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.
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!
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!
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!