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.

July 29, 2010

Birthday Party

Happy Birthday!

Who says you can only have a picnic in summer? I refuse to be dictated to by the seasons! Maybe the rain, but not the seasons. Sure the weather may still be cold, the wind may be chilly, but bunting, red and white gingham, baguettes and baskets all say picnic to me.

O.K, the picnic in question was held in my backyard. I'm fond of running water and toilet availability. And the cooking was done in my oven, and the food was fresh, not packed in baskets for hours.... but a picnic just the same.

I thought about food that seems especially picnicky...... and discounted sandwiches. I have never found a great gfree bread, and wanted something more exciting. I decided on a menu of homemade chicken liver parfait, stuffed buns aka Muffaleta, buttermilk fried chicken, potato salad, various nibbly things like olives, dolmades, stuffed mini eggplants, cheese platter, and Cherry Ripe Cheesecake for Birthday Cake.

Now, what's a party without games? And of course my game revolves around food! The game was 'Salad Surprise' and contestants had to examine a selection of classic salads depicted as skewers, with the one to name the most the winner. How many can you guess? I had so much fun making these little lovelies; boiling and peeling quail eggs, cutting out little carrot flowers,making parmesan tuilles, drilling holes through toasted gfree croutons, etc. But of course they were practical and part of the meal too, not just for decoration.

We had: Waldorf salad, Caprese salad, Coleslaw, Ceasar salad, Fruit salad, Potato salad, and of course -Three Bean salad!

How did you go?

The guests were all asked to bring along a thermos containing a drink of choice for sharing and what a selection! There was rich, strong coffee, mulled wine, licorice legs tea from T2, and many more.
We also washed down our meal with a fun,fizzy raspberry sparkling wine and homemade cherry lemonade.

I combined old fashioned lemon barley syrup with soda water, frozen cherries, mint sprigs and lemon wedges into liquid lovliness,a yummy and refreshing drink that wasn't sickly sweet. I have a real hate against all types of soft drink, my drink of chioce is plain old soda water, served very cold.

Now the best part, the Cherry Ripe Cheesecake.

I can’t give quantities as I kind of made it up as I went along, but I can give you ingredient lists.

I made the base using a packet of gluten free chocolate biscuits, desiccated coconut, glace cherries and coconut oil.

The topping consists of cream cheese, lactose free cream (I had to draw the line somewhere), sugar, frozen cherries, eggs, cherry wine for flavour, and black cherry jam.

I decided to bite the bullet and just take lactase tablets as I knew what to expect from a standard recipe and ran out of time to experiment with lactose free options.

The chocolate sauce has Lindt 85%, which on reflection was a mistake as the coco-iness was overpowering. The 70% is still lactose free and would have tasted better. Also used was l-free cream, sugar and some more cherry wine.

I pressed the base ingredients onto the bottom of the lined pan, and then mixed the rest of the ingredients together, kind of marbling the jam through the mix with a knife. Some leftover frozen cherries were popped on top for looks.

The whole thing was baked in a 170* oven for about 1 ½ hours or until just slightly wobbling when you give the pan a quick shake. Cool down and refrigerate.

To cut the moist yumminess you will need to have a jug of hot water at the ready and dip your knife in-between slices.

So readers, how do you like to celebrate your birthday?


  1. Happy Birthday! I love picnics too and it looks lovely and sunny for it too! Love the sound of the Cherry Ripe cheesecake!

  2. Oh my goodness! This looks like such a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! And the salad party games??? GENIUS!!!!!!

  3. OK. I've officially realised how dam lazy I am. My first thoughts with your fabulous picnic blog was..... invite me next time!!!!!! It all looked, sounded & dare I say 'tasted' (virtually of course) brilliant and now I'm left with this laziness issue. Note to self - just do it Anna, you know how much you love picnics :)
    Agree with Lisa - fantastic salad party game.

  4. What a wonderful spread! And it looks like the weather held up for you- it looks like a wonderful sunny Canberra day... not like the last couple of days we've been having!

    And only when reading this post about having to take lactese tablets etc, did I really think about the amount of effort it takes to have something like cheesecake and make it gluten and lactose free. I'm amazed! Good on you! :)

  5. Thanks Lorraine,birthdays aren't just for kids!

    Hi,Lisa, I had so much fun thinking this one up.
    The expression on my friends faces when I bought the whole thing out was priceless.

    Anna, We've had plenty of lazy picnics AKA 'chipnics' where we've just picked up a butchers paper lot of hot chips and enjoyed the outdoors for an hour or two without any hard work!

    Honey, It becomes 2nd nature and this is what I want people to understand, that it's wrong to be afraid of food, whether you have InTolerances or are trying to cook for someone who has. Just find food that loves you and love it back!

    Thanks Lovelies!

  6. Those skewers look amazing!!