I’ve been a little quiet on this blog this year. We’ve had quite the medical roundabout with me having a couple of day surgeries, my youngest son having some medical problems and my husband being diagnosed with a very rare form of lymphoma. Thankfully, although rare, his lymphoma is very low grade and when he gets to the point of needing chemotherapy it should respond well. There’s been little spare time for baking but in time for Christmas I’ve been back in the kitchen trying out new recipes.
I’ve been wanting to sort out a gingerbread man recipe for some time now. In previous years I’ve used a recipe that comes out nicely but doesn’t quite have the zing that I was hoping for. I recently tried another recipe which had the zing but the texture was not quite how we like it. This recipe uses ideas from both recipes I’ve tried and it’s a winner. My youngest son finds it a little too zingy for his taste buds, so if you want it a bit milder just reduce the ginger amount. It’s a good recipe as it’s free from all the common allergens – gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts and soy. Here it is:
250 g dairy free margarine (I use Nuttelex in Australia) or you can use butter if not dairy -free
225 g brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
60 g water combined with 2 teaspoons of Organ No Egg powder (or use 2 eggs if you can have them) A flax egg should also work but I haven’t tried it in this recipe.
120 g golden syrup (if you can’t get golden syrup, perhaps try treacle)
600 g gluten free plain/all purpose flour (I use Aldi or Orgran gluten free plain flour)
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
4 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
- Cream margarine/butter, sugar and vanilla with electric mixers.
- Add water and No Egg powder and golden syrup and mix well.
- Mix the dry ingredients well together and add to the creamed mixture until it is incorporated.
- Roll out on floured baking paper until 3-5 mm thick and cut out the gingerbread people.
- Transfer to a baking paper lined tray (I use silicon mats on a baking tray).
- Cook at 160 C (fan-forced oven) or 180 C (conventional oven) for 15-20 minutes depending on thickness of the gingerbread men.
- Cool on the trays then store in an airtight container.
For a while now I’ve had this recipe for homemade ‘Bounty’ Bars devised by someone on Facebook called ‘Aldi Mum’. The recipe uses dairy so I figured I’d use the principle of the recipe and convert it to make it vegan. There are only three ingredients and they are so easy to make. I’ve realised that my phone pic above is quite blurry so I need to take clearer pictures and post later.
305 g tin of sweet condensed coconut milk (I use the Panaroo brand)
190 g packet of shredded coconut (I use the Aldi one as the amount of shredding is perfect for this recipe and the 190 g size is exactly right too)
400 g dairy-free chocolate (I used Aldi dark chocolate which says it may contain traces of milk. This is fine for our family who don’t have a dairy allergy but obviously this would be unsuitable for anyone with an anaphylactic dairy allergy. In Big W stores you can buy Kinnerton chocolate which is gluten, dairy, egg and nut-free. Always check the ingredient list!)
- Add the coconut to a medium sized bowl and add the tin of condensed coconut milk. Ensure it is thoroughly mixed together.
- Form into small logs. I used two silicon ice-cube trays that I bought from Woolworths. With this amount, I had a little left over so used a silicone mini-muffin tray for the extra amount.
- Freeze until firm.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of boiled water.
- Dip the frozen bars into the melted chocolate and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Refrigerate until set then place in a container and keep refrigerated.
Here is a picture of the trays:
The third strawberry recipe is one for the adults, though a version could be made for the younger ones by omitting the rum. I looked at several recipes before just having a go to see what would work. To get the sugar to dissolve, I used icing sugar. To ensure it is gluten-free, make sure to check that if you are using an icing mixture, that the starch is corn cornstarch and not wheat cornstarch.
100 g ice cubes
1 punnet (250 g) strawberries (cut up)
100 g rum
20 g lime juice
36 g icing sugar/mixture (adjust to your own taste)
- Add to a blender or thermocooker and blend until mixed. For the Bellini I think I did speed 10 for 10 seconds. Repeat if needed.
For an alcohol-free version you could use rum essence, or just omit and use some soda water or lemonade (but omit the added sugar). As always, please drink responsibly.
Here is the second of the strawberry recipes – Strawberry Jam. I wan’t sure how much of each ingredient to use as most recipes I have found use an apple to set the jam. I wanted to avoid using the apple as my mum isn’t able to eat apples but can tolerate a small amount of strawberries. I ended up guessing the ratio and my jam came out okay, though I have modified the recipe to cook it a little longer as I would prefer it a bit firmer. I was busy at the time of making it and didn’t check it using the cold saucer method but I’ve indicated it below to help with determining if the jam is set. Update: I have made this jam with a longer cooking time (25 minutes) so have adjusted the time below. The jam has come out a fabulous texture and is not runny.
500 g strawberries (cut up)
250 g sugar
25 g of Jamsetta (pectin)
- Place the strawberries into a thermocooker (I use a Bellini) and do speed 4 for 10 seconds or until the strawberries are roughly chopped. If using a stovetop method, cut the strawberries finely or you could pulse in a food processor/blender until roughly chopped.
- Heat at speed 1, 100 C for 5 minutes. For stovetop, bring to the boil.
- Add the sugar and Jamsetta and mix well. In the Bellini, speed 4, 10 seconds.
- Cook for 25 minutes, speed 1, 100 C (or boil on the stovetop). For the Bellini, remove the measuring cup on the lid and replace with the steamer insert basket to prevent splatter.
- Keep a saucer in the freezer and when the cooking is finished, check the jam is done. Place a small amount of jam on the saucer and return to the freezer for 2 minutes. Remove and check. If the jam is wrinkly when you push the sides it is set.
- Pour into hot, sterilised jars and seal immediately.
I had clean jars that had been washed thoroughly. While the jam was cooking I put boiling water into the jars and lids to heat the jars and help to sterilise. The jars were jam jars from store bought jam so were okay with the boiling water, but please take care when putting hot water into a cold jar. After putting the jam in I sealed the jars and left them on the benchtop to cool. I found they sealed themselves as they cooled. I put them in the fridge but if you want to store in the pantry, I suggest you sterilise them in an oven first before using. Here are some links to help.
We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries here in Australia but sadly, some people have been sabotaging them by placing needles into the strawberries. This has caused the start of a campaign to buy more strawberries to support the farmers. The only thing to be careful of is to cut the strawberries up first to ensure there are no foreign objects present. Cut them up, don’t cut them out is the tagline so this is the first of three recipes using strawberries. First, the vegan recipe for strawberry ice-cream and then the dairy one underneath.
320 g tin of coconut condensed milk (I use the Panaroo one available from the Asian section of Woolworths)
400 g tin of coconut cream (I use the Aldi version which has no thickeners in it)
500 g fresh strawberries (please cut them up first)
1 tablespoon vanilla
- Place all ingredients into a blender or thermocooker and blend thoroughly.
- Place into a freezer safe container and freeze until set.
You don’t need an ice-cream maker to set this ice-cream as it will set without ice crystals. It does set very firmly. If you want a softer ice-cream, add more vanilla or add some alcohol to the mix (e.g. rum) which will prevent it from freezing so hard. You need to leave it on the bench a while to soften before scooping. Another idea is to freeze it into small muffin sized silicone moulds so that it is already portioned out for easy removal. You can also make this ice-cream using other fruit. I often make mango ice-cream this way.
600 g thickened cream (or pure cream) Ensure it has no gluten thickeners in it.
400 g tin of sweetened condensed milk
500 g strawberries (cut up)
1 tablespoon vanilla
- As for the vegan version above
Yes, I have posted about pancakes before. The buckwheat recipe I posted recently is still a favourite here, however, I wanted to revisit the recipe I posted a little while back for regular pancakes (pikelets). When I visited the UK in 2016 I realised that the Orgran No Egg egg replacement powder is not as readily available as it is here in Australia so I wanted to see if I could make pancakes with another substitute. I’m going to try applesauce at some stage as a substitute but I know that mashed banana is also used as an egg replacement. I tried it yesterday and it worked fine. All of the other ingredients are the same as in the original recipe but I’ve re-posted it here for convenience. There is also a flax egg alternative if you don’t have or can’t eat bananas.
300 g gluten-free self raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1 mashed well ripened banana (medium size)* see flax alternative below
350 ml milk of choice (rice/coconut milk for dairy-free or regular milk if not dairy-free)
2 teaspoons white vinegar
20 g melted Nuttelex (or other dairy-free margarine, or butter if not dairy-free)
- Sift all of the dry ingredients together.
- Mix the vinegar and melted Nuttelex with the milk and mashed banana and add to the dry ingredients.
- Use electric mixers to mix well.
- Heat a non-stick frypan, pancake maker or pie maker and spray with olive oil.
- Add spoonfuls of the mixture and allow to cook until bubbles form at the surface then flip over to cook on the other side.
- Allow to sit in a stack on a plate for 5-10 minutes before eating (this allows the inside to cook further – otherwise it can be a little doughy on the inside).
- Add the Nuttelex/butter to the Bellini bowl and mix speed 1, 60 C for 3 minutes or until melted.
- Add the milk, banana and vinegar to the bowl.
- Add the flour then the bicarb. soda on top.
- Mix at speed 6 for 10 seconds. Scrape down and repeat if needed.
Tip: You may need to add a little more milk to the mix depending on which milk you use. For coconut milk, I find it needs a little more than with rice or dairy milk. If the mix doesn’t drop onto the frypan easily, add a tablespoon (20 g) at a time and mix until it looks right.
I cook mine using a Kambrook Pancake maker and use 1/4 cup of mixture. I preheat the maker then open up and spray with olive oil. I then add the mixture into the deep side and leave the maker open and allow it to cook. When the bubbles start breaking on the top, I close the lid and flip them over to the other side of the maker. I then open it up and spray the deep holes and add more mix while the first two are cooking on the other side. The instructions tell you to close the lid but I find that this compresses the pancakes and makes them doughy inside.
*An alternative to the banana is to use 6 teaspoons of flax meal and 80 g of hot water. Mix together and allow to gel for 10 minutes before using in the mixture.
I’ve posted a strawberry mousse recipe previously but it was a gluten and egg free version which contained dairy. Strawberries are in season here in Brisbane at the moment and very cheap, so I thought I’d have a go making a mousse that was also dairy-free. It is not vegan as it contains gelatine. I recently bought some agar agar powder to have a go with but I’m not sure how to substitute it for the gelatine. I’m told that it will have a very different texture. I’ll have a try sometime. Here’s the recipe:
500 g (2 punnets) strawberries
60 g sugar
3 teaspoons gelatine powder
60 g hot water
250 coconut yogurt (check to make sure there are no gluten-containing thickeners, also check that it is dairy-free) I used the Cocobella brand that I bought from Woolworths.
300 ml coconut cream (refrigerated in the can)
- Sprinkle the gelatine over the hot water and allow to soften.
- Hull and chop strawberries and puree in a blender. In a Bellini thermocooker I put them in whole and do speed 8 for 10 seconds.
- Add the sugar to the puree and heat in a medium sized saucepan until the sugar is dissolved. In the Bellini do speed 1, 90 C for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatine (speed 4, 6 seconds on the Bellini). Allow to cool.
- While the puree is cooling, whip the coconut cream with hand mixers until the cream doubles in volume. It won’t be as stiff as whipped dairy cream, but it will be aerated.
- Mix the yoghurt with the puree (speed 4, 5 seconds on the Bellini) and then fold in the whipped coconut cream.
- Refrigerate until set.