Gluten free citrus sour cream cake

I have been thinking a reasonable amount about a comment made by Nicole Hunn from Gluten Free on a Shoestring in a post she made about the 10 Secrets to Great Gluten Free Baking. One of these was that you should throw out all your old recipes because they are just not going to work. That is simply not true. There are some that are never going to work, or are going to taste a bit weird, but there are some tried and tested recipes in every family which will work just fine. The Jaffa fudge cake is one and the lemon sour cream is another. It looks like this:

And it is delicious.

The original  recipe comes from the Edmonds Cookbook. You can use lemon, orange or if you really fancied, lime. Whatever citrus you have to hand. I have tried them all, they are fine. It is another fail-safe recipe, and best of all actually tastes better without icing. So here goes:

125g butter, softened
2 t grated citrus rind (or the whole fruit if it will be more than 2t, flavour never killed anyone)
1 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c gluten free flour or baking mix
1 t baking powder
1/2 c sour cream

Preheat oven to 160deg cel. Beat butter, rind and sugar together, until light and then add eggs. Add baking powder to flour and add alternatively with sour cream to the butter mixture. I find that putting in 1/3c flour at a time works very well. Once all combined and smooth, transfer to greased cake tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched. Leave to cool in tin before turning out.

The Edmonds suggests a dusting of icing sugar, but don’t feel you have to. It is perfect the way it is.


Quiona Fritters and Potato Patties – Lunch time win! (with revisions)

I wrote the following post last year, but before I got around to publishing it I tried the quinoa recipe again, this time for guests who were NOT new mums, and it was a disaster. I have learnt my lesson though, and so revisions are included 🙂

Quiona Fritters  and Potato Cakes – a lunch time win!

For the first time since the offspring was born I hosted party of 4 for lunch. Admittedly it was a party of other new mums so a sympathetic audience had I not managed to do a good job, but I’m feeling pretty proud of the menu: quinoa, bacon and parmesan fritters, and potato and feta patties with guacamole, homemade beetroot relish and apricot chutney.

The quinoa fritters were based on a Donna Hay recipe, but because the planning of this culinary adventure happened after shopping day, I used borlotti beans and left out the broccoli, and swapped in parmesan for the mozzarella. They weren’t horrible, in fact it was great adaptation! Tip for young players, the first batch I cooked fell apart a bit but once more firmly packed together they cooked evenly and stayed in shape. [The first round of these I had been moderately organised and had left them in the fridge, as suggested, for just over half an hour. The second time I made these I was even more organised and had left the mixture in the fridge for a couple of hours. I think this was my downfall. The mixture did not respond well to the over refrigerating and fell apart so badly that only the addition of 2 eggs and a lot of silent prayer. Even then, they were slightly more like fried quinoa than fritters].

The potato and feta patties are a favourite of ours too. I got the recipe yeas ago from a South American cookbook that I was browsing through at a library inbetween buses.
500g potatoes, mashed
200g feta
1 egg
salt and pepper
rice flour for dusting

Mash potato, feta, egg and reasoning together and form patties using the flour to prevent them sticking too much to your hands. Then, place on a baking tray and bake at 180 degrees C for 15 mins for the first side, then turn and bake for another 10. These are, like the quinoa ones, very versatile. I’ve used parmesan instead of feta, used less feta, added chives and used only an egg yolk and yet they always pretty tasty.


Gluten Free Jaffa Fudge Cake

This is by no means an original recipe- I first made something very much like it using the Family Circle Kids Cookbook in the 1990s- it even earned me Fudgie as a nickname for a while. There are many versions of it about (I am tickled by it being sometimes called the Chocolate Depression Cake) but I feel I have now made it my own.

This is an incredibly easy cake to make not only as a child but while in sole charge of one. If your child, for example, only slept in half hour bursts during the day but you were expecting company you could easily whip up one of these gems to impress their socks off. And, it’s vegan and made without fancy or expensive ingredients. There is everything to love 🙂

Jaffa Fudge Cake
1.5 cups gluten free flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 tablespoons baking cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3/8 cup grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 orange, zest and juice

Sift all dry ingredients (including orange zest) together and mix. Put orange juice into a measuring cup and make up to 1 cup with water. Add this and all other wet ingredients and mix til smooth. The Family Circle recommended adding a dusting of flour to the greased baking dish and it has never failed me yet. Bake at 180 degrees C for 30 mins. It doesn’t really need icing as it’s quite rich anyway, but if that’s your thing, go for it.


Peanut butter milkshake

Yes, I thought it was weird too. One of my students was talking about a great pizza place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where they like to hang out between classes (when they are not on a semester abroad, obviously!). She said her favourite was a peanut butter milkshake. “Ew” I said, to which she replied “Don’t knock it til you try it”. Well, I have and I’m converted. I found it on the menu at the Driving Creek Railway cafe in Coromandel town and thought I really ought to. As I said, converted. It is one of the cafe’s ice cream based smoothies, the ice cream takes away from what could potentially be an overwhelmingly nutty drink. I did a bit of experimenting at home to come up with what I think is a passable version for between visits: combine 1 banana, 1 generous desert spoon of crunchy peanut butter (I love and used Pic’s organic here), 2 small scoops of vanilla ice cream and top up to 800 mills with milk and whizzed til combined. Yes, it sounds crazy but trust me on this.

Oh and because this is a blog about gluten free eating, I am happy to report that the gluten free jaffa friand was also a winner and I look forward to trying something from their gluten free menu next time. It seemed they were happy to cater to any and all dietary requirements. That’s one reason more to love the Coromandel 🙂

Gluten free shortbread – better than the real thing!

The details of who gave it to me are a bit fuzzy nearly a decade on, but while doing fieldwork on Lord Howe Island in 2004 someone gave me some utterly delicious shortbread and then happily parted with the family recipe for it. The best news of all is that it not only tastes decent gluten free, it tastes better than with gluten.

So here it is for you:

Min’s Family Shortbread – Gluten Free Style

300g butter, softened
1 and 1/4 cups icing sugar
1 and 1/2 cups cornflour
2 cups rice flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum

Mix butter and icing sugar together until creamy.

Sift together other ingredients and then add to creamed mixture (it will be tough to mix all those dry things together, but it is worth the effort).

Once together and dough like, roll into an approximate log and refrigerate for at least 30 mins. Once chilled, cut  into rounds 1 cm thick and bake at 170 deg cel for 15 minutes.

***** Because of the high butter content they will spread a wee bit, so keep that in mind when making your log. More than one log might be better. I got about 24 shortbreads out of this recipe, but they are large biscuits so that number could easily have doubled. *****

Nicole’s chicken fingers – repost

It’s the beginning of our semester where I work – 26 fresh and bright students to spend the next months with. Needless to say, it’s been a bit hectic and this inevidably overflows into home time. I wanted a quick dinner* and remembered about both the chicken in my freezer and this recipe from Gluten Free on a Shoestring.

Chicken Fingers

6 chicken thighs (or 2 breasts)
30g butter, melted (more if needed)
2 cups gluten-free cornflakes (crushed)
salt, pepper to taste

1. Cut chiken into strips and dip first in melted butter, and then in cornflak/spice mix.
2. Lay on non-stick or lightly greased baking tray.
3. Bake for 12-15 mins at 200 deg cel.

Nicole wrote this recipe for her kids and I am yet to try this out recipe out on any kids, but my beloved and I think it’s great. I also add generous doses of smoked paprika, and served them with roasted beetroot and baby onions (chopped roughly, drizzled in olive oil and baked for 30 mins), home grown corn and Mel’s Tangy Tamarind Chutney for dipping. I must remember this recipe more often!

* Headwind not permitting! I had run out cornflakes so detoured to our dairy adding an extra 3km of headwind to my cycle home.

I have (finally) mastered the hash brown

I love potatoes, and I particularly like them once you’ve grated and fried them. Unfortunately for my lazy Sunday breakfasts, I’ve never managed to do a good job on hash browns using the recipe I have. It’s from a Bill Granger book- I make other things from it with no trouble – but this weekend, I mastered the hash brown. I never seemed to be able to get them to stick together, and so always ended up with the potato equivalent of scrambled eggs instead of a perfectly formed omelette. Sometimes they cooked on the outside but not in the middle, ick and ew! But by frying and then baking, I think I have it.

(Also, I supose that given my hash brown was one large, rather than several small, item it is probably more technically a rosti, but here goes):

4 medium sized potatoes
I small onion, grated
1 egg
1/4 c grated cheese
salt and pepper

Grate the potatoes and then leave in sieve to drain. Adding some salt at this stage will help dry them out.

Mix in other ingredients.

Heat oven-proof frying pan with 1/2 T butter, and then add potato mix. Once the bottom is cooked (it’ll start to get lighter at the edges, but lift a piece to check), take off heat and put in hot oven (200 deg cell) until the top is brown too. Et voila! Cut up and serve – I put some left over lamb stew on mine and it was so tasty the left overs I anticipated were…. well, there weren’t any!

Happy potatoing 🙂