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.

August 19, 2014

Smoky Lamb and Root Soup

Would you believe I saw some blossom this week Dear Readers?

That may not seem all that interesting if you live in the warmer regions, but down here where we're still hitting the minuses most nights, it was very exciting indeed!

Despite the bit of watery Winter sunshine shining through my window today, it's still the season for hearty wholesomeness and Soup is still at the top of my list. One of the really great things about cold weather though, is the abundance of top quality root vegetables. A lot of people think of these as a bit old fashioned and a lot of them haven't had quite the renaissance that beetroot seems to have had the last few years, but they are really quite lovely and very sweet indeed this time of year

Turnip, Parsnip and Swede

I also happen to have a smoked Lamb Shank languishing in my freezer so this is also destined for the pot to add a bit of extra flavour and depth. A smoked ham hock or ribs would be great as well, or leave them out all together if you prefer a meat free version

Smoky Lamb and Root Soup

1 large Parsnip
1 large Swede
1 large Turnip
2 Onions
2 large Carrots
half bunch of Celery
375gm/1 packet dried Soup Mix or mix of dried beans & peas- make sure there's no barley!
Smoked Lamb/Ham Hock
1.5 lt Stock- veggie or chicken
big pinch dried Thyme or few sprigs fresh
couple of Bay Leaves
splash Oil

Chop the onion, carrot and celery into fairly small pieces. I like to use a food processor to save some time and to save my wrists the hassle. In a long simmered soup like this they all meld together anyway and the rustic presentation means that painstakingly chopping each veggie to look it's best just doesn't matter

I like the Mckenzie's Italian Style Soup Mix. It has a great combination of beans, peas, chickpeas and lentils but no nasty gluten containing barley

Dried herbs because it was raining and I was too lazy to go outside for fresh- it wasn't the rain that worried me, it was the soggy, smelly dog that would want to jump all over me and make me muddy :)

Definitely too good to waste- just look at how much meat is left on the bone!

Sweat off the onion, carrots and celery in the splash of oil until they have a touch of colour

Add in the herbs and mix through well

Whizzy up the turnip, swede and parsnip into smallish chunks. I don't worry about the odd bit that misses the blades, it will certainly cook down anyway

Stir through the bean mix

Bury the hock in the veggie and beans- don't add any salt yet as it can toughen the beans and the hock could have a fair bit in it anyway

Top up with the stock and simmer for a couple of hours or until the beans are nice and tender but not mushy OR pop it all into a slow cooker in the morning and it will be hot and hearty by the time you get home from work in the evening

Keeping the soup warm, pull out the hock and remove the meat from the bones. The meat should just pull off easily by now, then just roughly chop it into bite sized pieces. I always include the gelatinous gristly bits too, they just melt away to nothing in the soup

Stir the meat bits back in, check for seasoning, then serve up big, steaming bowls of Yum

See how a lot of the veggies have broken down and thickened up the soup- this is a real 'Stick-to-your-ribs' type of meal indeed!

So Dear Readers, do you enjoy the old fashioned Root Vegetables and is it still Soup Weather in your neck-of-the-woods?


August 12, 2014

International Scone Week with Lady Flo's Queensland Pumpkin Scones

Did you know that it's International Scone Week?

A few years ago, wonderful Celia of the blog Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, and a few other bloggy buddies just happened to all post about scones at the same time and thus an annual event was born. To read more about it, and to see all of this year's participating blogs and recipes, check it out Here and of course, feel free to join in as well!

The last time I played along, I posted my  Lavender Lemonade Scones, so this time I thought I'd go with an iconic Australian recipe- Lady Flo's Pumpkin Scones

Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen and her husband Sir Joh, were very prominent and popular political figures in the 60's to the 90's in both the Queensland state and the federal arenas. Their family farm is not too far from my Mum and Dad's property and Mum got each of my sisters and I a signed copy of her books one Christmas
Even though she had such a successful and wonderful career, I still think one of Lady Flo's longest lasting legacies is her recipe for Pumpkin Scones.  Just like her recipe books- they aren't trendy, they aren't fancy, they're just good, solid basics done well

Mum with Lady Flo, back when perms were still fashionable :)

I much prefer to use a pumpkin like Queensland Blue or Jarrahdale for my scones and soups, I'm not as fond of Butternut

Before starting your scones, here's Lady Flo's own words to guide you:
'The one important piece of advice I always give to people attempting to make scones is that you must treat them with tender loving care. Don't knead them, instead press them lightly with your fingertips. This helps your scones to turn out nice and light.'

Lady Flo's Pumpkin Scones
(adjusted a little to suit my InTolerances)

1 tab Butter/lactose free spread
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
2 Eggs
1 cup cooled mashed Pumpkin-I used a quarter of a smallish pumpkin
3 cups gluten free SR Flour

Scones need a quick, hot oven to rise well. Preheat the oven and tray to 225*C before starting

Steam or microwave the pumpkin without adding any extra water. Boiling makes it waaay too soggy and the aim is to have a nice dry, dense pumpkin puree. I always drain it over a sieve as it cools so any excess liquid can drain away

Mix the butter, sugar, salt and pumpkin together well

Add in the eggs and whisk together

Add in the flour and fold through

Turn the mix out onto a lightly floured board and bring it all together- Gluten free doughs are generally softer and stickier than regular doughs. Pat it into a rectangle an inch or so high

Cut into rounds with a floured scone cutter

Pop the little lovelies together onto a warmed tray, and bake for 20 minutes on the top shelf of the oven

Nice and browned

It's a fact of life that gluten free goodies can be sadly dry and crumbly. The best way to combat this is to of course eat the goodies on the day they are baked :) otherwise I try and keep the moisture in a little by allowing my scones and most cakes to steam as they cool down. Just throw a clean tea towel over the scones- unless of course you like a crispy crust

Cut the scones in half while still just warm and slather on some jam or honey. I love these pumpkin scones with Golden Syrup- yummo

These scones are lovely, light and fluffy. The pumpkin isn't too savoury at all, it's just there quietly in the background keeping the scones moist and allowing the mix to cut back on fat without sacrificing any flavour or texture at all. I also love adding a good handful of lactose free cheese to the dough with these for a slightly savoury spin

So Dear Readers, what's your favourite scone, and have you ever heard of Lady Flo?


August 4, 2014

In My Kitchen- August 2014

Happy August Dear Readers!

It's still cold over here, but instead of hibernating I've been having lots of fun finding goodies to play with and to bring a bit of excitement to my Family Feasting

It's also that time when I link up with Celia over at her fantastic blog HERE for the monthly In My Kitchen roundup. A great way to see what other foodie bloggers are up to and a great way to make a few friends along the way

In My Kitchen...
is a whole case of beautiful Blood Oranges from the guys at Redbelly Citrus. I've been having so much fun munching my way through them. Check out my recipes here and here if you need some Orange Inspiration

In My Kitchen...
is my new cookbook from Antonio Carluccio. I froze my gluten free buns off last weekend as I sat on  metal bleachers in mid-winter misery watching him cook as part of Canberra's Annual Truffle Festival

When I asked him to sign my book to The InTolerant Chef and explained what that meant, he insisted on signing it to The Courageous Chef as he said it took courage to cook for anyone at all with food InTolerances, let alone having them myself as a chef!

In My Kitchen...
are some of the Truffle I bought at the markets, hopefully infusing flavour and aroma into a few eggs overnight

My Truffle Treat! An Omlette cooked in butter and flavoured very simply with Truffles inside and out..mmmmm....

In My Kitchen...
are some little jars of Truffle I picked up at Aldi. Although not anywhere in the same league as fresh, they are still OK sliced over things for a bit of Culinary Bling

In My Kitchen...
is another type of 'Truffle', Corn Truffle from Mexico. I have actually been looking for these for ages but have no idea yet what on earth I'm going to do with them! Any suggestions anyone?

In My Kitchen...
Even more Truffle Goodies with these lovely Australian Anchovies. I have jars of truffled anchovies that are just so gorgeous, that when I saw these I had to snap them up too. I'm thinking of a very indulgent lunch with thick toasted gluten free bread, ripe tomatoes, and topped with these little babies
- yummo!

In My Kitchen...
is this gorgeous Raspberry Liquor that comes from the NSW Hunter Valley. Tamburlaine Wines are an organic vinyard that has an amazing commitment to the environment and just so happen to produce some very tasty wine indeed. Although I did buy quite a few varieties, this dessert wine is definitely my favourite to sip slowly and enjoy

In My Kitchen...
are some fabulous Lychee products I picked up at a food show. The lychees are all grown in Queensland and although they are delicous when fresh, these products take the lychee to a whole new level of yum

In My Kitchen...
are some spice sachets from the lovely ladies at Cooking Co-ordinates in the Belconen Fresh Food Markets. These were gifted to some of us Canberra Food Bloggers and are very tasty indeed. I enjoyed the Roast Vegetable mix sprinkled over some veggies and leg of lamb, and they were great. The Mulling Spice was simmered away in some apple and pear juice instead of wine, to make a family friendly drinky-poo that we could all enjoy

In My Kitchen...
is some Culinary Bling indeed! Mustard with gold dust and flavoured with white truffle, and gorgeous Himilayan salt that just looks way too pretty to use

In My Kitchen...
are some locally grown Woodear Mushrooms. I really love the texture they bring to a dish, and I enjoyed these little beauties stir fried with finely diced pork, lots of garlic and some tasty shiitake mushrooms as well. I normally buy these dried and have to soak them, so the fresh ones are a real treat indeed

In My Kitchen...
is some Spreadable Salami! I have to admit that initially I bought this for it's novelty value, but it really does taste very nice indeed. I've had it spread on crackers as snacks, but also stirred through pasatta for a spicy pasta sauce

In My Kitchen...
are some gorgeous Sheep Cheese products. I can tolerate sheep and goat milk quite well, and it's always nice to try a few different varieties when I come accross them

In My Kitchen...
is yet more novelty with some Cuttlefish Ink. I think I'll use this to colour fresh pasta and to add a bit of intrigue into my next risotto

In My Kitchen...
is another bargain buy from the supermarket- Lumpfish Caviar. It's pretty colour and great texture make it an interesting ingredient to play with and quite a cute garnish as well

In My Kitchen...
are oh-so-many finishing vinegars. I just love them and have at least a dozen or so... apricot, raspberry, mulberry, spiced apple, fig, pomegranate, vanilla- and now Beetroot too. They add a nice bit of sweet acidity to a dish, a bit of depth to salads, and sometimes just a bit of prettiness dotted across a plate. Very versatile

In My Kitchen...
are the new Gluten Free Weet-Bix! They taste amazing and just like I remember them. Thanks Sanitarium for thinking of us InTolerants

And finally, In My Kitchen...
are some gorgeous white roses from BigJ. Because he loves me very much...and because I was right and he was wrong. As per usual :)

So Dear Readers, what celebrity chefs would you like to meet, and what's going on in your kitchen this month?