Simple Gluten Free....

Simple Gluten Free....
Fresh is always best...and gluten free too!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Squishy Marshmallows...clouds in your mouth!

Okay, I've used someone elses photo as my camera is on the blink as we say here in Oz.

But can I say that dujour mags' recipe is not a patch on mine.

Mine is super easy and super yummy and my daughter says it's like eating a cloud...cute.

If you prefer more solid ones, add more gelatine. This is another thing that needs a bit of space in the fridge for storing so make sure you've got room before you start!


Measuring jug
Extra Large mixing bowl
Lamington tray and loaf tin lined with paper
Electric beaters
Large spoon
Measuring cups
Freezer bag for coating
Large container for storing. I use my Tupperware marinating container and an old biscuit tin lined with baking paper. Don't stack them in layers like in the pic for storage, as they will go gooey.

2 cups white sugar
2 tablespoons gelatine powder1 teaspoon vanilla extract
700mls boiling water
1-2 cups dessicated coconut, icing sugar or cornflour to coat

Put the sugar into your large bowl.
Measure the boiling water into the measuring jug, and add 500mls of it to the sugar and stir for a minute or two to dissolve it.
Add the gelatine to the remaining 200mls of boiling water left in the jug, and stir until it dissolves.
Add the vanilla extract to the sugar solution.
Now, you can allow it to cool slightly, but I don't bother. Add the gelatine mixture to the sugar mixture and start beating with your mixer.
You need to keep beating until it's shiny, white and thick. It usually takes about 7-10 minutes here. It will cool significantly in the process.
Once it's really thick, kind of like the texture of meringue when you make pavlova, or thick softly whipped cream, it's ready.
Quickly pour it into the lined trays and refrigerate it for about 2 hours. Sometimes, like yesterday, we put 4 or 5 random drops of food colouring on the surface and run a skewer through the unset marshmallow, to make marbled marshmallows. Pretty! That's an idea I pinched from Donna Hay :)
Then simply cut into large squares and toss in dessicated coconut or icing sugar or cornflour. We do it by putting the coating in a freezer bag, and adding 2-3 marshmallows at a time and tossing them around in the bag.
This makes about 40 large marshmallows.

Sometimes I find that the marshmallow separates slightly and we end up with a layer of flavoured gelatine at the bottom. I don't know why this happens. It could be insufficent beating, temperature, humidity or something else. Maybe someone knows?
But it's only a bare millimetre thick and doesn't affect the flavour of the marshmallows, and in fact if we marbled them, it looks quite pretty. So don't be concerned if this happens.


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Fancy schmancy breakfast cereal...

I first enjoyed a breakfast parfait at a buffet breakfast on Fathers Day a few years ago.

Until then, I was a savoury breakfast kinda person, and the whole yoghurt/cereal/fruit thing just did not appeal to me.

I'm also not a fan of crunchy cereal...a strange quirk left over from my childhood when I got a Sugar Frostie (sort of like a Corn Flake but crusted in white sugar, long since relegated to the unhealthy pile and outlawed!), caught in my throat. It lodged there and I had to cough it up, tearing the tender lining of my throat in the process. Since that day, I cannot eat crunchy cereal. It must be soggy...sounds vile, I know, but that's the way I like it.

Muesli and other cereals just make my stomach curdle anyway and milk in the morning? Forget it.

This of course leads to limited breakfast selections such as toast, eggs, or leftover casserole. Nothing wrong with that but not the best approach for weight loss!

This little parfait is sweet without being sugary, is light and healthy, and can be enjoyed with any kind of cereal in the layers. These days I prefer a light untoasted natural gluten free muesli. In fact, I believe the other reason I harbour an aversion to cereal, is that I have a gluten sensitivity. Since changing over with my daughter to a gluten free diet, I feel fantastic!

You can also do these in little containers with secure lids or a recycled jar to take as a breakfast on the go when you're in a hurry. Don't forget a spoon!

So you need:

A small glass for serving...I do mine 3 at a time in a small wine glass
Muesli or cereal
Natural yoghurt...I make my own, using the method listed in my Labna recipe
Cinnamon sugar...make your own by combining a cup of caster sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon
Tinned fruit in it's own juice

Now I just layer muesli, a drizzle of the juice from the fruit tin (only coz I like it soggy..skip this part if you prefer crunchy cereal), then some fruit and a layer of yoghurt. Mine is the thick Greek Style yoghurt...yum! Then a small sprinkle (around half a teaspoon) of the cinnamon sugar. Repeat the layers, finishing with a decorative sprinkle of the cinnamon sugar on top.

Cover with cling wrap and store in the refrigerator.

I like to make these at least the night before, and I actually prefer them when they've had a day or three in the fridge. I garnish them with whatever fresh fruit I have on hand, sometimes even an ultra sweet sun kissed strawberry from my own back yard.

MMM..mmmmmmmmm....yum, yum and YUM!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Gluten Free Baked Coconut Custard Slice...

Oh, this is so delicious I just had to share. My first instinct was to keep this lovely dish to myself and hand it down to future generations as Nanna's Special Secret Recipe. But then, I never really understood that whole 'secret recipe' stuff.

So here it is. A product of experimentation with Coconut Flour. This product is readily available at Health Food outlets and on-line. It seems expensive, but you use so little it lasts ages. In a normal 'baking' recipe, I have been replacing normal flour with Coconut Flour at a rate of 1/3 the amount indicated in the recipe. The reason being that the Coconut Flour absorbs liquid like you would not believe. Not all of those experiments have been successful, hence my reluctance to include them at this stage. But I will continue to experiment and post successes as time wears on.

Baked Coconut Custard Slice

4 large eggs
1 cup Coconut Cream
1 cup milk
1/2 cup yoghurt (I used home made natural Greek yoghurt)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup coconut flour

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a 20 x 20cm casserole dish.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, coconut cream, milk and yoghurt with an electric mixer or whisk, until smooth. Start off on low speed and increase to medium to smooth. Add the other ingredients and mix well.

Pour into your greased dish and place in the oven for around 45-50 minutes. This recipe does not require the use of a water bath as some tradtional baked custards do. Check after 45 minutes. If the custard slice is firm to slight pressure in the centre, it's done. If it's still a bit wobbly, give it longer, checking every five minutes.

Allow to cool in the dish. Serve warm or cold with fruit on the side if desired. This is gorgeous with a drizzle of fruit flavoured syrup or liqueur, and a blob of double cream on the side. It's also great as a lunchbox snack, stored in an appropriate container.

Psst....The Dancing Diva has even had this for breakfast!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Sleepover Dilemna.

My daughter loves a good sleepover.

Indeed, sleepovers are a part of our life.

I had sleepovers as a child, my older sons grew up with sleepovers, and now my daughter regularly enjoys having friends stay overnight with us, or spending a night at a friends house. It's a real rite of passage and one I've always encouraged, knowing full well that it's one of the best ways to get to know her friends.

The Gluten Sensitive issue is a difficult one for sleepovers though. If the sleepover is at our house, how do I ensure that we have enough 'goodies' to make the occasion fun? If it's at the other persons' house, how do I impress upon them that Darling Daughter must avoid Gluten products. Insisting seems bossy, sending her own food seems snooty, and having her starve is just not an option. I find too, that whilst many of the families she stays with do all they can to accomodate her sensitivity, there are some who either don't understand or don't believe there's an issue.

She doesn't react severely, so where's the problem?

A recent sleepover meant that upon her return home, she was sluggish, irritable and out of sorts. She confirmed that she'd had a 'normal' wrap and a choc chip muffin, which in the scheme of things, shouldn't matter too much. But where she noticed the difference was at a theatre rehearsal where she found she simply could not concentrate and yawned constantly, feeling overwhelmed and fatigued.

Now you could argue that that's a typical by-product of a good sleepover, but it's more than that. All of those symptoms are typical of gluten intake in someone who has sensitivity to the product, and she is such a creature of habit that no matter where she is, she's asleep by nine and awake at seven.

I've yet to find the ideal, diplomatic solution to this problem and would welcome any advice or comments.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Trotting, not galloping...

It's been a while since we started our Gluten Free life now, and I'm finding it easier than I expected.

The greatest challenge remains how to make some of the commercial gluten-free products more palatable, as try as I might, I cannot completely ditch convenience food.

My latest success is Gluten Free Wraps turned into Pan Seared Quesilladas.

On thier own, these wraps are a bit woeful. They have an unappetising leathery texture that just isn't pleasant or satisfying.

This method turns them into a crisp wedge stuffed with gooey filling and is well worth a try for Pizza Lovers.

You need:

A large non stick frypan
Spray oil (olive oil is best)
Spatula for flipping
Plate for serving
Pizza wheel or sharp knife for cutting


Wraps, gluten free or otherwise if you aren't gluten sensitive
Grated cheese
Other fillings like pineapple, deli meat, capsicum (peppers), baby spinach, toasted nuts


Heat the hotplate on 'High' and place the pan on it. Spray the pan liberally with the oil and toss in one wrap.

Sprinkle the entire surface with grated cheese.

Then in a semi circle (because you're going to fold it in a minute), distribute your other ingredients evenly.

Leave to cook for a minute or so, checking underneath until the underside is toasty brown and to your liking.

If the other ingredients aren't melted and piping hot now, heat the grill (broiler) and pop the whole thing under there for a minute or so.

Remove from grill or hotplate, and flip the plain half over the filled half so you have a sort of omelette arrangement in the pan.

Slide onto your serving platter and cut in half, arranging one half over the other for presentation.


We're not yet galloping along with our food choices, but we've advanced from a crawl to a comfortable trot, so we're getting there!

(photo following)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Melt and Mix Energy Bars...

Here's a new recipe I've just invented for gluten free energy bars.

My 11 year old daughter is a busy dancer and athlete, and now that gluten products are out of the picture, I've had real difficulty finding energy packed goodies to keep her going.

She's great with inventive lunch box treats like beetroot, pineapple rings, carrot sticks, coconut macaroons, and GF pasta. But she's so active, that she doesn't always have time to eat everything we've packed.

I really wanted something, that was reasonably healthy, tasted like a treat, but was packed with energy laden ingredients so that she could just grab and run.

This is a great versatile recipe that allows you to vary the ingredients according to what you prefer or what you have on hand, so don't be frightened to make substitutions and be inventive.

So here it is...we love them...hope you do too.


Food Processor
Large baking tray...a Swiss Roll tin or Lamington tin is perfect
Large mixing bowl
Small saucepan
Measuring cups
Large knife. Serrated edged is best
Foil for wrapping and container for storing


1 1/2 cups dates (or any dried fruit or combination of dried fruit)
1/4 cup almonds (I used flaked almonds as that's what I had...but they'll go in the food processor so whole is fine too)
3 dessertspoons sesame seeds
3 dessertspoons shredded or dessicated coconut
2 dessertspoons cocoa
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup white chocolate buttons or melts (optional)
3/4 cup peanut butter or any other nut butter or tahini
3/4 cup honey. You can also use rice malt syrup, golden syrup, or even molasses if you like the flavour
4 cups gluten free breakfast cereal. We use Waffle Bitz manufactured by Back to Nature. But GF rice bubbles, muesli or oats are fine too.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. You won't be baking these, but it will prevent them sticking in the pan. Use enough baking paper to leave a bit of overhang, so you can lift the slice out easily for cutting up later.

Have a second sheet of baking paper ready to top the mixture for compressing in the pan.

Chop the dates roughly with a sharp knife first, so your food processor doesn't go into overdrive chopping them, then add the dates or other dried fruit, almonds, sesame seeds, coconut, cocoa, sunflower seeds, choc chips and choc melts (if you're using them) to the bowl of the food processor.

Pulse the processor several times to get the larger pieces chopped roughly, then put the processor on maximum speed for a minute or so. Check at 20 second intervals. You're looking for a medium fine texture with some chunks of dates and chocolate still apparent. So don't go overboard and make it too 'sandy' looking.

Tip this mixture into the large bowl, and add the breakfast cereal.

Put the nut butter and honey into the small saucepan, and heat over a medium hotplate, stirring until combined and melted.

Once melted, pour this over the mixture in the bowl and combine well. You need everything well coated in the nut butter and honey.

Once well combined, tip this into the lined tray. Using clean, wet hands, compress the mixture into the pan, spreading into the corners and making it as even as possible.

Place the other sheet of baking paper over the top of the mixture, and use a rolling pin to flatten and compress to a nice flat surface.

Chill for two hours.

Once chilled, lift the slice out and place it on the bench.

Using the knife, cut the slice into bars, sticks, or squares depending upon how you like it. We cut ours into sticks about 12mm x 120mm, and we get 32 bars this way. These are a good size as they are easy to handle and can be consumed quickly between netball matches or dance classes. But that's just our preference. I have also cut them even smaller into little cubes to just pop in the mouth, which then means they don't need wrapping and can go into individual containers ready for lunchboxes.

Now I wrap them in alfoil, twisting the ends like a lolly wrapper. You don't have to do this, but I've found it's the easiest way to store them and have them on hand for lunches and snacks. You could also store them in a container with sheets of baking paper between layers to stop them sticking.

They're best kept in the fridge, but at this cooler time of year, in the pantry is fine too.

If anyone remembers enjoying Jupiter Bars as a child, you're gonna love these!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Think Laterally...yummy coconut macaroons and meringues...already GF!

I am constantly amazed at the generosity of  the parents of my daughters friends. Some of them go to the most extraordinary lengths to accomodate her eating preferences, spending their hard earned cash on all kinds of pre-made little gourmet Gluten Free treats.

I've had to take a couple of them aside and say 'but here...these are easy and naturally gluten free'...

The luscious mounds of sugary meringue in todays photo are actually my failures! I tried a recipe that followed along the lines of meringues, when what I really wanted was macaroons. Still, as you see, they were spectacular, and the Diva claimed they tasted like Anzac cookies (another favourite), so a mighty good failure achieved!

I'm also thinking of suggesting fresh fruit, fresh vege sticks, dips like hommus and tzatziki, Aeroplane brand packet jelly (jello), plain chocolate bars, home made potato wedges or baked potato, home made iceblocks made with fruit juice and of course these....

Moist and yummy coconut macaroons
Makes about 36

2 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
½  cup icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded or dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line two baking trays with baking (parchment) paper.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl.

Add the sugars and salt and mix well.

Add the coconut and stir, ensuring all the coconut is well coated.

Spoon small teaspoonsful onto the baking trays. These do not spread, so you don’t need to leave much room between them. Mound them up so they look like little mountains.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and firm.

Store in an airtight container.

Will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator (ha-ha), and will become more moist and chewy with storage.

We're not finding this new eating plan too challenging yet...when does it get hard???

Here's to our (gluten free), Mimi