Raisin Chocolate Coconut Cookies (g/f)

 

 

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I decided to give another recipe from Good Without Gluten a go this week, as I was in need of something to bring to a friend’s house, and was curious about these raisin chocolate coconut cookies! I haven’t eaten any sort of raisin cookie before, believe it or not. I don’t think raisin cookies are all that common around here actually. But these are delicious! I was really surprised when I first bit into one of the still warm cookies! The combination of raisins, chocolate and coconut, as well as some chopped walnuts, works so well!

Although one change I did make to the recipe was to add a second egg to it. I took a look at the dry mix, versus the wet mix, and it looked like it needed more moisture. I think adding that extra egg was a really good idea in the end. It made the cookie batter nice and soft, but not so soft it couldn’t still be rolled into balls, and really helped it come together. Yum! A quick treat for fiesta friday!

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Cookbooks and Internet Sites!

It came up in a comment a little while back on a post of mine and I have been thinking about it since. Some people like using cookbooks. Others stick to the Internet. I like to do both to a certain extent. But it’s made me curious about what other people tend to go for. If people go for cookbooks – what are their favourites and what are the stories behind them! Do people purchase their cookbooks or use those that that are passed down to them. Do people make their own cookbooks with practice and experience! Or do people prefer to go through the Internet and build up their repertoire like that!

I have several cookbooks devoted to gluten-free cooking on hand. A lot of the other cookbooks I had access too have been donated or sold over time due to limited space when we moved houses. But these ones are mine and four have stuck with me as actual hard copies. Although I understand e-books are useful too, as I have access to several of these as e-books! 

200 Gluten-Free Recipes – A cookbook from the Hamlyn all colour cookbooks series. It’s a neat little book, which has a lot of great ideas for mains and savouries. Its desserts require a little adaptation because of their particular flours and things, but as I learned from experience their recipes are rather forgiving. It was how I ended up with a delicious Victoria sponge cake. I like the Hamlyn series a lot. I started using some of their other books when I first started blogging. I picked them up for about five dollars apiece at a discount bookstore and had a lot of fun with them. So I like their gluten-free book a lot as well. I also like that each recipe has its own photo and most – if not all of them, have little variations and suggestions at the bottom of them as to how each recipe could be changed. Their Caramel Shortbread has a variation for Orange and White Chocolate shortbread at the bottom, for example. It’s neat!

Jacki Passmore’s Gluten Free Bible – another of the more recent cookbooks I bought. The gluten free bible is a great little book. It was where I got the recipe for that butter cake and that coffee and walnut cake! It also has some good recipes for mains and savouries. But what I like is that it also has recipes for making pastries that don’t ask for xantham gum or unique flour blends. For the most part this book relies on gluten-free plain flour and gluten-free all purpose flour, with a little rice flour and cornflour thrown in here and there. So it’s not all that hard to shop for the basic ingredients for their recipes. But it is criminal to have such delicious looking breakfasts tease me each time I open this book! One shortcoming of this book is also that it doesn’t do the useful list of prep and cook time at the top of each recipe, although it does list serving size at the bottom.

Frederique Jules, Jennifer Lepoutre and Mitsuru Yanase’s Good Without Gluten – This is the latest addition to the cookbook collection. As I mentioned before this cookbook has been a hit and miss due to the cooking times and tastes of some recipes needing work. But the shortbread I made from them and their chocolate cupcakes were both a success! I also can’t help but fall in love with their stunning photographs! I look forward to giving a few more of their recipes a go in the future too! Their recipes are also well laid out and simple to follow. Each has prep and cooking time, etc, listed up the top and as I mentioned before all their ingredients are listed in grams and mls, which makes swapping things out weight for weight much easier. 

Heather Whinney, Jane Lawrie and Fiona Hunter’s The Gluten-Free Cookbook: What to eat and what to cook on a gluten-free diet – I got this cookbook awhile back now and it has proven to be a great addition to the collection. I have had a lot of success with the recipes from this book and most of them have required minimal or rather straightforward tweaking. It doesn’t have the same amount of photographs as some of the other books to use as a guide. But I still feel confident in doing their recipes due to how successful the others I have done were. One thing is that the recipes often ask for xantham gum, which I have stopped using and since found I no longer need at all. But the recipes are also still quite well laid out and simple to follow, and this book is rather informative about gluten intolerance and coeliac disease. It makes a good starter cookbook for that reason.

Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel’s Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen – This is one of the cookbooks I have used the least. I admit that. But their linzer heart biscuits knocked me for six! There is a lot of love and flavour in their recipes and it’s clear that Lisa and Tim have a lot of passion for their food. I also like the little introductions to each recipe that talk about what inspired the recipe or about it’s taste or who has made it before. The recipes are well laid out, and their photos are nice too. 

UPDATE: Oops, some of the post didn’t make it across! Hang on!

Ashley McLaughlin’s Baked Doughnuts for Everyone – You can’t go wrong with a cookbook all about gluten-free donuts! This book is neat. It has about one hundred and one donut recipes, although I haven’t had the chance to make all those at the moment! I have had a chance to make one of their recipes, and those Jam Donuts were delicious. I would like to give a few more of their recipes a go, especially seeing as not including the applesauce didn’t seem to cause me too much trouble, and this book has a lot of good and interesting flavour suggestions!

Elana Amsterdam’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook – I do have access to this cookbook, but I haven’t had a chance to cook a thing from it. She does present a wide range of recipes to choose from, all based on almond meal. The recipes are well laid out, but don’t seem to include that nice list of prep time and cooking time, although servings and sweetness are listed, interestingly enough.

So what cookbooks do other people have and what are their pros and cons! I’m also curious about what sites people like to use. Do people tend to stick to one site or blog more than others? If so please tell me all about it!

Shortbread Biscuits (g/f)

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As I mentioned in an update of that last post, I had a bit of relapse and ended up being unwell for much longer than I expected. But I did end up going to the doctor and getting some antibiotics, and that’s seemed to help me clear this thing up a lot. So I am a bit late in taking part in this Fiesta Friday, but I’m hoping that this contribution will bring a little delight to a few people’s afternoon teas! As I mentioned before, I have purchased a new cookbook, Good Without Gluten. But I have to admit that it’s not proving to be quite as straightforward as I would have expected, despite the fact that I have switched to using their flour blend am finding that that has made an overall improvement from before. I have experimented with two more of their recipes, and am still working to get them to – well, work for me both in terms of cooking time and flavour. I noticed that both cupcake batters I’ve tried were too liquid and needed more flour mix to be added, so it wasn’t a once-off thing. Although their cooking times were still spot on and their textures were soft and light, so that’s still a big plus. Flavour also needs work with the Pear-Almond Cupcakes, and I almost have that right. Though the sweetness still needs more testing, that’s all I have left to fiddle with before I know these cupcakes will be great! And I’m so close to getting these two recipes down pat that I’m still feeling good about it. Besides, I don’t mind having a lot of tester cupcakes and friands around for afternoon tea either!

In the meantime I whipped up a batch of their shortbread biscuits, and was delighted to find them an immediate success! It’s been a little while since I have done biscuits, and I couldn’t resist giving one more recipe a go before packing it in for the night so mum and dad could have the kitchen back. Unlike the cupcakes this recipe went together in a flash and required no changes. It was simple to measure out, and as I bought a cheap tool for cutting butter through into flour from an op shop awhile back, that also helped cut down the preparation time! Mum and dad both loved these, and mum has asked me to mark them in the book as being one of her favourites! She’s also going to be taking them to an afternoon tea! So while it is a bit disappointing that some of the recipes in this cookbook are a little odd, I’m still glad to have bought it. The shortbread biscuits are delicious, and adapting their recipes to make them workable also gives me something of a challenge to look forward to! A lot of their recipes are lactose free as well, as I mentioned before, and I’m more than willing to work to get good lactose free, gluten-free recipes up on this blog!

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Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (g/f, lactose/dairy free)

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I spent most of this week at home recovering from a sudden sore throat which kept me home from work following the funeral. But at the end of that I managed to recover…ish, and decided to test out a recipe from a new cookbook I found last weekend. This one was a bit of surprise find. A cookbook I hadn’t heard about or seen in that particular bookstore before. It’s called Good Without Gluten, and it’s quite a beautiful little cookbook. It has quite a large amount of gluten and lactose free recipes, all with beautiful photos attached, and it’s own flour blend isn’t too complicated to whip up either. I often ignore cookbook prescribed flour blends because of how difficult and expensive the various components are to get. However, their gluten-free flour blend is 320g rice flour, combined with 240g cornflour, 100g almond meal and 2 tsp xantham gum. Simple! Although I would leave out the xantham gum, as in recent cooking experiments of mine I have found that so long as the recipe has at least a few eggs in it, I get no crumbliness. Xantham gum is often used for binding, as a lot of people seem to have a crumbliness problem when it comes to gluten free baking. However, I made these cupcakes without xantham gum and I didn’t miss it.

A lot of these recipes in this book stood out to me. It was the reason I decided to get this book. It has a straightforward approach to gluten-free cooking and doesn’t waste a lot of time talking it up. Instead it gets right into the actual cooking! But as I was still a bit worn out from being ill during the week I stuck to one of the quickest and simplest I could find for this Fiesta Friday. It was a recipe for gluten free chocolate muffins. Yum! The recipe called for their flour blend, but I decided to test whether I could replace it gram for gram with a flour blend I had on hand. As a rule of thumb, when replacing flours, I go gram for gram. It’s unfortunate but there are a lot of recipes out there that tend not to list the weight of their ingredients, so those require further experimentation. However, this book is not like that at all. So I did replace the flour, but I then found the batter too thin. I checked their flour blend again and realised that it also contained almond meal, which the flour I was using did not. So all I did was whisk in a few extra tablespoons of almond meal and bingo!

Next time I would even consider adding even more cocoa powder to up the chocolate taste, but believe me, it wasn’t lacking. I also stirred the chocolate chips through the cupcakes rather than put them on top, and that turned out to be a delicious choice as well. I have also now whipped up a batch of their flour blend, as their are a lot of recipes in this cookbook that I want to do, and I get the feeling that using their blend would work better. But not all of their recipes require that blend, some even use combinations of ground pistachios with almond meal, or rice flour and hazelnut meal. A lot of the recipes also call for either soy or rice milk, but I substituted in lactose free milk and that worked out fine for me as well. So, all in all it was a positive first experience, and mum’s colleagues have even given these cupcakes the verdict of YUM.

UPDATE: I thought I was on the mend for a little while there, but I’m down for the count again. I do have a doctor’s appointment and will get this sorted out, but it might mean I’m late next FF…

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An experiment with Jam Donuts (g/f)

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This is a pre-planned post. I made these donuts for fiesta friday, but recently a family friend has passed away.  So I won’t be able to talk about them more than this. I’m sorry. As a little girl I would sometimes get jam donuts from the local bakery near my primary school. I remember biting into them and then having to hurry to take another bite before all the sweet jam dribbled out. Delicious. But as I got older I pretty much stopped having them, and since discovering my allergies I really hadn’t been able to find anywhere that I could get a decent one. So when I managed to get a hold of a copy of Baked Doughnuts for Everyone and saw it had a recipe for “Jelly Donuts” I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately not long after this we got the bad news.

We don’t have jelly here either, as the recipe called for, but that wasn’t a problem. I first tested this recipe in a donut hole pan, omitting the applesauce altogether. But although it rose very well it wasn’t the sort of mixture that held that shape well. The next batch I added even more jam, and made them in a regular donut pan. The mixture rose beautifully, and I discovered the deliciousness that is a warm jam filled donut sprinkled with icing sugar! If you want you could keep the applesauce in, or try replacing it one for one with butter – which is some other advice I was given, but I thought it was nice as is. Don’t skimp on that jam either, trust me!

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Awards! August 2014

I have been very lucky this week to have been nominated for two blog awards from two absolutely wonderful bloggers! Lori and Sarah are passionate food lovers, both of whom have their own special flair when it comes to cooking and presenting their food! I love both their blogs, and am exceptionally flattered that both would think of me! I am very happy to accept the nominations for the very inspiring blogger award and the wordpress family award! To the bloggers I nominate, you can choose which of the two – or both, you’d like to accept!

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And here are the rules in accepting these nominations:

  1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you
  2. List the rules
  3. Share seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate up to 15 other blogs
  5. Proudly display the logo on your blog

And because I’m a wicked cheat, here are not seven random facts but rather seven random quotes I really like! Finding out who these quotes are from is a challenge for you dear readers!

  1. Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!
  2. Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
  3. A smile is a curve that sets everything straight.
  4. Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
  5. There is no sincerer love than the love of food.
  6. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
  7. Where there is love there is life.

And now the nominees!

Chitra’s Healthy Kitchen

Foodie on Board

Cooking with Aunt Juju

The Cheer Germ and the Silly Yak

Hot Dish

Spice in the City

Glutilicious

Tossolini’s – A Review

Mr. P had the brilliant idea to organise an evening out for us and a couple of friends the other night. We decided on Tossolini’s as the venue after examining a few possible options. It’s an italian restaurant in the city centre, and one that I had heard good things about and that I had also been in told had a good range of gluten free meals available.

On arriving I found the decor was lovely and warm and the staff were on the ball. I was greeted immediately at the door and shown to our table. I was there quite a bit earlier than the others as I’d been in a nearby suburb for a haircut after work. So I had time to sit and peruse the menu as I waited for the others. The waitress who had seated me was also happy to confirm details about gluten free entrees and informed me she could also do some of the breads gluten free too! She then gave me time to keep having a look at the various options for dinner. While that was happening I caught the attention of another waiter, purely by accident, who immediately came over to ask what I wanted to drink! On a whole the service was very positive, although the food did take slightly longer to get to us than expected, given that the place was only about half to three quarters full. Still, as I soon discovered, the wait was worth it.

The bread did turn out to be quite nice! We got the “selection” of breads, a piece of which was made gluten free for me on request. And the Mr. P was the only one to order an entree, as I was saving my stomach for the main affair, and I already knew one of my other friends had plans to order to extra side dishes. Mr. P got the arancini, something I’ve gotten him hooked on since we went out for a birthday dinner at another italian restaurant. He let me have a few bites even though it was naughty of me. They were amazing! Their flavour was robust, but not overwhelming, and their texture was delish. As was the wine he bought. YUM! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a good snap of those, but I’m sure you can understand why!

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We each ordered our own mains, as none of us really knew what sizes to expect and some of us were every hungry indeed. I have to admit you might think the prices of these were a bit on the expensive side for most of the things on the menu. But they were worth it! I absolutely loved my dinner, a dish of pan-fried chicken with creamy mushroom sauce and mash potato. It did look on the small side, but that was a trick. It was very filling, and the creamy mushroom sauce was perfect. I thought it was absolutely delicious, and the chicken breast wasn’t at all too dry, as it can sometimes be. Mr. P also had a chicken risotto and it was goooood. I noticed right from the start what a nice smell it had, and then what a nice taste! Again, you can understand why I didn’t get a snap of that! The others all got pasta of some sort, and I was impressed by the variety. The waitress had told me that I could get gluten free penne pasta, but I’ve had bad experiences in swapping out pastas for the gluten free option before, and truth be told I was really looking forward to the mash potato, so sticking with the chicken was all right by me!

For dessert, despite the fact that I was full to bursting, I ordered the panna cotta. It was soft, creamy and delicious! The shortbread biscuits were given away of course, but wow, was it good! It looks much smaller in this photo than it actually was. One of my other friends there helped me eat it, and believe me, it was enough for the two of us after our dinner. The strawberry sauce wasn’t at all too sweet, and the panna cotta had an amazing, creamy flavour and super smooth texture!

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Overall I had a very positive experience at Tossolini’s. The service and food were good, and I didn’t mind the wait for food or the price because the quality of what I got was so high, and I went to bed with a full tum! It was a great night out!

TOSSOLINI’S
Cnr London Crt & East Row, Canberra ACT 2601

(02) 6247 4317