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 30, 2013

Christmas 2013- Before and After

We had a very odd mix of Merry and Miserable this Christmas!

Of course it was wonderful to be together and enjoy the special day, but we had a few worries thrown into the works resulting in a few mix ups as well

Poor Santa had to wait a very long time for us to go to bed on Christmas Eve as we were up to 3 am with a very sick puppy dog, lunch really became dinner with rushing around, poor BigJ ended up with an incredibly nasty burn when boiling oil splashed over his hand when he was helping in the kitchen, and littlej didn't sleep for days as she was stressed and worried about her furry friend.

Despite all this, we managed to find moments of peace and joy in the midst of it all- enough anyway to appreciate each other and count our blessings after all

Welcome to a brief glimpse of our Christmas 2013, Before and After...

Our room Before 7 am Christmas Morning...

So pretty and perfect, colour co-ordinated and everything

Our room After about 7.15 am Christmas morning!

Paper and presents everywhere, lots of fun and love and laughter

The dining table Before lunch...

Roast lamb, pork and turkey; duck fat potatoes; scalloped potato bake; beans and greens with pine nuts and truffle oil; two tone dutch carrots; roast onions and garlic; pan gravy and various jellies and sauces

The dining table After lunch...

So much eaten, not enough gone! Just because it's for the four of us, I see no good reason not to go all out and cook enough for a feast. Nothing goes to waste, I promise you!

A dinner plate Before saying Grace...

The dinner plate shortly After...

The festive feast Before lunch...

The festive feast After lunch

Boxed up and ready for the fridge. What we didn't eat the next day was then sliced up and frozen into meal-lots. I'm planning on chicken pot-pie, pork rice paper rolls and lots of other yummies. I do like having a bit of a break over the the holidays and these leftovers along with the ham and smoked leg of lamb in the fridge, make life a lot simpler

Our dog Before becoming violently ill on Christmas Eve...

He went rapidly down hill which resulted in a frantic dash to the emergency after hours Vet on Christmas Day

Our dog After 2 days in hospital...

You can see how much weight he lost so quickly, although I'm sure he's much cooler now with a shaved tummy. He was diagnosed with severe pancreatitis and is now happily on the mend. We're not sure how it happened as he hadn't eaten anything unusual that we know of. The vet said it could have been a gradual build up of fatty foods over time, and I'm certainly guilty of feeding him that as we generally find it hard to get him to keep much weight on as he doesn't eat very much at all. He is a remarkably fussy eater, burying a cupcake, but stealing all the tomatoes and strawberries he can reach in the garden

My wallet Before the vet bill....

All ready for the Sales

My wallet After the vet bill...

littlej did kindly offer to return all her Christmas presents if it would help- which nearly broke our hearts.   Thank goodness no operation was needed, or things may have indeed been a little dicey! It could have been a lot worse though, as our SIL had to rush her dog to the same vet on Boxing Day after it was bitten by a Tiger Snake. Despite anti venom, it just wasn't enough and she sadly lost her little friend. We are very blessed to have our doggie still, although I've said that instead of presents on birthdays this coming year,you get to pat the dog instead!

littlj's Gingerbread House

So Dear Readers, did you enjoy this Christmas, and did everything go according to plan for you these holidays?

December 18, 2013

Oh Deer!

Over the years our family has left out many different types of Santa Snacks

Cookies, fruit cake, mince tarts;  and of course a drink- milk, water, port or even beer if if was particularly hot.
Somewhere along the line we started leaving out treats for the reindeer too. Fair enough, after all they do most of the work, don't they! There's been carrots, apples, oats, oats mixed with glitter, and whatever else was wilting in the bottom of the crisper drawer that mummy thought she wouldn't miss.

Now, it only stands to reason that if food goes in, Something Else must come out. If the Easter Bunny poops out Jelly Beans, then surely something just as delicious must be produced from Reindeer?
After much thought and consultation with Santa, this recipe is pretty close to the real deal. Santa was only prepared to go so far in the interest of the Culinary Arts, and delegated the job of tasting to one of the Elves. He hopes you like it, because it took him hours of following the reindeer to get the scoop on their poop!

1 block (100gm) Lindt chocolate- 70% and over are lactose free
3/4 cup gf Mini Marshmallows
3/4 cup shredded Coconut
1/2 cup Glace Cherries
good pinch Salt

Melt the chocolate over hot water, or in the microwave

Toss in everything else

Now stir, stir, stir until it's all coated in chocolate

Place Tablespoons of the mixture on a parchment lined tray and set aside to cool in the fridge or cool place

When set, dish these up as little treats and enjoy telling your guests where they came from!

So Dear Reader, only 6 Sleeps to go to the Big Day!!! Are you ready yet, or do you have a Last-Minute-List that's still a mile long?


December 10, 2013

Festive Fruit Mince Slice

'Tis the Season for Festive Feasting!

It's also the Season for Get-Togethers, Drop-Ins, Bring-a-Plates and various other gatherings. As anyone with InTolerances knows, there's very little chance of being offered anything other than a piece of fruit at these events, so it's always a good idea to take along a nice yummy that you can enjoy while proving  to others how delicious InTolerant cooking really can be

Mince Tarts are such an iconic Christmas offering that I was determined to make a huge pile of them to share with my friends and family this year. Then I realised- to make individual little babies would take quite a lot of time and energy, both of which are in short supply this time of year with all the running around I have to do... A quick re-think, and thus the Festive Fruit Mince Slice was born. All the same yumminess as a regular Mince Pie, but a lot less mucking about. Definitely something to be Merry about indeed!

Festive Fruit Mince Tart
1/2 cup Castor Sugar
250gm lactose free Spread
3 cups gluten free plain Flour
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cups gf and lf Fruit Mince either home made or pre-prepared

Pop the flour, sugar, spread and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor

Pulse it all until it comes together nicely
OR mix the ingredients together in a big bowl until they form a nice soft dough

Divide the dough in half, putting the half for the top in the fridge to chill until a bit firm

With the other half of the dough, push it out carefully and evenly to line the slice tray, then bake it at 170*C for about 30 minutes or until lightly set and slightly golden

Ooops! Can anyone spot my deliberate mistake? I stuck my pot-holder into the shortbread while I was pulling it out of the oven- just to demonstrate how very soft it still is until it cools, not because I'm a klutz or anything  :)
Let the shortbread cool in the tin until it firms up nicely :P

Spread the fruit mince over the base, leaving a thin margin of clear shortbread all the way around the edges. This will help the top to seal nicely and stop the fruit mince bubbling up over the edges and burning on the hot metal

Roll the top layer of dough out to an even sheet, then lay over the fruit mince. Pat it down carefully on the edges just to make sure it connects. Sprinkle the top with a bit more castor sugar for a pretty, glittery effect, then bake again for about 35 minutes or until the top is set and lightly golden

As I wanted a nice festive effect, I cut some shapes out of my dough before it was placed on top. I very kindly made another 'deliberate mistake' to then show you what would happen if you didn't chill the dough enough to set the shapes properly. Aren't I kind? The dough spread and instead of a scattering of snowflakes I ended up with a splodge of spider webs instead. Never mind, at least you won't make the same mistake :)

The finished item with it's spidery Halloween designs instead of Christmas ones- not as pretty but still as tasty!

This is a lovely 'short' pastry that crumbles quite easily, so it's a bit easier to slice it up once cooled. It's also perfect for dunking in a cup of Earl Grey tea in case you're interested. I leave mine in the fridge this time of year and it lasts for at least a week if I can control myself- but I make no promises!

So Dear Readers, what do you like to munch on to be Merry, and are you on top of your Christmas shopping yet?

December 3, 2013

In My Kitchen- December

Can you believe that it's the last In My kitchen for the year!

November and December seem to flash past so fast in the blur of Christmas prep and End-Of-Year functions, and there hardly seems time to catch your breath

The In My Kitchen phenomenon sponsored by lovely Celia over at Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has grown hugely over the last couple of months as well. It's a lot of fun to participate and also to sticky-beak into some of the other kitchens out there in the blogisphere. You might be surprised what some of them are up to!

In My Kitchen... is a teensy, tiny Gingerbread House cookie cutter
So little that you can apparently perch them on the side of your cup of cocoa! I'll have to get busy and make some to show you all very soon

In My Kitchen... is some yummy smoked Goat Salami from our local butcher
Very tasty and rich indeed. A nice change from the usual

In My Kitchen...  is another seasonal salami, with the Woolies Truffle Salami
I haven't cracked it open yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to it- I just hope they haven't been too stingy with the truffley treasures

In My Kitchen... are some absolutely fabulous cookie cutters!
I just love these so much, they're so much fun and I'll have lots of creative uses for these next year- stay tuned..

In My Kitchen... are some lovely Floral Flavoured Chocolates
I have a real weakness for floral flavours, and these are not some I've come across before. I plan on making a whole floral themed high Tea soon, any one for a cuppa?

In My Kitchen... are yet more cookie cutters
Very seasonal indeed, I ordered these from Norway and they have luckily arrived before I hang up my baking apron for the holidays

I couldn't resist this one! It was just so whimsical and joyous. It makes me smile :)

Not In My Kitchen... is my beautiful upside down Christmas Tree
There's very little space left on it to hang ornaments now- I might just need to buy another!

In The Lounge Room... is my more traditional Christmas Tree
Reds and golds, and very classic- it's getting a bit full now too

and finally, In My Hallway... is a beautiful Nativity
Reminding us every time we pass by what Christmas is really about and to count our blessings

So my Dear Readers, what have you been cooking up for Christmas, and have you got your Christmas tree up yet?

November 27, 2013

A Cheat's Christmas Treat

I'm really not that hard to please


I don't want much at Christmas- just a nice dinner, maybe some dessert
Whatever the rest of the family is eating is generally OK- maybe just a little tweak or two to make it more Tolerant for us InTolerants, but it's not hard. Especially as all the hard work can already be done for us at the Supermarket....

This is my Christmas Cheat for everyone out there like my MotherInLaw who still thinks someone like me is just 'fussy' and doesn't have a clue what to feed us InTolerants. She has once made lactose and gluten free custard- from a packet- but still didn't trust it and was waiting for it to curdle because it wasn't 'real'...sigh....

Well it can't get any easier than this

Frozen Christmas Pudding- Gluten and Lactose Free

These are the main two ingredients of my pudding, in fact you don't have to add anything else. Of course either of them are quite nice on their own, but when you mix the two together you make a whole new, sublime creation
The Peter's Lactose Free Ice Cream is available at Coles and Woolies, and the pudding I've used today is the Woolworths Macro Free From brand available,of course, from Woolies

This is my little extra splash of Christmas Cheer- liquid Christmas Cake, otherwise known as Pedro Ximenez Sherry. You could use rum or brandy, or just leave it out altogether if you don't have any of this deliciousness on hand. I may gulp down an extra bit to help me deal with my In Laws :)

Soften down your ice cream
I found that the trip home from the shops was the perfect amount of time for this to happen- how handy!

Break up the pudding into nice little chunks- not little crumbs, chunks are nicer for texture

Add to the Ice Cream, along with a decent glugg of sherry, if using

Mix it all up to distribute the yuminess

Then place in a basin, bowl or mould lined with cling film so it's easy to get out when wanted

Frozen pudding with no nasty gluten or lactose to upset my tummy!
A few drips are OK, it's always hot down here in the Southern Hemisphere at Christmas

Perfect for making us InTolerants feel special, and using ingredients that are easy to source, easy to use and delicious to eat- For Everybody!

So Dear Readers, do you enjoy a hot or cold Christmas Pudding, and do you have any issues with your Mother In Law?