Irish Cream cream

This cream is smooth and silky and goes with just about any cake or pudding as the flavour of the Irish cream goes well with most fruit cakes and Christmassy flavours.  It is hardly a recipe, just a different treatment for whipping cream (and I slightly more grown up flavour).

Irish cream cream

Irish cream cream

200 ml thickened cream

1 tsp Irish Cream (liqueur)

 

Combine ingredients and beat until thickened.  However, as the alcohol is not cooked it remains active, so if you need to have a zero alcohol reading before driving or operating machinery, best give this a miss. (Leaves more for me anyway!)

White chocolate crackles – gluten free

I thought for Christmas I would rework an old childhood favourite – and as I bought a big bag of those red, green and white buttons, I have to keep coming up with ideas to use them, before I just dig my hand in the jar and make a pig of myself.  My recipe made 15.  If you want to use the whole block of copha, you will get 30 (I wanted to keep some for some other ideas I have rolling around).

Yesterday was an extreme weather event in Melbourne, and we lost power for several hours.  I thought I was very clever making something that didn’t use electricity but of course we didn’t have power to run the router, so no internet and I couldn’t post the results, D’OH!

White chocolate crackles

White chocolate crackles

2 cups gluten free rice bubbles

1 cup gluten free chocolate buttons

125g copha (hard white vegetable shortening)

1 cup white chocolate buttons, or chopped up white chocolate

1/4 cup coconut

1/4 cup gluten free icing sugar

 

Put 15 little patty case papers (smaller than cup cake papers) on a tray and set aside.

Put the rice bubbles, buttons, coconut and icing sugar in a large bowl.  In a small saucepan, melt together the copha and white chocolate, pour into the rice bubble mix and stir until well combined.  Spoon mixture into the cases, place the tray in your fridge to set.

 

Done.  If you want to make the traditional chocolate crackles, the recipe is on the copha wrapper.

White chocolate rocky road for Christmas – gluten free

This is very similar to my regular gluten free rocky road recipe, but I don’t know why, the white chocolate seems to have a different consistency to the milk and dark chocolates, so the quantities of filling items are different.  I went with the “red and green” theme for Christmas.

White chocolate Christmas Rocky Road - Gluten free

White chocolate Christmas Rocky Road – Gluten free

60g gluten free plain biscuits (I used arrowroot ones here), roughly chopped

200g miniature white gluten free marshmallows

100g red and green glace cherries, cut in half

1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped

750g white chocolate

Place all ingredients except the chocolate into a large bowl.

Put 500g of the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and in 30 second bursts, melt it.  I usually find that after each burst, I shake the bowl, it should only take about three to three and a half bursts until the chocolate is starting to melt.  When you can see it is soft, take it out and mix vigorously to finish off the melting process and make sure the chocolate is smooth.  (When melting the chocolate in the microwave you have to be careful because if you heat it too much it will sieze and you will have to throw it out and start again).

When the chocolate is melted and smooth, mix through the ingredients in the bowl.  Spoon mixture into the loaf pan.

Put the rest of the chocolate into the microwave safe bowl, melt it using the same method.  When melted and smooth, spread over the top of the mixture in the loaf pan, trying to fill in the gaps.

Chill for an hour, then cut using a heavy knife.

Christmas biscuits (cookies) – gluten free

Recently on one of my forays into various lolly shops looking for inspiration, I found these gluten free buttons.  I only used a few in the biscuit mix, so have heaps left over for something else (or let’s be honest, maybe just eating).  I am a big fan of the melt and mix method for quick and easy baking.

I got about 24 from the mixture.

Christmas biscuits (cookies) - gluten free

Christmas biscuits (cookies) – gluten free

 

125g butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free SR flour

1/2 cup red, green and white buttons

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160 celcius, 180 if not fan forced.

Melt butter in the microwave in a microwave safe mixing bowl, then add the sugar and beat well.  When cooled a little, add the egg and vanilla, followed by the flour and buttons.  Roll into small balls, and place on trays, leaving room for each ball to spread.  Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool on cake cooler.

Strawberry flan – gluten free

This is so easy, and you can also use berries that are past their best, as you are going to cook them.  The cooking makes the flavour of the berries pop and is great.  Because you don’t have to first make a crust, this is a big time saving.   This serves four.

Strawberry flan - gluten free

Strawberry flan – gluten free

2 punnets strawberries

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

300g sour cream

2 tbsp gluten free plain flour

Ground nutmeg or cinnamon

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160 celcius, 180 if not fan forced.  You will need a pie dish for this, lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Wash and hull the berries, cutting them flat across the top.  Arrange points up in the pie dish, reserving a few for decoration after baking.  Whisk eggs, sugar, vanilla in a bowl, add the sour cream and flour, whisk to a smooth batter.  Pour over the berries, taking care not to knock them over.  Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg or cinnamon, whichever you prefer, and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes until lightly browned and just firm in centre.

 

Decorate with reserved berries and serve.

Cherry and chocolate slab cake – gluten free

I like to make this in a slab pan, as it is so rich it is easy to slice into small ‘fingers’ for serving.  You don’t want to do this in a traditional cake tin, then try to eat a big wedge of it.  You should be able to serve at least twelve people.

Chocolate cherry cake

Chocolate cherry cake

Cake:

1 & 2/3 cup gluten free SR flour

1/2 cup cocoa

1 tsp each of bi-carb soda and baking powder

200g each of brown sugar and caster sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk (you can make this yourself by adding a little vinegar to regular milk)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbsp brandy

125g unsalted butter, chopped and melted when required

1 tsp salt

350g jar pitten morello cherries, drained

Ganache:

1 cup thickened cream

1/4 cup golden syrup

250g dark chocolate, chopped – or use buttons

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 170 celcius (190 if not fan forced).  Grease and line a 20 X 30 cm slab pan.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and bi-carb.  Stir in sugars.  In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk,k banilla and brandy.  Melt butter, salt and 1 cup of water over boiling water.  Pour onto dry mixture and mix, fold in egg mixture.

Scatter cherries over bottom of prepared slab pan.  Pour batter over and smooth.  Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes – cake is cooked when it springs back when you poke it with your finger.  Leave to sit in pan for five minutes when you take it out of the oven, then let it cool on a rack (be careful, when the cake is still warm, it is a little fragile because of all the moist cherries).

To make ganache – heat cream and golden syrup in a small pot over medium heat until almost boiling.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and chocolate, and stir until chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.  Chill for 30 minutes, then spread over the cake.

 

I either serve the whole cake on a large flat glass cutting board or pre-cut it into fingers.  This recipe is one of my most asked for by friends and work colleagues, so enjoy.

Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad – gluten free

Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad - gluten free

Pomegranate and Quinoa Salad – gluten free

This salad is ‘flexible’ in that you can change the contents around a little.  The quantities I have given will give you a big bowl that will serve at least four as a side – with some leftovers for lunch the next day.  When I say you can change the contents – so long as you keep the quinoa and pomegranate you can pretty much change the other vegetables as the contrast between the savoury and sweet is what is important.  This is a great salad for a pre-Christmas barbecue as the red and green vegetables will echo the colours of the season.

 

Salad:

2 cups of quinoa – cooked according to packet directions

One pomegranate

1 tin of chickpeas – drained

1 bunch of asparagus, lightly steamed until just soft, and cut into bite sized pieces

1 cup corn – lightly steamed until just soft (or use a tin of drained corn)

1/4 cup of chopped pistachios

4 spring onions, thinly sliced

Handful of chopped coriander leaves

Handful of chopped mint leaves

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Dressing:

1 tbs vinegar

1 tbs olive oil

2 tsp sumac

Juice of one small lemon

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Put all salad ingredients in a bowl (to get the pomegrante seeds out, I cut the fruit in half, and upturn the half over the bowl, give it a quick squeeze to get some juice, then bang it with a heavy spoon to get the loose ones out, then unfortunately you have to dig for the others – just don’t let the pith fall into the bowl as it is not nice to eat.

Combine the dressing ingredients, then stir through the bowl.

 

Gluten free Christmas Cake

I usually make my cake and my pudding in early December so that the flavours get a chance to develop.  Well, that is what I was taught anyway, I don’t know if it is true, but that is what I do.  Once cooked and cooled, you can wrap them up in plastic and keep them for Christmas Day so that is one less job to do.

I get out my biggest plastic bowl and put 11 cups of mixed fruit and nuts in it.  This year I used some commercially mixed fruit (a little bit of peel mixed in with the dried fruits, not a lot), currants, sultanas, chopped pitted dates, glace cherries, cranberries and pistachios.  The exact mix varies each year, depending on what I have in the cupboard.  I then pour 500ml of spirits into the fruit.  Traditionally, you are supposed to use brandy, but there is nothing wrong with using rum.  The flavour will be slightly different when the cake and pudding are done, but not a lot.  Once the bowl of fruit and spirits is sealed, I leave it on the bench and whenever I am in the kitchen I give it a shake.  I leave it for two days – one will do, but two is better, and then prepare the cake and pudding.

 

SO much rum in this mix!

SO much rum in this mix!

Cake:

7 to 8 cups of the fruit mix (take about 4 to 5 cups out for the pudding, and put whatever is left in the cake – although you will start with 11 cups of the fruit, remember you are adding two cups of liquid and the fruit will plump up

250g butter

1 cup brown sugar

5 eggs

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mixed spice

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cups gluten free SR flour

1/4 cup rice flour

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 cup gluten free plain flour

Juice of one small lemon

 

Preheat fan forced oven to 140 celcius, 160 if not fan forced.  Grease and line a 23 cm spring form cake pan and set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time and beat between each egg.  Add to fruit.  Add gum and spices, then sift in flours and add almond meal.   Use juice as required as the mix will be quite solid.

Spoon into prepared tin, and bake for approximately 2 hours.  Depending on the oven and the mixture, this can vary, check after 1 & 1/2 hours, if the skewer comes out clean, take it out early otherwise it will dry out.

Gluten free Christmas Cake

Gluten free Christmas Cake

Curried rice salad, colourful for Christmas entertaining

This is really pretty, you form it in a mould (I use my Tupperware Jel-Ring) and the colours of the vegetables are so Christmassy!  Serve it on a matching plate, and it really reminds you that the Big Day is just around the corner.  Also, after Christmas, you can even use it as a summer salad, as it has pineapple in it, and the curried coconut dressing makes you feel all tropical and summery (sorry to my Northern Hemisphere readers, you will just have to keep this in mind for later!)

Curried rice salad with pineapple

Curried rice salad with pineapple

1 & 1/2 cups cooked white rice

1/2 cup finely sliced celery

3 spring onions, finely sliced

1/2 cup frozen peas and corn

1/2 each red and green capsicum

1 tin of drained pineapple chunks (keep the juice – you can use it to flavour a cake later)

1 small grated carrot

Salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp curried coconut dressing

 

Spray the jel-ring with cooking spray.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Press firmly into jel-ring.  Place in fridge for at least half an hour, more if possible.  When ready, turn onto a serving dish gently.  This will hold its shape, but not if you are overly rough with it.

Turkey meatballs

If you find yourself really busy over the Christmas period, or maybe you are doing some pre Christmas entertaining, these are quick and easy to make and are very tasty.  The flavours will be a surprise, the turkey is traditional Christmas fare, but the rest are a little twist.  Three ingredients and you are done!

Turkey meatballs

Turkey meatballs

 

500g turkey mince

1 tbsp green curry paste

1 tsp lemongrass paste

 

Mix all ingredients, shape into small balls and fry until cooked through.  How easy was that?