26 June 2012

Dairy-free Carbonara

Did you know that traditional carbonara recipes often don't contain cream? It's amazing, isn't it, that you can get a creamy sauce without using cream. Think about mayonnaise. It also doesn't contain cream (if you make it yourself - who knows what they put in the jar). Egg yolks are amazing little things - they have so many properties, and when you whip them up with olive oil, they go all creamy. 

Unfortunately, carbonara has always contained cheese. So to make up for lack of the flavour this adds, I've added a little extra salt, a touch of paprika and some crushed garlic.

  • 500g Pasta (I used gluten free macaroni)
  • 400g bacon, trimmed and chopped (I used a smoked pork fillet)
  • 3 egg yolks*
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • salt and paprika to taste
  • chopped chives or parsley for garnish 

24 June 2012

Let them eat cake - gluten free eggy bread

The greatest things missed by kids when attempting a gluten free and casein free diet are bread and cheese. I'll get to cheese in another post, but today I'm tackling the daily staple. 

There are ways of making gluten free bread. I have tried tackling it myself, and I have sampled just about every bread mix on the shelf (by the way - I think Springhill Farm is the best one, followed after a large gap by Red Mill and Schär).  It is very possible to make a gluten free bread that tastes good, warm out of the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and some pink salt. But that's the end of it. As soon as it cools down, it the texture rests somewhere between a bag of breadcrumbs and corragated cardboard. The only rescue from this time on is toasting. So how do I put sandwiches in the kids' lunchboxes and send them off to school to eat it four hours later?

I let them eat cake.

I drew my inspiration from old fashioned soda bread. I've made this with some success with gluten free flour. I added in another trick I have learned - separate the eggs and beat the whites into soft peaks to add later - this helps the dense gluten free mix to gain a little air. I also added some extra yolk, because: 1 - I had some left from making meringues the night before, and 2 - because I thought it might add a little glue or chew to the mix, as gluten free flour is notoriously crumbly. Apart from that, I simply adjusted my own banana cake mix. Success!

08 June 2012

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

How do you make a cream of pumpkin soup without cream?

Easy – tofu. Not all dairy can be replaced with soy, but if you are living a dairy-free lifestyle like my family is, you will find there are some things that go together. Espresso coffee and soy milk? Not so good. But Pumpkin and silken tofu? Perfect. Most silken tofu actually has less flavor than soy milk, and its dense texture is perfect for blending – none of those miso soup style soy whirlpools. If you hadn’t been warned this was dairy free, you would swear it was full of cream.

  • Pumpkin* – about 500 - 750g, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion – chopped
  • 200g diced bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic – crushed
  • slurp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 bouquet garnis pouch (or a teaspoon of mixed dried herbs like thyme and sage and bay leaf)
  • 1 vegetable bouillon and 1.5L of water (or 1.5L of stock)
  • 1 packet silken tofu (about 400g)
  • salt and white pepper to taste

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