Gluten free lemon slice

When life gives you lemons.

Make a margarita.

If it’s too early to drink, you could always bake this. I am no gardener but my little Cheergerm heart swelled like a helium balloon at the bumper crop of lemons my mini-citrus tree birthed this year. Each lemon is picked and used with tender loving care and the deep appreciation that using homegrown produce brings. This is a tangy, delicate and deeply delicious treat.

LEMON BARS, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
For the biscuit base:
125g butter, room temperature
1/4 (40g) cup gf icing sugar mixture
150g gf plain flour
For the lemon topping:
3 eggs, 70g each
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
35g gf plain flour
Zest two lemons, at least 2 tbl, I like a lot of lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 170C fan-forced or 180C conventional.
Grease a 20cm X 20cm non-stick baking pan and cover the base with baking paper, extending the paper over two opposite sides. (This helps in removing the slice once it has cooled.)
For the biscuit base: Beat the butter and icing sugar in a bowl with an electric beater or in your stand mixture, until smooth. Stir in the 150g of gluten free plain flour.
Press this mixture evenly over the base of the prepared pan and bake for approximately 15 minutes or until it has browned slightly. Remove from the oven.
For the lemon topping: Place the eggs, caster sugar, remaining flour, lemon zest and juice into a bowl and whisk until well combined.
Pour this mixture over the prepared base and bake a further 20 minutes or until it is just firm.
Remove from the oven, place on a wire rack and let the slice cool completely in the tin.
Slice into pieces (I cut it into 16 square pieces) and dust with extra icing sugar for decoration.
Not suitable for freezing.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the ninemsn website. Link to original recipe follows after photos.

http://food.ninemsn.com.au/recipes/ilemon/8344026/tangy-lemon-squares

Advertisements

Fennel and chickpea soup and he tangata

Soup cravings come on cold days, rainy days and sometimes on days when grief threatens to overwhelm. Soup in its many guises is my ultimate comfort food, bar mashed potato. It is the making and eating that brings a little salve for the soul, if only for a short while.

Our one-of-a-kind Uncle Rodger died a few weeks ago, he made us promise to use the word ‘dead.’ Not ‘passed’ (away, over or under), not ‘left’, not ‘lost’ and not ‘gone’. (As if he had somehow been carelessly misplaced.) I did ask if ‘carked it’ or ‘shuffled off this mortal coil’ were acceptable terminologies. We both had a good laugh at that.

It is difficult choosing words to describe a loved one who has died, my fear is that they may diminish and somehow confine the person you are writing about. Rodger was the strongest of the strong. The best of husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, friends, mentors and work colleagues. A teacher, therapist, board member of the Frederichs Ataxia Research Association of Australasia (the insidious disease that his three sons are and were afflicted with), an activist for social change and a man who refused to accept the status quo.

Rabidly rugby loving in a ‘shouty at the television’ kind of way, funny, headstrong, story-teller and family history orator. Outdoor adventurer, former Kathmandu model, lover of music, literature and beauty, gourmand, wine and whiskey aficionado. Empathetic and not afraid to cry. Renowned for his ongoing love affair with wood; building things out of it, collecting it, chopping it, admiring it and burning it. (The woodpiles he left are legendary.) This was a man who chose the timber for his own coffin and started to build it until he no longer could. This was a man who chose as his final song at his funeral, the eternally and everlastingly funny Monty Python song ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.’

He fought the foul cancer that took his life with everything he had. His amazing wife is one of the most quietly determined and supportive people you would probably ever hope to meet. They walked side by side in love and joie de vivre as well as in grief. Through the diagnosis of their three beautiful boys disease and the ongoing heartaches it brought, when their oldest son took in own life in his early twenties, through to the Christchurch earthquakes and when Rodger himself was diagnosed. Their spirits however, were never broken despite the ongoing crap that life threw at them.

Rodger was a beacon that always burnt brightly and he will be missed beyond measure. As an Uncle, he was easy to talk to, his puns knew no end and he was always interested in what was going on and what I had to say. One of his favourite sayings was a Maori proverb.

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

So, after returning from New Zealand where we got to say goodbye, then celebrate and mourn his remarkable life, I needed soup. This was the soup I made. The chunky chickpea bites, the silky aniseed fennel alongside the slight hum of chilli and thyme is warming and nourishing. (It’s even better the next day.) Rodger would have hated it. He was bloody sick of soup of by the end of his life as it was the only thing he could eat. The cancer he battled, deprived him of eating the food he had always loved.

This soup is not for you Rodger but this post is. Because what truly makes this life worth living is the people, the people, the people.

FENNEL AND CHICKPEA SOUP

WHAT YOU NEED
3 tbl grapeseed or olive oil,
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 large fennel bulb, diced into 2 cm
4 celery stalks, chopped into roughly 2 cm dice
2 carrots, diced into 2cm
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1//4 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 litres vegetable stock
1 litre water
1 tin crushed tomato
800g cooked chickpeas, drained (I used two tins chickpeas.)
1/2 tsp dried thyme (1 tbsp fresh thyme)
2 fresh bay leaves
200g green beans, chopped
Salt and pepper

HOW YOU DO IT
Sauté onions, fennel, celery and carrot for about ten minutes in a large saucepan over a medium heat, until they start to soften.
Add the garlic and chilli and cook for one minute, stirring continually.
Add the stock, water, tomato, chickpeas, thyme and bay leaves. Add a few good grinds of pepper and about a teaspoon of sea salt. (My stock was homemade and did not contain salt, so do not add salt at this point if your stock contains salt.)
Bring the soup to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
Skim off any scummy frothy bits that float to the top.
Cook for about 60-80 minutes until the carrots and fennel are tender, check for seasoning.
Add the green beans and cook for about ten minutes until the beans are just tender and still a bright colour.
Serve in bowls and be comforted. This soup freezes very well.

Cooking Notes: I like this soup with a fair bit of broth so if you prefer a more ‘stew’ like soup, cut back the amount of water you add from 1 litre to 500ml of water.

A Child’s Christmas in Wales and a family celebration

All the little lights

Christchurch Will Rise Again Seafood Chowder

Friedreich Ataxia Research Association


Gluten free weet-bix slice and The Mo Theory

Kid 1 has ‘a moustache theory’. He believes that anyone with a ‘mo’, immediately feels more confident and intimidating than someone without one. Gunna go grow me one….

Until then, the baking goes on, regardless of an outstanding insufficiency of facial hair. My standard weetbix slice uses a creamed butter method but sometimes, you just can’t be arsed bothered with all that malarkey. So a melt and mix slice was required, I had been wanting to use gluten free weetbix for a wee while now. (The Yak was a very happy little coeliac when a certain company started producing these iconic baked breakfast bricks using gluten free sorghum flakes.) This recipe works a treat and is nice and quick.

All of you wheat tolerant out there may be thinking, big whoop. Our Yak is no cry baby and as we all know, far worse things happen than being a coeliac. It’s just that every now and again, he wants to eat something that is as delicious as the original memory of a dish ever was. This is one of those dishes.

Whether ye be coeliac, gluten intolerant or just experimental, ye will not be unhappy. (But if ye are, dont tell me. Well go on, if you really must.)

GLUTEN FREE MELT AND MIX WEETBIX SLICE

WHAT YOU NEED
3 plain gluten-free weetbix
1 3/4 cups gluten-free self-raising flour
1 tbl cocoa powder
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
125g butter, melted
2 tbl milk

Icing
3/4 cup icing sugar
2 tbl Cocoa powder
50g butter
1 tbl hot water
3 tbl extra dessicated coconut (you can get some super nice organic and sulphur free coconut from health food shops these days.)

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 180C (170C fan-forced) and line a 26cm X 18 cm tin with baking paper.
Crumble the weetbix finely into a large bowl.
Sift over the flour and cocoa.
Stir through the sugar and coconut until all ingredients are combined.
Add the butter and stir then add the milk and stir again until well combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and press down firmly (I use my fingers).
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Sift icing sugar and cocoa together into a medium sized bowl. Add the butter then the hot water and stir until runny.
Pour the icing over the cooled slice and spread. Sprinkle the coconut over immediately. Let the icing set then cut the slice into squares.
Makes, well, enough.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the Best Recipes website. Link follows.

Footnote: (Or is that ‘thumbnote?) My wrinkly thumb has somewhat of a starring role in these photos, deepest apologies.

http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/weet-bix-slice-L5572.html