Candied Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds

Candied Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds

Candied Salted Caramel Pumpkin Seeds

I love this recipe! It’s a fantastic candied treat that’s great for parties and for holidays. If you have food allergies in the family, it’s also a great recipe to pass to grandparents who want to spoil the kids! It’s also ideal to take to kindergarten parties and pot lucks as it’s free of all major allergens!

Don’t be put off by the idea of pumpkin seeds – these are nothing like the raw ones that you get in salads. These are as different as corn is after it’s popped and are sweet, salty, and crunchy like M&Ms. They are dangerously addictive and are great eaten straight, sprinkled on fruit crumble, or on top of ice cream.

Ingredients

In the oven:

  • 2c pumpkin seeds
  • 2 1/2T sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3T water
  • Oil for roasting dish

Caramel sauce

  • 1 1/2T allergy-free spread (i.e. Nuttelex) / butter
  • 2 1/2T brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

Allergies: gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, nut free.

Note: If nut allergies are not a concern,this recipe will also work well with peanuts, cashews, and almonds.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180’C and lightly oil a baking dish (I used a silicon flan / pie dish).
  2. Mix all of the oven ingredients together and pour into the baking dish. Note: the water is important because it helps the spices to stick to the pumpkin seeds (and the seeds will absorb the water a little as they puff up during cooking).
  3. Bake the pumpkin seeds for 20-25 mins until golden and crunchy.
  4. Once the pumpkin seeds are cooked, mix the caramel sauce ingredients together in a pot. Cook for 1-2 minutes until the ingredients have melted and turned a deep golden brown.
  5. Mix the caramel sauce and pumpkin seeds together until well coated. Spread on a tray and allow to  cool.

Sri Lankan Breakfast Roti

 

Makes 10 helpings. These are warm and savoury; leaving out the onion & chilli they can be paired with jam or a chocolate spread instead.

Ingredients

  • 3c flour
  • 1c cool water
  • 1c dessicated coconut (soaked in water)
  • 1T neutral oil (I like rice bran oil)
  • 1/4c finely chopped onions
  • 1/4c finely chopped chillies (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, oil, and soaked coconut. Add the cup of water slowly until a soft dough forms. If using chilli and onion, add these now. Be careful not to overwork the mixture.
  2. Form the dough into 10 balls of equal size. Gently roll the dough into shape. In an oiled pan, fry in high heat until both sides are brown. Be careful not to overcook (like I did!), it should be soft rather than hard.

Allergens: soy free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Source: M. Tharaneetharan, World Concern, Sri Lanka.

Raw Food Snickers Bar Cheesecake

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Raw Food Snickers Bar Cheesecake

This was amazing!! It was also expensive but totally worth taking Miss 2 for a rare treat after yet another hospital appointment. Raw HQ is run by a lovely mum & nutritionist and stocks a range of allergy friendly / vegan  / paleo foods.

Want to have a go making something like this at home? There are lots of recipes online (though none with exactly the same ingredients as this delicious treat), here is a sampling of them; remember that you can use the base from one, the filling from another etc. to make your own favourite recipe!

Creamy coconut pumpkin curry (dairy free!)

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Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl

This delicious Pumpkin and Yellow Split Pea Dahl is creamy, sweet, and lightly spiced. It’s a wonderful balance of flavours, it’s cheap, it’s filling, it’s nutritional, and it’s easy to make. I’ve used a slow cooker for this recipie as it means you can prepare the vegetables ahead of time if you want and then just throw everything in so you can be occupied with other things while it’s cooking. It’s also wonderfully allergy friendly!

Ingredients

  • 60ml neutral oil (I like rice bran oil)
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1/2 chopped pumpkin (flesh only, skin & seeds removed)
  • 2 potatoes, diced.
  • 200g yellow split peas (soaked overnight in water)
  • 1/2c sultanas
  • 3T curry powder
  • 400g can coconut cream

You can substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash or kumara if desired.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

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For sizing, I used half of this pumpkin.

Directions

  1. Put everything in the slow cooker and mix.
    • I suggest putting in half the can of coconut cream to begin with. You can then decide part-way through cooking if you want to add the other half. It will take longer for the full can to be fully absorbed but it does give a wonderful creamy flavour.
  2. Cook on high for 2-4 hours.
    • I added the second half of the coconut milk after two hours and switched it to warm after four hours.
  3. Eat on it’s own, with flatbread, or with rice. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Quick & Easy Breaded Kumara Fries (Gluten Free!)

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Gluten Free Breaded Kumara Fries

 

Ingredients

  • All purpose Gluten Free Breading mix
    • Remember this stores in the fridge for several months! Alternatively, you can halve all the ingredients if you’d prefer to make up a smaller amount.
  • Kumara (sweet potato)
  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar
  • Neutral oil.
    • I like rice bran oil personally and it has the advantage of a high smoke point.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free*, nut free.

Directions

  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Slice up the kumara into fries.
  4. Dip each piece of kumara into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix.
  5. Cook in batches in a neutral oil until golden and crisp. This took about 8-10 mins.
    • Don’t worry if you don’t have a deep fryer; I did a shallow/medium fry in the electric wok! Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking. Generally this will take about 20-25 mins.

 

Quick & easy Breaded Zucchini Chips (Gluten free!)

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Quick & easy Breaded Zucchini Fries (Gluten free!)

 

Ingredients

  • Zucchini
  • All purpose Gluten Free Breading mix
    • Remember this stores in the fridge for several months! Alternatively, you can halve all the ingredients if you’d prefer to make up a smaller amount.
  • Optional: Parmesan powder.
  • Emulsifier (choose one of the following)
    • Egg (whisked)
    • 1/3c coconut milk + 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/3c rice milk + 1 tsp cider vinegar

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, gluten free, egg free, nut free.

Directions

  1. Whisk up your choice of emulsifier in one bowl.
  2. Pour your breading mix into a second bowl.
  3. Slice up the zucchini. Up to you whether you choose rectangles (fries) or circle (chips).
  4. Dip each piece of zucchini into the wet mix and then coat it in the dry mix. Place on a baking sheet.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven, @ 180’C, until golden and crisp. Turn once during baking. Generally this will take about 20-25 mins.

Handy tip: You can cook these in the oven at the same time as other parts of the meal (like the sausages and potato hashbrowns in the photo above!)

Sweet cornbread muffins

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Cornbread muffin

So I’m starting to experiment with other grains as part of our journey to reduce (or eliminate) gluten, dairy, and egg from our diet (as well as needing to be 100% soy free). I picked up some cornmeal really cheaply and went looking online for what I could make up. I’d vaguely heard about cornbread in reference to America and that seemed a good place to start. From what I could gather, after looking at about eight different recipes, cornbread tends to be sweeter in the North and more savoury (and maybe a bit drier) in the South. Its often made with buttermilk which was a problem for me as (a) it’s expensive, and (b) I wanted to make these dairy free.  I finally found a Northern recipe for sweet cornbread that looked suitable to adapt and make in muffin trays.

Note: I only wanted to make a small batch so this makes 5-6 muffins, double the recipe to make more.

Ingredients (Dairy or Dairy Free)

  • 1/2c yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2c plain flour
  • 1/2T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T Brown sugar
  • 2T liquid honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3c milk*
    • I used coconut milk.
  • 1/4c butter*
    • I used rice bran oil.

These turned out beautifully; they were quite sweet with 2T brown sugar & 2T liquid honey. I wouldn’t have known they were dairy free. They were light, fluffy, and delicious warm & cold. Made 5 muffins.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Ingredients (Dairy Free & Egg Free)

  • 3/4c yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4c plain flour
  • 1/2T Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2T liquid honey
  • 1T ground linseed soaked in 3T warm water
  • 1/2c – 3/4c coconut milk.
  • 1/4c rice bran oil.

With this batch I was aiming to increase the size of the mix, replace the egg and reduce the sugar. I find, in general, that linseed works well as an egg replacer but you may need a little more liquid. These still turned out well although not quite as fluffy as the first batch. Makes 6 muffins.

Allergies: soy free, dairy free, egg free, peanut free, tree nut free.

Directions

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together.
  3. Pour the wet ingredients onto the dry and mix till combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Put mixture into muffin trays. Bake at 180’C for 15-20 mins until golden brown.

Avial (coconut curry)

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Avial with 4-grain rice

I found a big selection of vegetarian Indian meals at a bulk buy store recently which we can actually eat because they use rice bran oil and they declare every single damn ingredient that they use (for which I love Priya as only someone with food allergies in the family can). The idea of a shortcut in the kitchen or a kinda-almost-sorta takeaway was wildly appealing so I decided to give them a try. We’ve already tried their Shahi Paneer.

Avial is a “popular south Indian dish with select combination of cooked vegetables, coconut gravy, and choice of spice blend.” The vegetables are apparently potato, radish, ash gourd, snake gourd, carrot, yam, beans, onion, and chilli. The oil is declared as coconut oil and the ingredients appear to be soy free. Although the curry is primarily coconut based, it does contain curd so is not suitable for dairy free.

It was pleasant and mild although not the most appealing visually (and definitely didn’t look like the photo on the packaging!).

Allergies: soy free, egg free, peanut free, gluten free. Not suitable for dairy or tree nut (cashew).

Shahi Paneer

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Shahi Paneer

Our quest for allergy friendly foods (on a very limited budget) has me exploring all kinds of things in the kitchen. I love living in a city with so many cultures and so many types of food and love cooking widely. I like exposing my toddler to a range of foods and trying to encourage a wide palate (besides she doesn’t like my mac’n’cheese anyway).

I’ve never been a big fan of Indian food (apart from some truly delicious foods that Indian friends have cooked at home themselves) as I find the spice base, even when mild, often leaves me feeling ill. I find this in equal parts frustrating and amusing given that I have eaten some truly hot dishes in Thailand and Vietnam and been fine.

I found a big selection of vegetarian Indian meals at a bulk buy store recently which we can actually eat because they use rice bran oil and they declare every single damn ingredient that they use (for which I love Priya as only someone with food allergies in the family can). The idea of a shortcut in the kitchen or a kinda-almost-sorta takeaway was wildly appealing so I decided to give them a try.

The first one was Shahi Paneer; “a highly rich north Indian curry of cottage cheese cooked in a cashew gravy”. Paneer is a kind of cheese (you can even make it yourself) and in this case is in a mild cashew gravy. I was cooking quickly for Miss 2 so ended up making egg noodles and ending up with some quasi-hybrid-cultural dish that nonetheless tasted good. I liked it and Miss 2 consented to try it and eat a small portion (which is reasonably high praise from a toddler confronted by something new).

Allergies: soy free, gluten free, egg free, peanut free.

The busy mum’s guide to making quick & easy gnocchi

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Potato gnocchi with basil pesto

I’ve never made gnocchi before and was keen to give it a try. I read about ten different recipes / blogs / tips & tricks posts and soon realized that it’s easy to make gnocchi but hard to make good gnocchi. Gnocchi should apparently be light fluffy clouds of joy that practically melt in your mouth rather than dense like they often are. If you’re making them using traditional methods then top tips seem to be: Use russet potatoes (or one’s generally dry & starchy), never use a blender / stick / food processor, use a ricer not a masher, add only just enough flour, and don’t over mix.

My favourite photo-blog by someone truly passionate about gnocchi and experimenting to make perfect gnocchi was by Daniel Gritzer.

This is a cheat’s way of making quick gnocchi for busy mums (apologies to any Italians reading this)! You can also make an egg free version and fry them as a tasty snack!

Ingredients

  • 1c potato flakes
  • Optional: 2 tsp parmesan powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2c boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2c – 3/4c plain flour

Note: Makes dinner for one adult. Double (or increase) recipe as needed. You can also lay gnocchi flat (single layer) and freeze for a couple of months.

Allergies: soy free, gluten free, dairy free, tree nut free, peanut free.

Directions

  1. Put the potato flakes, parmesan, and salt, in a bowl. Add approx. 1/2c boiling water and stir.
    • Normally I’d add about 3/4c water to make mashed potato but adding less water means that you don’t need to add as much flour to balance it out.
  2. Add flour and stir / knead to combine into a dough. The mixture should be smooth, pliable, and not sticky. Don’t over knead.
  3. Roll mixture into 4 balls (or more depending on if you’ve doubled / tripled the recipe etc.).
  4. Using a floured bench, roll each ball out into thumb width ‘wriggly worms’ (as Miss 2 deems them).
  5. Chop them into 1/2″ – 3/4″ pieces.
  6. If you have a gnocchi board then you can use that to do the ridges. I don’t and used the alternative method which is to press and roll them off a fork and indent the back with your thumb.
  7. Bring salted water to the boil in a large wide pot.
  8. Drop in gnocchi in batches (so they’re not touching). They’ll need about 2 minutes to rise to the surface and 1-2 minutes at the top.
  9. Pull out with a slotted spoon.
  10. Serve with sauce.