I have always considered myself quite a nice person. I like food of all shapes, flavours and colours. From every country and continent. I don’t discriminate, I am an equal opportunity eater. It’s only the doctors who say I’m intolerant. And certain foods who refuse to tolerate me. They certainly refuse to recognise and respect my right to eat them without major physical discomfort and distress.


Gluten and lactose are not my friends.


Despite the negative attitudes surrounding me from many of those I love best, (cakes, ice cream, hot toast) I decided to become a chef. Not always easy when you live in a bread and milk filled world. I like to think that this has helped me become a better person as I embrace my differences and refuse to let the gluten get me down. I believe InTolerance. I am the InTolerant Chef.

Food should not be about what you can’t eat, but what you can and what you enjoy eating. This blog is about my journey of cooking and eating and discovery. It’s not a definitive guide to allergy awareness nor do my intolerances make me an expert. Your body is your responsibility, not mine. I only know what works for me.


I can tell you this..... No glutens were harmed in the making of this website.

October 25, 2014

Old Fashioned Melting Moments



Today we're going with an Old Fashioned Favourite- Melting Moments, or sometimes called YoYo Biscuits


A real trip down memory lane for me as these were one of the first type of biscuits that I made in Home Economics (Cooking) Class in School, and were a staple of childhood lunchboxes back when most people still baked from scratch


For those who aren't familiar with these little lovelies, they are a delicate shortbread/ish style biscuit that should- as their name suggests- just melt away in the mouth
Melting moments can be served individually or stuck together in pairs with icing, jam or custard. However you serve them , they're a delicious and easy biscuit that will bring a smile to your face and hopefully bring back happy memories too



Melting Moments

250 gm Butter or lactose free spread
1 cup gf Plain Flour
1 cup gf Custard Powder- this won't be lactose free though
1/2 cup gf Icing Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1tsp Vanilla
pinch Salt

Just a few notes before you start:
I've always used custard powder for these biscuits. If you don't use gf flour as the base, most recipes split the flour content between regular flour and cornflour to give the dough the short, crumbly texture they require. The custard flour is mostly made of starch so that works just fine, and it also gives a nice flavour and colour to the finished product. Also, it's just the way I've always made them :)
Now you can see that there's no egg yolk in these photos, but these are from the first lot I made. The trouble was that as delicious as they were, they were really just too delicate and crumbly so I had to add the egg yolk to help bind the mix together. You could also add some xanthum gum if you like to do the same thing. It really just depends on the mix of starch and flour in your choice of Gluten free flour mix and the Custard flour- each one has their own ratio that can make a difference to the biscuit at the end





Combine the spread, icing sugar, vanilla, egg yolk and salt in a bowl




Mix it with beaters until it's nice and fluffy




Stir in the custard powder and flour




Until it's all come together nicely




Pop into a piping bag with a large star tip- or you could just roll the dough into little balls and squish them down slightly with a fork




Pipe or squish the mix onto baking paper- you should get about 24 to 30 biscuits. Bake at 160*C for 12 to 15 minutes depending on size. The biscuits will still be quite soft, so leave them on the trays until they cool




I like to join my Melting Moments with raspberry jam rather than icing or custard. I find that the biscuits can be assembled straight away and last a lot longer. The trouble is though, that jam straight from the jar is still pretty soft and wet which means it won't glue anything together well at all.
To make a nice strong bond, bring about a cup of your favourite jam gently to the boil and simmer it for a few minutes to condense it down and make it nice and goopy. Use while still just warm, or it will set quite hard and you'll have to melt it again




Fresh out the oven and cooling down




Lovely served straight up with a cup of tea




But even better with a  scoop of gloop to make it extra yummy indeed




A lovely light, short biscuit that will just melt in your mouth, but with a bit of chew from the jammy centre that brings it all together

Perfect with a cup of Earl Grey for Morning or Afternoon Tea!


 So Dear Readers, would you call these Melting Moments or YoYo biscuits, and what's your favourite flavour of jam?



 

October 17, 2014

Chinese Coconut Jelly




I know, I know...

I've told you a million times how much we love Yum Cha/ Dim Sum

Is it the noise, the energy and hustle of the staff, the mystery of the unknown as each little lid reveals another morsel of yumminess, the chance to try so many dishes at one sitting...pure greed? I just don't know, but we keep coming back again and again, and I keep trying my darndest to re-create the dishes at home in a gluten free environment so I can safely eat just as many of these exotic delicacies as the rest of the family


Coconut Jelly is actually BigJ's favourite Asian dessert. He's not a huge fan of mango or tapioca pearls, but he really loves this. Littlej loves Mango Pudding, and I adore 'Snowballs', the coconut covered steamed rice flour dumplings filled with bean paste or custard
As the weather grudgingly warms up here in Canberra, we're once again turning our backs on the heavier meals and desserts of Winter and thinking of fresher, lighter flavours. What then, could be nicer than a bit of tropical sweetness reminding us that Summer is on its way?


Dim Sum Coconut Jelly


1 lt Coconut Milk or 2 large tins (@440mls) plus topped up with water if necessary
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
4 tsp Gelatine Powder
big pinch Salt



 Pop everything into a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar and gelatine dissolves- don't bring it to the boil or simmer



Pour it into a square or rectangular container to a depth that will allow you to cut it into nice cubes



Cover and refrigerate until set



You'll know when it's set as it should pull away from the sides of the container cleanly- remember this should be a firm set jelly



Flip out onto a clean board




Then cut into nice neat cubes- of course any that aren't quite perfect will have to be deliciously disposed of, purely in the name of quality control of course :)




Light, refreshing, not too sweet and slips down effortlessly- just what you need after a big meal!



So Dear Readers, do you like a sweet ending to your meal, and what's your favourite Asian style dessert?


Check out my other Gluten Free Dim Sum/Yum Cha recipes:
Gluten Free Dumplings
Steamed Coconut Buns
Stuffed Eggplant
Steamed Pork Buns- Char Siu Bao
Thai Pearl Dumplings
Mango Pudding
Spring Rolls





 

October 5, 2014

In My Kitchen- October 2014



October already!

Blossoms are blooming, veggie seeds are just starting to sprout and hayfever has definitely hit fever pitch

It's also time for the fun monthly In My Kitchen roundup joining in with gorgeous Celia and an ever growing group of foodies for a peep into their kitchens. If you feel like a little look-see or if you'd like to join in, link up with Celia  HERE  for a bit of fun


In My Kitchen...
is a big bunch of fresh home-grown Asparagus. It's popping up almost faster than I can pick it at the moment, and boy does it shoot up quick. It's just so sweet and tender that I like to sneak a few stems to snack on every time I'm outside in the garden- yummo!



In My Kitchen...
is some Health Inspiration. Both BigJ and I need to get fitter and healthier, so we're looking at the 5:2 Fasting Diet Plan as a manageable way to stay on track and hopefully lose a bit of weight in the process- here's hoping :)



In My Kitchen...
are some very yummy Chutney we picked up at a local market. The citrus flavours come through really well but without any bitterness



In My Kitchen...
is a Giant Blueberry Cupcake made by littlej. She had free reign on the sprinkles and food colourings, and I can tell you that the inside of the cake is even more startling than the outside



In My Kitchen...
are a few more market goodies from the Chilli Factory. These are really at the wussy/mild end of the heat spectrum though. My favourite Wasabi Mustard is at 10 on their scale and is plenty hot enough for me although I believe they get up to 15 on their heat level



In My Kitchen...
is this very unusual find of Goat Milk Caramel. Now I can tolerate goat and sheep products just fine, so this was an exciting product indeed. It was actually even cheaper than most of the other 'regular' ones out there in the market too- win win!



In My Kitchen...
is some very yummy Caramelised Blueberry Balsamic Vinegar and some nice fresh Olive Oil. I really like fruit splashed with balsamic, and I also really like to marble it and the matching fruit through ice cream for a bit of sweet acidity



In My Kitchen...
are gorgeous little bubbles of deliciousness! Tiny little pearls filled with sweet violet flavour, and just so cute indeed. I really need to come up with a way to show these off- maybe topping a verrine or something else beautiful


Just like floral caviar! They go 'pop' in the mouth too



In My Kitchen...
more Floral Flavours with a jar of Chocolate Covered, Rose flavoured Macadamia nuts. A very sweet cheer-me-up present from BigJ



In My Kitchen...
a Monster sized Stock Pot for BigJ from MiddleC. I have a nice big one for soup and stock, but we needed a really large one for when he braises his World Famous BBQ Ribs. It's serious business these ribs. First he covers them with a Very Secret dry rub; then vac seals and marinates them so the flavour sucks right into the meat; then the meat is braised in a Very Secret wet mix; then the ribs are tossed on the BBQ to get their yummy smokey flavour and build up a sweet, sticky glaze as they're continually brushed with the reduced braising liquid that eventually becomes the sauce for the finally finished product. Whew! I promise you the end result is well and truly worth it, but he won't let me blog about it as it is a very well guarded Secret indeed


 
In My Kitchen...
are some crispy Rice Flour and Sesame Cookies I picked up at the Thai Food Fair. It's held every year at the Thai Embassy and we always have a great time seeing all the cultural displays and filling up on the huge variety of yummy food available



In My Kitchen...
with the weather warming up I thought I should be prepared with my favourite Summery Tipple. A small splash of this Sloe Gin in a very big glass of plain soda water is absolutely delicious and very, very refreshing. I like the slight sour taste and it's not too sweet at all



In My Kitchen...
on the other end of the alcohol spectrum is this very sticky, very sweet Vok liqueur. It's selling point to me was it's flavour of Rose and Violet- I just can't help it! The taste is actually very similar to old fashioned Musk Sticks, but I can imagine just a touch infused into cream or panna cotta would be very nice indeed. Perhaps in a verrine topped with little violet pearls perhaps? :)



So Dear Readers, what's your favourite Summery Tipple and is there any flavour that you just can't resist?



 

September 22, 2014

The Hungry Gap Spring Risotto



It's a hungry time of year here in my garden



The Hungry Gap is the time of year when Winters crops are all gone but the Spring harvest is still a ways off. I don't mean we're not eating well, I just mean nearly every thing we're buying is coming from the markets or supermarkets, and that the garden is looking very empty indeed. Despite little sprouts and blossom promising future goodies, the only edibles currently popping up out of the ground are new garlic, asparagus, mint and hundreds of little self sown butter lettuce



There didn't seem to be much I could do with all these bits and pieces, until I thought of that great classic Risotto. I actually don't tend to make this much at home as I was put off by making it in vast quantities commercially. It still all had to be stirred by hand- only this time using a paddle, standing on a stool to reach the bottom of the pan, and sweating and steaming away for about an hour at a time. However, I bravely put aside my prejudices to create a yummy meal made from bits and pieces from the garden, store cupboard and freezer. I know I'm not the only one out there who has frozen stock stashed away, or prosciutto off cuts and goat cheese bought on special, hidden in there as well (I'm thinking of you Celia!) I might be the only one that has Jasmine, Basmati, Red, Black, Sticky white, Arborio, plain Brown and Brown Basmati rices in the store cupboard though....


A high starch, short/medium rice is usually used for risotto. The stirring releases the starch molecules on the rice which gives the risotto it's lovely creamy texture. It should always be served just al dente, and with just enough liquid to 'flow' across the plate



Hungry Gap Spring Risotto

3/4 cup Risotto Rice
750ml to 1lt Chicken Stock
2 tab lactose free Butter/Spread
1 tsp Oil
1/2 glass White Wine
Seasoning

Butter Lettuce- shredded
fresh Garlic Bulb or just a clove or 2- cut finely
few stems Asparagus- stems sliced into thin rounds, tips left intact
sprig of Mint- shredded very finely

round of soft Goat Cheese
6 slices Prosciutto
juice and rind of half a Lemon





First things first, get the stock simmering away on the stove top next to the pan you plan to cook your risotto in.

Cook the prosciutto quickly on a medium heat until just starting to brown.The rashers will crisp up as they cool down


Keeping the fat in the pan, add the oil and butter, then stir through the garlic and rice until they are nicely coated all over and just starting to go slightly translucent
I missed that photo- sorry! So here's a picture of what happens when you don't pick your asparagus in a timely manner. It grows crazy turning into a very pretty ferny thing that gets to about a metre tall



Pour in the wine and stir until it's just about evaporated



Then start adding in the hot stock about half a cup at a time, stirring all the time, until each lot of stock is absorbed before adding in the next lot. This could take about 15- 20 minutes



Make sure you have the veggies ready and on hand, as you don't want to stop stirring



When you've reached nearly the end of your stock- you might just need 750 mls, pop in the asparagus stems and stir in so they can cook through



and pop the tips into the last little bit of stock to just get tender as well



Still a nice bit of crunch to the asparagus, you don't want to ruin it by cooking it until grey and squishy



Once the rice is still just al dente, add in the lettuce



Don't worry if it look like a lot, it will wilt down nicely



Turn off the heat and mix in the goat cheese, lemon juice, rind and mint. Check for seasoning, don't forget the cheese should add quite a lot of saltiness



Look at this delicious gloopiness! If the risotto seems just a little stiff then stir in the last little bit of stock to loosen it all up



Dish up quickly while still nice and hot or it will thicken up instead of being a nice smooth style of texture. Garnish with the crispy prosciutto shards, asparagus tips and a last little sprinkle of mint and lemon rind



So Dear Readers, do you have odd things stashed away in your freezer and what's starting to pop up in your garden?