GF flourless lemon almond cake

A few weeks ago now (wow – where has the time gone?!), we hosted dinner for some friends and family – one of which was on a gluten free diet. And, remembering that it was not too long ago that I too avoided wheat, I had an abundance of recipes to choose from when it came to making an allergy-friendly dessert. IMG_2558 One that I had been meaning to try for a while was a gluten free flourless lemon almond cake. You can find the recipe I followed here. IMG_2557 What appealed to me about the recipe was that it appeared to be a relatively ‘light’ cake. Light in texture, and flavour, and I am pleased to report that the end result was just that. IMG_2559 Served simply, with a sprinkle of icing sugar and some cream on the side, to let the lovely lemony flavours shine through. And shine they did! What about you? Been up to any GF baking recently?

Cherry ripe coconut fudge cake

Every once in a while, I come across a recipe on a blog that I know I must try. And must try soon. Heidi’s recipe for a cherry ripe coconut fudge cake was one such recipe. IMG_3260 So as soon as I had an occasion to share a baked treat (which was a family dinner we hosted over the weekend), I knew this cake had to make an appearance. And boy was a delightful cake it turned out to be. IMG_3264 There were so many things I loved about this cake. IMG_3265 I loved that it used coconut flour, making it gluten fee. IMG_3266 I loved that it favoured honey as a sweetener, instead of sugar, making the flavour of the bitter dark chocolate shine through. IMG_3268 I loved that the ‘icing’ was made with greek yoghurt – something I would never have thought of using. IMG_3269 And I loved how the cherry jam added just the right amount of fruity sweetness. IMG_3272 My only comment is that this cake is rich in fudgey goodness So rich, in fact, that you will only need a small slice to satisfy even the strongest of chocolate cravings. IMG_3273 A delightful end to a lovely dinner party indeed. You can find the recipe here. What about you? Have you ever cooked with coconut flour?

Tuna Rice Pie

This tasty dish made an appearance at a recent girls lunch I hosted. I wanted something relatively light, that I could make in advance, and well it fit the bill just perfectly. Cooked rice, tuna, sundried tomatoes, onion, baby bocconcini, parmesan, parsley, eggs and spinach. IMG_1836_thumb1 Stirred until combined… IMG_1837_thumb1 Then pressed into a greased springform cake tin. IMG_1838_thumb1IMG_1839_thumb1 Baked for ***, until golden brown. IMG_1850_thumb1 I served the pie on my cake stand, for it really was just like a little savoury cake. IMG_1855_thumb2 And despite being so simple to put together, the flavours were delightful, and worked perfectly for a light ladies lunch. IMG_1858_thumb1IMG_1862_thumb1 We served the pie in slices, along with a fresh garden salad. The added bonus being that it was a large pie – so there were lots of leftovers for the next couple of days. IMG_1893_thumb2 Delicious hot or cold, and you can make it with any ingredients you have on hand really. IMG_1892_thumb1 Tuna Rice Pie (adapted from here)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1.5 cups aborio rice
  • 670ml chicken stock
  • 425g can tuna in water, drained, flaked
  • 200g sun-dried tomatoes, drained, finely chopped
  • 200g baby bocconcini cheese, drained, roughly chopped
  • 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 100g baby spinach leaves, shredded
  • handful chopped parsley
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 7 to 8 minutes or until onion is soft. Increase heat to high and add rice. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in stock. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
    2. Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease and line base of a round springform pan. Add tuna, tomato, bocconcini, parmesan, spinach, parsley and egg to cooled rice mixture. Mix until well combined.
    3. Press rice mixture into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until set and crisp around the edges. Stand in pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge to loosen pie.
    4. Cut into wedges to serve.

    What about you? Do you have a favourite ‘light’ lunch dish?

  • Gluten free Beef Wellington

    Alternative titles for today’s post were “how not to eat on a budget”, or “how to eat away your hard earned savings”. You’ll see why in a minute. I take my inspiration for meals from many sources. Blogs, recipe books, cooking magazines, TV shows….you get the idea. But on this particular occasion, the idea came from Mr BBB. For, while wandering the local shops I posed the all important question of what he would like for dinner. Without hesitation he responded “Beef Wellington”. Hmmm. Could I do it? Could I make it wheat free? In a croquembouche-challenge-kinda-way, I decided to give it a go. First – the pastry. Not feeling so inspired as to attempt my own GF puff pastry, I cheated and bought this packet instead. IMG_1651 But with a price tag of almost $10, my wallet was already feeling light. Next – a good piece of beef fillet. IMG_1595 Yup, at almost $30, my wallet was again feeling the pinch. But I returned home, determined to make the most of our expensive ingredients. I started by browning the seasoned beef fillet in butter, then allowed it to cool in the fridge. IMG_1604 I also sautéed some diced mushrooms (again in butter!) and combined these with pate to form a paste of sorts. IMG_1654 After a couple hours of the beef cooling, I got to work creating the Beef Wellington itself. IMG_1652 Pastry & beef… IMG_1655 Topped with the mushrooms and pate.. IMG_1657 Enclosed by another sheet of pastry. IMG_1659 Trimmed into a neat little parcelIMG_1660 And made pretty with some ‘leaves’ fashioned out of the extra pastry. Brushed with beaten egg. IMG_1664 I cooked the beef for around 40 minutes, and was rather pleased with the golden brown result. IMG_1665 My only sadness was that it didn’t have the ‘puff’ of regular puff pastry. An issue with GF baking I suppose. IMG_1667 It was, however, a rather grand sight sitting on our kitchen bench. IMG_1670 And made for a lovely dinner nonetheless. IMG_1677 Served with mashed potato and steamed peas and carrots. IMG_1678 While the pasty was lacking puff, the beef fillet itself was simply divine. Although I couldn’t help but feeling “it ought to be” given its price tag. Would I make this again? Probably not – but it was a fun little challenge. I’m just not convinced that it was worth the $$ What about you? Are you a fan of Beef Wellington?

    Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

    IMG_1846 With not one but two salads making an appearance on this blog this week, it is certainly time for a little sweetness. So let me share with you my new favourite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Inspired by this lovely little cookie jar that I bought a while ago, which, let’s be honest, just looks plain sad when not filled with cookies! IMG_1840 The recipe is based on one from one of my favourite allergy-friendly cookbooks (Babycakes), and despite the long ingredient list, is well worth the effort. IMG_1813 Just try and avoid eating the cookie dough as is – something I am apparently not very good at. IMG_1819 These cookies are gluten free, and if you were to use dairy free chocolate chips, they would also be dairy free / vegan. IMG_1820 The cookies take only a few minutes to put together, then baked in the oven for 15 minutes – making your house smell like quite the bakery! IMG_1843 They are a little chewy, and a little crunchy, which is often hard to achieve when it comes to gluten free baking. IMG_1845 But these are, hands down, my go to cookies when the baking itch strikes! IMG_1846 And the perfect cookie jar filler…. IMG_1848 It just won’t stay full for long. GF chocolate chip cookies (adapted from Babycakes)

    • 3/4 cup coconut oil
    • 2/3 cup apple sauce
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 1/4 cup caster sugar
    • 2 cups gluten free flour
    • 1/4 cup flaxmeal
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1.5 tsp xanthan gum
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line two trays with baking paper.
    2. Combine coconut oil and apple sauce in a small bowl.
    3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients (except for the chocolate chips).
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Fold in the chocolate chips.
    5. Shape spoonfuls of the dough into balls, and place on the prepared trays about 1 inch apart. Press slightly to flatten.
    6. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the trays half way through. Allow to cool on the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    What about you? Do you have a cookie jar?


    IMG_0985 One thing I have really been enjoying making lately is cookies. Gluten free cookies to be precise. Not necessarily the healthiest of treats, but delicious ‘grab and go’ ones nonetheless. I picked up this book when we were in America last year, and turned to it when I found myself in a baking mood a little while ago. baby Immediately I was drawn to a recipe for gingersnaps contained inside, and wasted no time in trying a batch of my own. With a few substitutions / changes along the way. IMG_0988 I must say, the end product was rather tasty – not to mention being gluten and dairy free. Spicy, sweet and chewy. IMG_0994 A lovely little cookie all round. Gingersnaps (adapted from the Babycakes cookbook)

    • 3/4 cup coconut oil
    • 1/3 cup applesauce
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 3 tbs molasses
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
    • 2 cups GF plain flour
    • 1/4 cup flax meal
    • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tbs ground ginger
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 1.5 tsps xanthan gum
    1. Preheat oven to 160C. Line two trays with baking paper.
    2. In a bowl, combine the coconut oil, apple sauce, salt, molasses and vanilla extract.
    3. In another bowl, whisk together the caster sugar, flax meal flour, spices, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum.
    4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir to combine – until a dough is formed.
    5. Roll spoonfuls of the dough into balls, and place on the prepared trays about 1 inch apart (to allow for spreading). Press to flatten slightly.
    6. Bake for 16 minutes, rotating the trays half way through.
    7. Stand on the trays for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
    8. Store in an airtight contained for up to 3 days.

    What about you? Do you have a favourite cookie or biscuit?

    Gluten free beer battered fish

    When I was diagnosed as being wheat intolerant (almost 4 years ago now!) there were certain things I immediately missed. Beer – YES!
    Grabbing some battered fish at the local pub – also YES! Then a fish shop opened at our local shops, and we began to incorporate more seafood and fish into our weekly meals. The oven baked salmon was lovely, the polenta crumbed ling was also nice, but I couldn’t get my mind off the good ol’ beer battered fish I used to have all those years ago. Determined to recreate a GF version, I got to work. Helped, greatly, by this GF beer! IMG_9611 With which I made a GF beer batter. IMG_9612 Our first attempt was “pre-DF”. That is, “pre deep fryer”. We used a saucepan filled with oil instead…. IMG_9613 And it was, on all accounts, a rather spectacular fail.  The batter was too thick, the fish was undercooked, and it was just not right. IMG_9615 But I knew we could do better. So, I purchased a cheap deep fryer, and worked on perfecting the batter recipe. IMG_9976 And I am pleased to report – that our second attempt was MUCH MUCH better. IMG_9977 IMG_9981 A light batter – that resulted in crispy, crunchy fish. IMG_9982 Served with a green salad – and I was instantly transported back to those pub lunches of old.   IMG_9986 Enjoyed with a little glass of vino = heaven! IMG_9989 GF beer batter

    • 120g gluten free self raising flour
    • 110g plain GF flour (or spelt flour – but keep in mind spelt contains gluten)
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 330ml GF beer
    1. Whisk the ingredients to form a smooth batter.
    2. Dip sliced fish into a little extra flour, shake off excess, then dip into the batter to coat well.
    3. Deep fry the fish at 180C for 6 minutes or until the fish has cooked through and the batter is crispy. Drain on paper towel then serve.

    What about you? Ever made your own beer batter?

    An easy sweet cheat treat in 1, 2, 3

    IMG_9211 A little while ago, I had guests arriving for an impromptu afternoon tea, but not a lot of time to prepare a sweet treat to serve. I did, however, have a packet of meringue nests in the pantry (similar to these…) Picture 039 Which were the perfect base for an easy afternoon tea. I am not kidding when I tell you that these treats took only 5 minutes to put together – in 3 easy steps. 1. Set out the nests on a pretty platter. 2. Whip some good quality cream, and spoon into each nest. 3. Top with strawberry slices and a sprinkle of chocolate powder. IMG_9210 - Copy And you are done. IMG_9207 Told you they were easy! Sure you can make your own meringue nests too – but when time is limited – I think ‘cheating’ a little is perfectly fine… IMG_9209 Given there were none left at the end of the afternoon tea, I am calling these sweet treats a win. Although, you really can’t go wrong when meringue + cream + strawberries are involved – can you??? What about you? Do you have a ‘cheat’ treat that you like to serve?

    GF orange polenta biscuits

    IMG_8790 You’d be forgiven if you thought that these biscuits look remarkably similar to these ones. For I loved them so much last time, it wasn’t long before another batch appeared in the BBB household. This time, however, I used orange zest in place of lemon zest to create an orange polenta version. IMG_8781 Just mix and spoon balls of the dough onto lined baking trays (flattened slightly).. IMG_8782 Bake for 14 minutes… And then afternoon tea awaits. IMG_8788 I know I have said it before, but I really enjoy the texture of these biscuits. IMG_8794 Soft, delicate, and almost akin to shortbread. IMG_8793 A lovely little sweet treat all round. IMG_8795 Orange polenta biscuits (makes 16-18) – gluten free

    • 80g butter, softened
    • 140g caster sugar
    • 1 egg
    • grated zest of 1 orange
    • 150g gluten free plain flour
    • 1tsp xanthan gum
    • 50g polenta
    • 1tsp granulated sugar
    1. Preheat oven to 170C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
    2. Beat butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
    3. Add the egg and orange zest, and beat until smooth.
    4. Add the flour, xanthan gum and polenta, and beat until just combined. (The mixture will be quite sticky).
    5. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls, and place on the trays (spaced to allow for spreading). Flatten slightly with a fork, and sprinkle with the granulated sugar.
    6. Bake for 13-14 minutes. Allow to cool on tray for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack.

    What about you? Done any baking lately?

    Cauliflower pie

    IMG_8784 As I mentioned here, I have been having a lot of fun with our weekly vegetable boxes from Aussie Farmers Direct. IMG_8693 I am, however, falling behind in blogging about the dishes we have created, as this was one of the dishes I made from our first box. The inspiration? IMG_8757 A beautiful head of cauliflower. Boiled, processed… IMG_8772IMG_8773 Then jazzed up with a few extra ingredients. IMG_8771IMG_8774 To create a simple yet tasty cauliflower pie. IMG_8778 I served this as a dinner ‘side’ for a couple nights, but it also made a rather tasty ‘heat and eat’ lunch too. IMG_8784 Perfect for when you have a grizzly bub in one hand, and a tummy that is crying out for food. IMG_8785 Showcasing one of my favourite vegetables too! Cauliflower pie

    • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
    • 3 potatoes, cooked and mashed
    • 1/2 cup light sour cream
    • 2 tsp Chinese five spice
    • Salt & pepper
    • 1/3 cup grated parmesan
    • 1 tbs olive oil
    1. Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly grease a pie dish.
    2. Boil cauliflower for 5 minutes, drain, then process until smooth.
    3. In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower, potato, sour cream and Chinese five spice,  and season to taste.
    4. Spread into the prepared dish. Sprinkle with parmesan and drizzle with olive oil.
    5. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

    What about you? Are you a fan of cauliflower?