Tag Archives: Gluten Free

Birthday Bonfire

This year our cousin’s husband, Colin turned 70, and to celebrate, their annual bonfire became a very festive affair. Held on the property where our grandparent’s home once was, people travelled from everywhere to join the party – the yard looked like a caravan park when we pulled in on the Saturday night.

To get there, Gary and I left home at 10 am and travelled to Melbourne where we stopped to pick up my sister Sonya. Then we continued on to Stawell and had a lovely visit with my mother for a couple of hours before finally arriving at Navarre just after 6. It was dark and cold. But with the power and water turned on, we soon had the house warmed up and dinner cooking. We were all a tad weary…

After listening to the rain on the tin roof through the night, we were wondering how the bonfire would fire up the next night, however when we got up in the morning, the rain seemed to have cleared, even if the skies hadn’t! Sonnie and I had work to do… Sonnie had made the birthday cake and had to decorate it, she had also made a pavlova that needed to be finished off. I needed to make a dessert as well. This is where the fun started….

Sunset at Navarre

Firstly I set to making the dessert, it was to be a gateau of rhubarb, apples and almonds. The recipe for the base was in French, but I knew that I could follow it. I had brought all the ingredients from home including rhubarb from our garden and bottled apples from our store. So I drained the apples and got the rhubarb into the oven to bake. Then it was time to make the cake. With the mixer uncovered I got all the ingredients ready and got to work. The egg whites whipped up beautifully. Following the recipe I then whipped up the egg yolks and sugar, and added the dry ingredients – ughh, the mixture seized – what to do… I grabbed another egg and added that in, it helped to loosen the mix a little, so then I started to fold through the egg whites, not perfect, but it would have to do. With the mixture poured into the lined tin, it went into the oven to bake while we set to cleaning up the mess! The timer went off and when I took the cake from the oven, I saw that it was very uneven and very thin in one corner, really – what next. I shouldn’t have been surprised though. The house is very old and the land is subject to flooding… The cake looked OK, even if a little lop-sided.

 

Next it was Sonnie’s turn. She needed to make the butter cream for the birthday cake. The problem here was that the mixer seemed to have only one speed – very fast! So with the butter in the mixer, the bowl was almost ready to take off!! Then the icing sugar went in, or should I say, went out, up, and everywhere, including over Sonnie! We threw a tea towel over the whole thing to try and calm the situation down a little. All we could do was laugh. With persistence, the butter cream was made and Sonnie set to decorating the cake. She dropped a couple of little round sweets on the floor and they all rolled to one corner – yes, we decided that the reason for the crooked cake was because we were in a crooked house.

Our other sister Jan arrived and we all had a lovely afternoon sitting and chatting, then set to filling the pav and finishing off the cake. I carefully sliced a slither from one of the higher corners and used some of the fruit syrup to attach it to the lower corner. Sonnie whipped the cream for both the pav and the cake and we decorated them.

All ready, we just needed to await the arrival of the younger members of our family – they were all traveling from Melbourne and running a little late. Sonnie rang Sandra to find out what time they wanted us down there, it was about 6 pm when she rang. They had already finished the main and were on to the speeches. Sonnie, Jan and Gary quickly loaded the cake and desserts into the car and headed down, while I waited for the kids to arrive. Finally with everyone there, we joined the rest of the family at the bonfire and, as usual, it was a wonderful friendly night.  We got to catch up with members of our family, listen to music, and all the time, we were kept warm (at times very hot) by the roaring bonfire.

As we were to late for the food, when we got home we quickly prepared a supper of soup and fried rice, before all turning in for the night.

Oh and I have now translated the recipe as it was written in French, and yes, I had followed the instructions. So the version here is a much revised version!

Gateau of Rhubarb, Apples and Almonds - Gluten Free

I offered to take a dessert to a birthday party. I wanted to use rhubarb from our garden because it was looking amazing. A magazine arrived from France early in the week and had a recipe for a rhubarb and strawberry cake and that was my inspiration for this beautiful cake.

Ingredients

  • 500g rhubarb
  • 5 medium sized apples
  • 1 orange
  • 60g sugar
  • 90g brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 200 ml whipping cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • For the cake
  • 200g almond meal
  • 50g custard powder – gluten free
  • 1½ tsp baking powder – gluten free
  • 6 eggs
  • 140g caster sugar
  • pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C.
  2. Wash the rhubarb, trim the ends and cut into 2 cm pieces and place into a shallow baking dish in a single layer. Pare two very thin strips of zest from the orange using a sharp knife, or a peeler and then juice the orange.  Tuck the rind in amongst the rhubarb, sprinkle over the brown sugar, and drizzle with the orange juice. Bake for 20 minutes until the rhubarb is tender. Carefully remove the rhubarb from the dish and strain the juices and set both the juice and the rhubarb aside.
  3. Meanwhile peel, core and quarter the apples, add to a saucepan with the 60g of sugar and just enough water to cover the apples. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the apples are tender, gently turning them now and then so they cook evenly.   Strain the apple and set aside the fruit and the syrup.
  4. Place both the rhubarb juices and apple syrup into a clean pan. Bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the syrup is reduced by half. Set aside to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 190˚C and line a swiss roll baking pan with baking paper. Separate the egg yolks from whites. Place the whites together with the salt into the large bowl of a stand mixer and mix on high speed until soft peaks form. Add yolks and beat, then add the 140g of caster sugar gradually. Beat well. Sift in the almond meal, custard powder and baking powder and carefully fold through the egg mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden. Turn out on to a wire cooling rack and remove baking paper. Allow to cool completely.
  6. When you are ready to assemble the gateaux, whip the cream, 1 tbsp of caster sugar and the vanilla bean paste until stiff peaks form.
  7. Heat a pan over low heat and add the flaked almonds. Carefully toast until they turn golden. Be careful not to burn them. Set aside.
  8. To Assemble the cake, spread a little of the syrup over the cake, then spread a layer, no thicker than 1 cm of the whipped cream on top of that. Arrange the apple and rhubarb on top of the cream, sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds and drizzle with the remaining syrup.

Notes:

  • Baking the rhubarb helps to retain its shape and stops it going mushy, it also intensifies the flavour.
  • I like to cut each apple quarter into chunks before arranging it on top of the cake.
  • You could replace the whipped cream with crème pâtissière

Until next time…

Happy  cooking & bon appétit!

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Gateau of Rhubarb, Apples and Almonds – Gluten Free

Mrs Collins’s Pavlova

Apples for pie

A couple of months ago we visited Picnic Point Apple Orchard, about an hour’s drive from here, to pick up some new season’s apples. We purchased a box of Picnic Apples, which were very juicy, but the flavour was not as intense as I expected.

We decided to store them in a cupboard in the hallway of our home, and as time went by you would catch the delicious aroma of apples as you passed by. They softened a little, but cooked up well and held their shape, which I was thrilled with.

With that in mind, I decided to preserve them, there is no room in the freezer, so they had to go into jars. On Tuesday I set to peeling, coring and quartering them. They were then added to pots with sugar, water and lemon juice and cooked until just tender. After leaving them to cool over night,

I packed them into jars, before sealing and waterbathing them ready for use in pies and other apple treats throughout the year. As I said to Gary, all I need to do is take a jar of apples, roll out some pastry, maybe add some rhubarb from the garden, bake it and we have a quick, easy and delicious dessert.

Before the apples were bottled, I decided that we needed a treat! First I removed some apples from the pot and set them in a strainer over a dish to drain off all the liquid  Then I rolled out some gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry and prepared a delicious dessert for our evening meal. I think that apple pie has to be one of the most comforting, homely desserts one can ask for. Add some vanilla ice cream or a dollop of luscious double cream and you’re set.

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Sweet Shortcrust Pastry - Gluten Free

  • Servings: makes one large tart which serves 8
  • Print

The perfect pastry for making your favourite fruit pie or delicious little lemon curd tarts.

Ingredients

  • 210 g Gluten free flour blend
  • 70 g pure icing sugar
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 100 g ricotta cheese, drained (or homemade cheese)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions

  1. Add the flour, icing sugar and xanthum gum to a bowl and mix together.
  2. Place the butter, cheese, egg yolk and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor and then add the dry ingredients.
  3. Pulse only until the dough starts to form a ball.. (TM speed 3, 20 seconds)
  4. Remove the dough to a large sheet of baking paper or a pastry sheet and knead to form a smooth ball.
  5. Divide the dough in half and flatten into two discs.
  6. Cover each disc closely with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.

Notes:

  • You can store the dough in the fridge for up to two days, or freeze it until needed.
  • If you have time, make a batch and freeze it for when you need to whip up a quick tart or pie.
  • I always blind bake the tart base for 10-15 minutes in a preheated oven at 200˚C, then add the fruit and if required a pastry lid, before continuing baking.

The other benefit of having jars of delicious apples in the store, is that you have a quick delicious breakfast treat when served with some natural yoghurt and crunchy gluten free granola!

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Until next time…

Happy  cooking & bon appétit!

 

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Links:

Crunchy gluten free granola

Gluten free flour blend

Sweet shortcrust pastry – gluten free

Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

These delicate little pillows of ricotta and Swiss chard / silverbeet were given their wonderful name because they are not blanketed in fresh pasta like the ravioli that we all know and love.  This dish is fast becoming a favourite in our home – it is delicious, surprisingly simple to make, very economical and has very few ingredients.  I love making it because it means I get to make use of produce from our vegie patch.  It is so rewarding to take your basket and fill it with the ingredients needed to prepare your next meal…

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Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

Ingredients

  • 300 g ricotta
  • 400 g Swiss chard, leaves only
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 16 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the Swiss chard and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain thoroughly, wrap in a cloth and squeeze until the chard is very dry. Chop very finely.
  4. Gradually combine the Swiss chard with the ricotta. Add about two-thirds of the Parmesan, the nutmeg and egg yolks. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Scoop up a small quantity of the mixture with a spoon and, with well-floured hands, form it into a little oval pillow about 3cm long.
  6. Dredge the little pillow lightly with some of the flour and set aside.
  7. Continue forming little oval pillows with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  8. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage leaves in a frying pan and keep warm.
  10. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the ravioli, a few at a time, and cook until they rise to the surface (as you would for gnocchi).
  11. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place them into the warm melted butter and sage.
  12. Continue cooking the remaining ravioli in the same manner.
  13. Arrange the ravioli in a serving dish and drizzle with the melted butter and sage. Dust with the remaining Parmesan and grind over a little black pepper.

Notes:

  • I like to bake some tomatoes and add them together with a few shards of crispy prosciutto to the plate when serving, just for colour, flavour and texture.
  • We also like to crisp some of the Ignudi up a little in the butter.
  • While I have used my Gluten Free Flour Blend, this recipe was originally made with normal wheat plain flour, so either can be used, depending on dietary requirements.
  • Adapted from a lovely old book, Tuscany – The Beautiful Cookbook (1996) L De Medici, p78.
  • I make my own soft ricotta style cheese.

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Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

I have read many recipes for Swiss Chard or Silverbeet gratin, where the prominent ingredient is the stalk, rather than the rich green leaves.  I recently stumbled upon this recipe that I thought I would try, because it includes some of the leaves as well.  I was so thrilled with the end result, I cooked it again a couple of days later.

This gratin really is very easy to make, and the end result is a delicious cheesy gratin with the stalks providing texture, the leaves, colour, and both contributing to the wonderful flavour.

Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

The stalks of Swiss Chard make a gratin that is delicious and delicate in flavour, and pairs beautifully with a roast. Equally it can be served as a light meal with a fresh green salad on the side.

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • Stalks from a large bunch of chard, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced.
  • 4 chard leaves, thinly shredded
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 150 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 tbsp double cream
  • 30 g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

For the topping

  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 180˚C
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil and half the butter.
  3. Add the onion and chard stalks, place the lid on and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, until the onion softens.
  4. Stir in the flour, and cook for a 1 minute over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the milk. Bring to the boil, and then reduce heat to a simmer until the sauce has thickened. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  5. Stir in the chard leaves and cook for another minute or two until the leaves have wilted a little.
  6. Then stir in the Parmesan and the cream, then pour into a greased gratin dish.
  7. Mix the topping ingredients together and scatter over the top of the gratin. Dot with the remaining butter.
  8. Bake 20-25 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.

Notes:

  • This gratin can also be popped under the grill ’til golden and crispy, if short on time or oven space.
  • For a gluten free version, simply replace the flour with the same amount of gluten free flour blend.
  • Adapted from Easy Vegetarian One Pot, 2011, R Woods (ed), p159

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Links:

Chard, Onion and Cheese Gratin

Gluten Free Four Blend

Swiss Chard

Generous Gifts

I love coming up with new recipes to highlight new produce, and this weekend we received a wonderful gift of home-cured meats from a friend. Mike, Chris and Mon, our son’s future in-laws, visited from Melbourne and came bearing beautiful gifts, including beautiful flowers, some wonderful wine and Mike’s cured meats.

The flowers went straight onto the table, they were so pretty, and the meats were put to good use as the foundation of a couple of amazing anitpasto platters, one as a starter to our evening meal, the other for a light lunch on the terrace.

Meal times were wonderful chatty affairs and we spent a lot of time getting to know each other better, talking about family, funny experiences, food and gardening. Previously we only seemed to catch up at family gatherings where there was little or no time to talk and get to know each other.

On Saturday while they went visiting, I took the opportunity to race into the local farmer’s market -I wanted a little something to send home with them, and the vegie patch is really not quite up to speed at the moment. I also needed to top up our supplies of Wuk Wuk steak.

When they returned they came bearing another gift, a wonderful heritage apple tree for our garden, a Ribston Pippin – another lovely thoughtful gift. Ribston Pippin - Feature ImageI have already worked out where it is going to live and how it will be espaliered… We were so pleased to be able to give them a bag of fresh local produce – potatoes, beetroot, zucchini, corn, eggs, etc. as well as rhubarb from our garden and some Jalapeno Chili and Sprouting Broccoli seedlings. But after they left I was kicking myself, as I also wanted to give them some preserves from the store! Oh well, next time, they will be returning in March to help with some repairs to our home, and there are some cooking projects on the agenda as well.

Now… I wanted something different to cook to highlight one of Mike’s cured meats. Inspired by a recipe Endives Rôties au Roquefort, Chips de Jambon from Saveurs no 234 p59, I created Roasted Belgian Endive (Witlof) with Shadows of Blue Cheese and Mike’s Prosciutto, a recipe highlighting a luscious, creamy local blue cheese, Mike’s amazing prosciutto, and my fig vinegar. It’s a wonderful entrée with the bitterness of the endive, the crispness of the prosciutto, the creamyness of the cheese, the salt from both, and the sweetness of the fig vinegar all complementing each other.

This is a recipe that will definitely be reappearing on our table in the future.

Until next time…

Bon appétit!

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