Burgled!

Today we got burgled. They smashed a side window to get in after trying to smash in the door. My husband Jason must have disturbed them by arriving home mid burgle as they only managed to nick our ipads and the PlayStation leaving lots more expensive stuff behind. The police came eventually but the forensic people haven’t been yet and it’s nearly 8pm. We’ve spoken to the insurance folk who told us what we needed to do as I had no idea which way to turn. The nice glaziers have come and taken our window and door off and are mending and replacing the glass as we speak. Hopefully they’ll be back soon to refit them. We’ve changed passwords and searched for our ipads via the app but no luck yet. Everything has a password on it so good luck to them in getting in. I just feel so tired and sad at the people who did this. I wonder if they care or think about the pain and stress they put people through. Probably not. Jason just wants to use his new karate skills on them but seeing as he’s got a damaged ankle at present I think he may come off second best.Β  Now we have to join the ranks of folk who have home alarms and CCTV surveillance. I always lock the doors when I’m home alone but that doesn’t matter when they can smash their way in.

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This is what I am drinking copious amounts of to help me feel better. It’s working mostly :D.

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

Cornish Fairings.

One thing my coeliac sufferer of a husband misses in a biscuit is ginger nuts. Those rock hard but ever so dunkable ginger biscuits. I’m not sure how I got onto this recipe but it is seriously divine even after I made it into a gluten free recipe. It is from the delightful River Cottage website originally. According to Hugh’s site, Cornish Fairings were traditionally sold at Cornish fairs.

First assemble your ingredients.

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You will notice if you look carefully that I seem to have two containers of cinnamon in there. I discovered it before I put extra cinnamon in instead of ginger!

Ingredients.

4oz GF plain flour. I used Bobs Mill 1 for 1 .

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp bicarb soda (Recipe originally said 1 teaspoon but it was too much the first time I made these)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp mixed spice

2 oz brown sugar

2 oz butter

2 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Mix the flour, baking powder,bicarbonate of soda and spices in a large bowl. Rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs, then add the sugar.

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Next add the golden syrup and mix together, using your hands as its easier, until its a smooth paste.

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Roll into balls about walnut size and place on a baking sheet.

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Cook for 15 minutes at 180c until biscuits have cracked on top. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Hugh’s recipe said to first cook them for 15 minutes at 180c then lower temp to 150c and bake a further 5 minutes. I did this the first time I made these and they burnt! I’ve changed  the recipe to suit my oven but I believe its best for everyone to learn where food cooks best and at what temperature their ovens work best at.

Jason loves these. They are very similar to a gingernut, but I think they taste a lot like those glorious dutch biscuits Speculaas. Bobs Mill 1 for 1 flour is brilliant as it already has the xantham gum added so you can just measure it out like your normal flour for any recipe. You can’t imagine how happy I was when I found this in Solomons Merchants grocery store this morning.

However you make these glorious little biscuits, enjoy them with something you can dunk them in πŸ˜€

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A turbinectomy is not a funny hat!

Hello to my fellow bloggers 😊. I apologise for not being very present on WordPress. I’m recovering from nose and sinus surgery so am not up to doing much anyway. I had a total bilateral turbinectomy including my ethmoid sinuses and the shaving of my septum that was all wonky and blocking my nostril.

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I should be back on my feet and baking in a little while. I’m looking forward to being able to breathe easier and smell things better very soon. I should also be looking much more glamorous than I do in the above picture 😜. I am recovering at my in laws Maxine and Johns house in Perth and they are spoiling me. Love them to bits. Jason and I will head back to the cool of Albany tomorrow I think.
Take care everyone and I’ll be back soon xox

Moving on.

I wish all my fellow bloggers and blog followers a very happy and productive new year and year ahead πŸ˜„.
I had a most horrendous end to 2014 with a horrible excuse for a human swerving to run over and then taking my poor little cat Molly on the night before New Year’s Eve! Jason and I cried for days afterwards. We know they swerved to hit her as we found a pool of blood and her fur on the end of our driveway but no sign of Molly’s body anywhere and believe me, we searched high and low, in bins, under bushes, in sheds. She snuck out of the house when we bought our birds inside and never is allowed out at night or during the day except if we are home. As soon as we realised that she wasn’t inside we raced out calling for her. Our other cat Bubbles came inside then and was mewing at us really loudly as if she was trying to tell us something. Molly never came when she was called which was highly unusual for her. We searched with torches up and down the three house street we live on but found nothing. I got up three times during the night and went outside calling her. Nothing. The next day I came back from an early morning coffee with friends and just happened to look down at the road when I pulled into the driveway and that is where I saw what was left of Molly. A small amount of her fur and a large amount of her blood. It’s going to take me a long, long time to get over losing her. What makes it all the worse is that she was never allowed out without us and one little mistake by us and a horrendously morally challenged individual has taken her from us. We’re slowly moving on but gosh it hurts so bad.

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Looking forward to a much nicer and happier 2015.
On a brighter note, my fruit trees are being very productive and the fruit fly has been pretty silent or vanquished! I got a nice little crop of Santa Rosa plums and have turned them into a yummy plum compote jammy mix. It goes very well on toast and swirled into ice cream and cheesecakes and with custard 😍. My apricots are also looking fabulous and are starting to blush with that ripening apricot colour and the Satsuma plum is ripening too but I have to contend with the naughty parrots who delight in dropping the fruit before it is ripe!
I wish you all the very best and I’ll be back soon with some more gluten free recipes and non GF recipes too as I like a balance πŸ˜‰.

Lamb and Potato Casserole.

I know it’s technically summer over here in Australia but the days and nights have certainly not been hot. I wanted to cook something a bit more substantial for our tea on Saturday night and came upon this delightful casserole. It’s not made with many ingredients either. Forgive the lack of pictures as yet again, I forgot to take photos till half way through making it.

Serves 6
Ingredients.
50gm butter, plus extra to grease
2 leeks, white part only,thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1kg lamb leg or shoulder, diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Salt and pepper
800gm waxy potatoes,peeled and thinly sliced
300ml lamb,chicken or beef stock
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
100ml cream
3 tablespoon flat leaf parsley,chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 170C and grease an ovenproof casserole dish. Place the butter in a large frypan over heat and add the leak and onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add oil to the pan and increase heat to high. When hot, add the lamb in batches and brown. Add the garlic whilst browning the lamb also.
Place half the potato slices overlapping on the base of the greased casserole dish. Layer the meat over the top and season well with salt and pepper. Next place the leek and onion mixture over the top and press down well with the back of a spoon to flatten. Top with the other half of the potatoes, overlapping them.

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Pour over the stock and sprinkle on the thyme.

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Cover with a lid or foil and bake for two hours in the pre heated oven. Take out of oven, remove the lid or foil and brush the potatoes with the cream. Pop back in oven for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are golden. Serve direct from dish sprinkled with parsley.

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This lovely casserole reheats well and tastes even better the next day.
Enjoy πŸ˜„.

Gluten free Madras Curry Pie.

I made this lovely spicy pie for my hubby Jason’s birthday last week as he loves a nice curry and pie combined into one. Since discovering the gluten free pastry of my dreams, I have become all enthused again about pies and their fillings.
Make the pastry first as it loves a long spell in the refrigerator to rest. This recipe can be found, plus many more mouth watering GF recipes on the blog gfandme.com and is called Mary’s Magnificent Pastry. I don’t have any photos of me making it as I thought of this blog just as I parcelled it up for the fridge resting time😊.

Pastry ingredients
2 cups GF gluten free flour, I used Bobs Redmill all purpose GF flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 cup of butter, chilled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
Beaten egg and dash of milk to brush over pie before baking.

Pulse the flour and xanthan gum powder in a food processor, add the butter and pulse till the dough forms pea sized lumps. Add sour cream and pulse till dough comes together. If you don’t have a food processor just rub the cold butter into the combined flour and xanthan gum with your fingertips and mix in sour cream then get in there with your hands and gently work it all together into a ball πŸ˜„.
When combined into a nice ball split into 2 smaller balls, pat down into a thick discus shape and wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 4 hours, overnight is even better.
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Now for the Madras curry which has to be about the easiest one I’ve ever made from scratch.

Ingredients for curry
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chilli powder (recipe says this is optional)
2 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons grated ginger
2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 kilogram chuck steak (I used a whole bolar blade roast I cut up) cut into 2.5 cm cubes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup of beef stock

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Combine the coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, chilli, garlic, ginger and lemon juice in a bowl to form a paste. Set aside.

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Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat, add half the beef and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl and repeat process with the rest of the beef.
Reduce heat to medium. Add spice paste and cook for 1 minute. Return beef and accumulated juices and stir till well coated with spice paste. Add tomato paste and stock.

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Bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until beef is tender.
Remove lid and cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes or until sauce has reduced and thickened slightly.
Put aside to cool completely.

To make the pie.
Take your pastry out of the refrigerator and roll one disc out to about five millimetres in thickness to the size of your pie dish. It rolls out really well from cold without much difficulty.

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Add your cold curry to your pastry base and distribute evenly. Roll out your second disc of pastry to the same 5 millimetre thickness and place on top. Glaze with the beaten egg and milk mix, or just beaten egg white if you like.

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Bake pie in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius till nicely browned.

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Yes, this looks rather too browned but I can assure you it wasn’t burnt and it tasted so good πŸ˜„. We like our curry pie with a nice fruity sauce on top and I reckon a fruity chutney would go down a treat with this.
The curry would be lovely on its own as well with some rice and roti or butter naan. Hmmm I think I need curry for tea!
Bon apetit!

Goats Cheese and Onion Tart

I have been watching a television show called The Incredible Spice Men and love their style of cooking with spice. I’ve had a go at their caramelised onion and goats cheese tart with a few exceptions. I was unable to source caraway seeds at my local supermarket so unfortunately had to leave them out. I also didn’t have any balsamic vinegar but used Apple cider vinegar instead and it was more than fine πŸ˜„
Get all your ingredients together first. I had some lovely gluten free pastry left over from a madras curry pie from the other night and didn’t want to waste that. The extra lactose free cheese you see here wasn’t used in the end as it had mould in it 😝 I hadn’t noticed before assembling the tart. I was just going to sprinkle it on top for an extra cheesy taste. It certainly wasn’t needed.

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Make your caramelised onion jam first so it can cool down.
I used,
1-2 tablespoons rice bran oil
85 gm unsalted butter
500gm red onions, sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1-2 heaped tablespoons soft brown sugar
80ml Apple Cider vinegar
I added the oil and butter to the pan till it was foaming then added the onion and a good pinch of salt flakes and ground black pepper and stirred for 5 minutes. Then I added the sugar and the vinegar and mixed in well. I covered the pan and cooked on a medium heat for another 15 minutes. I then uncovered the pan and let the juices evaporate for a further 15-20 minutes till it had reached that lovely jammy consistency.

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Bake your pastry case. This was a lovely gluten free pastry from the wonderful blog GF and Me. Best gluten free pastry I’ve tried yet. Recipe is as follows. It is called Mary’s Magnificent Pastry.
Pastry
2 cups of gluten free flour (I used Bobs Redmill all purpose flour)
2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 cup/250gm butter , cubed and cold
1/2 cup sour cream
Pulse in a food processor or rub in with fingers the butter and combined flour and xantham gum until dough comes together in pea sized balls. Add sour cream and pulse until dough holds together.
Knead slightly and make into two balls, wrap in cling wrap and chill for an hour or so.
This amount was what I used to make my madras curry pie and I had some left over that I used a couple of days later for this tart. It kept really well in the fridge.
Line your pie tin, preferably one with a removable base for ease of removal. Prick the base with a fork.
Add baking paper and top with pie beads or beans and blind bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius . Remove the beads and bake for another 10 minutes. Now a word of warning here. This pastry is very short and will brown faster than your normal non gluten free pastry. Mine looks well browned but in the final bake with filling I popped foil around the rim of the tart to stop it browning to black! It still tasted lovely but next time I’ll take it out sooner.

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Now we assemble the tart!
For the filling you’ll need,
200 gm of goats cheese, crumbled or sliced
2 large eggs
200ml of pouring cream
The onion jam you’ve made earlier.
Layer your onion mix in the base first. Crumble or layer the goats cheese over the top. Then mix together the eggs and cream and pour over the top.

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I baked the tart for roughly 30 minutes on 160-180 degrees Celsius but I checked it at 20 minutes as well. I thought it turned out rather well, if a little too brown πŸ˜„

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The taste was spot on with the sweetness of the onions and the saltiness of the goats cheese melding together nicely. This would be lovely with a nice watercress or mustard greens salad to go with it. Just nice for a spring lunch.
Bon appetit!
PS apologies for the layout of the pictures. For some reason my iPad puts them out of order to what I choose when I choose multiple photos! I’ll have to work out how to fix that.

Machchi Kari , Fish Curry.

This yummy recipe is my favourite curry. I found it in my huge old Charmaine Solomon Complete Asian cookbook. It takes roughly twenty minutes to make and probably five or ten to eat it’s that delicious πŸ˜„. It is also gluten free and lactose free for anybody like my husband who is allergic to both.
First get your ingredients to hand.
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Ingredients,
500gm firm fish fillets
2 tablespoons oil
6-8 curry leaves (I could not get any this time so left them out)
1 medium onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cummin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2-1 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste (I forgot to put this in and didn’t miss it πŸ˜„)
Lemon juice to taste.

Make sure your fish fillets are fairly uniform in size so they cook evenly. Heat oil in a wok or pan and fry curry leaves if using them till slightly brown. Beware, they spatter! Add the onion, ginger and garlic and fry until onion is soft and golden.

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Add all the ground spices and fry, stirring until they smell aromatic. I fried mine for about a minute.

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Add coconut milk and salt (if using) and bring to the boil, stirring.

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Lower the heat and simmer uncovered for ten minutes, then put in the fish, ladle the liquid over it and simmer until the fish is cooked through.

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Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice to taste. I forgot this step as well and found it didn’t matter for us. Serve on rice or even a nice potato mash if you like.

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This is a very tasty and quick meal and well worth the effort.
Bon apetit!

Coconut Lemon Slice – Gluten Free and extra Coconutty .

Today the wonderful father daughter painting duo of Bob and Bonnie came and oiled and sanded and patched more of our renovations. Tomorrow they refresh all the paintwork in the kitchen and laundry . I was in the mood to bake so I adulterated a favorite slice recipe to make it gluten free for Jason and tried it out on Bob and Bonnie as well. They’re still alive and kicking so it must be alright πŸ˜„
First do your prep work and organise all your ingredients.

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Ingredients.
125gm butter, softened
1 cup caster sugar (I used raw)
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 cup Gluten Free self raising flour
3/4 cup of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup coconut milk

Preheat the oven to moderate 180 degrees C. Grease and line a 20cm x 30cm shallow tin with non stick baking paper , overhanging two opposite sides.

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Beat the butter, sugar and lemon rind with electric beaters until light and creamy.

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As you can see in the second picture, I softened the butter a bit too much in the microwave as it was still to hard to cream with the sugar. It cooled down as I beat it though and resumed a more normal creaminess which you can see in the following picture.

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Add the egg, a little at a time, beating in well.

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Mix in the shredded coconut.

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Sift the flours and baking powder and fold into the mixture alternately with the lemon juice and coconut milk.

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Spread the mixture evenly into the pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until firm.

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Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

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When cold, ice with lemon icing. This was made with about 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, a small nob of butter and lemon juice and a dash of boiling water till a spreadable consistency.

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The texture is really lovely and the use of coconut flour just added to the flavour big time.
This is how far away from my kitchen side door our lemon tree is. We had to give it a rather severe crown lift during the renovations but I wasn’t about to lose it.

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Bon apetit!