An Easter Recipe

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Happy Easter!

The desktop computer will not be back in action until the middle of the week so I am struggling with and old laptop which is very slow and not responsive.  However, I am determined to persevere and bring you a recipe for gluten-free hot cross buns.

Here is the original recipe which I used for the first batch which I made on Tuesday. The only alteration I made was to add another teaspoon of psyllium husk instead of the teaspoon of xanthum gum.

The initial prototype was acceptable but I felt I could improve on the recipe a little.

The instructions said that the recipe made 8 buns so I followed this and they were much too large for my liking.  The buns also tended to spread on the tray rather than rise.  Additionally, we prefer more spice and fruit.  I made a note of this for my second attempt.

Here is my amended recipe with method and photos.  Do not be put off by the long list of ingredients.  I have divided the ingredients into separate sections accoring to the method.

GLUTEN-FREE HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients

1 cup sultanas
1 cup boiling water

7g dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
120ml warm water

24g psyllium husk
3 eggs
250ml hot water

3 cups gluten-free flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons bicarb soda
1 & 1/2 teaspoons salt
75g sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons mixed spice
Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of 1 orange

1 egg
1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons gluten-free flour
Water

Method

Place sulatanas in a small bowl and cover with boiling water and allow to stand.

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Combine yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to activate.

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In a another bowl combine the eggs and psyllium then add the add hot water and set aside to thicken.

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Place a large bowl of hot water in the oven and turn oven to 100C.  Set timer for 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes turn the oven off and remove the bowl.  This means the oven will be perfect for the dough to rise.

Place the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt, sugar, spices and orange zest in a bowl and combine.  Add the yeast mixture and egg mixture and mix thoroughly.  Finally, drain the excess water from the sultanas and stir them into the dough.  This step could be done by hand but I use my Kitchen Aid mixer.

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Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface.  Although kneading is not required for gluten-free baking (no gluten to stretch) you can gently roll and fold the dough a few times before dividing it into suitable sized portions.  I weighed my balls of dough and chose to make them 75g each which yielded 17 buns.

Place balls of dough into muffin pans or on a tray and set the tray in the pre-warmed oven for 45 minutes.

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While the dough is rising prepare the egg wash to brush the top of the buns by whisking the egg and water together.  Make the mixture for the crosses.  Blend together the flour and enough water to make a smooth paste which can be piped onto the buns.  Place the flour paste into a plastic bag and snip a tiny piece off one corner.

Remove dough from the oven and turn oven on to 200C to heat while you finish the buns.  Brush with egg wash.  Pipe crosses onto the buns.

Return buns to the oven set at 200C and cook for 20 – 25 minutes.

Place the sugar and orange juice in a saucepan and simmer gently until reduced and thickened.

When the buns are cooked remove from the oven and drizzle with the orange glaze.

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Ready to eat.

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I was very pleased with the result and the final word comes from my friend who said that it was just like the commercially produced fruit loaf.  This has inspired me to try baking this recipe as a loaf which could be sliced and toasted.

NOTE:  The other variation is the type of flour used.  The original rice uses tapioca and brown rice flour.  I use my own mixture which includes both of these as well as potato and quinoa flours.  You can choose a commercial gluten-free flour or you own combination as long as it totals 3 cups.

 

 

 

 

Dinner – Gluten Free Quiche

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Although you can buy gluten-free pastry and it is possible to make it from scratch there is an easier option for the base of a quiche or savoury pie.

Quiche Base

1.5 cups cooked rice
1 egg
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients, press mixture into a dish, chill for 30 – 60 minutes then add filling and proceed as for regular pastry case.

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Like pizza, quiche is great for using up small amounts of various ingredients for the fillings.  The combinations are limited only by your imagination.  Remember, that you do not need huge amounts of filling.

Today, I used bacon, mushroom and broccolini.  1 rasher of bacon, 1 mushroom, 1/2 onion and about half of a small bunch of broccolini.

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Here it is chopped up and ready.  I kept the stalks and florets of the broccolini separate. The onion is frozen as I have about 7 kgs of diced frozen onion in my freezer.  You can read about it here.

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I sauteed the onion and bacon before adding the chopped stalks and finally the mushroom and florets of the broccolini.

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I allowed the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before spreading over the base of the quiche.

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I then covered this with 1 cup and grated cheese.

The final step is to make the custard, for that is essentially what a quiche is – savoury custard.  I never follow a specific recipe for this but it is a mixture of milk and eggs.

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Today I used:

3 eggs (they are extra large from our chickens)
1/4 cup double cream
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon skim milk powder
Pinch of salt
Ground black pepper

Beat the ingredients thoroughly.

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Carefully pour the egg mixture over the filling.

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Don’t worry if the egg mixture does not cover the cheese.  It is best not to overfill the dish or you will find that it overflows during cooking.

Bake at 180C for 35 – 40 minutes or until firm to touch and golden.

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The rice crust can be made using whatever rice you prefer.  I use brown rice as it works equally as well as white.  Make sure the rice is well-cooked to help it stick together.

The filling can be any combination of whatever you choose.

The custard mixture is  milk and/or cream and eggs.  I happened to have the cream as it was bought to have with dessert last week when we had guests.  I generally do not have cream and tend to use skim milk powder blended with a smaller amount of water than normal to mimic evaporated milk.  From memory, I think it is about 1 cup of milk powder to 1/2 cup of water.

 

A Blast from the Past

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Last week I had lunch at a local cafe and I chose a salmon and dill tart which was listed as gluten-free.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the base was actually rice!  I remembered a long-forgotten recipe which I used to make that was exactly the same except mine used tuna rather than salmon.

You could use any variation of a quiche filling that you wish but this is the idea for the base which is simple and gluten-free.

A quantity of cooked rice – about 1 – 1.5 cups and 1 well-beaten egg.  Stir the egg into the hot rice and press into a pie/flan dish.  Chill until firm then fill and bake as per any quiche recipe.

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Bulk Cooking

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Since there are only 2 of us to cook for, I do not prepare huge quantities of food but it is nice to have a few meals planned and prepared.  The other factor that influences my decision is that I prefer to use the oven efficiently when it is turned on.

Yesterday I sorted out what was lurking in the freezer and decided that this week we would eat what I could make using freezer and pantry ingredients.  I should really only need to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables.

I started by making gluten-free pizza bases.  I par-cook these in the oven then freeze them for later use.

Here they are ready to freeze.  I have some old cereal packets which I use to separate the bases when they go in the freezer.

002It is simply a matter of adding the toppings and cooking in the bench-top pizza-maker.

005Next, I decided to make some gluten-free muffins which turned out to quite acceptable using a standard recipe and simply substituting gluten-free flour.  I made 2 batches – orange, walnut and sultanas in one and the other were banana, walnut and mixed spice.  The catalyst for these were the sad looking banana that I rescued from the fridge at work on Friday and some orange pulp I found in my freezer.

004At the same time I made some gluten-free wraps for lunches.

003These are cooked in a hot, dry frying pan and can be stored in the fridge for a few days.

A pack of sausages which had been left in the freezer by our house-sitters were grilled and sliced then made into a sausage casserole which made 4 serves.

005I usually cook a bulk amount of dried red kidney beans in the slowcooker and freeze them in portions ready to use.  I found a pack in the freezer as well as a pack of diced beef so I put them in the slowcooker with frozen cherry tomatoes from last season, frozen diced onion and some spices to make 4 serves of chilli beef.  That bubbled along all day while I was doing the other cooking.

So, I have the basis of 15 serves of dinners, 6 serves of lunches and 20 muffins.

Do you cook more than one meal at a time?  A big occasional cook-up, perhaps?

Gluten-Free Pasta – An Update

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote this post about making my own gluten-free pasta which includes the recipe.

004The fettucine and lasagne sheets were packaged and frozen for later use.

003I made a large dish of lasagne last week and GMan declared that it was really good.  That is high praise indeed, especially since he can happily eat conventional pasta if he wishes.

Tonight was the big test when I boiled the fettucine to add to sliced sauages in a spicy sauce.  I made sure the water was at a rolling boil and I added the frozen bundles of pasta.  Once it had come back to the boil it was only about 2 minutes until the pasta was ready.  My worst fears of a gluggy mass at the bottom of the saucepan were not realised and I will definitely continue to make my own gluten-free pasta.

Made from Scratch

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I have previously written a post about making your own pasta from scratch.  Barely 6 months after I wrote this post I made the decision to eat a gluten-free diet for the sake of my health.  The pasta making attachment has languished at the back of the pantry and I keep promising myself that I will try making my own gluten-free pasta.  Well yesterday was finally the day.

After searching the internet and using some ideas gained through making other gluten dough such as pizza bases, I decided to give it a try.

Here is my recipe:

2 cups gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
10g psyllium husk
3 eggs
25ml water
25 ml olive oil

2012-01-31 01Combine the dry ingredients, add the eggs and then gradually add the water and oil.  The mixture will not roll into a ball as it does if using wheat flour but it should be damp enough that you can squeeze it together in your hand.  Mix thoroughly for about 3 minutes.  Cover bowl with a damp teatowel to retain the moisture and work as quickly as possible.

Take a small ball of dough and knead well in your hands, press out into a thick disc and feed through the pasta roller on thickest setting.  The dough will crumble but persevere and do it several times until the dough starts to feed through in sheets.  Continue to fold and feed through until you have a good consistency and then feed it through progressively thinner settings.

003Once you have the thickness that you want you can cut it into lasagne sheets or attempt the next step of making fettucine.004It is certainly more difficult to make than conventional pasta but I am hoping it will be worth the effort.  Both the lasagne sheets and fettucine have been frozen so the final verdict will be when they are cooked.  I am very confident that the lasagne will be successful but I will have to wait and see with the fettucine.

Based on what I have done so far, I would say that this has been a worthwhile exercise and I will tweak the recipe further if required.

Watch this space………..

Eating In – Pizzas

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I made a batch of gluten-free pizza bases on the weekend and tonight we are having pizza for dinner.

Here are the partly cooked bases thawed and ready to add the topping.  I find that pre-cooking these for about 8 minutes makes them much easier to handle when assembling the pizzas.

001The dough recipe I use comes from this recipe book.

006If you are looking for good gluten-free recipes I would recommend that you look for it in your local library or you can buy it here.  The updated version has a different cover.

Otherwise just make or buy your favourite bases.

I assembled all of the toppings.

002The ice-cube tray contains frozen basil and you can read about how I prepared it in this previous post.

Once the basil had thawed, I mixed it with a small amount of tomato and spread the mixture on the bases.

003Then the rest of the toppings………

004Pumpkin slices roasted with balsamic vinegar, shredded baby spinach, diced salami, sliced olives, strips of red capsicum and topped off with some grated cheese.  I use low fat cheddar with a bit of strong cheese like partmesan to give a bit of added flavour.

005This is the pizza maker which we use and it takes about 5-6 minutes to cook the pizza to perfection.

008One quarter had disappeared before I had time to grab my camera!

The toppings are never exactly the same.  It just depends on what we have.  This is the first time I have used the basil mixture for the base.  I usually just use a tomato mixture and a sprinkle of mixed herbs.  I have also been known to use mango chutney spread on the base.  The only thing limiting you is your imagination.