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 28, 2013

African Peanut Soup from A Gluten Free Soup Opera

Product Details

Not too long ago Dear Readers, you may remember I reviewed A Gluten Free Taste Of Turkey by Sibel Hodge, and this successful author, qualified Health and Fitness Professional and self-professed Wonder Woman- has already released her next cookbook- A Gluten Free Soup Opera!

This Souperb book takes your taste buds on a journey around the culinary world, sharing the favourite flavours of each country or continent in a spectacularly spoon friendly fashion.
From Asia to Africa, the best of each cuisine is distilled into a deep dish of dining delight!

The fun and quirky personality of Sibel is one of the things that makes her books special. Instead of just a dry list of contents or ingredients, Sibel promises that that all her recipes are not only gluten free, but ricin free as well, and that eating soup makes you super attractive to the opposite sex- now how could you resist putting that theory to the test?

Each recipe is again prefaced with delightful insights into the ingredients used- from recommending goggles for peeling onions, to using certain ingredients as an anti-aging face cream, to claiming that the use of goat milk products will make you you cuter to look at, as well as a wealth of nutritional information to tempt you to try them for health benefits alone. I have to admit though, that the recipes I tried taste so good that I didn't really care if they were good for me, I just loved the taste :)

The first recipe to catch my eye was, in fact, the very first recipe in the book- African Peanut Soup.
My family loves peanuts, and Asian peanut satay is one of our favourite meals so I thought that this dish would probably go down well...and I was right!
Made up of sweet potatoes, capsicums and of course a healthy dose of peanuts it was absolutely delicious and had a gorgeous richness to it too.

The Carrot and Coriander Soup sounded so wonderful that it will be receiving a whole blog post of it's own, and the Festive Chestnut Soup is just what I need to use up that bag of roasted, peeled chestnuts that have been languishing in my freezer since last season. They have obviously been biding their time for such a glorious transformation such as this.

I will also have to plan a Ladies Lunch, so I have an excuse to create the Salmon and Green Tea Soup. Its subtle sounding sophistication shouldn't be wasted on my husband, who much prefers tinned mackerel for his fishy fix, and only drinks sweet, milky Irish Breakfast tea- yuck! My friends and I, however, will enjoy the antioxidant and Omega3 benefits while we sip and slurp our way elegantly to the end of each bowl..

Once again Sibel has produced another great user-friendly cookbook. While recommending homemade stock, the use of convenient items like stock cubes is acknowledged, and most ingredients are readily available at large supermarkets without trouble. The recipes are easy to make without too much mucking about, and I foresee that this self-confessed Soup-a-holic will soon have you joining her in a big bowl of steamy goodness!

African Peanut Soup
From A Gluten Free Soup Opera by Sibel Hodge

3 Spring Onions (1 large white/brown onion for us)
2 cloves Garlic
5 cups Chicken Stock
1 large Carrot
1 Sweet Potato
1 Yellow Capsicum
1 Red Capsicum
1 cup gf Peanut Butter
2 large Tomatoes
2 tab Tomato Paste
1 1/2 inch piece fresh Ginger
1 or two fresh Chilli or Chilli Flakes
1 tab Paprika
Splah of Oil

Dice the capsicums, chilli and onions. Now as you can see, I couldn't find a yellow capsicum anywhere on this particular day, but red ones I have a plenty in the garden. A yellow capsicum brings a lovely mellow sweetness so substitute with a red one if necessary, but not with the slightly sharp green ones

One of Sibel's handy tips is to grate the tomatoes. You just slice off the bottom end, then holding the stem end grate it on a grater into a bowl. The flesh and juice will come away easily into the bowl and the skin will be left in your hand

As I already had the grater out, I used it to grate the carrot, ginger and garlic as well- but you could chop them instead if you like

Roughly dice the sweet potato- of course you could grate that too, but it was pretty big...

Strictly speaking, Sibel's recipe just asks you to fry the capsicum and onions until soft. Add the rest, bring to the boil, simmer for 35-45 minutes, then blend until smooth.

Now that's fine, but a little more effort here at the start will make a big difference to the finished soup at the end- sorry Sibel!

Sweat off the capsicum, chilli and onions in the oil until starting to soften, you don't need colour here. Then add in the carrot and other grated ingredients as well as the spices and tomato paste and cook down until they collapse and soften up as well.
This will bring out a lot more sweetness from the veggies and take the 'raw' taste out of the tomato paste, making a slightly more mellow soup overall. All the flavours will happily start to mingle before blitzing and become friendly with each other a lot sooner

Now pop in the chicken stock, sweet potato and peanut butter

Mix thoroughly and let it simmer away for half an hour or so, or until the veggies are totally cooked through and soft. If the sweet potato isn't cooked enough the soup won't blend properly and it will taste gritty, so err on the side of squishiness here.
Also DON"T forget to stir the soup well or place it on a simmer mat- the peanut butter catches on the bottom of the pot really easily

Once done to specified squishiness, blitz the soup with a stick blender or other less handy blender until it's nice and silky smooth. Check for seasoning- it will depend a lot on if your peanut butter has added sugar or salt, that's why you should check at the end instead of trying to adjust it as you go

I garnished my soup with a bit more peanut butter, some chopped peanuts and a little sprinkle of paprika for colour- Beautiful!
My family loved this rich peanutty soup, and were blissfully unaware that I had snuck in a healthy dose of vegetables to their treat as well. We were all happy, thanks Sibel!

So Dear Readers, do you make much soup, and what's your family favourite?

The InTolerant Chef was gifted a free e-copy of 'A Gluten Free Soup Opera', by the author Sibel Hodge. No payment was received for this review.

A Gluten Free Soup Opera
Ebook from Amazon.com

Paperback version

Also available in all other major ereader formats from B&N, Kobo, iStore, Smashwords.

March 23, 2013

Spicy Thai Style Eggplant and Chilli Relish

This has been a difficult garden season

With the temperature setting new records- both for actual temperature and for consecutive days of high heat, and very little rain, my veggie patch this year has been a little hit-and-miss.

I miss my peas and beans very much, but I've never experienced such a hit of chilli and eggplant/aubergine before this season either.

I guess it's swings and roundabouts, and trying to think outside the box to find unusual or enticing cookery methods to keep the same old veggies fresh and interesting night after night, after night.

I was flicking through one of my many, many, cookbooks- Spirit House's Hot Plate,  looking for an Asian inspired marinade for a BBQ, when I saw a very simple relish that sounded perfect for my plethora of eggplants and that I thought I could modify just that little bit to capitalise on my chilli too.
I changed it up a bit with my chilli hit, and to make the process a bit simpler, but it's amazing how much yumm was created from just a few ingredients and how very versatile this relish is

Spicy Thai Style Eggplant and Chilli Relish

2 Eggplant
3 long Bullnose Chili- medium heat
3 Scud Chilli- HOT!
1 Tab Laksa/Red Curry Paste
4 Tab Castor Sugar
3 Tab GF Vinegar
1 whole bunch of Coriander
Oil for frying- about 1/2 to 3/4 cup

Pop the whole chillis into a dry frypan on a medium high heat

Cook them, turning occasionally, until the skin is black and blistered and the flesh is nice and soft

Pop them in a covered bowl to steam for a few minutes and cool down just a touch.
The skin should peel off quite easily now, if it's a bit stubborn in spots, use the back of a knife to scrape it gently.Open out the chilli and also scrape out all the hard little seeds. Chop into smallish pieces- size dependant on heat hit- the hotter the chilli, the smaller you chop it!

Although we do make all our curry pastes from scratch for actual curries, I like to have a bottle of paste or two in the fridge for adding just a quick hit to a stirfy or soup base if needed. I know, I know, I just need to be more organised and have mine ready to go in the freezer, but I was all out today

Chop the eggplant into nice cubes- not too small, but ones that you can easily eat in a mouthful

Very finely chop the hot chiilli- make sure to either wear a glove or wash your hands very thoroughly afterwards!

Roughly chop all the coriander including the stems for lots of extra flavour and lovely little green flecks through the finished product too

Heat your pan and oil on a nice high heat, then toss in the eggplant pieces

Stir them often until they are a lovely golden brown- I promise mine were, even if they don't look so pretty, but I took 5 photos and not one looks brown to me, just grey and gluggy!

Add in all other ingredients except the coriander, then cook it down on medium heat until the mix turns nice and syrupy sticky

Nearly there, but don't forget to stir from time to time so the mix doesn't catch on the bottom

Once the relish has reduced to a nice syrupy glaze, turn off the heat and stir in the coriander pieces. If you put it in earlier the coriander will loose the vibrant green colour that looks so pretty in the finished product

Isn't it pretty? Sticky, sweet and spicy!

I have made pot after pot of this delish relish, and I have officially declared it my Favourite Dish Of The Summer. I've eaten it with BBQ chicken, with steak, with fish cakes, and even used it as a stirfry sauce for thick Pad Thai rice noodles- and it just doesn't get old. A squeeze of lime over the top and you have a whole new taste again with a fresh zingyness that lifts it to a whole other lever of yumm.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed with veggies, I hope my garden keeps growing eggplants for months and months to come!

So Dear Readers, are you a fan of relish, and do you ever relish a nice hit or two of chilli heat?

March 17, 2013

Beer Braised Pork Sausages with Apple and Onion

Beer is not something I'm terribly familiar with

A beverage based on barley and wheat is not my go-to drinky-poo, I usually enjoy a nice cold wine and soda on a hot day, or a GnT if I want something a bit more special. I had heard the odd rumour that there was gluten free beer on the market, but to be perfectly honest I just didn't miss what I'd never had.

Now that was all well and good, but then I was gifted a couple of 6 packs of O'Brien Beer- and there was no turning back!          https://rebellionbrewing.com.au/obrien-beer

Founder John O'Brien was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease back in 1998, and wasn't about to let the gluten get him down. He set about creating a wonderful gluten free product that hit the shelves in 2005, and has won the hearts and taste buds of many beer deprived Aussies ever since.
I have been told by a true beer drinking authority that this beer isn't a 'pretend' beer, but a real, honest-to-goodness tasting beer with authentic flavours and medals from the international community to prove it!

With a pretty sturdy Irish branch in my family tree, I wanted to at least acknowledge St Patrick's Day this weekend.
I didn't want to just stick to the usual Corned Beef and Cabbage, or Irish Stew though, so I tried to come up with something yummy that would still be true to the day.
Enter Rebellion Brewing and their wonderful O'Brien Beer!
Alcohol, pork, a touch of the rebel- now that certainly sounds like an Irish recipe to me :)

Beer Braised Pork Sausages with Apple and Onion

12 thick gluten free Pork Sausages
2 Green Apples
2 large Brown Onions
1 bottle O'Brien Premium Larger (or a dry Apple Cider could also be used)
Oil for browning
salt and pepper for seasoning

Mashed Potato or such for serving- something nice and creamy that will soak up all the lovely slightly sweet juices. Mashed potato and parsnips together would be lovely too

Core and cut the apples into wedges. Keep the skins on to help them hold together because we don't want them to fall apart and go mushy

Cut the onion into nice thick slices

Using about a tablespoon of oil brown the apple slices slightly and wilt down the onion rings. Don't let them really cook though, you just want to get a bit of colour so they look pretty in the finished dish.
Set aside

Use another splash or two of oil and brown off the sausages nicely too. Turn them around as you go to colour them evenly. They don't need to cook, they will braise in a minute, you just want a pretty colour again

Pour over the bottle of beer, and quickly turn the heat down to very low

Place the apple and onion over the top of the sausages and season lightly

Cover the pot and simmer lightly for about 20 minutes or until the sausages are cooked through. Don't have this on a high or even medium heat or the sausages might split up the side and the apple turn to mush. The dish will still taste yummy, but it just wont be very pretty at all :(

Once the sausages are cooked through, check the sauce for seasoning, and after removing all the bits and pieces simmer it down until it's a bit reduced and thicker. I didn't find this necessary though as the slightly thin sauce still coated everything beautifully and was very nicely flavoured indeed

I plated my meal with a nice big swirl of mashed potato creating a well in the bottom of a shallow bowl to catch all the yummy juices and keep it tidy

Top with a few of the fat, juicy sausages, plenty of onion and apple, and lots of yummy sauce. So yummy, and perfect for that early Autumn chill that St Patrick's Day seems to bring along each year here in the Southern climes.
Serve with another nice big glass of O'Brien Beer and don't forget to raise your glass to St Patrick!

So Dear Readers, are you doing anything for St Patrick's Day, and what is your favourite Irish Recipe?

Disclosure:  Beer gifted to InTolerant Chef by Rebellion Brewery and O'Brien Beer https://rebellionbrewing.com.au/obrien-beer 
thanks to Cousin Katey at http://www.thelittlebitbakery.com/
Thanks Guys!

March 12, 2013

Kitchen Experiments

I've always been just a little afraid of pressure cookers

My mum had one that used to sit on the stove spitting and hissing like a malevolent being with a mind of it's own, requiring great care and attention to avoid it exploding and covering the kitchen ceiling with mince stew or such, then perking and bubbling away under cold water until finally persuaded to part with our dinner.
I felt that our meal had somehow been pre-digested by this piece of scary machinery. It came out of it's belly pale, watery and oddly requiring very little chewing for such big chunks of meat....just not natural at all......

I have some friends who swear by slow cookers. All winter, meals simmer away in their bowls while life goes on around them. As long as you're ready with all the bits and pieces in the morning you can forget about dinner and do as you please.
I use mine now and then, but I do remember one tragic episode where I was teaching MiddleC how to work it and after having it on High for a couple of hours she accidentally turned the dial to Off instead of Low and I came home at the end of a long day at work to a fermented poisonous mess instead of a lovely dinner :(

My preferred method of cooking is to slow bake in the oven. Meat turns soft, juices and sauces cook down until sticky and caramelised, and the whole house smells delicious. I like to check it now and then, turning the meat to coat it or to top up the sauce. I guess I feel in control and like I'm an active participant instead of just an observer.

The reason behind all this introspection is yet another kitchen purchase- A Multi Cooker. It rolls a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, soup cooker, and electric pot all into one. It even has a sear mode to brown up the meat before cooking, a bit of everything!
My excuse this time is that my rice cooker needs replacing.
I know I could pick up a cheapy, but I've also been wanting to get a new slow cooker as my original 70's CrockPot doesn't have a real lid and so takes even longer to cook than it's supposed to. A pressure cooker has also been on my radar for a while, I even took a class to get over my fears, and it just seemed like a good idea to kill all those birds with one stone and buy the Big Guy.

But which is the best method for cooking overall? I decided the only way to choose would be with a Grand Cook Off, the same meal cooked three different ways- Perfect Solution. The proof, as they say, will be in the pudding!

Asian Soy, Orange and Ginger Beef Ribs

1/3 cup gluten free Soy Sauce
1/4 cup Green Ginger Wine (or gf Chinese Rice Wine, or even Dry Sherry)
1/2 an Orange- strips of rind, juice and pulp
4 cloves of Garlic
2 Asian Shallots or 1 Onion
2 Star Anise
1 Cinnamon Stick
## PLUS ## 300ml Water ONLY if using a Slow Cooker or Oven Baking

First of all, sear the meat. You want a nice golden colour on all surfaces to get some fabulous flavours going

Measure out all your wet items, rind, sugar, spices, onion and garlic. Chuck them all into the chosen vessel with the now browned meat and swizzle it all around a bit to nicely distribute the flavours
** Don't forget to add extra water if Oven Baking or Slow Cooking**


Now as far as cooking methods go:
- Oven Baked 3 hours at 160*
- Pressure Cooked on High for 50 minutes
- Slow Cooked on Low for 6 hours


From left to right: Oven Baked; Pressure Cooker; CrockPot

All three meals were so close in flavours and in texture that I was really surprised indeed.

With the Oven Baked Dish the meat was nice and tender, the fat rendered out well and the sauce was deliciously caramelised and sticking beautifully to the meat. The onion had practically melted away and it was the sweetest tasting as the water had evaporated a fair bit. It did require checking a couple of times during the process- luckily, because I had accidentally turned the oven to 180* for the first hour- and I turned the meat each time to make sure the side out of the sauce didn't dry out.

My childhood experience with Pressure Cooked meals was that the flavours all ran together into one, but of all the dishes this one had the 'cleanest' tasting sauce with every element coming through. It was rather thin though and next time I'd pull the meat out and let then let the sauce simmer and condense. The meat had broken down well and the texture was also the nicest- but only by a touch- it was a very close call between them all.

The CrockPot/Slow Cooker ,to my taste, certainly does seem to blend flavours. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but the flavours don't seem as sharp as the ones from the Pressure Cooker or as well rounded as the Oven Cooked one either. It also creates a thin sauce that needs to be thickened or boiled down for a while to coat the meat well.

So the Official Verdict?

The Pressure Cooker and the Oven Baked were just to close to call!

The sticky sweetness from the Oven was so lovely, but the meat from the Pressure Cooker was just that bit better.

I guess it will just come down to convenience in the end.
If I'm pushed for time, the Pressure Cooker is the way to go. Just as the name might suggest, it performs great when you're under pressure to perform.
If I have the time to spend though, I just don't know if I can go past my favourite method of Oven Baking. It might sound silly, but apart from the lovely flavours, I really enjoy pottering around the kitchen, checking on my dishes from time to time, creating something wonderful for my family. This hands-on method just appeals to me, and may sway me personally just a little :)

I'm glad I bought my new appliance, I think it combines the best of both worlds, with a few extra features to boot. I'm looking forward to making many, many, many more yummy meals to come!

So Dear Readers, what's your preferred method of cooking: Oven Baked, Pressure Cooker or Slow Cooker- and why?