Chocolate Chocolate chip biscuits – low FODMAP

There is nothing wrong with occasional treats like this in any diet. The Dietitians Association of Australian recommends against sugar-free diets and in fact says that sugar should comprise 10% of your daily energy needs!


  • 125gm/1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract or Cointreau (!)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup white rice flour (depending on how wet the mixture is – I used 1 cup)
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 3 tsp gluten free baking powder (baking powder results in a more tender biscuit)
  • 1 tsp Xanthan gum (this gives a cakey soft inside)
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cocoa (cocoa in large quantities is a FODMAP so leave out if chocolate is a problem for you)
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate drops

You can replace 1/2 cup of the brown rice flour with an equal quantity of tapioca flour for an even softer texture.


Heat oven to 180°C/350°F. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat again until well incorporated.  Add the vanilla or Cointreau and mix in.

Sift all the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Thoroughly mix the wet ingredients with the dry until a stiff dough forms. Add the chocolate drops and mix in.

Dough ready for the oven...
Dough ready for the oven…

Line two baking trays with baking paper.  Roll the mixture into balls about the size of a ping pong ball and place on the trays. These biscuits do not spread much, so flatten them to the size that you want your finished biscuits to be.

Straight out of the oven!
Straight out of the oven!

Bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool on the trays for a few minutes until they harden, and then on a wire rack until they cool completely. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week (if they last that long!!)










Recipe adapted from Suzanne Perazzini –



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

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


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


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

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

Oh my little dumpling! (Golden Syrup Dumplings)

As far as I can tell, Golden Syrup Dumplings (GSD) appear to have been made since colonial times in Australia. Composed as they are from the most basic ingredients; flour, sometimes an egg, milk to make a dumpling dough; and some golden syrup (“Cockie’s Joy”), sugar and water to make a poaching syrup, they could be made anywhere from a kitchen to a campsite.  Ingredients could be stretched to fill empty tummies in hard times and made richer in good.  It has been interesting looking at the way that the recipes for Golden Syrup Dumplings have changed from the 20s to the present day. The poaching syrup particularly began as boiling water with the addition of a few spoons of golden syrup and maybe some sugar and butter.  Today it is a veritable toffee – almost too thick to get off the spoon!

Lyle's Golden Syrup Can
Lyle’s Golden Syrup Can

I started collecting recipes for this post thinking that Golden Syrup Dumplings were something that just my Mum and little sister were obsessed with.  Because really fluffy dough lumps in syrup? Who else likes desserts like that any more?

Well the answer is,  a LOT of people. Many people have fond memories of their nana or grandma making Golden Syrup Dumplings for them. Of being made to eat every scrap on their plate before the Golden Syrup Dumplings came out of the pot! So this post includes recipes I have sourced from publicly available newspapers and recipe books of the time. But it also includes recipes given to me by friends who have their nana’s recipe still.  Or one they still drag out from time to time. Golden Syrup Dumplings are not an every week thing, or even an every month thing. But when the wind is blowing icy cold and the rain is going sideways in Melbourne on a Saturday afternoon, this is the recipe that you pull out, along with a tub of vanilla ice-cream AND some cream.

And for those wheat free/fructose free, lactose free folk amongst whom I now include myself ; never fear, I have you covered.  The recipe did require some tweaking.  I got some variations that others had posted on the inter web and started experimenting. I like to think that I’ve come up with an acceptable variation which, alongside a tub of lactose free vanilla ice cream or yoghurt will do the job, because its the syrup that really matters. And golden syrup and water and butter is lactose and fructose friendly – aaaahhhh. So here is a run down of the eras and recipes. Note the changes.

What I want to know is do you have a secret family obsession for Golden Syrup Dumplings? Have you been hiding it all this time? What’s your recipe??? Are you prepared to give it up? Send me a comment – go on..

The 1930s

D’Arcy recipe

My Grandfather’s Household manual from 1933 however does NOT include a recipe for these, maybe they were too downmarket??? (It was printed in London after all….)

However newspapers of the 1930s include these recipes:

  • The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), Thursday 14 January 1937, page 10 
    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 14 January 1937

    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 14 January 1937

  • As well as one from The Argus, Wednesday 23 August 1939 
    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 23 August 1939

    The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 – 1957), Wednesday 23 August 1939

The 1940s

The 1940s newspapers included recipes for the dumplings, and I assume that they were a wartime staple.

  • Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 19 July 1941

    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 19 July 1941

The 1950s

Their popularity continued in the 1950s, although as I noted, the recipes over the decades get richer…..

  • This from The Adelaide “Chronicle”, Thursday 6 August 1953, page 36 
    Golden Syrup Dumplings 6 August 1953

    Golden Syrup Dumplings 6 August 1953

  • This from The Queensland Times (Ipswich), Tuesday 6 March 1951, page 4 
    Golden Syrup Dumplings 6 March 1951

    Golden Syrup Dumplings 6 March 1951

  • This from the Adelaide “News”, Wednesday 7 July 1954, page 21 
    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 7 July 1954

    Golden Syrup Dumplings Recipe 7 July 1954

And for some modern recipes…

Despite the fact that only families of English and Irish descent in Australia seemed to know about Golden Syrup Dumplings, this first recipe is from a Polish family, the Pregowsi family, so here is their recipe – a pretty standard one:

Pregowski recipe

  • A Polish family version of Golden Syrup Dumplings 
    Polish Golden Syrup Dumplings

    Polish Australian Golden Syrup Dumplings

Lowrie recipe

  • The next recipe is from the Lowrie family from country Victoria, again a pretty popular dessert in their family: 
    Lowrie Family Recipe – Bob Hart 3AW

    Lowrie Family Recipe – Bob Hart 3AW

The modern Australian Women’s Weekly Recipe

I won’t print it here, but you can easily find it on the web. As I intimated, in the syrup they specify a LOT of golden syrup but it is delicious. It’s definitely more of a treat dessert than the poverty inspired simple dumpling cooked in sweet water which begat this dish. And aren’t we glad!

And my gluten free (lactose free almost) recipe for GSD

Golden syrup dumplings
Golden syrup dumplings

Since I have now joined the growing band of people who cannot eat wheat or sometimes dairy, my recipe in this post is gluten and lactose free. I won’t go on about it, it’s boring, but if you ned to eat this way, I think this recipe may hit your sweet spot! If not, play with some other flours, there are plenty of other gluten free recipe sites out there.

  • Ingredients
  • Specials
  • 190g (1 1/4 cups) gluten free Coles plain flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder made without wheat! (I used “Ward’s Baking Powder)
  • 30g butter, chilled, chopped (butter has very little lactose but use margarine if concerned)
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) lactose free milk
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) golden syrup *
  • I would serve with a small amount (1 tablespoon Greek yoghurt as again this contains little lactose, but again this is a personal preference. Obviously ice-cream is out unless you want tummy aches all round
        • 500ml (2 cups) boiling water
        • 185ml (3/4 cup) golden syrup
        • 100g (1/2 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
        • 40g butter (or margarine)
Sauce ingredients measured and ready to go
Sauce ingredients measured and ready to go

These were a little stodgy, as gluten free cakes and puddings often are, but still delicious!

Decorating Cakes (& when it all goes wrong)

The 1940s

As discussed in the last post, despite austerity and rationing, Australian  housewives did some fantastic things with real (or mock) cream, angelica, glace icing, puréed apple and icing sugar to tart up their patty cakes for a high tea. With butter, sugar and flour rationed, afternoon tea was a big deal. The “Sailing Ships and Mushrooms” made from very plain patty cakes in the last post show what can be done with a little imagination and not too many gutsy people for afternoon tea! You’d hope everyone was a dainty eater or too polite to ask for seconds. Dainty eaters ruled in the 1940s. It has to be remembered that tea was rationed right up until 1950 in Australia so when Nanna used to try to squeeze two cups out of a tea bag you now know why! As well as recipes for small and large cakes there were also recipes for plain cake cut into little squares, circles or diamonds and coated in fondant: what the French call “petit fours”. Take a look at this illustration from the 1940s.

Party Cake (Petit Fours) Ilustration from McAlpine's Booklet 1940s
Party Cake (Petit Fours) Ilustration from McAlpine’s Booklet 1940s

You can download the recipe here.

Recipe for Petit Fours

Party Cake Recipe for Petit Fours for McAlpine’s Flour Pamphlet 1940s

The 1950s

Post WW2, with women encouraged to return to their domestic duties and stop making bombs, using pitchforks on farms and driving heavy machinery for the Women’s Land army etc, domesticity became both an art and a science. The idea of the efficient modern household had begun in the time and motion influenced household manuals of the 1920s and 30s and so it returned. New electric Kelvinator refrigerators, new Sunbeam electric appliances, new recipes and new test kitchens with real scientists in them (mostly men) filled the recipe books and advertising brochures. It was all so – new! So shiny and bright after the rationing and “mend and make do” of the war years. Elaborate recipes

Decorated patty cakes from Betty King 1950s
Decorated patty cakes from Betty King 1950s

for dainty iced cakes, and savouries filled recipe books – perhaps to encourage tea parties instead of second wave feminism?? Recipe books filled with happy wives at ranges were supplemented with stern women (with glasses)

Sunbeam Advisory Service Mixmaster Introductory page - note glasses!
Sunbeam Advisory Service Mixmaster Introductory page – note glasses!

and male(!) scientists hard at work in kitchen laboratories (strikingly similar to the “Ponds Institute”)

McAlpines Cookery Book Test Kitchen
McAlpines Cookery Book Test Kitchen

showing housewives how to use new modern manufactured “ingredients” such as Philadelphia Cream Cheese and evaporated milk. These  new, scientific modern recipes and products were perhaps designed to keep Australian housewives focussed on their weighty responsibilities to home and family. However I have given  a relatively simple iced cakes recipe for this section – the 1950s version of petit fours which had made a come back (did they ever go away???) The version of the recipe is below.

1950s petit fours recipes

Illustrated recipe for petit fours 1950s

Petit Fours from 1950s from Cake Icing and Decorating Book
1950s Petit Fours

The decoration of large cakes – birthday cakes!

The 1950s and 60s were that apogee of the domestic arts – the layered birthday cake, however more so in the USA than Australia. There was no better way for a mother to show her affection for her offspring, her skills to her husband, and to thumb one at the neighbours and in-laws than to create a monstrous multi layered, multi- dimensional birthday cake. Recipes abound in American books, many based on packet mixes. However the following is an Australian 50s birthday cake recipe to which many small Australian girls aspired – including me – “the Dolly Varden Cake” (even years after its creation). This recipe comes from a late 1950s book on cake icing and decorating by Jean Bowring:

Picture of 1950s Dolly Varden Cake
Picture of 1950s Dolly Varden Cake

The recipe for the inside of the Dolly Varden cake in this book is actually a fruit cake, although any firm madeira or plain cake would work just as well. The outside coating is indeed “frosting” and not icing and seems marshmallow like in consistency.  The recipe for the fruit cake is here:

Dolly Varden Cake Recipe

Cake Recipe for Dolly Varden Cake

The frosting recipe is this

“Snow Frosting”

(Illustrated in color, plate 51, page, 142)

1 egg white 1/2 cup crystal sugar Pinch salt 2 tablespoons water

Place the egg white, sugar and water in a basin and place over a saucepan of boiling water. Beat with an egg beater until the mixture will stand in stiff peaks. (Time will depend on the basin’s thickness).

Add the cream of tartar and flavouring and continue beating over the water until the icing will hold its trail when lifted. Pour quickly over the cake, swirl the icing with a large knife when set.

Other Cake Decorating  1920s – now – Fairy Cakes & Butterfly Cakes

I had always assumed that everyone called a patty cake with its top scooped out and cut in half, filled with a teaspoon of raspberry jam and some whipped cream, and top cut in half and replaced askew as “wings” as a fairy cake. Not so. While this seems to be a common name from the 1980s forward, a search of recipes in newspapers from the 20s – 70s in Australia revealed to me that that just as the American  term “cup cake” replaced the Australian “patty cake”, so the English “fairy cake” was supplanted by the Australian patty cake.   Fairy cakes were just little plain sponge cakes. Often lighter than patty cakes in that the whites were whipped separately, and often a few almonds were added or a little apricot jam was brushed across the top, they were a plain cake and not the cream and jam confection properly and often known as “butterfly cakes”! Butterfly cakes are best made with patty cakes that have a bit of a peak on them, as it makes cutting off a piece to make wings much easier.

SO if you are making a batch of patty cakes specifically to male make butterfly cakes, cook them at 210C rather than 200C.  Cut a circle of cake off the top of the patty cakes with a serrated knife. Cut the tops in half to make two semi circles. Add a half a teaspoon of raspberry jam at the bottom of the scooped out cake,  and plop on some whipped cream (double cream is too rich.) Reinsert the two halves at an angle into the cream to resemble the wings of a butterfly and dust them with icing sugar. Serve them for afternoon tea – but just don’t call them “fairy cakes” as I have been doing all my life! There is a gorgeous pic of a butterfly cake at but I haven’t yet been able to get in conact with them to put it on this site, so if you you want a look at the creme de la creme of butterfly cakes, I suggest you follow this link

Rescuing Decorating Disasters

I am a perfectionist. I like every thing on my cakes to look just so. Maybe not exactly perfect but icing even and to the edges, sprinkles evenly sprinkled and each patty cake to be the same size. For parties I sometimes even weigh how much mixture is in each patty paper so that they are all even (I am a little ashamed to admit that).

When baking goes wrong!

So imagine my horror the other day when a whole batch of Patty Cakes stuck to greased “non stick” mini muffin tins! I had run out of mini patty pan papers, and thought that paperless little baked patty cakes would be  cute! So I greased the mini muffin tins I had, (didn’t flour them – tut tut), and filled them 3/4 full. Well, they stuck, and they didn’t rise much. I dug them out with a knife while still warm and was left with tops – and bottoms. Marvellous. I left the second tray in the muffin tins in a little longer hoping to solidify before turning them out.

Stuck like a fat man in a pickle jar. I left them to deal with later. The last of the mixture I used to fill some “foolproof” silicon patty pans. I only had enough mixture for about 6, but that would have to do. I baked these and they rose quite nicely, but again, split through the middle when unmoulded, except for two, which I will deal with later. I was left with a pile of mangled cake bodies. Half cakes taste nice but what to do??

What to do?

What should I do? – pile the bodies high, drizzle some icing and sprinkles on top and call it deconstructed patty cakes a la Masterchef??? Throw the lot in the bin?? (Believe me I was tempted). But in the spirit of Depression/wartime/waste not want not cookery I persevered. Take a look below:

Half cakes
Half cakes

When God/Allah/The Universe gives you lemons…

I used the cakes from the silicon moulds as they had the best shape and I lamington-ised them. I matched the top and bottom of each cake as best i could. I found some raspberry jam in the cupboard and used it to glue the little buggers together. I made a runny, very chocolatey icing from cocoa, icing mixture, and hot water and poured some dessicated cocoa on a plate. I gingerly picked up the cakes, plopped them face down in the chocolate icing and used my left hand to draw them upwards (without losing their bottom), and my right hand to face plant them in the coconut. I put the little bastards on the rack to dry off and repeated. By the 4th or 5th they were looking quite pretty. I’m sorry I didn’t photograph the plate but I was in a hurry! You’ll have to make do with one solitary pic:

Lamingtonised bastardised patty cake
Lamingtonised bastardised patty cake

I didn’t do them all. The stuck ones in the tins got dug out and frozen to make the basis for a boozy trifle another day. But two whole ones did get annointed with chocolate icing (thickened) and silver cachous for a little girl in time for morning tea. And the top of course was the best part of all.