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.

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

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?


September 10, 2014

Quick and Easy YoDo Quick Bread

I belong to a few Facebook groups related to InTolerant issues, and one of the Coeliac groups has long been promoting YoDo as a great alternative to traditional breads and dough

YoDo is simply a Dough made up of gf  SR Flour and Yoghurt- that's it

The amazing thing is that it just works, every single time. It's been used for pizza bases, scones, cinnamon rolls and so many other yummy things, making it a firm favourite with the online community for sure

Quick Bread is technically any bread leavened without yeast. In the case of YoDo it works with the raising agent in the Self Raising Flour, but I also like to think of it as quick bread because it's so quick to throw together and so quick to bake

Basic YoDo ratio  1:1.5

1 cup lf yoghurt to 1 1/2 cups SR gf Flour
How easy is that!

Of course you can make it just a bit more interesting by adding in extra yummies if you like, and of course I couldn't resist :)

2 tubs lactose free Yoghurt
3 tubs worth gf SR Flour
pinch Salt
3/4 cup Walnuts
1/2 cup diced lf Cheese (I used Liddells)
1 green Apple
couple sprigs Rosemary

Chop the cheese and apple into nice little chunks, crush the walnuts roughly, and finely chop the rosemary into itty-bitty bits

Simply place the flour and yoghurt in a bowl

And mix! For a flavoured dough like this one, I just give it a bit of a stir through to start with- otherwise mix until all the flour is absorbed into the flour and it comes together well

Pop all the bits and bobs in at once, and keep mixing. I really find it just so much easier to use your hands to squish it all together well and distribute the chunks nicely

The dough should still be a bit sticky

Using wet hands, pat the dough into a greased pan, then bake at 190*C for 30-35 minutes

So pretty and it smells amazing too!

I like to eat this while it's still warm- the cheese is oozing and the apple is soft. So yummy, and perfect with a nice rustic pate like this one, with a nice soup like this one, or just slathered with some butter or lf spread instead.....mmmmm.....

Just a word of caution Dear Readers, if you are making this gluten free then you should be well aware that most gluten free baked goods are at their peak on the day that they're made. I found that the best way to refresh it after that was to give it a quick flick of water, then pop it in the microwave on medium heat for just 20 or 30 seconds. But the best thing about this style of quick bread is that it's quick and easy enough to make fresh whenever you feel like a bit of yumminess!

So Dear Readers, have you made Quick Bread before, and what would you mix into yours for extra yumminess?


September 2, 2014

In My Kitchen- September 2014

Happy Spring Dear Readers!

I'm sitting here at my kitchen bench, staring at some beautiful blossom trees in the lane way, sipping a cup of Wakame Miso Soup and tearing into a Walnut, apple, cheese and rosemary quick bread that I've just pulled out of the oven. It's hot, and I burnt my tongue, but oh so worth it to capture that moment when the cheese is still stringy, the apples still steamy, and the butter drips off my fingers narrowly missing the computer keypad
That's what's going on In My Kitchen at the moment, to catch up with some other bloggers, peek into their kitchens and see what they're up to at the moment, check out Celia's blog Here and follow the links....

In My Kitchen...
is my Mothers Day present from littlej. After a round-about journey, going to the wrong address and crossing the ocean a couple of times, it has finally made it's way home...only 4 months late :)  There's lots of fun techniques inside and I'm glad to say that it was well worth the wait

In My Kitchen...
is a gorgeous Gold Cutlery Set. It's a bit hard to show how gold coloured it really is, but the spoon laid across the others is plain stainless just for reference. I foresee this gracing my Festive Christmas Table, and other special celebrations that just need a bit of extra bling

In My Kitchen...
Is a very nice, very fresh Primo Sale- a very, very young Mozzarella cheese. It's lovely and smooth with just a bit of acidity and it tastes wonderful with slices of truss tomato and drizzled with EVOO

In My Kitchen...
from the same local producer in Hume, is real honest-to-goodness fresh Cheddar Curd for Canadian Poutine! It squeaks beautifully when bitten into, and it tastes amazing indeed! I have assembled the fries, gravy and curds, now all that is left is to enjoy the gooey goodness...mmmmm.....

In My Kitchen...
is a big bag of Smoked Bacon Bones. I want to replicate my favourite BBQ rib sauce that usually involves braising the rubbed ribs, then reducing the liquid for ages before ending up with just a little sweet, sticky, smoky yumminess. I figured to capture the 'real' flavour I'd give these bones a try for a bargain way of creating much larger quantities

In My Kitchen...
is some very yummy Marinated Goat Fetta. The lime flavour adds a lovely bit of bite, and I've been enjoying this on toast for lunch

In My Kitchen...
from the same supplier, I scored a big wedge of Goat Milk Cheesecake. Very nice indeed! A tad crumbly, but still nice and rich with just a hint of earthy tang from the goat cheese

In My Kitchen...
are these wonderful Purple Potatoes, aren't they pretty!
Lovely and fresh, healthy and organic- half of them were turned into potato salad to show off their purpliness, the other half went straight into a garden bed to supply me with future crops of my own

In My Kitchen...
is a very weird pot of very bright green water. This is the water that I steamed the potatoes over- they didn't even touch it. But as we all survived our dinner, I assume there is a very logical food science answer and tipped it down the sink

In My Kitchen...
is this cute little Tiffin Box. Not quite as tall as my hand, it still holds enough for my lunch and is a great alternative to plastic containers

In My Kitchen...
is a pretty Mini Cake Stand. At just a few dollars I couldn't resist it, but now I have to find somewhere to put it

In My Kitchen...
A Silver Platter on very ornate claw feet. I picked up this lovely at Trash and Treasure for just $20. I checked up on all the maker's marks and stamps and it's actually quite old, but sadly not worth a fortune as it's just plated. I'm glad I could give it a new home where it will be loved and used on the table once again instead of languishing in the back of a cupboard somewhere lonely

So Dear Readers, what's going on in Your Kitchen this month, and do you know what made the potato water turn bright green?


August 26, 2014

Sweet and Sour Pork with the Billyboil

Have you ever heard the term Thermal Cooking before dear Readers?

It certainly wasn't a term I was familiar with until recently. Also known as Vacuum Cooking, it's a great method to create delicious meals while saving on time, energy and power bills

The nice people at Billyboil kindly sent me a unit to play with, no strings attatched regarding writing a review or plugging their product, but I was genuinely impressed with it's ease of use and overall performance and just couldn't help letting you know how great it really is and how easy it is to use

The Billyboil is a nice little unit that has an insulated outer pot that acts as a thermos maintaining temperatures for quite a long time, and an inner pot that's just like a regular saucepan or stockpot.
 It's perfectly suited for 'Wet Dishes' like casseroles, curries or braising, but you can also use it to cook rice, pasta or even breads or cakes!

I thought the best way to try it out would be with a dish I'm comfortable and familiar with so I'd have something to compare it to at the end of the day

The recipe I decided to go with is pretty much my tried and true Sweet and Sour recipe. I blogged about it a few years ago here: Cooking En Masse  It's actually still one of my favourite posts, as it shows a little about what I love to do and what it's like to put your food and heart on a plate :)

I have cut down the process a little and have chosen more store cupboard ingredients along with the fresh veggies as this is more suited to the style of the Billyboil with it's camping/mobile application where you might have limited pantry access

Sweet and Sour Pork
* If you aren't lucky enough to have a Billyboil on hand, you can of course cook it gently on the stove top, in a slow cooker, or even a pressure cooker if you're pressed for time

500gm diced Pork
large tin/440gm tin Australian Pineapple Pieces
1/2 cup gf Hoisin Sauce
1 tab Sesame Oil
1 tab Arrowroot Powder
375ml tetra pack Chicken or Veggie Stock
1 big tab minced Garlic
1 big tab minced Ginger
1 large Capsicum
1 large Onion
2 large Carrots
2 large Tomatoes

For those who don't know, this is arrowroot. It's a great thickening agent that sets clear, works well with acid and doesn't need to be boiled to thicken up- it's also gluten free

You can use any cut of pork, but I used fore quarter chops and just trimmed off the bone and fat. They are such an economical cut of meat and well suited for this style of cooking

Mix the ginger, garlic and sesame oil into the pork and let it marinate for a while. Overnight would be fine, but even just while you prep the veggies will be OK

Slice the veggies into nice bite size pieces. They don't need to be too thin as you don't want them to mush

Using the inner pot, brown off the meat in a little oil. I always like to do this to seal it and add a little extra depth of flavour, but you can skip it if you don't have the time

Add in all the veggies

Combine the pineapple with all the juice, hoisin sauce and stock together, then pour into the pot and mix through

Bring the pot to the boil, then simmer for about 10 or so minutes to bring the temperature of the contents up to a safe region

Yes, the pot is quite full- I was greedy and made a huge batch. With wet dishes like this I always make extra to add to my Freezer Meal stash for busy days. The recipe given above is more manageable with just a nice generous amount for 4 or 5 hungry people. The inner pot has a 3.5 litre capacity and as you can see I filled it right up

As I don't want to give anyone food poisoning, I took the temperature of my dish after simmering so I had a bench mark to compare it to before serving, it was definitely nice and hot indeed

Quickly add in the arrowroot dissolved into a little water, and stir to mix through
Pop the lid on, and then put the whole pot into the outer unit and close it up immediately

Now go and do whatever you want to do for pretty much the rest of the day. The Billyboil website claims the unit will retain it's heat safely for up to 8 hours, so far I've only tested it to 5 1/2, but with fantastic results

I left my meal for about 4 1/2 hours, and as you can see the temperature was still well and truly in the Safe Zone at over 80*C. I could have left it for a couple more hours if I was busy and it would still have been fine, but it was dinner time and the family wasn't prepared to eat at bedtime- even for the sake of scientific investigation. They can be difficult like that sometimes... :)

Cooking the meal the Billyboil way really does work indeed! It's such a lovely gentle method of cooking that results in tender meat, veggies that still hold their shape and structure, and sauce with a lovely clean, fresh taste. I can definitely see it becoming a fixture around my kitchen as it will save so much time, effort and energy!

You can see how convenient this little package is for caravanning adventures- just get it ready in the morning while you're still plugged in on-site, and you can have a nice hot meal at tea time without having to plug in or get a generator going. It's also handy for people like my parents who live on a rural property that can be regularly flooded in and suffer power blackouts.
Last year they had to go a whole week without power and had to cook everything over an open fire. The Billyboil would have been a godsend indeed, as it only needs to be on the heat for such a small length of time and would save so much fuel and effort

So Dear Readers, what's your favourite 'Wet Dish' and have you heard of Thermal Cookers before?

Thanks to the nice guys at Billyboil for sending me one of their products to play with! For more information, or to find out where to buy a Billyboil of your own, check out their website Here 
to answer any questions you might have about this energy efficient cooking style