24 September 2012

Kiddies Corn Fritters

These have always a staple in our family. I think they started off as a breakfast item, but now they are one of the most frequently requested dinner veggies, and I always save some for the lunchbox the next day.

Considering we have switched to being gluten and dairy free, they've seen a little adjustment. I now use a gluten flour mix (Doves Farm self raising) and I replace cow's milk with camel milk (easy to buy here in Dubai, low in bad casein, and a creamier replica than soy or rice milk). The recipe tastes just as good either way.

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 x 340g tin of sweet corn (12 Oz)
  • 3/4 cup self raising flour
  • 1/2 cup milk 
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • pinch salt
  • pinch smoked paprika

23 September 2012

Pomegranate and Quinoa salad

I've just discovered that you can cook quinoa in a rice cooker. This means no more sticky-together or crunchy bits, no more burned quinoa stuck to the bottom of the pan, and no more constant checking. Just plop in 2 cups of quinoa to 4 cups of water, turn it on and go away.

As a result, I'm finally cooking more quinoa.

Quinoa has a very woody flavour, and it needs something with it to temper the strength of this, particularly if you are trying to get kids to eat it. I've tried it warm and curried (here), which I thought was pretty good, but it got the definite thumbs down from the kids. This time, I served it cold, and to balance the raw and dusty flavour, added pomegranate seeds for sweetness and mint for freshness. And pine nuts, just because I like them.

16 September 2012

Tiger Fish

Well, it's not actually tiger-fish. That's just for the benefit of Goldilocks, my picky 5 year old. He hates just about everything, except the things I can't feed him, namely gluten and dairy. Oh, and sugar of course. He LOVES sugar. With Goldilocks, it's all in the eye though. If it looks good, he'll probably taste it at least. Today, I worked on his new love of marine animals, and everything ocean, and promised him the rarest fish in the world, the kind that's striped, even after you cook it.

This dish has the benefit of having nori, which is stacked with iodine, a nutrient hard to find elsewhere in a child's diet (except for salt). And considering it is vital for healthy thyroid function and brain development, it's something we need to watch. "iodine deficiency during infancy may result in abdominal brain development and, consequently, impaired intellectual development" (www.mineralifeonline.com) Holy cow. Hope it's not too late...

  • fillets of firm white fleshed fish (eg. Hamour/grouper, Snapper, Mahi Mahi)
  • toasted nori (the green one), cut with scissors into thin strips
  • tapioca starch
  • egg - beaten
  • cool water
  • canola oil for frying 

13 September 2012

Beef Daube Provencal

I love stews, particularly French ones. Unfortunately however, I can't get my kids to adore Boeuf Bourguignon the way I do. It's not just the mushrooms they can't stand, but the overall richness. In a recent trip to Provence however, I discovered the lighter, mushroom-free alternative. It's only been around for hundreds of years, but for some reason, I feel the need to put my own little recipe up. It's very simple - almost impossible to mess up, and yes, the kids love this one.

  • 750g beef - iceblock sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 100g lardons (streaky bacon, diced) 
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • dash of good sherry vinegar (substitute with balsamic if you can't find it)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 large carrots
  • 10-15 pearl onions (or eshallot) peeled but left in tact.
  • 1 bouquet garnis (or 2-3 tsp mixed herbes de provence)
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and white pepper to taste

03 September 2012

Gluten free, casein free cupcakes that don't have the texture of rocks

Gluten free and dairy free cooking is getting easier. It's pretty common now to find plenty of options even at basic stores. A recent trip to France showed me that even in the world of baguettes and Brie, a country Leclerc sells gluten free flour and soy cream as standard.

But the problem is that these substitutes are not perfect - you just won't get the same result as if you had used standard flour or butter. I'm getting better at making up for this though, and here are a couple of tips for cake making:

Use ghee instead of oil or margarine. Ghee is usually casein and lactose free because all the milk solids are taken off in the process, basically leaving some gorgeous tasting fat. Don't tell yourself it's good for you, but as long as you're not spooning it onto your breakfast cereal, it's not really that bad in moderation. Vegetable ghee is another alternative, but as it is hydrogenated to give it the correct texture and appearance, it's probably best avoided (nasty trans fats). If you are highly allergic to dairy, you should probably stick to Nuttelex or canola oil - sorry about that.

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