Tag Archives: Recipe

A glutton for gluten-free

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Gluten Free Chocolate Cupcakes (Photo credit: FamilySweetery)

So, we’re trialling a gluten-free diet in our household and one week in, we’re starting to see (or smell) a real difference.

I don’t want to lower the tone of this blog, but I can tell you that the eldest child is experiencing a lot fewer . . . um . . . ah-hmm . . . bottom burps. There, I said it. Let’s move on.

The only stumbling block so far has been tracking down enough suitable lunch box recipes to keep the kids happy.

Despite the recommendations of several helpful websites, I will not be packing a salad nicoise with tuna for any of my kids’ lunches. I’ve already said no to kabana and vegetable kebabs and closed the door on gluten-free sushi.

I want us to eat better. Not necessarily five star.

I’ve entered a new world where quinoa reigns supreme. Pronounce that right and its sounds even fancier.

I’ve been bemoaning a lack of reading time lately but it seems the quest for gluten-free food has solved that problem as well. I can spend hours reading labels in the supermarket aisles and still leave with just one or two things.

But we are not starving! Bags of rice have invaded our kitchen cupboards. Corn crumbs, corn flakes and cornflour have taken up residence in every other cabinet. Gone are the ready-made chicken strips, pies and cakes. I’m cooking again.

And with a bit of luck and some perseverance, we might just be a little healthier for it.

PS If you can recommend any good gluten-free sites, let me know. Much appreciated! 🙂

A year of passion . . . fruit

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By design or necessity, my Grandma was an excellent cook.

Her kitchen was the place where guests were received, important decisions made and the very best of food was created.

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to inherit a selection of her cookbooks. Amongst the titles was a 1964 edition of The Commonsense Cookery Book, a much-loved and weathered copy of Elizabeth Craig’s Economical Cookery (circa 1948) and a rather pristine copy of Roz Denny’s Family Suet Cooking.

But buried beneath them all, was a cookbook of the home-made variety, labelled ‘Passionfruit 1991’.

It must have been a good year for passionfruit. The book began with a raft of recipes designed to use up all the available fruit. There was one for passionfruit foam (to be served with custard); another for passionfruit lemon butter; vanilla slice with – you guessed it – passionfruit; and, of course, meringue which wouldn’t be complete without . . . passionfruit.

After a dozen or so pages, the inspiration – and perhaps the fruit – ran out. That’s where Grandpa took over ownership of the book. In 1991 he listed every piece of fruit and vegetable harvested from their garden.

At this point, you should know, they didn’t do things by halves. Grandpa logged 172 lbs of tomatoes, 126 capsicums, 31 ¼ lbs of beans, 12 pumpkins and 223 cucumbers.

But passionfruit won the day with 489 pieces of fruit harvested from their vine.

The fruit was delivered into the kitchen where Grandma turned that produce into culinary delights to last the year through.

It’s puts into perspective my own gardening successes – the carrot that’s actually straight, the watermelon that’s actually edible and the eggplant that looks gorgeous even if it will never see the inside of my kitchen.

I take solace in the thought that perhaps 2013 will be my year for passionfruit.

From Grandma’s cookbook . . .

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I love a good book, but there’s one book I love above all others – my Grandma’s cookbook.

It’s a snapshot of her life through food, from the simplest of recipes to the most creative culinary concoctions, spanning 70 years of Grandma’s cooking life.

It’s a window into her world unlike any other.

The black leather cover is stained and smudged with decades of use. The pages are yellowed and worn. The binding is falling apart. And between every page there’s an added extra – a few centimetres snipped from the pages of a newspaper, a recipe scrawled on the back of a Dunlop proxy form and letters from her friends sharing their own cookery hints and kitchen successes.

It seems every member of the family has contributed in some way at some stage. Their names are included along with the date of their own offering. And even the recipes that have no name still bare the unique handwriting of their owner.

There might have been some order to it once, but these recipes have been referenced so often – probably in the thick of baking, bottling or brewing – that reading this book is now more of a journey than a destination.

Every page evokes strong memories of my Grandma’s kitchen from the wood fired stove where she could bake the perfect sponge to the linoleum covered kitchen table where preparation was done and every meal was shared.

As a child, I knew there was always something on the boil in Grandma’s kitchen and a magical, mystery tin on top of the cupboard protecting her latest sweet treat from hungry grandkids.

And while the cake tin is long gone, Grandma’s cookbook continues to serve up the treats.

The only question remaining is – has it made me a better cook? Ask my kids and they will tell you. I prefer to think the jury is out.