A honey cake fit for a Pooh Bear

‘Pooh said goodbye affectionately to his fourteen pots of honey and hoped they were fifteen, and he and Rabbit went out into the Forest.’

Recently, I accidentally found myself with three kilograms of glorious honey. It may not have been Pooh’s fourteen pots but it did feel as if the gods of providence had smiled upon me.

This abundance of golden liquid ambrosia called for a honey cake. The weather had turned nasty so all and sundry were cooped up within the confines of the house. The Pied Piper smell of the melting honey, butter and sugar enticed lads of all sizes into the kitchen. ‘What is that smell?’ they whispered wondrously. This cake smelt of every good thing that ever existed.

The warmy woody spices balanced the cakes caramel like sweetness. Honey is a natural source of sugar but from what I have read, it isn’t necessarily a healthier sweetener when used in baking. However, when consumed in its raw and unheated state it contains antioxidants as well as anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Maybe Pooh Bear really was a bear before his time but I am also sure that he wouldn’t have turned up his nose at a little smackeral of this moreish cake. Particularly if it was eleven o’clock.

GLUTEN FREE HONEY CAKE

WHAT YOU NEED
250g clear honey and 2 tbls extra for glazing
225g unsalted butter, chopped
80g dark sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
300g gluten free self-raising flour (or regular SR flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 140C and grease and line a 22cm springform tin.
Place the honey, butter and sugar into a medium saucepan and melt slowly over a low heat. When the mixture looks quite liquid, increase the heat and boil for one minute. Remove from heat and pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
Let the honey mixture cool down, this prevents the eggs cooking when they are added. (This took about half an hour.)
Once cooled, beat the eggs into the honey mixture using a wooden spoon.
Sift the flour and spices over the honey and egg mixture and beat until you have a smooth and quite runny batter.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes until the cake is risen well, golden and springs back to the touch. A skewer inserted into the cake should come out clean.
Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in the pan then turn onto a wire rack.
Warm the 2 tbl of reserved honey and brush over the top of the cake to give it a sticky glaze. Allow to cool. Then eat a smackeral around eleven o’clock in the morning. You won’t regret it.
Store wrapped, in an airtight container.

Cooking Notes
If you don’t require this cake to be gluten free, simply use the same amount of regular plain self-raising flour.

A Cheergerm adaptation a recipe from the BBC Good Food website. Link provided after photos.

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1840/devonshire-honey-cake

The leading quote comes from AA Milnes beloved and charming children’s novel ‘The House at Pooh Corner.’

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Building windmills millet and rice puff squares

Me: I don’t like it, it’s new.

Kid 1: Stop building walls and build windmills.

I stare agog at this child of mine dispensing wise advice like a miniature life coach. This ‘set in its ways’ brain of mine has forgotten what ‘new’ thing I was alluding to. He was referring to an ancient Chinese proverb that goes ‘when the wind of change blows, some people build walls, others build windmills.’ Change is one of the few things in life that is constant. Having always thought of myself as someone adapts to change readily, I was somewhat taken aback. It would seem that ‘wall building’ creeps up on you. Not wanting to be the stubborn person who remains unresponsive to all that is new, I will have to remain vigilant. (In other words, I do not want to become what is commonly known as ‘an old fart’.) I am thankful (mostly), that my Anthony Robbins wannabe son will keep me on the straight and narrow.

One thing that has thus far remained constant, is my love of the ever changing world of food and the brilliant adventure of trying new recipes. My latest cookbook love is The Wholesome Cook, written by Martyna Angelas. The creator of an award-winning blog, her book is chock full of refined sugar-free wholesome recipes. It is a stylish tome full of inspiring photos and a wide range of nutritious and easy-to-prepare meals. Her sensible philosophy really resonates with me. She acknowledges that no single diet fits everybody the same and as our environments and bodies change, so should our diet. No wall building going on in this book. Some of my earmarked recipes include the Polish gingerbread cake, the double chocolate and caramel popcorn cake, kale and cashew pesto, the fennel, ginger and turmeric soup and the sweet and sour lamb riblets. My mouth is watering already.

This nifty little snack lives up to its promise. A few changes were made to the original recipe but this was merely due to the fact that I wanted to use whatever I had on hand. It is a grown up, healthy-err, gluten free version of salted caramel rice bar. The tangy fruit adds a zesty brightness to it. Moreish, chewy and a new favourite for the adults in our household.

MILLET AND RICE KRISPIE SQUARES, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
3 cups gluten free crispy rice cereal (I used wholegrain brown rice puffs)
1/2 cup puffed millet (the recipe calls for puffed quinoa)
3 tbl dried blueberries or cranberries (I used tart dried cherries, chopped)
1/2 cup hulled tahini (I used unhulled as its all I had)
1/2 cup rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla powder
1 1/2 tsp salt (optional, I used 1 tsp, this gives it the salted caramel flavour, the recipe says its optional, I highly recommend going the salt route)
1 tbl (15g) raw cacao butter (I used unsalted butter)

HOW YOU DO IT
Line a 29cm square baking tin with baking paper.
Place rice cereal, puffed millet and dried fruit into a large bowl. Set aside.
Combine tahini, rice malt syrup, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan.
Melt, stirring gently over low heat until all ingredients are blended together. Do not boil. Add cacao butter (butter) and whisk until melted.
Pour warm mixture over rice cereal mixture and mix well. (Move fast while the mixture is still warm.)
Transfer to prepared tin and press into the base, corners and edges. I used my small off-set spatula to do this.
Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes before slicing into squares. We kept our squares refrigerated.

Recipe from The Wholesome Cook by Martyna Angell, published by Harlequin, October 2015

http://wholesome-cook.com


A messy life and a messy rhubarb and coconut slice

In our social media lives, we are inundated with beauty. Images of gorgeous food, people and places rain down upon us from our Instagram, Facebook and blogging feeds. This stuff floats my boat. It inspires and feeds the creative beast that lurks within. There is nothing wrong with beauty, with wanting to create it or own it. It lifts our spirits and soothes our eyes and souls when we are weary, low or merely bored.

Beauty lubricates life and is the grease that keeps my wheels turning. But there is a flip side to every coin and a ying to every yang.

When viewing these images, we can easily forget the chaos that goes on behind the scenes and that life is intrinsically messy. Children are, intimacy is, friendships and family can be. My hair is messy and curly, no matter how I may try to tame it. My house is a weird mixture of beauty, clutter and order. Work is not always straightforward, nor is writing a blog. It can be difficult to decide how much to reveal and how much to keep private. Disarray abounds.

This slice reminded me of that fact. Whilst trying to smooth the troublesome batter into the cake tin, the temptation of binning the entire bake was high. My fingers were steeped in a sticky blend of butter and flour and as the vibrant rhubarb poached, my temper rose to simmering point. The coconut crumble for the top resembled the surface of the moon and the resulting photos looked shambolic. The scrappy coconut playing havoc with my focus (both the cameras and my own.)

Don’t post, came to mind. Yet it tasted so very, very good. The jammy sweet and sour rhubarb was offset by a crunchy biscuity bottom and the textural tropical macaroon topping. The Yak was a very happy man, giving it the big coeliac thumbs up. He certainly didn’t give a flying fig how it looked.

So perhaps, loveliness is also in the mess. We were brought up to believe that beauty is only skin deep and what truly matters is depth of character. Something we try and relay to our own children. So much of the food we consume at home isn’t always picture book perfect but it certainly tastes darned good.

Beauty perhaps, truly is in the eye of the beholder.

GLUTEN FREE RHUBARB AND COCONUT SLICE

WHAT YOU NEED
150g butter, softened
1/3 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup teff flour (or rice flour)
2 bunches rhubarb (I had one big bunch that weighed 550g) washed, trimmed and cut into 3cm lengths
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup caster sugar (to cook with rhubarb)

Topping
2 cups desiccated coconut
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup caster sugar

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 160C and line a 3.5cm deep 16cm x 26 cm (base) lamington pan. I used a larger tin and spread the mixture out to roughly those dimensions.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and the 1/3 cup of sugar until well combined.
Sift the plain and teff flours into the butter mixture and mix well.
Using an offset spatula (the recipe suggests floured fingertips but I found it far too messy), press and smooth the flour mixture evenly into a pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Cool down and increase the oven temperature to 170C.
While the base is cooking, combine the rhubarb, water and 1/4 cup caster sugar in a large saucepan. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for up to ten minutes or until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool for about 30 minutes then spoon the rhubarb mixture over the cooled and cooked base.
Topping
Mix the eggs, sugar and coconut well, then spoon the mixture over the rhubarb. Press down and bake for 25 – 30 minutes until light golden. Cool in the pan and cut into squares or slices.

An adaptation of a recipe from the Taste website. Link to original recipe provided after the photos.

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http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/7676/rhubarb+and+coconut+slice


Gluten free lemon coconut fridge slice, a happy accident

This recipe was a happy accident. Others accidents I have experienced have been far less joyful. Take for example the time that I gained rather painful third-degree burns on a delicate part of the anatomy, upon backing into a wall heater. In my defence, it was a cold and wintery Melbourne morning and the heater was irresistibly warm. No cheer found there.

Then a few years ago, I boarded a train, holding Kid 2’s pram with one hand and attempted to open the train door with the other. Pushing the door with undue force, I overbalanced and slipped into the gap between the train and the platform. Dangling from the train door handle, I utilised my superhuman strength and propelled myself upwards. My shoulder was badly damaged but I did have the wherewithal to let go of the pram when I slipped. Could have been worse but again, not happy.

Or the time that I haphazardly found myself in the middle of a bar fight that had nothing to do with me and was punched in the face. That experience provided very little glee indeed.

This tasty no-bake slice is just as good using either gluten free or regular store purchased biscuits. The recipe required 250g of biscuits but my pantry only coughed up a mere 160g packet of gluten free Anzacs. What to do? With the temperatures set to unseasonally and prematurely soar to 37 degrees Celsius there was no way that I was getting in the car to go shopping. It was also a public holiday and lassitude ruled the day.

Necessity once again being the mother of invention, my beady eyes happened upon some bags of puffed amaranth and millet. A cup of each was added and Eureka! It worked.

Chewy, cold, buttery and sweet, this fridge slice is balanced by a superb lemony punch. A happy accident indeed and so much more enjoyable than a real punch in the face. Trust me.

GLUTEN FREE LEMON AND COCONUT FRIDGE SLICE

WHAT YOU NEED
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
125g butter
250g milk arrowroot biscuits gluten free or not ( Arrowroot work best but all I had was a 160g packet of gluten free Anzacs.)
1 cup puffed amaranth
1 cup puffed millet
1 tsp grated lemon rind (I used the rind of two small lemons)
1 cup desiccated coconut

Icing
1 3/4 cups icing sugar, sifted
3 tbl lemon juice
15g butter, softened
2 tbl dessiccated coconut

HOW YOU DO IT
Line a lamington tin with nonstick baking paper.
Place condensed milk and butter in a saucepan. Stir over gentle heat until the butter has melted and the mixture has combined.
Crush the biscuits very finely. (Either old school by placing them in a plastic bag and beating the stuffing out of them with a rolling pin or sensibly, as I did, by placing them in a food processor.)
Place the biscuits into a large bowl, add the lemon rind and coconut. Mix well.
Add the condensed milk and butter to the biscuit mixture. Mix well.
Press the mixture into the tin, my slice was about 1.5 cm thick and about 24cm long x 23cm wide, it didn’t use up all the tin. Refrigerate for one hour.
Icing: Combine the sifted icing sugar, lemon juice and butter in a bowl. Mix well until smooth. Spread over the chilled biscuit base and sprinkle with the coconut.
Refrigerate until the icing is set, cut into small squares.

A Cheergerm adaptation from a recipe found on the Allrecipes website.

http://allrecipes.com.au/recipe/12464/lemon-coconut-slice.aspx


A side of herb polenta bake and an aside

Yak: You are a good lad, will you look after me when I am old?
Kid 2: Probably, but I might be somewhere else.
Me: Kid 2, if I were you, I would start running now. Unfortunately, I have nowhere left to run.

This hearty side of polenta is magnificent Yak food. It helps trick convince The Yak into feeling like he is not ‘missing out’. There is very little that this side dish doesn’t go with. We have scoffed it down with a ratatouille like vegetarian sauce as well as a creamy braised mushroom dish. It goes beautifully with a myriad of casseroles or good piece of meat or fish. Breakfast for dinner? Try it with a fried or poached egg and some steamed asparagus.

Chuck in whatever herb combination tickles your fancy. No fresh herbs? Then throw in a teaspoon of dried Italian herbs and let them steep in the stock whilst it comes to the boil. This version has parsley, thyme and a smidgen of sage. In the time it took me to prepare the thyme (boom tish) for this dish, my lads had gone to high school, got degrees, travelled the world and started families. Picking the leaves off thyme is one of the worst kitchen jobs. I would love to say I find it meditative but I don’t.

Take note if you will, of the beautiful wooden board that this polenta sits upon. Uncle R, a veritable goldmine of funny and punny one liners and the master of the ‘aside’ made this for me back in 1993. Whilst staying in Christchurch, NZ, with the always hospitable Uncle R and Aunty L, we took a day trip to Akaroa and stopped in at French Farm winery for a snack with flavour. Some of the food was served upon divine wooden boards that were labelled ‘French Farm Vineyards’. I admired them greatly and Uncle R, a collector of bits of wood (as well as of puns) said ‘Don’t worry niece, I shall make you a board just as nice as this one.’ (He would have said this in a silly voice, cause that’s how he rolls.)

Back at their house, he whipped up a piece of kauri (wood) into this gorgeous wee board, copying the details from the one back at the vineyard. It is exactly the same as the original version I had coveted. Bar one thing. It’s made with the love, care and thoughtful detail of my uncle, and it is far better than anything I could have ever purchased for myself. And that my friends, is something that you just don’t get bored of.

GARLIC AND HERB POLENTA BAKE

WHAT YOU NEED
1 cup gluten free veggie stock and 2 cups water (the original recipe calls for 3 cups of stock but I find it too salty for my taste.)
1 cup instant polenta
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, sage, thyme, oregano) this is a bit flexible I have also used 1-2 to 1 cup with great results.
3 tbl grated Parmesan
30g butter
Salt to taste
3 tbl grated Parmesan extra for topping

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat the oven to 180C and line a 15cm x 15cm baking dish with baking paper. I use a larger one and it makes a wedge of polenta that is about 22cm x 18cm and 3cm high.)
Bring the stock and water to the boil in a medium saucepan.
Pour in the polenta and cook over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, the mixture should be very thick.
Stir in the garlic, chopped herbs, parmesan and butter and taste for seasoning.
Pour/spread the mixture into the baking dish. Smooth the surface and sprinkle with the extra Parmesan.
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden brown.
Cut into triangles, squares or into whatever damn crazy shape you wish.
Serves 8 with one piece each.

Recipe from The Gluten-free Kitchen by Sue Shepherd

http://frenchfarm.co.nz/wordpress/


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


Frozen cheesecake anyone?

Two weeks ago, whilst searching for a gluten free cheesecake recipe, I came across this little beauty on a great blog, The Gluten Free Scallywag. Now, being immensely fond of the word scallywag, it just had to be tried.

Too much citrus is never enough for this cheergerm, so I added a tad more lemon juice than the recipe said. As a result, when the springform pan was undone, it was a bit too melty to serve. To the freezer I cried! After an hour of nervous nail biting (or completely forgetting it was there due to the odd champers or two) we discovered, a frozen cheesecake! A delicious accident.

Kid 1 and The Yak loved it so much, I churned out another one for a Christmas get together the other night. Frozen cheesecake, that’s how we roll now baby. Before serving, I tumbled some blueberries atop in a very Nigella type manner.

My wee changes:
Grated the zest of one lemon and lime, halved it, added half to the base mixture and half to the cheese mixture.
Not having baked The Gluten Free Scallywags GF graham crackers, I used half GF arrowroot and half GF rice coconut biscuits.
I added 2 tablespoons of lime juice in the cheese mixture and sneaked in 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla paste as well.
Big cheesecake tip,always bring the cheese to room temperature before mixing.
I put the cheesecake in the fridge overnight then popped it in the freezer a few hours befor serving. Make sure you pull it out for about 15 minutes or so to ensure you can cut it.

Go here for the fantastic recipe!

http://www.glutenfreescallywag.com/2010/02/no-bake-cheesecake-gluten-free.html


Shortbread for a hungry Silly Yak

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‘It’s not fair!’, cried The Yak, stamping his coeliac foot and crossing his coeliac arms. ‘Everybody except me gets to eat your shortbread at Christmas.’ Pouting doesn’t normally work in this household but I am nothing if not kind. Also, I had previously set myself a challenge and it was time to woman up.

Gluten free shortbread has arrived and the Yak is once again a happy man.

The experiment started with golden butter from New Zealand that glittered like Smaug’s treasure. Then basically, I just substituted the plain flour in my regular recipe with a quality brand of plain gluten free flour.

Methinks the key is to only knead the mixture for a minute or two, just enough to bring it together. It also requires a bit longer baking than my usual shortbread.

A batch was sent along to the Yak’s place of employment….although he is a begrudging sharer. The feedback was glowing. (At least that’s what The Yak told me.) They are delicate and moreish, and the Yak thinks every bit as delicious as the gluten laden version.

I concur Sir Yak, I concur.

The big test? Neither Kid 1 or Kid 2 clocked that they were GF…..a pretty good test in my books.

Sure, you can find store bought gluten free shortbread these days but I challenge you to accept the challenge that I challenged myself to. (You still there?). The enjoyment that this therapeutic bake provides, let alone the scrummy eating, far outweighs any convenience from buying it pre-made.

And as a very famous French woman was once reputed to have said ‘Let them eat shortbread’. (Well, she would have if she’d tasted this shortbread).

YOU NEED
250g butter, unsalted
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 3/4 cup gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup rice flour

METHOD
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper and sift the flours together into a bowl.
Cream the butter and add the sugar gradually, beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. (I use a mixer for this.)
Work in the flour gradually and with a very light hand, knead to form a dough. (I do this in the bowl.)
Divide the dough in half, roll each half out to a 3-4 cm log. Wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for half an hour.
Slice the logs into 1-2 cm thickness, depending on your fancy, place 10mm apart on a baking tray and prick each piece all over with a fork.
Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp and straw-coloured.
Cool down on wire racks.
Makes about 20-25 pieces.
adapted from The Margaret Fulton Cookbook

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Gluten free chocolate date loaf

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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.


About

The true ramblings (except for the made up stuff) of a mumma on life, food and being married to a vegetarian coeliac. I love my boys (Kid 1 and Kid 2), food, old stuff, my husband (The Yak), my family and friends. Not in any particular order.

The Yak was diagnosed as a coeliac two years ago, sparking a big change in our eating habits. For him it was a bit of a nasty shock, he was a lover of sourdough bread, good pasta and my baking. So, out of necessity and pity for his sorry state, my experimentation with gluten free cooking and baking began. It has been and still is at times, a tumultuous journey, filled with success and some rather spectacular failures.

Not all of my food is gluten free and I still like to bake ‘old school’, especially for my lads.

Back in the dark ages, I left my old life to undertake a lifelong dream of retraining in the food industry. If you are ever after a plate of cold meats and vegetables presented in aspic, I am your chick. Seriously, it has provided a great basis for the culinary experiments and shenanigans that I enjoy today.

Years ago, my beautiful maternal grandmother Dorothy called me a cheergerm, and it always stuck in my mind as being a pretty cool thing to be.

I have lovely childhood memories of her in the kitchen, baking morning tea for the orchard fruit pickers. That is a photograph of her gravy boat you can see on the header of this blog. So, this is for you Nana Dorothy, the original cheergerm.

Please note, all opinions presented in this blog belong expressly to myself, except for the times that I am overtaken by an alien being. Which is so not my fault.