Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream on RSG with Nina Timm

The lovely and uber talented Nina Timm from My Easy Cooking blog asked if I would like my blog to appear on the radio station, RSG 100-104fm, during the show where she chats about food bloggers and their blogs - of course I said, "YES PLEASE"!!

This morning, I had the pleasure of making my chocolate ice cream, which I originally blogged about here, in Nina's kitchen. Nina is an unbelievable lady - she is the most kindhearted person and is extremely generous with her time and the "secrets" that she has gained through cooking, blogging and photography. I could listen to her recount stories, all day. It was an absolute joy and a privilege to spend the morning with her. Thank you Nina!

What makes this ice cream so special is that it is dairy and egg free, but still rich and creamy, and extremely simple to make. It also serves as a base for wonderful flavour combinations such as chocolate and orange, chocolate and mint or chocolate and nuts.

As Nina and I also discovered these same ingredients would make a wonderful chocolate sauce or chocolate pudding - your imagination is the limit!

Coconut Chocolate Ice Cream
(Makes about half a litre)

2 Cups Full Fat Coconut Milk
1 Slab Albany Smooth Dark Chocolate
1 - 2 tsp Vanilla Extract or 1 Vanilla Pod with seeds removed and used
1/2 Cup Sugar/ Fructose/ Xylitol (sugar alternatives)
2 tsp Good Quality Cocoa such as NoMU

Optional Extras: Pecan Nuts/ Walnuts/ Fresh Mint/ Orange Extract or Rind
As a chocolate alternative try using the Woolworths Organic Dark Chocolate and Orange

  • Combine all ingredients in a pot on the stove
  • Slowly heat, while stirring, until the chocolate has melted
  • Bring mixture to a gentle boil for about 20 minutes
  • Add any extras at this point and stir to combine
  • Transfer to a freezer container
  • Freeze for a minimum of 2 hours

    Tune into RSG 100-104fm tomorrow morning, just after 9am, to listen to Nina.

    Monday, August 29, 2011

    Butternut and Mushroom Risotto

    For some reason, the popular consensus about rice is that it is a gluten grain. Rice is NOT a gluten grain, it contains starch yes, but is in fact 100% gluten free and easily digested by the body, without fermentation, which makes it one of the best food stuffs to eat if you are intolerant to gluten.

    I love risotto, but the laborious task of whisking and stirring and waiting for the stock to absorb, and waiting and waiting and waiting some more, is a bit of a turn off - therefore when Neill Anthony, personal chef, mentioned that he had a short cut for risotto, the same method used in Gordon Ramsay's kitchen, where he trained, I was most intrigued.

    The secret is to boil the rice for 7 minutes and then not to rinse the starch off before using it. This little tip takes the mission out of making risotto and provides the same results - how cool is that huh?? :)

    With the rice sorted, let's move on to the second most important ingredient in a risotto - the stock.

    Have I mentioned to you yet, the reason why I love NoMU fonds? No? Ok - well here are the many reasons: Firstly, a fond is described as concentrated stock. Not only are NoMU fonds free of artificial flavourings, colourants and preservatives, but they are gluten free too. This is such a relief to me - because yes, it is possible to make your own stock, which is what I have done in the past as most stock cubes and powders contain gluten - but NoMU fonds taste so great, that it is no longer necessary to do.

    YAY for NoMU and their delightful fonds, which come in a variety of flavours; vegetable, chicken, beef and lamb.

    Now that we have two brilliant time savers - let's make this speedy risotto - chop, chop!

    Taken from website

    Butternut and Mushroom Risotto:
    (Serves 2 - 4)

    250g Arborio Rice
    500g Roughly Diced Butternut
    20ml NoMU Fond (I used Beef)
    250g Sliced Brown Mushrooms
    20g Dried Exotic Mushrooms (I used Chanterelle), Rehydrated with Liquor Reserved
    1 Diced Onion
    4 Tbsp White Wine
    2 - 4 Tbsp Grated Hard Cheese, such as Parmesan
    2 - 3 Tbsp Butter
    Olive Oil for Frying

    • Rehydrate dried mushrooms and reserve the mushroom liquor - should take about 30 minutes
    • Boil butternut in enough water to just cover the cubes until broken down and puree-like
    • Add the NoMU Fond and the mushroom liquor to the butternut - make sure that you have about 600mls of liquid here as this is going to be your stock
    • Boil the rice for 7 minutes, drain but don't remove the starch
    • Fry onion in olive oil, until translucent
    • Add half the sliced mushrooms and the exotic mushrooms and continue frying
    • Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes
    • Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated
    • Add the stock a ladleful at a time, it should absorb quickly - the rice should take about 10 minutes to cook
    • Fry the remaining mushrooms in butter, salt, pepper and garlic (if desired)
    • Add to the risotto with the cheese and butter
    • You may also like to add some chopped flat leaf parsley
    • Serve immediately with a final grating of cheese

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    Tips for Allergen Free Baking

    The top allergens in baking are nuts, milk, gluten and eggs. 

    It is not always possible to eliminate all allergens at the same time, during baking, as the texture of the product may be drastically altered.

    But, here are a few tips when baking without them: 


    Goat’s and sheep’s milk are not possible alternatives to cow’s milk because they all contain casein, which means that the immune system is unlikely to differentiate between the different milks.

    Substitutes are soya milk, rice milk, almond milk and coconut milk.  Although, soya is closely linked to nuts.

    The texture and even-rising of baked goods such as cakes, cupcakes and quick breads is achieved by creaming butter and granulated sugar; margarine is the easiest substitute in these recipes. Most margarines contain casein, however, therefore reading labels is important. Blossom is one of the few margarines that doesn’t contain dairy. 

    Oils, such as Canola, generally work best in recipes that use liquid sugars such as honey, maple syrup or molasses; combined with a baking agent, a solid fat like ground nuts and an emulsifying ingredient like eggs or an egg substitute.

    When using oils it is advisable to start off using one or two tablespoons less than the amount of butter that would have been used.

    Oil-based vegan and dairy-free cakes that do not use eggs are often a little dense. This can be remedied by combining oil with a solid fat, such as ground nuts or chocolate. For example, combining melted dairy-free chocolate, oil and soya yoghurt with dry ingredients allows the cake to remain moist and rich.

    Replacing butter with margarine in biscuit and shortbread recipes usually works as the butter is used for richness and density and not for the lift. Oil can also be used in these recipes, with the correct combination of ingredients. 

    Applesauce and other fruit purees or jams add body and moisture to batters and can be a healthier alternative to using fats. 


    Alternatives to wheat include corn, rice, quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat. 

    Gluten-free flours are generally light, medium or heavy in texture.

    The heavier grains tend to contain more protein. Flours like buckwheat, quinoa, millet, cornmeal, nut meal, and bean or legume flours are similar to baking with whole-wheat flour.

    Medium flours are similar to all-purpose flour; these include sorghum and superfine brown rice flour.

    Light flours include white rice flour and starches such as tapioca starch, corn starch and potato starch (not potato flour).

    A blend of medium and heavy flours combined with some starch to lighten and help bind the batter or dough seems to work best.

    Example (For breads, muffins, biscuits, cakes and cupcakes):


    1 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup millet, almond or buckwheat flour
    1 cup tapioca, potato or corn starch
    1 teaspoon xanthan gum

    Ready-made flour mixes include: Glutagon, Orgran and Entice and can be found at some large food chains, such as Pick ‘n Pay, health food shops and Dischem.

    Daniela Govetto of Daisy Health Foods and Entice says, “We focused on rice for our flour because it is totally digestible and digests without fermentation. That way, a person with a food allergy will not experience any symptoms during digestion.” 


    In a cake, for example, the eggs serve as a leavening agent, helping to make the cake light and fluffy. In baked goods such as biscuits and muffins, the eggs add moisture and act as a binder, gluing all the other ingredients together.

    Generally, the fewer eggs a recipe calls for, the easier they will be to substitute. If a biscuit recipe calls for one egg, using an egg substitute will work much better than in a recipe that requires three or four eggs.

    An Egg Replacer, such as that made by Ogran, is very versatile and is available in most health food stores and Dischem. It works best in baked goods, such as biscuits, muffins and cakes, by following the directions on the packaging.

    Ground flax seeds can be used for binding by mixing two tablespoons with 1/8 teaspoon baking powder and three tablespoons water for each egg called for.

    Bananas and applesauce add the perfect amount of thick moisture, like eggs, but they don’t help dishes to rise or to become light and fluffy. Baking powder and baking soda is needed in these recipes.

    Tofu can be used in recipes such as quiches as the texture is similar to that of eggs. Use 1/4 cup tofu for every egg replaced and add some extra baking powder.