O’ My Goodness!

April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

During my trips to the beautifully picturesque, Plettenberg Bay, I stumbled on a fantastic product called O’ My Goodness.

 

 

This is a range of vegetarian, organic and raw snacks, focusing on health, without sacrificing on taste.

The remarkable thing about this product range is that the ingredients are pure, generally kept in their original state, locally sourced where possible and do not contain any additives, preservatives, sugar, dairy or eggs. Gluten is also avoided as much as possible, therefore only a few products contain it, such as their rolled oat balls.

 

 

The range is split into three categories:

 

Raw Vegan Gourmet:

These raw snacks are dehydrated below 47 degrees Celsius in order to retain all the nutrients, enzymes and intense flavour.

Examples include their amazing Mushroom Biltong, which has the flavour and texture of real biltong! Another favourite of mine are the Spiced Cashews; packed full of delectable flavour as well as magnesium and copper. The Sweet Potato Flax Crackers are an excellent alternative to wheat or gluten-rich crackers or biscuits, which I am always on the hunt for, and they taste yummy! I also love the Cinnamon and Apple Munch, a tasty combination of nuts, seeds, cinnamon and fruit.

 

All Round Goodness:

Mouthwatering balls of deliciousness that contain fruit, nuts, spices and raw chocolate.

Warning: these are addictive!

 

Examples include: All Round Peachy – peaches are an excellent source of Vitamin C, beta-carotene,soluble fiber and potassium. Other ingredients are dates, raisins, raw macadamia nuts, raw almonds, ginger powder, nutmeg and cinnamon – making for a delightful taste explosion.

Equally delicious are the Coco Citrus Rounds, which contain raw cacao and organic dried naartjie.

Other rounds: Apricot Rounds, Cashmere Rounds, Oat Rounds, Carob Oat Rounds.

(If you find it too hard to make a choice, a selection of all their rounds is available too.)

 

 

Organic Tastes Better:

Tasty sun ripened fruit that is organically grown and naturally dried without any preservatives.

 

Examples include: Dried Apples, dried apricots, naartjies, peaches, plums and of course tomatoes.

O’ My Goodness was created by Ariella Kaplan and Kim van Rensburg who wanted to provide their children, as well as everyone else, with snack food that would leave one feeling “energized, buoyant, refueled and ready to take on the next challenge.”

 

I think that they have achieved this and so much more!

I can’t get enough of their products and I just love the fact that they are good for me too!

For more info on where to buy the products in an area closest to you, or even online, go to www.omygoodness.co.za. (They have stockists in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal and the Western Cape.)

 

 “It’s not about the food in our lives. It’s about the life in our food.”

Dr Brian Clement, Hippocrates Institute

(Quote from website)

 

Mussels in a Thai-Style Coconut Broth

March 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Not only do mussels remind me of mythical creatures with their beards and archaic-like bodies, but they also hold a special place in my heart.

 

Each time I eat a mussel, memories are resurrected of a happy summer spent with my dad.

 

This summer, I had my dad all to myself and because I was a little obsessed with all things seafood and in particular mussels – we decided to try all the mussels in Plett.

 

My excitement as each steaming bowl of mussels was brought to the table was indescribable, not just because the smell was hypnotic – that heady combination of sea mingled with wine and garlic, or the fact that the aromatic liquid was about to be mopped up with a crispy piece of bread, but because I was sharing the experience with my dad.  

 

Mussels will always be my ultimate comfort food; when I am sad or feeling lonely, I need only make a pot of these yummy morsels and I am transported to my happy place.

 

 

Mussels in a Thai-Style Coconut Broth
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
 
Ingredients
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 Tbs olive oil, for frying
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Thai chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 15ml NoMU vegetable or chicken stock, diluted in 2 cups of water
  • 400ml lite coconut milk
  • 1 stalk lemon grass, bruised with the back of a knife to release the oils
  • 3 baby leeks, whole
  • 1 - 2 tsp sugar
  • 30ml fresh lemon or lime juice
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ cup thinly sliced basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan pepper (optional)
  • 500g mussels (fresh or frozen)
  • Vermicelli rice noodles or Jasmine rice for serving (optional)
Instructions
  1. Defrost mussels, if frozen
  2. Fry onion until translucent, add the salt to prevent it from burning
  3. Add chilli and fry for a few minutes
  4. Add stock and coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer
  5. Add lemon grass and baby leeks
  6. Add sugar, lemon juice, fish sauce, basil, parsley and Sichuan pepper
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes to allow flavours to infuse
  8. Taste and adjust flavouring where necessary
  9. Remove leeks and slice
  10. Remove lemon grass
  11. Add mussels and put lid on pot
  12. If mussels are already cooked, coat them in the sauce and allow them to heat through before removing from stove
  13. If mussels are fresh, simmer for 5 - 7 minutes, until cooked
  14. Discard any closed mussels
  15. Add sliced leeks back to pot and stir
  16. Test seasoning
  17. Serve with vermicelli rice noodles or jasmine rice or eat them just as is

 

Harbour House – A Review

October 17, 2011 in Uncategorized

One day when I’m big, I’m gonna have a house that looks like this…

Sitting by the window, at table 3, looking down as the waves crashed against the rocks, I felt content… this now, this is what I wanted – to be served delicious food and to be lulled by the rhythmic chanting of the waves.

 

Inspiration took me by the hand and guided me around the room; I was a woman possessed, I had to take pictures – there was beauty everywhere I looked; from the picturesque setting, to the lazy seals, even the weathered paint on the outside walls seemed romantic. And the beach-house effect… that was just home to me.

 

 

Harbour House is situated in the quaint fishing village of Kalk Bay. The unassuming location transports you to a time when everything was done by hand and the clock stands still, for just a moment longer…

As I walked along the pier, I drifted to Greece or Italy, so beautiful were the surroundings – this was an enchanted world where anything was possible.

The right thing to do in such a setting would be to appreciate the gifts from the sea, in all their glory – and that is what I did.

For the month of October, Harbour House is running a special – two courses for R140 or 3 courses for R160 – this is great value as the portions are generous.

I had mussels to start is a gloriously flavourful sauce of garlic, onion, thyme, white wine and cream… I went straight to my happy place with the first mouthful! The simple flavours, when combined, seemed to sing in my mouth.

My main was Sauteed Paprika Calamari with black olives, caper berries, lemon zest, garlic and chilli. Served with savoury rice. This was a treat for the senses: the colours burst on the plate and the flavours were fresh and uniquely defined.

One of the desserts on offer was a Strawberry Layer Cake with fresh strawberries and creme anglaise, I didn’t taste it, but I heard the murmurs of happiness.

The winelist is extensive with some unique choices, by the glass. I had the Glen Carlou Chardonnay, which is lightly wooded, with yeasty notes and subtle hints of tropical fruit.

Harbour House at the V&A Waterfront is said to be opening next week. I personally can’t wait to go and make some new memories there!

Chicken Pad Thai

October 4, 2011 in Uncategorized

Thai food speaks to my soul.

The balance of flavour that is quintessential to Thai cooking is comforting in a world that is a little off balance. I love the fact that I have the power to control this balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy and lift a dish from appetising to magnificent with a few tweaks – a splish of this and a shake of that.

This practice can be applied to our own lives; by making simple, positive adjustments – we can find harmony and happiness. The ingredients to this balance may be trickier to come by – but the secret is to stop and listen to our souls’ whisperings and tweak as necessary.

The majority of Thai food is a sanctuary for the gluten intolerant as the focus seems to be on ingredients such as rice flour, corn starch and soya, instead of wheat.

I first tried Pad Thai about a month ago, when I visited Chef Pons. Since then I have come to realise how much of an institution this restaurant is to Capetonians and I believe it is because they have the balance just right. Not only the flavours, but the decor, service and ambiance too.

I was delighted by the freshness and the lightness of this dish and have found myself, on numerous occasions, daydreaming about the taste sensations that I experienced.

  

Chicken Pad Thai:

(Serves 2)

Recipe courtesy of Eat In

Ingredients:

250g Thai rice noodles

2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced

Marinade for chicken:

1 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 3 Tbsp soy sauce*

Thumb size piece of ginger, minced

Fresh red chillies (I used green)

3 cups bean sprouts

1/4 cup chicken stock

Pad Thai sauce:

3/4 Tbsp tamarind paste*, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water

4 Tbsp fish sauce* (I thought this was a bit much so used 2)

1/2 Tbsp dried chilli

3 Tbsp brown sugar

Garnish:

3 spring onions, sliced

1/2 cup coriander leaves

1/3 cup crushed peanuts*

Fresh lime or lemon juice

*Some soy sauces contain gluten

*Tamarind paste, fish sauce and peanuts all contain yeast

Method:

  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil and remove from heat. Dunk in the rice noodles. Allow noodles to soak. Noodles are ready when they are soft enough to be eaten, but are still al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Combine the Pad Thai sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Stir well to dissolve the tamarind paste and brown sugar. Set aside. (This may seem like a lot of sugar, but you need it to balance out the sourness of the tamarind – this balance is important).
  • Marinade the chicken in cornstarch and soy sauce for about 30 minutes. Warm up a wok or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil. Fry chilli and ginger for 30 seconds. Add chicken, with its marinade. Stir-fry for 1 minute. When wok/pan becomes dry, add a little chicken stock.
  • Add the noodles, and pour the Pad Thai sauce over. Using tongs gently stir-fry the noodles for a minute or two. Add the bean sprouts and season with the pepper. Continue stir frying until the noodles are soft. (Around 2 minutes). Add a touch of stock again if it seems too dry.
  • Top with generous amounts of fresh coriander, spring onion and chopped nuts. Squeeze the limes over the top.

Gluten Free Shortbread – WARNING: Crumbly, Creamy, Addictive!!

September 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

Wow, I am in love with this recipe!

It has to be possibly the best thing I’ve ever made – gluten free. I say that every time, don’t I? ;-) But no, REALLY, this shortbread is AMAZING!

And it lasts a long time (if you are strong enough not to give into temptation ;)) Generally, baked goods made using gluten free flour, go stale after a day or two, but this shortbread can last up to a week or even longer if sealed in an airtight container.

At last week’s Neill Anthony Masterclass, he made a dessert of Strawberry Shortbread with Vanilla Creme Fraiche, which was insanely yummy.

I couldn’t wait to attempt my own gluten free version!

I discussed baking gluten free a few weeks ago, over here, where I mentioned the ratios of the different flours: Heavy, Medium and Light.

For biscuits the ratio is generally 1 Medium; 1/2 Heavy; 1 Light.

Gluten Free Shortbread:

Ingredients:

150g Butter (For a dairy free version use Blossom Margarine)

90g Caster Sugar (For a slightly healthier version substitute with Fructose)

100g Rice Flour

50g Almond Flour

100g Maizena (Corn Starch)

The almond flour adds a lovely nutty flavour and added texture.

Method:

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Cream butter and sugar

Add flour slowly and mix well until you have a soft dough

Roll out dough gently onto parchment paper and the same baking tray you will be putting into the oven (make sure it fits into the fridge too)

Set the rolled out dough in the fridge to rest for half an hour

Bake the shortbread for 15 minutes or until golden brown

Cut into squares while still hot

To make the rest of Neill’s dessert:

Slice strawberries in half, depending on the size, sprinkle with a little caster sugar or fructose and add to a hot pan. Cook until strawberries have softened.

Construct dessert by placing strawberries at the bottom, a piece of shortbread on top and then finish off with a dollop of creme fraiche, speckled with vanilla seeds.

Simple, yet so effective and delicious!

Friends for Dinner – A Neill Anthony Masterclass

September 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

The reason I love these Masterclasses, is not because of the expertly prepared food, or the excitement at trying new wines that are painstakingly paired with the courses, or the NoMU, Willow Creek and Bosch gifts, or the other giveaways during the night (although these reasons on their own should be enough to entice you to come along :)) But, for me, these evenings are about the people…

The feel is of a casual dinner party – the guests being a collection of amazing personalities, all with a story to tell. If I don’t know them at the beginning, I always feel that by the end, I have made a friend. And Thursday, 8th September’s, Masterclass was no exception!

The demonstrations are another highlight. I enjoy the relaxed way that Neill guides us through his menu and thought processes and encourages us to get hands on while he shows us how to make each course.

His passion for food is evident in each action and statement.

Neill’s ethos is to use only locally produced, seasonal and ethical ingredients. Therefore, you know that what you are eating is of the highest quality.

For starters we had Grilled Courgette Soup with Aubergine Tortellini. Char-grilling the courgettes adds another dimension to these otherwise fairly bland veggies and by blending in a high speed blender, the soup becomes creamy, eliminating the need to add too much cream.

I never realised how much effort went into making pasta; for the kneading alone you need to be strong, really strong! And you have to be quick and not over-knead because if it cracks, it’s ruined.

This Masterclass was a rather special one as we were privileged to be the first members of public to see and taste Mad Hatters‘ wine. The name is symbolic of the various hats we wear on a daily basis, be it at work, home or while socialising. Each wine is based on a different region of the world, and is designed to educate South Africans on interesting cultivars.

The wine that was paired with the soup was called Roussane Grenache Blanc, which is a French-style light wine. It has a buttery feeling that complimented the creaminess of the soup. The palate is soft citrus and the nose is reminiscent of flowers. The French saying “Joie de Vivre” or Joy of Life captures the essence.

My thoughts on the first dish: The wine, a little crisp to begin with, became instantly smooth when in contact with the soup. The soup on its own was subtly delicious, but a triumph when combined with the smoky, earthy and zesty flavours of the aubergine tortellini. 

Andre Pentz is THE wine man; his reasoning behind the pairings and his enthusiasm for all things wine and food related is infectious. He leaves you eager to take that first sip of wine… and to carry on sipping. ;)

Matt Manning is the Sous Chef at La Colombe, which has been rated as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa. He is Neill’s right hand man during these Masterclasses and is doing unbelievably well for himself at such a young age.

 Above photos courtesy of Jon Meinking

Together these three men make an unstoppable team! 

The main course was Pressed Pork Belly with Olive Oil, Lemon Potato Puree and Seasonal Greens. The pork belly is cooked slowly to produce the best result. It is firstly placed in a 10% salt brine over night to draw out all the excess water, which is then rinsed off. The pork belly is then pressed and rubbed with NoMU Coffee Rub and cinnamon and roasted for 8.5 hours.

The seasonal greens that accompanied the pork were called Bright Lights and according to Neill, “Very Cape Town” due to their psychedelic colouring… no points for guessing why :)

The crackling, for me, was most certainly the highlight as it conjured up memories from my childhood. It is amazing how food has the power to do that!

The crackling is also cooked very slowly over a period of 6 hours and the oil continuously drained off so that what is left is just the crispy, delightfully salty skin.

This course was paired with Mourvedre, which is a full bodied wine of Spanish descent. The wine evokes the grace and power the Spaniards exhibit while dancing the Flamenco.

My thoughts on the main course: The tenderness of the pork although in direct contrast to the zingy mash, made a surprisingly joyous pairing, while the richness of the gravy rounded off the dish. The lemon cut through the slight harshness of the wine (due to it only having been in the bottle for 3 weeks), whose gingery and peppery notes, brought out the coffee flavours of the pork. The end result was harmony on the tongue.

“If ever I’m on death row, I want Neill to make this gravy for me!” Exclaimed Dawn Jorgensen after her first taste. An impressive compliment, wouldn’t you say?

 

The final course was Strawberry Shortbread with Vanilla Creme Fraiche. Resting the pastry once it has been rolled is imperative. Due to its high butter content, the pastry will split if this step is not followed. Macerated strawberries (softened or broken into pieces using a liquid), creme fraiche, speckled with seeds from a vanilla pod and an extra special sprinkling of salted peanut brittle made up the remainder of the dessert.

This dish was paired with Bovlei Gewurztraminer. An off dry wine with litchi flavours. 

My thoughts on dessert: When combined, each component of the dish united magically – the salted peanut brittle tied the whole dish together, resulting in a marriage made in heaven. The wine, an atypical dessert wine, although delicious on its own, in my mind, needed to be slightly sweeter to break through the tartness of the strawberries. 

 

And as all good things must, so ends another enlightening Masterclass…

Jokes fly, wine flows, cutlery clinks and laughter rings out as food is devoured by friends, new and old.

For more information Contact Neill Anthony on info@neillanthony.com or 072 584 7851 or on twitter @neillanthony.

French Onion Soup with Gluten Free Cheesy Croutons

September 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

It was an icy day in Paris; the streets were glistening and I was huddled into my giant hooded jacket. The wheels of the bus were crackling on the wet tar as we sat at the top of an Open Tour bus, gazing at the many beautiful sites, while our breath turned into chilly smoke (can you say tourist?).

Suddenly, the skies opened, showering us with sleet and other gifts from nature. Freezing, and looking a little like drowned rats, we jumped off at the nearest stop, which happened to be close to the Eiffel Tower, and raced into the closest cafe – teeth chattering. I needed warmth and comfort and I needed it NOW! While briefly checking the menu, my eyes rested on French Onion Soup and I thought, “Hey, when in Paris…”

As my soup arrived, I spied the floating islands of cheesy toasted bliss above a sea of brown and smiled.

Yes, I was happy to see those cheesy croutons as I wasn’t expecting them, but I couldn’t eat them all the time – in order to make an “authentic” French Onion Soup, I decided to make my own. 

French Onion Soup: (From NoMU Website):

Serves 6

Ingredients:

10 large brown onions

80g butter or olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely crushed

2 tsp NoMU Provençal Rub

1 cup white wine

2 litres prepared NoMU Beef Stock

NoMU Just Salt

NoMU Just Pepper

18 slices of French baguette (see recipe for the gluten free bread below)

200 g Gruyere cheese, finely grated

Method:

Grind the Provençal Rub in a pestle & mortar or spice grinder.

 Halve the onions and slice each half into thin slices.

Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan and add the onions, garlic, a pinch of salt and Provençal Rub.

Sweat the onions until translucent, stirring quite regularly.

Add the white wine.

Once the alcohol has evaporated, turn down the heat to low, cover the onions with greaseproof paper and continue to cook very gently until all the natural sugars in the onion have caramelized and the onions are soft and sticky. This can take 30-60 minutes.

 Add the hot beef stock.

Bring the soup up to a boil and skim off any froth and oil that rises to the surface. Return the heat to a slow simmer and cook for another 45 minutes. At the end of cooking, season the soup with salt and black pepper.

When ready to serve the soup, toast the baguette slices on one side under the grill in the oven. Turn around and cover the other side with Gruyere. Grill until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Serve the soup in warm bowls topped with the Gruyere croutons. Serve at least 3 croutons per person.

 

Before Attempting this beer bread – please read the below – if you have Coeliac Disease I would recommend that you do not make it, although there seem to be very contradictory views on the subject.

 

 According to Vital, “Windhoek Light and Bavarian Brau are apparently made using the German method of distillation which is supposed to eliminate the gluten from the fermented grains.” Budweiser also claims to be gluten free.

 

From Wikipedia, “Some brewers feel that beers brewed mainly from cereals such as rice, sorghum, buckwheat and corn (which either contain no gluten or contain glutens that do not trigger an autoimmune response in coeliacs), and including a proportion of barley or rye, are safe to drink. These brewers argue that the proteins from barley are converted into non-harmful amino acids. Statements from brewers show that their scientists feel confident that their product is non-harmful to those who are gluten intolerant. However, there is some concern and evidence that the claim is not true. Although the barley hordeins in such tests may not be detected, smaller pieces of these proteins, known as peptides, may remain and be toxic for coeliacs. However, while it is likely that most coeliacs will be able to drink beer with less than 20ppm such as Budweiser or beer made with rye malt (in moderation) without causing themselves any harm, it is likely that each person has a different level at which an autoimmune response will be activated and there is some debate over the gluten “level” acceptable to coeliacs.  There are brewery statements that “normal beverages” such as Budweiser are safe, tempered with advice that they should be drunk with caution.”

 

This recipe is modified from the amazing Ishay’s blog – Food and the Fabulous. I wanted a simple recipe and this one seemed to tick all the boxes.

 

Beer Bread with Lemon and Thyme:

 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Sifted Glutagon Cake Flour

1 Cup Sifted Maizena

2tsp Baking Powder

1tsp Baking Soda

2tsp Salt

50ml Sugar

340ml Bottle Beer (Windhoek Light)

1/2 Cup Oil (I used Canola)

Zest of 1 Lemon

Juice of Half a Lemon

1Tbsp Thyme Leaves, removed from stalks

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius

Grease a standard baking loaf tin

Mix all ingredients together, until well combined

Pour batter into tin and bake for 1 hour or until skewer inserted into centre comes out clean (My bread took 35 minutes, but I am assuming it is because I had the fan on)

Allow to cool for 20 minutes before turning out onto wire rack

 

Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream on RSG with Nina Timm

September 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

The lovely and uber talented Nina Timm from My Easy Cooking blog asked if I would like my blog to appear on the radio station, RSG 100-104fm, during the show where she chats about food bloggers and their blogs – of course I said, “YES PLEASE”!!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of making my chocolate ice cream, which I originally blogged about here, in Nina’s kitchen. Nina is an unbelievable lady – she is the most kindhearted person and is extremely generous with her time and the “secrets” that she has gained through cooking, blogging and photography. I could listen to her recount stories, all day. It was an absolute joy and a privilege to spend the morning with her. Thank you Nina!

What makes this ice cream so special is that it is dairy and egg free, but still rich and creamy, and extremely simple to make. It also serves as a base for wonderful flavour combinations such as chocolate and orange, chocolate and mint or chocolate and nuts.

As Nina and I also discovered these same ingredients would make a wonderful chocolate sauce or chocolate pudding – your imagination is the limit!


Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream

(Makes about half a litre)

Ingredients:

 

2 Cups Full Fat Coconut Milk

1 Slab Albany Smooth Dark Chocolate

1 – 2 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 Vanilla Pod with seeds removed and used

1/2 Cup Sugar/ Fructose/ Xylitol (sugar alternatives)

2 tsp Good Quality Cocoa such as NoMU

Optional Extras: Pecan Nuts/ Walnuts/ Fresh Mint/ Orange Extract or Rind

As a chocolate alternative try using the Woolworths Organic Dark Chocolate and Orange

Method:

 

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove
  • Slowly heat, while stirring, until the chocolate has melted
  • Bring mixture to a gentle boil for about 20 minutes
  • Add any extras at this point and stir to combine
  • Transfer to a freezer container
  • Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours

Tips for Allergen Free Baking

August 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

The top allergens in baking are nuts, milk, gluten and eggs. 

It is not always possible to eliminate all allergens at the same time, during baking, as the texture of the product may be drastically altered.

But, here are a few tips when baking without them: 

Milk:

Goat’s and sheep’s milk are not possible alternatives to cow’s milk because they all contain casein, which means that the immune system is unlikely to differentiate between the different milks.

Substitutes are soya milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk.  Although, soya is closely linked to nuts.

The texture and even-rising of baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes and quick breads is achieved by creaming butter and granulated sugar; margarine is the easiest substitute in these recipes. Most margarines contain casein, however, therefore reading labels is important. Blossom is one of the few margarines that doesn’t contain dairy. 

Oils, such as Canola, generally work best in recipes that use liquid sugars such as honey, maple syrup or molasses; combined with a baking agent, a solid fat like ground nuts and an emulsifying ingredient like eggs or an egg substitute.

When using oils it is advisable to start off using one or two tablespoons less than the amount of butter that would have been used.

Oil-based vegan and dairy-free cakes that do not use eggs are often a little dense. This can be remedied by combining oil with a solid fat, such as ground nuts or chocolate. For example, combining melted dairy-free chocolate, oil and soya yoghurt with dry ingredients allows the cake to remain moist and rich.

Replacing butter with margarine in biscuit and shortbread recipes usually works as the butter is used for richness and density and not for the lift. Oil can also be used in these recipes, with the correct combination of ingredients. 

Applesauce and other fruit purees or jams add body and moisture to batters and can be a healthier alternative to using fats. 

Gluten:

 

Alternatives to wheat include corn, rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. 

Gluten-free flours are generally light, medium or heavy in texture.

The heavier grains tend to contain more protein. Flours like buckwheat, quinoa, millet, cornmeal, nut meal, and bean or legume flours are similar to baking with whole-wheat flour.

Medium flours are similar to all-purpose flour; these include sorghum and superfine brown rice flour.

Light flours include white rice flour and starches such as tapioca starch, corn starch and potato starch (not potato flour).

A blend of medium and heavy flours combined with some starch to lighten and help bind the batter or dough seems to work best.

Example (For breads, muffins, biscuits, cakes and cupcakes):

Combine:

1 cup sorghum flour 

1/2 cup millet, almond or buckwheat flour

1 cup tapioca, potato or corn starch

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Ready-made flour mixes include: Glutagon, Orgran and Entice and can be found at some large food chains, such as Pick ‘n Pay, health food shops and Dischem.

Daniela Govetto of Daisy Health Foods and Entice says, “We focused on rice for our flour because it is totally digestible and digests without fermentation. That way, a person with a food allergy will not experience any symptoms during digestion.” 

Egg: 

In a cake, for example, the eggs serve as a leavening agent, helping to make the cake light and fluffy. In baked goods such as biscuits and muffins, the eggs add moisture and act as a binder, gluing all the other ingredients together.

Generally, the fewer eggs a recipe calls for, the easier they will be to substitute. If a biscuit recipe calls for one egg, using an egg substitute will work much better than in a recipe that requires three or four eggs.

An Egg Replacer, such as that made by Ogran, is very versatile and is available in most health food stores and Dischem. It works best in baked goods, such as biscuits, muffins and cakes, by following the directions on the packaging.

Ground flax seeds can be used for binding by mixing two tablespoons with 1/8 teaspoon baking powder and three tablespoons water for each egg called for.

Bananas and applesauce add the perfect amount of thick moisture, like eggs, but they don’t help dishes to rise or to become light and fluffy. Baking powder and baking soda is needed in these recipes.

 Tofu can be used in recipes such as quiches as the texture is similar to that of eggs. Use 1/4 cup tofu for every egg replaced and add some extra baking powder.

Baked Strawberry Cheesecake (Gluten free)

July 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Two words that make me very happy – cheese and cake… They make you happy too, don’t they? Huh? Huh?

(Due to my intolerances, I haven’t been able to enjoy these two “words” much. BUT, a few weeks ago I had my allergies retested and the levels of my intolerances were much lower, some have even been eradicated, except for gluten.) 


Time for cheese and cake, I’d say!

Keeping with the theme of gluten free cheesecakes, I wanted to make something extra special.


The special ingredient I decided to use in the base of my cheesecake was Nomu‘s Sweet Rub. (Excellent idea, if I could find it!) I just knew that the sweet, vanillary, spicy combination would complete my cheesecake and compliment the strawberry compote.

 

 

Pic taken from website

Cue “The Great Sweet Rub Run.”

ACT 1

SCENE 1

The scene opens to the baking isle of Pick ‘n Pay in Constantia Village with a somewhat overeager Leaine casually looking for the sweet rub – but alas, no sweet rub to be found here.


Pan across to Woolworths. 

Leaine begins to panic slightly as she asks if they stock the Nomu sweet rub, only to be told that they do not.

Leaine gets into her car and thinks of the next stop – being new to Cape Town only increases the challenge.

Fade to black.

SCENE 2

The scene opens to the baking isle of Checkers, with a nervous Leaine, trying desperately to act casually and failing, as she runs up and down; a bead of sweat lingering on her forehead. You guessed it – no sweet rub here either.


Close up of Leaine’s face as the thoughts start racing through her head.


Fade to black.


SCENE 3


Close up of Leaine’s hands and phone.

Finally, Leaine has a brain-wave and sends off a frantic tweet to @NoMUChirps “Paul, this is an emergency. Where can I buy your sweet rub?” Instant reply from @NoMUChirps “If it is urgent, Cape Quarter Spar or Giovanni’s.” 


Close up of Leaine doing a happy dance.

Fade to black.

SCENE 4

Awesome!! Leaine decides to phone the Spar just in case – lucky she did, as she was told that they do not have it in stock. As she dials Giovanni’s, her heart is beating in her throat and she is silently sending out a message to the ether to please have it in stock. 

We have a winner – Giovanni’s is a life saver – the precious sweet rub is in stock.


The relief is painted all over Leaine’s face.

Fade to black.

SCENE 5


A quick trek from Tokai to Seapoint and back (the things we do for the love of food) and Leaine is now ready to begin her cheesecake.


The cheesecake works out amazingly well.

Everyone claps and cheers.


THE END


Baked Strawberry Cheesecake

 

Ingredients:

Crust:

125mls (1/2 cup) melted butter

200g ground almonds (for added texture use 100g ground and 100g crushed)

2tbs Nomu Sweet Rub

 

Filling:

4 large eggs

1 cup fructose/ sugar

75mls (5tbs) lemon juice

Zest of 1 lemon (optional)

3 x 250g tubs of smooth cottage cheese

250mls (1 cup) cream

125mls (1/2 cup) Glutagon cake flour

1tsp Nomu vanilla extract

 

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 °C 

Grease a round 23 cm loose-bottom cake tin with a little of the melted butter

Mix the remaining butter with the ground almonds and press the mixture onto the bottom of the cake tin 

Whisk together the eggs and sugar for about 10 minutes or until pale yellow 

Add the lemon juice while beating 

Stir in the cottage cheese, cream, lemon zest and flour and mix well 

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes 

Reduce the temperature to 140 °C and bake for 1 hour or until the filling has set 

Switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven

Strawberry Compote:

Ingredients:

250g strawberries, chopped

2tbs Verlaque Honey Infused Balsamic Reduction (Wild Flower Honey and Rooibos)

2tbs fructose/ sugar

1/4tsp Nomu vanilla extract


Method:

Add all ingredients to a pan and cook until the strawberries have softened and become jam-like

Allow to cool and spread over the cheesecake

 

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