Monday, July 30, 2012

Low GI / Gluten Free Savoury

Its been a challenge to find some gluten free snacks that are low GI.   These tasty sweet curry chickpea- balls are flavoured with garlic, and spices, make a delicious starter or afternoon snack or could even be served as an alternative to rice or potatoes with your main.  

  • ½ cup (100 g) long-grain white rice
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ½ tsp each  paprika, cumin, coriander, turmeric etc
  • Fresh coriander (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 soft ripe pear, peeled and cored (or equiv from tin)
  • 1 can chickpeas (about 400 g), drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium egg yolk
  • Gluten free bread crumbs

    Put the rice in a saucepan, add the water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer very gently for 10–15 minutes or until the rice is tender and has absorbed all the water. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC. 

    Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry gently for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft. Stir in the garlic and spices, then cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat

    Put the chickpeas and pears in a bowl and mash with a potato masher until fairly smooth, or purée in a food processor. Add the onion mixture, rice, egg yolk, and salt and pepper. Mix together well.  

Shape mixture into balls (Golf ball size).  Roll in breadcrumbs.

    Place the chickpea and rice balls on a greased baking tray, spray with cooking oil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until beginning to brown, turning them over carefully halfway through the cooking. Serve hot.

Some more ideas… *Add 1 extra egg. and combine well. Spread mixture into a lined slice tray.  In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs with some parmasen and finely grated butter and mix with hands until butter combined.  Add a little finely grated cheddar/tasty cheese and mix through.  Top the chickpea mixture with this and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10min in tray before removing.   Cut into fingers or squares

Health points       Chickpeas have a very low Glycaemic Index although mashing/processing them does increase the index. This dish is nonetheless a good low-kilojoule, low-fat choice for people who have diabetes.
GI estimate low. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gluten Free Blondies

This recipe has become a staple lunch box treat for the kids. I adapted it from a gluten containing recipe and found a great combo that the kids (and DH and I), all love.

Gluten Free, (and Dairy Free if you use oil instead of butter.)
Pre-heat oven to 180C (365F)

In a bench top mixer, add
3 eggs, 
1 cup of Caster Sugar 
 1tsp Vanilla
and mix until thick and creamy

Disolve 1Tbsn Brown Sugar into about 1/2 cup of melted butter (or vegetable oil) and add this to egg cream and mix well.

In a seperate bowl mix together
3tsp baking powder (GF)
3tsp cinnamon
1tsp nutmeg
1tsp mixed spice
3cups almond meal (ground blanched almonds)
1cup shredded or dessicated coconut (optional)
Add this to the egg cream and fold in until just combined.

Pour mixture into a slice / lamington tray (8*11") and smooth out
Bake for 30 minutes
Leave in tray to cool and then cut into fingers or squares

So easy and the whole family loves it.  It can be frozen too.  We love to warm it in the microwave and have with ice-cream for dessert.


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gluten Free Pasta

We all love pasta and going gluten free can be a bit daunting here.  Yes I know, you can buy gluten free pasta in the health isle of the supermarket and at heath shops, but I find they lack flavour and just don't taste right.   The thought of making my own pasta was a little daunting too.  It just seemed so complicated and time consuming.  I was at Aldi one day and they had a little pasta machine for $10 and I thought, maybe I should give it a go.  So I scoured the internet for recipes and spoke to my sister who put me on to a recipe from the food website.  She had made a few modifications to make it a little easier.  Here is the result.

1 cup Gluten Free Flour (orgran)
1 cup Cornflour
9 ts Xanthan Gum
6 Large Eggs
3 tbs Oil

Put it all in your bench mixer with dough hooks and let it knead it until smooth

Wrap in cling wrap and place in fridge for 2 hours.

Divide into manageable pieces.  On a floured bench, roll or press dough pieces out flat and then follow the directions on your pasta machine.  Usually you would start at the widest setting (9 on mine) and then drop it by one on each pass.  I actually feed it through twice on each setting.  I stop at about setting 4 as I find this is a good thickness and if I go much further it starts to tear.  TIP:  Keep the pasta well floured between passes to stop it sticking

Now you can decide what to make it into.  I like the Tagliatelle setting on my machine but I plan on making some ravioli next time.  You can pretty much use this recipe for fettuccine, spaghetti, lasagne, ravioli, whatever you like.

Leave it on the bench to dry for an hour or so and then cook till done.  Depending on the type of pasta it could take 7-12 minutes.  Lasagne still needs about 30minutes in the oven.  Any leftover I wrap up in freezer bags in meal size portions and freeze.  That way I have some on hand for a quick meal.

For the Ravioli filling you can use your imagination to come up with some nice combo's, Spinach and Ricotta, or a meat sauce (not a wet runny meat sauce, it needs to be a little bit firm/dry) are both good options.   My sister likes  ricotta, leek, parmasen, salt, pepper and parsley which I really must try.  Experiment with flavours, If you come up with a good one please share it with my readers by commenting below.  

A really basic sauce I use sometimes is a tomato based sauce.  

1 onion  and a clove of garlic chopped and gently fried in  a little oil.  Add a tin of tomatoes and heat.  Tear up some fresh basil and add at the last minute with some salt and pepper to taste and serve with your pasta. If you have some gluten free meatballs they go lovely in this sauce.

My advise is don't be intimidated by pasta making. It seems much more complicated than it really is.  Go on give it a go.  Let me know how you went.

And the best bit, no gluggy heavy feeling after eating it. :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Gluten Free Bread

Well my first question on discovering that we needed to go Gluten Free was: "What about bread?"  Sandwiches are a staple in any school lunchbox and my daughter was fussy at the best of times.  Over the past few months I have tried many.  Supermarket and Store prices are usually very high ($6-$9 per loaf) and the loaves are quite small.  So for a family of reduced income this was difficult.  I decided that I would have to start making my own.  So I started trialling different brands of bread mixes.  I found one that worked well called The Real Bread Mix by Spring Hill Farm.  It was available from Coles for about $4.50.  It took me a while to figure out that Gluten Free Baking takes much longer that Normal Flour Baking.  In my oven at the recommended temperature it took about 75 minutes to cook a loaf evenly.  (My first attempt was a complete flop - literally. When it came out of the oven it looked perfect but within about 20 minutes the sides had sucked in till it was only about 1" thick and it was all doughy inside).  I also started making my own pizzas using this bread mix, all you need to do is reduce the water to 400ml to create a drier dough and after the rise period press it out onto floured pizza trays.  It's also a good idea to put the tray onto a pizza stone in the oven to create a more even and intense heat under the tray.  Since then I have continued to try different bread mixes that have been suggested to me.  My kids favourite is FG Roberts Cottage Bread Mix as it replicates a normal white bread in look and feel, although not completely perfectly.  Most people wouldn't know though

Tips on bread making from my trials and tribulations in the kitchen are these.  
1.  Get a good quality bread tin (600g Size) from a baker or breadmaking shop.  
2.  Put a roasting tin in the bottom of the oven and when you put your loaf into the oven, pour 1/4 cup of water into the roasting tin under your loaf (this creates moisture which browns the top of the bread).

Research on Coeliac

After discovering that he had Coeliac, my husband joined Coeliac Australia , who I must say were very prompt in sending out their "Great Start Kit". It was on our doorstep the next day, filled with samples, a cookbook, a magazine, lots of offers and a handbook which was most interesting. We discovered that Coeliac is genetic and 1st degree relatives have a much higher risk of having or developing Coeliac. Now we needed to get the kids tested but they were already on a gluten free diet and so it was most likely that the standard tests (blood antibodies and a gastroscopy biopsy of the small intestine) would give a false negative. The handbook showed that two genes (HLA DQ2 and HLA DQ8) seem to play a role in this disease and you only need one of them to put you in a high risk group. So off to the doctors for their referrals. We decided we would do a full blood work up to check for all the vitamins and body functions (liver, kidney etc) as well as the gene test, so that it would be all over in one go, rather than subjecting them to multiple blood tests. The results showed that our son did not have either of the genes but our daughter did have one of them (DQ2). This meant that there would be further tests required to confirm whether she had Coeliac or not. And of course my son is not completely off the hook, he still seems to be severely intolerant of gluten but not allergic. As a side point both kids were very low in Vitamin D which would probably explain why they have been very prone to illnesses the past few winters.

The beginning

When my second child was born nearly 4 years ago, he suffered from chronic diarrhoea. The doctors tested him for lactose intolerance at the age of 1 and it was negative so they told me he would grow out of his tummy troubles. Two years later he was still having problems and I put it down to a family history of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). But when toilet training became very difficult my sister suggested that I take him (and me) to a Kinesiologist who tests for food intolerances. So of to Dr Steve, who after some very strange methods of testing, informs us that we both have wheat and lactose intolerances, as well as a few other little issues. My daughter had also began complaining of sore tummies regularly so another visit to Dr. Steve and she had the same intolerances. I was still somewhat sceptical because of the strange methods to test for these food intolerances but I was willing to give it a go because I was at my whits end. So a gluten and lactose free diet was started. Within days we were all feeling better but my husband, who had begun eating all the things in the pantry that we were no longer eating, became very lethagic and would sleep for hours each morning. He ended up in hospital after a bout of gastro and the doctors ordered a gastoscopy to look for ulcers. The result was no ulcers but a confirmation of Coeliac Disease, not quite what they were looking for, but we are glad that it was discovered. Now we were all on the Gluten Free diet, which in some ways actually made it easier to cook. A complete cleanout of the pantry and fridge made my neighbours happy as they were presented with baskets of groceries and frozen foods that no one in my house could eat.