Gluten free Raspberry Coconut Tea-cake (also low FODMAP)

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A delicious, easy and quick cake for afternoon tea! As I noted in the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe, there is nothing wrong with occasional treats like this in any diet. The Dieticians’ Association of Australia recommends against sugar-free diets and in fact says that sugar should comprise 10% of your daily energy needs! So enjoy a piece of cake now and then….

Finished Coconut Raspberry CakeFinished Coconut Raspberry Cake
Finished Coconut Raspberry Cake

Ingredients:

125g butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup gluten free flour (or use a mix of rice flour, potato flour and tapioca flour – see NB below)
1 heaped tablespoon coconut flour
3/4 cup lactose free milk (or rice or soy milk. If using soy milk it must be made from soy isolate as whole bean soy milk is not low FODMAP)
3 tsp gluten free baking flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 200C. Line a round 23cm baking tin and grease the sides. This does not need to be a very deep tin as this is not a large cake!

Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla extract. Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Add the

Adding the coconut flour and milk
Adding the coconut flour and milk

flour and baking powder and beat slowly at first and then on high for 1-2 minutes.  Add the coconut flour and 3/4 cup milk. Again beat them in gradually and then beat for another 1-2 minutes on high. Add all the milk even if it seems too much as coconut flour is very absorbent. You should have a smooth batter that is not runny but drops easily from a spatula.

Spoon into the lined tin and smooth the

Placing the raspberries on top
Placing the raspberries on top

mixture flat. Scatter raspberries on top or make a nice pattern as I have done! Press them slightly into the batter (they will sink slightly as the cake cooks.) Cook for 35-40 minutes until golden brown or
until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. Cool in tin until lukewarm and invert on to a towel or rack, place a serving plate on the base and flip cake the right way up.

Dust with gluten free icing sugar if you wish. Serve warm. Lovely with a cup of tea!

NB. If using a mix of your own flours, use a ratio of one cup of fine rice flour to 1/3 cup potato flour and 1/3 cup tapioca flour. Add 1/2 tsp Xanthan gum if you have some. Mix together using a whisk and sieve to mix several times.

Triple Layer Chocolate Caramel (date) Peanut Slice

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This is my attempt at making a more healthy version of chocolate caramel slice (my favourite slice as a child). Since condensed milk is off the menu, as is lots of chocolate, I thought a no-bake, almost gluten-free version, full of nuts with just a little sweetness would be a healthier, lower GI option. See what you think!

Layer 1

1.5 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could also use golden syrup)

Process together in a powerful  food processor until it forms a homogenous mass or ball. Spread over the base over a square cake tin lined with baking paper. Use the back of a spoon to get a thin even layer. Put in freezer as you prepare the next layer.tin

Layer 2

700g – 1kg medjool dates, pipped and cut into pieces

Medjool Dates
Medjool Dates

1- 1.5 cups boiling water
4 – 6 pinches gingerbread spice or powdered ginger

Stone the dates and cut into pieces. Put into a dish and add the boiling water. Mash down with a fork and leave to soften. Stir and try to combine the water and dates. Add the spice. Process in a food processor if needed to make a date paste.Get the first layer out of the freezer and spread this date paste over the first layer but don’t go right to the edges. Place back in the freezer.

Layer 3

3/4 jar of Mayvers chocolate peanut butter (or use regular nut butter and up the cocoa and walnuts)
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons of cocoa

some raw ingredients
some raw ingredients

1/4 cup brown rice syrup (you could also use golden syrup)

Process all ingredients until a sticky crumb forms. Ad more walnuts or rice syrup if the mixture is too dry. Crumble this mixture over the first two layers and then gently push down with a spoon or your hands to cover the date layer and stick it together. But don’t let the date layer squeeze through!  Refrigerate.

When completely cold, cut into (very) small squares. This is a high protein, high (good) fats snack that will fill you up. It is only suitable for a low FODMAP diet in small  quantities due to the large amount of nuts and some dried fruit and not everybody will be able to tolerate it. It is yum though!

Chocolate Caramel (Date) Slice
Chocolate Caramel (Date) Slice

Quince Paste (and Quince Jelly)

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 Make together if you want to maximise quinces and effort.

Ingredients

  • 4 Quinces (you can often get them for free from a neighbour’s garden…)
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • About 4 cups of sugar – double if you are making quince jelly and paste

Peel large strips of lemon rind from one of the lemons. Put about 4 cups of water in a large pot, add the vanilla pod, lemon rind and the juice of both lemons. Wash the quinces under running water and rub off fuzzy coating. Quarter quinces, but forgot recipes that tell you to peel. There is pectin in the skins and they cook down to a mush anyway.

Remove the cores and seeds but chop off and chuck any manky bits. Put the cores and seeds aside for now. Chop the quinces into cubes and add to the water. There should be enough water in the pot to just cover the quinces. Prepare a muslin bag to hang in the pot containing the cores and seeds. These contain a lot of pectin, as do the skins. I use a muslin bag tied with kitchen string but you could also use a new chux brand cloth wrung out in boiling water. Add this to the pot.

Put the lid on the pot and simmer for an hour and a half until the quinces are very soft. Take the lid off the pot and boil for approximately 15 minutes until the fruit and water are a rosy pink. Take off the heat and use a masher or wooden spoon to break up the pulp. You should have a sloppy mash.

Straining the pulp – for paste or jelly

Prepare a strainer or steamer basket lined with 1 or 2 layers of muslin or chux cloth securely sitting above an appropriately sized pot or bowl. I find a metal steamer sitting over a large pot works really well. Pour your fruit mash into the strainer and allow it to drain slowly for 6 – 8 hours or overnight. You should get about 4 or 5 cups of liquid. In the unlikely event that you don’t, pour some extra boiling water through the fruit mash and allow it drip through. Do not squeeze the muslin bag in an effort to get more juice! (If you are making quince jelly from the juice this can make your jelly cloudy!)

To make Quince Jelly from the juice

Measure your juice in cups and add to a saucepan. For each cup of juice add 1 cup of sugar. Some recipes say to heat the juice and and warm the sugar in the oven etc but I just add the sugar to the juice and stir well as it all starts to heat up. Simmer the jelly until it becomes a beautiful ruby red colour and sets rather than just being syrupy. I now know that the jelly needs to come to Setting Point (103 – 105c ) and boil there in order to jell. This was a very important discovery as prior to this I had lots of syrupy quince juice, but no jelly! Test on saucer in freezer as usual.

Bottle in sterilised jam jars and stick a label on them. I also cover mine with brown paper and string. Yes I am a bit sad.

Quince Jelly
Quince Jelly

This is great on buttered toast or used like red currant jelly to deglaze a pan or to accompany roast meat.

You could of course chuck the juice and proceed to:

Make Quince Paste

Take the fruit pulp from the sieve/strainer, discard the bag of seeds and reduce it to a fine paste using a stab mixer, blender, food processor, food mill or fork! This does mean that you are pulping the lemon rind as well, put it gives it a lovely slightly tangy flavour. Weigh the pulp and add it to a large heavy based (preferably non stick) saucepan with the same weight of sugar as quince pulp.

Quince paste slab
Quince paste slab

Even if you do not make quince jelly first, make sure that your quince pulp has as little water as is possible in it. Preferably drain fruit pulp overnight as for jelly). The less liquid that you have in your quince pulp to start with the better. I have learnt from burnt arms and volcanic explosions from the pot of bubbling paste that water makes steam and quince paste then rockets up the tiles! Making the paste this way rather than from a more sloppy wet fruit pulp results in a less ‘volcanic’ cooking experience and less danger of burning oneself. It also results in a drier quince paste that cuts better and is less weepy. I tried putting a muslin bag of mulling spices in one batch of the paste to give it a subtle spice flavour. It was lovely. I probably could have put a few more in. I used Herbie’s mulling spice blend (http://www.herbies.com.au/shop/product.php?productid=223&page=1). Putting these in with the poaching quinces at the beginning might have given a stronger flavour as water is a better solvent for these spices than hot syrup.

Also wear thick rubber gloves when stirring the pulp for the reasons above, especially towards the end of cooking time. Hot quince paste is like hot toffee – and it sticks!

Well mix the paste, sugar, (and some extra lemon juice if you have some) and cook in a non-stick pot over a low heat for about an hour until it is a paste of a deep red colour. A sheet of tinfoil with holes poked in it cocked askew over the pot can help catch volcanic eruptions, as can a lid left half on. However the aim is to dry it out, so it needs to lose water! This paste needs to be stirred very very regularly as it has a tendency to catch and burn especially towards the end of cooking time. When cooked turn it out into a greased log or square pan for cutting into bars, or round moulds for individual portions. Wrap in plastic and store in sealed containers for keeping for at least a year. It doesn’t need to be kept in the fridge, just sealed in a cool dark place.

This paste does not need additional drying in an oven or in the sun. It gives a thick, tangy paste that most people have raved about. It is not a jelly like consistency, if you want that, use another recipe.

Wrapped spiced quince paste
Quince paste wrapped

Once the logs are cold and set and I want to give some to friends etc, I cut the logs into 150g pieces, wrap them well in baking paper, then in brown paper, then tie with string. See pics. I also sometimes add luggage type labels.

Quinces and more

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In Melbourne, Australia right now, quinces are just coming in to season. I have a bowl on the sideboard and their perfume as they ripen is beautiful, like the best room freshener you ever smelled! Quinces are such an old fruit, related to apples and medlars (another old fruit). Though as anyone who has seen one will know, they are ugly. Knobbly and lumpy and hard. There I said it! I see them as a “retro” food as they were very popular in cookbooks of the 30s, 40s and even 50s, but fell out of favour until recently.Quinces in fruit bowl 2

When cooked for a long time however they turn from hard sharp tasting flesh to unctuous oozy pinky-red deliciousness. You can poach them for a compote, bake them in halves in tinfoil with a little butter and sugar, make them into jam, jelly (the real kind), or if you are masochistic like me, make quince paste! If you must make quince paste, be prepared with a large boiler, rubber gloves and lots of lava like splatter all over your stove, and tiles, and walls….

However they, or rather the quince paste made from them, have a long and noble history. The recipe for this delicacy worked its way through Moorish Spain to the rest of Western Europe. European royalty, especially in France and Spain had a passion for quince paste or “cotignac”. They used to make the paste and sometimes bake it in moulds in the sun. The paste made in the moulds looked like this, but often included coats of arms etc.Medieval quince paste in mould

In 1555 the famous Nostradamus even wrote a book on preserves which included a recipe for quince paste! Since sugar was so expensive and scarce however, ordinary people didn’t get much of a look in. Except now anyone who can get their hands on some quinces can make quince paste. Smyrna quinces are the best variety.

All recipes will follow in the next posts: