Thursday, December 30, 2010

a few of my favourite things in 2010...

As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd share a few links to some of my favourite things of 2010. An eclectic mix of recipes, blog posts, photos, cookbooks, ingredients and more...

* I find it hard to limit my favourite recipes from Heidi's blog, but here are a few that have caught my eye in 2010-these sound ridiculously good if you are a fan of salt and vinegar chips. (That's me!). This soup, sounds amazing and definitely one I want to try out next winter. Oh and I can't stop thinking about these cookies!

* Lomo love.

* This post took some serious courage to write, and I don't think I am alone in my admiration of Shauna's honesty. Their book is fantastic too, as is this post featuring their latest gluten-free all-purpose flour mix and tips on baking by weight.(Must read for you gluten-free's out there).

* These gluten-free vegan chocolate cupcakes sound and look amazing. Check out the secret ingredient!

* This song is cool. My ultra talented friend Anna Coddington is releasing her 2nd solo album CAT & BIRD early next Feb, can't wait!

* I love this photo of my brother Louie. And these gobsmackingly gorgeous food photos here (beautiful post too) and here. (Actually you could take your pick of any/all of Helene and Aran's photos!)
Tuesday, December 28, 2010

millet & quinoa porridge with coconut cream recipe

With Christmas all done and dusted for another year, it's now time for me to relax and begin to get my head around a whole month off kindy!!??! We had great plans of days spent at the beach, paddle boarding with Grandpa and lounging in the sun, but it seems the weather man has other ideas. 
The weather over the past few weeks (minus the odd nice day hear and there) has been somewhat wintry to say the least. It's been raining most days and while the temperature has still been reasonably warm, there has been the odd morning when we've had to put the jumpers on and find socks, all packed away with our memories of winter. With this odd weather we have been turning to porridge once again to kick start our day. But this time topped with all the loveliness that summer brings.

Before I get onto the porridge, how was every ones Christmas?
Ours was lovely. A long day for the kids, but really lovely all the same. The day started early with a phone call from Dad to say the Orca's were in the harbour, we missed them unfortunantly, but what a blessing to have them visit Raglan on Christmas day! Later on we had lunch at Dad's, where the kids got to trial their new life jackets on the paddle boards, ate lots of nice food including my brothers vegan haggis (yum), pavlova and brandy snaps. We pushed Kye to his absolute limits - skipping his day sleep - only to pay the price later on when we attempted to visit other family members, but all in all, a nice day was had.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

gluten-free courgette (zucchini), garlic and lemon spaghetti recipe

Sometimes when everything is going crazy around you, and all any bodies talking about is rich Christmas dinners and creamy trifle desserts, you really just feel like eating something plain and simple.

In step; courgette, garlic and lemon spaghetti...

Super simple to throw together, with flavours that are not too full on so even the kids (minus the chilli) would enjoy eating it. It's all I really felt like eating today. Maybe it's my brains way of dealing with the over-indulgence that is Christmas? Eat less now, so that I won't feel so guilty come December 25th.

As far as (gluten-free) pasta goes, we actually don't eat a lot of it. Lucky for us we have always preferred to eat rice over pasta. That being said, I do enjoy eating pasta every now and then, especially if it's simple, fresh and seasonal.
Friday, December 17, 2010

gluten-free fruit mince pies recipe

When people first go gluten-free, it's usually bread, pasta and pastry that everyone assumes we have to give up. Bread, that's easy. There are some really really nice commercially made gluten-free brands available and loads of recipes out there if you want to make your own.

Gluten-free pasta, ditto.

Gluten-free pastry, you're on your own on this one. Well, kinda.

By this, I mean there are no commercially made brands that I know of in New Zealand. But that doesn't have to mean we go without! Honestly, it's so simple to make your own at home. Here's a few of my tips and tricks to help you out whether making wheat or gluten-free pastry;
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

gluten-free strawberry & lemon-thyme tart recipe

So, it's only taken me 5 months...but now I can finally say I've posted a recipe featuring lemon-thyme! I do use thyme a wee bit in my cooking, but not nearly as much as my favourites mint, coriander and parsley. Here, I've added lemon-thyme to a light summery strawberry tart with quick and easy roasted almond pastry.

Gluten-free, of course.

The almond studded pastry is rich, crumbly and gloriously short. This recipe requires you to simply press the dough into the tart case. ( I'll save the pastry rolling for my next post, Christmas fruit mince pies!) You can make this tart in stages if you wanted to, making it that much easier to plan ahead for Christmas lunch. The tart pastry base can be made, pressed into the tin, then popped into the freezer all ready to bake on Christmas eve or Christmas morning, if you have time.
Friday, December 10, 2010

cranberry and orange mincemeat recipe

So apparently it's Christmas in a little over two weeks...are you serious? Yep, totally. And while I am usually one to leave everything to the very last second, this year I think even for my standards I may be pushing it.

I have brought one present. One.

I have however, managed to make mincemeat for the first time ever at home. ( See it's all about priorities, my family may not get presents this year, but they will get some mighty fine Christmas pies!) I use to make a version of this recipe when I worked in Sydney, pumping out Christmas pies for the masses. But as far as making it at home goes, it's taken writing this blog to motivate me to do the same here.
Right now my mincemeat is hanging out in the fridge, doing it's thing and I will hopefully (all things going to plan) be bringing you a recipe for gluten-free Christmas pies sometime before the big day, so you too can make lovely little festive treats.
Sunday, December 5, 2010

gluten & dairy-free afghan cookie recipe

Cookies are my ideal treat, and one of the fastest ways I know to knock a sweet craving on the head. With kids hanging off my legs 99% of the day, making elaborate desserts like I used to is just not a realistic goal anymore! Cookies however, can be mixed up in minutes and the kids can pitch in with the mixing and rolling of the dough. Bonus.

On Friday, Ada and I had a few hours without her little brother around, moments Ada treasures let me tell you! I have had a hankering for something sweet lately...okay, so most days I do, but it has been a week or so right? We settled on the good ol' New Zealand family favourite, chocolate afghans. Here I've made them not only gluten-free, but dairy-free and vegan also, keeping everyone happy :-)
Thursday, December 2, 2010

eggplant curry recipe

Well, I've finally made that eggplant curry I was talking about making a while back. I've actually been quite amazed to see cheap eggplants already making their ways into stores this early on in the season, but you would never hear me complaining! Oh no, no. I'm really loving them right now. That being said, it has been a long and winding road, learning to love eggplants. I've never not liked them, I think it's been more a case of working in too many cafes where the done thing was to slather slices in way to much oil and chargrill. Ick.

Prepared in this way, the eggplant cooks down into meltingly soft mouthfuls that are full of flavour having soaked up all those fragrant spices and tomatoes.

I know a lot of people are scared off by long winded Indian recipes, with numerous ingredients and steps to follow. But this one I assure you is really straight forward. I have eliminated a few of the usual steps to not only make it faster to prepare, but a damn site healthier too. The recipe this was based on, deep-fried the eggplant first. I have chosen to use a onion base to give the same rich, deep flavour without all the fat. The trick is though, you really do have to cook the onion out for the full 10 minutes. Watch it, and stir often. But don't be scared to take it to almost burning point! I mean, you obviously don't want it to be burnt, but get it as close as you can. The depth of flavour this gives is mind-boggling, even more so if you use the ghee or clarified butter to cook it in. (I've included a recipe below for both).

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