Friday, June 23, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

This side dish has become one of our families favourites.  We started enjoying roasted broccoli, then we tried roasted cauliflower.  Now, I do them both together!  I don't have exact measurements for this, as you just kind of throw it all together.

Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli
1. Rinse and chop equal amounts of cauliflower and broccoli.  It cooks more evenly if the cauliflower pieces are a bit smaller than the broccoli pieces.

2. Pour over a bit of oil (I use rice bran oil).  Stir.  Then add crushed garlic, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  If I'm just doing cauliflower, I like to add a bit of ground cumin.

3. Place on baking sheet.  Bake for 20-30 minutes at 180 degrees C.  You will want to stir it after about 20 minutes.

4. Remove from oven when it is lightly browned.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Chocolate Mud Cake

Birthdays mean cake!  Chocolate cake seems to be the favourite in the house at the moment. The original recipe came from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  This recipe makes one 20cm round cake.  I don't claim to be an expert at decorating cakes, but here is a picture of my son's Birthday cake.  He loved it, so that's all that matters!  I made two round cakes for this one.  I found with gluten free baking it is best to make things in small amounts.  I wouldn't try to double this recipe.  Just make it two times.  A bit more of an effort, I know, but I find it turns out better this way.  

You can also use this recipe to make 8-10 cupcakes.  These are my daughter's cupcakes.  We were away for her Birthday this year, so I mixed the dry ingredients together before we left and then added the wet ingredients when it was time to bake them.  Sometimes if I'm making a cake I will measure out the dry ingredients twice, once for the cake I'm making at the time and a second time into a separate container.  This way, the next time I want to bake a cake it saves a bit of time.

Chocolate Mud Cake
1/2 cup rice flour
3 Tablespoons cornflour
1 Tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons margarine
3/4 cup warm water
1 large egg

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line cake tin with baking paper.
2. Measure all ingredients into bowl.  Stir by hand a few times to mix.  Beat with an electric mixer or stand mixer on high for 3 minutes.  Pour into cake tin.
3. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  You can test if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick to the center of the cake.  If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.  Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing it to a wire rack to cool.  If making cupcakes, they will need to bake for 15-20 minutes.  Let the cake cool completely before icing.

Pumpkin-Spice Cake

Mmmm...the smell of cloves.  It reminds me of my Grandma's house around the holidays.  Today I have a recipe I've adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook.  It's called Pumpkin-Spice Bars in the cookbook, but to me it's more of a cake.  The original recipe called for cream cheese icing for the topping.  Years ago I found this mock cream cheese icing recipe.  I found it on the internet, but it was before the days of Pinterest, so I don't remember what sight I found it on.  I tried to make the cake look pretty by piping on the icing, but it would have been better if I had just iced the entire cake and sprinkled the crushed walnuts on top.  
Pumpkin-Spice Cake
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1/2 cup rice flour (you can use white or brown, or a mixture of both)
3 Tablespoons cornflour
1 Tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chopped dates (or raisins)

1. Heat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a 9x13 inch pan with baking paper.
2. Beat eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin together until smooth. (I like to use a stick blender for this).
3. Stir in remaining ingredients.
4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until light brown.  Cool completely before icing.

Mock Cream Cheese Icing
1 1/4 cups icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons margarine
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 - 2 Tablespoons water

1. Mix salt and icing sugar together.
2. Stir in margarine.
3. Stir in vinegar and slowly add water until you reach a smooth consistency. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Swiss Steak

Winter has settled in here in New Zealand.  This meal is one of my favourites on a cold night.  It is a slow cooker recipe, but there are a few extra steps involved.  It may seem like a bit more of an effort, but it is worth it!  My children aren't usually steak fans, but they really enjoy this meal.  The meat is so tender, it just falls apart.  Another reason I like this meal is because it does not use tomatoes.  My son can't eat nightshades (tomatoes, potatoes, capsicum, etc.), so this meal is awesome because we can all eat the same thing!  I can put it on first thing in the morning and all I have to do is cook the vegetables when it is time to eat.  My husband had his gravy over mashed cauliflower, I had mashed potato, and the children had mashed pumpkin.  YUM!!!

The original recipe can be found here.  The recipe below is my adaptation to make it gluten free and diary free.

Slow Cooker Swiss Steak
Oil for frying
200 grams Mushrooms, sliced thin (use more or less depending on what you have)
Salt and Pepper
500 grams Blade steak (Topside works well, too.  Rump steak gets too dry in my opinion.)
1 onion, chopped
Couple sprigs fresh time (or 1 teaspoon dried herbs)
1 cup stock (chicken or beef work fine)
1/4 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons cornflour
1/2 cup coconut cream
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Heat some oil in a large frying pan.  Fry mushrooms for about 5 minutes.  Put mushrooms in bottom of slow cooker.
2. Add a bit more oil to pan.  Season each steak with salt and pepper.  Sear steaks for a few minutes on each side.  Just until you get a bit of colour (1-2 minutes).  Place steaks on top of mushrooms in slow cooker.
3.  Add a bit more oil to the frying pan.  Add onion and saute for about 5 minutes.  Add herbs and stock.  Bring stock to the boil.  In a measuring cup, mix the cold water and cornflour.  When the stock has come to the boil, whisk in the water and cornflour mixture.  Stir until thickened.  This should only take about a minute.  Add some salt and pepper to season.  Pour gravy mixture over the top of the steaks in your slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
4.  About 20 minutes before you are ready to eat, take the steaks out of the slow cooker.  Cover to keep warm.  Stir the coconut cream into the gravy mixture in the slow cooker.  Turn the slow cooker onto high and leave the lid off.  Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.   

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Today's recipe is a quick and easy self-crusting quiche.  We enjoy this for lunch on its own.  You could add a salad and serve it for your evening tea or steam some other vegetables to go along side it.  What I love about this recipe is that it is easy to customize to your families likes.   Today, for instance, I didn't have any broccoli, "No worries," I thought,  "I'll just use frozen peas."  Nope, didn't have any of those either.  I've used chopped spinach in this before and it was quite tasty, too.  If you can tolerate dairy, add a handful of shredded cheese.  If you like mushrooms, add some.  If you prefer bacon to ham, go for it!  If you only want vegetables, feel free.  If you are going to use spinach, don't bother cooking it first.  Just chop it and throw it in raw.  If using frozen peas, I would suggest running them under cold water first to partly thaw them so they don't stick together in a big clump.

The basic recipe is just that, pretty basic.  If you prefer a bit more flavour you could add some chopped herbs.   The possibilities are endless!  Enjoy!

4 eggs
1 cup milk (we use coconut milk)
1/4 cup rice flour (white or brown, it doesn't really matter)
1/4 cup corn flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped ham
1 cup lightly steamed broccoli, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C.
2. Whisk eggs and milk together.
3. Add flours, baking powder, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.
4. Stir in ham and broccoli.  Pour into greased pie plate.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes (until golden on top and set in the middle).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Menu Plan

This weeks menu as follows:

Tuesday - Tacos  {I recently found masa flour and tried making corn tortillas, they were so easy!  I served these with homemade salsa and guacamole.  I found we don't miss the cheese if we have guacamole.  To make the guacamole I just mash an avacado, sprinkle in some salt, lemon juice, cumin, and garlic powder.  It's probably not true guacamole, but it's simple and we love it!}

Wednesday - Pizza

Thursday - Leftover Christmas Ham, Roast Potatoes, Steamed Carrots and Broccoli

Friday - Butter Chicken, Roast Cauliflower and Broccoli {I use a seasoning packet for this, and substitute coconut oil for the butter and coconut cream for the heavy cream.}

Saturday - Greek Chicken, Potatoes, Tossed Salad

Sunday - Sandwiches

Monday - Lasagna and Broccoli {I use homemade pasta and a vegan moxerella sauce.}

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Who doesn't love pizza?  Before going Gluten Free, we made pizza nearly every Friday night.  Then I became pregnant and couldn't stand the smell of homemade pizza (weird, huh?).  So that tradition stopped for about 9 months.  It wasn't long before we started it up again.  When my daughter had to stop eating gluten and dairy, we stopped until I found a suitable pizza base recipe.  While it's not like the traditional gluten variety, we have come to enjoy it.  We haven't gone back to our pizza every Friday night tradition, but we do enjoy it on occasion. 

Because of all the food issues around here, I end up making one round pizza and then making another batch of dough and making 4 or 5 smaller bases for the little ones.  Our daughter has all the toppings we have minus the cheese.  Our son can't have nightshades, so we usually just give him one of the small bases to eat and then I set aside some of the cooked sausage for him to eat and cook him some other veges to go along with it.  This works for now as he is only 2, but as he gets older we'll probably have to figure something else out for him.  I'm told hummus is a nice alternative to the tomato based sauce.  Have you ever tried it?

Gluten Free Pizza Base
(*This makes enough dough for 1 round base)
2/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon yeast
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch
2 teaspoons guar gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

1.  Dissolve sugar in water.  Sprinkle yeast over the top of the water and leave to proof for 5 minutes. 
2.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for 3 minutes.  (I use a hand mixer and use the dough attachments for it.  I've found the dough a bit too thick for the regular beaters.)
3.  Using a spatula, scrap dough out onto a pizza pan lined with baking paper (trust me, use the baking paper).  Using your hands and some more tapioca starch pat the crust out onto the pizza pan.
4.  Let rise in a warm place for 20-30 minutes.
5.  Bake for 8 minutes at 210 degrees C.
6.  Top with your favourite sauce and toppings and bake again for 12-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Now, I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to pizza sauce.  I don't like most of the store bought varieties that are available here.  My uncle (well, I think my aunt did most of the work) used to make a lot pizza sauce and share it with my family.  He passed on his recipe and I've tweaked it a bit to suit us. 

Pizza Sauce
(*Yields about 2 cups of sauce)
1 400 gram tin of whole tomatoes in juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 + 1/4 teaspoons dried mixed herbs (or Italian herbs)
1 + 1/2 Tablespoons dried oregano
3 Tablespoons oil

1. Pour tomatoes into blender.  Fill tin with water and pour into blender.  Add the remaining ingredients and blend together.
2. Pour into saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for up to 2 hours.  Stir occasionally to make sure it's not burning on the bottom.  It will reduce down quite a lot.

Now comes the really yummy part, putting your toppings on.  For this pizza I used pork sausage, mushrooms, capsicums, and a mix of mild cheddar and Parmesan cheeses.  I like to saute the capsicums and mushrooms for just a few minutes before adding them to the pizza base.

Several years ago I was given this recipe for sausage seasoning from another family that was here in New Zealand.  It is our go-to for American-style sausage.

Sausage Seasoning
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I only use about 1/3 teaspoon for a more mild version)
3 Tablespoons salt
1/2 Tablespoon ground black pepper
1/2 Tablespoon dried sage

Mix all together and store in an air tight container.  Shake well before each use.  Use 1 Tablespoon of spice mix per kilogram of minced pork.