Misadventures in the Kitchen: Custard Buns

Today was the epitome of frustrating baking.

I was trying out a recipe for gluten free danish custard buns by Gluten Free on a Shoestring. I LOVE custard buns. I wanted nutella filled baked goods as well so, why the fuck not?

Ok ok, before I start ranting about misadventures in Charlie’s kitchen I just want to take 20 seconds out to thank Nicole of Gluten Free on a Shoestring for even providing this damned recipe. It may have frustrated the hell out of me, but the results were edible and I can (and will) try it again with some changes. 

Ok, firstly don’t even look at this recipe unless you have time to kill. Lots of it. This is a long, multistep, chill and work, chill and work, recipe. Hours of your fucking time. So yeah, that’s one thing. Sick girls who just want to sleep should not be trying this shit.

Second thing, Nicole uses a particular gluten free flour that she likes… which bears exactly zero resemblance to my homemade gf flour mix because gluten free flour is a bitch like that. Following the recipe as it was gave me a very soft, wet, dough. I persevered, having no idea what I was doing anyway so what the fuck lets just keep working with it and see what happens…

Round 1: Nutella!

Several frustrating, irritating, hours later I tossed the knife and rolling pin in the sink. I bundled the dough up into two balls – one for custard and the other for nutella – threw the former into the fridge wrapped in cling film and the later broke up into even-ish chunks and smoothed them into rounds with my fingers. A table spoon of nutella, wrap these soft hunks of dough up into balls and threw them on a pan. I didn’t wait for them to rise after they didn’t budge in the first half our and damned near burnt them cooking them…

That said. They were pretty damned good nutella pastries, if a bit flat and doughy.

Next round will involve changing up the dough big time. I’m debating between my bread base with almond flour and a small amount of polenta (I can’t find proper maize here) and my general GF mix with almond flour to get a more resiliant dough. Milk will be added slowly to manage the dough’s texture in much the same way as I’d make bread dough.

I’m gonna do the custard ones tomorrow. Hopefully a night in the fridge will help the dough out a bit.

Maybe.

Round 2: Actual real life custard buns

[UPDATE: The second half of the dough lived in the fridge for 2 days and I finally got around to using it today with the custard filling. Again no rise, but they look better. They’re wayyyyy too hot right now to eat so I’ll report back.

UPDATE 2: OMNOMNOM!!! These turned out much better. I had added more flour to the dough to dry it up a bit and it worked much better.]

Jackpot – Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Bread.

It is the holy grail of all food items when you go gluten free: Bread. We eat so much of it prior to finding out it makes us sick. We’re accustomed to the taste, the soft fluffiness of it, the chewiness of it… and then gluten free is ordered. The world is over for a while and then the hunt for the perfect, actually edible, gluten free bread is on.

I think I’ve found it!

Vegemite on mommy fresh bread. Breakfast served!

For those of you who have never had to eat gluten free allow me to enlighten you to what our options generally consist of:

  • So heavy I could beat someone to death with it
  • So dry it sucks the moisture out of your mouth as you eat
  • Flavour somewhere around cardboard
  • Kind of cake like – thick, tasteless cake
  • Crumbles as you try to butter it
  • And bonus point for the low FodMap people, often full of legume or bean based flours.

In short, not so great. Especially for someone like me. I bake. I’ve been baking my own breads for well over a decade and I enjoy it. And then they added dairy intolerance to the mix and it was all over for me. Until I got the recipe for that bread.

Omnomnom!

The Best Gluten Free and Dairy Free Baking Recipes by Grace Cheetham has become my bible and the basic white bread recipe is my fav. It is worth the cost of the book alone ($15 from Amazon US as a hardcover or $6.35 for Kindle), but the rest of it is pretty damned good as well.

The recipe is fairly simple, though calls for a number of flours, and I’ve taken to making up a massive batch of the base flour in advance to keep in the cupboard. I make this most weekends and keep what survives the weekend in the fridge at work for toast. Like all fresh breads it needs to be kept in the fridge after the first 2-3 days or it gets mouldy.

I’m not going to lie and says it’s a perfect soft and squishy bread. It’s not. What it is, however, is a bread that tastes like bread, that isn’t too heavy or prone to crumbling the minute it cools down. It tastes and has a mouth feel a bit like a heavy sourdough. It’s soft on the inside with a crisp-chewy crust. After the second day it benefits from being toasted or warmed somewhat.

And!!!… The Wild One, Buck and other dear friends who can have gluten have also given it the thumbs up as a fresh bread.

Gahhhh

I got really sick this last weekend.

Weeks of early starts, late finishes, bad eating and bad sleep caught up with me…

At Confest. Was not happy to have had to leave early, but it was a very effective boot up the ass. Mega effective. The upset to me and the upset to the Wild one – who was meant to b fire twirling that nights – was far worse than the drive back on Sunday or how sick I felt.

It’s highlighted a lot of frustration that I have though. Do you know how hard it is to get food that I can eat when I’m out in the sticks? And restaurants that cater to my dietary requirements are either super expensive or… average. I feel bad even saying that, but it’s true. If the menu consists of stuff I can make at home and better then it’s average. I don’t want to pay for that.

But paying for not average poison… well my hands are weak as shit and in pain days later. My joints are aching and I feel like crap, still. Just better than on the weekend.

Anyway, off to cook. Bitch over.

2015 in Review

Holy shit, what a year!

Mental health went to shit and then it got slowly better. Now it is in the best place I remember it ever being. Unfortunately physical health then followed along the same path. Thankfully it too is also now good thanks to actual diagnosis of an actual problem, not just random guesses and/or being dismissed by doctors. That caused massive dietary changes very recently so I’m cooking more, feel better and am just, in general, doing well.

Things are well on the home front despite the health dramas. The Wild One and I go from strength to strength, supporting each other through the years challenges. The twins and I continue to get along and have good times. We’re building a house. We’re planning a wedding. The former appears to be easier than the latter.

I have found myself in great company throughout the year. Reconnecting with old friends and finding a more social me gradually. I’ve been blessed to find myself back in the company of W (I don’t know he’d appreciate his name on my blog), and therefore in the company of his lovely people. I was blown away at the first dinner he threw post my diagnosis when everyone, including people I didn’t know, went out of their way to make things I could eat. Just… people do shit like that!?!

Work carries on. It’s good mostly and now that my health is better I’ve been able to identify issues and have started to address them so that I can work better and be happier there. I am content with that as movement. There were a lot of highly stressful and massive changes through the year, but it’s getting there.

So the goals I’d set for 2015 were:

  1. Continue with the building of solid relationships. – Great Victory! There are friends, and twins, and gorgeous partner.
  2. Cut back on the alcohol and sugar. – Also Great Victory!! Like seriously HUGE victory. On both fronts.
  3. Cook things. Lots of things. New things. Use the fucking cookbook collection. – Fuck yes on the first bit, the change of diet aside I’ve done more cooking this year than I have in years. Tried a lot of new things.
    Not so much with using my cookbooks. I really think I need to give 99% of them away. And then replace them with ones I will actually use. 
  4. Learn to work wood, silversmith and make incense. – I failed this one. Too much other things happening. I’m ok with this.So, for all the stress and drama of the year, this has been a good year. It was a struggle, but everything has been moving towards something. The pain has always proceeded or been part of growth.2015, in short, was a great success.

Last Night I Was a Dance Mom

No, not really. Except kind of?

We got a late night call on Friday informing us that M’s costume hadn’t had the sleeves sewn on. So the girls bought those and their head pieces for another bit round in the morning and I got to sewing. I’m pretty sure that falls under dance mom stuff.

The show was incredible. It was the last one for the school. It was closing it’s doors after 34 years and it was pretty heartfelt and very emotional by the end. I was absolutely blown away by the girls. It was the first time I’d seen them really perform and they’re incredible young dancers with lots of promise. I’m not sure what they plan on doing next year as far as dance and sports goes, but I was so proud of them.

So this is me rambling on like an actual proud parent type. You may all point and laugh now. Don’t care.

Also I made Teriyaki Chicken skewers for the after party and they were insanely good. Recipe to come after I’ve tried it a few more times. Needs tweaking. 

And this morning I also made buckwheat pancakes. Those definitely need some tweaks. Mum’s recipe doesn’t quite translate to GF and they were a touch on the dry side. 

Slow Cooked Steak and Kidney Pie Filling

Ok, ok, so this was actually fucking awesome. My attempt at home made pastry was not so awesome. It came out a bit too dry for anyone’s tastes, but it was soft and crumbly in all the right ways. We have a plan of attack for that. However the second pie, made with shop bought gluten free pastry, was perfect and the filling was amazing.

PIE!!!!!!!

To make it grab (approximately) the following. I say approximately because I wasn’t really measuring shit. It also made two large pies so adjust accordingly:

  • 1kg beef or lamb – Super cheap cuts work fine for this but no bones.
  • 6-7 lamb kidneys
  • GF flour of some description to dredge kidneys in
  • Mushrooms – I put a lot in, but up to you.
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • Asafoetida powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika – I love this stuff. I put it in everything ok?
  • Beef stock
  • 1/2 cup red wine or port, or a mix of both
  • Cornflour
  1. Throw beef/lamb into the slow cooker on low. No need to dice it at this point.
  2. Slice up mushrooms and chuck them in with the beef/lamb (you can also do this at the end)
  3. Dice up kidneys into bite sized/pie sized pieces and dredge in flour.
  4. Fry up kidneys in a hot pan with olive oil. Allow to stick to the bottom a bit. When they’re mostly done throw them in the slow cooker with beef/lamb and mushrooms.
  5. Toss tomato paste, a good amount of the smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, a bit more garlic infused oil, salt an pepper to taste and asafoetida into the pan and let sizzle a bit.
  6. Pour in wine/port and scrub at the bottom of the pan with a spatula to life any crusted flour.
  7. Add in bay leaves and beef stock, and let reduce for a few minutes.
  8. Pour over meat and mushrooms in slow cooker over night (8-10 hours is good)
  9. Pull out cooked beef/lamb and ‘shred’ (By shred what I mean is gently prod while it falls apart around your cooking implements).
  10. For the next bit you need to be able to bring the sauce part of the dish to the boil. If you’re able to just pop your slow cooker insert over a burner then use a slotted spoon to remove most of the solids into a bowl to one side and get it on the boil. If not you’ll need to strain the liquid out into a pot. Do this, get liquid boiling.
  11. Add some salt, pepper, more paprika, etc to the liquid to get it tasting how YOU like it. We like lots of pepper and paprika.
  12. Add a few heaped teaspoons of cornflour to cold water and drizzle it into the boiling liquid while stirring continuously. Let it thicken a bit* and then add it back to the meat.
  13. Do pie related stuff here! You want your over pre-heated to 200 celsius. You’ll be cooking it anywhere from 20-40 minutes depending on the oven – basically you want the pastry nice and brown.
    • The easiest method is to pour the filling into a dish and then grab some GF pre-made pastry from the freezer section, roll it out and fit it over top, poke a few holes in it.
    • Slightly harder is using said pre-made GF pastry again. Grease your dish, put down a layer of pastry so the bottom and sides are well covered and add filling – leaving a gap at the top. Cover with pastry, rolling or scoring the sides to the pie lid. Then cook.
    • Hardest method is doing either of the above with home made GF pastry. When I get the pastry right I’ll tell you about it.

 

*A note about thickening: We made the mistake of reducing the liquid by half then thickening it. The pastry and shredded meat drank it up so the filling was quite solid (Still moist but not gravy-ish). I’d recommend either following what I said above or reducing the stock only. Feel free to experiment.

 

 

Sweet BBQ Slow Cooked Pork Ribs

Looking for something simple to make for dinner tonight that the girls would also enjoy I came upon maybe half a dozen recipes for BBQ crockpot pork ribs… All of which require BBQ sauce. I’m not good with BBQ sauce, no fodmap person really is, so I switched those up using this awesome low FODMap BBQ Sauce recipe as a jump off point and this recipe for crockpot pork ribs as inspiration.

It looks simple, because it is. It’s also really amazingly good. Sweet caramelised sauce on met falling from the bone.

This is a first time recipe so I’ll probably tweak it a lot.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg pork pork ribs
  • 1 cup Raspberry jam
  • 1.5 cups hot water
  • 4 tbsp dark brown sugar (5 of normal brown sugar)
  • 3/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup caramelised balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp garlic infused oil
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (and then some more or golden syrup)
  • 3 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 2.5 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3-4 heaped teaspoons of cornflour dissolved in a small amount of cold water.
  1. Put the hot water and brown sugar in a small pot. Dissolve sugar in water then bring to the boil and let boil for a few minutes until reduced.
  2. In a bowl whisk together vinegars, garlic infused oil, raspberry jam, maple syrup and mustard. Add to pot and bring to the boil.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the pot. Let boil until reduced a little.
  4. Add cornflour mix, and take off the heat as soon as thickened.
  5. Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the first layer of ribs and roll them in it a little. Then add the rest of the ribs and pour the sauce over time. Use hands (if the sauce has been left long enough to cool) or tongs to spread the sauce through the ribs.
  6. Leave for an hour or two and then check the sauce. Mine tasted too much of vinegar for the girls to enjoy it so I added a good drizzle of golden syrup over top, but adding more jam into the sauce would also work.
  7. Cook on low for 6-10 hours.
  8. Throw into a pan and into a hot oven for 20-ish minutes.
  9. Die happy.

Seriously, this was insanely good. Sweet, spicy, sticky with meat falling from the bone. We actually couldn’t get the ribs out of the slow cooker without bones sliding out. Everyone downed it fast. It’s perfect for a warm night with minimal cooking actually involved. These are definitely going to be a regular in our kitchen. They’d make for great potluck food too.

The sauce should keep for around a week refrigerated in a sealed container if you want to make it in advance or 2-3days if you’ve strained it from the crockpot (make sure to strain it with a one sieve to remove any traces of the meat).

 

 

Slow Cooked Balsamic Not-Honey Pulled Pork Recipe

So over here is a fabulous pulled pork recipe for the slow cooker.

It is in now way fodmap safe with all that honey in it but is super easy to make fodmap friendly.

Drop the honey out for a tasty substitute. We use golden syrup, maple syrup (you don’t need a full half cup of maple syrup) or rice  malt syrup/brown rice syrup. The rice syrup doesn’t have much taste

One bowl of yummy pulled pork.

so cutting it half and half with one of the other two. It also costs a lot less than straight maple syrup.

Garlic oil and asafoetida can be added in to replicate the onion and garlic flavours. Although if you can use fresh and cut them up chunkily so you can strain them out of the sauce. We tend to cut  an onion in half and prop the pork up on it. The flavour gets through the dish but there’s none of that not-old-for-me onion and garlic in it at the end.

The Feast Nearby

I finished The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather tonight. It was one of those quietly inspiring slice of life biographies. It follows her from moving into her tiny lakeside cottage just post divorce through the year that follows.

She talk in equal measure about food – sourcing fresh produce, eating locally, preparation and preservation – and her life and emotional journey. It’s not something I would have picked up a few years ago. I primarily got it this year as it had great reviews and I just wanted something different from my usual fare to read. It was inspiring and gently uplifting.

The recipes also look amazing so we’ll try to convert them to something I can eat.

Chicken Burrito Thingies of Awesome

Yep, see me make up cool food titles.

This was the Saturday before Tycho’s awesome hainanese chicken. The Wild One had gone out and I had food to make…

I had frozen chicken thighs. Everything can go in a slow cooker so in with them, a diced red chilli, can of tomatoes, tomato paste, wostershire, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic infused oil, onion infused oil, cumin… Mix together in a slow cooker, put on low and ignore for 6-12 hours. Add corn kernels to taste around 30-40 minutes prior to serving.

We also stirred brown rice through it. Because healthy, right?

Make guacamole. Avocado, lemon, a touch asafoetida (garlic and onion if you’re allowed them works better), half a fresh tomato,  and pepper. Adjust quantities to taste.

Take burrito wrap. Crush corn chips and sprinkle down the middle, sprinkle cheese over those and microwave for 10-30 seconds till hot. Dump chicken stuff on top of that. Spread on some of this deliciousness. Then top with guac and sour cream.

I looks vaguely like this if you're prone to over-stuffing your burrito wraps.
I looks vaguely like this if you’re prone to over-stuffing your burrito wraps.

Eat.

I can not find the damned recipe I used for the cornbread but it turned out really well. So, yes, that is also great.

It looked like this and was most tasty.
It looked like this and was most tasty.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑