Maple and Pistachio Bundt Cake (GF, DF, Vegan)

maple and pistachio bundt cake

Vegan and Gluten-Free Baking is turning out to be a winner of a cookbook! I’m learning a lot of neat things about vegan baking, and I feel it’s helping me improve as a gluten-free baker as well. For one thing there are a lot of wonderful flavour combinations in this book that I didn’t expect. But this is one flavour combination I did see coming, and I rather like. Maple and pistachio work well together, but I hadn’t had them together for a long time. As I turned to the next recipe in this book to do, I spotted this, and thinking that it’s been awhile I knew I had to do it!

This cake is more like a teacake, let me add that disclaimer right now. It’s not very dense or overwhelming in terms of flavour. It’s more subtle, more the sort of thing I might serve warm with a bit of DF margarine and a cup of tea. But given that I had been to an engagement party recently, full to bursting with rich sweets, etc, I didn’t mind having something a little more mild or plain.

One thing I will praise is the texture of this mix. It is very soft and fluffy, and rose splendidly. In fact it rose so much I was worried it was going to explode right out of the bundt pan! But it held it’s shape well, and sunk a little once it had started to cool, giving it a nice flat underside which sat well on the cooling rack. But again, I caution leaving this cake in the tin too long as it could start to steam itself. I also caution against moving it too much while it’s hot. No matter how tempting it will be to put it onto a serving plate and try to start cutting it up right away! Bundt cakes are quite delicate when hot, and their shape means they’re not quite as stable as regular cakes. So let it cool on the cake rack as per the instructions.

So for a gentler, plainer sort of cake to be had when sweets shouldn’t be too sweet, etc, please have a slice of this! Happy FF!

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Almond Cupcakes (GF, DF, Optional Vegan)

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I decided that although the green tea cupcakes were soft and delicious, the teens and kids at the dinner I was taking them too might not like the distinctive green tea flavour in the icing. So flipping through what is fast turning out to be a wonderful new cookbook, Vegan and Gluten Free Baking, and found a simple cupcake recipe that I knew was sure to please. Almond is a popular flavour and it’s not hard to understand the reason behind that. It can be both subtle and powerful, and can be coupled with all sorts of other flavours from sweet to sour. Almond is great in main meals, and even nicer in desserts! But this was the first time I had ever paired almond with white chocolate. It was a delicious!

However, I was surprised that the original recipe asked for a whopping three tablespoons of almond extract. Almond extract is rather intense and I tend to use no more than a teaspoon of it at a time because that flavour is so pervasive. You don’t need a lot of it to get to taste it. So what I did was shrink that to about a tablespoon, and upped the other liquids the tiniest bit to account for the difference. I still found the flavour intense, although not in a bad sense. But next time I would suggest even using about a half a tablespoon and seeing how it goes.

But remember, if using less of one liquid ingredient something will have to be done with the others to compensate! Happy FF!

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Green Tea Cupcakes (GF, DF, Optional Vegan)

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I’m continuing to explore the recipes in this neat cookbook I picked up from Melbourne, Vegan and Gluten Free Baking. However, I had a minor kitchen disaster that meant I didn’t have enough ingredients left to make the original cake. So I instead flipped through the book to see what I did have ingredients for. I hit upon this neat recipe for green tea cupcakes and knew that was what I had to do!

I haven’t done a lot of baking with green tea. It’s not the sort of flavour I was used to seeing in baked goods. However, it’s becoming more and more popular, and given that there would be a green tea fan at the dinner I was going to, I knew it was a match made in heaven! I whipped up a batch of these and popped them in the oven. I hadn’t bet on how good a rise these would get. But that did mean these cakes developed nice little domes on top.

End result – soft cupcakes, warm and very fluffy! I was surprised at how good a result I got for so little effort, and the icing came together quite well as well. However the heat is proving to be an determined foe, and it tried it’s level best to ruin each spot of icing I piped onto the cupcakes. Some managed to survive because I rushed them to the fridge. Others were not so fortunate. But the consensus was still that these cupcakes were delicious, and that the pistachios on top were a must have! So far I am thrilled at how well this cookbook is working out for me, and I’m looking forward to sharing another treat I made for this dinner in the next post!

Happy FF!

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Frankies at Forde, a Review

It was an absolutely stinking hot day. But having done all the house chores with mum, and having nothing else to do, boredom chased me out of the house to go on a bit of an op shop adventure. Sadly I didn’t find anything worth bringing home this time around, however, I did end up so starving hungry on the trip back that I had to stop in and eat somewhere or else I wouldn’t have been able to make it home!

I drive past Frankies at Forde a lot, and sometimes nip into the chemist and supermarket close by to it. But I had never had the chance to eat there until today. My first impression as I walked in was a good one. I was greeted right away at the door and handed a menu, and told I could order at the bar whenever I was ready. So I sat down to peruse the lunch menu. I was immediately delighted to see a vast range of their items could be made gluten-free on request, including burgers and pizzas! It was a small extra charge of $2 for the gluten-free option on the burgers, but the fact still remained that for once I could get a gluten-free burger when I was in a gluten-free burger mood, and the burgers came with chips!

I absolutely couldn’t go past their pulled pork burger with an appleslaw and cider reduction for $19, not including the g/f extra charge. I have never had appleslaw, but I am a huge fan of pulled pork. So I picked that one and went up to the counter to order. I did a bit of back and forth with the man at the bar to decide what I wanted to drink. I’m horrible when it comes to drinks, either I pick orange juice, or if I don’t get orange juice I don’t know what to do with myself. But the man at the bar knew their range quite well, and he was really helpful in selecting a drink. This is the first place I’ve been to in a long time that serves ginger beer, let alone ginger beer with a bit of lime! I was delighted when he asked whether I wanted a bit of lime in mine, and I answered yes!

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It was very refreshing, exactly the sort of thing I needed given the intense heat. Not too long after that I received my pulled pork burger and chips! It looked delicious. I happen to be a fan of places that serve their food on boards. I don’t know why, but something about it appeals to me. I especially love the sight of pizza served on a wooden board. But I digress! The burger was spot on. Half the time when I get gluten-free burgers the bread isn’t toasted and so gets soggy before I can even get halfway through. However this bread was perfectly toasted, and I have to admit it had a much better texture than most of the gluten-free breads I’ve been served in cafes before. Yum! The applesaw was a lovely mix of tangy and sweet, and tasted very crisp and fresh, and it worked beautifully with the pulled pork.

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The burger wasn’t at all too small either. There was a whole lot of pork tucked in-between those two pieces of bread, and much to my dismay I ended up having to leave two bites of burger behind because I couldn’t cram it in!

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Overall I was really impressed by my first visit. The service was good, and not too slow at all, and the prices were pretty standard for cafes – but not too exorbitant given the quality of the food I tasted today! I’m rather curious to go back again and give some of their other gluten-free options a go, and I think I’d like to try their breakfast and dinner menus as well. Besides, any place that has a ping-pong table gets a big thumbs up in my book!

Frankies at Forde

Email: info@frankiesatforde.com.au

PH: 0429 781 704

Unit 1/26 Francis Forde Boulevard, Forde, ACT

Hours (From what I could see on the internet…)
Monday: CLOSED

Tuesday – Wednesday: 8:00am-10:00pm

Thursday :8:00am-11:00pm

Friday – Saturday: 8:00am-12:00pm, 8:00am-12:00am

Sunday: 8:00am-8:00pm

Choc-Banana Bread (g/f, d/f, optional vegan)

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I decided to de-clutter a little while back, and that included giving up some old cookbooks I wasn’t using or couldn’t use due to allergies in the house. But those will all go to good homes in the end, so I didn’t mind too much. After that I thought it might be awhile before I stumbled across a cookbook that would convince me to take it home.

I was wrong.

While out and about in Melbourne I stumbled across a large bookstore and couldn’t help ducking inside to take a peak. I was amazed at their range of gluten-free cookbooks, but flipping through a few promising candidates I was disappointed with their range and/or their use of hard to find or expensive ingredients. I had about given up, but I decided to give the fancier baking books a squiz. Nestled in amongst them was one book titled Vegan and Gluten-Free Baking: Over 80 delicious vegan and gluten-free recipes! It had the little Love Food stamp on it that I recognised from an old and useful cookbook I used to have a long time ago, and flipping through the book I was impressed.

Each recipe in this book has a photo. But it doesn’t stop at one. Each also has a few progress photos, and cook’s tips, etc. I don’t often see that sort of thing in cookbooks, so I was excited to be able to see what the batter should look like and to see what the author suggested as variations or flavour couplings in the little tips. Each recipe also uses either gluten-free plain flour or gluten-free baking powder, which makes cooking each recipe that much simpler and cheaper. Better still each recipe is also done in grams and mls and tbsp and tsp, etc, which makes measuring out the ingredients more precise, and makes replacing them even easier.

 

I decided to attempt to go through the book from start to finish, skipping in emergencies, as a couple of later posts will show, so that I could get a better feel of the book and see how it would turn out. I picked the second recipe in the book, this banana bread, as the first thing to do as I still had a whole heap of frozen bananas to use up. I was delighted at how well this banana bread rose, and how lovely a flavour it had! But be careful not to leave it in the tin for too long, as this bread can steam itself if stuck in it’s tin with no room to breathe and cool.

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Shakshuka (g/f, optional d/f)

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It’s true that I don’t often post about main dishes. I tend to have more time around work and house chores and things to post about end of week bakes and sweet treats. But this doesn’t mean that I never cook mains. Although I will admit that I like baking more! So I thought that since this time I did manage to snap a somewhat decent picture of a weeknight main before it got eaten and packed up for work I thought that I would post about it here for FF!

Shakshuka is an Tunisian dish I was first introduced to at a good friend’s house a while ago now. It’s a spiced tomato sauce with cooked eggs that is – as I understand it, meant to be served with pita bread. But I have now also had it served with gluten free pasta and believe me it is delicious!

It’s not plain at all and it can be both filling and addictive. It was perfect for both dinner and work lunch the next day. Even though I slipped up and made it a little bit spicier than I intended to it was still absolutely delicious and I would recommend it to anyone looking for something cheap, quick and flavoursome for dinner or lunch!

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