Titanic and a gluten free date slice

I swore I would never watch the movie, Titanic.

Managed to avoid it for years. Then, one stormy night, it came upon the TV and I did.

Lord, I loved it. Lord, I was surprised.

Leonardo Di Caprio, what a wee spunk. And the luminous Kate WInslet.

That kiss at the stern bow (I ain’t no freakin sailor) of the boat is the stuff that Mills and Boon is made of, on steroids. A sweaty palm on a fogged up window, the boat was heating up on the inside whilst the outside temperature dropped ominously.

All along, you know what is going to happen. Making this love story seem more heightened and intense.

Yeah, the ending sucked. Like really sucked. And mayhaps, you think the movie really sucks.

But this slice doesn’t.

If Kate and Leonardo had made it to a desert island (geographically unlikely I know) they could have made this slice with its tropical coconut and dates. Bummer.

The zippy lemon icing is the perfect foil (such a strange saying) to the sweetness of the dates and rich coconut. It’s like a bunch of hula dancing Hawaiian hotties jumped into your mouth and had a party.

DATE, COCONUT AND LEMON SLICE, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
1/2 cup sorghum flour (60g)
1/4 cup brown rice flour (40g)
1/4 cup tapioca flour (40g)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Xanthum gum
1 big pinch salt
1 cup desiccated or shredded coconut
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup rapadura, coconut or brown sugar
Zest of a small lemon
125g butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Lemon Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbl lemon juice
15g butter, melted
1/4 cup extra coconut for sprinkling on top of slice

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line an 18cm x 28cm slice tin with baking paper.
Sift the flours, baking powder, xanthum gum and salt into a large bowl.
Stir in the coconut, dates, sugar and lemon zest.
Add the melted butter and beaten egg and mix well.
Spread into the baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and firm. Cool in the tray.
Lemon Icing. Whilst the slice is cooling, add all the ingredients in a bowl and combine until smooth. Spread over the slice and sprinkle with the coconut. Cut into 12 squares and serve in an airtight container. This slice is a bit crumbly when you cut it but the rest of the slice holds together well.

Cooking Notes:
If you don’t have all of these flours you can use 140g of your preferred self raising gf flour blend.
This icing is thin but I knocked back the amount of icing sugar to try and minimise the sugar content a tad.

A Cheergerm adaptation from a recipe from the Womans Day website. See below for the link to the original recipe.

http://www.womansday.com.au/food/recipes/readers-recipes/2008/7/date-and-lemon-slice/


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/


Cinnamon tea cake

Whilst reading a lovely blog the other day, I was reminded of a wee poem I used to have attached to my fridge. It was a cartoon accompanied by the saying:

‘I don’t think I shall ever see, a poem as beautiful as a cup of tea.’

The cartoon has long since been lost but still I carry that saying in my heart. This wee cake is a smashing accompanient to a good, strong cuppa. As a young lass, I remember happily scoffing down hot toast slathered with butter and liberally sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. This tea cake replicates the aromas and tastes of that very same warming little snackle.

This recipe was passed on by a friend and I have tinkered with it (just a little) to provide a gluten free version for the good ole Yak.

Why use sorghum flour? Firstly, it is gluten free and my brief research shows it is high in protein, iron and dietary fibre. The starch and protein in sorghum take longer than other similar products to digest. Unlike rice flours, it isn’t gritty and helps to add a smoother texture to baked goods. This is always a wondrous thing when baking GF. I used the Bob’s Red Mill ‘sweet’ white sorghum flour but I also read that it can be purchased from Indian stores labelled as Jawar Atta. Just make sure it’s truly gluten free before purchasing it.

A quick mention of Xanthum gum, a product made from fermented corn sugar. I generally don’t use it a lot but it’s used in GF cooking as an emulsifier and thickener. You don’t need much, just a tad. I trialled the first recipe without it then used it on the 2nd attempt. It did make for a more spongy and cake like consistency.

For those of you who would like to use regular flour, I have provided the ingredients (see below). The method is still the same.

Cinnamon tea cake, gluten free

YOU NEED
60g butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup caster sugar (I used white to give it a light texture)
1 egg
1 cup gf plain flour
1/4 cup ‘sweet’ white sorghum flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthum gum (if you don’t have it, try without!)
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk

Topping
10g butter, extra melted (once cake is baked)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbl caster sugar

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C.
Grease and line a 20cm round cake pan.
Sift the plain flour, sorghum flour, baking powder, xanthum gum and salt into a bowl.
Beat the butter, extract, sugar and egg in a bowl until light and fluffy.
Stir in flour and milk.
Spread mixture into tin (it’s quite thick) and bake for 25-30 minutes until it springs back to the touch.
Stand 5 minutes in tin, turn onto rack.
Brush cake with melted butter sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

A cheergerm adaptation from a recipe a friend gave me

In case you were wondering, take a peek at the blog I was referring to
http://peakperspective.wordpress.com

Old school cinnamon tea cake

YOU NEED
60g butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 cup self raising flour
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup milk

The topping and method is exactly the same as the gluten free version. Enjoy!