Gluten Free Banana Bread [without the Gluten Free Taste]

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While we were in England, my aunty told my parents all about her gluten free diet. Dad, who had always scorned the idea of being gluten free, came to realise that being gluten free may have some, er, benefits. All this means for me is I have to make gluten free pizza bread and gluten free bread. My sister also became a vegetarian, and so I have to make really irritating little changes to cooking….

But sometimes I like trying to make yummy gluten free food. And it’s yummy when everyone in our family, not just the gluten free people, like to eat it. Like this banana bread. It is light and fluffy and perfect warm with butter.

I adapted the recipe from a cute little old fashioned style recipe book I bought in England.

Gluten Free Banana Bread

  • 4 oz butter
  • 6 oz sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 ripe bananas (preferably overripe)
  • 12 oz self raising GF flour (or add 5 tsp baking powder)
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • about 1/2 – 1 cup sultanas, raisins, or currants.

Set oven to 18o degrees Celsius, 350 Fahrenheit, or gas mark 4. Grease and line a 2 lb loaf tin (or a couple of small loaf tins). Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs.

Mix the baking soda with the milk. Mash the bananas, and add them to the mixture with the flour xanthan gum and milk and mix well. Stir in the vanilla essence, and the sultanas. Put into the tins and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until firm and skewer comes out clean. I had to put some foil over the top of the loaves halfway through, so they didn’t burn on top.

Leave in tin for 15 minutes, then turn onto wire rack. It says serve when cold, but why not slice off the crust and slather it in butter while it’s still nice and warm..like I did. 🙂

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We mix up our own very basic GF flour mix at the moment, and it is still being adjusted. We got the basis of it from this book.

This is the mix I used today:

500 grams rice flour

300 grams potato flour

200 grams finely ground maize flour

Put it in a big jar and mix it together thoroughly.

We use this flour to make delicious bread and all sorts of baking. I am going to start sharing more gluten free recipes on here in the future…(like the Quinoa Bread…even I like that and I don’t have to eat it)

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I also have a recipe for Sugar and Dairy Free Banana Bread. I think you could easily make that gluten free, by substituting the flour. Banana Bread is very adaptable.

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Sour Orange and Strawberry Doughnuts

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Sour orange doughnuts! They are SO good, my sister ate the lot and I only got one. I had this doughnut mix sitting in the cupboard…it had been there since before we went to England…over 3 months now!!!!  (It smelled all right 😛 ). Well I was feeling like something yummy and easy to make (pretty much just feeling piggy and lazy) so I got out my 3 month old jar of doughnut mix, added the butter and milk etc, and then decided I should put the effort in and make up a cool flavour.

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There are so many oranges ripening on our trees, so I squeezed an orange into the batter. Then I mixed up some white icing (butter, water, icing sugar…) and added orange colouring, orange juice and citric acid. Citric acid is basically sour white crystals that look like salt or sugar. In New Zealand, Citric acid is a common ingredient for getting sour flavours. In England, I think you have to buy it from a chemist or something. But anyway, it makes a delicious sweet-sour icing when I added about 1/2 a teaspoon.

I also made bright pink strawberry flavoured icing, for no other reason than I think pink doughnuts are just so cute! But they didn’t taste that good, kinda boring. The pink ones actually didn’t all get eaten – they are still sitting in the pantry!

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My 3 month old doughnut mix doughnuts came out great!

The recipe for making the doughnuts in a doughnut maker is here, If you want to make doughnuts like this, see my post.

I really think that doughnuts like this are NOT as delicious as traditional deep-fried ones, but on the other hard, they have much less fat. They are quicker and easier too.

My basic recipe for the sour orange icing would be:

Put on tablespoon of butter in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the butter in the microwave, add about a tablespoon of boiling water and stir in enough icing sugar to make it a nice smooth paste. If it is too small an amount, add more water and keep adding icing sugar, little bits at a time into you reach the right consistency. Add in about 1 tbsp of orange juice or a couple of drops of orange flavoring. Stir in citric acid to taste. (You might not like it too sour or you might like it really sour.) Remember that the sourness is balanced with the sweetness of the doughnuts. Colour the icing as bright as you want, and ice the cooled doughnuts.

Sorry this recipe is so rough, but it’s really just a point of making icing and flavoring it with orange and citric acid. Everyone seems to have their own ways of making icing anyway. 🙂

 

They are SO yummy, you have to try it. I think this would also be nice on cupcakes or a chocolate cake. Orange and chocolate really go well.

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The pink ones look pretty, but don’t bother with them. The orange ones taste great.

 

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Enjoy them! Becca :]

New Zealand is my Home (and the wonders of microwaved apples)

I’ve been home for just about a month, and in that time I have been doing studying and studying and learning to drive (YAY) and neglecting this blog and cooking and recovering and shivering because its only just hitting spring. But anyway I am so glad to be back: New Zealand is so familiar and the winter (when we had missed most of it) seemed cozy and comforting when we first got back. In the pouring rain I might add. Typical New Zealand! Our suitcases were a bit soggy.

And the recipe: In those chilling hours of boring old maths, I remembered a delicious little treat that takes 1 minute to prepare and 3 minutes to zap the healthy goodness out of in the microwave, thus turning it into a really delicious fluffy, self saucing, tangy, cinnamoney treat.

Here it is: the 3 minute baked apple!

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So it’s very basic: just wash a nice crispy apple (if you are a good person who bothers to do this) and cut out the core. Put it in a microwave safe bowl or ramekin.

 Put a teaspoon of butter (optional) in the middle. Fill up with currants or raisins, then sprinkle cinnamon over.

Microwave for 3 minutes (it may take longer or shorter depending on the power of your microwave – our one is quite powerful) until the apple is soft and fluffy, and a sticky caramel sauce is drizzling out of it. It will smell delicious too.

Wait for it to cool slightly before devouring.

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On my weird photo: It actually isn’t that delicious looking in my quick messy instagram photo (I wasn’t very interested in taking photos – I wanted to eat) but it is. Truly. 🙂

On microwave poison: I know microwaves probably aren’t the most healthy way of cooking an apple. But I still felt healthier than eating a piece of cake. And then there’s the WORST I suppose, which is a delicious cookie in a mug. This is a combination of cake and microwave. Oh well, I like it! Yum I say.

On sugar and dairy free: I categorised this as sugar and dairy free, as the butter is only an optional unhealthy additive, and the only sugars are fruit sugars.

Enjoy! Becca 🙂

3 Ingredients: basic banana berry smoothie

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This is a quick easy delicious pretty yummy nice refreshing healthy quick easy as smoothie.

It is getting colder and colder here in New Zealand. We live in the sub-tropical North Island, and the norm for winter is rain, mud, and just enough cold to give you chill blains and make you huddle by the fire. Meaning, the discomfort of the cold but not the excitement of Snow! We got hail the other day. That’s a big excitement in the Snowless North.

For some reason we made smoothies today. A summer treat, just as it’s getting cold enough to make your toes ache! Well, a lot of the world is just getting their Summer, so I suppose this recipe will have some appreciation, if not from New Zealanders.

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For 3 Banana Berry Smoothies I:

-put 2 bananas in the blender with about 2 cups of orange juice. (any fruit juice will do)

-I added about 1/2 cup of frozen (or use fresh) mixed berry’s.

And then I blended it all up and poured it into pretty glasses.

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A perfect healthy snack.

Sugar (apart from the sugars in the fruit) free, dairy free, gluten free, everything free.

You could try all sorts of things, maybe using whatever you have in your fridge. I always find delicious smoothie recipes, but I NEVER have all the ingredients. This is my basic smoothie recipe, and I have made this with just bananas and orange juice in the past. It is a very delicious summer treat. You could add a spoon of natural yoghurt for extra deliciousness.

Oh, and they are very pretty, too.  Enjoy!

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Classic Custard Squares

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These are such a pretty treat! I got this recipe off this great blog. Only to check in the Edmonds cook book (where she got the recipe!) that every New Zealander owns, and I found I had had the custard square recipe sitting on my shelf the whole time! I got a much better version to use, as the blogger who goes by the name of Mrs Cake had detailed descriptions and helpful hints and pictures.

So, even though I know these have been very well blogged by Mrs Cake, I thought I would put up pictures of my custard squares.

They are too pretty to just delete.

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My custard came out rather orange…

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But they taste SO delicious, and I actually really like the custard. It doesn’t taste “eggy”. I think I will use the same custard recipe for a custard tart. The only thing I changed from the recipe is I didn’t put coconut on top. No one in my family wanted it with coconut. We had the lemon icing though. It was delicious.

So if you want to make these (and they are REALLY easy) the recipe is here.

Lemony Lemon ‘Brownies’

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Creamy, sweet, and perfectly tart. This delicious, light, lemony “Brownie” is perfect for a spring picnic. (I say, as the days get colder and more wet and bleak here where I live…Winter is well on it’s way.) Have this as a nice change to chocolate brownie. (I know, Lemon “brownie” doesn’t make any sense, but what the name means is that it has a brownie type of texture, without chocolate. Try it! You will love it, I am sure.) Maybe this would be a lovely mothers day treat?

Lemony Lemon Brownies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

   3/4 cup flour

2 eggs, large
2 tbsps lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice

For the tart lemon glaze:
2 tbsps lemon juice
4 tsps lemon zest
1 cup icing sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 (180C) degrees.
2. Grease an 8×8 inch baking dish with butter and set aside.
3. Zest and juice two lemons and set aside.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter until combined.

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5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until combined.

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6. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed until smooth and creamy.

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7. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn golden around the edges.
8. Allow to cool completely before glazing. Do not overbake, or the bars will dry.
9. Filter the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest and juice. Add more icing sugar if it is too runny. You want it thick enough to not soak into the brownies and make it soggy. (That’s what happened to mine! I have halved the amount of lemon juice so it is a thicker icing now.)
10. Spread the glaze over the brownies with a rubber spatula and let glaze set.
11. Cut into bars and serve.

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I have slightly adapted this great recipe from here.

these are mild, creamy, sweet

5 Minute Peppermint Creams

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For those days when your craving something sweet and you’ve run out of everything yummy. I often whip these up before we watch a movie, when we don’t have anything else tasty.

 This takes 5 minutes, requires no cooking, and doesn’t need overnight setting in the fridge before you can eat them! Drizzle chocolate sauce over for an easy peppermint-choc taste, or dip these in real chocolate and make your own creamy after dinner mints!

5 minute peppermint creams

(all ingredients are estimates. You sort of keep adding icing sugar until the consistency is how you want. It’s very easy!)

 -1 tablespoon butter, softened

-dash of milk

-1-2 cups icing sugar

-peppermint essence to taste

In a small bowl, cream all ingredients together. Keep adding icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency. (firm and mouldable, easy to shape into balls or roll out)

Roll out on a floured surface and cut into squares or triangles. You can also use mini cookie cutters to get cute flowers or hearts.

If you want to make as little mess as possible, and you want to eat these as soon as possible, just break off bits of mixture and roll into balls.

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Have it with chocolate sauce and chocolate chips.

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I used my homemade Chocolate Coffee Syrup, which works great as a dessert topping and dip as well as for coffee.

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They are creamy and addicting without the chocolate too, though! Enjoy this very easy, delicious treat!

Mothers Day DIY – No. 5: Delicious (and easy) Chai Tea mix

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If your mum likes tea, try this easy spicy chai tea mix.

I got this adorable tea pot for my birthday, from my brother and sister in law.

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They also gave me a little bag with a delicious Chai Tea mix in it.

It’s so good, I can tell I am going to get through it quickly, and I wont end up buying more, and then I realised:
“I bet it isn’t hard to make!”

It isn’t hard to make at all. You only need a few basic spices (and some fancier ones if you want) and loose black tea.

For my basic Chai tea mix, I used:

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1 tsp ground Ginger

1/2 tsp ground Cloves

1/2 tsp Cardamom pods, crushed

1 Star anise, crushed

1/2 cinnamon stick, crushed

4 tablespoons loose black tea

In a mortar and pestle, crush all the whole spices, add the powders, and grind it all together.

Put in a pretty jar, and mix the black tea in.

Shake it together.

Now think what a lovely present that would make for your mum…or for you.

My teapot holds 500mls of water. I put 2 teaspoons of Chai mix in, filled it to the top with freshly boiled water, and let it brew for 5-8 minutes.

Warm enough milk for 1/2 cup of milk per person in a pot on the stove, or in the microwave. That’s if your one of those poor people like me who don’t have a nice coffee machine with a milk steamer!

Fill half of each tea cup with hot milk, and put in the chai.

Add sugar to your taste. Chai is usually quite a sweet tea.

This amount of tea gave me 5 little cute tea cups of tea, or it would do 2-3 mugs of tea.

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I had a lovely day today, sharing this tea with my very special friends, even though my sister made the tea luke warm!!! It was still delicious.

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Mothers Day DIY – No. 4: Chocolate Coffee Syrup

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This is so easy to make, looks really fancy, and tastes delicious! If you don’t have a coffee maker, using this syrup and hot milk, and a basic coffee plunger, you can make a totally delicious and easy Mocha.

I found this recipe online a couple of years ago. Back then, I never thought about saving where I got it from, so I just printed it, and used, and loved, this recipe.

Sadly, I have no idea where I found it online! All I know is that it is an AMAZING recipe, very easy, using only basic ingredients.

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 Chocolate Coffee Syrup

1/2 cup cocoa powder (not ground chocolate)

1 cup sugar

dash of salt (improves flavour but only use a very little!)

1 cup water

2 tsp vanilla

Mix the cocoa and sugar together in saucepan. Heat on medium high, leave it there, for a minute or two. (No more – you don’t want to burn it!)

Add the water slowly, mixing well in between.

Add a dash of salt. Once mixed completely, the mixture will probably be boiling, so lower heat to medium. Let it boil for 5-8 minutes, mixing constantly.

Boil till mixture thickens. When you move spoon fast through mixture, you can see the bottom of the pot. This means it’s done. Turn off heat, add vanilla, stir thoroughly,  let cool for a few minutes, pour into sterilised jar.

Soak jar in boiling water to sterilise.

To make a delicious mocha,

1. fill 1/4 to 1/2 cup with coffee (plunger/filter/instant – whatever you like)

2. stir a teaspoon of Chocolate Syrup in.

3. Top up with warm milk (frothy if you like!) Microwaves work really well for quickly heating milk up. Not healthy, but quick. 🙂

4. Drizzle more mocha syrup over the top.

5. Enjoy you easy, delicious, homemade mocha!

Make a pretty label for your chocolate sauce, put it in a cute jar, and you have a delicious mothers day present. Or a present for anyone, really! You could also use this as an ice-cream sauce, add it to milk shakes, iced mochas, make yummy chocolate milk….

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Homemade Pesto & Pasta Salad

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For lunch today we made a delicious (and easy) Pasta salad, with olives, the last few teeny cherry tomatoes from our garden, freshly made pesto, and cashew nuts.

Put a pot of pasta on to cook. We used a 500g bag of elbows.

 

IMG_6651   Here are our lovely freshly picked ingredients for the pesto.

– handful of basil

– about 5 leaves of silverbeet

– squeeze of lemon juice

– 1 clove garlic

– 1/2 cup grated cheese

– salt & pepper

– 1/2 cup cashew nuts (or any type of nuts)

 

Blend the basil & silverbeet, add lemon juice, garlic, and cheese. Season with salt & pepper, and last of all add nuts. Only blend nuts for a couple of seconds if you like them to be chunky.  (Sorry about the funny colour of the pesto, I used some red silverbeet in there and it made my pasta and pesto go a bit pink!)

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Pasta Salad:

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1/4 cup grated cheese

a few cherry tomatoes

500gm steaming freshly cooked pasta

1 lot of Basil & Silverbeet Pesto

Mix all ingredients together and serve. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.

Serves 6

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