Roasted cauliflower soup and doonas

Hot soup is like a winter weight doona. It wraps it’s arms around you and bear hugs you into a calmer state of existence. (Put that on a card Hallmark.) Soup is by nature pretty forgiving. It’s a nifty way of using up spare veggies and other assorted leftover bits and bobs.

Rarely does it taste exactly the same twice and making soup is always a bit of an exciting adventure. (Please keep in mind that I don’t get out much anymore.) It reminds me of 1970’s flannelette pyjamas, Walt Disney movies on the television, Mum’s veggie soup and her homemade scones.

Autumn is upon us. The days here have been unseasonably warm but the nights are certainly cooler. As the Yak stretches up to the top of the linen cupboard for cosier bedding, I also dust off the soup pot, ready for heavy usage. (In other words, expect a plethora of soupy type posts over the new few months.)

Roasting the cauliflower emphasises this vegetables nutty flavour and gives it some gorgeous caramelisation. Preparing this cruciferous veggie in this manner is like eating cauliflower on steroids. (Without any uncomfortable enquiries from official sporting governing bodies.) This soup is soft and harmonious with a slight garlicky hint and earthy undertones from the cumin.

Keep in mind that roasting garlic will give it a it milder and sweeter flavour. My cloves of garlic were very small but it was all I had left. Next time I would use bigger cloves or add a few more in. At least it was Australian garlic, the upside being there were no food kilometres/miles/cubits/furlongs on it.

Roasted cauliflower soup

WHAT YOU NEED
1 head cauliflower cut into large florets
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
Olive oil to drizzle
2 tbl olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large peeled potato, small dice
1 tsp cumin powder
6 cups water
1 teaspoon Massel vegetarian stock powder (or stock powder of your choice)
1/2 tsp sea salt
Black pepper to season

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 170C.
Place cauliflower and garlic cloves into a roasting pan lined with baking paper . Drizzle over olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, remove and stir then for another 15 minutes.
Check at 30 minutes and remove from the oven if the cauliflower is tender. Place aside and peel the garlic when it has cooled.
In a large saucepan, pour in 2 tbl olive oil and sauté onion for 1 – 2 minutes then add potatoes, cumin and stir for a minute or two.
Add the cooked cauliflower and peeled garlic, water, stock powder, salt and some pepper.
Bring to the boil then reduce the soup to a simmer.
Cook for 30 min, until potatoes are soft then blend with a stick blender.
Check for seasoning and serve.
We enjoyed this soup topped with crumbled fetta and crunchy toast on the side.

A cheergerm recipe

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Gluten free chocolate chip biscuits

Kid 1: ‘Feed us or we will eat you’.

The natural world provides many totally understandable hideous examples of mothers eating their young. After some paltry research, I was unable to find examples of offspring devouring their devoted parentals.

I do not want to be the first. So, thus far, I have continued to feed my little darlings. Of course, when Kid 1 makes this proclamation, he usually wants something sweet.

Most of us who enjoy baking, have a standard ‘go to’ choc chip biscuit recipe. Me included, and the lads love them. Once they are baked, the Yak will stand there, all sad eyed and ask in a teeny tiny hopeful voice ‘Are they perhaps gluten free?’ The answer is usually no and the poor wee coeliac walks morosely away, leaving a trail of glistening gluten free tears behind him.

These biccies have been a work in progress for a little while now. There are no promises, that in my quest for perfection, they will not change again. Previous incarnations have had that slightly too sandy, gritty texture that gluten free baking can easily end up with. I wanted to make a flour blend that had some wholefood benefits. The addition of almond meal has given them that sought after softer bite. The end result is very similar to my standard choc chip biscuits.

Not everyone will have these flours so feel free to experiment. If you don’t have any sorghum or teff, try 3/4 cup brown rice flour instead.

Gluten free chocolate chip biscuits

WHAT YOU NEED
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
Big Pinch of salt
1/2 cup almond meal
125g butter, chopped and at room temperature
2/3 cup coconut sugar (or rapadura or 1/3 cup soft brown sugar combined with 1/3 cup white caster sugar)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (1 tsp vanilla essence)
1 egg at room temperature
100g dark chocolate chips (I used Callebaut or 100g dark chocolate chopped)
Sea salt flakes to sprinkle

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
Sift together the sorghum, teff, tapioca, buckwheat, baking powder, Xanthum gum and salt.
Stir through the almond meal.
Cream together butter, sugars and vanilla. (I used my KitchenAid mixer.)
Add the egg gradually to the butter mixure. This will sometimes looks like it’s split, (think this is the coconut sugar) but it all comes out right in the wash.
Stir in the flour mixture.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes to make the dough easier to work. (Equally if you don’t have time for this step, omit it. They will just be a bit soft to work with.)
Shape teaspoons of mixture into small balls, place on greased baking trays, allow room for spreading,
Indent each biscuit lightly and sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt on each biscuit.
Cook 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Don’t let them get too dark.
Sit on trays for a few minutes before removing to cooling tray.
Makes 20 biscuits.

A cheergerm recipe


Kale, red onion and a splash of verjuice

Dear snotty lady in the overpriced posh food shop many years ago,

Four score and twenty years ago, I came in to your store and asked for some verjuice. I pronounced it exactly as it was spelt. Saying ‘ver’, then ‘juice’ as in ‘orange juice’. You looked down your elongated nose and pronounced in your very best plum in the mouth, lower northshore accent. ‘Surely dear, you mean ver-jus’. (Your pronunciation of the ‘juice’ as in the French pronuciation of the word jus…rhyming with zhoo..like ach-choo but softer).

Yes, you did make me feel ten cm tall (and I am barely taller than that anyway). I slunk away that day, clutching my bottle of unripe grape juice to my slightly wounded pride.

I write today to happily inform you that your elitist attitude didn’t deter me from continuing on my food journey. Some of the foodie jobs I have held did consist of educating others. I truly hope I have never contributed towards making anyone feel as small I as felt, when I left your shop that day.

This big, wide wonderful world of food is a never ending journey of exciting discoveries. Learning new things everyday rocks my very being.

Yours delightfully,

Cheergerm

PS Get stuffed.

KALE AND RED ONION with a splash of verjuice!

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbl garlic infused olive oil or regular olive oil
1 medium red/Spanish onion, sliced
1 red capsicum, sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chilli flakes
1 bunch kale washed and chopped into 2-3cm strips
Splash of verjuice or squeeze of lemon

HOW YOU DO IT
In a large frypan, sauté the onion, capsicum, salt and chilli over low to medium heat until they are soft and starting to caramelise, about 15 -20 minutes.
Add the kale, stir and cook for 10 – 15 minutes until it starts to soften.
Add a large splash of verjuice (or lemon) and stir to mix through until the verjuice starts to sizzle.
Season with extra salt and pepper to taste.

This dish is great by itself as a light lunch or dinner. Also as a side to eggs, grilled meats, casseroles, tofu dishes, anything your wee heart desires really.

This is also good with a couple of cloves of crushed garlic, added just before you pop in the kale. Due to the Yak having to talk to people all day, sometimes we have to dial back on the garlic during the week.

A cheergerm recipe

What the heck is verjuice anyhoo?

Made from unripe grapes, it was used in the Middle Ages as a condiment in sauces or to deglaze particular dishes. It is a alternative to vinegar. One of my food heroes, Maggie Beer, was at the forefront of bringing verjuice back into popularity by being the first (her claim) in the world to produce it commercially.

The mild acidity of verjuice is a real bonus. It isn’t as ‘in yo face’ as lemon juice or vinegar and is great in dishes where you want a gentler acidic alternative. You should be able to find it in good delis and in some supermarkets.

I love it as an alternative to vinegar and lemon in dressings, tossed over sautéed veggies and also to deglaze the pan juices of meat, cheese and other veggies dishes.

Please note the beautiful white pottery bowl I popped the kale in. Made by one of my fabulous New Zealand aunts who is a very talented potter.

http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/products/verjuice?gclid=CKeWzL_cp74CFYWXvQodxWEA1g


Sending some love back out

Just to say a giant panda bear size thanks to some super bloggers who have passed on some very lovely awards to this newbie blogger, over the past few months.

Due to my slackness and inability to catch up, I am rolling another way with this. (Kind of like rolling down a hill and not being able to stop). I’ts not that I am trying to be a naughty rule breaker/bender but I really just want to say a simple thanks to you all for reading my blog and passing these awards my way. (If you haven’t already, swing by these wonderful blogs to have a squiz.)

Liebster Awards

Naptime thoughts – http://naptimethoughts.wordpress.com
What Kat Baked – http://whatkatbaked.wordpress.com/
Purple house blog – http://purplehouseblog.wordpress.com
Books for Belle – http://booksforbelle.wordpress.com

Sunshine Awards

Joie De vivre – http://maulshri25blog.wordpress.com
Not so creative cook – http://thenotsocreativecook.wordpress.com
Creating beauty in the kitchen – http://creatingbeautyinthekitchen.wordpress.com/
Notes on a Spanish Valley – http://notesonaspanishvalley.com/

Hence, I would like to pass on some love to other blogs that I am really enjoying reading. (This is in no way a definitive list, I had to stop somewhere!!) No, it’s not an exact award but if I were to start a new award if would be ‘Thanks to you all for being so interesting, inspiring, amusing, yummy, funny well written and super awesome’. I hope you are enticed to go visit these blogs, if you haven’t already.

My Kitchen Witch – http://americanfoodieabroad.wordpress.com
Linnet Moss – http://linnetmoss.wordpress.com
Cooking with a wallflower – http://cookingwithawallflower.wordpress.com
Sarcasmia – http://sarcasmica.wordpress.com
Peak perspective – http://peakperspective.wordpress.com
Tweatfeast – http://tweatfeast.wordpress.com
Fromage homage – http://fromagehomage.wordpress.com
The Chef and the Waitress – http://thechefandthewaitress.wordpress.com
Cupid or cats – http://cupidorcats.wordpress.com
Hungry mum – http://thehungrymum.com
Days – http://days.wordpress.com
Lucy Jo Amos – http://lucyjoamos.wordpress.com
Baking with Gab – http://bakingwithgab.wordpress.com
Short and sweet – http://veronicashortandsweet.wordpress.com
Milk and Marigolds – http://milkandmarigolds.wordpress.com
Spontaneous tomato – http://spontaneoustomato.wordpress.com
Thoroughly Nourished Life – http://thoroughlynourishedlife.com
Selma’s Table – http://selmastable.wordpress.com
Blue crab martini – http://bluecrabmartini.com
Khloe’s Kitchen – http://kloeskitchen.wordpress.com


Rhubarb rhubarb rhubarb and chocolate pudding, gluten free.

Pretty pink stems of rhubarb inspiration whacked me aside the head the other day at the growers market. (Not figuratively, that would have hurt.) This purchase, coupled with a recent winning deconstructed rhubarb and chocolate tart on MKR (My Kitchen Rules, an Aussie TV cooking competition), had the old brain cogs a whirring. The thinking was…how can I enjoy these flavours without going to a whole lot of bother/trouble/effort and time?

Pudding was the natural answer. (It often is.) A popular dessert in this here household is a rhubarb and gingerbread pudding, so why not look for a similar recipe using chocolate? Naturally, it had to be gluten free.

This cooky person did hold a little bit of hesitancy regarding the marriage of chocolate and rhubarb, but the way the judges on MKR oohed and threw compliments around the room like small boys with a new handball, meant it had to be tried.

My gluten free adaptation has a lot less sugar than the original recipe, the sourness of rhubarb is a fave in our family and we don’t like it too sweet, man. (The butter has been knocked back a bit too.) It does use a food processor so it is super easy and quick.

To really ensure it’s validity, a poll was taken from those who shovelled this pud into their fizzogs for dessert.

The Verdict

Kid 1: ‘It’s nice but not a winning combination, I much prefer rhubarb bumble (crumble.)’
Mr Bagpipes visiting from Big Sky Land: ‘Mmmmm, we can have more of that lass, somewhat down the track.’
The Yak: ‘Yummy, I love it.’
Cheergerm: I like the cray cray (what all the hip young thangs say for ‘crazy’) combo of bitter dark chocolate and slightly sour rhubarb. It’s nuts but it works.

What do 10 years old know anyway?

GLUTEN FREE RHUBARB AND CHOCOLATE PUDDING

WHAT YOU NEED

Fruit

700 g trimmed weight rhubarb (recipe said 600 but I had a big bunch)
Cut into 2cm sizes
50 g coconut sugar (or raw, brown, rapadura)

Sponge

150 g self raising gluten free flour
50 g sorghum flour (or buckwheat or teff flour)
25 g cocoa powder
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
150g butter, room temperature and diced
150 g coconut sugar (raw caster sugar, rapadura)
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate chips (I used the good stuff baby…Callebaut callet, oh, fancy Belgian chocolate)

WHAT YOU DO

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6.
Cut the rhubarb into 2 – 3 cm lengths and toss with the sugar in a bowl.
Spread evenly over the base of a buttered 30cm/2 litre capacity ovenproof dish (or equivalent size.)
Sift the flours, cocoa powder and baking powder in a separate bowl.
Reserving 2 tablespoons of the sugar, place the butter, eggs, vanilla and sifted mixture into a food processor and cream together. (No food processor? Try beating butter, vanilla and sugar, add eggs gradually then the sifted ingredients.)
Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.
Spread the mixture over the rhubarb and sprinkle on the reserved sugar.
Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. (Remember if you hit a choc chip it will come out looking like it isn’t cooked but it probably is).
This is great hot out of the oven, or warm.
We snarfled it with ice cream but it would be delicious with yoghurt, custard or cream.

A cheergerm adaptation from the daily mail uk website

Pop here for my gluten free rhubarb crumble recipe:

https://cheergerm.wordpress.com/2014/02/03/gluten-free-rhubarb-and-berry-bumble/

Go here for the original non-gluten free rhubarb and chocolate pudding recipe. You could still knock back the sugar and butter quantities as per this recipe and keep the rest the same.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1272877/Recipe-Chocolate-rhubarb-sponge-pudding.html

Other websites that you may be interested in:

http://www.callebaut.com

https://au.tv.yahoo.com/my-kitchen-rules/recipe/23057262/deconstructed-chocolate