The Cinnamon Scroll Challenge

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I’m back!! Finally! It has been a while and a fair bit has changed but I am so excited that I am once again doing something that I really enjoy. Recently, I had a bit of a lightbulb moment where it occurred to me that there were a few things that I was doing in my life that didn’t make me happy, and a fair few things that I loved, but for some reason had stopped doing. So here I am, back to writing about my cooking escapades and I couldn’t be more excited. To celebrate this epiphany of mine I decided to give myself a little challenge in the kitchen and test out the Great Australian Bake-Off’s Cinnamon Scrolls, only this time they would be FODMAP friendly.

What is FODMAP you may ask? Well about a year ago I started an elimination diet to work out my food intolerances which were wreaking havoc on my daily eating. I discovered the low FODMAP diet, which is essentially a diet suited to people who have trouble digesting certain molecules including Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols (for more information visit  http://shepherdworks.com.au/disease-information/low-fodmap-diet/). But more to come on that later. At the end of the elimination process I found that I have trouble with lactose, wheat, fructose, garlic/onion and legumes. So it’s safe to say that my cooking has had to adjust accordingly!

But you don’t need to eat boring things and thats what I’ll hopefully show you with these tasty Scrolls! I made mine gluten free and also halved the recipe as it was a bit of an experiment but I think that it worked out pretty well!

IMG_7264GABO Cinnamon Scrolls (my Gluten free version)

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 1 x 7g sachet dried yeast
  • 275ml warm milk (not too hot or it will kill the yeast, you are aiming for body temperature, if you put your finger in and it doesn’t feel hot or cold, it is perfect)
  • 1 egg
  • 450g gluten free plain flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • 25g of gluten substitute
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted (and cooled slightly)
  • 1 cup of sultanas

Filling

  • 50g butter
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar

Icing

  • 2 cups of icing sugar (sifted to remove any lumps)
  • 20 – 30ml  strong espresso coffee (or dissolve instant)

Sugar syrup

  • ¼ cup of caster sugar dissolved in 2 tablespoons of boiling water

Method

  1. To make the dough,  warm your milk in a large bowl and then dissolve the yeast. Beat in the egg. Once combined, add the flour, gluten substitute, sugar and salt, and then the melted butter and mix until it is all combined. I used an electric mixer with a dough attachment. Then cover the mix with cling wrap and leave for 10 minutes. Add the sultanas and mix again, before covering.
  2. Let the dough rest for another 10 minutes before giving it a third mix.
  3. Now it’s time to leave the dough to rise by at least half for about an hour in a warm part of your kitchen. I put mine on top of the oven which was warming below.
  4. Meanwhile make your filling; soften the butter to a spreadable consistency and add the cinnamon and brown sugar and mix until dissolved. Set aside until needed.
  5. After the dough has risen by at least half, place the dough onto a floured work surface  (be generous because it can be quite sticky) and roll it out into a large rectangle about 1cm thick. Brush the cinnamon filling evenly over the dough, making sure that every bit of the top is covered.
  6. Working from the longer side, roll the dough tightly into a long log. Cut into 3cm “wheels” and place these in the baking tray (with the inside of the log facing up so you see the filling/scroll pattern). Each scroll should be almost touching the next. IMG_7258
  7. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise until they have almost doubled (about 30 minutes).
  8. Preheat the oven to 200C fan forced (220C). Once the scrolls have risen, bake for about 20-25 minutes until they are golden.IMG_7260
  9. While the scrolls are still warm, brush them with the sugar syrup and then set aside to cool. While they are cooling, make the icing by combining the icing sugar with the coffee. Add a little of the liquid at a time until you get the consistency you want (I wanted mine nice and thick so I only used a small amount of liquid)
  10. Once the scrolls have cooled, drizzle the icing on top and serve.IMG_7262

These can be frozen (if they last) but make sure you put them in an airtight container.

Happy Baking!

Gluten free Self-Saucing Chocolate Puddings

IMG_3932I had a craving the other day for both a chocolate brownie and a chocolate lava cake (what a dilemma I hear you say!) and I just could not decide what to make! Then suddenly I remembered a recipe that I haven’t baked in ages that fits both those bills and is slightly (only slightly) healthier then your average cake! My Gluten free Self-Saucing Chocolate Puddings! Now don’t be fooled, these cakes are not your ordinary gluten free dessert. I have fed this to a Coeliac before, watched them eat the whole thing and then remember their intolerance before asking “wait but this isn’t gluten free, I’m going to get sick”. It was seriously that good that they didn’t even realise that it was ok for them! Additionally, the recipe is so easy you could make it with your eyes closed!!!

So if your after a warm, rich gooey chocolate pudding that literally oozes yumminess then be sure to give this a go! Great for those with a wheat intolerance AND those who enjoy a yummy dessert!!

What you’ll need:
1 cup gluten-free self-raising flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/4 cup almond meal
65g melted dark chocolate
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
30g butter, melted
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 3/4 cups boiling water
Double-thick cream/ice cream to serve

What I did:
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C and lightly spray 4 large ramekins (or a large baking dish) with some non-stick spray.
2. Combine flour, caster sugar, almond meal and 2 tablespoons cocoa in a bowl. Add milk, vanilla, chocolate and butter and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared ramekins/dish.

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3.Combine brown sugar and remaining cocoa in a small bowl and then sprinkle the mixture over the top of each of the ramekins (this will make your sauce). Pour boiling water to cover sugar mixture and then pop into the oven.

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4. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted around the edge of pudding comes out clean. Remember not to cook the pudding too much or you will loose that beautiful rich sauce!

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5. Let them cool slightly (I know that part is hard!) and then serve with cream or ice cream!!

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Happy Baking and Enjoy!!

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 (My bowl after I was done!!)

Chocolate Ganache Tart with salted Peanut Brittle

ImageTonight I’ve got a family dinner to celebrate my cousins return from Canada, so what better opportunity to make a tasty, rich dessert! After my deliberation I finally decided to go with a chocolate ganache tart, because, lets face it, who doesn’t love chocolate. But in the back of my mind I just kept replaying something that I heard on my favourite cooking show (my kitchen rules), a ganache tart is far too rich on its own, dark chocolate or otherwise it needs something else to break the chocolate-ness! Now for some of you I am sure this seems like a travesty, when can chocolate be too chocolate but the more I thought about it, the more I tended to agree. So what breaks through chocolate like nothing else, why salted Peanut Brittle of course! It also adds a level of crunch to the dish, which I am started to learn is important when considering and planning a menu, all the senses need to be engaged. If all this thinking was enough for you, I also need to make a dessert that is gluten free! Yikes! Gluten free shortcrust pastry, now there is an added level of stress! But to my surprise it worked out really well for both the regular recipe and the gluten free.

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To make the whole process easier, I made my tart one long rectangular shape (using a spring form tin which I feel is a must for thissort of thing) as opposed to making small individual tart shells. If you were pressed for time you could of course buy a store bought pastry shell, but I feel try to steer away from store bought shortcrust pastry if you can, I don’t feel it will work as well with this recipe. If you’re really pressed try and use crushed up biscuits with melted butter and coconut through instead! The other issue I had (and shhh don’t tell anyone) is that when I lay my pastry into the tart case, the side walls broke off due to the sharp edge of the tin. I simply pressed them back on and hoped for the best, and for the most part this worked. In some places though I did have cracks so I simply re-rolled a small piece and baked it individually, using this to cover the hole! Not my finest work but hey a bakers got to do what a bakers got to do! Another tip is to let your ganache firm up slightly in the fridge before pouring it into your tart shells. This ensures that if there are any leaks, the ganache is thick enough not to seep out, leaving you with a half full shell. Finally, make sure you make this the morning of or day before you want to eat it as it needs some time to set. And now for the hardest part…. resisting the temptation to eat it all before tonight! Wish me luck! 

You’ll Need:

Shortcrust Pastry:

100g Plain flour (GF Plain flour to substitute)

50g Diced cold Butter

1 pinch baking powder

1 pinch salt

1 Egg

30g Caster Sugar

1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence

*NB If making Gluten free 2 TBS of Almond meal also required

Ganache:

50g Milk Chocolate

100g Dark Chocolate

160g Cream

25g Butter

Peanut Brittle:

80g Sugar

20g Water

60g Glucose

90g Peanuts (Raw and unsalted)

Pinch Salt

1tsp Butter

1/2tsp Bicarb Soda

What I did:

Pastry:

1. Put plain flour, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and vanilla in bowl (GF add almond meal) and mix through with your fingers to create a sand-like texture. Add your egg and continue to mix lightly together until just combined in a dough (DONT OVERMIX/OVERWORK IT). Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge for 15mins to rest.

2. Kneed lightly once or twice on a well floured surface then roll out to desired thickness. Lay into a well-oiled tray and prick the base of the tart with a fork. Fill with baking beads and put into a preheated oven of 200 degrees Celsius (you may have to turn this down later for the last 10 mins). Bake for 15mins and if required, lower the temp to 180 degrees and bake for a further 10.

3. Leave to cool before removing from pastry case.

Ganache:

1. Put your cream and chocolate into a double boiler (bowl on top of a saucepan with water in) on a medium heat. Stir untill chocolate is melted.

2. Remove from heat and add your butter. Pop it in the fridge for an hour or so until cool and thickened slightly

3. Pour into the tart shell to fill and then pop the whole thing into the fridge to set completely.Image

Peanut Brittle:

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1. Put water, sugar and glucose into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. Continue to boil for 30seconds before adding peanuts. Cook to a medium caramel colour, stirring continuously. Don’t let it get too dark as it will continue to cook once you take it off the heat. This is very important!

2. Remove from heat and stir in your butter and salt. Add the bicarb soda and continue to mix well before pouring into a lined baking dish. Put into the fridge to set and cool.

3. Once hard, break up using a rolling pin or hard cooking utensil and sprinkle generously over the top of your tart (nows a good time to have a “taste test”.

4. Serve and enjoy!

A beautiful rich chocolate tart, with a salted peanut brittle to break through the sweetness! Enjoy and Happy Baking!!

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Ricotta, Almond and Lime Cake

I love Ricotta cakes!! They are so light and fluffy and best of all creamy and when used correctly really lift any basic cake recipe to make it something really special. I’ve mostly heard of people using Ricotta in baking to make a ricotta cheesecake (also very very delicious) but on Friday I caught an episode of Good Chef Bad Chef that really got my attention. The shows host Adrian Richardson was baking a beautiful Ricotta, Almond and Lime Cake which just looked divine! So moist and fluffy I was actually salivating watching the whole thing!Image

It was also quite perfect as I had a family picnic planned for the next day (sadly the weather did not agree) and I was hoping to make something sweet to take along. What I really really love about this recipe is that it is so unbelievably moist and light, which is perfect for a Sunday afternoon tea or picnic in my case. Its also not overbearingly sweet, so it’s perfect for more mature taste buds and is gluten free. On top of all of that, it uses ingredients that most people already have in the pantry, making it quick and simple to make! 

I’m going to include the recipe below but again, please remember that this one isn’t my own so I most definitely (and sadly) can not take credit for the flavour explosion that is about to occur in your kitchens once you give it a go! One thing that I think might add to the whole cake for next time (if you were going to perhaps serve it as a dessert at home with a scoop of thick clotted cream or ice cream) might be a lime sugar syrup (lime juice, sugar & water), poured over the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. A bit like a Greek style semolina cake. Anyway, the choice is yours because either way this cake is heavenly!! 

What You’ll Need:Image

250g ricotta cheese (I used light)

4 eggs, separated

1 tsp almond extract or amaretto

175g caster sugar

2 cups almond meal

Finely grated rind of 1 lime

¼ cup flaked almonds

¼ cup pistachio, chopped

What I Did:

1. Preheat your oven to 150C. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20cm loose bottom cake tin.

2. Beat together the ricotta, egg yolks, almond extract and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Stir in the almond meal and lime zest.

3. Whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the ricotta mixture to loosen, then fold in the remaining. Spread into the tin, sprinkle with the almonds and pistachios, and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and a skewer comes out clean.Image

4. Cool slightly, then turn on to a wire rack. Cool completely and then serve with a dollop of clotted cream, ice cream or as it is. (If adding a sugar syrup I would do this now, as soon as you take it out of the oven. Simply pour the syrup slowly over the top and let it absorb into the cake as it cools).

(Recipe taken from http://www.goodchefbadchef.com.au/recipes/785-ricotta-lime-and-almond-cake).

Enjoy and happy Baking!!

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Healthy Summer Salad

ImageIf you’re looking for a Summer salad idea then look no further! Here’s a recipe for one that I made almost by accident this week (I had a few ingredients in my fridge that were about to go off so I threw them altogether). This salad is fresh, vibrant, tasty and very very healthy and combines pomegranate, sweet potato and quinoa to make a modern tabouli style salad. It’s really easy to make as its one of those chop it all up and throw it together kind of things! I served it with dukkah crusted chicken (which I just baked in the oven, so no oil required at all) and it was such an amazing, flavoursome dish. Great for BBQ’s too! If you’re unsure about where to buy quinoa, most supermarkets sell it now but it can also be purchased from health food stores. Its similar to couscous but is a grain as opposed to being made from wheat, so is suitable for people on a gluten free diet. It’s very easy to cook, simply bring to the boil in water and simmer away (takes about 15 mins depending on quantities) and can be purchased in a variety of colours, any of which are perfect for this recipe. Give it a go, you might be surprised by the taste! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!!

What You’ll Need:

1 cup cooked Quinoa (Follow packet instructions and then allow to cool)

1 Sweet potato (peeled and diced then bake in the oven until soft)

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 bunch flat leaf Parsley (roughly chopped)

3 Spring onions (finely sliced)

1 can of Chickpeas (rinsed)

1/2 lemon juiced

1 Pomegranate (seeds removed)

Salt and Pepper to taste

What I Did:

1. Combine all your ingredients in a bowl together and toss lightly. Check your seasonings and add more lemon juice/salt/pepper/cumin as you’d like. You can also drizzle with some olive oil for a lovely rich flavour. Serve as a side dish for chicken or red meat or use for your lunches during the week.

You could serve this salad warm but be mindful that your parsley doesn’t wilt (let the quinoa cool slightly before putting it altogether). Tomatoes are a lovely addition and my favourite are the cherry type and pumpkin could also be used if you don’t like sweet potato.

(NB A helpful way to remove the seeds from the pomegranate is to tap it firmly all over the outside before you cut it. Using a wooden spoon is a good idea. This will loosen the seeds so that when you do cut it in half, they should fall out easily when the pomegranate is lightly squeezed. Be careful not to get juice on your clothing though as it will stain very easily. I have read that vinegar helps to get it out)