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.

November 25, 2010

Fruit and Nut Loaf

One of the fun things about my job is developing new recipes.

Well, really, there's no such thing. Unless you work at Noma, El Bulli or Fat Duck or in one of the magical molecular kitchens,that is. When I'm looking for something new, I have a bit of an idea in mind,then start delving deep into my resources - cookbooks, magazines, favorite food blogs and Google. I brainstorm and scribble little notes to myself in notebooks and even sketch out stick figure type drawings of how I want it to look and be plated. I take elements of many recipes and slowly piece them together a bit like Frankenstein's Monster cobbled together from many sources, until it resembles most the idea rattling around in my head.

This month we wanted to revamp the Cheese Platter dessert option. Well, really, there's not much you can do with chunks of cheese on a plate. No matter how delicious they are. We want the integrity of the cheese to remain, so it's all about 'Accessorising'

Anyone can do crackers; fresh crispy type fruit is a given; so we decided to go for a fruit and nut loaf. I based the idea on the good old Stained Glass Window Cake. This is made up of different types of glace fruits and nuts held together with a very minimal amount of batter to cement it.

The original recipe of glace fruits would be way to sweet and overpower the delicateness of the cheese, so I chose different types of dried fruits to compliment them instead. There were a couple of types of nuts and just a little orange zest for that special little something extra.


175g cranberries

175g dates

175g plump style dried figs

175g naked ginger- crystallised but not rolled in sugar

175g of mixed nuts- I used Brazil and walnut, but will change to almond and macadamia

1/3 cup gluten free plain flour

1/4 tsp gluten free baking powder

2 tablespoons castor sugar

2 tsp grated orange rind

40g of melted butter

2 eggs

Roughly chop the figs and dates

Mix the eggs, sugar, rind and butter

Add in the flour and baking powder

Mix in the fruit and nuts

Tip into a lined loaf tin and press down hard to compress

Bake at 150* for 90 minutes

Let the cake cool in the tin and preferably leave overnight before cutting, to avoid it breaking into pieces. When you do cut it, use a sharp serrated knife and saw through carefully as the fruit may be a bit sticky.

Serve this as part of a cheese platter, or enjoy it with a cup of Earl Grey tea.

If you want to make this as an alternative Christmas Cake, just use a selection of glace fruits instead, and maybe a dash of rum or brandy. While the cake is still fresh and ht from the oven, brush it generously with the rum or brandy so it sucks up even more festive cheer!

Now an update on BigJ... the good news is that the surgeon was able to reattach the severed finger and we expect a full recovery with free range of feeling and movement! The bad news is that this, of course, takes time. It will be at least 3 months before things are even remotely back to normal. He will have keep it dressed and splinted for most of that time, and really be careful. He is managing to get back to work and even do a modified style of typing.

This is littlej's solution to the problem.
Isn't she a subtle, sensitive soul?

So Readers, what do you like on a Cheese Platter?


  1. Golly this looks delicious!! Developing new recipes is such fun. What a delicious accessory for a cheese platter :) I am happy if I see figs on a cheese platter - fresh or dried (or both!), and I'm in heaven.
    Great news about Big J - albeit a slow recovery. And little J is hilarious!
    Heidi xo

  2. Oh this looks like a wonderful addition to a cheese plate :) I also love to see figs :)

    Glad to hear Big J is on the mend :)

  3. I absolutely think I'd adore this slice/loaf, I like that you haven't gone for the glazed fruits, I find them way too icky sweet too, this would be awesome with cheeses and (yep, you knew I was going to go there didn't you) wine.
    So glad BJ has a full quota of fingers again, what painful & long process its going to be for him, hope he's a good patient for ya'all :)

  4. Love the recipe and hearing about your process of developing recipes.

  5. that's a great idea- lisa (above) is so right about it being a great addition to a cheese flate.

  6. Oh gosh... glad to hear Big J is on the mend! Love your idea of a fruit and nut loaf with cheese... I absolutely love anything fruity like apple slices or a quince paste on my cheese platter. And a runny brie is a must!

    PS Now I'm curious about where you work, as Canberra only has that many places! I do feel tempted to visit you one day!

  7. Ooh loving how nutty and fruity that is! A most fitting accessory for cheese-or an outfit! ;)

  8. That looks really delicious and flavorful.

  9. Gorgeous cake - we make a similar thing with almond meal, so also gf. The cranberries are a wonderful idea though, ours is usually mostly glace fruit. I am addicted to cranberries this year - think they'll feature in Christmas baking quite a lot! :)

    So glad BigJ's on the mend - I hope he's not in too much pain! Gotta love littlej - at least it was index finger up and not any other one... :)

  10. Hello lovely Readers, thanks for all your kind thoughts towards BigJ. He's much happier now he's on the mend.

    Honey, I work at one of the big hotels in town, but the company owns several here. I can't really say which one though, as Canberra really is a small place and they might not like me blogging about them.
    Yes Lorraine, I like my outfits a bit nutty too! But I prefer to think of them as quirky.

    Ha ha Celia, I bet she would have got it anyway! She got this at her school book fair, so maybe that wouldn't have been allowed.

    P.S. Keep your eye open for a Christmas giveaway coming soon Readers!

  11. Love those chunks of fruits and nuts in your loaf :)

  12. MMM that looks great! So sorry to hear about BigJ's accident - hope he makes a quick recovery :)

  13. Yum yum~~
    Glad to hear that BigJ is getting better ^^
    Nice recipe..heheh yum!
    I can't live without a good brie and camembert! i love them!