Wednesday, 9 November 2011

It's A Blog's Life

My blog is one year old this November. I still consider myself very new to the blogging universe. My blog is still in its infancy, it is what it is. A blog. My blog. I don't get nearly enough time to spend on it, but I truly don't mind, as the only people putting pressure on me to get a blog post up or to update my pages with information, is me. The IFBA had recently put  up a link on their site to this great blog post here by Joy The Baker http://www.joythebaker.com/blog/2011/11/10-real-talk-blog-tips/ she really does echo a lot of what I feel about blogging, though I am not nearly as dedicated or as good at it as she is.

It's been one heck of a year. A near fatal car accident put all that is important to me in perspective (see my Absent Without Leave post for details, I actually find it difficult to go and read it back now). My family comes first. After that, everything else is an added bonus in my life, including this blog. I also learnt not to take what I do so seriously and to let everything breathe a little. I'm an extreme control freak, I really am. Anybody who knows me, knows this truth. After my accident, I learnt to let go a little. It has made me an easier person to live with. At the very least I find it easier to live with myself.

I learnt how to make a soft boiled egg. I know. I bake pastry and doughnuts, but never knew how to boil an egg properly. I do now. Exciting times.

I also learnt to ignore every 'how-to' advice article on taking pictures or writing my blog. Blogging has been a very organic experience for me. Though I'm not comfortable using buzz words to describe my feelings, this seems the most appropriate. All those 'Improve your picture skills' and 'Get more traffic' and '10 best things you need to know' lists go right over my head. I personally found that I like to take things at my own pace and do things my way (control freak, anyone?). I don't mind broadening my horizons and learning neat tips and tricks. The thing is, I'm fed-up of being told endlessly by someone else, that my blog could be improved or that my pictures can be better! I already know it can be improved and that my pictures can be better. Details, details, details - too many details. I quite like the way my blog already is. It is very me.

My blog was born out of a frustration for lack of easy access to the gluten free world. My time on the internet has opened up my eyes to what's out there in terms of resources and how willing people are to help. I'm humbled by my blogging experience. I'm humbled by the businesses who give me their time willingingly. I'm grateful to the people who have donated their efforts to me and who have allowed me into their world. I'm absolutely floored at how kind people are in their attempts to help me achieve my goal for my blog. My goal simply being that I've only ever wanted to share what I've learnt about being gluten free to anybody who is also trying to do the same thing. Simple as that. If it has slightly helped one person in any way, my blog has done good and if someone liked looking at my pictures along the way, bonus!

I think the thing I find most shocking is that I actually do have people who read my blog. Seriously. If you're reading this, you're one of them! Thank you! I like being able to reach out into the ether and throw words out there and get a reaction. Or not. I like that there is someone who has decided to give my blog some of their time. Time is precious. So to you fine people who read my blog, I'm flattered and grateful and thank you!

So there you have it - Happy First Birthday to my blog! I can only hope that I can keep my interest going so I can be around to ramble on about it for it's second birthday...!


Happy Birthday, Blog!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is here! I was busy making candy apples last week for my daughter's Halloween school party that happened on Friday. In my book, nothing says Halloween like a candy apple. The recipe I use to make them is taken and adapted from The Joy Of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker & Ethan Becker. If you don't already have this in your cookbook collection, I couldn't recommend it more. It's one of my favourite books to work from and covers everything in the world of baking and cooking. I love this book. This recipe does take a little work, but the results are impressive and will put a delighted smile on every child's (and adult's!) face :)

Even one of our own carved pumpkins loves candy apples ;)


So here's what to do:

Ingredients:
10 - 15 wooden skewers
10 - 15 small sized, washed braeburn or jazz apples
2 cups caster sugar
1 cup water
2/3 of a cup light corn syrup (Note: you need to use corn syrup not golden syrup. You can find it in Fallon & Byrne and other reputable gourmet food emporiums around the country and of course, online too.)
1 three to four inch cinnamon stick
A few drops of red food colouring

See my Cups For Cooking page for measurement conversions.

Candy Apples!


Method:
- Line a baking tray with a flat silicone sheet.

- Remove the stems of the apples and insert a wooden skewer into the stem end of each apple.

- In the top of a double boiler (a pot that fits over another pot that will have boiling water in it), combine the sugar, water, corn syrup,  and cinnamon stick - stirring until dissolved.

- Bring the syrup mixture to the boil on the hob (not on the double boiler, over boiling water), until it reaches the small crack stage on a candy thermometer (138 degrees C)

- Remove the cinnamon stick from the syrup and add 3-4 drops of red food colouring, stir-in using a wooden spoon.

- Now set the pot on the double boiler over boiling water.

- Working quickly, dip the apples in, one at a time and coat evenly with the syrup.

- Twirl the apple at the end so the extra syrup drips off. Don't coat them too thickly because once the apples set, it will be too difficult to eat them due to the thick layer of candy on them.

- Set each apple on the silicone liner and leave to set.

- They are best consumed within 24 hours. 

Happy Halloween!




Friday, 14 October 2011

Dingle Rocks!

Now that all the hoopla has died down about The Dingle Food Festival http://www.dinglefood.com/, I finally get a chance to sit and blog about it properly. I was tempted to wing up a load of photos and endless praise, but decided to give myself some some time before I did exactly that, perhaps with a little more thought behind what I am going to say. 



The idea of going to The Dingle Food Festival was back at the beginning of September when I was actually in Dingle at the time. I passed a large poster advertising the food festival declaring something along the lines of, 'A food festival, in Dingle, need I say more?' I thought that would be nice to go to, but really didn't think about it seriously until the IFBA http://www.irishfoodbloggers.com/ put up a mention on their site. Aoife from 'I Can Has Cook' http://icanhascook.wordpress.com/ had put out a call to food bloggers to head down to the food festival for the weekend and the rest as they say, is history.




What a weekend it was. Before I begin my ramblings of how great a time I had, I have to give a shout-out to Aoife at I Can Has Cook, to thank her for helping to arrange and organise a brilliant weekend for myself and fellow food bloggers. It was lovely to meet her and the other food bloggers. See Aoife's excellent blog about her experience in Dingle for the food festival here: http://icanhascook.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/dingle-invasion/



We (myself, my husband and daughter), arrived Friday mid-afternoon with our appetites in tow. Once settled into our B&B, we headed straight back out again to The Dingle Brewing Company where there was a showcase of local foods that were going to be available throughout the weekend at the various markets and along the taste trail. What a way to begin a festival. Surprisingly, there were plenty of gluten free options available. Between taking pictures, meeting new people and looking after my daughter I managed to fill-up on enough food to keep me satisfied until dinner.







Ahhh dinner... speaking of which, we headed to An Canteen https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Canteen/255213173232 very early in the evening for what turned out to be an incredible feast. Hats off to the chef, Niall O'Conchuir. He cooks incredible food. I mean it's the type of cooking you wish you could produce from your kitchen everyday and he makes it look easy. The food is seasonal and local and because it is good food, it lends itself to being naturally gluten free. I walked in without calling in advance and I was able to fill-up on a most excellent gluten free feast. So delicious and I look forward to going back when I visit Dingle again.

We were up bright and early on Saturday morning.  My family and I had the great priviledge to be part of an ice cream masterclass with Kieran Murphy of Murphys Ice Cream http://www.murphysicecream.ie/ He made for us his Olive Oil Brownies, recipe for which can be found on his blog here: http://icecreamireland.com/2011/10/01/olive-oil-brownies/ (gluten free, yay!), amazing Extreme Hot Chocolate, which uses Carragheen seaweed to thicken the milk and of course he made ice cream. I was really interested to learn that he cooks using weight rather than volume, simply because I do the reverse. I prefer to cook and bake using volume. He finds that there is more of a 'consistency' in measurements when he is making ice cream using weights. I think I'll definitely take this on board when I get around at attempting my own homemade ice cream one day. It was an amazing masterclass and I was really happy to be part of it. My daughter was especially delighted, being 5 years old, her world revolves around ice cream (and she got to lick the spoon when he finished making the Olive Oil Brownies)!




Afterwards we headed off to the food markets and picked up loads of amazing food. I was especially delighted to see Foods of Athenry http://www.foodsofathenry.ie/ with their incredible range of gluten free foods for sale, The Cake Stand had their mouth watering macarons available http://www.thecakestand.ie/macarons.php and there were many other gluten free foods on display. Quite frankly, I was surprised and delighted to see so much variety of food available that was gluten free.






The rest of the day and all of Sunday was then spent on the food trail. You purchase a book of tokens which you then exchange for food in any shops/cafés/restaurants/hotels that were taking part throughout the town. Honestly, a food trail that includes barbecued kangaroo on a skewer, spit roast pig with fresh apple sauce, dessert wines and matching desserts, champagne sorbet with strawberries covered in dark chocolate, buckwheat crepes with caramel sauce or apple compote and so much more, is the perfect way to spend a weekend. I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate some more. What a festival.





















Of course The Dingle Food Festival was host to the Blas na hÉireann Food Awards http://www.irishfoodawards.com/. I was particularly delighted to see that Gookies https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gookies/110103285717377 won a bronze award for their Gluten Free Cranberry & White chocolate chip cookie dough, Pure Foods http://www.purefood.ie/ picked up a silver for their flourless brownies and The Cake Stand won a silver for their vanilla macarons. You can find the full listing of who won the awards here: http://www.irishfoodawards.com/about.asp?id=226






It was an incredible weekend. Really well put together and this festival will definitely warrant a return next year. I can't wait, I'm already getting withdrawal symptoms. It  all comes down to three words - I Love Dingle






Wednesday, 3 August 2011

I Love Ice Cream!

When the sun comes out, I can't help but use it as an excuse to eat ice cream. So when I woke this morning to sunshine and blue sky, I knew today was going to be no exception. I packed myself and my daughter off to visit the only place to go when the urge for ice cream is on me - Missy Moo's. I love this ice cream parlour. There really is no other place like it in Ireland. It's a family run business located on Chapel Lane in Naas, Co. Kildare. They make all their homemade ice cream upstairs from the shop and is worth the visit.




They have recently introduced a new gluten free range of home-baked goodies. There is a lemon drizzle cake and also gluten free cupcakes, with intentions to expand the gluten free menu in the future to possibly include savoury lunch options (ie. sandwiches, etc.) They make sure their fresh gluten free goodies are covered properly and not touching other foods to prevent cross-contamination at the counter.


Gluten Free Cupcakes


Not forgetting the amazing ice cream! There can be up to 18 different flavours to choose from on any given day; with choices such as Honeycomb, Marshmallow Heaven, Minty Golfball, Chocolate, Vanilla - all the classics.  You can have a sundae with homemade caramel or chocolate sauce, whipped cream, a variety of toppings to choose from - nuts, marshmallows, hundreds and thousands (hopefully there will be a gluten free hundreds and thousands option too - I'm told it's being looked into, yay!), milkshakes of any flavour or made with any bar of chocolate they have available behind the counter, ice cream floats, cones, etc. You can also custom order an ice cream cake from them. There are some ice creams I couldn't have due to their gluten content, such as Birthday Cake and Chocolate Brownie, but there is enough choice I think, to keep everyone happy.

You can find Missy Moo's on facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Missy-Moos/289689587586 and you can also buy their ice cream and their ice cream cakes at Avoca in Rathcoole. They were awarded a Bridgestone Best In Ireland award this year as well as a Best Eatery Award at the Kildare Business Awards, both of which were well and truly deserved.

If you haven't guessed already - I'm a Missy Moo's addict and proud to be one!


All Gone!


Friday, 29 July 2011

Mmmmmm.... Doughnuts!

I don't know about you, but the problem with me is that I always want to eat dessert not long before bedtime. My favourite 'midnight snack' is my take on French Market Doughnuts, also known as Beignets. In fairness to the excellence of the original Beignet, my version is quite different as my recipe doesn't allow the dough to prove for around an hour as a typical recipe of this nature would call for and I do not roll out the dough and then cut it into pieces for frying. This comes down to impatience. I want my doughnuts and I want them now! As I like to bake these at night, my pictures are quite dark as they are taken in artificial light on dark work tops - so picture quality is compromised somewhat...!


Mmm...!


Ingredients
Mix:
1 cup of milk, scalded
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 heaped tablespoons of ground nutmeg
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups of Juvela Gluten Free White Mix

Mix seperately:
1 packet of active gluten free dry yeast
2 tablespoons warm water
1/4 teaspoon caster sugar

Garnish:
A bowl of powdered sugar

See my Cups For Cooking page for conversions.


Method
- Get a big heavy bottomed pot and pour in enough vegetable oil until it reaches half way up the pot and leave aside. If you have your own deep fat fryer, have that cleaned and ready with fresh oil.

- Scald the milk in a separate pot. Pour the scalded milk into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool - this is so that when you add the egg, it doesn't cook.

- Mix the dry yeast, warm water and sugar in a small bowl and leave aside for around 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

- Taking the large mixing bowl that has the cooled scalded milk (can be warm to room temperature), add the salt, oil, sugar, nutmeg, egg and the yeast mix (which should have expanded and appear foamy by now), and mix until combined. 



- Add your flour gradually, one cup at a time while mixing until all 3 1/2 cups have been added and combined. I  use a Kitchenaid with a dough hook attachment to make my doughnuts.

- Now make sure the dough is not too wet. It should have the consistency of play-doh (ie. no longer sticky). If it's still too wet to work with, add the remainder 1/2 cup of flour and that should sort out the consistency.




- Put the pot that has the oil in it on the hob and heat up the oil on a medium-high heat.

- Divide the dough in the mixing bowl into small pieces around half the size of a golf ball. Don't make them too big or they won't cook through. Can make between 50 - 60 doughnuts.




- Test the oil in the pot by dropping a small piece of dough into it. If the dough starts immediately to rise to the surface and bubble, your oil is ready. If it sinks to the bottom of the pot, you still have to wait. Make sure your oil never smokes, if you start seeing smoke from your oil, it's too hot and is at risk of burning, remove it from the heat immediately and allow it to cool down.

- Once up to heat, place around ten pieces of your mix into the oil and let them cook until they start to turn golden brown on one side. Turn the heat of your oil down to medium once you start frying. 




- When your doughnuts have browned on one side, using a large metal slotted spoon turn them over to the other side and allow to brown.

- Once fully browned, using your slotted spoon, place them gently on a kitchen towel lined plate. 




- Then roll them in a bowl of powdered sugar until fully coated and leave them aside on a piece of  kitchen towel. 

- Do the last 4 steps until all the dough has been used. 




- Place the doughnuts in a large enough bowl that can hold them all, make sure it's lined with kitchen towels and enjoy!

They are best eaten immediately, but can keep for another day, they just won't taste as fresh and who can wait a day!? :)

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Summer In A Bowl

I was on the phone to my mom the other day when she told me she was in the middle of baking blueberry pudding. I could almost smell it over the phone - such are the memories of how good it is. It spurred me to go out and buy some blueberries from the local food market and I rang her the next day to get the recipe.




Yesterday evening was my testing phase - how do I make this incredible recipe gluten free? As the ingredients and methodology are simple enough with the flour being the only thing that needs to be substituted, I decided on using Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain White Flour. It turned out to be the ideal choice and I was delighted with the result. So after yesterday evening's success of baking my first ever blueberry pudding - I figured I might as well share the recipe! 

I use the cups measurements for baking so please see me 'Cups For Cooking' tab for conversions.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. I use a convection/conventional oven, so I think you may want to lower the temperature a bit if you are using a fan oven - maybe by 20 degrees C. Place an oven rack in the middle of the oven.

Ingredients
1 cup caster sugar
4 tablespoons of softened (not melted) butter
1/2 cup of milk
1 large egg
1 cup of Doves Farm Gluten Free White Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
1 cup of fresh blueberries


Method
- Generously butter a deep (can hold around at least 2 pints) ceramic or metal oven proof bowl.

- In a medium sized bowl, beat together the sugar, butter, milk and egg with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

- Using a rubber spatula, blend the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the vanilla.

- Spread half of the blueberries in the bottom of the oven proof bowl.

- Pour the batter over the berries and spread the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the batter.

- Cover the bowl tightly with foil and place in the centre of a large roasting pan.

- Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is half way up the sides of the bowl (a bain-Marie).

- Depending on the thickness of the bowl you're using, bake it for at least an hour and a half. I used a creuset bowl and it needed to bake for at least two hours before it was baked through.

- You'll know it's cooked when you place a skewer or cake tester in the centre of the pudding and it comes out clean.

Have patience, the pudding is lovely and cakey when cooked through properly, so don't take it out too early or it will only be cooked on the top and not right through to the bottom.

- Serve with sweetened whipped cream (for the recipe see my 'Dark Days , Dark Chocolate' blog post) or vanilla ice cream.



Enjoy!

If you decide to bake this, let me know how it goes! It would be great to hear if there are other gluten free successes with this pud, or if you think something should be added to make the recipe better :)

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Summer Lovin'

I can't believe it's the first day of summer already, I just wish the weather would reflect the season. It has been pouring rain here all day. I can only pray that the weather will have a change of heart and allow the sun to shine soon. 


Random Artsy Picture Vol II - Sunflowers For Summer


The one thing I love about this time of year are the food festivals! There are so many going on around the country, I can literally spend my weekends driving from town to town visiting all the different foodie events, which probably explains why I haven't had time to blog as much as I would like to! I know I am well overdue in putting up a new blog post... apologies in not being a more regular blogger of late. I'm not suffering from 'blog fatigue' - I've just found that life has suddenly taken over and is preventing me from doing all the stuff I like to do such as ideally spending time here on my blog. Since running the giveaway competition this past May, I have literally been inundated with recommendations to add to my Eat Out and Off The Shelf pages. I have slowly but surely been adding all this new information to the pages, with yet still more to publish! A happy complaint, as I really want these pages to be quite definitive. I also haven't finished updating the map on my Eat Out page, I have more places listed on the page than are actually on the map, but I intend to complete the map soon. It's all a matter of getting time to sit down and log the information! Something I seem to be short on these days.

If you haven't heard already, I have a new Twitter account http://twitter.com/GF_Photographer I'm only starting to really understand how it works, but I intend to use it in conjunction with my Facebook page. Both of which you can find links for over on the right hand side of this blog *points in that direction over there* If you aren't already following me there, you're very welcome to :) They're handy sites to update with random (and sometimes useful!) pieces of information and goings on in my gluten free world.

I've come across a few things of note from the web:

- Mark Doe, Glutenzone's chef (http://glutenzone.ie/) has added a listing on his website for exclusive gluten free recipes HERE. This has just started, so I expect this will be a growing list of tasty gluten free recipes. Probably worth keeping your eye on.

- The Cake & Crumb (http://www.thecakeandcrumb.biz/) have announced on their facebook page, 'We are delighted to say that from this week we are 'on board' with Eco Direct. All our delicious breads, mixes, cakes etc.. To get us started we are running a promotion..when you buy a full sized loaf you get a bag of mini loaves free... so pop online and add some to you usual order.... :)' How great! Check out Eco Direct http://www.ecodirect.ie/ (also listed on my Off The Shelf page) for all things gluten free. 

- Genius Gluten Free (http://www.geniusglutenfree.com/) - those fine people who make the most delicious gluten free bread - have just launched a new gluten and wheat free frozen pastry range. They have Genius Steak & Ale pies, Chicken & Mushroom pies, Cornish Slices and Ready Roll Short Crust pastry. This is good news for those of you who live north of the border, as they are now available in select Tesco stores in the UK - but they are yet to launch their range here in the south, though I was told that they intend to do so in the future. However, it's not too far these days to hop across the border - why not take the opportunity to stock up on some Genius Gluten Free frozen goodies.

- Gookies, if you don't know of this wonderful  product already, it is a handmade wheat free, gluten free cookie dough roll that is just delicious. They are currently doing various tastings around the country - keep an eye on their facebook page HERE to find out where they will be next so you can give them a try. They are so yummy! They are also looking for new stockists, so where would you like to be able to buy their products? Why not let them know on their facebook page.

What's going on in my kitchen:

To celebrate summer, we're currently in the middle of brewing a batch of Elderflower Champagne. Irish Elder trees seem to be really flourishing this year, so it seemed an ideal time to experiment with some home brew.  Why not give it a go yourself. My husband is the one in charge of the project and he is using Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's recipe, via this blogger's post: http://www.thefood.ie/2010/06/free-booze-elderflower-champagne.html a great step-by-step guide found here, with handy pictures to follow along to. If you're interested, just be aware you probably have until the end of June to pick the best of the flowers. Let me know if you decide to go ahead with it! I'd love to know if there are others out there taking advantage of seasonal wild foods.

I would just like to thank everyone again who has helped me in my quest to make this blog as informative and helpful as possible. Please feel free to drop me a line via my email, my facebook page or through twitter if you want to see anything new added to the pages on this blog. All suggestions are welcome.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Updates & Exciting News

So I haven't been the most diligent of bloggers as of late! I have been busy though...

Okay first things first, welcome to all my new readers and followers! I'm flattered that anyone would find my blog worth reading, so thank you for your virtual company :)

I have updated my pages - woo! If you haven't noticed, the 'Eat Out' page is now in alphabetical order by county. Hopefully making it a little easier to navigate. A few more eateries have been added too, so slowly but surely coming along.

The 'Clue Me In!' page has had more links added - have a look!

'Off The Shelf' has had a few more tasty gluten free foods added to the page. I'm aware that Eco Direct (also featured on this page), have recently begun a new e-newsletter. If you have already had dealings with Eco Direct you probably have already received their first instalment. It's a great source of information and it seems they are featuring deals for coeliac friendly restaurants and new products that are being introduced to their shop. If you haven't received it and are interested, I suggest you contact them either through this link HERE or give them a call at (01) 620 5053.

I have published a new page called 'Cups For Cooking'. I've put this up to make converting my recipes that I publish a little easier. There's also a convenient link on this page that will lead you to a site that converts everything you can possibly cook with, into weights.

Now for the exciting news - I have an amazing giveaway that I'm in the middle of organising. I have arranged to have some superb 'prizes' and am really looking forward to getting it going. Once I have the logistics finalised, hopefully sometime this week, I shall run the giveaway through my blog and facebook page. I'm genuinely delighted with the generosity of the businesses that have donated to this. All details to be revealed (very) soon...!

Random Artsy Picture Vol I - Everybody Loves Hearts



Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gluten Free At Heart

How could I not take advantage of my first St. Valentine's Day as a food blogger? This recipe has to be right up there as one of my favourites. It's simple to make, it's sweet and most of all it lends itself to being romantic. With the two main ingredients being chocolate and cinnamon, you know you're in good company. 




I call these Heart Warming Chocolate Cinnamon Pots. This recipe makes 2 - 3 portions, depending on the size of the ramekins used. Please see my 'Cups For Cooking' page for measurement conversions.

Ingredients
Topping:
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoons caster sugar

Batter:
3/4 cups Juvela gluten free White Mix (I think any decent gluten free flour mix will do for this recipe, I just like the 'lightness' that the Juvela blend gives to this recipe)
1/2 cup caster sugar
2 heaped tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup of milk
4 - 6 tablespoons boiling water


Method
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place an oven rack on the middle shelf.

- Grease 2 or 3 ramekins with butter.

- In a small bowl combine the cocoa and sugar for your topping and set aside.

- In a medium sized bowl combine the Juvela flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

- Add the oil and milk to the mixture and stir until everything is well combined. The mix should look like a cake batter.

- Divide the mixture evenly between the ramekins and place them on a baking sheet.

- Now sprinkle on the topping you've pre-prepared, dividing evenly over the batter in each ramekin.

- Pour 2 tablespoons of boiling water into each ramekin.

- Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes until they are firm on top, with just a little give in the middle.

- Once baked, break open the top of your chocolate cinnamon pot and pour cream into the middle. They have a wonderful gooey centre made all the more tasty with the cream you add.




Wednesday, 9 February 2011

New Bits 'n' Bobs

Seeing as we're all well and truly into the new year, I've decided to give my blog a bit of a facelift  - I've recently updated my 'Clue Me In!' and my 'Eat Out' pages. Clue Me In is shaping up to be more of a resource page and a little more informative. I've added two new links that I feel are valuable to people living on a gluten free diet.

There have been a few more additions to my Eat Out page and I've also added a map to correspond with the entries, so you can find their location a little easier. I've been lucky enough to have been to all the restaurants/cafés I've put up and am hoping that this will become quite a comprehensive list of places that are genuinely of a high standard to eat at for the gluten free foodie.

Over the next few weeks I am going to revise my 'Off The Shelf' page to include all the reliable gluten free products that are on the shelves at the moment, as well as a list of gluten free beers and their stockists - an off-licence aisle, so to speak!

You may have noticed a new page went up last month, 'My Gluten Free Mission' - basically it does exactly what it says on the tin. It outlines what I want this blog to ultimately become.

As always, I welcome any and all feedback. If you are aware of a great online source for living a gluten free diet, let me know. I'd love to know if there are other Irish coeliac bloggers out there or of other restaurants/cafés/bakeries that are of exceptional standard that should be included in the Eat Out page. So if you know, or know someone who can contribute, feel free to get in touch!






Saturday, 5 February 2011

Tickety Boo Tasty

You probably have seen those ads for Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer on TV recently. I was undecided about this drink, maybe in part to the advertising campaign and also I'm not a fan of non-alcoholic ginger beer. It was only when I tasted it that I realised I had been missing out! Being gluten free definitely has its challenges when it comes to alcohol - see my 'Do You Have Any Beer' blog post for my preferred tipple - so I'm constantly on the look out for a decent gluten free alcoholic beverage that isn't cider or the dreaded alco-pop.



Crabbies is actually really tasty. It is sweet, but the ginger gives it a lovely warmth and there's no denying the kick you get from drinking it. I like to pour it in a large glass over a lot of ice and a big wedge of lime. It might seem summery and I have to say I'm looking forward to drinking this on occasion during the long summer evenings, but it is just as good as a winter warmer.

It can be found in most off-licences and major supermarkets around the country. It is relatively affordable and you definitely get more bang for your buck than you do when compared to buying a bottle of gluten free beer.

It's also a spiffing alternative to the usual wine and GF beer options one has available out there ;)





Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Best Cakes Are Made In A Pan

I can't seem to get away from the notion of breakfast for my blog! I know I just wrote about a full Irish, but my ultimate favourite thing for breakfast are pancakes. I love them. I could eat them every morning if I was allowed to. When I first went gluten free, I thought I had looked my last pancake in the eye and that was that. Crepes were easy enough to make with the gluten free flours that are around, but I wanted a true blue, full on, actual pancake. The kind you stack and drown in unholy amounts of syrup and butter. I use the Gluten Free Juvela White Mix and it is perfect for pancakes. This recipe was developed by me and truly it doesn't work nearly as well or taste nearly as delicious with any other flour. So if you don't suffer from a true wheat allergy - this is the recipe for you.  Please note that I use  the North American cup measurement for baking - see my 'Cups For Cooking' page for a conversion table.



Ingredients:
2 cups Juvela White Mix
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk
Butter

Method:
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

- Then add the beaten egg, using a whisk.

- Add the milk while whisking the batter continuously until it is mixed. It's okay if there are lumps, the batter does not need to be smooth.

- Leave the batter for a minute before you start cooking with it. This gives the flour a chance to absorb the liquid properly and make it very thick. If it's too thick to manage add another quarter of a cup of milk. Careful not to add too much milk! It may appear super thick, but if you add too much milk, the pancake will end up having an 'eggy' or 'slightly wet' texture in the cake and not the dry, fluffy pancake you're aiming for.

- Put a large frying pan on a medium high heat and add a generous amount of butter to your pan.

- When the butter is bubbling in the pan, using a large spoon, scoop the batter onto the frying pan so that you can fit three individual pancakes. The batter does not need to be moved around the pan like a crepe - it should be too thick to do this anyway.



- Bubbles will start to appear on the pancake and just before they begin to pop, they are ready to be turned over using a spatula.

- Cook the pancakes on the other side until golden brown and serve immediately from the pan onto a warmed plate with butter and syrup.




This recipe makes around a baker's dozen.

My syrups of choice are Aunt Jemima's original syrup, Highbank Original Irish Orchard Apple Syrup or Canadian maple syrup.





Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Full Irish - Zero Gluten

I enjoy a good fry-up every now and then and with needing gluten free food comes the usual ingredients difficulty. So I thought I'd share my favourite brands I use for a decent full Irish breakfast. When I plate-up I like to see beans, sausages, bacon, egg, toast, white pudding and hash browns. Of course no fry is complete without tea and I like to have a mug of Barry's with mine.

For the sausages, I used Jane Russell's Bratwurst, just for a change. Really nomsome. There are quite a few gluten free sausages on the market at the moment. My favourites being the Clonakilty gluten free sausages and Marks & Spencer's sausages (the majority of the M&S range of sausages are already gluten free). You can also get Hodgins brand and Superquinn brand gluten free sausages too, if you're interested.




The beans are Heinz and my secret to make them particularly delicious is a half a teaspoon of Molasses. I use the Kelkin brand. It gives the beans an extra depth of flavour. Not only that, but it adds that extra crucial iron I particularly need in my diet.




Head to Marks & Spencer for the hash browns. I use their maris piper potato rostis that are utterly delicious and gluten free to boot.




For the white pudding I use the Hodgins brand. I think it tastes perfect. They have a black pudding too, but I've never really been a fan of black pud, so I don't bother with it. Super Valu are the main distributor for this Cork-based brand. I'm sure some of the larger supermarkets also supply them.



In my most recent breakfast feast, I used the Juvela white rolls for toast, which I think are pretty decent gluten free bread fare.

The majority of the ingredients you can keep handy in your freezer, for those all-important emergency rations. Nice.

Gluten free food has never tasted so good - even my non-coeliac husband enjoys the gluten free fry up!

Of course, this isn't something you'd treat yourself to too often, but it is nice to have the luxury of a decent full Irish every now and then, without the glutened hassle.