Gluten free orange and Rosemary cakes with caramelised figs (vegan)

These are lovely, simple cakes, that you can serve on their own, with icing, or if you want to get a bit fancy, with the caramelised figs. My kids love it with the orange butter cream icing. I kind of like it with both! Boiling the orange takes a little time, but making the cake itself is simple and very quick. A nice treat for a Sunday afternoon!

Gluten, dairy, nut, and egg free. Can be made soy free. Vegan.

Ingredients

Cake

1 large orange
sprig of Rosemary
2 cups of gluten free flour
1/2 cup of coconut flour
1/2 cup of olive oil or coconut oil
1 cup of soy milk (or alternative milk. Coconut or rice milk work well)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Nuttelex for greasing baking tray

Icing

half cup of nuttelex
half a cup of icing sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
zest of an orange

Caramelised Figs

2 teaspoons of nuttelex
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 sprig of rosemary
3-4 figs
Pinch or salt
Method

Cake

  1. Boil the orange and one small Rosemary sprig for 1 hour. Allow to cool. Remove orange. Cut in half to remove any seeds, and then blend orange and Rosemary until smooth.
  2. Combine gluten free free flour, coconut flour, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl
  3. In a smaller bowl, combine Pureed orange, olive oil, vanilla, orange blossom water and soy milk.
  4. Make a well in the centre of dry ingredients. Pour in wet ingredients. Mix gently with a wooden spoon.
  5. Grease patty tin liberally with nuttelex
  6. spoon in mixture until each patty is roughly half full.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes at 170 degrees.
  8. Allow to cool if icing. Can be served warm with caramelised figs.

Icing

Place all ingredients in a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Gently spread over cooled cakes.

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Caramelised figs

Add sugar and nuttelex to a small frying pan. Simmer on medium heat, until sugar has completely dissolved, and it starts to thicken a little. Add in half a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary, and diced figs.
Cook figs in caramel syrup for a couple of minutes.
Pour a little syrup and a couple of figs over the orange cake to serve. You can add a dollop of icing or icecream as well if you like!

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Marvellous Meatballs (with sneaky veggies) in tomato and bean soup. Gluten, dairy, nut and egg free

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love Autumn. Gorgeous sunny days, that aren’t too hot. Crunchy leaves under your feet. Best of all, I can start making yummy wintery food.

Today it’s meatballs, one of my son’s favourites. These meatballs work in a variety of dishes. My son loves them cooked in passata with spaghetti, or packed cold in his school lunches. Today I’m making a basic tomato and bean soup to have with them.

gluten, dairy, nut, egg and soy free

Ingredients

Meatballs

500g lean beef mince
1 onion
1 zucchini
1 medium carrot
2 celery sticks
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2/3 cup of quinoa flakes
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon of lemon zest.
1/2 teaspoon of dried cumin
1/2 teaspoon of dried turmeric

Soup

2 tins of tomatoes
1 tin of cannellini beans
1 tin of borlotti beans
2 cups of chicken stock (if I don’t have any home made, I use Massell, as it is gluten and dairy free)
1 teaspoon of sugar
3 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
Fresh basil leaves

Instructions

Meatballs

Finely dice the onion, and then gently fry in a tablespoon of olive oil, until soft.
Grate the carrots and zucchini and sprinkle liberally with salt. Leave to sit for 10 minutes. Squeeze out all of the water from them and place in a large bowl.
Combine vegetables, mince, spices, and quinoa in the bowl, and mix with your hands until well combined. Roll into balls about 1 tablespoon in size.
Fry on medium heat in remaining olive oil until cooked through (about 10 minutes). Be gentle when turning. They will hold together, but are not quite as robust as meatballs bound with eggs and breadcrumbs.

 

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Cheaty Tomato and Bean soup

This soup is cheaty, because I’m using tins. You can be diligent and soak and boil your own beans, but I am not always that organised!

Smash up tinned tomatoes with a fork. Add tomatoes and stock to a large pot, with garlic clove, sugar and bay leaves. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove bay leaves and garlic. Drain and rinse beans, add to pot and simmer for a couple more minutes until heated through.

Add a few meat balls to the top, and serve with some fresh chopped basil. It is nice with parmesan cheese if you can eat dairy, but it’s just as yummy without.

Anzac Biscuits – Gluten and Dairy free

It’s Anzac Day tomorrow. This morning the children and I talked about Anzac Day, what it means, and their great grandfathers who fought in WWII. We made some ANZAC biscuits to commemorate the day. We can’t be strictly traditional, because of the gluten and dairy. These come pretty close though! They are so yummy, I’m now wondering why I always wait for ANZAC Day to make them!

Ingredients

1 and 3/4 cups of Gluten Free Plain Flour

1/2 cup of desiccated coconut

3/4 cup of wheat free Oats (or suggested alternatives*)

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/3 cup of brown sugar

2/3 cup of Nuttelex or coconut oil

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

1 tablespoon of soy milk (or other milk substitute)

*Just a quick note about Oats – I buy Bob Red Mills Wheat Free Oats. There’s a bit of contention about whether oats are safe on a gluten free diet. My specialist and dietician have given me the okay to eat them. If you are unsure about whether they are safe for you, just replace them with the same quantity of rolled quinoa flakes or gluten free cornflakes.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, desiccated coconut baking powder and oats.

Melt the nuttelex in a smaller bowl, and stir in the golden syrup while it is still warm. Stir through the milk.

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients.

Stir with a large spoon until combined. Roll into balls of roughly a tablespoon in size. Squash until they are about a centimetre thick.

Bake for 10 minutes. Biscuits will be crunchier as they cool down.

Enjoy with a good strong cup of tea!

Virtuous Vegetable Soup – gluten and dairy free

I love cake. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with cake recipes, and have been eating a lot of it! So in the name of balance, it’s time for something a bit healthier.

This vegetable soup is a staple at my place. Wholesome, nourishing, and a good way to reset if you’ve been overindulging (did I mention cake?).

Gluten, dairy, soy, egg and nut free.

Ingredients

2 carrots
1 leek
3 stalks of celery
1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1 big bunch of cavolo nero or kale, stalks removed, then roughly chopped
1 tin of borlotti beans (you can use pre soaked dried ones if you like, but I can’t be bothered most of the time)
3 zucchini finely diced
1 chunk of fresh turmeric
1 clove of garlic
2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons of vegetable stock powder or you can use a sprinkle of sea salt if you prefer
2 litres of water
Some chopped pancetta or bacon if you can’t stand the thought of being meat free for dinner (dear husband, I’m looking at you!)
Dried Chilli flakes
Squeeze of lemon

Instructions

Finely dice carrots, celery and leek. Place in a large pot, with olive oil. Simmer on low heat, until they start to caramelise.

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Add quinoa, turmeric, garlic, zucchini, tomatoes, water and stock powder/salt. If you have other veggies in the fridge that need to be used, you can throw them in too. Simmer on low heat, covered for about 20 minutes. Add the cavolo nero or kale, and simmer, lid on, for another 5 minutes.

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If adding pancetta or bacon, finely slice, and then pan fry until crispy. Sprinkle on top of your bowl. I serve mine with a little dried chilli, and a squeeze of lemon.

Now that you’ve had a virtuous dinner, go and eat some more cake…

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An Easter Feast – Chicken and Coconut Milk Noodle Soup (gluten, dairy and nut free)

Chicken and Conconut Noodle Soup
Chicken and Conconut Noodle Soup

 

Easter is a tricky time for families with allergies. There is the never ending quest to find allergy friendly Easter eggs. When we find them, we buy them immediately because you never know when you will find them again! It’s easy enough to get nut free chocolate, or dairy free chocolate, but trying to find chocolate that covers both allergies (plus gluten free) can be a bit of a challenge. In the end, we found Alpha hunting eggs for the Easter egg hunt, and a large Kinnerton’s Easter egg for my daughter – all gluten, dairy and nut free.

Our Easter table
Our Easter table

We woke early, and the children had an Easter egg hunt. We don’t buy a lot of chocolate, as its hard to get so I bought some plastic eggs, and filled them with little treats (tiny bracelets, shopkins, and some little minions figurines). After the hunt, the children sat down to eat some chocolate for breakfast, while I got started on our Easter lunch.

Anticipating the Easter Egg hunt!
Anticipating the Easter Egg hunt!

We have a tradition of spending Easter Sunday with our Goddaughter and her parents. This year it was our turn to host and prepare an Easter feast. We decided on a big pot of chicken and coconut milk noodle soup.

I love this soup. It’s one of my favourite things to prepare and eat. There is a lot of chopping involved, but I find it quite relaxing, and enjoy the preparation. There’s something quite meditative about spending all that time chopping! It’s a nice dish to have on the weekend, when you can take some extra time to make it. I also love that people can choose what to add to it, and really make the dish their own.

Chicken and Coconut Noodle Soup

Ingredients

1 piece of Galangal, about 5cm long
1 large chunk of Ginger, bout 5 cm long
2 fresh Turmeric roots
4 Shallots
3 cloves of Garlic
2 Lemongrass stalks
4 Kaffir lime leaves
2 medium or one large free range chicken
4 tins of light coconut cream
2 table spoons fish sauce
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons of Cumin powder
2 teaspoons of dried coriander powder
Coriander root and stalks, finely chopped
Coriander leaves, chopped
1/4 of an iceberg lettuce or cabbage, finely shredded
3 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 Cucumbers, peeled and cut into narrow sticks
Green beans or snake beans, cut into 0.5cm pieces
1 cup of finely sliced mushrooms
Deep fried shallots (available at Asian grocer)
Dried chilli flakes
2 limes, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Two tomatoes, diced (you can subsitute this for two fresh chillies, if you like some extra heat)
Fine Vermicelli Rice noodles

The first stage – Making the Stock

This stock is boiled twice, to create a clearer broth. You can skip this step if you wish, but the soup with be fattier and more gelatinous.

Place whole chicken in a very large pot. Fill with water until completely submerged. Bring to the boil, and simmer on low heat for an hour. Take off the stove, and pour away the water. Refill with fresh water, and return to the stove to simmer.

Take the lemongrass stalks, hit them with a meat mallet a few times to release the flavour. Peel the turmeric, ginger and galangal and cut into small chunks. Peel the garlic cloves. Chop the coriander root and stalks. Add to the pot, and simmer for two hours.

(While the stock is cooking, you can move to the second stage, and start chopping!)

After 2 hours, carefully remove the chicken from the pot, and place in a fine strainer sitting over a large pot (to catch any of the stock pouring off the chicken). Remove the skin, shred the chicken meat with a fork, and place in a separate bowl. Discard bones.

Pour the stock through the strainer, into the second pot. Discard strained items. Once the stock has settled, you can skim any fat off the top if you wish.

The second stage – Preparing the ingredients for the soup

This is the most time consuming part of the preparation. I normally do this while the stock is cooking. You basically want all of the vegetables chopped as finely as possible, so that they lightly cook when the boiling hot soup in poured on top.

Peel and julienne the carrots as finely as you can.

Peel and cut the cucumber into narrow sticks

Cut the ends off the beans, and then cut into small pieces, roughly 0.5cm long.

Finely slice the mushrooms

finely shred the lettuce

finely chop the coriander leaves

Arrange on a tray, ready for people to serve themselves once the soup is ready.

Lots of chopping!
Lots of chopping!

The third stage – prepare noodles

boil a large pot of water for the noodles. Once boiling, turn off the heat, and add noodles. Leave for a few minutes, until noodles are soft, then drain. Rinse with cold water and drain again.

Place noodles in a large bowl. Pour in 1 table spoon of olive oil, and mix through with your fingers. Pull out small handfuls of noodles, and arrange into small piles, ready as a single serve for each soup bowl.

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Stage Four – Soup

Finely slice shallots. Add to a large pot, with ground cumin, ground coriander, kafir lime leaves and two tablespoons of oil. Cook on low heat for one minute. Add stock, diced tomatoes and fish sauce, a litre of water and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk, and simmer for another 5 min. Squeeze in roughly half a lime. Season to taste.

To serve

Each person takes a large bowl, and adds their desired ingredients from the chopped vegetables, noodles, and shredded chicken. Ladle the boiling soup over the top. Add fried shallots, dried chilli and a squeeze of lime as desired. Enjoy!