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 28, 2014

Mango Pudding for Chinese New Year


Gong Hey Fat Choy Dear Readers!

This weekend heralds in the start of Chinese New Year- a time for families to get together, celebrate, and of course feast! What a great excuse to head out to some of my favourite restaurants and indulge in a few dishes at Yum Cha as well

I wanted to post a recipe or two as my celebratory contribution, but there are so many traditional New Year foods and superstitions that I don't want to step on any toes and have decided to keep it simple with a very easy recipe for one of our favourite yum cha desserts- Mango Pudding

Now although it's such a simple recipe, I've made a few changes to make it lactose free and supermarket friendly. The usual Evaporated Milk has been switched out for Coconut Milk and I've opted for Gelatine instead of Agar Agar as it's easier to find. The flavour is only slightly different, and the set is just a little softer, but it still tastes terrific and is a fabulous ending to a heavy meal

 Mango Pudding- Yum Cha Style!

2 Cups Mango Puree
1 cup Coconut Milk or Cream
1/3 cup Castor Sugar
3 tsp Gelatine Powder
decent pinch of Salt

Pop the coconut milk, sugar, gelatine and salt into a saucepan and heat gently. Stir until the sugar and gelatine is all dissolved, but be careful not to let it boil or the gelatine will start to break down and your dessert might not set

Bring off the heat, then add to the mango puree and blend it all together thoroughly

See, gorgeous and smooth!

Pour into molds/ serving dishes and chill in the fridge for a few hours or until set through

Admittedly the yum cha dessert we know and love is usually a much brighter yellow, but mine is made nice and fresh and I think it tastes just as great- and bonus points for not making me sick with lactose either. Win win!

So Dear Readers, what celebrations does your family enjoy, and what is your favourite Yum Cha/Dim Sum dish?


January 21, 2014

Lovely Lavender Chicken

Summertime, and the living is easy.....

My vegetable garden is flourishing, my berries are fruiting, and my lavender is purpling prolifically

I grow a lot of culinary flowers, they're so lovely for adding colour, flavour and beauty to dishes. Nasturtiums, violets, carnation pinks, marigolds, roses, lavender and a whole heap of herb flowers too. My lavender is a specialised culinary cultivar that is very sweet and fragrant, with less of the harsh camphor sort of taste that is common in other varieties, so making mine extra yummy indeed.

A couple of months ago I was watching Rachael Khoo in her cooking show 'The Little Paris Kitchen' when she whipped up an amazing Lavender Chicken. Although I've used lavender a lot in sweets before and in Herbes de Provence with lamb dishes, at first I wasn't sure how it would work with chicken. Then I considered how similar some of the underlying flavour notes were between lavender and rosemary, and it all made sense.

I've been waiting and waiting for my flowers to bloom, and at last it all came together. I also used some Lavender honey that I picked up, but feel free to use whatever one you have on hand. I did cut the oil down from 4 tablespoons to 2, and used half the lemon instead of a whole one as I found it a bit overwhelming. The result was a very lovely dish that hit all the right savoury notes with the honey adding just enough sweetness to boost the floral fragrance of the lavender without it tasting like Nanna's sock drawer

Rachael Khoo's Lavender Chicken from The Little Paris Kitchen

6-10 Chicken thigh cutlets/pieces
4 tab Lavender Honey/plain Honey
2 tab Olive Oil
2 tab dried culinary Lavender buds
juice and rind of half a Lemon
few sprigs of Thyme

Lightly crush the lavender a little to help release the essential oils and increase the flavour. You can use a mortar and pestle if you have one or roll over them a couple of times with a rolling pin instead

 Don't forget to zest BEFORE you juice the lemon :)

Pop the oil, honey, juice, zest, thyme, and lavender all in together to create the marinade

I like to slash the chicken cutlets to the bone to really let the flavours penetrate and to soak up the yumminess

The longer you leave the marinade, the more flavour will infuse

Rub the chicken well with the marinade then leave for at least an hour but overnight would be fine. Turn the pieces around from time to time to coat evenly

Sprinkle with salt, then pop into a 200*C oven for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. You might need to check it from time to time and even cover it loosely with foil if the honey starts to burn a little. I found that mine was caught just in time, although the photo makes it look a lot darker than it really was!

I served my fragrantly flavoursome chicken up with some tiny, steamed new potatoes and some butter beans with fresh zucchini straws. Don't forget a drizzle of the pan juices to finish it off and tie all the flavours together- yummo!

So Dear Readers, what's your favourite flower, and have you eaten lavender in cooking before?


January 15, 2014

Tropical Lemongrass Fruit Salad

Australian Summers are not generally known for their lovely, mild and mellow weather

No, rather they are generally hot... really hot, scorching hot. Concrete that sears the soles of your feet, car interiors that can kill you in 6 minutes from the trapped heat, and heat that bad that it leaves with very little energy for cooking- let alone eating

I know that the Northern Hemisphere is trapped in a mini-Ice Age at the moment, but with our current temperatures hovering at 40*C/ 105*F we Aussies are also hibernating in our homes, trying to keep the heat OUT instead of IN

This recipe may not be on the menu plan for any of my Northern Readers for a while, but maybe it's one that can looked at wistfully, whilst dreaming of warmer days, tropic isles and palm trees- definitely not bush fires, sweat and blow flies

 The basis of any good Fruit Salad is great fruit to start with. You can use any you enjoy or that are in season, but I always like a mix of soft, firm, crisp, tart, mellow and sweet fruit.

Today I've picked: soft, sweet mango; firm tart pineapple; mellow papaya; fragrant lychees; crisp honeydew melon; tart passionfruit and the surprise bursts of flavour and texture that grapes would bring instead of using berries. I would have loved to include some guava, starfruit and even dragonfruit but there were none at the markets for me to find

Tropical Lemongrass Fruit Salad

A gorgeous selection of fresh Tropical Fruit
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1 stick Lemongrass
juice of half a Lime
spray of Mint- sliced very finely

First things first, time to make the lemongrass syrup

Bash the stem of lemongrass to release the oils and flavour

Place the lemongrass, sugar and water in a small pan and simmer until the liquid is nice and syrupy. Let the lemongrass continue infusing while it cools, then strain out


While the syrup is cooking and cooling, chop the fruit into nice bite sized pieces. I always like to cut the grapes in half as they are easier to eat that way and can also absorb some of the flavours from the syrup.

I'm going to share a secret with you Dear Readers... the easiest way in the world to peel a mango!
Instead of trying to slice the mango around the middle, then removing the seed, it's much easier to slice off the cheeks by cutting alongside the seed on each side leaving you with two nice flat cheeks and the seed with just a little rim of mango meat around it.
Take a thin edged metal spoon and slide it as close as you can get to the skin of the mango. Now run it underneath the flesh, following the curve of the skin and working your way around the whole piece

You should be able to pop the whole cheek out nice and neatly, leaving very little waste attached to the skin. See, a nice tidy result with no squishy bits

Gently combine the chopped fruit, sliced mint, lime juice and enough of the lemongrass syrup to coat it all nicely

A Big Bowl full of Beautiful!

 I like to leave the salad overnight for the lemongrass and mint to infuse through nicely. With the acidity of the lime and sugar in the syrup, the fruit salad should stay fresh in the fridge for a few days without breaking down if you've used good quality fruit.

I find that if you let the chill come off the fruit salad before eating, so much extra flavour comes through. The subtle lemongrass and zing of mint is a lovely way to start your day for breakfast, or end a meal for dessert- or of course as a snack anytime at all!

Serve a big scoop or two of this lovely, fragrant fruitiness with a dollop of lactose free yoghurt or a drizzle of coconut cream for extra decadence if you must- but I love it just on it's own

So Dear Reader, do you enjoy the taste of lemongrass, and what's the weather doing in your part of the world?


January 6, 2014

In My Kitchen- January 2014

Welcome to Another New Year!

I hope you have had a lovely holiday period Dear Readers, and are full of New Plans, New Ideas and lots of great New Years Resolutions to see you through the next twelve months in style

What better way of starting off the New Year than with lots of new goodies? Lovely Celia's In My Kitchen posts have taken off with up to 50 blogs joining in across the Blogisphere letting you in their kitchens for a lookey-loo at what's new and what's cooking around the world. Check out all the action Here to join in the fun

In My January Kitchen... is a huge tray of 30 mangoes, and for the bargain price of 50 cents each!

I just love the tropical and stone fruits that bless our summer months. So delicious, what we can't eat quickly I'll turn into puddings or cakes, or freeze to use in desserts later

In My Kitchen...

is a cute jelly mold from Lorraine. I've been trying to justify getting one of these for ages, so I was so excited that she thoughtfully took the decision out of my hands :)

In My Kitchen...

Is a beautiful cookbook from a great chef who really knows his stuff, Luke Nguyen. We love Vietnamese flavours and I'm looking forward to cooking my way through the whole book. A lovely gift from my Friend Pony

In My Kitchen...

Is another gift from Pony, a drink dispenser ready to help me make sure I drink my minimum 2 lts a day to stay hydrated and healthy. Today I've flavoured it with Pineapple Sage and Borage Flowers- Summery Fresh!

In My Kitchen...

is yet another addition to my cookie cutter collection. A 3d Space Shuttle that is very cute. A Christmas pressie from MiddleC

In My Kitchen...

Again from MiddleC, a cute little Half Pint milk jug, perfect for my lactose free milk needs

In My Kitchen...

From BigJ came a Cream Gun so I can finally have whipped lactose free cream. I'm very grateful for the fresh and UHT Lf cream available, but now I can make InTolerant friendly pavlova! Yay!!!

In My Kitchen...

Is some delicious fresh Goat Yoghurt- I think I'll make some gorgeous fresh cheese. For step-by-step instructions check out my post Here

In My Kitchen...

is a Smoked leg of Lamb. We've been too busy working our way through the Christmas ham to get to it, but it's days are numbered!

In My Kitchen...

is an absolutely amazing, incredible, wonderful new appliance called a Yonanas. It turns frozen fruit into gorgeous, fluffy soft serve ice cream! You simply freeze the fruit, let it thaw for about 5 mins, then feed it through the tube and out pops deliciousness- perfect for anyone like me who doesn't like sickly sweet desserts

This is banana and raspberry- just banana and raspberry- nothing else added at all. Can you see how smooth and creamy it is? I would recommend this machine to anyone, but for people with InTolerances and allergies it can be a life-changer for sure! No gels, gums or additives, no egg whites or dairy products- just healthy fruit. I've been having 'ice cream' for breakfast and can't get over the giggly, guilty feeling as it seems so wrong :)

And finally In My Kitchen...

is some new Dog Food. Thank you Dear Readers for all your kind concern and comments on our Christmas Doggy Drama, but he's making a steady recovery and has finally graduated from homemade Congee to solid food again. Yes, mushy boiled chicken and rice was all that could be tolerated for a week, without even the benefits of stock and ginger that gives my people-food Congee it's deliciousness. Hopefully this new diet will help him stay happy and healthy for a few more years at least

So Dear Readers, have you dived straight into the New Year yet, or are you still recovering from 2013?