Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gluten-free and good!

I've been doing a heap of experimenting over the past month or so, aiming to achieve good results with gluten-free baking. It's been hit and miss - as I said in my presentations at the Gluten-Free Food and Allergy Show, I've produced the odd thing not even the birds wanted to eat!

However - success in the end! I have come up with some really tasty recipes - ones that are not just "good for gluten-free" but plain good. And here they are for your gluten-free baking pleasure. Feedback welcome!

Niki’s sourdough-style gluten-free bread

This bread has a tasty sourdough flavour, and keeps for a day or so relatively well. Yummy toasted, too!

Makes about 14 slices

3 cups gluten-free bread mix (I like Healtheries Simple)
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon oil (I like olive)
1 egg, beaten
1 ¼ cups water

The night before you want to bake your bread:

Step 1 In a large bowl, combine the bread mix, yeast, salt and sugar. Mix well.

Step 2 In a jug, combine the eggs and oil and whisk with a fork to combine well. Add to flour mixture. Gradually add the water and mix, until the mixture forms a soft dough. Add more water if necessary. It will be slightly sticky, but should still form a rough ball.

Step 3 Leave the dough overnight or for 12 hours, covered.

The next morning or 12 hours later: The dough should have risen and be a bit puffy.

Step 4 Turn the oven on to 180C, and put a large cast-iron or pyrex casserole into the oven for about 10 minutes, until hot. Remove from the oven and take the lid off, ready to put the dough inside.

Step 5 Carefully put the dough on to a board sprinkled with extra bread mix. Shape gently into a round, then carefully transfer into the hot casserole dish. Put the lid on, and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake a further 10-15 minutes, until the bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Banana and raspberry loaf cake

Makes 18 slices

2 cups gluten-free baking mix
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon GF baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
3 ripe bananas, mashed
½ cup oil (such as rice bran)
1 tablespoon milk or soy milk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

Step 1 Preheat oven to 180C. Mix baking mix, sugar, baking powder and baking soda together in a large bowl.

Step 2 In a separate bowl, mix bananas, oil, milk and eggs. Whisk together. Add to dry ingredients. Gently mix together until combined. Add raspberries and mix gently.

Step 3 Pour mixture into a large loaf tin. Bake for 1 hour, checking from time to time. The loaf is cooked when a knife comes out clean.

Annie’s rice waffles

Makes 2-3 waffles

Basic recipe:
1 cup fine white rice flour
1 1/4 measuring cup of any soy milk (or regular milk or half milk, half water)
small pinch salt

Step 1 Place all ingredients in bowl and stir thoroughly with a metal spoon.

Step 2 Heat up the waffle maker on full heat. Once heated fully (green light turns on with most waffle makers) then turn back a few notches. Put an oven-timer on for 6 or 7 minutes.

Step 3 Pour batter into the waffle maker to just under the top lip. Check waffle after about 5 minutes to check colour and crispness. After 6 or 7 minutes, or when you are happy that it is cooked through, lift out gently with a small sharp knife or spatula.

Use these waffles as a GF alternative to:
Pizza base
English Muffin

Try adding blended cooked pumpkin or kumara for a sweeter crispy waffle

Use corn meal instead of rice flour for a lighter waffle with tasty flavour

Add mashed tofu for a nice puffy waffle with nice flavour

Add blended or finely mashed banana for a sweet waffle

Topping ideas:
• Mashed banana, tahini and honey
• Pizza ingredients
• Avocado dip – mashed avocado, salt to taste, soy milk or yoghurt, - garlic, squeeze of lemon juice or 1 tsp tahini

Tips :
• Mixture can be saved overnight in fridge
• More flour makes a thicker waffle that is more bread-like or could even be a pizza base ,
• Less flour makes a thinner more crispy waffle , both nice, have an experiment *

Corn bread

Makes 16 slices

2 cups cornmeal/fine polenta
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons GF baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain natural yoghurt (check it’s GF)
2 eggs
1 cup creamed corn (check it’s GF)
spray oil

Step 1 Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Place a large cast iron casserole or Pyrex dish in the oven to preheat.

Step 2 In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix together. Add the yoghurt, eggs and creamed corn, whisking together well to combine.

Step 3 Spray the hot casserole thoroughly with oil. Pour the mixture into the casserole. Bake for about 20 minutes; until the cornbread is golden brown and springs back when touched. Cool in the pan, remove and slice into chunks or wedges.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pumpkin and blue cheese brown rice pilaf

Here's yesterday's recipe from the Sunday Star Times. For everyone who's never liked (or tried) brown rice!

Pumpkin and blue cheese brown rice pilaf

Rice pilafs are simple and delicious; this one has the contrast of sweet pumpkin and salty blue cheese.

Serves 4  

1/2 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
sprinkling fresh rosemary
650g pumpkin, chopped into chunks
100g blue vein cheese
1 1/2 cups brown rice
2 1/4 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons roughly sliced almonds  

Preheat the oven to 200ÂșC. Put the pumpkin, with a little olive oil, into a large baking dish and put in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes, until soft, then remove and set aside.  

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cook the onion and herbs in the olive oil, until the onion is browned. Add the rice and toss to coat in the oil. Add enough stock to just cover the rice. Turn the heat right down to the lowest setting, put a lid on it and leave it alone for 30-35 minutes, until rice is tender and the stock has absorbed.  

Put the rice into the dish with the pumpkin, crumble up the cheese into chunks over the top, add the almonds and mix gently. Add a little more stock to moisten rice if needed. Then put the whole lot back into the oven for 10 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and the rice is a little bit crunchy on the top.  

Variation: This is nice with greens like rocket or baby spinach added. Or you could toss through some broccoli or cauliflower when the dish goes into the oven.