loaf. Mine took 40min on fan bake. It should have a golden crust and, once removed, sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Place onto wire rack to cool. Will keep for a couple of days in a dry, sealed container in a cupboard, probably a couple more in the fridge and I imagine a few months in the freezer.
December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments
So it was my good friend Emma’s birthday yesterday and I wanted to make her a cake. Because I love her and I love making food. And also because I’m a masochist. It’s the kindy holidays and baking and children, while a really good combo on TV ads for flour and plastic storage containers, in my house equals a pre-schooler running around like he’s on P shouting about chopping people’s heads off with a spatula (thanks to all the maple syrup he
helps me pour drinks) and a toddler who thinks coconut cream is body paint.
This time I was smart and craftily avoided death by insanity by making the base and caramel layer the night before and after the kids had gone to bed. The only problem was my trusty springform pan was actually a cheap piece of crap and had broken so I had to use a really large one, which meant my cake was more of a thick plate and I broke the crust getting it into a plastic storage container and it ended up being soft the next day anyway and wow this story is getting more riveting by the second.
In short, use a smaller springform pan, and make it to eat the same day. Just not with children.
One of my all-time favourite food bloggers is an 18-year-old Norwegian girl and she is a fecking genius. This recipe is totally lifted from hers (aside from the base) so go check out the original here and ogle her other awesome creations.
Banoffee Pie (vegan, gluten free, oil free, soy free, can be made nut free)
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup almond meal (use ground buckwheat if nut-free)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter (use more coconut butter if nut-free)
2 tbsp coconut butter, melted
3 cups soft pitted dates
1 cup coconut water (from can of coconut cream)
1 tsp vanilla
Good pinch sea salt
Cream from 1 can Trade Aid coconut milk
1-2 bananas, sliced
The day before you make the cake, put the can of coconut cream in the fridge.
Turn oven to 160degC.
To make the base, combine all ingredients in a food processor or bowl and process or stir well to combine. Press into a 9″ springform pan and bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes until lightly golden brown. Let cool a bit, then remove carefully onto a wire rack so bottom doesn’t go soggy.
Take coconut cream out of fridge and gently scoop the thick creamy layer from the top into a bowl. Set aside.
To make the caramel, combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well combined, using half a cup of the coconut water and adding a little more until you’re happy with the consistency (should be thick enough to slice through). Scoop mixture onto cooled base.
Whip coconut cream with an electric mixer until thick, then add banana and stir through. Spoon over the caramel, then top with a dusting of cacao powder. Serve immediately.
December 15, 2013 § 4 Comments
I’ve been having a magical time lately, in no small part thanks to a visit from my always inspirational London-based friend Natalie (of Magic Surrounds fame). She vibes flowers and beauty and scent and well-cut clothes, but, most importantly, ideas.
I have plans people.
And yes they involve food, of course. But really, it’s been so long since I’ve felt any kind of space to FEEL. That creative energy you get when you’re full up with inspiration, when you can’t stop taking notes, when your mind races at night for all the ideas. Oh brain fade, sure, that’s a given when you’re parenting young children full-time on little sleep; trying to maintain a steady train of thought or finish a sentence is the first thing you learn to say goodbye to. But I’d forgotten about the loss of feeling, that independent, wholly your own creative imagination that makes everything sparkle and the right things stand out. I’m not sure I even mourned it’s passing, it just left and I was too tired to notice.
For now I’m holding tightly, however long it lasts. And my pantry is reaping the rewards. I got rather obsessed last autumn with buying all the organic fruit seconds that appeared at my local store – sticky, almost too late bags of pears and apples and tomatoes and stonefruits – as well as the baskets full of feijoas collected from under trees at my secret foraging spots. After slicing and scooping and coring and freezing there they sat, taking up room for months. But not any more. I’ve been on a chutney-making binge and I’ve perfected the most delicately balanced combination of sweet, savoury and spicy ready to dollop on top of a plate of dhal and rice or serve alongside these wonderful gluten-free samosas or spread onto salad-stuffed sandwiches, and sometimes, when my kids aren’t looking, as a dip for a bag of corn chips.
This recipe makes enough for two 300ml jars, so if you’d like to make extra for gifts you will need to double it at least. Please note if you use tomatoes I would add an extra half cup of sugar.
Fruitful Chutney (vegan, gluten free, oil-free)
4 cups chopped fruit (tomatoes/feijoa/pear etc)
1 onion, chopped
1 cup coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice)
1 cup apple cider vinegar (or another plain vinegar)
1 cup raisins
2 cloves garlic, crushed (opt)
1 tsp sea salt (opt)
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp allspice
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne (depending on taste)
Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer on low for 1-1.5 hours, stirring regularly to prevent burning, until thick and brown. Spoon immediately into sterilised jars and seal. I don’t have a jar rack for sterilising so I just boil a big pot of water and put the jars and lids in for a couple of minutes before filling.
Keeps well if bottled properly. Refrigerate once opened.
November 26, 2013 § Leave a comment
Yes, fruit is the ultimate fast-food sweet treat, but sometimes I just want CHOCOLATE. Keeping it low-fat I used buckwheat instead of the oft-used nuts in this recipe, and kept it as simple as possible, but feel free to play around with the ingredients to suit your taste.
Rolling them in sesame seeds or coconut or more cacao powder would be yummy too – great for the kids’ lunchboxes being nut-free, and you can use carob powder instead or just keep them plain vanilla.
Low-Fat Raw Choc Energy Balls (raw, vegan, nut-free, soy-free, low-fat)
3/4 cup buckwheat groats (either raw or sprouted and dehydrated)
1/3 cup soft pitted dates, more or less
1 tbsp cacao powder or carob powder, more or less
Pinch salt (optional – obviously choc and salt go well together but I’m trying to limit mine right now)
1 tsp vanilla powder, paste or extract
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional, I just like the taste with chocolate)
Place groats in food processor and process until fine but still crumby (you could use buckwheat flour, I just like mine with a bit of crunch). Add remaining ingredients and process until it forms a dough you call roll into balls. If it’s too dry add another date or two and a tiny bit of water until it’s the right consistency. Similarly, adjust the cacao and salt to taste. Roll into balls and store in fridge. Makes approx 16.
November 23, 2013 § 2 Comments
I’ve really started digging low-fat/high-carb food lately – it makes me feel a-may-zing. And for a tired mumma who still feeds through the night this is pretty unheard of. Normally I’m just a reeeeally grumpy zombie. Sticking to lots of ripe fruit, vegetables and some cooked carbs and limiting fats and salt seems to be working. I know I have intolerances that appear to be many and varied and so far eating this way helps me avoid them.
Being the food and cooking obsessive I am, however, my biggest concern is feeling creatively restricted. Luckily within this way of eating there is much to learn and get creative with! And in the end my shonky digestion is just so much happier it’s totally worth it.
I’ve just started reading 80/10/10 and will let you know how I get on. In the meantime, here’s a freaking awesome oil-free, salt-free tomato sauce recipe that still tastes fantastic and is dead-easy to make. I’ve used it as a sauce with rice and veges, in homemade sushi and as a dip for dry-roasted kumara and potato chunks.
Easy Moreish Tomato Sauce (oil-free, salt-free, vegan, gluten free, soy free)
1 jar organic passata (pureed tomato – I used a 680ml jar)
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp onion flakes
Few shakes Bragg’s salt-free herbs and spices seasoning mix (or any dried herbs etc you like)
3 soft pitted dates
4-5 drops liquid smoke (optional but makes it awesome)
Put all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan and bring to the boil, then turn to low and let simmer, stirring enough so that it doesn’t catch or burn, until it reduces to a thick sauce. Around 30-40 min. Store in a clean jar in the fridge. Makes about 400ml.
November 11, 2013 § 4 Comments
Forgive me readers, it’s been a month since my last blog post. No good excuses, except parenting. Which is actually a pretty good excuse. Because parenting is REALLY HARD. Rewarding, joyful, hilarious, yes, but so difficult some days I’m amazed when I make it to the other side. So I have more savoury dishes for you, some easy and yummy throw-togethers perfect for busy parents and picky toddlers. My sister Rachel, who is an excellent parent, was the inspiration for the risotto balls – thanks for your risotto recipe sis.
I promise some more sweet treats soon!
Cheesy Crispy Risotto Balls (vegan, gluten free, oil free)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup arborio rice
2 cups liquid vege stock (I just put a heaped tsp dry veg stock powder into the pot with 2 cups water)
1 cup finely chopped greens (ie kale/spinach/beet tops)
1/4 nutritional yeast
Pinch dulse flakes (opt)
Preheat oven to 160degC. In an oven-friendly pot with a lid, heat a few tablespoons of water over a medium heat on the stovetop. Add onion and saute until translucent and the water has evaporated. Add garlic and rice and saute until fragrant. Add stock and bring to boil. Turn heat off and stir in remaining ingredients. Put lid on and place in oven for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool (check all the liquid has evaporated – if not, return to oven until it has). Once cooled enough, roll the risotto into balls and place in an oven dish and return to oven for a further 20-30 minutes until crispy and golden on the outside. Makes about 20 balls.
Smoky Black Bean Burgers (vegan, gluten free if using gf oats, oil free)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 can black beans, drained
1 can lentils, drained
1/2 cup frozen corn
3 tbsp chickpea flour
2 tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
Few drops liquid smoke (opt)
In a little water, saute the onion and garlic until soft. In the food processor, combine the rolled oats and sunflower seeds and process until roughly ground. Add half the can of beans and half the can of lentils, the cooked onion and garlic, cumin, paprika and liquid smoke and process until well combined. Put this mixture in a bowl and add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Shape into patties. We cooked these on the barbecue but you can either fry them in a frying pan (dry or with a little oil if you prefer) or possibly bake in the oven, though I haven’t tried this yet. Makes heaps! Use leftovers to make little koftas for wraps.
October 11, 2013 § 2 Comments
Hash browns, latkes, fritters, patties – whatever you want to call these, they are so freaking easy to make, versatile and healthy and my kids BOTH loved them. Unheard of. Stuff them with chopped greens and herbs and you’re away laughing.
I’ve served these smothered in guacamole and also as the pattie in a burger (made with gluten free buns from this simple recipe). You could also use them as part of a hearty vegan cooked breakfast, or a simple tasty lunch with a salad.
Easy Vegan Latkes (vegan, gluten free, nut free, soy free, oil free option)
1 medium potato, grated
1 small kumara/sweet potato, grated (or you can use all potato – you need 2 to 2 1/2 cups grated veg altogether)
Handful finely chopped greens and herbs (parsley, kale and spinach are my faves)
2 tbsp buckwheat flour
4 tbsp water
Coconut oil for frying (optional – can also dry fry in a non-stick pan)
Pinch salt (optional)
In a cup, mix together buckwheat flour and water. Once you have your potato grated, place in a tea towel and wring to squeeze out any excess moisture. In a bowl, place all ingredients and stir well to combine. Leave to sit so the buckwheat can gel up – around 10 minutes. Over a medium heat, warm your non-stick pan – add a little oil if using (I have done both ways and both worked well) – scoop heaped tablespoons onto the pan and flatten to make patties. I could fit 3 comfortably. Cook until crisp then flip and flatten again slightly and cook until crispy. Make sure it’s not so hot they burn – you want a decent even heat so they cook right through. Makes 6-7 medium latkes. Serve warm with guacamole or in a burger. Yummo!