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.

December 12, 2014

Festive Feastings with a Christmas Caprese Salad

Doesn't it get hectic this time of year?

Work parties, School functions, Carol Nights and just general End-of-Year-CatchUps. It all means one thing....not enough time!

It's also the time of year for Bring-a-Plate functions as well, and when you're already running short on time you need something that's quick, tasty, easy and still Christmassy all at once

This is where my Christmas Caprese Salad comes in. It can be made in minutes- straight from supermarket packets if needed, but still manages to look lovely and festive. It's great as a stand alone salad, or makes a yummy side dish for a BBQ on our hot Summer nights,  or is light enough to go with a more substantial main dish for our Winter bound friends up North as well

Traditionally of course, Caprese salad is made up of just tomatoes, basil and mozzarella cheese. I've boosted up my Christmas wreath version a little to include baby spinach and baby rocket to make it more substantial and give lots of body to the wreath itself, and using the cute little balls of mozzarella and tiny tomatoes adds the bling of edible baubles to make it extra pretty

Christmas Caprese Salad

1 bag pre-washed baby Spinach Leaves
1 bag pre-washed baby Rocket Leaves
1 punnet red Cherry Tomatoes
1 punnet orange/yellow Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
1 tub baby Bocconcini Cheese- drained
1 bunch of Basil - reserve the nice top tip from a couple of stems
1/4 cup Olive Oil- extra virgin or basil infused is perfect
a few good splashes of Balsamic Vinegar
big pinch of Salt

Start by picking the basil leaves from the stems. I like to rip the larger ones into smaller pieces just to help distribute the flavour easily

Toss the rocket, spinach and basil leaves really well to mix together

Then arrange in a nice, fluffy wreath pattern on a platter

Arrange the tomatoes and bocconcini in and on the greens so they look like pretty little Christmas Baubles, then add the tip of a basil stem to make a bow for a focal point

Simply mix together the salt, vinegar and oil for a simple dressing, and serve in a little jug on the side. If you drizzle it over the whole salad it will stain it and spoil the pretty colour effect

That's it! Simple, pretty, seasonal and- most importantly- delicious as well. Perfect for last minute or busy Christmas entertaining

So Dear Readers, do you have many functions to go to before Christmas, and what's your favourite Bring-a-plate salad?


December 1, 2014

In My Kitchen- December 2014

Happy Summer and  Merry Christmas Dear Readers!

First of December already and the first day of Summer.....wow, where did the year go?
While some minds might be turning to Sugar Plums and Turkeys, mine is turning to darling Celia's monthly In My Kitchen series where we can explore the globe one kitchen at a time and see who's being naughty or nice this time of year. Check out the list of posts here and join in the fun

In My Kitchen...
is just a tiny bit of the produce I'm picking every day. So many berries that I'm freezing them, green beans just coming in and a mix of pretty purple and green snowpeas- yummo!

In My Kitchen...
is a Beautiful Bowl of Berries from my garden. A gorgeous mix of raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, youngberries and logan berries. They are a glorious tangle of plants in the backyard, so it's hard to tell most of them apart- but that's what I planted and they all sure taste good

In My Kitchen...
is my Christmas Lunch Master List. I've been buying things bit by bit lately or as they come on sale, then stashing them in the freezer or pantry in readiness for the Big Day. We like the full roast dinner which happens to leave mountains of left-overs for the next week or so- very handy in the hot weather when you don't want to cook too much

In My Kitchen...
just happens to be a Turducken. This strange chimera-style creature is quite rare, seemingly only in season for a very few weeks over late November to December. To be honest, I wouldn't have bothered with it but for the fact that it was 60% off and only cost me $23 for this 2.5kg beast. I sure do love a bargain! :)

In My Kitchen...
is a picnic lunch I packed lately for a meetup with some fellow Canberra Bloggers. Stuffed into my favourite little Tiffin Box was a mix of dolmades, truffle salami, baba ganoush, cherry toms and cucumber, goat cheese, pinot paste, gerkhins and cherries. What a wonderful feast indeed!

In My Kitchen...
is a cute little tin box I just had to buy myself. It will be used for something very important....but of course I can't tell you what it will be...shhhh.....

In My Kitchen...
just a few more Cookie Cutters for my collection. I have looking for cutlery ones for ages, and these are juuust right

In My Kitchen...
are some yummy sliced pickles just waiting for all the ham sandwiches after Christmas. I always buy a really big ham just so we can live off it for a couple of weeks over the hot weather. We like it brushed with glaze and baked; sliced and fried for breakfast; chopped into omelettes or scrambled eggs; cold with  salad; and of course on sandwiches with all the fixin's

In My Kitchen...
is something I just might be a bit inordinately proud of- my very first homegrown Garlic Braid! I know it's not the biggest or bestest you may have seen, but it's all MINE. I grew the purple Australian garlic from scratch, dug them, dried them, and plaited them all by myself. I just don't know if I can bear to eat them! Luckily I have another variety of garlic still growing, so I might be able to at least start on this one with the promise of more to come to comfort me

In My Kitchen...
sitting on the extreme end of the bench (because she knows she shouldn't be up there at all) is my little friend watching over me. She is such good company during the day, following me around for companionship and racing around like a mad thing for no apparent reason at times too. My little friend knows that she won't get any attention in the morning until I have visited my personal litter-box, and as she knows this is straight after I wake up (sorry if TMI) she solves the problem by nipping sharply at my heel or toes as a gentle reminder to GET UP! Who needs an alarm clock?

From My Kitchen...
I can see our Dining Room. Decked out already in Christmas Cheer

I love the golds with the wood and browns

In My Powder Room...
is my take on a Partridge In a Pear Tree. Yes it might be a quail, and there might not be a tree, but the pears are there and you can sort of get the right idea.. can't you?

Also From My Kitchen...
I have an uninterrupted view of my Upside Down Christmas Tree. I wished it looked as good in photos as it does in real life. I just love how everything hangs so beautifully without bumping or banging into each other. It's all botanical, and you might catch a glimpse of grapes, pomegranates, acorns, pine cones, flowers, pea pods and vines, leaves, ferns, berries, birds, butterflies, dragonflies, and various woodland creatures

In My Lounge Room...
is our other Big Tree, this one all in reds and golds. It's also botanical with rosehips, apples, pears, berries, grapes, pomegranates, acorns, ladybugs, butterflies, birds, chilli's and so much more as well

In My Library...
is littlej's tree. She has just started collecting her own decorations in blues, teal and mint green with the usual touches of gold and silver. It has acorns, leaves, ferns, olives, birds and peacock feathers all through it. It might not look like much now, but with another trip to our favourite Christmas shop this week, it will soon fill up and each year will see it getting bigger and better indeed

Finally, In My Hallway...
is a reminder of the True Meaning of Christmas. Trees and Santa can so easily take precedence over this miracle that sometimes we need to stop and recall the Reason for the Season

So Dear Readers, are you organised for Christmas, and what plans do you have for the Festive Season?