Four-Ingredient Gluten Free Bread (vegan, oil-free)

January 2, 2014 § 4 Comments

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You can see the small bowl of risen yeast top middle

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.

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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).

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Thanks for the fingerprints my curious wee daughter

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.

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Birthday Banoffee

December 18, 2013 § 2 Comments

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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.

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Check out my Steiner candles. Oh yeah.

Banoffee Pie (vegan, gluten free, oil free, soy free, can be made nut free)
Base
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
Pinch salt

Caramel
3 cups soft pitted dates
1 cup coconut water (from can of coconut cream)
1 tsp vanilla
Good pinch sea salt

Cream
Cream from 1 can Trade Aid coconut milk
1-2 bananas, sliced
Cacao powder

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.

Sweet Savoury: Why You Need Chutney + a Rant About Feelings

December 15, 2013 § 4 Comments

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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.
Watch out.

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.

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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.

Delicious Fat-Free, Salt-Free Tomato Sauce

November 23, 2013 § 2 Comments

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Brown rice bowl with tomato sauce mixed through and mountains of veg

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.

Versatile Vegan Latkes

October 11, 2013 § 2 Comments

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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.

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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!

Baby Coconut Cream Pies with Salted Caramel (vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free)

September 24, 2013 § Leave a comment

These are the best thing I have ever made. That is all.

UPDATED: You MUST use Trade Aid coconut milk for this recipe, or if you use another brand it has to be 99% coconut with the only other ingredient listed as GUAR GUM (this is also very important).

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Baby Coconut Cream Pies with Salted Date Caramel (gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, can be made nut free)
Base:
¼ cup coconut flour
¼ cup almond meal (use ground buckwheat if nut-free)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp almond butter (use tahini or sunflower seed butter if nut free)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
Pinch salt

Filling:
6 Trade Aid medjoul dates
1 cup Trade Aid coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt

Cream:
Cream from 1 can Trade Aid coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
A little grated Fairtrade dark chocolate

The day before you make your Baby Coconut Cream Pies, place one of your two cans of Trade Aid coconut milk in fridge overnight. In the morning, open it and gently scoop out the cream on top into a bowl and set aside. (You can use the remaining liquid in a smoothie or milkshake.)

Preheat oven to 160degC.
To make the base, combine all ingredients in a food processor (use the small bowl attachment unless doubling the recipe to make a large pie) and process until well combined. Press about two tablespoons of the filling into each of your three mini springform pans and press until bottom and sides are covered. Place in oven for 5 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool completely.

To make the filling, combine dates and coconut milk in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to boil then turn to low and simmer for 20-40 minutes (UPDATED: depends on how low your lowest setting is – may be faster or slower, just until it’s thick) stirring constantly to make sure it doesn’t catch. Once it has become a smooth thick paste, remove from heat and add vanilla and salt. Stir well to combine. Once the mixture has cooled completely scoop into the pie cases.
To make the topping, whip the coconut cream (that you set aside earlier) and vanilla for a few minutes using an electric beater until it becomes light and fluffy and stiff peaks form.

Scoop the cream onto the cooled pies and garnish with some grated Fairtrade dark chocolate. Serve immediately.

Figging Delicious Raw Vegan Double Delight

September 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Thanks to a family friend, the extraordinarily talented gardener and food creator Wendy, I was gifted several bags of her homegrown and dried figs. You can taste the Hawke’s Bay sunshine in their chewy, earthy sweetness and it brings me back to my years visiting mum when she lived down there. I still think it’s the most special place on earth.

While it might be doing their simple perfection a disservice to process them into other figgy creations, I just can’t resist. What can I say? It’s a compulsion. Plus I wanted to make some treats for some friends.

Today I give you a healthy-ish Fig and Ginger Slice, and a definite occasional treat, Fig and Vanilla Fudge. Both are vegan and gluten free, and the slice is also raw. Thank you Wendy!

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Fig and Ginger Slice (vegan, gluten free, nut free)
Base
1 cup oat flour (I made mine in a Vitamix with steelcut gluten free oats – could also use ground buckwheat groats instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 small SOFT dates (or 3 large mejools)
Pinch salt
Topping
2 cups dried figs
2 tsp dried ground ginger
1 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Place figs in a bowl and cover with water to soak for at least two hours. Drain and set aside. To make base, combine all ingredients in food processor and process until well combined and the mixture sticks together when pressed between thumb and finger. Add a tiny bit of water if still too crumbly. Press base mix into a baking paper lined square tin.
To make the topping, combine all ingredients in food processor and process until it makes a well combined paste. Scoop onto base and smooth flat. Place in freezer overnight, then cut into slices – keep frozen. Enjoy!

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Fig and Vanilla Fudge
(vegan, gluten free, nut free)
1 cup dried figs
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp maple syrup
Pinch salt
5 tbsp brown rice flour

Place dried figs in a bowl and cover with water for at least two hours. Drain and process in small bowl attachment of food processor until a rough paste. Combine sugar, oil, syrup and salt in a small saucepan over a low heat until oil is melted and sugar is no longer granulated. Add rice flour one tbsp at a time and stir well to combine. Add this mixture to the figs in the processor and process until it becomes a smooth paste. Scoop into a sealable container and smooth to make about an inch thick slab. Place in freezer overnight, then slice into pieces and eat the whole lot all at once and feel sick with joy.

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