It’s Anzac Day here In Australia and New Zealand

Welcome back, April 25 is Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.

For those of you not from these parts, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. During World War 1 the Anzacs fought together at Gallipoli in a doomed attempt to take a peninsula in the then Ottoman Empire. They fought for 8 months, suffering huge casualties before abandoning the attempt.

Since then, Australians and New Zealanders have commemorated our war dead on the anniversary of the first landing at Gallipoli. Australia has a holiday, and thousands attend dawn services and marches to say thank you to those who fought and died in battle.

While we didn’t attend the dawn service we did take time to acknowledge those who had gone before. One of my ancestors fought at Gallipoli before ultimately dying on the Western Front in Ypres. In the Second World War, one of my uncles was a Rat of Tobruck, and my grandfathers both fought in the war.

One of my other uncles was actually a maths whiz and was involved in the work done in Bletchley Park in the UK where they worked to decode the German signals and commniques. I wish I’d inherited his flair for maths!

During the wars, the women left at home would create packages of clothes and treats to send to their menfolk fighting at the front. Amongst the treats they would make were Anzac biscuits. These were a sweet treat that could be packaged up and survive the travel from Australia to Europe. They are now a traditional biscuit loved by many.

The problem for us celiacs is they are made with flour (obviously) and oats. Here in Australia, oats are on the banned list for celiacs because they can cause a reaction for some people. So, the trick with making Anzac biscuits, is not so much the flour, but finding a substitute for the oats. So I decided to give quinoa flakes a go. They have a nutty sort of flavour, and I felt they should hold their shape when baking. So I had a go, and the result was delicious. My partner kept claiming they had “fallen on the floor” so he had to keep eating them. I’ve put the recipe here for you to try.

Even if you’re not an Aussie or Kiwi you should enjoy these. They are not too sweet, and are a nice crunchy snack for morning tea.

I’m About to Start Baking Again

After a hectic few weeks dealing with my mother taking a tumble, Easter and school holidays, I’m about to get back into the baking again. I was thinking of having a go at some of those bread recipes I’ve missed like bread sticks, and cinnamon scrolls. Is there anything you’ve been missing since going gluten or wheat free?

Why not drop me a line and let me know so I can take a look and see if I can work out a recipe for you? Just jump scroll down and leave me a message to let me know what breads or rolls you’ve been missing? If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, you’re coming into winter. What about a nice fruit loaf to toast and have with hot chocolate or coffee for breakfast?

Until next week, stay safe and eat well.

 

Image of Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits

Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits

 

Easter Time is Family Time

Welcome back,I hope you all had a Happy Easter.

Easter is family time for us. My partner, Adrian, and I live south of Perth, Western Australia, a couple of hours south of our kids. So we don’t get to see them and the grandkids as often as we would like.
So, any chance we get, we organise a family get-together, and Easter is a perfect opportunity. I cook like crazy for a couple of days, then we all get together over food and drinks for a wonderful family gathering.
This year we have an (almost) new grandson. He’s just 4 months old and really starting to turn into a proper person. He loves our dogs and the feeling is mutual. Daisy was absolutely fascinated with Jackson, and shadowed him for the whole day.
We had a delicious lunch with Twice Baked Cheese Souffles on Mushroom Steaks, roast pork, roast potatoes and pumpkin, and steamed vegetables. I rolled the pork roast in a mixture of a quarter of a cup of brown sugar, half a teaspoon of ground pepper, and half a teaspoon of salt. It caramelised beautifully over the pork and gave it a delicious flavour.
To finish I made my Gluten Free Caramel Walnut Tart and a Gluten Free Rhubarb and Apple Crumble with Gluten Free, lactose free custard.
Then we all went into a food coma!
What did you have for Easter? Do you have a special dish that comes out on special occasions like Easter or Christmas? If you do, why not pop over to my blog and leave a quick message to tell everyone what your special dish is? Just scroll down and leave a comment and let me know what your special occasion dish is.

 

Garden Update

 A couple of weeks ago I told you I’d planted up my Autumn/Winter vegetable garden. It’s coming along a treat. I have a heap of broccoli and cabbages sprouting. I don’t know if any of them are the Romanesco Broccoli, I won’t know that until they form their heads, but it sure looks hopeful.
My spinach seedlings are zooming along, and I look like I’ll have a bumper crop of peas as well.
The weather here has changed, like it has most places I guess, so I have garlic shoots popping up all over my veggie garden beds from cloves I obviously missed last year when I harvested. The rule I was taught was “plant on the shortest day, harvest on the longest day”, but it looks like it will be worthwhile putting some cloves in now. The problem is to resist the urge to dig them up when I need just one or two cloves of garlic for something. They don’t really form up into nice bunches of cloves until quite late. But if I just need some garlic flavour then I have a bad habit of going and pulling a half formed garlic plant out and using it anyway.
One of the good things about living in a moderate climate is we get flowers in the garden all year as well. So I have poppies popping up, and my cyclamens are flowering already. I’ve just put in pansy seeds because I love pansies and violas. And the jonquils and daffodils are starting to sprout. My delightful dahlias are another thing that has got confused by the weather so they’re in full flower now.
It looks like I’ve got a few busy weeks getting the weeds under control though. So, until next week – stay healthy and eat well.
Image of Twice Baked Souffle on Mushroom Steak

Twice Baked Souffle on Mushroom Steak

It’s Easter So It’s Time For Hot Cross Buns

Welcome back, and a Happy Easter to you all.

It’s been a busy week here. My mother took a tumble and ended up in hospital. So I’ve been shuttling to and from the hospital sorting out things for her and making sure she’s ok. Like so many people, my parents are getting older but wanting to age in their own homes. But this comes with inevitable risks such as falling over in the garden and not being able to get up.

 Now we’re looking at what technology is available to help. We’re considering something like the Samsung Gear watch that will allow her to go all Dick Tracey and make phone calls from her wrist watch. The alternative is a more basic alarm that will cycle through a bunch of numbers when she hits the button until someone answers.
I like the idea of the Gear watch, but that’s because I remember the old Dick Tracey cartoons and think it’d be really cool to be able to make phone calls on my wrist. We do have some time to sort it all out. But, sadly, mum has to spend Easter in hospital.

 

It’s Easter!

How long is it since you had Hot Cross Buns? For me, it had been far too long. I tried the ones in the stores but they were just not like the real thing! Too heavy, and not enough fruit or spices.

Image of Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

So, I decided the best thing to do was to make my own. I made them a couple of days ago and have been enjoying a couple each morning for breakfast. The recipe is here. Why not whip some up this weekend so you can indulge in nice soft, buttery Hot Cross buns like all your friends?

 

And the Celiac Research Keeps on Coming

During the week I read a really interesting article on how researchers have discovered that a seemingly harmless virus, if contracted in infancy seems to trigger celiac disease.

I’ve put a summary of the article on my website here for you to have a read. Basically, it seems this virus may fire up the immune system in some infants and cause them to over-react to gluten, causing celiac disease.
The interesting part in this, is that they may be able to develop a simple vaccine to give to susceptible infants to prevent them catching the virus, which would mean they may not develop celiac disease at all.
Until next week – stay healthy and eat well.

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know someone is working on a vaccine for Celiac Disease?

Welcome back. Did you know someone was working on a vaccine for Celiac Disease? If you didn’t – well neither did I until today. Maybe, like me, you have mixed feelings about a vaccine. I have absolutely no objections to vaccinations. They have saved millions of lives around the world. But, if your Celiac Disease is as well controlled as mine is now, then I’m not sure I’d be jumping in for a vaccine.

Having said that – I do envy people being able to eat yummy foods like croissants, and Danish Pastries and the like. Not to mention the convenience of being able to scoot down the shops and buy a loaf of bread or a packet of biscuits. And then, there’s the cost of gluten free foods in the supermarkets. Even making most of my food myself, just buying the basic ingredients such as rice flour, tapioca flour, or pre-mixed flours can work out pretty expensive.
I guess I won’t rush to judgement and will see how the follow up trials unfold, and what the costs are for the vaccine (both financial and health-wise). In the meantime, I’ve put an article here if you want to read more about the development of the vaccine.
 
On another subject, as I said last week, I’ve been doing a course in cake decorating. I’ve always baked and done basic cake icing, but envied people who could do those nice big swirls and pretty patterns on their cakes. So I decided to do something about it, and enrolled in a basic cake decorating course. I have to say it was great fun although I did stagger out of each class feeling like I’d just consumed a kilo of sugar. Even if you’re not eating your efforts, you end up licking icing off your fingers and getting the stuff everywhere.
 
But I can now do nice big swirly tops on my muffins and cupcakes. And I can make a passable ribbon rose and daisies to decorate the tops of my cakes. My partner’s mother had an old icing set she never used, but kept stashed away for years. I’ve now dusted it off and found the tips fit nicely onto my Wilton icing couplers. So I’ve had fun at home playing with all the different icing tips and seeing what sort of effects I could get. My partner has now banned me from making any more cakes for a couple of weeks so we can come down from our sugar highs. 
 
As a last exercise in class we had to make and ice our own cake then bring it in to decorate. I’d always wanted to have a go at making an ombre cake, so this was my golden opportunity. I have to say, it went really well. My only lesson was not to try using cream cheese frosting to ice a tall cake in warm, humid weather. It slumped so I ended up with a fairly thick rim of icing at the bottom of my cake. Here’s the recipe and instructions so you can go make your own.
Image of Gluten Free Ombre cake

Gluten Free Ombre cake

Until next week – take care and eat well.

Winter is coming so it’s time for soup

Welcome back. Here is Australia, Winter is coming. So far it’s just a hint in the air. Mornings are chilly and there’s dew on the plants in my garden.

It’s only just Autumn, but we have had a very mild summer here on the west coast and it looks like we will have a cool, wet winter. For us, that means cooler weather and (hopefully!) we may get some decent rains. We never get snow here except for 1 hill in the South of the state that gets a light dusting maybe once a year. We’re not used to the cold, so anything below 10 degrees C is considered very cold.

 

But the cooler weather does signal time to get the winter veggie garden going. I’ve pulled the last of my tomato plants out, along with the zucchini (courgettes) and rock melon (cantaloupe). I got a bumper crop of onions and garlic this year so they’ve been stored in the shed to be used through the rest of the year.

 

This morning I built the frame for my peas and pushed the dried peas into the dirt around the frame. I already have broccoli, cabbage,leeks, radishes, spinach and carrots sprouting, so it looks like it will be a bountiful winter crop this year. As well as conventional broccoli, I’m also giving Romanesco Broccoli a go. I fell in love with the look of these last year, but my seeds refused to sprout so I’m giving them another go. Here’s hoping!

 

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

Image of Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

In celebration of the cooler weather I’ve decide to dust off my Broccoli and Blue Cheese soup recipe for lunch today. If you’ve never tried this, you really should give it a go. Even if you’re not a big fan of either blue cheese or broccoli this one is worth a try. The subtle smokiness of the cheese just goes so well together with the broccoli. In fact, even my determinedly carnivorous son-in-law likes this soup! Pair it with delicious soft gluten free bread rolls for a lunch made in heaven.

This week I graduated from my cake decorating class. So, next week I’ll share with you my recipe for the ombre cake I made to decorate in class. I’ve always try one of these, and this was the perfect opportunity. It worked a treat, but it’s a major sugar hit so I’m passing on most of it to friends and neighbours.
Until next week – take care and eat well.

Introducing Infants to Gluten and Gluten Free Pastry Recipes

Welcome back!

Gluten Free Blue Cheese and Leek Tart

Gluten Free Blue Cheese and Leek Tart

Following on from last week, this week I want to share with you some of my recipes for foolproof gluten free pastry. Also, there has been some interesting research into how young (or old) your child should be before you start feeding them gluten.

Introducing Infants to Gluten

Many people who have celiac disease, or those concerned about their children developing a sensitivity to wheat or gluten may choose to withhold gluten from their infants just in case. However a study released in January 2016, indicated that it was probably preferable to introduce them to gluten early to minimise the risk of developing celiac disease later in life. Click here to read more details.

Gluten Free Pastry and Pies

 As promised, I’ve compiled a few basic pastry recipes for you to use, and also loaded up some of my pies and tarts for you to try out your new found skills.  Head on over to the pastry recipes page to get the recipes and make a pie or tart for your weekend picnic.

Tips for making Gluten Free Bread and a sweet treat for you

Welcome back. Following on from last week, this week I want to share with you my tips for baking gluten free bread. And, because we all deserve a little sweetness in our lives, I’ll be sharing with you my incredibly popular recipe for Monte Carlo Biscuits.Gluten free flours respond very differently to yeast compared to wheat flours. You need to learn how to work with them to make sure you get tasty bread that doesn’t end up like a brick.

Gluten Free Bread Making Tips

Gluten free flours respond very differently to yeast compared to wheat flours. You need to learn how to work with them to make sure you get tasty bread that doesn’t end up like a brick. Click here to learn all my tips for making foolproof gluten free bread. Then head to my Gluten Free Bread Recipes section for my GF bread recipes for you to try.

Gluten Free Monte Carlo Biscuits

Gluten Free Monte Carlo Biscuits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monte Carlo Biscuits

Those of you in Australia will recognise Monte Carlo Biscuits. They are a delicious combination of raspberry jam and butter cream, sandwiched between coconut biscuits. They are one of those things I always looked at longingly on the shelves after I had to give up wheat. So I decided to do something about it, and create my own version. These have been such a success that my (non-GF) friends ask for them to give to their friends when they come to visit. Head on over  to get the recipe and make some for yourselves for afternoon tea this weekend.

Welcome to your new gluten free life

Welcome to Your Gluten Free Life – the new place to learn to live gluten and wheat free. My name is Suzanne Crouchley and I have been a celiac all my life. I have learned to cook completely wheat and gluten free, and now I want to share what I have learned with you.

In these newsletters I’ll be sharing with you what Iearned over the years about being a celiac, baking and cooking wheat and gluten free, and the latest research and information about celiac disease, and wheat free living.

First Things First – Gluten Free Flour

Brown Rice Flour
One of the hardest things to get used to when going gluten free, is how to deal with gluten free flour. It’s a whole new ball-game! To help you along, I’ve got a page on my website to teach you all about gluten free flours, and how to make up your own flour mixes for your baking. Click here to learn all you need to know about gluten free flours.

Bread, Bread, Glorious Bread!

Gluten Free Bread - White Sandwich Loaf and Rice Flour Bread

Gluten Free Bread – White Sandwich Loaf and Rice Flour Bread

Once you’ve got an understanding of gluten free flour, the next thing to learn is how to put your new knowledge to use to make bread. I’ve already put a few recipes on my website – go here to check them out.