Flourless Chocolate Irish-Cream Cake (g/f)

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After the success I had with the victoria sandwhich-ish cake, I was bold enough to give another more delicate cake a go for the easter weekend, and the Novice Garderner’s Party. I have collected a handful of good-looking recipes for gluten-free or outright flourless cakes, but this one stood out for me. I did still have some irish cream leftover from making that irish cream cheesecake, and it looked so delicious and rich that I couldn’t go past it. Besides, there’s nothing better than a little bit of chocolate for easter, am I right? So I grabbed some ingredients from the Coles not far from here and went to it. I have changed some of the instructions slightly, however, as I don’t have a baine marie for melting chocolate, and I didn’t want to do it on the stove top due to some…complicated things that have been happening with it lately.

It turns out there’s been a problem with our stove top installation, as each time you use the oven and then try to use the stove top it goes ballistic. But someone will be coming to look at that soon. So I melted my chocolate and butter in the microwave, and I found I had no troubles doing it that way. This cake turned out to be dense, moist, and very, very delicate while warm. But wow – was it rich! I would recommend serving it with ice-cream or cream, as listed in the recipe below. Because it packs a flavour punch! It really had a texture like mousse when it first came out of the oven, and then once chilled it became solid, and the flavours seemed even stronger!

Oh! Some other good news. My good hand-beaters had gone somewhere in the move and have recently re-surfaced. I’m loving using them again! They’re strong and fast, and make whipping and beating and mixing a breeze!

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Dragon Loyalty Award

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I want to say a great big thank you to Nancy, who has paid me the absolutely wonderful compliment of nominating me for an award! Nancy has such a beautiful blog, and not only are her recipes always interesting and diverse, but she’s a wonderful blogger to have around. She’s always very positive, leaves thoughtful comments, and I love reading her posts! So thank you Nancy! I really appreciate the nomination! But once again, there are a few little rules that go along with accepting a nomination, one is to write seven random facts about yourself, and the other two are of course to refer back to the person who nominated you, and to pass the nomination on.

However, I felt like changing things up a little this time. So I’m stealing the 10 questions Nancy answered for her nomination for the Liebster award. They seemed really interesting, and a great way to let you guys know a little bit more about me!

1. If you were told you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Inari Sushi. This has to be my all time favourite snack, and the food I look forward to eating the most.

2. If you were any kitchen utensil, what would you be and why?  A whisk. I may seem unassuming, but I’m never going to let you down, even when things get messy.

3. What is the dish on your blog you are most proud of? I have to say it’s probably the recipe I’m going to post up tomorrow. Everyone told me it was so good it was practically restaurant quality, and were so happy while they were eating it that I couldn’t help but feel proud.

4. Outside of blogging, what are some of your favourite things to do for fun? I love reading, cycling, roleplaying with friends, and generally going on adventures. I specially love going to op shops.

5. What is your ultimate favourite restaurant, and what city is it in? Hm. Sadly, I don’t have one at the moment. We rarely eat out, and I’ve never really eaten at the same place twice because of that. So I’m not sure right now.

6. What dish would you bring to a potluck at the beach? Something really refreshing, which i could just pull out of an eski and serve. So perhaps – ice-cream or sorbet. If you get sticky you can just wash it off in the ocean!

7. What is your favourite food season and why? I think summer. There’s an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables here, and it’s barbecue season!

8. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?  Anything with vanilla, caramel or nut flavours in it.

9. Where do you seek continued inspiration for your blogging endeavours? My recipe books, the blogs and websites of others, and in the continued support of my friends, and my family.

10. What are you most passionate about? Living, laughing, loving and eating! I’m passionate about all areas of my life!

And now for my nominees! I’m not doing the usual 10-15 iI know are recommended for awards, because this time I just want to give a shout out to some blogs I’m particularly enjoying reading, and who’ve been very supportive of me and my blog:

Dave Bakes

My Favourite Pastime

J Cooks Gluten Free

Just For Our Health

From the Bartolini Kitchens

Victoria Sandwhich-ish Cake (g/f)

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I have been collecting a few gluten-free/flourless cake recipes for a little while now, but it wasn’t until I had a few interviews in regards to my job applications that I really felt like giving them a go. I guess I was hesitating because of the oven troubles at our last house, and getting to the interview stage has made me feel confident and adventurous again. I also realised that I could pick a simple, classic sort of cake which could be saved even in the event of some great disaster, and use that as my test run for cakes in our new oven. Plain cakes, vanilla cakes and tea-cakes are brilliant for this. Even if they burn, even if they’re misshapen, you can still use them for so much! So I flipped through my cookbooks to see what I could find.

I discovered a Victoria Sandwhich cake recipe which seemed to be just the thing I needed. But I didn’t have the brown rice flour needed as the base for the cake, and I was hesitant to use only regular rice flour as a substitute. As to me regular rice flour is more for use in biscuits than in cakes. But I did have a little gluten-free plain flour left over. So I used the last of that up, added a couple of grams of regular rice flour to the mix, and then dusted the cake tins with a little more regular rice flour. I messed with this recipe a lot, as I knew I could use it no matter how it turned out. And to be honest a part of me was hoping it would end in disaster so that I could make a trifle, heh heh. But the end result was that I had two little cakes that were soft, fluffy and unbelievably delicate. Not too bad!

But what I will do is post up the original recipe, with my substitutes in brackets, as I myself want to find some brown rice flour and give the original a go, but I also want you all to see that even if you do terrible things to this recipe, it still seems to forgive you! Happy eating!

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Tofu Pad See Ew (g/f)

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Pad See Ew has to be my one of my favourite dishes to order at Thai restaurants. When we do actually go out to restaurants that is! It’s a simple dish, usually containing nothing but noodles, beef, egg and a vegetable like Gai Lan or Bok Choy. But it is always wholesome and delicious, and I have never eaten a Pad See Ew that I didn’t like. So it made sense for me to give it a go at home. However, one problem I have is with finding the right sort of meat. I’ve had extensive dental work done over the years, and it’s made it difficult for me to chew tough meat. Sadly most of the most affordable cuts are often quite tough to me, and after agonising whether or not I would be able to get the soft meat I needed for a decent price, I discovered this recipe for Pad See Ew using hard tofu instead of meat. I was delighted! Hard tofu is one of my favourite things to add to asian dishes, even when the food already has beef or some other form of meat in it.

Well, it turned out to be an excellent idea to give this recipe a go. It was so simple and cheap to make. The perfect thing to bring to the Novice Gardener’s Party this fiesta friday. Not to mention that I ended up with enough leftovers to cover my dinner even after having an extra-large helping for lunch! Yum! And while I was munching on my lunch, I also decided to do some browsing to find more gluten-free places in my city. It’s something I’d been meaning to do for ages, but have only really just started doing now. I’ve eaten at one of these places for brunch with some friends, and wow – it was good! So I’m keen on finding even more. But in the meantime, I think I may go have another helping for Pad See Ew!

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Banana-Hazelnut Bread (g/f)

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Getting to know this oven is both fun, and a little bit daunting. But I was up for a challenge, and wanted to use up the bananas sitting around in the freezer. So I flipped through what is fast becoming my favourite cookbook, The Gluten-Free Cookbook, and found a recipe for banana and chestnut bread. It sounded delicious, and it was simple enough to substitute the chestnut flour for hazelnut meal when making the batter. Chestnut flour isn’t a readily available ingredient around here. The batter itself was delicious and simple to put together too, if a little bit more time consuming than I expected. And as it baked, this banana bread filled the kitchen with its wonderful smells!

But the actual baking was a little trickier than I anticipated, and that made it even more fun. I at first went with the recommended cooking temperature and time written in the oven manual, then reduced the temperature twice until I was satisfied. The cooking time in the original recipe turned out to be spot on, and the banana-hazelnut bread came out wonderful and brown in the end despite all the fiddling. The good news is that from this experiment I now know exactly what temperature to set my sweet loaf-style cakes too! And it was very well received!

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing (g/f)

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I decided that this time for The Novice Gardener’s Party that I would bring along some cupcakes! I was very good last time and brought along something savoury. But making sweets and things still remains my passion, as you can no doubt tell from the content of my last post. Not to mention I’m having a blast trying all sorts of different sweet recipes in our new oven. And when it came to picking this one I realised that I hadn’t made a simple vanilla cupcake in such a long time, and wanted to rectify that. You can’t forget the basic flavours! They may be simple, but they can still sometimes pack a punch!

This recipe turned out to be quite straightforward, although I did learn with the first batch that you do need to resist the urge to add extra liquid even if the mixture looks dry. I fixed that with the second batch, and they were beautiful and rounded on the top. Although the first batch still tasted just fine, and had a soft texture that made me want to keep taste-testing them! You know, for quality control purposes. I then decided that I didn’t want to do regular vanilla icing as that to me seemed too plain, and these sweet little cupcakes were the perfect base for a slightly more flavoursome topping. And as I had some cream cheese left lying around in the fridge, I made up some cream cheese icing to finish these cuties off.

The verdict? We find the defendant yummy! These cupcakes are even dad-approved!

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Gingerbread Donuts (g/f and optional d/f)

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Although I really wanted to make some friands, I couldn’t find my friand pan in the chaos that is our kitchen at the moment! I mounted a house-wide search, and have since come to the conclusion that someone has moved the tin and forgotten to tell me. But rather than get frustrated, I realised that this was a superb opportunity to test out another gluten-free donut recipe! I pulled out my pans and looked at the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided to give the Urban Poser’s Gingerbread Donuts a go. Those cute little donuts looked so flavoursome and fun, so I wanted to give them a go. Besides which I love gingerbread, and I love the spices that go into it as well.

And despite my accidentally all but upending the container of golden syrup into the mix, these turned out to be utterly delicious, and not overly moist. These were very popular when mum took them to work, and even I was munching on one while coating the others. It was quite fun to try a different flavour of donut from the more traditional kinds, and I hope that you guys enjoy these as a midweek treat as well!

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