A little bit of gluten free…

In Egg, Pasta on February 2, 2013 at 8:50 am

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I know, I know. I’ve been away. I’ve been lazy, and this blog seems to be dying a slow and painful death. But I’ve also had a lot on my plate! My grandmother is still in hospital, I’ve still been without kitchen for the most part and not been cooking much. Yet this is an overdue post. In early December, I became interested in gluten free cooking. Now, I’ll admit I don’t have any reason to go gluten free….and I used to laugh at all those people who did it voluntarily without a doctor’s recommendation – yet I’ll admit, I was curious to find out what the hype was all about and to see if I would, in fact, feel much better on a gluten free diet as many of the gluten free advocates claim.

Last week I made gluten free pizza (base seen in first photo) and a few days back I attempted fresh gluten free pasta for the first time. Before that, I did some research and outfitted myself with gluten free flours – the standard ones (cornflour, rice flour) and some less commonplace ones – sorghum flour, tapioca flour and potato flour. I retrieved recipes for a gluten free pizza base and gluten free fresh pasta from Jim Boswell’s New Zealand Gluten-Free Cookbook, which was kindly lent to me by a friend. I expect to make both again and will post with the recipes, as I don’t have the book with me currently. But I can assure you, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to make both the pasta and the pizza base. Making fresh gluten free pasta took HALF the time than making normal fresh pasta….true it made a smaller portion, but let’s not quibble, ok?

You’ll be hearing more soon. I didn’t have enough interesting ingredients to make a pretty pasta sauce or toppings, but I’ll make it to the supermarket eventually!






Apple, Maple & Cinnamon Peanut Butter

In Pickles & Preserves on December 19, 2012 at 6:54 am



Yes, this is as delicious as it sounds. I can’t take credit for the idea as I saw it on pinterest. I was drawn to idea of creating a spread using a slow cooker. My mum’s slow cooker is a bit of a weird one (apparently, you need a spanner to be able to change to dial from high to low) but eventually I managed to get my apples cooked enough to be turned into apple butter. I used this and this recipe as a reference. It’s dead simple; make the apple butter and then blend in with the peanut butter, maple syrup and cinnamon.

I decided to make this along with the jam because I thought it would make great Christmas presents. I’m also looking forward to stirring it through my porridge in the mornings!


Boysenberry Jam

In Pickles & Preserves on December 19, 2012 at 6:29 am


I went away on a family holiday recently, the last day of which happened to be my birthday! Unfortunately, despite my best intentions, my birthday meal was fried takeaways (granted, it was battered scallops and chips, so one can’t complain too much) but the best part about it was a dessert. Granted, there was a gap in between dinner and the dessert, but one can’t be too picky! After dropping my brother off in Hamilton, we stopped at a roadside shop which was advertising berries for sale as well as ice cream. Well, the ice cream was the best dessert I have been privy to in a long time, so was well worth the wait. I chose the boysenberry flavour and bought just under 2 kg of boysenberries to match. I guess after that, jam was just inevitable!

I hadn’t received any brainwaves about interesting things to mix the boysenberries with so I went for a classic and simple 3 ingredient jam. My mum reckoned I could have bulked it out with some apple, but I still managed to get a good 8 jars of jam with just the berries!


To make the jam:

I began with washing the berries (they were already destemmed and without leaves) and boiled them in a large pot on the stovetop (yup, without any water – the berries disintegrate quickly). Once the berries disintegrated to form something of a liquid, I began adding sugar. I used a roughly 1:3 sugar ratio, but you could adjust the sweetness to suit your own taste. I was trying not to make the jam too sweet, but I guess sweetness is kind of unavoidable with berries, isn’t it? I added the sugar slowly, stirring whilst adding so it dissolved quickly. After boiling rapidly for about 20-40 mins, the jam was syrupy and ready to set. I took the jam off the stove and added the juice of 3 large lemons to ensure it set. After cooling for a little bit, I simply poured it into my pre-sterilized jars and sealed them. I was left with 8 jars of jam (of varying sizes) as back up christmas presents. Of course, I will keep one for myself! I think this particular jam will be lovely swirled through some greek yoghurt or over vanilla ice cream. It might also be nice with ricotta or mascarpone and other fruit…or even on a sweet/savoury bruschetta with a soft goat cheese. Mmmmm…the possibilites are endless….