Titanic and a gluten free date slice

I swore I would never watch the movie, Titanic.

Managed to avoid it for years. Then, one stormy night, it came upon the TV and I did.

Lord, I loved it. Lord, I was surprised.

Leonardo Di Caprio, what a wee spunk. And the luminous Kate WInslet.

That kiss at the stern bow (I ain’t no freakin sailor) of the boat is the stuff that Mills and Boon is made of, on steroids. A sweaty palm on a fogged up window, the boat was heating up on the inside whilst the outside temperature dropped ominously.

All along, you know what is going to happen. Making this love story seem more heightened and intense.

Yeah, the ending sucked. Like really sucked. And mayhaps, you think the movie really sucks.

But this slice doesn’t.

If Kate and Leonardo had made it to a desert island (geographically unlikely I know) they could have made this slice with its tropical coconut and dates. Bummer.

The zippy lemon icing is the perfect foil (such a strange saying) to the sweetness of the dates and rich coconut. It’s like a bunch of hula dancing Hawaiian hotties jumped into your mouth and had a party.

DATE, COCONUT AND LEMON SLICE, GLUTEN FREE

WHAT YOU NEED
1/2 cup sorghum flour (60g)
1/4 cup brown rice flour (40g)
1/4 cup tapioca flour (40g)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp Xanthum gum
1 big pinch salt
1 cup desiccated or shredded coconut
1 cup dates, chopped
1/2 cup rapadura, coconut or brown sugar
Zest of a small lemon
125g butter
1 egg, lightly beaten

Lemon Icing
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tbl lemon juice
15g butter, melted
1/4 cup extra coconut for sprinkling on top of slice

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C.
Line an 18cm x 28cm slice tin with baking paper.
Sift the flours, baking powder, xanthum gum and salt into a large bowl.
Stir in the coconut, dates, sugar and lemon zest.
Add the melted butter and beaten egg and mix well.
Spread into the baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and firm. Cool in the tray.
Lemon Icing. Whilst the slice is cooling, add all the ingredients in a bowl and combine until smooth. Spread over the slice and sprinkle with the coconut. Cut into 12 squares and serve in an airtight container. This slice is a bit crumbly when you cut it but the rest of the slice holds together well.

Cooking Notes:
If you don’t have all of these flours you can use 140g of your preferred self raising gf flour blend.
This icing is thin but I knocked back the amount of icing sugar to try and minimise the sugar content a tad.

A Cheergerm adaptation from a recipe from the Womans Day website. See below for the link to the original recipe.

http://www.womansday.com.au/food/recipes/readers-recipes/2008/7/date-and-lemon-slice/

Gluten free zucchini fritters and a hankering

Kid 2: ‘I am a tiny bit weakened by winter and I think I am allergic to it, kind of like Kid 1 is allergic to spring.’

Kid, I hear you. Winter has weakened me, I hanker for stone fruit, light salad greens, vibrant vegetables, pretty frocks and fizzy wine. I long for sunshine on my pillow and swims in the pool on long, endless summer days.

My Cheergerm soul pines for the high pitched deafening buzz of cicadas and I yearn to be strong armed by sproglets into buying ice-cream at inappropriate times of the day.

Summer is now in sight and this is the kind of food that we will be eating.

Soft goats cheese marinated in olive oil and herbs makes another stunning appearance in these little beauties. The cheese provides the salty tang and works a treat with the pop of peas, zing of lemon, aromatic mint and springy zucchini. These fritters were light, like a summer sky. Don’t be a hater, just get it down you alligator.

GLUTEN FREE ZUCCHINI AND GOATS CHEESE FRITTERS

WHAT YOU NEED
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
120g besan flour (chickpea flour)
2 large or 3 small zucchinis grated and squeezed well to get rid of excess liquid
1 cup frozen peas
Zest of one lemon
1 large handful of mint, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt
Black pepper, a few generous grinds
100g marinated goats cheese
3 tbl olive oil

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 180C.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add all the ingredients except the goats cheese and mix well.
Crumble the goats cheese into the batter and stir to combine.
Heat the oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium heat.
Add two large tablespoons of batter per fritter to the pan.
Cook for 3-4 minutes until a light golden brown then turn over and cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side. Remove to an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Repeat this process until all the fritters are cooked.
Place tray of fritters in the oven for 10-15 minutes to cook through, this also turns them a tad more golden and crunchy.
Serve with a dipping sauce of either sour cream and sweet chilli, plain yoghurt and sweet chilli, salsa, or a tomato chutney. Great with a green salad, coleslaw, steamed beans or broccoli.
Makes around 10- 12 fritters, depending on how big you make them.

Cooking note: sometimes chickpea flour gets watery in a batter, if this happens, add an extra spoonful or two into the batter halfway through cooking.

A cheergerm adaptation of a recipe from the Taste website, link follows the recipe.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/31267/zucchini+pea+and+mint+fritters

Gluten free raspberry blondies; call me

Call me, (call me) on the line, call me, call me, any anytime. Ah, Debbie Harry, singer of that iconic seventies new wave punk band, Blondie. You were the epitome of cool with your husky tones and mad two toned hair.

This is not that kind of Blondie. The other day, Kid 1 said to Kid 2 in a disappointed parent tone of voice ‘You are such an excluder’.

Dark chocolate is my bestie, milk chocolate is a good friend but thus far, white chocolate has always been excluded from the party.

White Chocolate: Go on…be my friend, go on, like me.
Cheergerm: White Chocolate, you are just too needy for me and well, I don’t want to hurt your feelings but you are too damn sweet.

Not wanting to be accused of being ‘An Excluder’, I got me a block of fancy pants white chocolate. In high hopes that the greater cocoa mass (30% as opposed to well, nothing in some other brands) might make it less tooth achingly sweet. Having always adored a brownie, it seemed only fair to try baking a gluten free blondie.

This recipe took two attempts, and was more successful the second time around. A flour change (like an underwear change) made a textural difference and I adjusted the baking time. There is no denying that this is a sweet baked goodie but it had that smooth, good chocolate mouth feel. The tangy raspberries cut the white chocolate richness perfectly and the crackle ackle meringue like exterior contrasted with a beautifully moist centre. It was taken to a family shindig and was gobbled up quickly. My hesistancy was assuaged by the rave reviews. This blondie goes really well with a good cup of coffee.

Will white chocolate be invited to the party more often? Yes, but only every now and then. (I would so invite Debbie Harry to the party if I thought she would rock up.)

GLUTEN FREE RASPBERRY BLONDIES

WHAT YOU NEED
125g unsalted butter, chopped
220g Callebaut white chocolate, chopped (or any good quality white chocolate)
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, whisked
130g gluten free flour. I used 100g (3/4 cup) GF plain flour and 35g (1/4 cup) almond meal, sifted together.
2/3 cup frozen raspberries

HOW YOU DO IT
Preheat oven to 160C (150 fan forced). Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper on bottom and sides.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring continuously until the mixture is melted and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat.
Stir vanilla and sugar into the chocolate mixture and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. (The mixture will look a little odd but don’t worry, it all comes together in the end.)
Add eggs and mix until combined.
Fold in flour and stir until combined.
Add raspberries and fold gently through the mixture until combined.
Pour into the tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until set. Rotate pan in oven halfway through cooking.
Allow to cool completely in the tin.
Cut into 20-25 small squares (it is rich).

This has a longer slower cooking time to keep it as ‘blonde’ as possible. If you find it is too soft in the middle for your personal preference once you cut it, you can pop it back in the oven on 150C for about 15 minutes just to make it a little less squidgy. I know that brownies are meant to be super squidgy but I think this white chocolate version is better if cooked a little more. Again, maybe that’s just my weirdness about white chocolate coming through…


A Cheergerm adaptation of a Woolworths online recipe. See below photos for link to original recipe.

http://www2.woolworthsonline.com.au/Shop/Recipe/1169?name=raspberry-blondies

Spring has sprung and a gluten free asparagus and goats cheese tart

Spring has sprung, the grass has ris
I wonder where the boidies is?
They say the boidies are on the wing
That’s funny, I thought the wing was on the boidies.

Yes, spring has arrived in this Southern Hemisphere, slipping in and out admidst torrential rain and coolish days. Teasing us, then leaving us. With the tantalising promise that summer, in all it’s glory will soon be here.

Nothing says spring like an asparagus spear or two. Back in the good old gluten laden days, the Yak and I devoured many an asparagus tart made with puff pastry. Now the GF dust has settled, I am once again venturing into the whimsical world of pastry. GF styling it baby.

Thanks to the lovely ‘gf and me’ blog for their sour cream pastry recipe. I have provided a link to their original recipe below. This is purely a replica of theirs but I needed to add a dash of iced water, probably due to the difference in gluten free flour blends used. The sour cream in this pastry is banging. Having used it in my non GF pastry blends, it’s great to see it working here.

The pastry was light and crispy and The Yak has given this tart the big coeliac thumbs up. He is annoyingly endearingly asking me to make it again soon. Of course, you can use this filling in any regular gluten laden crust you desire.

This Meredith goats cheese was on special the other day and a free cheese cookbook was thrown in. Bonus! I have been loving on this cheese for quite a few years now. (It’s not illegal to love on a cheese, surely?) The experience of tasting this wee beauty at a farmers market years ago was surprising. It wasn’t all My Highland Goaty Oaty Oaty in your face but sweet, mellow and delicious.

This cheese is awash in golden fruity extra virgin olive oil with the herbaceous notes of thyme and garlic. Great in tarts, frittatas, fabulous tossed into a salad, thrown into a fritter batter or shmeared on a cracker or slice of fresh bread.

ASPARAGUS AND GOATS CHEESE TART

PASTRY
1 cup plain gluten free flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp salt
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbl chilled water

HOW YOU DO IT
Put flour, xanthum gum and salt into a food processor and pulse to combine.
Add the butter and pulse until the mixture comes together and forms pea sized balls.
Add the sour cream and pulse until the dough starts to hold together. You may or may not need to add the chilled water. I did.
Roll into a ball, cover with plastic and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
Preheat oven to 200C. Remove dough from fridge, let it sit for 10 minutes then place between two floured pieces of baking paper and roll out to the correct size to fit your tin. I used a 24cm loose bottom fluted tart tin. A rectangular one would be great. (I have misplaced mine.) Gluten free pastry can be very soft, don’t be surprised if you need to patch a few places.
Blind bake for 15 minutes. (This means lining the pastry with baking paper and placing beans or weights on it.)
Remove tart shell from oven, take out the baking beans then put back in the oven for another ten minutes.
The tart shell is then ready to fill.

FILLING
2 tbl olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 eggs
100ml cream
2 bunches asparagus, washed and trimmed
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
100g marinated goats cheese
Pepper and salt for seasoning

HOW YOU DO IT
Sauté onions until soft for about ten minutes.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Let cool.
Beat eggs and cream, season with pepper and a wee bit of salt.
Place onions on bottom of blind baked tart and pour the egg and cream mixture over the onions gently.
Place the asparagus and tomatoes in an artistic (not so in my case) fashion. I did find it hard to squeeze the tomatoes in.
Break up the goats cheese and place on top. I dribbled a wee bit of the olive oil from the goats cheese jar over the asparagus. Season with black pepper and salt. (Remember the goats cheese is salty.)
Bake 20-30 minutes at 190C until egg is set and puffy and golden.
Serve with a salad, steamed green beans or whatever you fancy.

Pastry by gf and me, filling by Cheergerm

http://gfandme.com/2014/09/06/marys-pie-crust-no-one-will-know-its-gluten-free/#more-1808

http://www.meredithdairy.com/allproducts.html

Just to note, there is no affiliation with Meredith Dairy, I just love their cheese.

Mad men and gluten free gingernuts

A lot of expensive property has been sold, mortgaged and bartered for in our household as of late.

The words ‘jammy little fella’ has been uttered out of the Yaks mouth more than once.

Other phrases also often heard are:

‘I’m buying it.’
‘You cheated.’
‘I can’t believe you landed on my property.’

Along with a few sentences I hope to never hear out of the mouths of my angelic babes when they are all growed up.

‘I am in jail.’
‘I can’t get out of jail.’
‘I owe you $500,000.’
‘Hey! We’re in jail together!’

Yes, I am living in a household of Mad Monopoly Men. It’s not a game this Cheergerm adores (however, offer me a game of charades or Cluedo and I will trounce you sir, wipe the floor with you, annihalate…..well, you get my drift) but it’s a game I love to hear my mad monopoly men play. The shouts of joy, groans of disappointment and the clickety clack of the dice rolling on our kitchen table.

Kid 2 has landed on Mayfair ten times in a row. Someone should conduct a study on chance, based on this child’s uncanny ability. Kid 1 has stated that next time he shouldn’t be allowed to buy it, as all that power is going to his head.

This treat is for all you mad monopoly lovers.

My kids didn’t have a hope in hell of not loving ginger baked goodies. This New Zealand born, Aussie raised Cheergerm suckled on ginger kisses (a biscuit) and gingernuts as a babe. No such thing as breast milk in those days. Here you go little six month old baby, suck on this gingernut and while you are at it, we will put you in the back of a dodgy European car in an untethered woven bassinet covered by a piece of flimsy netting. In case of an accident, the netting was really going to save me. Thank-you zealous safety people of the world who realised that netting was not a deterrent from being thrown through the front window of a questionable European car.

These biscuits were pretty moreish, ginger zingy and bicarby zangy. Hard on the outside, slightly softer in the middle. Not quite the same as it’s gluten laden kissing cousin but pretty bloody decent. Next time I will double the recipe as it makes 16 smallish bikkies. Barely touched the sides.

GLUTEN FREE GINGERNUTS

WHAT YOU NEED
110g gluten free self raising flour
1 slightly rounded teaspoon ground ginger
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
40 g raw caster sugar
50g unsalted butter room temperature
50g (or 2 tbl golden syrup)

HOW YOU DO IT
Line a baking tray with non-stick paper and preheat the oven to 180C.
Sift the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda together into a mixing bowl.
Add the sugar and lightly rub in the butter till crumbly.
Add the golden syrup and mix everything into a stiff paste. No liquid is needed as the syrup is enough to get the mixture to the right consistency.
Divide the mixture into quarters, as evenly as possible, then each quarter into four and roll these pieces into little balls. (They are quite little.)
Place on baking sheet, leaving room between them as they spread out a bit.
Flatten slightly (to 1.5cm) and bake in centre of oven for 10-12 minutes.
They will spread out and gain a lovely cracked appearance.
Cool on baking tray for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling and store in an airtight container.
Makes 16 bikkies.

Thanks Delia Smith for the original recipe, from Delia’s Cakes revised edition 2013, Hodder and Stoughton. I just changed the flour to a gluten free blend. You are a goddess of baking and good sense.

http://www.deliaonline.com

http://www.griffins.co.nz/by-name/gingernuts

Diving in bed and eggplant curry

If I said to you that my husband likes to dive in bed, you could be forgiven in exclaiming ‘What the!’

Calm down. It’s not what you think.

The Yak, when in the throes of sleep, likes to dive.

By this I mean, imagine you are watching the Olympic Games. A diver performs a breathtaking inward two and a half somersaults in the pike position, finishing off with a perfect rip entry.

When The Yak rolls over in bed, it is not a gentle roll or turn. He is an elite athlete, standing on the end of a diving board. He then performs an incredible triple pike turn in the tuck position, before landing back atop the mattress on the other side of his body.

The bed is merely a trampoline for his nightly diving shenanigans. The re-entry that he makes when diving back into the mattress, does not translate into the same pretty ripples that a pro diver makes when hitting the water.

I am merely the judge, holding up score cards.

8.0
9.0
7.5

Rest assured (because I certainly can’t), I would rather be sleeping.

We have this curry often, actually, we have all kinds of curry often. Cause that’s how we roll.

Mustard seeds and potato are like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, fish and chips, bubble and squeak or some may even say, the Cheergerm and the Yak. They just go together. Little pops of bright mustardy goodness paried with the soft potato is the bees knees.

Eggplant are the sponges of the vegetable world. Not like the gross, mouldy thing that may or may not be hanging in a dark corner of your shower recess. But in an awesome ‘suck the flavour out the delicious ingredients that you pop in with it’ kind of way.

Earthy, spicy, unctuous eggplant and brightly flavoured potato (how very Nigella of me). Please sir, can I have some more?

EGGPLANT AND POTATO CURRY

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbl cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large peeled potatoes, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small eggplants, cut into 3 cm cubes, partially peeled (see photo below)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
12 dried curry leaves
A big handful of roughly chopped coriander

HOW YOU DO IT
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and sauté a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 30 seconds then add all the spices and salt. Cook for 1 minute, take care not to burn the spices.
Add potato and stir, add eggplant and stir through.
Add tomatoes and 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the curry leaves.
Simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 1 hour until the potato is tender. Check for salt.
Add a handful of chopped fresh coriander to your taste.
Serve with basmati rice.
This has a zing as I used quite hot chilli powder, use less if you don’t like it spicy, use more if you like a bit of Johnny cash…

A Cheergerm creation

A happy Father’s Day to my own dad Mr Bagpipes, to the excellent Yak who is an outstanding Dad to our sproglets and to all you other big Daddies out there.

Diving in bed and eggplant curry

If I said to you that my husband likes to dive in bed, you could be forgiven in exclaiming ‘What the!’

Calm down. It’s not what you think.

The Yak, when in the throes of sleep, likes to dive.

By this I mean, imagine you are watching the Olympic Games. A diver performs a breathtaking inward two and a half somersaults in the pike position, finishing off with a perfect rip entry.

When The Yak rolls over in bed, it is not a gentle roll or turn. He is an elite athlete, standing on the end of a diving board. He then performs an incredible triple pike turn in the tuck position, before landing back atop the mattress on the other side of his body.

The bed is merely a trampoline for his nightly diving shenanigans. The re-entry that he makes when diving back into the mattress, does not translate into the same pretty ripples that a pro diver makes when hitting the water.

I am merely the judge, holding up score cards.

8.0
9.0
7.5

Rest assured (because I certainly can’t), I would rather be sleeping.

We have this curry often, actually, we have all kinds of curry often. Cause that’s how we roll.

Mustard seeds and potato are like Laurel and Hardy, Sonny and Cher, fish and chips, bubble and squeak or some may even say, the Cheergerm and the Yak. They just go together. Little pops of bright mustardy goodness paried with the soft potato is the bees knees.

Eggplant are the sponges of the vegetable world. Not like the gross, mouldy thing that may or may not be hanging in a dark corner of your shower recess. But in an awesome ‘suck the flavour out the delicious ingredients that you pop in with it’ kind of way.

Earthy, spicy, unctuous eggplant and brightly flavoured potato (how very Nigella of me). Please sir, can I have some more?

EGGPLANT AND POTATO CURRY

WHAT YOU NEED
2 tbl cooking oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 large peeled potatoes, cut into 1-2 cm cubes
2 small eggplants, cut into 3 cm cubes, partially peeled (see photo below)
1 tin crushed tomatoes
12 dried curry leaves
A big handful of roughly chopped coriander

HOW YOU DO IT
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan, add the onions and sauté a few minutes until they start to soften.
Add garlic and ginger, cook for about 30 seconds then add all the spices and salt. Cook for 1 minute, take care not to burn the spices.
Add potato and stir, add eggplant and stir through.
Add tomatoes and 1 and 1/2 cups of water and the curry leaves.
Simmer on low to medium heat for approximately 1 hour until the potato is tender. Check for salt.
Add a handful of chopped fresh coriander to your taste.
Serve with basmati rice.
This has a zing as I used quite hot chilli powder, use less if you don’t like it spicy, use more if you like a bit of Johnny cash…

A Cheergerm creation

A happy Father’s Day to my own dad Mr Bagpipes, to the excellent Yak who is an outstanding Dad to our sproglets and to all you other big Daddies out there.