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

A fight to the death and chocolate swirled pavlova

Some marriages are life-long love affairs, full of flowery and undying proclamations of romantic love. Others are like a military alliance, where the couple march steadily along the highway of life, side by side, enjoying common goals with stoic fortitude. Some marriages are simply just endured and others don’t make it at all. Whilst ours has had its bursts of romance and is based on a rock solid friendship, it is probably best described as a prolonged torturous comedic metaphorical fight to the death. The winner of the day is the one who gets in the best joke, at the others expense of course. The final victor will be the last one left standing. I am going to make sure it is me.

This pavlova was made for a friends pre-Easter soirée. The Yak was a big fan of the grown-up savoury spiciness of this dessert. The soft buttery pears, the chewy meringue, the tangy sour cream and the sweet heat of the gingery syrup was a food revelation. Happy fifteenth wedding anniversary Yak. In the face of the fear that I won’t do better at this late stage of the game; I guess you’ll do.

CHOCOLATE SWIRL PAVLOVA WITH MAPLE POACHED PEARS

WHAT YOU NEED
6 small pears, peeled (I used rather large Corella pears but smaller pears would have looked better on the pavlova)
2 cup (250)ml maple syrup
5cm piece ginger, sliced
6 fresh bay leaves (I didn’t have any fresh, so I didn’t use any.)
6 egg whites, room temperature
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (330g)
1/ tsp white vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
2 1/2 tbls cocoa powder
300-400g creme fraiche
1 tsp pure icing sugar, sifted

HOW YOU DO IT
To make the maple pears: place pears, maple syrup, ginger, bay leaves and 3 cups water (750ml) in a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover the circle with a circle of baking paper and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 45 minutes or until tender. (My bigger pears took about 1 hour and fifteen minutes.) Remove pears from the liquid.
Discard half the liquid, reserving the bay and ginger. Return the remaining liquid, bay leaves and ginger to a deep saucepan and place over high heat.
Boil the liquid for 30 minutes or until thick and syrupy. Cool completely and set aside.
To make the pavlova, preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Place baking paper on a large tray and draw an 18 cm circle.
Beat the egg whites and a pinch of salt to firm peaks.
Keep beating the egg white on low adding the sugar a tablespoon at a time.
Once all of the sugar is added, continue beating on a medium speed until the meringue is no long gritty to the touch and is stiff and glossy.
Fold through the vinegar, cornflour and 2 heaped tsps of the cocoa.
Spread into the prepared tray and sprinkle another 2 tsps of the cocoa over the pavlova and using a palette knife, swirl the cocoa through the pavlova.
Place it in the oven and drop the temperature down to 130 (120 fan forced) and bake for one hour. Rotate every 20 minutes to ensure even baking and colouring.
Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the pavlova cool down in the oven for at least 3 hours.
Combine the sour cream, icing sugar and remaining 1 tsp cocoa and spread over the pavlova. Halve (or quarter) the pears and arrange over the top. Served drizzled with the reduced maple syrup and scatter with the bay leaves. (If you had any.)

A Cheergerm adaption of a recipe from the April 2016 Delicious magazine. I changed the pavlova method


Lentils, slow roasted tomatoes and goats cheese

Most of you would have heard the saying ‘you don’t make friends with salad.’ The underpinning sentiment being that salad is not worth eating. Personally, I try to avoid eating anything or anybody that I have made friends with. However, if we were ever to find ourselves in an extremely desperate survival type situation, who knows what may happen. (Having read the book ‘Alive’ based on the 1972 Andes flight disaster where sixteen survivors survived only by deciding to eat pieces of their dead friends, I have been forever haunted by the choices they made. Would I, wouldn’t I?)

Ponderings on cannibalism aside, salads these days are mega interesting and worthy of being elevated to ‘main course’ status. Yotam Ottolenghi, the British chef, cookery writer and TV presenter could easily be hailed as the ‘King Of Delicious and Fascinating Salads.’ Having been lucky enough to procure another smattering of delicious cherry tomatoes from the local Growers Markets, the idea of slow roasting them popped into my brain box. Trawling through my cookbooks I came across this salad from Ottolenghi’s book ‘Plenty’ and did a bit of re-jigging. The lentils have a toothsome nutty bite, the thyme perfumed tomatoes are unctuously sweet, the melting red wine vinegar onions and bright herbs add a zingy lift. The nuggets of goats cheese provide an extra creamy tart surprise.

Salad may not be ‘my friend’ but it is certainly a very tasty acquaintance.

LENTILS, SLOW ROASTED TOMATOES AND GOATS CHEESE

WHAT YOU NEED
1 small red Red onion, very finely sliced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
250g lentils (I used a french style fine green lentil from Mount Zero, Ottolenghi used castelluccio lentils or you could use French puy. The lentils need to hold their shape once cooked.)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 tbl parsley, chopped
1 tbl oregano, chopped (note, Ottolenghi’s recipe used 3tbsp chervil or parsley, 3 tbsp chopped chives, 4 tbsp chopped dill but I didn’t have these so just made do with what I had)
80g goats cheese (or Gorgonzola, or feta)
Black pepper

Slow roasted tomatoes
400g mixed cherry tomatoes, washed
2 tbl olive oil
1 tbl caramelised balsamic vinegar
8 sprigs of thyme
Extra sea salt

HOW YOU DO IT
Start by making the slow roasted tomatoes. Preheat the oven to 100C. Place the cherry tomatoes and thyme sprigs onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle over the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkle with some salt and gently toss to coat. Roast for one hour, turning once or twice in that time.
Remove the tomatoes from the oven, discard the thyme and allow them to cool.
Meanwhile, place the red onion in a medium bowl, pour over the red wine vinegar and sprinkle with the salt. Stir, then leave the onions to soften.
Place the lentils in a pan of boiling water (the water should come three centimetres above the lentils) and cook for 20-30 minutes or until tender.
Drain the lentils in a sieve and whilst still warm, add them to the sliced red onion. Next, add the extra virgin olive oil, garlic and some black pepper. Stir to mix and leave aside to cool down.
Once cool, add the herbs and gently mix together. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, pile up the lentils on a large plate or bowl, integrating the goats cheese and tomatoes as you build up the pile. Drizzle the tomato cooking juices on top and serve.

A slight variation on a Yotam Otteolenghi recipe from ‘Plenty’ published by Edbury Press, 2010


‘Not my sisters mince pies’ Christmas cupcakes

Every Christmas, Sister Two bakes what may possibly be the most amazing mince pies in the entire galaxy. Some of you will shake your head and ask, ‘what kind of lunatic overstatement is that?’ Let me put it plainly. They just are. So there. These pastries are legendary enough to convert this mince pie loather into someone who actually delights in partaking of a few (delicate cough), every festive season. In the spirit of inclusivity for the gluten intolerant and coeliacs in our hoard, Sister Two also makes a gluten free batch. The Yak, who is English, adores these short-crusted and delicious wee morsels. Fruitcake, mince pies and plum puddings are the stuff of his festive childhood memories and dreams.

It is easy to know when The Yak is missing home. He hops onto the Information Superhighway and begins googling houses for sale in his hometown of Ulverston. (No Yak, we are not moving there.) A spot of coeliac cheering up was required but being a sensible woman, something simple was required. After all, it is only five more sleeps until the mince pie fairy works her magic and the roly-poly bloke in the red suit visits. I thought that a light cupcake version of a fruitcake would provide some solace to my far less portly old man. The weather is getting hot, hot, hot and these sponge-like, fruity, ever so slightly boozy cakes would be a super dessert on the day itself. Pop them in a fancy tin as an edible Christmas gift or just do as the Yak did. Happily devour them with a good strong cuppa tea.

Merry Christmas to my Yak and to you all.

GLUTEN FREE CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES

WHAT YOU NEED
175g butter, softened
150g soft brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g gluten free self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground mixed spice
115g mixed dried fruit (I used 50g each of currants, sultanas and chopped dried tart cherries)
2 tbsp brandy or orange juice
115g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp hot water
White sanding sugar or edible white glitter or even regular white sugar for sprinkling on top
(2 tbsp extra brandy, liquer Muscat or rum or if you choose to soak the fruit)

HOW YOU DO IT
If you want a more traditional boozy Christmas flavour, soak the fruit in the extra tablespoon of brandy or rum for an hour or two before baking. I used a liquer Muscat. Delicious.
Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12 hole muffin tray , placing a circle of baking paper at the bottom of each hole. I used smaller brown cupcake papers and gave each one a light spray with a non-stick cooking spray.
Place the butter, sugar, eggs into a large bowl then sift flour, baking powder and spices over the top.
Beat with a hand held mixer (I used my stand mixer) for 3-4 minutes until pale and creamy.
Fold in the fruit and brandy or orange juice.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin trays or papers.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until they have risen and are golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Leave in the tray for 5 minutes then remove and let cool on a baking tray.
Once they are completely cooled, sift the icing sugar then add enough of the hot water to make a smooth and thick icing. Ice the cakes then sprinkle a shedload of the sparkly snow like sugar/glitter over the top of the cakes.
Makes 12 regular small muffin size or 14 smaller cupcake sizes.

Cooking Notes: These cupcakes freeze well, just don’t ice them. You can also pop a glace cherry on top of each with with some fake (or real) holly leaves so they look like mini-plum puddings.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the Good To Know website. Website link after photos.

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/536399/mini-christmas-cakes


Black sesame chocolate cake, looking into the heart of darkness

A person with a vivid imagination could easily gaze into the inky black oil slick that is this cake batter and associate it with all that is dark and evil. Easy to do, in the distressing and challenging times we are currently living in. The portion of my soul that is part poet longs to wax allegorically. However, the pragmatist within, gave the poet inside, a short sharp slap around the chops. Serving as a stern reminder that this was merely a cake made of black sesame powder, given as a gift by a sweet friend. Pondering what to do with this bounty, there was certainly something fortuitous in the recipe that popped up on my Facebook feed a day or so later.

Black sesame seeds are rich in vitamin B and iron and the Chinese believe they assist in slowing down the ageing process. (Anti-ageing you cry! Be warned, they can also have a laxative effect so don’t start chowing down on them by the handful.) They contain nutrients that protect the heart, aid digestion and can assist in lactation. Quite the tiny powerhouse indeed.

Ground sesame has the aroma of a musty health food store but this rich dense cake ends up tasting nutty and earthy. The generous slathering of chocolate ganache atop this somewhat grim looking bake is a decadent and welcome addition. Maybe it is a cake perfect for a Halloween or Day of the Dead celebration. Our children were extremely fond of this toothsome dessert despite it’s subdued sweetness. To the point of asking for extra servings, repeatedly. And there certainly isn’t anything dark about that.

BLACK SESAME CHOCOLATE CAKE, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
200g (1 1/3 cups) black sesame seeds (I used 1 cup ground sesame seed powder as that’s what I had.)
200g butter, chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
185g (1 cup) coconut sugar
100g (1 cup) almond meal
35g (1/3 cup) plain gluten free flour
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
Chocolate Ganache
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100 ml pure cream

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20cm square baking tin.
Grind the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice mill. (I didn’t need to as my seeds were already ground.)
Put the butter and sesame seed paste into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until melted.
Remove from heat and place into a large bowl, allow to cool down for ten minutes.
Stir the eggs and sugar into the sesame seed mixture.
Sift the almond meal, flour and baking powder into the sesame seed mixture and gently fold to combine.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Allow the cake to stand in the tin for ten minutes before turning onto a cake tray to cool completely.
To make the chocolate ganache, combine the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes, until thickened.
Spread the ganache over the cake and allow to set. Cut into small pieces and serve.

Recipe from the SBS Food Website taken from Beautiful Food by Jody Vassallo, published by Harlequin.
http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/black-sesame-chocolate-cake?cid=23230


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


What, me, an award? You shouldn’t have…

I am chuffed, my first award….I would like to thank the Academy, hang about, it’s not the Oscars. It’s better! (Anyone can act.) I have always thought versatile was my middle name.

Thanks so much to the very funny naptimethoughts for this award, she cracks me up.
http://naptimethoughts.wordpress.com

The rules for acceptance of this award (in naptimethoughts words) are this:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for your new fancy schmancy award, and be sure to include a link back to their site in your acceptance speech. You know, thank all the little people.
2. Share 7 random facts about yourself
3. Pass on the award to 13 other versatile bloggers.

So, here goes:

1. I am not tall.
2. I have been know to snort when I laugh but I do it gracefully.
3. I may have once almost (key word) started to melt my tool kit on a hot oven top years ago. It could potentially have burnt the training kitchen down at the cookery school I was attending. (But it didn’t.)
4. I can bust some severe MC Hammer dance moves.
5. I used to play in a rock n roll band. I never got famous. I am not bitter.
6. I sleep like a ninja with one eye open since having children, ready to defend my family at the first sign of attack.
7. I was involved in a flesh burning incident in my 20’s that involved a dry cold morning, an extremely hot gas wall heater, an emergency doctors visit, third degree burns and not being able to sit down for a very, very long time. That’s all I will say.

There are so many fantastic bloggers out there, one could go nuts. Here they are:

http://tabithasglutenfreedishes.com/
http://lizard100blog.wordpress.com
http://raincoaster.com/
http://tasteofcolours.wordpress.com
http://www.francesays.com
http://forayintofoodstorage.com
http://teaandsesame.wordpress.com
http://thechefandthewaitress.wordpress.com
http://americanfoodieabroad.wordpress.com
http://gfbakingbys.wordpress.com
http://teaandsesame.wordpress.com
http://raquelgriffindor.com
http://sugarstuff.wordpress.com

Of course you don’t have to do this, but go on, I know you want to.