Teeny weeny gluten free blinis and a fancypants morning tea

Sometimes when there is a significant birthday, (you know, we all just turned 21 recently), our mothers group have been known to celebrate by putting on a fancypants morning tea.

We figure we can do a bloody nice job without forking out the big bucks elsewhere. It’s also a great excuse to use some of the lubbly jubbly old plateware that this Cheergerm voraciously crazily sensibly collects.

My food contribution to this delectable spread was a gaggle of gluten free blinis topped with silky smoked salmon, a burble of sour cream and and a dash of dill.

Other goodies included squares of a moreish gluten free chocolate cake, a beautiful Tasmanian squodge of Brie and chockie dipped strawberries. One of our number has discovered a gluten intolerance, hence we rolled ‘mostly GF’ so she could enjoy this slap-up feast.

A traditional Russian blini is a yeast raised buckwheat pancake that symbolised the sun. They had pride of place in a festival called ‘maslenitsa’ that marked the end of winter and the start of spring. How totally appropriate I thought (in complete research hindsight).

These nutty tasting, light gluten free beauties do not contain yeast, instead, I separated the egg whites and beat them into peaks before folding through the batter. They are best eaten on the day you make them. If that isn’t possible, I suggest warming them slightly before devouring them with whatever topping you so desire. On saying that, I have had them without being heated the next day and they were still delicious.

GLUTEN FREE BLINIS

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup plain gf flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 tbl neutral oil
Extra pinch of salt
Little bit of butter or oil for the non-stick pan frying pan.

HOW YOU DO IT
Sift flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar into a large bowl.
In a jug or small bowl, beat the milk, egg yolks, vinegar and oil together.
Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the extra pinch of salt iuntil stiff peaks are formed.
Fold the egg white mixture into the combined flour and milk mixture.
Let the batter rest for about 30 minutes.
Heat the non stick pan to a medium heat, brush with a little butter or oil. Place teaspoons sizes if you want really weeny blinis or a dessertpoon full for a small blini, into the pan. Cook for around 2 minutes until bubbles start to form on the surface of the blini. Flip and cook for another 45 seconds or so on the second size. (My first batch is never the best, as the pan heats up the blinis tend to cook faster. )
Remove to a teatowel and cover. This keeps the blinis soft and nice like a snuggly blanket.
Keep cooking until all the batter is used up.
Makes about 30 small blinis. In this case I topped them with finely diced smoked salmon tossed in a big squeeze of lemon juice, a wee blob of sour cream and a sprig of dill. They are lovely with jam and cream as well.

Cooking note: variations in this batter may occur due to the size of the eggs used and the type of GF flour blend. Add a bit of extra buckwheat flour if the mixture isn’t as thick as a pikelet batter should be or a dash of milk if it’s too thick. The batter should be almost spongy, the photo below may give you an indication of the required texture.

A Cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from The Weiser Kitchen website. Link follows after photos.

http://theweiserkitchen.com/recipe/gluten-free-buckwheat-blini/

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Gluten free sticky date pudding and please, let me go

Let’s make this clear, it’s entirely my own fault. A little while ago, I purchased our two young lads the soundtrack to the movie Frozen. This Cheergerm adores musicals, loves them in fact. (Repeat after me, life IS a musical.) However, after one solid week of hearing the song ‘Let It Go’ over and over again (whilst they play sword fights), I have one small sentence.

Please, let me go….

Which brings me to this dessert I baked last weekend for company. (How very Little House on the Prairie of me). I had made a banging Osso Buco in my stupid slow cooker that I may or may not be getting the hang of. I have an ongoing love affair with my Le Creuset cast iron casserole dish and using the slow cooker feels somewhat like cheating on one’s husband. (It’s an emotional topic we shall save for another place and time.)

It was bloody freezing, so what better way to end a meal on a brass monkey kind of night, than with sticky date pudding? Cheergermed of course.

This pudding was light and airy, and it must be said, one of my happiest and most raved about gluten free desserts thus far. Due to extreme pudding hunger (pudger?) I rushed the sauce and didn’t caramelise the sugar and water enough. Hence, when I added the cream and butter, it turned an insipid white creamy brown. Panic set in, (not helped by the glass or two of sparkling Shiraz that may or may not have been consumed.) The peanut gallery, aka Sister number 3 and Mancurian bro-in-law shouted in rough tavern-like voices, ‘add brown sugar’ and ‘add treacle!’ ‘Eureka’ I yelled, ‘I shall add organic molasses!’ So I whacked a tablespoon of that crazy, unctuous goo into the sauce. Disaster averted.

It was good and they ate.

Gluten free sticky date pudding

WHAT YOU NEED
1 1/2 cups dates, pitted and finely chopped (note my awesome 5kg bag of chopped dates is really coming in handy)
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 cup boiling water
100g sorghum flour
50g buckwheat flour
30g almond meal
1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 tsp of vanilla extract if you don’t have this)
1/4 tsp xanthum gum
75g butter softened
3/4 cup brown sugar (or rapadura or coconut sugar)
2 large eggs

Caramel Sauce
2/3 cup raw caster sugar
1/3 cup cold water
1 cup thickened cream
20g butter

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced.) Grease and line the base of a 20cm square cake pan.
Combine the dates and bicarbonate of soda in a medium bowl and pour the boiling water over. Set aside whilst preparing the cake batter.
Sift the sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, almond meal, vanilla powder and xanthum gum into a large bowl.
Cream the butter and sugar into a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time (if you are using vanilla extract instead of vanilla powder, add it here.)
Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture then stir through the date mixture until smooth.
Pour into the cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Stand in pan for 5 minutes then remove to a rack.
Caramel Sauce
Place sugar and water in frying pan. Swirl until sugar has melted.
Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture is a deep, golden caramel colour, about 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and whisk in the cream and butter, whisking until smooth.
Return to heat and simmer, whisking for 2 minutes or until thickened slightly and is a rich, caramel colour. (It was at this point I added the tablespoon of molasses but hopefully, you won’t need to!)
Slice cake into squares and drizzle over sauce. Serve with cream or ice-cream if you so desire.

A Cheergerm Adapatation of a recipe from the Coles website, see after photos for the link.

http://recipes.coles.com.au/recipes/1677/gluten-free-sticky-date-pudding-with-caramel-sauce/


Good as gold gluten free lemon muffins

Things our Pop (Dad’s father), used to say.

Good as gold.
Right as rain.
That joker down the road.

We miss him. School holidays arrived and baking for both chilluns and the spouse was required. These muffins have a lovely soft crumb, a fabulous sharp lemon zip and an ever so slightly crunchy top that will put the zing back in your zang.

Vanilla is always your friend when baking, gluten free people. (The comma saves this rather odd sentence, rest assured this Cheergerm does NOT advocate the baking of real life gluten allergic/intolerant human beings.) In all seriousness, one cannot advocate the use of vanilla enough when baking sweet goodies using gluten free ingredients.

Being a huge fan of vanilla beans, vanilla bean paste and pure vanilla extract, I am quite excited to try the new vanilla powder that we ordered in our most recent food co-op order. It arrived too late for these luscious lemon ladies but there will be much vanilla powder experimentation in the future.

I regularly bake a gluten laden version of these (with a mixture of spelt and wholemeal flour) and the progeny couldn’t tell the difference.

These muffins are as good as gold, just go ask that joker down the road.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON MUFFINS

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup self raising gf flour (whatever blend floats your baking boat)
2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt (a weird amount but it works!)
1/8 tsp xanthum gum (ditto)
1/3 cup almond meal
2/3 cup raw sugar ( I used a scant cup. Feel free to use coconut sugar, rapadura or panela)
75 g butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Grated rind 1 large or 2 small lemons (we love lemon so I used the rind of 2 large lemons but use your lemon discretion as suits)

Topping
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup raw sugar

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Sift the self raising, sorghum, buckwheat, baking powder, salt and xanthum gum into a large bowl.
Mix in the almond meal and 2/3 cup sugar.
Melt the butter, add the egg, milk, vanilla and lemon rind and beat well with a fork until combined.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and combine until the dry ingredients have been slightly dampened.
Divide the mixture evenly between a 12 medium-sized muffin tin lined with muffin cases and sprayed lightly with a non-stick spray.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Stir the lemon juice and sugar without dissolving the sugar and drizzle this over the hot muffins as soon as they are removed from the oven.
Let cool down.

Makes 12 muffins.

A Cheergerm adaptation from Marvellous Muffins by Alison Holst

Muffins tips: make sure all of your wet ingredients are room temperature and don’t overmix.


Gluten free ginger crunch and Original Thought

Recently, Kid 2 (who is 7 years old) was rolling and generally lollygagging around on the floor. He pipes up.
‘I have never had an original thought in my life.’

He didn’t appear perturbed, upset or even surprised at this revelation. The kid has a point. Is there really anything new under the sun? I am no philosopher but it is hard to believe that in the billions of thoughts that have existed in our space-time continuum, that a truly ‘original thought’ exists.

During a search on ‘t’internet’ for a quote on the theory of original thought (just to highlight how erudite and intellectual this Cheergerm can get), I got bored and started looking at photos of cats performing amazing ridiculous feats. Next, I googled ‘space-time continuum’ because, well, that’s how my brain works. (I use the word ‘works’ loosely.) I stumbled/googlebumbled upon the following quote, which has nothing to do with original thought at all. Or, does it?

‘The whole fabric of the space-time continuum is not merely curved, it is in fact, totally bent’. This quote harks from the novel The Restaurant at the End of the Universe’, by Douglas Adams of ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’ fame. One of my favourite all time authors.

By now you may be screaming asking politely, ‘what was the bloody point of all that?’ Bear with me folks. This spicy and delicate recipe is a gluten free re-work of a favourite old school New Zealand slice. Whilst I am certainly not claiming it is an original, there is a small point of difference in the use of buckwheat, sorghum and teff flours. However, I am sure that somewhere in this bendy, curvy universe of ours, somebody else has already thought of it before.

GLUTEN FREE GINGER CRUNCH

WHAT YOU NEED
Base
80g brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
100g gluten free plain flour
50g teff flour
40g almond meal (if you can’t use nuts you can substitute for buckwheat flour)
2 tbl psyllium husk (about 10g)
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
115g butter, room temperature

Icing
55g butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 tsp ground ginger
55g icing sugar (make sure it’s pure icing sugar and gluten free)

HOW YOU DO IT
Base
Preheat oven to 180C and line a shallow 30 x 21cm tin with baking paper.
Put all the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse briefly to combine them. Drop in the butter and process just until the mixture forms fine crumbs. (You can do this all by hand, rubbing the butter into the flour but machine mixing is easier!)
Pour the crumbs into the tin, spread them out evenly and press down firmly using your fingers to compact them slightly. They will stick together properly as they bake.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the mixture is a pale golden brown.

Icing
While the base is cooking, put the butter, golden syrup and ginger into a saucepan and heat gently, stirring. When they are melted and combined, tip in the icing sugar mixture and mix to a fairly runny consistency.
Remove the base from the oven and immediately pour on the icing. Spread it evenly over the surface with a spatula.
Cut the mixture into fingers or squares, leave to cool then break it apart along the cuts and store in an airtight container.
Makes 12 squares or more fingers.
Recipe Note: I usually double those recipe and just use a 32cm x 24cm baking tray.

A Cheergerm adaptation from Ladies, A Plate by Alexa Johnston

Postscript.
It desperately occurred to me that the word ‘googlebumbled’ may be a truly ‘original’ Cheergerm thought or creation. As I had never heard it before, what choice did one have but to google it? It thus far appears to have never been googled as an actual ‘word’.

Just saying.

Go here for the non-gluten free version, Ginger Cat Crunch Slice
https://cheergerm.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/ginger-cat-crunch/


Husbands don’t listen and gluten free buckwheat omelettes

The other day I was crapping on talking to my wonderful husband about something inane very important. The following conversation ensued.

Me: Do you sometimes wish you hadn’t married me?
Yak: Yeah.
Me: What?
Yak: What did you say?
Me: I just asked, do you sometimes wish you hadn’t married me and you said yeah!
Yak: Oh, I wasn’t listening.
Me: Are you embarrassed now?
Yak: No, I’m just normal.

Despite many conversations like this, I continue to feed my vegetarian coeliac husband. (I know, I am an awesomely forgiving and kind human being). This ain’t my recipe folks. Straight up. It’s borrowed, stolen, nicked, knocked off from the wonderful Sneh Roy and her Cook Republic blog. Hence, I have provided my photos then linked to her fabulous recipe afterwards.

These buckwheat omelettes are pancake like and have an Indian twist. They are a well tasty brunch, lunch or light dinner option. We adore the fresh and light coriander burst they provide.

Many of you may already be aware of this but I just wanted to share a wee cheffy hint given to me many moons ago by a real life cheffy type person. When dicing, chopping, crushing, squashing, pestle and mortaring garlic, always add a big pinch of salt to help ‘bring the garlic down’. (By this I don’t mean to depress the poor member of the onion family with pithy and personal put downs. ‘Yeah garlic, you are so much more stinky than your other close relatives’.) Adding the salt helps the garlic to release it’s delicious oils and also stops it sticking to your knife.

Cheergerm adaptations to this excellent recipe include bumping up the salt to 1 tsp sea salt, using 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger powder as I had no fresh ginger, adding 1/4 diced red pepper and 100g cherry tomatoes (as I didn’t have any big tomatoes) Also, as we didn’t have fresh chilli, I used sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce mixed together as the accompanying sauce.

Here are my photos, I have given a link to the recipe at the end. Once you have visited Cook Republic, you may never leave.

http://www.cookrepublic.com/journal/savoury-buckwheat-omelettes-a-newspaper-column-and-the-title-of-my-first-cookbook/


Healthy err gluten free brownies

First things first. Today marks the start of Coeliac Awareness Week in this vast land of thongs and Vegemite.  I for one, am very aware. The Silly Yak seemed to lack some awareness yesterday, when he ordered some salads for his lunch and one of them was couscous. (He has made a mental note to himself, couscous contains gluten, I must not eat gluten). Have a happy coeliac kind of week! 

Back to the healthy err brownie. Don’t get me wrong, I love a decadent chocolate brownie. Loads of butter, unctuous dark melted chocolate, a caramel swirl, a sprinkle of sea salt…burble…stay tuned for that recipe folks.

However, sometimes the inner health food hippy wins out. (That hippy would also like me to dress in long tie-dyed swirling skirts, multiple jangly bangles and a braided leather head band but I keep a sartorial lid on her, mostly.) 

These brownies are dialed back in the fat and sugar content and the addition of dates adds some texture and natural sweetness. It is a gluten free adaptation of a fave little Bill Granger recipe I have been using for a few years. No nuts have been used so the Kidlets can still take them to school. Try changing the dates to apricots or figs if you are not a fan of the date. (Don’t blame yourself if you aren’t, we all have our little oddities). 

They are actually better the next day, you know, a little more moist and all that.
 
Healthy err chocolate brownies

YOU NEED
60g (1/2) cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthum gum
50g (1/3) cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
100g (2/3 cup) chopped dried dates
90g unsalted butter, melted
80ml (1/3 cup) low fat milk (or whatever milk you got)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla paste (1 tsp vanilla extract)

METHOD
Preheat oven to 160C
Lightly grease and line the base of a 20cm square non stick baking pan.
Sift the cocoa powder, gluten free and buckwheat flours, baking powder and xanthum gum into a large mixing bowl.
Whisk together the butter, milk, eggs and vanilla.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
Spread the mixture (it’s quite thick) into the tin and bake for 15 minutes or until just set.
Cool in the tin before cutting into squares. Dust with icing sugar (or don’t). (I did).

Adapted from Bill Grangers Healthy Chocolate Brownie recipe


Something yummy for a post school tummy

My memories of growing up in the outskirts of Melbourne invariably included weather extremes. 40 degree hot days that turned your eyeballs inside out and icy cold wind that made you question which hemisphere you actually lived in.

No matter what the weather, one consistent memory was coming home to Mum’s pikelets. Light, airy and always delicious.

These are not those pikelets.

No matter what I do, whenever I tried to replicate her recipe, they never quite tasted the same. Only bitterness and self loathing ensued.

A few months ago, whilst perusing the internet, I found a neat wee recipe on a blog called Cupcakes and Cauldrons. I have tinkered with it a tad (yes, I am on a buckwheat spree) and these pikelets now pop up on the afternoon tea menu at least once a week. The lads scoff them down every time they are placed before them. A tad of butter and a smear of jam and all is once again, right with the world.

The ulimate praise from The Kids has been ‘They are almost as good as Nana’s.’

I can live with that.

WHOLEMEAL AND BUCKWHEAT PIKELETS

YOU NEED
1 1/4 cup wholemeal flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
3 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tbl coconut sugar (or raw, rapadura, caster)
2 tbl butter, melted

METHOD
Beat eggs, buttermilk and milk.
Sift flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and gradually add the milk mixture. (I sometimes use an electric hand beater to do this.)
Add the melted butter. (If the mixture is a little stiff, add a tad more milk.)
Let the batter rest for 30 minutes to an hour.
Heat a non-stick pan, grease lightly.
Place spoonfuls of the batter on the pan. When bubbles begin to form on the surface, turn over and cook on the other side.

Go here for the original recipe: http://cauldronsandcupcakes.com/2012/09/22/nanas-pikelet-recipe-and-a-few-good-yarns/


Gluten free lime slice and what the heck is teff flour?

MORNING
It’s Saturday morning, I am lying abed…reading, sipping tea and pondering the real meaning of life. (In other words, procrastinating the inevitable getting up and starting the day.) I have a vanilla soy candle burning and all is quiet and still….until…two small boys come bounding into the bedroom like Labrador puppies. Arms and legs flailing, falling over one another. ‘What’s that delicious smell?’ they cry. ‘We can smell it through out the whole house,’ ‘Is it something good to eat?’

‘Fraid not me laddies. It’s just the delightful scent of the candle you gave me for Chrissy, smells great hey?’ Disappointment radiates from every inch of their wiry beings. The sproglets gallop around the room once or twice. Any sadness at the lack of good things to eat is somewhat tempered by Kid 1 snarfling the TV remotes and taking off downstairs, I presume to watch something enlightening and educational on the Cartoon Network. 

Thoughts of this day now encroach. Yes, vanilla pervades my senses but I remember the big bag of luminous limes in the fridge. Lime slice with a hint of vanilla methinks. Gluten free, with buckwheat, teff flour…butter, now you are talking.

WHAT THE HECK IS TEFF FLOUR?
A brief ramble regarding teff flour, if I may. This gluten free ancient grain is teeny tiny but chock full of nutrition. Native to Ethiopia, it is believed that teff originated between 4000 BC and 1000 BC. I have used brown teff flour which is higher in protein than wheat and has a high concentration of nutrients such as calcium, thiamin and iron. Research has shown that the iron from teff is easily absorbed into the body. It is high in fibre and can help control blood sugar levels.

The only downer is that here in Australia, it hasn’t been easy to get. My last bag was Bob’s Red Mill Teff Flour from a local health food store and they have been out of stock for a few months now. Only a tiny bit remains, so this great hunter will soon set off once again to track down the teff. Will keep you posted on it’s whereabouts.

Overridingly this slice is all about the lime, with a touch of vanilla. (This post may give a small insight into the intricate, um, cough, workings of a Cheergerm mind.) The Yak says it has a caramel flavour, possibly from the coconut sugar. The slice is a little crunchy on the outer edge but more tender in the middle. Being a citrus lover, it’s my cup of tea. And that is exactly how it was enjoyed by The Yak and myself, alongside a cup of good, strong brew.

YOU NEED
Slice Base
150g buckwheat flour
50 g teff flour (or brown rice flour, millet flour or plain GF flour)
1 tsp baking powder
100g coconut sugar (feel free to use rapadura or raw caster sugar)
115 g butter
1 heaped tbl lime zest (3 small limes lost their zest to aid this recipe)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Icing
40 g butter
2 tbl lime juice
60g pure icing sugar, sifted

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a shallow 30cm x 21cm tin with baking paper.
Put the dry ingredients into a food processor and pulse briefly to combine.
Pop in the butter, lime zest and vanilla paste, process until the mixture resembles fine sand.
Tip the mixture into the tin, spreading out evenly and pressing down firmly with your fingers. It may seem crumbly but don’t freak out. It will all stick together once it’s baked.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the mixture is golden brown.
Whilst the slice is in the oven, put the butter and lime juice into a saucepan and stir over low heat. Once the mixture is melted, add the icing sugar and mix. It will be a runny consistency.
When the base is removed from the oven, pour the icing over and spread it out evenly. Let it sit for a few minutes.
Cut the mixture into squares and leave to cool. You can break it apart once it has cooled completely and store in an airtight container. Makes 12 largish square pieces.

A Cheergerm recipe


Gluten free rhubarb and berry bumble

Kid 1 is a crumble maniac, it all started at an early age. Back when he was a wee lad, he was unable to say ‘crumble’, instead it came out as ‘bumble’. His fave combo’s are rhubarb and apple or rhubarb and pear. However, he won’t say nay to the odd berry mix either. Usually I make two different crumble topping mixtures. One containing oats for Kid 1 and myself and a gluten free topping for the Yak.

Gluten free bumble toppings in the past have contained various combinations of buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, tapioca flour, almond meal, quinoa flour (gag) and teff flour (yum but hard to get.) It’s always a bit of ‘let’s see what happens this time’ scenario.

Anyhoo, today was a day of ‘I can’t be, ummmm…bothered with two different toppings’. So I went hardcore on just the one gluten free bumble. I was curious to see if Kid 1 missed the texture that the oats provide.

Turned out to be a happy experiment, yes indeedy. This tart rhubarb and raspberry bumble, combined with the earthy buckwheat and almond flours, the crunch of the nuts and the warmth of the spices is bloody delicious.

The only sound heard from Kid 1’s direction was that of a 9 year old boy eating with his mouth open. Chomp, chomp, gobble, swallow. ‘More please Mum?’. This mean old mumma said ‘No sorry, not tonight’. The kid replied with ‘Go on, its not gluten free, so only you and I can eat it anyway.’

Oh, you poor misinformed and cheated wee bairn. Mission accomplished, sorry kiddo but it is GF and the Yak will probably fight you to the death for the leftovers.

We take our bumble seriously in this household.

YOU NEED

1 bunch rhubarb, chopped into 2cm lengths
2 tbls coconut sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh, blueberries are yummy too)
Crumble topping:
100g buckwheat flour
50g almond meal/flour
60g cold butter, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp mixed spice
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

METHOD
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Place the rhubarb, coconut sugar and vanilla paste in a medium size saucepan, add a few splashes of water. Cook on low to medium heat for about 20 minutes, until the rhubarb starts to collapse. Stir regularly to avoid the rhubarb sticking. Add a bit more water if needed.
Once the rhubarb is cooked, stir in the raspberries and place into a buttered 1 litre ovenproof dish.
Mix the buckwheat flour and almond meal in a medium size bowl.
Rub the butter through the flour mixture with your fingertips until the mixture resembles pea sized chunks.
Mix the coconut sugar, baking powder, spices and walnuts in a small bowl.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture, stir and sprinkle over the fruit.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
Serve with a big dollop of yoghurt, ice-cream or cream. This also makes a great breakfast dish served with yoghurt.

An original Cheergerm recipe


Gluten free chocolate date loaf

IMG_5447

In honour of my 6 year old (Kid 2) being given his first phone number by a girl….I present to you my low fat gluten free date loaf. (I trust it will be many years before my youngest progeny goes on an actual date…). I adapted this from a recipe called ‘Uncle Bill’s Date Loaf’ given by a friend a few years ago.

I like to experiment with different gluten free flours in a continual search for an enjoyable texture and for health purposes as well. The Yak can too easily get stuck chowing down on food containing too much starchy flour such as white rice flour or tapioca flour.

In this version, I have combined buckwheat flour and almond meal, mixed with store bought gluten free plain flour. What’s so great about buckwheat flour you ask? Glad you did….there are too many benefits to list here but in short, diets that contain buckwheat have been linked to a lowered risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It is actually not a grain but is a fruit seed, related to rhubarb and sorrel.

I also bake a version of this recipe using wholemeal wheat and spelt flour. (I shall post this some time in the future). I add the cocoa powder to distract my 9 year old (Kid 1) from the dates, anything chocolatey keeps that kid happy.

Coconut sugar and I have been having a passionate love affair for some time now (shhh…please don’t tell The Yak). There are many health claims attached to this sugar, it is meant to contain nutrients that cane sugar doesn’t have and is said to be a low GI alternative to cane sugar as well.

Basically, I ain’t a scientist…just a humble home cook. I like the taste and the possibility of it’s potential health benefits. I guess that stuffing oneself with too much sugar, no matter what it’s origin,  may not be the healthiest choice. But everything in moderation I say! (If you don’t have any coconut sugar use soft brown sugar and Bob’s your uncle, or is that Bill?).

YOU NEED
1 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cups dates
1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 cup coconut sugar (or soft brown sugar)
1 egg
2 tbl cocoa powder
3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tsp gluten free baking powder
pinch salt
METHOD
Heat oven to 180 C
Grease a loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
Chop dates finely and place in a bowl, pour boiling water over. Add bi-carbonate soda and stir. Set aside until cool.
Sift cocoa powder, plain flour, buckwheat, baking powder and salt together. Stir in almond meal.
Put butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth.
Add egg and beat well.
Add date mixture and flour, stir until combined.
Preheat oven to 180 C.
Pour into tin and bake for 35- 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Totally delicious when served hot and with butter or whatever your favourite spread is.