Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas 2010

I'd like to wish my readers
a delightful festive season.

Thank you for all your comments
and bloggily-support in 2010.

See you all in 2011!

Gluten-free Fruit Mince Pies

Ingredients for gluten-free shortcrust pastry:
  • 300 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 180 grams gluten-free rice flour
  • 100 millilitres castor sugar
  • 400 grams butter
  • 50 - 60 millilitres iced water (not always necessary)
  • 15 - 20 mililitres lemon juice (not always necessary)

Method for pastry:
  1. Sift the flours and castor sugar together into a bowl.
  2. Using your fingertips, rub cut pieces of butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs (this part can be done using a food processor).
  3. Now, depending on the humidity levels; temperature of the ingredients, etc., you may or may not need to use water and lemon juice to bring the dough together. The batch I made did not need either, and it made a fantastic, rollable dough. The usual rule of thumb is: err on the side of caution when adding water, as the less you use, the better.
  4. Cover with cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 45 - 60 minutes.
  5. Roll out pastry (not too thinly) on a well floured (gf) surface (or even better, between two pieces of cling wrap or non-stick baking paper). Alternatively, press the pastry into buttered muffin pans and create shapes for the top of the fruit mince pies using cookie cutters or by pressing the dough into a circle big enough to cover the filling.

Ingredients for fruit mince filling:
  • 200 grams raisins
  • 100 grams dried cherries
  • 100 grams dried peaches
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 60 grams cashew nuts, chopped
  • 15 millilitres mixed spice
  • 5 millilitres cinnamon
  • 200 millilitres orange juice
  • 80 millilitres honey

Method for filling:
  1. Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer over low heat until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Putting it all together:
  • Spoon the filling into the prepared pastry cases and then top with a pressed pastry circle, or a Christmas star.

  • Bake in a preheated 175 degree Celsius oven (350 Fahrenheit) for 20 - 25 minutes (or until lightly golden brown).
  • Allow the fruit mince pies to cool completely in the muffin pan, as the gluten-free pastry will go crispier on standing, and then carefully remove.
  • Recipe make 12 fruit mince pies and 1 fruit mince tart, or 24 fruit mince pies.

Christmas Charity 2010:

This year's Christmas donation is going to FoodBank South Africa, an organisation that sources food donations and then stores, sorts and issues food to a network of national non-profit food aid agencies across South Africa.

If you would like to join me in giving to this worthwhile cause to help hungry people in a country which (most days) feels like it's held together on a wing and a prayer, international currency donations are accepted on the donation's page.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carrot & Cumin Fritters

After the ice-cream, I had egg whites to dispose of. Having chatted with my Mom the day before about the delicious pumpkin fritters dipped in cinnamon-sugar she used to make for my bro and I as kids on rainy days (we've been having a lot of those of late here in Gauteng), I thought I'd "healthy it up" a bit in the fritter department.

So I threw some things together and this is what came out. Really, you can make fritters from a multitude of foods, just as long as you glue it together using eggs and have a consistency which allows you to form patties or round fritters. So, nothing left to do but have fun with it.

  • 6 large carrots
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 small, very mild chillies
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 12 green beans
  • chives
  • 5 egg whites
  • 6 tablespoons rice flour
  • salt
  • cumin powder
  • coconut oil (for frying)
  1. Chop the carrots, onions, green beans in chunks. Boil the carrots and onions with the garlic cloves, chillies, rosemary and salt for 20 minutes.
  2. While still on the heat, add the green beans, and boil for a further 10 minutes.
  3. Drain well. Zhoesh with a stick blender, then add chopped fresh chives, cumin and salt to taste.
  4. Stir through the egg whites and rice flour.
  5. Use a non-stick frying pan and a light coating of coconut oil to put "blobs" of batter down. When you flip them, use a spatula to flatten them to get a patty shape.
  6. Serve garnished with fresh chives.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Apricot Semifreddo

Semifreddo has got to be one of the easiest and quickest homemade ice-creams in existence. Due to the large quantity of cream it contains, there is no need for an ice-cream machine or for the tedious job of taking it out of the freezer every now and again to mix the ice crystals through.

My apricot semifreddo is a variation on Bill Granger's semifreddo recipe on offer here.

Apricot Semifreddo
(makes 1 ice-cream "loaf")

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons honey or agave syrup or castor sugar
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons chunky apricot jam (with apricot pieces)
  1. Use a mixer to beat together the egg yolks and honey until doubled in volume, light in texture and pale in colour (anywhere from 3 to 8 minutes depending on mixer speed).
  2. In a seperate, deep bowl, beat the cream to peak stage.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the yolk/honey mixture, and gently stir through the vanilla extract and chunky apricot mixture. Line a loaf tin with overlapping cling wrap, pour the mixture in and then cover over with another layer of clingwrap. Freeze for 4 - 5 hours.
  4. Turn the ice-cream loaf out, and then slice to serve.
Variations on a theme:
This recipe is incredibly versatile. I've made a vanilla one before using chocolate chips and crushed pecans stirred through. I've also made a delicious coffee flavoured one using no extracts whatsoever, and just stirring through 2 teaspoons of instant decaf coffee for a nice coffee crunch. The flavour possibilities are endless!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Butter Bean Brownies

I created this recipe on a day that
I just didn't feel like baking with gluten-free flour.

When I bake a cake, I like to strike a balance
between sweet and less sweet.
Personally, I detest a sickly sweet cake with an equally sweet icing.
The solution? Balance them out.

In this case, I went for a slightly less sweet cake base
with a sweet and runny icing.

Ingredients & Method:

1 tin (240g drained weight) of butterbeans zoeshed in food processor with 100ml buttermilk

2 egg whites beaten to soft peaks

2 egg yolks mixed with 6 Tbsp sugar

- Add 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, butterbean/buttemilk mix, 2 Tbsp oil, 1/2 t bicarb, 1 tsp creme of tartar to egg yolks and sugar. Mix together.
- Stir through the egg whites.
- Bake at 180 Celsius for 25 mins.


1 Dsp coconut oil

2 tsp honey

2 Tbsp cocoa powder

1 pinch of vanilla seeds

- Mix liquid coconut oil with liquid honey (heat slowly over a very low temp. if your oil/honey has set).
- Stir through the cocoa powder & vanilla seeds (once off the heat if heating is required).
- Ice/Glaze cake and decorate with pecan nuts.