How long is it since you had scones?

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life.

When I was cooking with wheat I was proud of my scone making ability. I could make light, fluffy, tall scones. By tall, I mean they weren’t little nuggets of scones like some you see around. Mine were big pillowy things that just lent themselves to jam and cream.

But then, I had to learn to bake gluten free and for years scones have eluded me. No matter what I did, I just could not get the to rise. If anything, they went out, not up. And they were heavy! They would have worked really well as weights on a fishing line.

I tried everything – lemonade scones; add the dry ingredients to the wet rather than the other way around; use soda water; use heaps of baking powder. You name it, I tried it. And nothing worked.

Then, a few weeks ago I thought I’d give buttermilk a go. And, blow me down, proper scones! Like many gluten free foods, they are a bit more moist than traditional scones, but they’re light, tasty, and actually went up instead of out.

So this week, I share with you my recipe for gluten free scones. I’ve given you a couple of variations to try as well. Today I made cheese scones for lunch which my non-celiac partner ate happily.

Image of Gluten Free Scones

Gluten Free Scones

Minestrone Soup

Then, for dinner tonight I made my version of minestrone soup. You might have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a soup binge. It’s one reason I love winter, my chance to bring out my repertoire of soup recipes.

I love minestrone soup, it’s a great way to get your allocation of fresh veggies, as well as pulses and tomatoes. A real Mediterranean feast. Served with gluten free bread, makes for the perfect dinner on a cold winter’s night.

Image of Minestrone Soup

Minestrone Soup

Chili Sauce Update

If you remember, last week I told you I had harvested a bonanza of chilies from my chili bush. I was planning to make Sweet Chili Sauce, and finally got around to it on Wednesday. The tedious part was splitting the chilies and scraping out the seeds. One thing I’ll tell you for free – if someone tells you to wear gloves when you’re doing this part of the job, believe them!

I didn’t bother, just ploughed into it. Chopping and scraping chilies with no protection on my hands. And boy did I pay for that! I spent the next couple of days clutching a couple of ice packs to settle the burning in my hands.

But, thanks to my burning hands and a large pile of chilies, I made up 3 and a half litres (7.4 pints) of sweet chili sauce. Major hot I have to say. Apparently, you can make it with 50/50 capsicums (red bell peppers) to make a milder sauce, but I went all in using just chilies.

The bottles of sauce are now lined up on my kitchen bench waiting to be shared with the kids. They will get a bottle each, and the rest will be squirreled away to use for my satay chicken recipe that I’ll share with you another day

Until then, take care and eat well.

 

 

Chilies and Pumpkin Soup

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life. It’s all about chilis and soup this week.

I’ve just reaped the last rewards of my summer harvest, and I now have chilies coming out my ears. I planted a new bush at the beginning of summer because my last bush had run it’s course. But I have to say I didn’t expect the output to be quite as good as it has been.

I have been passing out chilies to anyone who looks vaguely interested. Even the parrots have been getting a feast. Every time I walk out the door into the garden, there is a flurry of feathers as they take off from feasting. The funny thing is they eat the outside of the fruit and leave the seeds dangling from the stem. It looks quite weird! Interestingly, apparently parrots are immune to the capsaicin that is the magic ingredient that give chilies and and peppers their heat. And, it’s not the seeds that are the hot part, it’s the white fleshy bits inside the chilies that is the hot bit.

Anyway, I now have almost half a washing basket of chilies. So the next few days will be spent in a frenzy of making chili jam, sweet chili sauce, and anything else chili I can think of making. Any ideas – all suggestions gratefully received!

Pumpkin Soup

It’s almost winter and we’re having a real winter blast this weekend. It’s raining and cold which means neither us nor the dogs want to go outside too much. A quick walk around the lake, and a scamper around the garden to collect goodies for vegetable stock is about all I managed today (apart from picking all those chilies!).

I had picked up a nice big lump of pumpkin the other day at the supermarkets, so I decided it was ideal soup weather. I love pumpkin soup, so I knocked up a nice big batch so we can have some for lunch today and tomorrow. I have taken the traditional recipe and given it a bit of a twist. The recipe is here for you to check out.

Lovely with a couple of pieces of bread while watching the rain fall outside.

Image of Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin Soup

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

For your sweet treat this week, I’m sharing my recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies (or biscuits as we Aussies call them). Did you know that chocolate chip cookies were created by accident? Apparently the accidental genius who made the first batch was making traditional chocolate cookies but was in a hurry. So, instead of melting the chocolate and mixing into the rest of the ingredients as she should have done, she dumped the packet of chocolate chips into the cookie dough and baked them, expecting them to melt into the dough. Presumably, if they had worked, no one would have been any the wiser. But, luckily for all of us, the chocolate chips held their shapes and the chocolate chip cookie was born.

Just because you’re celiac, or going wheat free, doesn’t mean you need to miss out on these tasty little treasures. So here’s my recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies so you can knock up a batch for afternoon tea.

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Image of Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Hi there! Is it Mother’s Day where you are? It is here in Australia, so a big hello to all the mums out there. I’ve got a couple of real treats for you here you can try for yourself, or for your mother.

But first, I’ve got some interesting news to share with you about how the bacteria in your gut changes your brain structures, and how your brain can change you gut bacteria.

Gut Bacteria Affects Brain Structure in People with IBS

There has been some really interesting research done in the last couple of years on gut bacteria. Researchers have found that gut bacteria can have an effect on mental health as well as on general health and weight.

In fact, they have found that some people with mental health issues can be significantly improved by changing the environment in their gut. Really interesting for me was hearing that some people with schizophrenia who have adopted a gluten free diet have experienced improvements in their conditions.

The latest research I read the other day has shown that, for people with irritable bowel syndrome, the bacteria in the gut seems to a direct effect on structures in the brain that have to do with response to stimuli. And changes to that area of the brain, also affect the gut.

Even more amazing was that childhood trauma seems to have a direct effect on both areas – the gut and the brain.

I’ve put the full article here so you can read all the details, and I’ve included the link to the original article I read in case you want to read more.

Mother’s Day Treats

So, for this week, given it’s Mother’s Day I thought I’d share with you a couple of recipes you can make for her special day.

Suppli

I don’t know about you, but I find risotto is a real go-to dish for me when I want to knock up something easy and tasty. I always have home-made stock in the freezer I can bring out to use when I need to which makes things a bit easier. But I always tend to make too much so I was pleased one day to find Suppli which is a traditional Italian dish which uses left over risotto to make rice balls with a knob of cheese melted in the middle.

So here is my recipe for gluten free Suppli. Make your risotto the day before if you can. If not, they tend to “explode” in the oven. But if you don’t mind a little melted cheese on your plate, then you can knock up the risotto and just wait for it to cool enough to handle.

Image of Suppli (rice balls)Serve with a nice fresh salad and a glass of chilled white wine. Then follow with my rhubarb tart tatin for a meal made in heaven!

 

 

 

  Rhubarb Tart Tatin

My next recipe builds on the gluten free puff pastry recipe I shared with you last week. I’ve had rhubarb growing in my garden for a while and I decided it was time to pick some and make something special. For some reason, it’s green, not red, at the moment. Although I notice the new growth is coming through red, so I suspect it may be because rhubarb needs it to be a bit cold to develop that traditional red colour. But it tastes just fine so I thought I’d have a go at making a version of the traditional French Tart Tatin. Instead of using apples, I used my rhubarb, and the rest of my batch of puff pastry.

It was mighty fine I have to say – with a generous dollop of cream on the side, it was a great way to finish of our meal. So here is my recipe for Gluten Free Rhubarb Tart Tatin.

Image of Rhubarb Tart Tatine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Vitamin Supplements and Celiac Disease

Welcome back, I don’t know about you, but I take a few vitamins and minerals to supplement my diet. As well as a multi-vitamin, I take essential fatty acids (flaxseed oil), turmeric (I’ll cover this one in a later blog entry), and calcium and vitamin D.

However, I regularly read and hear news articles that say, if your diet is adequate, taking vitamin supplements is a waste of money. While I was zooming around a couple of science sites I found an article that interested me. I’ve put the details here, but effectively they have found that dietary supplements are actually useful for celiac disease sufferers.

In fact, my doctor pretty much admitted as much the other day. To explain, I need to take a slight leap sideways: A few months ago I bought a new, you beaut set of digital scales. As well as telling me my body fat level (depressing!) it also tells me my bone density.

I was somewhat alarmed when I jumped on it to discover it was telling me my bone density was low. So I made an appointment to see my GP, who sent me off for a proper bone density scan. And, I am low dammit! That means, while I don’t have osteoporosis yet, if I don’t do something about it now, then I will develop it in a few years time.

While we were chatting, she indicated that the fact that I had celiac disease, meant that I was at a higher risk because of issues with being able to absorb vital nutrients including calcium.

So now I have to ramp up my calcium and vitamin D intake, and I’ll happily continue to take my other supplements regardless of what others say.

Gluten Free Puff Pastry

My recipe for you this week is gluten free puff pastry. I have to admit, this is not an easy recipe. But, if you persist and practice, you can crack it. And then you can have delicious pies and pastries. And, once you can make gluten free puff pastry you can then graduate to croissants and Danish Pastries.

Check out the recipe here, then go away and practice. You may go through a lot of flour and butter getting this one right, but persist! And you can always drop me a line and ask me what’s going wrong. I’m happy to help where I can.

Until next week, take care and eat well.

Image of Gluten Free Puff Pastry