November 22, 2011
Today I felt like eating a penguin.
A warmly spiced yummy penguin to be precise.
Promise not to laugh?
This is my waffle maker, Woddles.
He's so very cute, but not very grown-up really.
I would probably never have blogged with him, but I was cruising some of my bloggy buddies when I read about Gingerbread Waffles on Heidi's blog http://applesundermybed.blogspot.com/2011/11/sunday-breakfast-of-gingerbread-waffles.html and they just sounded too good to resist. As I don't live anywhere near this particular cafe, I had to come up with my own gingery version to satisfy my cravings for sweetness.
Gingerbread is the flavour of Christmas to me, I'm usually up to my elbows in orders for gluten-free gingerbread shapes and houses and making sticky dark gingerbread cakes for the cafes at this time of year, so these waffles sounded perfect for a cool rainy day with carols playing happily in the background.
I don't know if mine were as good as the others, but they tasted pretty fine to me, and they sure beat them out with the cuteness factor.
1 cup SR Gluten free flour
1 Egg- separated
1/3 cup lactose free Milk
1/4 cup Treacle
1 Tbsp Oil
1 good teaspoon ground Ginger
1 good teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch Salt
Mix together the flour and spices.
Add in the egg yolk, milk, treacle and oil, and mix well. You might need to add in an extra tablespoon of milk if your mixture is very stiff.
Beat the egg white until nice firm,
then fold carefully through the other batter.
Spoon into your preheated waffle maker of choice- I know not all of you are lucky enough to have your own Woddles, and cook until lovely and brown and crisp.
Serve still warm, with the little penguin bellies filled with awesome Lactose-free Ice Cream, and drizzled with ginger sauce.
This was my lunch today- don't judge me, we all need to eat- and it was delicious!
So Dear Readers, who do you get inspiration from? And would you eat a penguin if you were hungry enough?
November 16, 2011
I really enjoy a grown-up Gin and Tonic.
It's just so elegant, the slight tartness and bitterness reflecting perhaps a jaded, though slightly more sophisticated and realistic view of the world, than the vodka cruisers of our adolescence.
On our anniversary, BigJ and I enjoyed a fantastic degustation menu at one of our favourite swanky restaurants. Now the oysters were great, the pork belly melted in our mouths, but the thing that I actually loved the most was a tiny scoop of sorbet served as a palate cleanser between courses. Maybe because it was such a yummy combination of flavours- Cranberry, Lime and Gin. The tartness and bitterness contrasting beautifully with the sweet iciness to freshen up our mouths, I promised myself I would recreate this icy alchemy at home.
There are a few secrets to a good sorbet.
You want a nice soft scoopable mix. The bigger chunky style ice crystal mix ix a granita, and doesn't have the same silkiness in your mouth that melts away quickly on your tongue
One tip is AIR. The more air you can incorporate into your mix the better. The mix will be light and fluffy and dissolve faster. You can achieve this by either churning your mix in an ice cream machine that constantly beats the mix as it freezes, or by pulling the mix out of the freezer a couple of time during the freezing process to whizz around in a blender or food processor, even just a good whisk will do.
The second tip is SOFTENING the ice crystals by including some glucose or alcohol, or both. These help stop the mix freezing too hard as both don't freeze easily themselves.
And lastly, SWEETENING. Freezing depresses the sweetness of things. There are probably very interesting scientific reasons behind this, but you just need to know to up the sweetness by about a third. Don't be off put when you taste the mix before freezing it, it really does need that extra sugar to be palatable.
Cranberry Lime and Gin Sorbet
1 3/4 cup Cranberry juice
(thanks to Christie's comp. over at FigandCherry)
1/8 cup Gin
1/8 cup Lime juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup liquid glucose
1. Make the sugar syrup by combining the 3 ingredients in a saucepan over high heat and bringing to the boil. Boil for about 30 seconds, or until the mix no longer looks cloudy in the pan. Cool thoroughly.
2. Combine the Cranberry juice, gin and lime juice. (I know it's bottled, but I can't squeeze fresh ones with my hands in splints) Mix the two together.
3. Pour the cold mix into an ice cream churner and follow manufacturers instructions, OR put the bowl in the freezer, and popping the semi-frozen slush into a blender or food processor a couple of times as it freezes.
4. Use a warm spoon to scoop lovely little balls of sorbet and serve in between courses at your Christmas get-together, or as a substitute for a Gin and Tonic before dinner.
That's about the extent of my sorbet wisdom, except to tell you that this recipe is really quite yummy indeed, so I hope you give it a try!
So Dear Readers, what's your favorite Grown-Up drink of choice?
November 10, 2011
There is no way my husband is satisfied sitting down to a dinner without meat. My Dad is the same- he is even suspicious of minced meat, he likes something he can sink his teeth into.
I'm definitely a meat eater too. I blame my blood type for this, apparently I'm one of the hunters more than one of the gathers, according to a book I read. But I do need to watch my iron intake and levels thanks to an inherited gene, and discovered after participating in a high-protein diet that I quite enjoyed actually, until having to have blood taken to bring my iron levels back down to normal.
So I compromise with a bit of clever cheffing, hidden vegetables in most dishes, and meals where I cut down on the meat content sneakily- thus Lamafels were born.
A typical Falafel is made from ground chickpeas and/or broad beans mixed with delicious spices, shaped into balls then fried to a crunchy golden deliciousness. My Lamafels, are a bit different, but just as delicious- trust me.
This is also a great meal for when you're in a hurry, or can't be bothered going to too much effort to get dinner on the table. Most of it can be cheated with by buying the main components pre-made. Of course I would never do that, and spent hours chopping and preparing despite my temporary handicap of having both arms out of action! :)
This cooks in maybe 2 minutes, 3 tops, and each person can add their own salad and spreads before rolling their Lamafel into a Takeaway style wrap and coming back for more. You can also shape them into patties, but they're just not as cute!
1 200g packet gluten free Falafel Mix
500g minced Lamb
Gluten free Wraps
Tzatziki- Lactose free
Tomatoes- thinly sliced
Cucumber- thinly sliced
1. Make the falafel mix according to the packet instructions.
2. Add in the minced lamb and water, and squish well together with your hands to really mix evenly with no clumps.
3. On one side of a gf wrap, spread a thin layer of meat mixture, stopping about 2cms from edge to allow for folding and wrapping.
4. Heat and oil a flat based frypan. (It helps if you make sure the wrap fits in the frypan before you start) Swirl the oil up the sides of the pan, this mixture really sticks otherwise.
Place the wrap meat-side down in pan and cook for just a minute or so, it really shouldn't take too long at all and you don't want it to turn to sawdust.
Flip the wrap over and heat the other side through as well.
5. Now it's time to work quickly while the wrap is warm and pliable, before it cools down and turns crispy.
Spread with some hummus or tzatziki - or both,I won't judge, and pop on some tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce.
6. Roll the wrap firmly, tucking in the ends so no filling dribbles down your favourite shirt.
Bite into your delicious Lamafel pretending it's full of meat, or just chickpeas, depending on your preference, and enjoy a meal that is prepared in minutes, cooks in minutes, and devoured just as quickly. Yumm...
So Dear Readers, do your meals rely mainly on meat, or are you a veggie lover too?
November 4, 2011
Well it might only be November, but Christmas comes early to my house!
Christmas carols are on a 5 hour repeat on the stereo, decorations are coming out of storage, and baking is starting now to stock the pantry and get a head start before the hot weather hits.
I've also progressed to a half-cast on my left arm, allowing no thumb movement, and might-just might, get in for surgery on my right arm before Christmas, so I thought I'd better get going while I can.
Panettone is a sweet fat cylinder of yumminess, made with a bread style dough with raisins and orange peel for flavouring. Originally from Italy, they're a traditional Christmas bread and seem to pop up in Deli's everywhere this time of year. The ones I've dealt with in the past, seem very dry and are usually imported, so I guess they come with lots of Frequent Flyer points and are a bit jet-lagged by the time they get to me.
I'm veering from tradition a bit today by using some gorgeous glace oranges I bought on special, along with honey, saffron, and a splash of Cointreau just because I feel like it and the flavours go so well together.
This recipe can be frozen for 2 months, so making it now is just right for Christmas- if I can stop nibbling it that is :)
You will need to allow a couple of hours for this recipe, there's a couple of periods required for the yeast to work. Fill in this time usefully with wrapping presents, humming carols, or decking the halls.
2 eggs+ 1 yolk
1 tsp Cointreau/vanilla
500g gluten free flour
14g dried yeast (2 foil packets)
100g castor sugar
1 tab honey
250-350 ml warmed lactose free milk
200g softened butter
100g glace oranges/ mixed peel
Pinch of saffron
Soak the saffron in about a teaspoon of warm water for a few minutes to release it's colour and flavour.
Mix the flour, sugar and yeast into a large bowl.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, Cointreau, honey and saffron, then stir into the flour mixture. A nice moist soft dough is what you want here so add the milk carefully as gfree flours can really be tricky with the way they absorb liquid.
Cover the bowl loosely, and place in a warm spot for an hour for the yeast to prove. the mixture should pretty much double in size.
Once ready, punch the dough down and add in the butter and fruit.
Knead them in lightly, trying not to use much extra flour. I used my mixer and dough hooks to get a lovely, silky smooth dough, very easy!
Split the dough between 10 large muffin tins. I used cylinders to maintain the traditional shape, but you can use Texas muffin tins instead. I left some plain - but well greased, and lined the others with muffin papers just so I could see which I preferred when it comes to gift making.
Pop them back in a warm place for another 1/2 hour to rise again.
Bake at about 190*c for 20-25mins until a lovely golden colour.
While they're still hot from the oven, brush the tops with a bit of extra Cointreau and sprinkle on some castor sugar.
Now I do have to say... these were the best Panettone I've ever had! Rich and buttery, citrusy and sweet with just a lovely hint of honey in the background, fantastic! I guess eating one fresh from the oven is a far cry from the cardboard boxed imported models you get at the supermarket, with a whole less food miles too. If you like panettone, you just have to give these a try.
If you can refrain from eating these little lovelies straight away, wrap them well individually in cling wrap and freeze them until Christmas. Yummm...
So Dear Readers,
has Christmas started at your home yet?