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.

September 26, 2010

Fluffy Chocolate Cake

Can you guess what I'm making?

BigJ was feeling left out. I bake all the time for others, I experiment with gfree baking too, but normally things that I enjoy. All he wanted was a 'normal' chocolate cake. What do you mean by normal? Soft and fluffy, not too rich or dense, not crumbly or dry like a lot of gfree can be. Like a packet mix. 'Normal'. Ooookay then, research time!

I explored a lot of recipes but none of them seemed right. The not too rich bit was proving harder than it sounds. I found a recipe at allrecipes that sounded promising so I changed things around to be user and pantry friendly, and this is what I came up with.

1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour
1 up of cocoa
1 1/2 tsp xanthum gum
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup of butter - remember there is very little lactose in butter, or feel free to use an alternative
3/4 cup of white sugar
3/4 cup of brown sugar
3 eggs
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of lactose free milk- or your liquid of choice

Make the cake in the usual, time proven, cakey way...
Cream butter and sugars
Add eggs and yolks
I like to pop the 'add ins' now, like the gum, powder,vanilla and soda and give it a good mix
Add in the flour and cocoa bit by bit, alternating with the milk
Give a quick mix, but be careful, the batter is very thick and rubbery, so not too much!

Grease your tin and spoon in the batter. You do need to smooth it down as it is a bit gluggy, but don't worry,it will be alright. I wanted to use my little cake tin, just because it's cute but you could certainly use a larger one if you like.

I bake this in a pre-heated 175* oven for 35 minutes. The batter rose quite high, and sort of souffled up, but settled as it cooled. If you are using a larger tin, I think it would be best to drop the temperature to about 160* and check after about 50-60 minutes. It might take a bit longer as the batter is quite thick. Anyway, when you stick a skewer in the cake, it should come out just a bit moist, not with half the cake batter clinging to it. That means it's pretty right to come out of the oven.
Let this cool in the pan for about 15 minutes to collapse a little and firm up a bit, before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I actually left this cake out overnight before cutting as this was convienient, but I think it's usually a good idea for the cake to settle a bit and they seem to be less crumby this way too.

I decided to serve the cake with yummy frseh strawberries and some chocolate buttercream frosting. * see my previous post about buttercream frosting for a fantastic recipe *

I sliced the cake into layers and slathered on crushed strawberries - the cake doesn't slip off this way the way it does when you use sliced ones- and piped on the frosting just to keep it even and pretty.

The cake was amazingly light and fluffy as well as being nice and moist. It really did taste 'normal'. When I took my first bite, I nearly spat it out again as it just like a 'real' cake and didn't feel at all familiar to me anymore! Even littlej asked if I was sure this was a gluten free cake.... and didn't beleive me! I think it was a huge success and BigJ even had seconds!

So Reader, what is a 'normal' cake for you?

PS. I am so sorry dear Readers for the tardiness of this post. Extreme hayfever and starting a new job combined for a very hetic, unpleasant week, but I'm back on track again! Thanks for your patience and Tolerance with me.

September 18, 2010

To Market, To Market...

I've just got back from a visit to my local markets.

I love the choice and variety of produce available to me there. Asian greens and herbs, European Delis,Organic Meats, and everything in between.
Would you like to know what's in my basket?
A rack of veal ribs for braising and then baking; A slab of pork belly with skin for roasting- it makes the best crackling!; duck marylands to probably turn into a red thai curry or maybe with bitter orange sauce; 1/2 kilo of home smoked bacon; chicken wings for steaming then frying; red wine washed hard goats cheese; veal liverwurst; anchovy stuffed olives; pear,apricot and raspberry essences; fresh sugarcane stems; gluten free turkish bread and various mixed fruit and veggies. Not bad for a couple of hours work don't you think?

Hmmm.....what to make for dinner.... We decided on the pork belly.

This is another one of those budget meat cuts that's become trendy as people rediscover it's potential. It's a thin cut of meat with some seams of fat running through it, that when cooked right renders out and leaves behind a luscious softness and juicy piece of meat. Pork belly makes the best crackling and the ratio of meat to crackling is fantastic- plenty to go round.

But tonight we're having Twice Cooked Pork. I love this and always struggle to look past it on a menu. It's rich, sticky, and melts in your mouth, a perfect dining combination!

First you need to braise the pork. You can create your own master stock, but I love the folks at Changs. They make a fantastic range of gluten free products and they're available at Coles and Woolies and won't break the budget at all.
I placed the pork and master stock in a pan and added water to cover. Simmer for at least an hour and a half, or until a skewer will easily pierce through the meat. Cool in the liquid.

Put meat in a container with a lid and place something heavy on top. This compresses the meat and gives it a nice density. Refrigerate overnight.

At this point, you could stirfry the meat in cubes or slices, I worked at one establishment that would cube it at this point and then deepfry it before glazing with a sauce. My favourite though is to marinate it and bake it to a nice stickiness. I marinated the meat for about an hour with a mixture of caramel, hoisin sauce, honey and black vinegar. Just check the labels, you don't want to find any stray gluten.

Place the pork on some baking paper -yes, you don't want to forget this step- and bake in a hot oven until burnished and sticky. Remember, the meat is already cooked and you just want to heat it through and activate the sugars.

The meat is incredibly tender and just pulls apart. I think of it as comfort food- yummy, sticky, with sweetness and fat. As this is a rich dish, I served it with a bowl of plain rice and a salad of shredded bits and pieces- carrot, zucchini, capsicum, spring onions, snap peas and whatever else could be scrounged from the bottom of the fridge! Just make sure it's nice and crispy fresh for contrast.

So Readers, what do you have trouble going past on a menu?

September 11, 2010

Happy Anniversary

This is one of my favourite Anne Taintor comments.

Sometimes it's hard to know.

This year BigJ and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. (pause for gasps and applause)

I couldn't stand him.
.....let me explain.....


We first met when I was only 4 years old. Thrown together through the democracy of public school and public housing. We lived across the road from each other and were best friends. We walked to and from school together, played at each others homes and made up clubs. We were even in grade 3 together. All was bliss for 4 years, and then I moved away.

BigJ was never far from my thoughts. Every night I would say my prayers, "God Bless, Mummy and Daddy and Sulu and SpecialK, and Me, and God Bless BigJ (names have been changed to protect the innocent)Every night for many years, how sweet...

After a good few years we were sent back to Canberra, and I had all but forgotten my little buddy. But one day.... who do you think came coolly riding past on his BMX? That's right, my BigJ.

He paused,

I thought "who's this weirdo?"

He said "I remember you"

I said "I don't"

You can see it was meant to be.
But then, as we gazed across at each other, we both said, together

" Oh, it's You!"

(pause for Ahhhhs....)

He was never far away. He was always hanging around. He was so very annoying. I couldn't stand him. I would hide in my room and pretend not to hear him. He didn't care. He tricked me into going out with him, I was too embarrassed to say No. So I took my brother on our first date.

It didn't matter how mean I was...I know that sounds hard to believe, but I repressed my natural niceness and drew on my inner intolerance..... he just wouldn't go away. My mother even started setting a place for him at dinner. She said she felt sorry for him.

I had other offers, I went out with other guys. But he was always there...

Eventually he wore me down. It was his relentless being there. His stick-to-itiveness. That's when I knew he was there to stay.

We were married when I was still a teenager, and have been together ever since. I won't lie to you, it hasn't always been easy. We don't always like each other. But we always love each other.

Someone asked me how have we stayed married so long? My reply was that you just have to make up your mind. If you're not in it for good, it won't be any good.

My policy of InTolerance has been redefined over the years. Sometimes that annoying thing or thought buzzing around constantly is worth not shooing away. That is how this blog was born. Hopefully it too will still be going strong in another 20 years.

September 6, 2010

Salmon Patties

We really don't eat enough fish.

Well, I eat fish most days for breakfast. A little tin of smoky tuna, a spot of mayo and 4 rice crackers to be exact. I like to have a protein hit so I feel nice and full and aren't tempted to nibble at work.

My family though, are not big on fish. They love calamari, like octopus on the BBQ, the odd oyster or two and will have the occasional white fish, but no tinned fish no way, no how. They don't even like anchovies! I know, how is that even possible?

I love prawns, scallops, squid, ocean trout, salmon, blue eye cod.... the list goes on.

The one dish I can get my family of whingers-I mean, discerning eaters, to eat is my take on Salmon Patties.

Fresh salmon can be quite pricey for a family meal. The best buy for this dish is salmon belly. I only paid $12 kg as opposed to $32 kg for the fillet.

When the fish is processed, the prime fillets are removed and trimmed to look beautiful and have the best possible product. The belly is the flappy part under the fillet and is trimmed off as it's thinner and has a nice layer of fat. It usually still has the skin and sometimes a little fin attached. It's also quite pretty with a zebra stripiness of orange and white. It's a really good piece of meat as it stays nice and moist while cooking as the layer of fat keeps it from drying out. Yes, it does need a little preparation to clean it up, but trust me readers, it's well worth it.

Start by boiling some potatoes. You want a good ratio of potato to fish, at least 3:1Things that grow underground should always be cooked from cold water. So pop them in a pot with some and cook until mashably soft.

Meanwhile, prepare the salmon.

Remove the skin and cut around the fin. The easiest way to do this is to place the knife blade between the skin and flesh, and pull. Angle the knife ever so slightly towards the skin when pulling and the skin will come away cleanly in one piece. Chop the salmon into little cubes and place in a colander.

Chop a bunch of fragrant dill and finely chop a tablespoon of capers. Add a good dollop of horseradish cream to taste – I like a lot! I also add in the zest of a lemon and a squeeze of the juice.

When the potatoes are ready to drain, pour them over the salmon pieces. Put them and the potatoes straight into a bowl and mash away. The potatoes should go nice and smooth and it’s OK for the salmon to be a bit chunky. This pretty much cooks the salmon. I do this to as it would otherwise take ages to heat the patties enough to cook it correctly and I don’t want to wait that long or eat food that has gone tough from being overcooked.

Stir through the herby mixture and taste for seasoning. Add in an egg to help bind the mixture.
Quickly form the mix into patties. If you like a crunchy texture, you could pat them into some gfree bread crumbs, but I don’t bother.

Cook the patties in an oiled heated pan until the outsides are nice and crisp.

Serve these with a yummy salad, or steamed veggies and extra wedges of lemon. I don’t usually go for chips, as these are already potatoey enough.

The richness of the salmon works really well with the smoothness of the mashed potato, while the herbs, horseradish and capers add an acidic fresh tang that ties it all together.

So Readers, how do you get your dose of Omega 3’s?

September 1, 2010

Coconut Chicken

We eat a lot of chicken.
It's cheap, versatile and just plain yummy. I use it for catering as it has got to be the least inoffensive meat around. Most cultures approve and chickens can scratch a living for themselves just about anywhere

I love chicken thighs. The flavour is so much better than chicken breasts. The thigh muscle works harder and develops more flavour. They may require a bit of trimming, but as the cost is significantly less than for breasts, you still come out way ahead.

Tonight we're having Coconut Chicken.

This is kinda, sorta my take on a schnitzel.


I got this yummy chutney at the Food and Wine show, along with a selection of other Spring Gully gluten free goodies. I used their Worcestershire sauce in my post on Oysters Kilpatrick.

Start off with some chicken thighs. Clean or trim them up however you like them.

Have ready a plate with gfree flour and another with the shredded coconut. You could use dessicated, but I like the texture and as it's not so fine it won't burn as quickly.

Dip the chicken into the gfree flour and then dust off the excess. If you don't it can get a bit gluggy.

Smear chicken all over with the chutney, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Now dip the chicken into the shredded coconut and pat it on firmly. Make sure all the chutney is covered so it doesn't stick to the pan when the sugars caramelize. (or burn!)

Pop the little lovelies into the fridge for a bit to firm up and set the coating.

Now, you can either pan fry or bake. I prefer to bake as the direct heat of a pan can brown the coconut before the chicken is cooked, but if you want to stand at the stove checking and turning constantly instead of having a relaxed glass of wine, be my guest. If you opt for the glass of wine, or GnT, place them in a preheated 200* oven for 20ish minutes. Make sure you turn them about halfway through.

Serve these with a nice salad, and maybe another glass of wine- a big one!
So Readers, what do you like to drink with dinner?