Fruit Chips

Fruit Chips (2)

My husband is the proud new owner of a Mandoline Slicer which was

needed for a salad to accompany the Salmon Pastrami he cured.

Also perfect for thinly slicing fruit such as apples and pears (Corella), I came across a simple recipe for Fruit Chips.

Thank you Megan from Sweet Treats for this idea.

Thinly slice fruit and then layer on baking paper.

Preheat oven to 100 C and bake for 1 – 2 hours.  Turn fruit during the drying process.

Cool on trays to dry out further.

Use in granolas, with yoghurt, as a snack or as a decoration on cakes.

Team Work : The Gluten Free Kitchen

A gluten free diet for a child or teenager of coeliac disease requires a team effort.

Strawberry Jam

Family members and friends become an important support network to minimise  gluten contamination.

Siblings accept some changes to their own diet and also have to learn protocols regarding cross-contamination.

Parents source gluten free products and step outside their comfort zone to bake gluten free bread and make gluten free look appetising.

Grandparents scan magazines for new gluten free recipes and also learn to cook ‘gluten free’ for those special occasions.

Friends take on responsibility to make sure gluten free is on the menu at social events and functions.

Last week had my gf son, KJ and myself bond over a team effort to make Strawberry Jam. At this point, I will point out that I have never made jam myself.  At KJ’s instigation,  I purchased the ingredients.

Mum: Have you had a look at a few recipes for how to make Strawberry Jam?

KJ: No, but it can’t be that hard. (I hope she doesn’t take over like she normally does)

Mum: Well I printed three recipes that I think you should read first as they all different regarding ratio of sugar to strawberries. Do you want to use lemon juice, chia seeds, vanilla seeds as there are many variations on a theme?

KJ: How many strawberries do we have?

Mum: Well I think you should sterilize the jars first and I like this recipe but you have to let the strawberries and sugar sit for 1 – 2 hours. And don’t wash the strawberries, I am sure I read somewhere that the excess water will make the strawberries too soft.

KJ: Any chance of you doing the jars and I’m not waiting 2 hours before I can cook the jam. (Weighing, cutting and sterilising jars all at the same time)

Mum: Have you decided which recipe to use?

KJ: Simple… I’ll use the recipe on the (jam setting) sugar packet. I don’t know why you make things so complicated.

Mum: (Neither do I, but I always thought research was a good way to start if you wanted to succeed)  Have you put two plates in the freezer yet?

KJ: Why?

Mum: Because it says here in MY recipe that you need cold plates to test if the jam is ready.

KJ: Yep, this is looking good and EASY. (I told her so)

……continued banter regarding colour, what a rolling boil is, how long to boil for, if the sample was set etc…

KJ: What other kinds of jam can we make? What goes in a marmalade? What about mango chutney? Grandad used to make mango chutney.

Mum: (I wish KJ was more careful when he poured the jam into the jars and cleaned up the spills) What great colour!  (Maybe this time I can entice KJ to have a photo taken for my blog) You do know that I am already drafting a blog in my mind while we have been doing this!

KJ: Do you think Grandad would like a jar of jam?

Team Work : Success Guaranteed 

Banana and coconut Bread

Gluten Free Banana and Coconut Bread

Open Letter to Cafes : Gluten Free

This is so much wrong and confusing information about gluten free and coeliac disease that it really does make it hard for coeliac disease sufferers to feel comfortable about eating out.  I hear from many young adults that they find it embarrassing and awkward to go to a cafe and try to explain things to the wait staff. While others just don’t eat out as it is not worth the risk of eating contaminated food.

I recently had the opportunity to clarify a few misconceptions as a friend who is also a cafe owner asked for some advice.  Here are my penned thoughts…

gluten free

Open Letter to Cafes and Restaurants

There are two reasons why people eat gluten free: as a lifestyle option and as a medical necessity.

People who are diagnosed with coeliac disease must eat gluten free as a medical necessity.  “A person with coeliac disease should not consume any gluten. A strict gluten free diet must be followed at all times.” (Coeliac Australia)

Gluten is contained in wheat, barley, rye, oats and their derivatives (spelt, milo, malt, couscous). An easy way to remember this is BROW.

It is a common misconception that some coeliacs are more sensitive to gluten than others.  Please don’t say to customers “it all depends upon how sensitive you are” because there is no degree of sensitivity, only degrees of allergic reaction.

If a customer asks questions regarding gluten free options at the café, please don’t be defensive or dismissive. If you don’t know the answers to their questions, then ask the manager and/or the chef.

Coeliacs really do need to know if the icing sugar has wheat in it or if the gluten free bread is toasted in the same toaster used for wheat/gluten breads. And if a customer asks if the gf slice was handled by the same tongs as the other cakes, then they are not being fussy or picky or difficult, they are asking what they need to ask. The customer can then make an informed decision regarding their order.

Coeliac sufferers do not take risks as even a little bit of gluten is not okay.

“Can just one crumb of bread hurt a coeliac?                                                        

 Yes. 1/100 of a slice of bread is enough to cause damage to the small bowel of a person with coeliac disease. A crumb may also make a person with coeliac disease physically sick.” (Coeliac Australia)

What does this mean for your café?

Be honest. And make a determination about who you can cater for.

It could be that you can only cater  for customers following a gluten free diet as a life style option.

And that for customers following a gluten free diet as a medical necessity, your kitchen is unable to 100% guarantee the meal to be gluten free due to possible contamination issues.

But most importantly, be honest to your customers

because honesty is preferable to them eating contaminated food and suffering.

Chocolate Chia Cookies

Deliciously Ella

Thank you Ella for your fresh approach to wholesome, healthy and gluten free foods.

Ella started with her blog as a way to heal her body after a diagnosis of Postural Tachycardia Syndrome.  One thing lead to another and she is now author of two books: Deliciously Ella and soon to be released Deliciously Ella Every Day.

If ever there was a reason for me not to publish a photo, then MY version of Ella’s Chocolate Chia Cookies is it.

chocolate chia cookies (2)

However, these cookies are deliciously moorish.

My gf son, who has texture and colour as important criteria when deciding if he likes something, did give the cookies a try. Thumbs down from the gf teenager, but thumbs up from this non coeliac baker who loves to experiment.

Recipe Inspiration from Coles

Coles August 2015

The best things in life are free

Coles supermarket publishes a monthly free recipe magazine and August’s publication : Come & Get ‘Em! delivers many recipes which are gluten free by ingredient or can be made gluten free with a few substitutions.

This month there is a gluten free baking section: Whole Mandarin and Orange Cake and Rhubarb and Raspberry Muffins.

As well, these recipes also are worth a mention:

Winter Chicken Tray Bake

Quinoa, pistachio and Honeyed Carrot Salad

Lime Curd

Carrot Hummus

Pineapple Salsa

Honey Ginger Chicken Drumsticks with Chilli Asian Greens

Cauliflower Pizza Bases

Mushroom, Pumpkin & Spinach Risotto

Mexican Chicken & Bean Soup (still to check the Heinz Beanz)

Country-Style Pork Spare Ribs with Mustard Barbeque Sauce

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Pulled Pork and Red Cabbage Slaw

So if you are looking for inspiration for meals this month, have a look at Come & Get ‘Em from Coles in store or download it on-line.

GF Wraps – BFree

GF Wraps

Making school lunches easier 

Spotted in the Woolworths supermarket last week.

This is one of those products that has been available in Australia for some time now, BUT took a while to make it north to tropical Townsville.

Pliable and soft, they are easier to work with and wrap than the other brands of wraps we have tried.

Sharing – A Box Full of…

IMG_3695

Today marks the second year anniversary of the launch of “gluten free and the Australian teenager”, so I thought it was appropriate that I revisit my first blog:

Sharing – A Box Full of….

My intentions and focus are still the same as it was two years ago:

to share ….

recipes, handy hints, experiences,  travel tips, eating out advice, products, shortcuts, taste tests

and all that goes with a gluten free lifestyle.

During my two years of blogging:

I have amassed an amazing number of recipes and narrowed down many gluten free products accepted  by my teenager’s tastebuds

I have put together a recipe book with family favourites for my KJ, for when he leaves home

I have become a better cook because I have been forced to experiment with different ingredients.

And I have witnessed  my gf son become comfortable with his gluten free lifestyle and be confident in making good and safe choices when away from home.

To celebrate this anniversary I will share a recipe I found in a magazine at a doctor’s surgery and which I had photocopied for me by the receptionist.

White Wings Gluten Free Melt-and-Mix Chocolate Cake Recipe

Ingredients

250 g butter, melted

3/4 cup cocoa, sifted

1 1/3 cups (295g) caster sugar

3 eggs,lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups (180g) almond meal

1 1/2 cups (225g) gluten free self-raising flour, sifted

3/4 cup (180ml) milk

250 g dark chocolate, broken in pieces

1/2 cup (125ml) single pouring cream

70 g butter, cubed

Method

Preheat oven to 180C.  Grease and line a 22 cm round cake tin.

In a large bowl, place butter, cocoa, sugar, eggs, almond meal, flour and milk and whisk until combined.

Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 1 hour or cooked when tested with a skewer.

Allow to cool completely in the tin.

To make the chocolate fudge icing, place the chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and set aside to cook completely.

Beat the cooled icing with electric beaters until thick and fluffy and spread over cake with a palette knife to serve.

Enjoy!

A few sweet items

Macs Cookies Menz Honeycomb Peanut Brittle

A gluten free shopper is ALWAYS on the lookout for a ‘new’ product and with a few minutes to spare today before an appointment, I had a quick browse of The Reject Shop in Stockland Townsville.

The Menz Honeycomb is available in caramel, milk chocolate and dark chocolate making decisions difficult.

The Mac’s shortbread and biscuits had been discussed on Coeliac Qld facebook page, but this was the first time I had seen the product in the shops.

Also available are Candy Corner Chocolate Coated Peanuts and Chocolate Coated Sultanas.

At $2 to $3, these are priced to please any gluten free shopper.

Grain Free Quiche Base

Quiche Base

A perfect alternative to a pastry base especially if you are short on time

Ingredients

150 g almond meal

150 g parmesan cheese grated

1 large egg

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Method

In a bowl combine ground almonds, grated cheese and salt.

Beat egg and add to mixture until well combined.

Press mixture into base of quiche dish.

Bake in 170 C oven for 12 -15 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool.

ADD your favourite quiche mixture, return to 180 C oven and bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes.

Go to http://fabulouslyfreefrom.wordpress.com for more exciting gluten free recipes

What has three years taught this gluten free cook!

Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .

GF Food (1)

In the beginning, and every coeliac disease sufferer can tell you at least the month and year of the beginning of their gluten free life, the transition to a gluten free diet is chaotic.

There is no one easy one-size fits all collection of recipes.

There are no guidelines to warn you about how the transition will affect you emotionally, socially and mentally.

There is no simple list of packaged gf products that the individual will ‘like’.

There is no longer the luxury of only shopping at one supermarket.

It is said that “time is a great healer” and this is certainly true for coeliac disease sufferers.

Time does heal your body because gluten free food is your medicine.

Time does heal your soul as you centre your life around this major life changing shift.

And in time, you master your gluten free life and you find that your life is not defined by coeliac disease.

What have I learnt!

It is three years since by teenage son was diagnosed with coeliac disease and two years since I launched my blog so what has the last three years taught me as a gluten free cook.

1.  Be creative

Colour Serve

2. Be resourceful

Colour

3. Experiment with colour and texture

Colour and Texture

4.  Make food interesting and enticing and colourful

Peanut Cookies and

5. Insist on  honesty when trying new food and as a blogger write with integrity and always acknowledge the owners and sources of recipes you use

Good without glutenSweet TreatsTaste Gluten Free

Reflections

I clearly remember our first gluten free cookbook with unappetising photos of food all in shades of beige, off white, light brown and white. I thought, how am I going to sell gluten free food if it all looks so boring and colourless.

I clearly remember the unpleasant smell of our first store bought gluten free meat pies. I tried to lie my way through how tasty the pie was, but this lasted less than 2 minutes.  From that point forward if my son rejected food on taste, look, texture or smell, then I listened and acknowledged his need to take control of his gf food preferences.

And I clearly remember the emotional roller coaster ride of those first 18 months to 2 years.

Community

I have learnt that community is integral to a coeliac disease sufferer. Family,  friends, teachers, doctors, bloggers, cookbook writers…

I am grateful to the many people who support my son and his gluten free diet and those friends, family members and bloggers who continue to provide me with new gf recipes to try.

Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .

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