Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake

About a year and a bit ago (I think, it feels like forever), with a specialists help, I finally managed to figure out that I have developed an allergy to egg. If you can’t hear the wailing and the knashing of teeth over here, you are lucky! Egg was one of my favourite foods, was an essential part of my baking and was a very difficult ingredient to replace. Not so much for its sticking power (banana does a great job for that), but for the light and fluffy-ness it adds to sponge cakes. So I have been experimenting for months and months with increasing despair – trying to bake a half-decent vegan, gluten-free sponge is hard!

But with the help of Jaime Oliver, and his magnificent Vegan GF sponge recipe, I now have cracked the code. This is not the same recipe, though his recipe is superb (I am incapable of not-tampering with any recipe). But it gave me a few pointers in the right direction for how to craft my own recipe that is repeatable and delicious.

So this is it, my Apple, Ginger and Cinnamon Tea Cake!
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Pear and Miso Stir-Fry

 

It’s been a while since I did a foodie post, so I thought I would share one of my more surprising successes. This is a lovely and simple gluten-free vegetarian stir-fry I made with what was left in the cupboard at the end of a long week. It’s a slight variation on our usual stir-fry sauce, but it worked! I particularly loved how well pears go in a stir-fry. It was a rare success in the what’s-in-cupboard-oh-that’ll-do method of cooking.
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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Banana Biscuits

After a number of tasty disasters, I have finally been able to create my first success at gluten-free, dairy-free and egg free baking. These lovely biscuits did not last long – my kids (yes, both of them which is a miracle) gobbled them up. My daughter really loved them, and as she has an aversion to all baked goods, this was worth a victory dance or two (or three, who’s counting?).

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2014 In Review

I had grand plans to write an amazing review of all my posts for 2014 – as well as all the cool stats that I can extract from the data on my lovely readers. Alas, I have been knocked over by yet-another-thing-my-kids-picked-up-on-a-train. They really have a talent for that. I suppose most of the credit goes to J for her hatred of hand-washing and love of tasting metal poles. (I still haven’t figured that one out.) So, without more ado, because the ado is shivering under a blanket, I present my top posts of 2014.
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Gluten and Dairy-Free Chinese Beef Buns

Whenever I walk past a Chinese restaurant, I tend to get a little sad because of all the lovely food I can no longer eat. I particularly miss the lovely steamed buns which are springy and glutinous and soft inside. So in desperation, I checked online to see if there were any recipes that were able to show me how to make a gluten, dairy and yeast free Chinese bun. Nada. (Of course I was hungry, so it’s possible there’s one out there somewhere.) Thinking about how my bread mix doesn’t have yeast in it but does rise, I decided to experiment, and it worked!

These buns are so close to my memory of what Chinese buns should be it’s scary. There were a few hiccups along the way, as I misjudged the length of time they would need to steam and had to do some bun-surgery. I also created some wonderful carbon when the steam-water ran out and charcoaled in the steamer. Very lucky escape that one – and the buns weren’t hurt either!

This is so worth giving a try – you may need to fiddle around with the quantities for making the buns till you get them just right. I will be doing these ones again as they were a hit, so I’ll be able to let you know if they continue to work.
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Lamb and Sweet Potato Curry

This is a nice, simple and quick curry that we have started to make a bit – it’s a variation on a coconut cream-and tomato based curry – that has neither ingredient!

This one can also be made vegetarian, just add carrot, Kumara, potato and/or parsnips instead of meat. It’s also good with other stew-type vegetables – like tomatoes, or green, canellini, or kidney beans. Though it’s best not to try it with broccoli or zucchini. Shudder. This can be made quite hot, but we tend to keep it mild for the kids. This recipe has had some success on the children-will-eat front.
It should take about 1/2- 3/4 of an hour to put together. Don’t forget to have with rice or thick fresh bread.
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Gluten and Dairy-Free Train Wheel-Piston Cake

I was going to write more about our NZ trip, and I will next week, but today is recipe day, so I’m going to run through how I made C’s 7th Birthday cake. Seven? How did that happen? And after convincing him that I couldn’t design a cake with the cake-wheels on edge with an axle in between that would move, I worked through some sketches of train wheels till I had executive approval for this design.

It’s two train wheels, with a piston sitting on a train track in a coal yard. And as far as cakes go, this one wasn’t the hardest I have ever made. Working with fondant is like working with playdoh. Though it does taste rather commercial – next time I will be experimenting with different flavours but I ran out of time this year. I also think the cakes would be improved with the add‭itions of a jam layer – something tart, like apricot, so I will be experimenting with that too at a later date.

Anyway, enjoy the chaos!
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Peach Chicken Curry and Rice

This is a variation on a recipe my grandma used to make. I’ve had to adapt it to our current diet restrictions, as the original french-onion spices are a no-no in our now onion-free house. This is also an easy one to make gluten-free, and I have also on occasion made it dairy free too. When pressed and in the off-season, I also use canned peaches – but I’m careful with the syrup as it can be so sweet as to overpower this dish. This is a simple dish and I often have fun mixing up the spices and trying different combinations, but it’s still at its best as a no-fuss simple homage to great produce.
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Gluten-Free Doughnuts

There are an awful lot of great-looking gluten-free doughnut recipes out there. And Pinterest is a dangerous pastime. From this, to this…ooh and this, and maybe this one too.

But when I actually got down to looking at how they were made – most of them required yeast and buttermilk, which I prefer to avoid in large quantities. And that doesn’t really go with over-the-top doughnut indulgence.

But then, I found this great recipe, from Alicia Baker at examiner.com, Easy gluten free and dairy free glazed doughnuts.
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