Tag Archives: gluten free

Christmas doesn’t have to end yet- Chocolate bark

So I couldn’t fit this post in before Christmas, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy chocolate any time of year (amiright?). Obviously. I made these for colleagues for Christmas- my boss can only enjoy Gluten Free goodies and it’s easier to make something that’s gluten free for everybody. Last year I made fudge.

This was surprisingly easy to make. I got a bit nervous about working with chocolate, but it was not difficult at all. I found that a glass bowl helped (I bought one for the occasion but have been meaning to for years). If you want this to be GOOD, use the best possible chocolate you can afford. I used some cheaper white and dark chocolate, and thought it shows. The milk chocolate was divine and make the almond bark great.

It really is simple: Melt chocolate, spread into a pan lined with baking/grease proof paper (no oil or spraying needed). Press goodies on of your choice into the chocolate (I had one with almonds and the other with candy canes) and let set in the fridge. When firm (doesn’t take long at all) melt a second (different) chocolate and spread this over the top. Put back in the fridge. When set, break into large chunks.

Naturally, if you use vegan chocolate, it will be vegan and if you check your candy canes or other mix-ins are gluten free, then your bark will be gluten free.

I made a dark chocolate, almond and milk chocolate bark (definitely the best- the quality of the milk chocolate shone through) and a dark chocolate, candy cane and blogs of white chocolate “snow” one. I also made one serious “block” of chocolate, broke it in half and gave it to good friends at work. I gave these in little noodle boxes wrapped with curling ribbon. I would also try some different mix-ins. You could add mini marshmallows, coconut and glace cherries/turkish delight and make rocky road style bark, or lolly bananas and peanuts (yum!), or dried fruit if you want to be Christmas festive. Don’t you just think you could throw a chunk or two of this into hot milk?! Maybe when it’s colder!

I was hoping to make this for family as well as colleagues, but here’s the thing: it’s too bloody hot to make chocolate gifts in Australia if you’re not sure about refrigeration! Baking something is much easier.

If you’re in the northern hemisphere, luckily it’s still nice and cold and this will keep out of the fridge if you wish.

Enjoy!

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LITTLE LARDER

So when my sister recommended The Little Larder recently I was taken back to stories from my last job where a colleague would Facebook photos of her all day breakfast with lewd tomato sauce messages written on her plate by her friend the waitress. The waitress and the colleague have moved on, but the story remains and makes me laugh.

Even though it was the weekend and busy, we were served promptly and our meals didn’t take too long. My sister ordered pesto scrambled eggs with salmon, so I didn’t photograph it, but I ordered the mushroom polenta with avo and poached eggs and a beetroot, carrot and orange juice.

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The poached eggs were a little undercooked in my fussy opinion but the polenta was superb and with the balsamic, cherry tomatoes and hot sauce, was truly interesting and yummy. You’re going to pay New Farm prices here with most hot brekkies over $15 each. We finished with a stroll around New Farm, acting like complete tossers and behaving in a way that only sisters could probably understand. If you and your sister swear a lot and talk about Brisbane gigs, architecture, libraries and boys.

So exactly like you and your sister.

Little Larder on Urbanspoon

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ORAWGI

So I’m in love. I love raw food places because you can feel the care in the food. I’m serious! Nothing can be “slapped together” in a raw food cafe because everything is a process- blending, chilling, dehydrating, marinating, etc.

Orawgi (meaning Organic, Raw and low GI) is run by the supremely talented Jamie Louise Stevenson. I like to think her parents read her Treasure Island as a child. It’s actually located inside another building- BioSolar- on Ipswich Road in Wooloongabba. Their Facebook page is here and the owner also runs the yoga studio next door.

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The decor is white and bright but a lot of fun. I forgot to take a picture of the wall that was just black and white photo frame wallpaper with the staff’s colour photos stuck on it, but it was very cute. There were quite a few people there and the three staff were bustling and busy.

Ethics is the name of the game here. Everything is vegan (except for honey in smoothies) and organic and made in the store. It’s not cheap, but when you consider the labour that goes into making an organic dehydrated pizza base or quiche or bagel, it’s worth it! Take away containers are biodegradable and non-plastic wherever possible.

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I oggled the display cabinet but decided upon the pizza straight away. I think most of the meals were $15 but a lunch deal is $20 and includes either a drink or something sweet. I ordered The Jefferson Special smoothie (walnuts, protein powder berries and honey) with my lunch and it also came with salad. I had the garden salad and the kale salad (although you can just have one or the other if you want). This might not look like a huge serve, but I was FULL by the time I’d finished.

That is not a real orange. It is my "magical orange" which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

That is not a real orange. It is my “magical orange” which will summon my meal when ready. Hehehe

The salads were tasty- the kale one had purple carrots and a Asian soy-ish flavoured dressing with lots of sprouts and seeds. Fresh.

How do I describe raw pizza? Hmmm… well the veggies included tomato, capsicum and florets of broccoli (trust me when I say that broc on a pizza can work!) on a crispy base. The base is made from nuts that are made into a “dough”, rolled thin and then dehydrated (dried without cooking) until crispy. The sauce was amazing- it tasted like sun-dried tomatoes and perhaps capsicum buzzed up in a Vitamix blender until super-fine and smooth. There was also a drizzle of cashew sauce- cashews, garlics and I’d have to guess perhaps some nutritional yeast- which serves as the “cheese”. This is not Dominos people, this is nutrient dense food that tastes great.

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I also ordered a brownie to take away but they were all out so I had the chocolate and salted caramel tart. It’s a hard life. Even though it has coconut oil/butter in it, it lasted all the way home via the fruit and veg shop without turning into a gloopy mess. I don’t know what I liked more: the base or the toppings.

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The verdict?

Can you marry a shop?
Orawgi on Urbanspoon

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It’s a hard knock life.

Lots of people have to work holidays, but they don’t get to have GF raspberry brownie and cold pressed soy coffee from Lift while they do it. So I feel smug.

The coffee is pressed locally by Rouge and is very sweet and strong, so be warned! (The soy option is called the Dalai Lama- gotta love it!). The house-made brownie is not to be shared. Seriously, get your own brownie. This one is mine (saving the last bite in the picture).

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Thank you for the chats and coffee recommendation, Johnathan. Now to take advantage of this coffee buzz and finish my work.

 

PS- 100th POST! Thank you to my supporters for the encouragement that makes blogging fun and rewarding!

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Girls’ Day In

So just because sometimes it’s fun to say you’ve done ridiculously stereotypical girly things, I went over to a friend’s house to paint our nails, put on a clay face mask and watch movies. Seriously.

All from Homemade Naturals on Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill.

All from Homemade Naturals on Gladstone Road, Highgate Hill.

I brought dairy-free noms becase she shouldn’t be eating dairy at the moment. We watched Father of the Bride and Breakfast and Tiffany’s and my nails are now grey and sparkles.

My womb might explode from all the girliness.

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Leftovers rock- quick mexi potatoes

So I hate food waste. We throw out things like vegetables we intend to eat that eventually die in the crisper and last week’s dinner (which now looks scary so we sometimes turf the container too). We waste food for a variety of reasons (even if you don’t want to click the link, click the link because Dr. Karl wrote that piece and I love Dr. Karl). But it doesn’t have to be like that.

There’s one section of my extended family who don’t do leftovers. Food not eaten that night doesn’t get eaten. Either it goes straight into the bin or it goes into the fridge and then into the bin later. It’s weird. I love leftovers to the point where I plan for leftovers so I can have yummy lunches for the coming week or freeze portions to create a bit of variety at a later date.

Part of my planning for leftovers includes purposefully cooking a bit more veg than needed and the other night it was baked potatoes. I can’t stand turning on the oven for one or two tiny things, and maximising what you cook in the oven saves electricity and money. So cooking this recipe actually started about 2 days before I finally ate this dish when I rolled my spuds in foil and baked them in the oven until super soft.

This is not a recipe where you need ingredient amounts. You can even make LEFTOVERS SQAURED like I did here, where I added leftover beans to leftover potatoes. It’s a naturally gluten free recipe.

I added: leftover refried beans, tomato and cheese to a roughly chopped up baked potato in a baking dish of your choice. I added guacamole and spring onions to mine after it came out of the oven. Of course, you could add sour cream too.

I like this dish because it’s a little like nachos but uses less processed food. It’s great with sweet potato if you’re not a spud fan.

It’s also really nice done with Indian ingredients (leftover dahl and chopped veg with chopped coriander and a swirl of yoghurt on top after it has come out of the oven).

It’s not a gourmet dish by any stretch of the imagination but it’s solid food as healthy or revolting as you want to make it and is easy to produce in a big baking dish to serve as dinner or a side to something else.

Tuck in.

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Raw Cashew Cream Dreamcake

So I know I’ve covered Raw Brownies recently, and maybe this will be the last raw recipe for a while. This is yet another recipe from the clever Sarah of My New Roots. Making this was my sister’s idea. It was a good one. I’ve included my, lesser quality pictures here, but the recipe is here on Sarah’s website. The pink layer comes from berries and the base is nuts and dates. It’s great vegan recipe and could be a great summer birthday cake.

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Best tip: Cling wrap lining the tin. Makes it come out of the pan easily if you don’t have a spring-form pan.

IMAG1434Serve with berries (ours are still frozen but no less delicious).

IMAG1438All the pretty layers. Ok, so ours isn’t as pretty, but it’s still good eating.

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And none for Gretchen Wiener.

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Getting Loaded

So it may be my Irishy-Scottishy ancestry, but I LOVE potatoes. I’ve never eaten a potato I didn’t like. Snack, meal, side, whatever. They don’t exactly have a sexy image or a brilliant healthy reputation, but I think that’s just because we don’t always do them justice.

This (loose and non-exact) recipe is neither sexy nor healthy, but it freezes well and tastes awesome. So just try it.

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Loaded Potatoes.

  • Small clean potatoes
  • A little milk and/or butter of your choice for mashing (soy or other non dairy versions work fine)
  • Cheese/s of your choice (I used a blue cheese and a Parmesan) (The amount you use will depend on how many potatoes you make)
  • Herbs of your choice (I used chives and garlic with the Parmesan and nothing with the blue cheese).
  • Salt and pepper.

You’ll also need foil, and cling wrap if you plan to freeze them.

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A freezer bag with my potatoes all ready to eat. No need to seal the bag as everything is individually wrapped.

  1. Wrap the potatoes in foil, pierce all over with a knife or skewer and bake them until tender. Save electricity by baking them with something else.
  2. When cool, unwrap and cut in half. Scoop out most of the centre with a spoon, but leave enough flesh in the skin to keep them intact. Set skins aside.
  3. Mash your potato flesh with the milk, butter, salt and pepper to your liking.
  4. At this point, I split the mixture in half because I was making two kinds of filling. You don’t have to do this if you’re just making one flavour.
  5. Add grated or crumbled cheese and herbs of your choice to the mixture. Make it as cheesy or as subtle as you wish. Mash in well.
  6. Carefully spoon and press mixture back into skins. They will probably be a bit mounded because you’ve added extra filling.
  7. At this point, you can either bung them back in the oven and bake them until they are hot and the cheese is melted, or you can prepare them for freezing. Take two halves and cling wrap together. Label with flavour and date and then freeze.
  8. To reheat, either allow to defrost in the fridge or microwave. You can either put them back in the oven or, in potato emergencies, just eat hot from the microwave. Serve alone or with other noms, such as a vegetarian chili (as in the bottom picture).

To be honest, I enjoyed the Parmesan and herb ones a lot more as the blue cheese ones tasted a little floury (delicious, but floury). I would probably add a mild cheddar or mozzarella to the blue cheese mix to add some moisture next time. These were great to grab on my way to work and let them defrost before lunch.

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Enjoy!

 

What other flavours do you think would work in loaded potatoes?

 

 

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Welcome Wagon!

So I love making homemade gifts. It’s a shame that not everyone appreciates them. I love getting a gift that I know someone has spent time on.

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For my birthday, I had one lovely friend make me snickerdoodles (cinnamon biscuits/cookies) that were to die for and presented in a repurposed tin! She had even made half crunchy and half chewy because she didn’t know how I like my biscuits (Chewy, in case anyone ever wants to make me more. Not that I didn’t eat the crunchy ones!). Delicious, frugal and eco.

I love receiving any sort of gift. Whether someone has spent time at a shop, online, in the kitchen or sitting on the living room floor covered in glue, they have spent time thinking about you and that’s awesome.

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I had a housewarming challenge recently, where some family members had bought their first house together. I was on a budget, I had a tight time frame and one of the couple has a gluten allergy. I wanted to buy a couple of new items for their new place, but, frankly, people remember a homemade gift more (for better or worse) and I wanted care factor, because they are important family to use (as opposed to all those unimportant family members running around…).

I wanted to make gluten free noms, because it must suck having to think about baked goods before you tuck in. Above are the peanut butter cookies and banana choc oat cookies that resulted.

And you know what? I lost BOTH recipes, so all that exists of my knowledge of the recipes are the pretty (obviously homemade) labels. Here’s the banana choc oat label, if you want to have a go reconstructing them:

IMAG1935And the finished cookies were put into glass jars I already had, tied off with my dorky labels and nestles into a baking dish with some jam and tea towels. Total cost: Less than $30 (sorry if said family members read this) but very pretty, in my humble opinion.

IMAG1939Yes, that’s my car. Like I said, tight time frame 🙂

Have you ever made someone a (edible or inedible) present? I’d love to know what it was- share the love!

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Blueberry Muffins

So this recipe was originally Strawberry Shortcake Muffins from Dashing Dish. I didn’t have strawberries, so ended up with blueberry muffins.

I love small easy snacks that I can freeze and take to work. I often make up cake, muffins or biscuit dough that I can either pull out of the freezer in the morning and take to work, or defrost a stick of dough and bake up biscuits (cookies) at a moment’s notice for morning teas.

I like these muffins because they were easy, less than 100 calories (about 93 depending on your berry) and not disgustingly unhealthy. You could easily use a sugar replacement if you don’t use sugar, and could very easily use gluten free oats to make this gluten free.

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In the reflection, you could almost imagine twice as many noms…

Makes 12

GET:

2.5 cups oats

2 eggs

.5 cup sweetener (I use sugar)

1.5 tsp baking powder

.5 tsp baking soda

1.5 cups berries (+.5 cup optional extra for the tops of muffins)

1 tsp lemon juice

 

DO:

  • Preheat oven (400 F) and prep muffin liners (I used foil liners without the paper so they didn’t stick. I use the paper liners to separate raw goodies, like raw brownies).
  • Buzz your oats in a food processor until they’re powdery. Add all over ingredients except berries and blend until smooth.
  • Stir in berries. Fill muffin trays (I made 12 small muffins).
  • Top with extra berries (optional). Bake 20-25 minutes.
  • Serve on their own, hot or cold, possibly with yoghurt.

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Enjoy!

 

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