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.

March 1, 2011

A Delicious Recipe

I love recipes.

I have several hundred cookbooks, I research recipes online, I watch cooking shows on TV, and I subscribe to just a few cooking magazines.

One of these happens to be Delicious. Well yes, the recipes are, but I mean the name of the publication is Delicious.

I haven't even got to the end of it yet this month, because the pages are folded over at page 27, showing a beautiful looking Polenta and Apple Cake with Muscatel Syrup. This is recipe from Andre Ursini, from the last series of MasterChef. He's opened a Cucina and Polenta Bar in Adelaide, with a menu Matt Preston describes as 'full of simple but intelligent Italian food.'

One of the things that caught my eye was the use of polenta instead of flour. How handy for me! Also there was no dairy except butter, which I can handle, but how easy to swap it out for non dairy fats as well. Perfect for my recipe collection!

Of course, I used the ingredients I had at home substituting here and there where needed. The original recipe required lemon rind and juice for the cake- I used orange. The syrup needed muscatels - I used dried prune chips, they are rich and sweet and just lovely with the cake.

Never worry about changing a recipe around to suit your tastes, pantry or budget. The finished product should still be pretty close if the flavours are similar, and this way you are more likely to try it then putting it off until you get that ridiculously expensive ingredient that you can only buy by the kilo, and you only need 1/3 cup anyway!

Here is my version of the recipe, for the original, go buy the latest edition of Delicious magazine, there are heaps of other yummy recipes too.

Polenta and Apple Cake with Marsala Plum Syrup

200g butter/ non dairy fat
165g caster sugar, plus 1 tbs extra
3 small granny smith apples, peeled and grated
3 eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
1/2 orange juiced and zested
1tsp gf baking powder
120g instant polenta

1. Place 25g butter , the 1 tb extra sugar and apples in pan. Cook, stirring over med high hat for about 8 mins or until apples are soft and liquid has evaporated. Cool to room temperature.

2. Grease and line a 18cm round cake tin. I only have a 20cm, so my cake is a bit flatter than it should be.

3. Beat 175g butter , 165g sugar and a pinch of salt until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating in well after each. Add the stewed apples, vanilla and lemon zest and juice, but don't stir yet. Sift over the polenta and baking powder and beat on low speed until combined.

4. Spoon into the pan and bake at 180* for 35-40 mins or until you get a clean skewer test.

Cool on rack.

200g prune chips
150g caster sugar
125ml marsala
60ml espresso coffee
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean- split and scraped
1 orange, zest peeled into wide strips

Place all ingredients in a pan over high heat. bring to a simmer, then cook for about 10mins or until liquid is syrupy. Cool down and dig out cinnamon and vanilla.

Spoon over the cake and enjoy!

I really enjoyed this recipe. Despite the extra couple of steps, it didn't take too long or too much effort either. The cake itself is really moist and yummy and with a rich buttery flavour. There is a tiny bit of 'grittiness' at the top of the cake that I find common to all polenta cakes. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but it certainly doesn't spoil the flavour factor at all.

The syrup is certainly very rich indeed. The fruit is almost jammy and sticky and the cinnamon isn't too strong. The only thing is that I think I prefer the syrup on the side, not all over the cake, as it almost overpowers the more subtle flavours from the apple. Some cream, mascapone or vanilla icecream would be perfect with this and make it even more Delicious if that's at all possible!

So Readers, do you subscribe to any Cooking Magazines, and do you ever substitute ingredients?


  1. This looks so delicious, I really like the sound of polenta and apple. I like hearing what the masterchef contestants are up to now as well, thanks :)

  2. I think I will make this as it looks lovely and I have all of those ingredients (not prunes but raisins) I buy a magazine sometimes it has some great recipes, old and new. I always substitute otherwise I would be running to the shops and thats a hassle.

  3. I love Delicious magazine too! And I was literally just discussing the merits of muscatels! They're such an undervalued dried fruit but so lovely! :D

  4. That looks so good! And healthy... for a moment there I had to pause and reflect to try and remember Andre.... nopes... I still don't... I keep thinking its Phillip...

  5. My oh my - how wonderful!
    I subscribe to Healthy Food Guide, but on occasion other mags do find their way into my shopping trolley. I am just 'slight' addicted when it comes to recipes lol

  6. absolutely yummy! i've been meaning to use polenta for my next baking and this just looks inspiring! :)

  7. Wow, this looks awesome! I will try it soon!

  8. Of course I do substitutes for ingredients. Not the kind who follows recipes to a T, definitely. ;p

  9. Becca, how fab to find a dish that you don't have to modify to make it gf! I think the grit is part of the charm of polenta cakes, and Delicious mag is definitely one of the better ones on the market here in Oz! :)

  10. mm mmm mmmm! Every element of this dish sounds so good. The look of the syrup makes me wanna swim in it! :) I quite enjoy denser cakes, especially on days I need a good sugar fixing. Love this recipe! And from a Masterchef contestant too!!

  11. I really like when the magazines have do-able recipes- you know ones that don't take so much time that you actually get a chance to cook them within the week!?! Polenta cake = looking good.
    P.S where do you store your several hundreds of cookbooks!

  12. This looks so delicious! I've never tried polenta, though.

    I don't read any cooking magazines, but I have my favorite cook books I like to browse for inspirationOne of them is this:


    I always substitute things I don't tolerate or don't like. And I usually up the amount of veggies. ;)

  13. Wow! this is indeed a very delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing. I have a copy of the mag.. must go look for it now.

  14. This sounds absolutely luscious! Great photos too :)

  15. Glad you liked it Readers!

    It always astonishes the guys at work that gluten and lactose free stuff tastes fantastic!
    It always astonishes me that people can have such negative pre-conceptions about gfree, lfree food.
    Lets keep changing the world, one gluten at a time!
    Thanks Delicious, for more ammunition!

  16. This does look delicious Bec & yes to the questions above..., subscribing & substituting :) I've read about Andre Ursini Polenta bar..., interesting concept huh. Adelaide has got some really interesting restaurants doesn't it.

  17. Hi!

    Just a q - what do you use as your nondairy fat in this recipe?



  18. Hi Matt,
    For a non-dairy fat you can use something like "Nuttlex" which is available at Coles and Woolies, or sometimes "Copha" or even substitute out with vegetable or nut oils.
    As always, check the labelling to be sure that it's free from the nasties that might affect you.
    I'm making gfree, dairy free brownies this afternoon using hazlenut oil instead of butter and "Sweet William" chocolate which is dairy free instead of my just lactose free 85% Lindt.
    I'll probably post the recipe up soon if you're interested.

  19. Ooops, I mean I would use copha depending on the recipe. And i should add that you substitute oil for fats at about 3/4 c oil for every cup of butter.
    Always play around with it a bit though, some recipes need a bit more flour if you go that way.

  20. Ahhh Delicious, my favourite :) Valli Little is a Goddess, her recipes always work beautifully.
    Heidi xo