July 30, 2012
Today was Dentist day
Never my favourite day.
Sorry to all you dentists out there, I don't know if it's sharp pointy things in my mouth, the sound of the drill, or the plain old feeling of invasion-of-privacy that comes from having a strangers face hovering just centimeters above my face. I'm not a fan of up-close-and-personal.
The good news is that my chipped tooth is fixed, my teeth have been buffed and shined, and ..... Dentist day always means comfort food. Cavity or not, I feel I have earned it, but in deference to the hard work my dentist has put in, and the hundreds of dollars I forked out, I've gone for savoury comfort food instead of sweet. This time.
I didn't want to buy all new ingredients for this post, instead I ratted around my pantry and fridge to see what I could find and pull together into something yummy.
1 packet gluten free Chorizo style sausages- but you can use any well flavoured one, a Pork and Fennel one would be lovely too
250 grm Ricotta type Cheese- I make my own with goat milk, it's not lactose free but I'm fine with it
200 grm Spinach- frozen or fresh
good handful fresh Basil Leaves, chopped
250 ml or to taste Tomato Passata
2 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 packet Rice Paper Sheets
Split the skins of the sausages, and scoop out the insides
Combine them with the cheese, spinach and basil
then squish squish squish together with your hands until nicely smooth and well mixed
Grease your baking dish and pour in the passata, then sprinkle on the garlic and any extra basil leaves
Dip a sheet of rice paper into cold water, leave to soften for just a few seconds, then fold in opposite sides to form a rectangle. This is just the way I wanted my dinner to look and would fit my dish nicely, you can certainly make them longer and stack them instead if you prefer
Form a sausage of the sausage mix on the short edge of the rice paper, then roll up tightly
I cut mine in half before standing them up in the baking dish nestling them into the sauce
Keep going until the dish is tightly packed with cute little cannelloni rolls.
Top up with sauce if necessary, you don't want them to be covered completely to the top
Pop a lid on the dish, or cover tightly with foil to stop them drying out. Bake at 180*C for an hour or so, mine took 75 minutes, or until the meat is completely cooked through
I also made some crunchy baked garlic chorizo crumbs to pop on top of the finished meal for a bit of crunch, but I forgot to garnish the plate before I photographed it! Oooops! But I promise you they were lovely. I crumbled up a few slices of gluten free bread, scattered in a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves, dotted through little bits of the sausage then drizzled with a touch of oil . This was all baked alongside the cannelloni, for about 20 minutes or until cooked and crunchy.
I always find that these type of dishes cut better if they're left to set for a while and not served immediately from the oven.
I served my cannelloni with a fresh green salad and no crunchy crumb garnish, but next time I won't forget!
So Dear Readers, do you mind going to the dentist, and what type of food do you like to eat after?
July 24, 2012
Littlej loves baking days
Opening the door to the house to be hit by sweet spiciness and cookie goodness after a long day of school. A tall glass of milk next to an even taller stack of biscuits sure makes homework more appealing now, doesn't it?
There are so many different types of biscuits out there.
Hard brittle biscotti, chewy crunchy gingernuts, snappy crumbly shortbread....
These ones I'm making today are gentle generous gingery bites. Not too crunchy, not way too soft, juuuuuust right for dunking and swallowing down with a mouthful of milk.
For these bikkies I wanted to use the ginger kibble from my holiday goodies. It's tiny little pieces of crystalised ginger that are just a bit too small to be sold on their own. If you don't have any of these you can chop up some larger pieces or substitute with other dried fruits/ nuts/ choc chips.
I also used some treacle for a nice depth of flavour and some vanilla extract with cardamon for an extra hint of spice. You can add a touch of the dried spice instead if you like, or maybe some cinnamon, nutmeg or tiny pinch of cloves instead. If you really want a ginger hit you could mix through a couple of teaspoons of dried ginger for real bite
Big Ginger Softies
200gm Butter or alternate
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
2/3 cup Castor Sugar
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cup Ginger Kibble
2 Tab Treacle
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
3/4 tsp psyllium fibre
(what's that you ask? Great information on psyllium husk and its use in gluten free baking can be found at this post by lovely Shauna from Gluten Free Girl and The Chef:
Beat together the sugars and butter until well combined, but not fluffy
Add in the eggs, vanilla and treacle
Stir together the flour, psyllium and baking powder then beat into the cookie mix. Don't overbeat, just make it a nice and cohesive
Toss in the ginger kibble and stir until distributed evenly
Place decent sized lumps of batter on baking trays- mine were almost golf ball sized, then bake at 160*C for about 20-23 minutes.
They will be going crispy around the edges, but still cakey in the middle. Don't worry though, they'll harden up on cooling so leave them on the tray until set then finish them off on a rack
See, perfect. But if you try and move them while hot or you will just end up with a big crumby but yummy mess
Serve the cookies with a big glass of frosty lactose free/soy/nut/alternative milk of choice, ready for dunking.
I love the crunch around the edges of these cookies where they are just starting to brown and the sugars caramelise, but then there's the softer middle with the nuggets of ginger as a chewy surprise.
So Dear Reader, do you like chewy, crunchy, bitety, or nice Big Softies like these for your milk and cookies treat?
July 19, 2012
Well My Dearest Readers, I'm back from a wonderful holiday visiting with my parents at their farm on Queenlands Sunshine Coast.
It really wasn't meant to include a holiday from blogging as well.
I lugged my computer and all its bits and pieces up there, but for some reason there was no way possible I could connect to the Internet. I tried and tried, but as they live very rurally there was not even an Internet cafe that I could hook on too.
So for everyone who I missed commenting on, blog posts, twitter or such, I apologise. I will try and catch up with some of the backlog, but there are sooooooo many I might just start from scratch instead.
We did have a fantastic time though!
Apart from the farm goats and chickens, we saw wild quail, pheasant, wallabies, bandicoots, bush turkeys and even deer roaming around. This was on top of all the usual parrots and birds eating at the feeders, and lizards and frogs hiding around the rocks keeping warm.
So as I've just stepped off a plane, and have a million and one things to do, I will take a leaf from my dear friend Celia's blog http://figjamandlimecordial.com/2012/07/01/in-my-kitchen-july-2012/ and post an In My Kitchen Post for today, and promise to post a recipe very, very soon with some of my yummy souvenirs.
In My Kitchen is.... a jar of gorgeous Candied Lilac Flowers. I just love floral flavours and this is certainly a new one for me. I just need to find a recipe worthy of the yumminess....
In My Kitchen is.... Lovely Culinary Lavender Products including oil, honey, dried flowers and a plant!
In My Kitchen is.... some gorgeous flavoured salts, Porcini and Truffle, so luxurious!
In My Kitchen is.... a selection of Ginger lovelies from The Ginger Factory. Imagine, a whole kilo of ginger kibble for just $10!
In My Kitchen is.... a big tub of amazing Macadamia Butter. So rich and smooth indeed, so perfect for spreading on hot crusty toast for breakfast
In My Kitchen is... a stunning Turkish bowl gifted to me from Lovely Celia! Way to pretty to fill up with just any old thing- maybe some salted pistachios in the shell?
In My Kitchen is.... a bunch of Red Bananas. I've been looking for these for ages, now just waiting to ripen on the bench before taste testing
In My Kitchen is.... a HUGE bag of vanilla pods! When I opened the package up the smell went through the whole house and bought people running. There were 132 altogether, which at $75 worked out to just 57cents each. Now that's what I call a bargain indeed!
In My Kitchen... is a big bowl of dried strawberries and a pot of strawberry jam. We visited a pick-your-own farm... but more on that later!
In My Kitchen is.... a colony of Ants! BigJ apparently didn't do much cooking while we were gone, and the kitchen was happily taken over by a colony of ants. Unfortunately these aren't the only bugs around because in my kitchen is also the Vaporizer- spitting out streams of eucalyptus scented steam to hopefully clear up our sinuses. Luckily there are still a few days of holidays before school starts again.
So my Dear Readers, are all your holiday memories edible ones, and do you buy culinary souvenirs as well?
July 5, 2012
How have I never tried this pudding before?
It must be a cruel trick the Universe decided to play on me, that's the only logical explanation. Well, I will certainly make up for lost time without delay. That'll teach the universe to mess with me!
My husband had a birthday this week. Littlej decided she wanted to make Daddy a cake, so I happily went with dessert instead. His favourite ever is Lemon Meringue Pie, but really I didn't want to muck about with all the fiddliness. I looked around for something else.
The other day a Contestant on one of the Cooking Shows on TV whipped up a Lemon Delicious Pudding to rave reviews from a Notoriously Fussy Food Critic. I figured if he was impressed and cracked a smile, then it was certainly worth a go.
Thus I thwarted the plans of the Universe to separate me from my Pre-Destined Pudding Pleasures.
Delicious Lemon Delicious Pudding
(yes, the extra delicious is necessary)
1 cup Castor Sugar
1 cup lactose free Milk or Cream
1/4 cup gluten free SR Flour
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
2 Eggs- separated
1 tablespoon Butter or substitute
finely grated rind of 2 small Lemons
pinch of Salt
Grate the lemon rind nice and finely, I like to use a microplane. Grating rather than chopping is best as this really bruises up the little oil cells releasing more yumminess.
Secret Tip Number One: try and remember to do this BEFORE you squeeze the lemons, I may have had to learn this the hard way in the past
Now Secret Tip Number Two: beat the egg whites first. It's so much easier than doing the cakey mix then having to wash them off, and what if they aren't spotless and the whites don't whip?
Pop the sugar, egg yolks, butter, lemon rind and salt into a bowl and beat until nice and fluffy
Add in the milk, juice and flour. Mix thoroughly and quickly so it doesn't curdle
Now whisk in about a third of the egg whites to loosen up and lighten the batter,
then carefully fold through the rest of the whites, but make sure there aren't any chunks
Grease some ramekins, I used 3 large and 3 small, but 4 with a 375ml capacity would be just right
Pop these into a deep oven tray to use as a water bath, fill with batter then transfer to the oven rack.
Secret Tip Number Three: Pour the hot water into the pan AFTER it's safely placed in the oven. This makes life sooo much easier and ensures you don't slop water all over the floor or even worse into the raw batter.
Make sure the hot water comes about halfway up the sides of the ramekins
Bake at 170* for about 45 minutes or until golden and set. I pulled mine out 5 minutes early as I made them early and wanted to re-heat them in the oven later on. This way they wouldn't get all dried out and icky. As a result mine sunk in the middle a bit, but don't worry they popped right up again later on after they finished cooking off
Now really, this should certainly be enough Deliciousness for one day... but it was a Birthday! That means extras are allowed- right? So as not to disappoint the Birthday Boy I made an Italian Meringue Topping to finish off the little puddings. For my recipe check out this post
I'm so glad I did
It just finished them off to perfection. They also looked so pretty- from this
But now for the big question: What Lies Beneath???
Just an intense lemon hit with a gorgeous silky texture that's as light as a feather. A sponge-like cakeiness at the top half of the pudding with just a hint of delicious chewiness from the caramelised sides and soft, soft mousse like yumminess at the bottom.
I don't usually rave about a recipe this much.
Like a Lemon Meringue Pie without the bother of pastry or the effort of making lemon butter, no risk of a soggy bottom or weepy meringue either. There's a lot to rave about :)
We've used up our quota of birthdays until the end of the year though... but I guess Father's Day is next, and Sundays, and I need a pick-me-up days, and let's-find-an-excuse-to invite-friends-over-so-we-can-have-pudding-days... so I guess we'll be right for now.
So my Dear Readers, have you ever come across a recipe the Universe has been hiding from you, and what did you do about it?