Monday, January 31, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. I asked him what could I get him - he asked for these biscuits... and another jar of zucchini honey :-) In NZ 'today' is Tuesday Feb 1st. The blog posts in American time...


3 cups ground almonds
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pre-heat the oven to 150c. Line a tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients together
Roll small amounts into balls and place on the tray. These biscuits don't spread when they cook, so you can put them quite close together.
Bake 20 - 30 minutes. The longer you bake them, the crunchier they become. Dad likes them to be a bit chewy in the centre.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

summer? - humph!

Mid summer in NZ and it is blowing a gale where I live. I don't really mind too much - I am after all, snug and safe inside. I can't do the laundry because I murdered the washing machine on the weekend and they can't deliver a new one till tomorrow. I can't make the bed because The Big Lump is asleep. My Little Mate has made a nest in the eiderdown on the spare bed - so my boys are both safe. And I don't do to well in the heat of summer anyway, so this is a good day to make chocolate cakes - like I need an excuse!

6 eggs - separated
150g caster sugar
200g almond meal
200g good quality dark chocolate - broken into pieces
150g unsalted butter - chopped
icing sugar to dust

Pre-heat the oven to 160c. Line a 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases and lightly grease them (I used spray-on oil)
In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks, and 1/3 cup of sugar with a spoon, to combine.
Stir in the almond meal to form a thick paste form, and then set aside.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth.

Gradually mix the chocolate into the almond mixture until well combined - don't worry if it is a bit lumpy. Set aside.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until soft peaks form. In 3 batches, gently fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture, taking care to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.

Divide the mixture evenly among the paper cases. Bake 18-20 minutes until the cupcakes are firm on top, but still moist in the centre.

Serve warm, dusted with icing sugar, with shaved chocolate, with fresh strawberries...
I made these with Whittaker's 72% Dark Ghana chocolate. My Dad said he would prefer them sweeter - everyone else loved them. They keep really well too. They are moist and light.
This recipe was in delicious.magazine April 2009

The Lump. Out of bed, but not yet awake

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's all Pip's fault.

I worked with Pip.
She shared a flat with this guy.
She invited me to the movies with them. She set us up. We've been married nearly 25 years. It is all Pip's fault.


1 kg pumpkin - peeled and chopped
2 cups chicken stock
2 tsp sugar
2 onions - chopped
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Cook together until vegetables are soft.
Re-heat with 1/4 tsp nutmeg and thin with 2 - 3 cups of milk

You can make so many variations of pumpkin soup, but this is great for when you just want something simple.

French cheesecake... without the cake

Because one day I hope I will be able to eat dairy again...


250g gluten free cream cheese
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp lime or lemon juice
1 tsp grated lime or lemon zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp fruit flavoured liqueur
1 1/4 cups cream

Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
Beat in the icing sugar, juice and zest.
Whip cream, vanilla and liqueur together .
Fold cream into cheese mixture.
Line a mould or sieve with a double layer of fine cheesecloth.
Pour in the mixture and smooth the top with a spatula.
Cover with a layer of cheesecloth, place the mould on a plate and allow it to 'weep' in the fridge overnight.
Discard any liquids.
Unmould the creme and remove the cheesecloth.
Serve with fresh fruit.

this is just delicious

This is a go-to recipe for whenever you need to impress someone (except a vegetarian, obviously)


75ml gluten free soy sauce (I use tamari)
45ml grapeseed oil
45ml dry sherry
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 - 1.5kg fillet of  beef, stripped of all fat and silver skin

Season the beef with black pepper.
Combine all marinade ingredients, add the meat and leave to marinate for at least 4 hours, turning it regularly. If you have to refrigerate it, bring it back to room temperature before you cook it.
Heat oven to 220c
Place fillet on a rack in a roasting dish.
Spoon over some of the marinade.
Cook, uncovered and baste from time to time.
Cook 18 - 22 minutes per kilo for rare, and 30 minutes per kilo for medium/rare.
Serves 6

cheating is good

and because even celiacs deserve gravy.


2 cups of chicken consomme
 1/2 cup of sherry or madeira
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly (or crab apple, quince - whatever)
Place in a medium saucepan and simmer 5 minutes over a moderately high heat until reduced and thickened by 1/3. Season to taste.
For lamb - add a little rosemary
For Chicken or Veal - add tarragon.

Mint Salad Dressing for Prawns


1 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
juice of 1 lime, or lemon
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp sugar
1 clove garlic - chopped fine
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 fresh chillies - chopped fine - take out the lumps if you want
fresh ground black pepper

Mix all these ingredients together and pour over prawns.
Serve topped with chopped mint

though let's face it, when it's time for dessert I'm usually too tipsy to do much cooking

I'm not sure if I should include this recipe. I have not yet made it, so I don't know if it works. But, whoever wrote this says it is delicious with bubbles...  so, I will! and in my defence.... it usually takes just two glasses of wine to make me sleepy/tipsy!

Strawberry Sauce
12 - 15 fresh strawberries
1/2 cup good quality berry jam
2 - 3 tbsp fruity liqueur ( grand marnier, kirsch - the booze is optional)

Blitz everything in a kitchen whizz.
Put 1/2 the sauce into a small pot and heat, stirring until boiling
Spoon the remaining sauce into ramekins

2 egg whites
1/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Whisk egg whites to soft peaks, add sugar bit by bit and beat until sugar is dissolved.
Fold in hot berry puree and vanilla.

Spoon meringue over the top of cold berry puree.
Bake 4 - 6 minutes until souffles start to brown. Don't keep cooking until they rise or they will collapse too much as they cool.

Serve immediately with sliced strawberries.

perhaps I should just staple my camera to my hand?

... if I did I would perhaps remember to take photos of food for this blog thing! (Or perhaps not - menopause is a bitch). All is not lost, because this is yummy and I make it a lot - so - a photo coming to this space soon...

Chicken with Lemon, Honey and Rosemary (or other random herbs that fling themselves at you)

1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
rosemary (or thyme is nice too, whatever) - use your own judgement for the amount
1 small lemon - sliced finely
1 red chilli - finely chopped (take the seeds out if you want)
salt and pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients together and add some chicken pieces (enough to serve 4 people who eat like reasonable human beings, as opposed to those of us who have bigger appetites)
Marinate for a few hours.
Tip everything in the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked.
It goes all dark and sticky and yummy.
It is good cold too. I had a piece for breakfast this morning...

Sue's Pavlova

The very worst thing about being told you have celiac disease comes when you look through all the recipes you collected over the years (..and years, and years, and...sigh) and you realise you should have used them and not just locked them away in a file... and now you will never use them.... bugger! Not this one though, this one is now a family classic. Sue is my sister. I have no idea where she found this recipe.

Sue's Pav

3 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp water
1 dstsp water

Put everything in a bowl. Beat the bejeebers out of it - till it forms a meringue. It'll take 15 - 20 minutes and you will have heart failure at the beginning because you will think it is NOT going to work.
It does.
Pile it onto a baking tray lined with baking paper (do I really have to write that bit?)
Bake 125c for 1 hour

There is no photo to go with this one yet, but there will be. Eventually. I just want to look industrious while the painters are here. There is a limit to how much respect is available if it looks like you spend all your day watching home renovation shows or the food channel on tv.... there is also a limit to how much food two people can eat, in order that it be photographed for a food blog....

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Little Lemon, Almond and Polenta Cup Cakes

I have a very large collection of cooking magazines.
When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I thought my baking days were over. Then I decided to read my magazines with new eyes. I soon identified an enormous number of recipes that were gluten-free, without even trying to be. They were, just because they were. There were even recipes for cakes and desserts!
These little cakes are light, moist and delicious. The glaze goes a little crunchy initially, which is a wonderful contrast - then - if you don't eat them all straight away, it softens - and is still delicious.

200g unsalted butter
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
4 eggs
90g polenta
2 tsp baking powder
250g almond meal
2 tbsp milk
finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
grated zest and juice of one lemon

Pre-heat oven to 180c
Line a twelve hole, 1/2 cup (125ml) capacity muffin pan with cup cake papers.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine polenta and baking powder, add to egg mixture and stir to combine.
Add almond meal. milk, zest and juice,stir until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cases and bake about 20 minutes until light golden.
Cool slightly.
To make the syrup, combine sugar, zest and juice in a small pan with 2 tbsp water. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Then increase heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil for 3 - 4 minutes then remove from the heat.
Remove the cakes from the pan, to a wire rack.
Brush with lemon syrup and set aside to cool completely.
Store in an airtight tin.
This recipe is by Bill Granger and was in Delicious.magazine June 2006

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chilli Jam

This jam is delicious, and it uses some more of the tomato glut.


2 1/2 kg tomatoes - chopped (you can skin them if you want - I don't)
70g garlic - skinned
70g fresh root ginger - skinned and sliced
3 - 4g small dried chillies - about 20
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
937ml vinegar - I use Cider
2 1/4 kg white sugar

Put tomatoes, garlic and ginger and chillies into a large pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add salt, spices and vinegar and bring back to the boil.
Next add the sugar. Simmer for about an hour, stirring regularly.
Blitz the sauce in a food processor.
Return to the clean pot and simmer until a jam consistency.

My little mate - Happy Birthday. 11 today.


Tomatoes.... or should that be TOMATOES!

Every year, the Silver Fox asks me "How many tomato seeds should I plant?" and every year I say "Seven".
Every year he ignores me.
So, each year we have a glut. And I make sauce.


3kg tomatoes - chopped
1kg unpeeled apples - chopped
1kg unpeeled onions - chopped
3 cloves garlic
100g common salt
750g brown sugar
30g allspice berries
30g whole cloves
7 cups vinegar (the original recipe calls for malt vinegar, but I can't have that so I use cider vinegar)

Tip allspice berries and cloves into a piece of muslin and tie with string.
Add to the pot with all other ingredients and simmer at least 4 hours.
Remove spice bag and whizz all other ingredients in a food processor.
Do not cut down on spices or on cooking time.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Zucchini Hunny

Little Ones...

Zucchinis are  tricksy beasties - I'm sure, if you look carefully enough, that you can actually see them grow. Once moment a sweet little zucchini - turn your back for a second - and they turn into marrows!
And we planted four in our small veggie garden! FOUR! Yikes!
So, now I have to figure out how to use them up. Because I can't bear to waste food - a legacy, I think, of my childhood mealtimes - mum and dad telling us to eat everything on our plates, because the starving children would be happy to have such a meal.
Friends and neighbours are starting to avoid me - all zucchini'd out....
So, I made pancakes, twice,  using a recipe by Erica Kerwien of Comfy Belly. Erica has great recipes - you can find her here:  ,and they were delicious - I prefer the buckwheat version, and I added a clove of finely chopped garlic.


Then I made Zucchini Jam, but I called it Lime Hunny - because  suspect my dad would not eat it if he knew what it was made of! One day I'm going to use it to make zucchini meringue pie.

Lime (or Lemon) Hunny
500g zucchini, chopped and steamed - I use green ones with lime juice and yellow ones with lemon
Blitz the cooked zucchini in a food processor until completely munched
Put the zucchini pulp into a pot with
500g sugar
60g butter
juice and zest of 2 Limes (or Lemons)

Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
Boil for about 30 minutes, until the jam has a consistency like Lemon Curd.
As there are no eggs in this preserve, it doesn't need to be refrigerated once it is opened. It also keeps longer than traditional Curd would... and dad loves it! Job done.

...on the left...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Torte de Mandorle

I used to love to bake. I don't do so much anymore. I have found that I just don't like the taste of most of the alternative flours available. But, sometimes a girl needs cake. This is a moist almond cake perfect for a special occasion and even normal people love it! It behaves a  bit like a sponge cake, so try not to open the oven too much while it is cooking...

Torte De Mandorle
300g caster sugar plus extra to sprinkle
10 eggs
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 tsp orange flower water
400g almond meal
icing sugar for dusting

Pre-heat the oven to 170 - 180c
Grease a 24cm round spring-form pan. Line the base with baking paper and sprinkle the sides with caster sugar.

Put eggs, sugar, zests, cinnamon and orange flower water into a large bowl and beat on medium-high speed until really thick. This takes a lot longer than you might imagine. Do not beat at high speed, because the bubbles will be too big and the cake will collapse. (This will not affect the taste however, it will still be delicious).
Decrease speed to medium and with the mixer running, add half the almond flour and beat until combined.
Add the remaining almond flour and beat until the mixture has shrunk by about a third.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake about 50 minutes or until the cake springs back when you press the top lightly. If it is browning too fast, cover the top loosely with tin-foil or baking paper.
Leave in tin to cool for about 15 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cold, dust with icing sugar to serve.

John's cake - ready to transport...

I found this recipe in delicious. magazine May 2006 - the original recipe is by Pietro Porcu

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fruit Cloud - the ice-cream you're having, when you're not having ice-cream...

If you're going to get a disease, I've decided that Celiac disease is the one to get! No drugs, no operations - just good food! How lucky can you get? (Well actually, if I could be a skinny Celiac it would be grand, but - life is not perfect....and I have finally realised that NOTHING is perfect, so that's ok too :-)
But - it is summer, icecream season. And while I can eat a little dairy, too much is just too much. So I was very pleased to find this recipe. It is part of a recipe in Annabel Langbein's "The Free Range Cook" - a most beautiful book.

Fruit Cloud
250g berries - chopped up a bit if large
2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice

Have all your ingredients at room temperature - it helps the mixture fluff up.

Put everything in a bowl and beat till the sugar has dissolved. This will take about 8 minutes.

Pour the mixture into a container, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours. It will keep, covered in the freezer for about a month.

The Fruit Cloud delicious, soft, sweet and melty. Perfect served with extra berries and meringues.

The Beginning...


View from my kitchen window

The Front Garden

This blog came about because, in the middle of last year, my husband started making noises about how our house was too big for us and we would need to think about downsizing - which would mean I would have to get rid of my collections of magazines and recipes.... all ninehundredandseventytwelve of them. He has since decided that we will stay a while longer. But I thought it would be a good idea to put all my favourites in a blog - so that I can access them from wherever we might end up. In December 2009 I was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I decided not to try to convert my favourite recipes to gluten-free, rather, I will use this blog as an opportunity to explore a new way of eating, so all of these recipes are gluten-free.
So, here goes...