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.
Dad just bought another box of pears at the market for $2! I know, it is a bit crazy isn’t it? Now we have a surplus of pears and I literally just finished making a batch of pear roll ups and I am stocked up on all my sauces… Too many pears and they are all ripening really fast! I decided to try make an apple pie but just substitute out the apple and put pears in instead. It worked out pretty well! I am not great with following recipes so I winged it this time around but here is the gist of it. I took a recipe for the pastry from the Taste.com.au website which was a plus because I could skip using the egg whites which is what my boyfriend thinks makes his hands itchy.
125g nuttelex, chilled and cubed (I used butter for this one)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
A bit less than 1/4 cup cold water
8-9 small ripe pears (or enough to fill your pastry), peeled, cored and diced.
1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (adjust to taste)
Place flours, sugar and nuttelex in a food processor. Pulse for a bit and then blend on low till it resembles bread crumbs. You might need to stop and mix up the flour at the bottom.
Add the egg yolk and water and process till it forms a dough.
Take it out and knead into a ball and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes till firm.
Peel your pears and dice. If they are really ripe and soft like mine, then dice into larger cubes so they don’t turn into mush. If they are still a little firm still then go smaller so they can cook a bit when you bake the pie. If you have the type of pears that are hard then you will need to dice and then cook them on the stove till they are tender, just add a touch of water into the saucepan to avoid burning.
Add the citric acid to the pears and mix well.
When the dough is cooled take 2/3 of the mix and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper till it is about an inch bigger than your tart tin. Peel off the paper every now and again to avoid deep cracks and fix cracks as you go.
When it is big enough roll it onto your rolling pin and roll it on top of your tin. Push it in and fix up the edges.
Put the pear mix into the pastry shell, don’t put any of the juice at the bottom to avoid a soggy pastry.
Now roll out the last 1/3 of the dough cut into thin strips with a knife of a pizza cutter and criss-cross them on the top of the pie. Apply pressure to stick the dough together at intersections and the edge of the pastry.
If you want, you can brush the top of the pastry with the egg white or melted butter. I skipped this so it didn’t brown as much.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool and serve warm!
Serve with some vanilla custard or whipped cream. If we had Rice Dream ice cream, that would be perfect… Or maybe you could dust with some powdered sugar.
My parents and I found it tasted exactly like apple pie! Hope you enjoy it!
I don’t remember exactly the time when lemon meringue pies became my favourite dessert but it had to be relatively recent because I don’t normally like sweets. I used to make this pie quite often prior to meeting my coeliac boyfriend but since then I have eased off. This recipe was the first time I tried to make my own pastry which was so satisfying and actually not that hard! Since finding out I am sensitive to salicyates (amongst other things) I thought I wouldn’t be eating this again but actually with a few tweaks it can be failsafe and gluten free! I can’t remember where I got my first recipe for lemon meringue pie but here is my altered version which is pretty close to the original. There are a number of steps as you will be making three components: the pastry shell, the lemon filling and the fluffy meringue. Don’t be discouraged, its pretty easy!
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon GF plain flour (I use Aldi’s)
1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoons caster sugar
120g nuttelex cut into pieces (or you can use butter)
1 large egg (~55g+)
4 tablespoons + 3 teaspoons GF cornflour
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons “lemon juice” (use real lemon juice if you are not sensitive to salicylates)
2/3 cup + 1/4 cup water
60g nuttelex cut into pieces (or butter)
3 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar
Place flours, sugar and nuttelex in a food processor. Pulse for a bit and then blend on low till it resembles bread crumbs. You may need to stop and give it a mix as the dry flour tends to sink to the bottom and not become incorporated.
Add egg and process till it is incorporated and the mixture becomes clumpy. Again you may need to mix in the bottom.
Use your hands and knead it to form a dough ball. Slightly flatten it and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least an hour. You need the butter to harden up or it will be too sticky to roll out.
Get two large sheets of baking paper (bigger than your tart tin) and place the unwrapped dough in between.
Roll the pastry and slowly turning and flipping. As you go alternate peeling off the baking paper to check your dough for cracks and holes. Push them together and fix up deep cracks made from the paper. Keep doing this until the pastry is large enough to cover the base of your tart tin and up the edge for the crust.
Once the dough is large enough an easy way to get it into the tin without breaking it is peel off one side of the paper and roll the dough over a rolling pin. Then peel off the other side of baking paper that should be on the top of the rolling pin. Then using the rolling pin, carefully line up the dough and roll it off the pin onto the tin.
Push the dough into the tin and up the sides. Fix it up and make it all fit into the tin.
Place one sheet of the used baking paper on top of the dough and put some pastry weights or rice on top before putting into an oven set at 180°C for 10 mins.
After 10 mins, take out the weight and bake for a further 10-15 mins till golden.
Set aside to cool completely.
In a saucepan, combine cornflour, sugar, lemon juice and water and stir till smooth.
Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and stir constantly until boiling.
Once it starts to boil turn the heat down to low and continue to stir for another 30-40 sec until mixture turns from cloudy to transparent and becomes thick and smooth. This is when the cornstarch cooks.
Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the nuttelex and egg yolks till combined.
Refrigerate till cold.
Once cold, fill the cold pastry shell.
Make sure all your utensils are DRY, this is essential for making meringues.
Place egg white in a large bowl and beat on high.
Gradually add sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to beat the egg whites,
Continue beating until all the sugar has been added and it has been dissolved. You will know when this is the case is when you rub meringue between your fingers it is smooth and there are no sugar crystals left. It should look thick and glossy.
Top the filled pie with the meringue making peaks and troughs to increase surface area,
Bake for 7-10 mins 200°C or till the meringue is slightly coloured.
Take out the pie and cool before putting it in the fridge to chill. If you cut it while hot the filling will leak out as it will not have set.
Using the Aldi flour blends result in a light and crumbly pastry that is quite fragile. You can experiment with other blends or try adding xanthan gum if you want to get it more like biscuity short crust pastry. I’m not too fussy which is why I never have bothered. It also keeps in the fridge for a few days. You can always adjust the lemon juice if you find it too acidic (or not acidic enough).
Now go and enjoy your pie made from scratch and with love!
Sometimes you need a treat. Especially if you have been doing the strict elimination diet! Well done if you have stuck with the diet because it is a KILLER! Honeycomb looks crazy hard to make but honestly it takes about 10 mins. Don’t be put off about working with liquid sugar as it is easy but do be careful not to burn yourself. Invest in a silicone spatula and maybe some cooking oil spray as it will make everything a breeze (and you waste less ingredients!). I bought my spatula from IKEA for about $2 and I honestly use it for everything. A spatula made out of silicone is especially good as it won’t melt at high temperatures such as working with liquid sugar. When working with liquid sugar and syrups a quick spray with cooking oil spray means things don’t get stuck and will just slip right off. This recipe comes from the RPAH Friendly Food book, but I think it’s pretty standard.
Get a tray and line with grease proof paper. Make sure you have it on something heat proof or you will ruin your counter top.
Put sugar, golden syrup and water into a saucepan on low heat. Don’t forget to spray your tablespoon with oil so the golden syrup doesn’t stick!
Stir till sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil for about 5 mins or till it gets to a caramel colour.
The next bit all goes really quick so get your bicarb soda ready. Prep your spatula by spraying it down with a little oil.
Take the syrup off the heat and then add the bicarb soda. It will fluff up like crazy so be careful of steam and will turn a creamy colour. Stir like mad to get all the bicarb soda mixed in (it’s not nice to get a clump of bicarb in your mouth). It will cool really rapidly so once all the bicarb is mixed in pour it onto the greaseproof paper and spread it out a little.
Leave it to cool, it will only take a few mins. When it’s cool you can break it up into shards. Store it in a dry airtight container.
Honeycomb is great on its own, coated with chocolate or carob or I put it in trifle. Honeycomb absorbs moisture and turns to goop so keep it dry.
Who would have thunk that you could do a dairy free (and failsafe) version of caramel! I gave this recipe a shot and it turned out pretty good! It definitely lacks that creamy smoothness that cream or cow’s milk would give but hey when you gotta be dairy free you can’t really complain right? The original recipe came from here but when I gave it a go it took a lot longer than described, probably around 45mins cooking time.
1 1/4 cups rice milk (I have used Aldi and homemade, or you can try any other milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Take your milk and heat up for 1-2 minutes in the microwave till it is warm. It doesn’t need to be hot hot.
Place the sugar in a wide pot so it makes a thin layer and place on medium heat.
Give the sugar at least 5 minutes to heat up and then you will notice it will start to liquefy. Agitate it around so that crystallised sugar can hit the pot and also liquify. If it is browning too fast turn down the heat a bit.
Once all the sugar is liquefied and the colour has developed to a nice caramel brown then grab your milk and pour it into the pot of liquid sugar. This will produce heaps of steam so stand back and keep stirring.
The milk is cool the sugar so it will become quite hard and separate from the liquid. Don’t worry, keep it on heat whilst stirring (you may want to increase the fire a bit since it cooled down) and it will eventually dissolve.
Once it has dissolved you can simmer the sauce till the desired consistency. For a runny and pourable sauce I simmered for close to 30 minutes. It looks quite thin because of the heat but once it cools it became thicker (I checked by taking less than a teaspoon out and cooling it on a plate to see the consistency). For a hard sauce suitable for a glaze I reduced it till it was thick whilst it was still hot (close to 45 mins).
When you have the right consistency then pour it into a jar and keep it in the fridge.
I have used this sauce on pancakes, mixed with icing sugar to make a doughnut glaze and in trifle. The possibilities are endless!
Pear upside-down cake is a staple in my diet now. It provides the sugar my body so craves now that there is no fruit in my diet (except for pears!). This recipe is an altered, RPAH elimination friendly (failsafe) version of the original I found here. The cake has a nice dense texture to it and is not too sweet which works well with both canned and fresh pears.
Pear upside-down cake
Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, failsafe
1/3 cup of brown sugar (not raw sugar)
2 pears (fresh or canned)
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/3 cups of GF self raising flour (soy free)
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pre-heat oven to 160°C fan forced, 180°C convection oven. Line a cake tin with baking paper. If it is not waxy then you will also need to grease the pan.
Slice the pear into 1/8ths and line them in the bottom of the baking pan in the design of your choice.
In a small saucepan melt over low heat 50g nuttelex and 1/3 cup of brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Then pour over the pears in the cake tin.
In a mixing bowl, cream together 150g nuttelex and 1 cup brown sugar with an electric beater.
Crack an egg in and beat. Repeat for the next two eggs.
Using a spatula mix in the flour and baking powder, making sure there are no lumps.
Transfer cake mix into the cake tin over the pears and sauce. Even it out and give it a few taps to get rid of air pockets. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Let it cool for a few minutes before turning it over onto a serving plate.
If you like a bit more fruit try cutting the pears into 1/6ths (probably 3 pears). You could easily substitute in other allowed fruits at the top for something different and serve with some ice cream or vanilla custard.