After a long break, I am finally back! I am no longer following the RPAH elimination diet but I do continue to avoid soy, dairy and gluten. It is definitely hard to keep up the diet but I try still try to cook most of my meals so at least I can keep track of my intake of certain food groups that I know aren’t the best for me. My skin has gotten a lot better since then as I have been placed on some oral medication which has been extremely effective. The recipes I write from now on will all be gluten free but will not always follow the RPAH elimination diet. I’ll always try to give suggestions to keep it RPAH elimination diet friendly.
It is Spring in Australia and the zucchini has been very cheap. One week Aldi had 500g packs for 79c! I bought a little too much so I had a lot to use up before they went bad. I came across a zucchini brownie recipe which I thought I could make a gluten-free version and with carob instead of cocoa (cocoa is super high in amines). The brownies turned out pretty well, so much so that I converted my boyfriend to carob! He likes to zap them in the microwave to warm them and then cover it with coconut yoghurt and fresh blueberries.
1 cup caster sugar (up to 1 1/2 cups if it is not sweet enough for you)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 small zucchinis, grated
3-5 tablespoons water
Handful of chopped raw cashews
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line your baking tin with baking paper.
Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl and mix thoroughly. Ensure that the bicarbonate soda is not in clumps or it will taste horrible when you bite into one.
Make a well in the middle of the flour and add all the wet ingredients and grated zucchini and mix well with a spoon/spatula. It is a very dry batter, practically a dough so just make sure that there are no dry spots. For my batch, I needed 5 tablespoons water. Let it stand for 5-10 mins to let the dough soak up some of the zucchini moisture.
Transfer to the baking tin and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle the chopped cashews on top and bake for approx. 30 mins depending on your oven. Use a skewer to check it is cooked, it should come out clean when ready.
Let it cool on a cooling rack before cutting them into pieces. It makes about 16 small brownies.
Whenever I am wanting something new to eat I look to Asian cooking for some inspiration as it is normally gluten free when you minus all the sauces! Asian cooking and Asian ingredients tend to be gluten free as is mainly a rice based diet (yay!). I think vermicelli is an under utilised ingredient in GF cooking. It is a thin noodle made of just rice and water and dried into a little cake. You can find this in any Asian grocery store. The Asian imports won’t be GF certified but some well known brands like Chang’s are, which you can find in major supermarkets.
To prep vermicelli all you do is soak the dried noodle in boiling water till it is soft. Usually about 10 minutes or so. Just break it up when it starts to soften so the heat cooks the middle.
Soak the vermicelli in boiling water for 10-15min till soft. Break up the noodles to ensure even cooking.
Drain the noodles when cooked. The dryer the better as they becomes more sticky when they are dry and help with keeping the fritter shape. If you are impatient like me then just use some paper towel to get it as dry as you can.
Mix the spring onions and cabbage with the noodles (and the carrot if you are using it).
Pop some oil into a pan on medium heat. You will need enough to cover the bottom of your pan. Shallow frying makes it crispier! Place the noodle mix into the oil and flatten out.
When it becomes golden brown and crunchy then flip them over.
When the other side is crunchy take it out and place it on some paper towel to blot off the oil.
This recipe is extremely simple for some crunchy savoury biscuits which is sometimes nice for a change. However, I feel they are a little dry on the tongue because they are made of chickpea flour. They also did not turn out anything like the picture the original recipe had (you can see it here), these turned out super yellow but they still taste good! The recipe makes a bowls worth of biscuits and you can double chickpea it up by dipping in some hommus (you can find my failsafe recipe here).
These amaranth crackers are literally just amaranth. Like magic they can be manipulated into crispy little discs to be eaten with dip (ie. hommus and maybe some cashew dip for us failsafers). You can also lightly salt them and then you can skip the dip all together! They are actually very light and crispy, similar to the “Peckish” brand of rice crackers. They are so easy to eat that you can eat a bowl and not even notice. You would probably want to double the recipe because they will go quick! I saw the original recipe here.
Cook the 1/2 cup of amaranth in one cup of water for around 30 mins till the water is absorbed and it looks like sticky porridge. You will need to stir is closer to the end so it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
Let it cool down.
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.
When the amaranth is cool wet your hands and roll little balls and flatten them on baking paper into thin discs (couple of millimeters thick).
Bake them at 180C for about 15-20 mins (less if your oven is really good). Look out for them browning and looking dry and toasted. They shouldn’t stick to the paper when they are done.
Take them out when ready and cool before removing from the tray.
I am so excited to write this post today! Just when I got back from overseas I went to the market with my dad to stock up on food since I had been away for 6 weeks and nothing was left in the house that was failsafe. We came home with a box of pears for $5! Yep, $5. Of course all the pears were nearly ripe so what to do with all the spoils and not enough tummy space for it? You find ways of preserving it, of which one of the ways to preserve fruit is to “leather”. Essentially it is to cook the fruit down to a pulp and then dehydrate it. When you dehydrate food you discourage yeast and bacterial growth because they need water to survive.
I found lots of posts on how to leather fruits and it really seems simple enough. The main steps are to chop up the fruit and boil it down to a puree. Then spread it out to dehydrate it. Once its dehydrated you can then rub it with sugar to help stop it from sticking to each other. A lot of the posts are for fruit other than pears and so when I experimented with it over the weekend I felt there were some things you could skip. So here is what I did to make my pear leather/roll-ups, it doesn’t have measured quantities so I will attempt to describe the process for you to get a feel on what to look out for.
White sugar (to taste and to rub on if you desire)
Citric acid (to taste)
A splash of water
Peel and chop up your pear. The smaller the pieces the quicker it cooks and becomes soft.
Place chopped pear in a saucepan with a little water over medium heat. You won’t need much water especially if your pears are very juicy. The water is there to stop the pears from burning as they start to cook. Once they start cooking they should release water and the less water you have to start with means less time to let it evaporate off.
Cook the pears over medium heat till they become soft and become a pulp. Once that happens you can lower the heat and keep reducing it till there is little water left. Especially look for a layer of water on the top of the pears when it is simmering, you want this to be gone.
Once as much water is evaporated off as possible without burning the pear pulp on the bottom, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit.
Using a stick mixer (or any other equivalent appliance you have) puree the pear pulp till smooth. The smoother the better as it will mean you can have a nice even roll-up.
At this point, have a taste and see if it is sweet enough. If not, add a bit of sugar. Also, taste for a balance of some tartness and if it lacks then add a sprinkle of citric acid. You won’t need much citric acid as it is quite strong. Make sure you mix well (you can use the stick mixer for this).
Line a baking tray with some non-stick baking paper (or some people suggest heat proof cling wrap). Pour your pear puree on it and spread it out evenly to a few millimeters thickness.
Place it in an oven set around 70-80C or a dehydrator to dry for around 8 hours. The oven needs to be below 100C because then you will cause it to boil and caramelise into a hard mess. The aim is to just dry it without further cooking. Alternatively you could try leave it out for a few days. I did it in bursts in the oven over the course of two days to make sure I didn’t over dry it.
Feel to see if its dry, especially the middle of the tray as that is the last to dry out. If it is very sticky, it is not dry enough. When it dry enough it should be tough enough to be able to peel it off the baking paper without it ripping and it may look more translucent (see picture below). I wasn’t patient enough and the middle was still a little too soft.
When dry you can peel it of the baking paper, rub it with sugar to stop it sticking on everything and then cut it into strips.
Store in a dry, airtight container.
I am seriously rationing it because of all the fruit I cooked, it had low yields and I really must restrain myself if it is to last longer than a few days! It takes a lot of time but not much effort so seriously think of doing it because the taste is so worth it!
Firstly, I’d like to apologise for not posting anything for 6 weeks. The first two weeks I was cruising in the South Pacific and internet was at a premium price. Then I had four weeks in Europe for a conference and some lab visits. I had all intentions of posting while I was away but travelling had taken its toll. Since I have returned (five days ago) I have already finished one batch of hommus so I thought I would share my super easy failsafe recipe.
1/3 cup canola oil (or any other oil you can tolerate)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon citric acid
Garlic to taste
Place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz away till you have a smooth paste! Literally that is it!
The longer I whiz the more smooth it gets but it’s a compromise because my food processor is loud. Some people peel the chickpeas and it does yield a smoother result but it takes a lot of effort to peel a whole can.
If you leave it for a while it can start to separate but it is still good, just give it a mix.
I used to absolutely love sesame snaps and this recipe is a very close substitute. I had bought a bag of amaranth a few months ago before I started on the elimination diet and totally forgot about it because I thought I couldn’t eat it. When I was tidying up the pantry I found the bag shoved in the back. When I realised I could eat them, I was ecstatic! Finally, something different and not to mention I didn’t waste money on food I can’t eat (like the bag of chia seeds sitting in the back).
The popped amaranth has a sort of nutty flavour and is of similar size and texture to sesame when toffeed. This made a bowls worth of brittle and lasted about 2-3 weeks for me. As long as you can stop moisture getting in these will last a long time, or as long as it takes for you to eat it which won’t me long at all. The original recipe came from here but I have slightly altered it to be Failsafe.
To puff your amaranth start by heating up a pot with a lid on high. When it has warmed up place about a tablespoon of the amaranth in and it should start popping in seconds. If it doesn’t take the seeds out and wait till it is hot enough. If you place them in too early they will burn. Once the popping subsides then open the lid and pour the puffed amaranth out and repeat till you have popped all the seeds. Some won’t have popped but don’t worry because if you leave it longer the rest will burn.
In a pot (you can use the same one just with no amaranth in it) and place the sugar in on low heat. Allow the sugar to slowly heat up and melt, move it around with a spoon to avoid the melted parts burning before everything has melted.
Once everything has melted you can develop the sugar by turning up the heat a little and letting it boil till you get a nice golden colour (not too brown as it will taste burnt).
When the melted sugar is golden, turn off the heat and quickly add the amaranth and mix. Then pour it our onto some baking paper or wax paper that is on a baking tray and smooth it out to the thickness you like. Thinner is better as it is easier to bite. Be careful as it is still EXTREMELY hot. Oiling a spatula can help with this process. Or you can try placing another piece of baking paper on top and using a rolling pin roll it out to make it even thinner (just do it on a heat proof surface).
Allow for the brittle to cool before snapping it into desired sized shards.
Store in a cool and dry area.
Best candy ever! Way better than eating vanilla marshmallows all day!
Happy belated Valentines day everybody! Sorry for the late post!
I thought that I would share this recipe for buckwheat sugar cookies because I made a whole heap of heart shaped ones! Granted, it was the only cookie cutter I had in the house but nevertheless these are quite easy to make and are tasty too! I found the original recipe on Pinterest here and adapted it to be Failsafe. The cookies look like just regular biscuits (see my pictures below), they turned out NOTHING like the picture on the other site. This made about 20 medium sized cookies.
125g nuttelex (butter or other margarines that can be tolerated)
120g white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
white sugar to sprinkle
Beat the nuttelex and sugar till creamy and then add the egg and beat till incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients (the two flours, sugar and baking powder). Mix around and then when it becomes more doughy then you can knead. It may still feel pretty wet though so you might just want to mix with a spoon.
When it is all mixed well roll into a ball and wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This helps harden the dough so you can roll it out.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper till about 0.5cm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut to the desired shape and size. Alternatively roll small balls and flatten out.
Sprinkle more sugar on the top.
Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20mins at 180C.
Cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.
I bought this Has No… doughnut mix AGESSSSS ago during Coeliac Awareness Week at Aldi. We decided to try it out before I went on my elimination diet where I would be restricted to a landscape of blandness. Surprisingly this is gluten free, egg free and a whole lotta free (except dairy – sorry!).
Aldi’s GF donut mix
The prep is very very simple, just add water! We fried small balls off in a small saucepan of rice bran oil till they were golden. Some were a little too golden as we really lacked in the deep frying experience. There is a lot more cinnamon sugar than is required but I’d keep that to sprinkle on french toast or just plain toast… or just to dip your finger and eat it! It’s that good! Unfortunately, a combination of us probably over cooking the doughnuts and it being a GF mix led to the interior being a little on the dry side. The exterior was pretty crunchy so we could have backed off on the cooking time to have a softer doughnut. These also kept well till the next day. We didn’t test how much longer than that because we ate them pretty quickly. A very delicious substitute for those with doughnut cravings! Let me know if you can make them in the classic doughnut shape, we could only just dollop the mix in so they came out very “organic” and “rustic” in shape.
***Originally published Nov 2014 on my previous blog***