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.

January 29, 2011

Hazlenut Friands

Do you remember when friands were all the rage?

It wasn't that long ago actually, every cafe in the country sold them and they were the new "In Thing".

It didn't last.

In a bloodless but sticky battle, the cupcake coup was successful in routing these delicious morsels and the only ones I see now are the same two-flavoured, mass produced, pre-packaged, frozen ones from the wholesalers that you find in such places as McDonald's. It frustrates me that we have the exact same ones in our freezer at work, as the "safe" gluten free menu option. We have dozens if not hundreds of egg whites going to waste in our kitchen every week, and it seems such a shame not to convert them into fresh, flavoursome friands.

At home , being the thrifty housewife that I am, I save all my extra eggwhites in little baggies in the freezer. They keep really well and are always on hand for dessert emergencies. You know those times when you're separating eggs and you get a little yolk in them? Next time don't throw them out or feed them to the dog, bag them and write on them so you don't try and use them for meringues or other sensitive beasties, and use them for friands instead.

It's such a simple process. No creaming, no beating, just chuck it all in and stir together. So easy peasy. I know friands usually use almond meal, but I just happen to have an open bag of hazelnut meal that needs using up and some hazelnut oil that is getting old - and I hate waste!

I use a basic 1 2 3 recipe reminder for my friands :

1 cup of gluten free flour
2 cups of nut meal
3 cups of pure icing sugar
12 egg whites
300 gr melted butter or oil
Extra flavourings like fruit, chocolate, etc.


Mix all the dry ingredients together

Stir the egg whites with a fork to break them up

Add the whites and butter/oil into the dry ingredients

Now is the time to put in the extra flavour base. Today I had a heap of white and yellow nectarines to use and also some vanilla, cardamon and orange sugar I thought would go well too.

Mix it all gently together until combined.

Spoon into a well greased friand tin and place some extra fruit on top. I know it would have been more elegant to have lovely little slices of fruit on top, but I forgot and diced it all up by accident.

Bake at 180-200* for 25 minutes.

Make sure to turn the friands out of the tin while they are still very warm or they might stick.
This mix will make 2 dozen friands. I always think it's a shame to make a mess in the kitchen if it's not worth while. One dozen friands will disappear so quickly that you will be grateful for the extra dozen, really.

And who knows... maybe if you make enough they just might give cupcakes a run for their money.

So dear Readers, what's your favourite cafe cake?

January 24, 2011

Zucchini Puffs

A Call To Arms...

As any of you dear Readers who might have a vegetable garden know, if you plant more than just one zucchini seedling you will eventually regret it.. I mean to say, the zucchinis will decide to fruit prolifically, abundantly and with complete disregard for whether you have sufficient, or can stomach any more or not.

This year I -rather cleverly- staggered my plantings. Each going in a week or so after each other. I hoped by this approach to outwit the wily courgette and not give them a chance to control the garden. I am ashamed to admit, they outsmarted me...again.
Personally, I blame the rather slow start to summer and then the flooding rains that somehow stunted or kept the first plants in stasis allowing them to mature together with the later planted ones. Either that or they are smarter than I thought.

At first they beguile you with blossoms, imagine them stuffed with goats cheese, battered and fried to crisp perfection. 'Oh no' you cry 'don't pick them all' leaving just a few to grow larger. Do Not Turn Your Back! Not for a moment. The instant you do, the plant gives a mighty push and the little baby vegetable morphs into marrow mightiness that defies all explanation. Lurking under the leaves, or behind the tomatoes, just biding it's time.....

Another cunning weapon in this vegetables arsenal is it's amazing ability to divide and conquer. Just a glimmer of cooked courgette can turn a delightful family meal into a scene from Gerry Springer or give children and occasionally husbands, an instant illness that subsides only with the removal of the offending article. In fact, after such a meal it is not uncommon to find that it has somehow managed to escape the confines of the kitchen and spread to other places around the house. Some well known hiding places are behind the fridge, under napkins, in the dogs dish, or even in pockets. As your family would undoubtedly never waste good food, the only explanation is the zucchini spreading it's web of woe as far as possible.

Indeed the insidiousness of this vegetable is incredible. I believe in the battle of survival between zucchini and man, the only way to victory is to eat as much of it as we can possibly manage. I have compiled a recipe below that, if cooked correctly, may counteract the evil affects of the courgette and render it palatable, perhaps delicious. Take heart, there will be more to follow as we pick, stuff, fry, fritter, slice and bake our way to triumph!

Turkish Style Zucchini Puffs

2 large zucchinis
2 eggs
2 cups of SR gluten free flour
About a cup to cup and a half of lactose free milk- or some such
100 grm pkt Parmesan cheese- parmesan cheese has practically no lactose, but only do what's right for your body. You can leave it out, or grate some other cheese-like substance into it if you prefer
Garlic- as much as you like, I'd use a good spoonful
Half a bunch of dill, if you don't like that use mint instead
Zest of a lemon
Juice of a lemon

Oil for deep frying

Heat oil in deep fryer or on stove

Grate or shred the zucchini

Make a batter with the flour, eggs, cheese and most of the milk.

Add in everything else, mix well, and see if you need any more milk. I find that gluten free flours are fickle, and each brand has different requirements. The batter needs to be thick enough to stay together as a clump in the oil

Scoop spoonfuls of mix into the hot oil, turning once to make sure they're evenly browned

Drain on a cake rack over a pan for drips. If you just pile up the puffs they will steam and go soggy. This is the best way to keep them crisp. It's also the best way to reheat them in the oven.

For those of you who are afraid of deep frying, or those of us who no longer have a gall bladder to process extra oils, I found that you can also bake these in muffin pans for about 25mins. They aren't as textually pleasing without the crunchy edges, but still yummy.

Serve with a tzatikki or garlicky yoghurt dipping sauce.

So tell me, dear Readers, will you answer the call to arms and commit to consuming copious quantities of cunning courgettes?

January 20, 2011

Hot Tomato Milkshakes

Yes, that's right. Don't navigate away from my page though, there's more to this story, I promise.

When MiddleC was just a little girl, she had some motor-skill issues. She had a lot of difficulty with dexterity and movement. Some things, like holding a pencil, turning on taps, and manipulating a spoon carefully, were very hard for her.

After a lot of physical and occupational therapy, she is now a lovely and accomplished young lady who can even use chopsticks. Very important in our household, where we eat so much Asian food and I have quite an extensive chopstick selection - polished wood, personalised engraved, pure jade(admittedly a bit slippery) coloured plastics, and others....

But I digress, this post is not about chopsticks. Nor about food you would care to eat with them. The chopsticks were merely an indication of MiddleC's amazing culinary progress. Today's post is about Hot Tomato Milkshakes.

This is the name we gave to Tomato Soup. As the steady spooning required for slurping soup was difficult, and I objected to kittystyle lapping, an almost phobia was beginning. The mere mention of the 'S' word would bring on tears. Being the sensitive, wonderful mother that I am, I came up with the concept of Hot Tomato(or other)Milkshakes. These fantastic culinary creations are soup cunningly disguised in a cup, served through a straw. Problem solved. Except for chunks - thankfully you can actually get large bore straws if you look hard enough, perhaps this soup issue is more common than I thought?
Todays recipe is my tribute to tomato soup. We have a huge glut of tomatoes as hundreds of plants self seeded in the vege garden- and compost heap, and herb pots, and on the lawn... determined little suckers. It's fresh and easy with loads of flavour. I even made this soup for one of my exam pieces for my apprenticeship, and it was gobbled up, no straw bribery required.


Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes

I like cherry ones as they are nice and sweet, or use whatever you have on hand. Use a lot because they squish down

1 red capsicum, whole

A few shallots, or a red onion roughly chopped

A few whole garlic cloves

A long red chilli, or more if you like a zing

Veggie stock, or water

Good splash of red wine vinegar


Heat the oven to about 200*

Bung everything on a tray, drizzle with olive oil and stick in the oven.

Wait until the tomatoes are squishy, the chilli and capsicum are charred looking, and the onion and garlic are softened and cooked. This intensifies the yummy flavours.

If you are lucky enough to have a mouli, pass everything through and put in a pot on the stove.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a mouli, peel and seed the capsicum, peel the onion and garlic, and blend the lot.

A mouli is a great tool that passes everything through a sort of sieve, that allows the good stuff through, but would catch the skin and most of the seeds of the tomatoes as a dry mass. The skin and seeds can sometimes have a bit of bitterness, so add some castor sugar to taste and neutralise the acidity.

Dilute to taste with some veggie stock or water. Heat and then add that good splash of red wine vinegar. You don't want to overpower, just add a bit of intrigue. Balsamic vinegar will be too strong. Taste and adjust with salt or sugar to taste. Use castor sugar for a good 'clean' taste.

Serve and garnish with basil leaves and a drizzle of olive oil- I'm lucky enough to have basil oil, yumm... If you are a complete basil fiend, or for a change, you can add fresh basil at the blending stage. Just don't boil the soup or you will lose a lot of it's fresh green taste.

This is a nice first course soup, or lunch dish, it's also yummy chilled. It's not a stick to your ribs winter dish, just perfect for the warm time of the year when you have so many tomatoes you don't know what to do, or can get a case of cheapie ripe tomatoes for a couple of bucks at the markets and it would be a crime not to give them a home.

So dear Readers, what culinary phobias have you overcome or battled with?

January 14, 2011


Allergy free Gingerbread does not mean taste free gingerbread!

If you are an unbeliever, just give these little lovelies a try.

I really wish I could take credit for these biscuits, but they are actually from 'Chef's Toolbox'. That's a party plan style company selling kitchen stuff in your or your neighbours home.

I was interested to see what they had on offer, and found a really cute silicon gingerbread house mold. I thought it would be good to make a dairy free chocolate house in. I was giving it the once over when I saw the companies recommended recipe sheet. It didn't look too bad- it didn't include egg, which was interesting, and it would be easy enough to convert by just swapping out the flour and fats. Of course you can vary the spices as well, I added extra ginger to mine.

I thought I'd give it a try.

125g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
300g treacle or golden syrup
1 tablespoon ground ginger
180g butter or I used Nuttlex
500g plain gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, salt, treacle, ginger and butter together with an electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until mixture forms a thick dough.

I admit to being sceptical. The dough was very, very soft. Perfect for squishing into the mold, but I wanted to make shaped cookies and cut outs with it as well. The secret was in the chilling.

As the dough is so soft it must be kept cold when rolling and shaping. Christmas for us Aussies is usually Hot. So I broke the process down like this:

1. make dough

2. chill dough

3. using small amount of dough, place on a thin sheet/board lined with baking paper. Place another sheet of baking paper on top, then roll out. Don't go to thin.

4. stick back in the fridge briefly

5. cut out shapes

5. again briefly chill- or freeze dough before transferring to a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

I know that this seems a lot of work, but it's not a lot more than normal really, just about 10 minutes or so.

Bake the shapes at * for 10-12 minutes, though this will vary depending on how thick your shapes are, and how big. My big thick ones took about 15 mins.

Let them cool on the pan. They will be get crisp as they cool.

They are a lovely tasty gingerbread that has a nice crisp bite to it. The dough also freezes well if you make too much, or you like to hoard a stash in the freezer for emergencies- or hungry moments.

I like to have some cookies "ready to go" cut or portioned out in the freezer, so if anyone says they're popping over I can get some in the oven before they arrive. This way I look so organised and domestic, that they are stunned and amazed (and jealous) by my awesomeness. I just smile a little, and let them think I just happened to be baking at the time. Please don't tell them my secret.

So dear Readers, do you have any secret tips for me? I promise I won't tell anyone, really....

January 10, 2011

Spring Rolls


Textural eating is such a delight. Sharp shards of pastry that quickly crunch away to bitey bliss. This can be somewhat missing from the glutenly challenged diet. Spongy pasta, with no al dente effect, cardboardy toast that tastes funny, and yes- I suppose that rice cakes do have a crunch, but not the sharp little splinters that make a cool noise when bitten into.

But fear not, dear Readers! Today we have crispy crunchy deep fried spring rolls. O.K, O.K, I know they're not something new. I was going for drama, building anticipation, just trying to make myself sound more interesting (sigh).

Anyway... these are very yummy spring rolls. I like to use my favourite Thai flavour profile, rather than a Chinese one, but the beauty of making your own recipes is that you can mix and match to suit yourself and your personal taste.

I won't give exact measurements for this recipe, if you like more meat, use more. If you like just veggies, leave the meat out. As long as you season the filling well it will still taste delicious.


I like to use a variety of meats to add a variety of flavour! Today I chose chicken mince, pork mince and a few prawns. (I only used about half the amount shown in the photo).These are have quite a mild, sweet taste, I wouldn't use beef or lamb as they would easily overwhelm the rest of the ingredients.

These are some of my favourite noodles. They are mung bean or cellophane noodles. They retain some springy texture when done, and to prepare I just soak them in boiling water for a few minutes then drain really well. They also help keep the filling light and not too dense and meaty.

Now, the veggies. A bit of wombok- less sulphurous than other varieties, shredded carrot, a red chilli, corriander roots and stems, finely shredded kaffir lime leaves, a tin of drained and chopped water chestnuts for a nice crunch, ditto the chopped nuts, and a couple of spring onions.

Flavour to taste with ginger, garlic, a good few slugs of fish sauce, and a decent spoon of castor sugar. I know, but it makes a big difference and draws flavour out of so many ingredients.

Last but not least, an eggwhite to help bind it all together lightly.

Mix everything together thoroughly and let sit awhile to develop flavours.


Dried rice paper rounds. The kind you use for fresh ricepaper rolls. Actually it's the same technique too, just make sure to use less filling and roll thinner so they cook quicker and through evenly.


Place rice paper in some warm water and leave for just a few seconds. Place on mat or a teatowel is good too. The paper will soften a bit more, but don't let them get too soggy or they will split and not roll properly.

Put a line of filling about 1/4 way up the paper, but leave a gap at each end to fold over when rolling.

Roll up a couple of turns, then fold in edges at a bit of an inward angle. Continue to roll up untill finished.

Place seam side down and let the surface dry off in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Deep fry in hot oil until nice and crispy,a bit browned and filling is cooked through.

Drain them on a cake rack so they aren't oily and soggy.

Enjoy with a nice dipping sauce and crunch away!

So Readers, what's your favourite flavour profile?

January 6, 2011

Coconut Yoghurt

I really like yogurt.

Unfortunately dairy doesn't like me, well the lactose part anyway. I do manage to get away with some goat and sheep products which is great, but I'm not a fan of sheep milk yogurt. It works well in cooking and as a dip (see my post on Labne), and is smooth and rich, but it just has a savoury tang that I can't reconcile with my taste buds when it comes to 'sweet' foods.

I have heard some rumours about a coconut yoghurt, and my sister saw some in Queensland, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I was intrigued. I couldn't really imagine the flavour, but my family is very fond of coconut anyway, so I wanted to give it a try.

I am the proud owner of an EasiYo yoghurt maker. It's the best and easiest way to make fresh, yummy yoghurt at home and in only a few simple steps. EasiYo also sell packets of many different yoghurt bases in all types of styles and flavours, but you can just 'seed' a new batch with some plain yoghurt. * EasiYo is NOT lactose free, but I use lactase enzyme drops from the health food shop or chemist to mix into it to break down the lactose for me. I've been making this stuff for years, and now the kids can do it for themselves, it's so easy.

Anyway, after that unsolicited advertisement, I wondered if it would be just as simple to make coconut yoghurt? If I substituted coconut milk for plain milk? My only issue was the starter. I needed 1/4 cup of yoghurt to start the culturing process off. I only had 'normal' yoghurt available, but I figured I would give it a try, just to see if it worked. Next time of course, I could use lactose free yoghurt and just keep seeding one batch with the previous one, after a few generations I think it would eventually be dairy free as well. Enough for me anyway, your body is your responsibility and you know what works for you.

Step 1. Place 1/4 cup plain yoghurt in EasiYo maker insert

Step 2. Pour in 2 tins of coconut milk or cream - this is about 800ml. Screw on lid tightly and shake, shake, shake while dancing round the kitchen for a minute or so

Step 3. Place in EasiYo thermos, fill with boiling water to top line and put on lid

Step 4. Leave for about 12 hours, then remove the insert jar and put in the fridge to set.

I usually make my yoghurt first thing in the morning, leave it all day, then place in the fridge overnight. This way it's fresh and ready for breakfast.

The yoghurt maker is quite simple really, it's just a plastic jar that sits on a ring inside a thermos, allowing the boiling water to completely surround it. It allows the heat to gently kick off the culturing and sits quietly on the bench minding it's own business, not needing any electricity or batteries, just emitting a slight healthy smugness as it digests the yumminess inside.

And the result of this experiment? A jar full of coconutty joy! Smooth, silky and creamy with a yummy tang. I had a big bowl of it on it's own, I had it with my breakfast muesli, it would be great as a side to a curry too.
The only drawback is that it's not as thick as normal yoghurt, a bit thinner than fruit flavoured ones. I did a bit of (belated) research, and most people seem to add a gum or gelatine thickener to their batch. I don't think I'll bother with that though, it tastes good and that's the main thing for me!

So Readers, what is more important to you, style or substance?