Recipes have a story and this is my family’s story
This is our cigron recipe or my mum Ines’s variation of my Nana’s recipe. We think the vinegar is definitely Mum’s Italian influence and we love its taste. When I visit my granddaughter in Brisbane, Mia always asks – Are you going to make cigrons Avia? It is one of our special family meals or special occasion meals. It connects my family to our Catalan heritage in a special way and I feel honoured that I have passed a love of cigrons on to the next two generation. Should they visit Catalonia, they will be disappointed with the traditional recipe served there. I have ex flatmates from over 30 years ago who still reminisce about my cigrons. I have a Namco Pressure Cooker which I bought in 1983 and it has chuff chuffed its way through a few decades and quite a few kilos of chickpeas.
375 to 500 g dried chickpeas
2 – 4 tablespoons olive oil
4 – 6 rashes of bacon, diced
3 – 6 cloves garlic, diced finely
¼ to ½ cup vinegar
Salt and pepper
Rinse the dried chickpeas and then soak them in a bowl of water for at least 8 hours.
Drain chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with boiled water. Add a large pinch of salt.
Bring the pot to the boil and scoop off any froth and bubble from the top of the water.
Seal lid and bring up to pressure. Reduce heat until gentle simmer (about 1/3 heats on my hotplates or a gentle chuff chuff chuff can be heard). Cook for 30 – 40 minutes.
Remove from heat, release pressure (safely). If there is too much liquid, reserve excess liquid (freeze to add to soups or pasta sauce or to add back into cigrons).
Meanwhile in a frying pan, heat the olive oil. Add bacon and fry until cooked.
Add garlic and fry until soft. Do not allow garlic to brown.
Just before garlic goes brown, add the vinegar. Simmer the sauce to evaporate off some of the vinegar and/or until sauce is slightly syrupy.
Taste test. If you need more zing in the sauce, add more vinegar and reduce sauce down again.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over the chickpeas. If a little dry, add back some of the reserved chickpea water. Stir to combine and serve.
Everyone has their own variation of this recipe so just remember to make it as plain or exciting as the tastes of your guests.
This is my plain version sure to please teenagers who don’t like too many vegetables in their fried rice.
3 tablespoons peanut oil
3 cups jasmine rice
1 onion diced finely
3 rashers bacon, diced
300 g chicken breast sliced finely or 300 g left over roast chicken
1 carrot grated
3 shallots sliced on angle
50 g slivered almonds toasted
Handful of frozen corn and peas
Salt and pepper to taste
2 – 4 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
Prepare 3 cups jasmine rice as per cooking instructions for rice cooker.
Beat eggs with 1 tablespoon of water and pour mixture into a non stick pan and fry until cooked. Cool and dice.
Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of oil in large fry pan and then add onion and cook until soft. Add in bacon and chicken and fry until brown.
Add in rice and 1 ½ tablespoons oil. Stir to incorporate all ingredients.
Add in carrot, diced egg, peas and corn and stir.
Season with soy sauce and salt and pepper and stir to combine.
Serve rice with a sprinkling of shallots and almonds.
NB Other additions: finely sliced capsicum, celery finely sliced on an angle, cooked prawns, small pieces of broccolini.
Love the hazelnut meal in this Banana Bread recipe from Weight Watchers Gluten Free cookbook.
2/3 cup gluten free plain flour
2/3 cup rice flour
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 cup hazelnut meal
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup sunflower or canola oil
½ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas (460g), mashed
Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan forced). Line a 22 cm x 11 cm loaf tin with baking paper.
Sift flours and baking powder into a large bowl and add cinnamon, brown sugar and hazelnut meal. Stir to combine.
Whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla in a small bowl. Stir in mashed banana.
Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon mixture into prepared tin, smooth surface and bake for 45 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Set aside for 5 minutes before turning out.
(from Weight Watchers Gluten Free)
Before recipes became complicated, before supermarkets stocked mascarpone and before Tiramisu came into vogue, our family enjoyed ‘Savioardi Cake.’
This is our family favourite, enjoyed most Christmas lunches and as long as you use Schar Savioardi Biscuits, gluten free.
This is also a family recipe from the days gone by when measurements weren’t precise nor written down and ‘to taste’ was a common notation. I have a recipe from my nonna which reads – one sifter of flour. You certainly had to have a feel for baking in those days.
600 ml thickened cream
Line a loaf tin with baking paper making sure to have paper overhanging.
Whip cream together with icing sugar and instant coffee to taste.
Dip biscuits in marsala on both sides and place as a layer in tin. DO NOT SOAK THE BISCUITS. DIP ONLY.
Cover the layer of biscuits with cream mixture.
Repeat layers finishing with cream.
To plate, gently lift the Tiramisu out of the tin and slide or using cake servers, move to serving plate.
Finely grate chocolate over the top.
You can also prepare the Tiramisu in a bowl, like my sister’s version in the photo with walnuts sprinkled over the top. Or you could present the dessert in individual glasses
I have taken to making this recipe every couple of weeks, to take to my 91 year old father. It is easy and needs about 20 minutes of one’s time and Dad loves it, not only because he enjoys its sweetness but also because it reminds him of Mum and the recipes she would make. The other pudding Mum used to make was Apricots and Rice : stewed apricots with lots of syrup and plain unsalted boiled rice…
tastes of my childhood
Creamy Rice and Stewed Prunes
1 packet prunes, a spinkle of sugar and a little water. Stew prunes on gentle simmer.
600ml full cream milk, 3 tablespoons short grain rice, 3 tablespoons caster sugar (a bit too sweet for me so I use 1/5 to 2 tablespoons), a bit of butter. Combine ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and stir regularly until 3/4 liquid has been absorbed by the rice. Pour into a dish and sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon.
I learnt to eat lentils when I lived with a free spirited flatmate on the Atherton Tablelands. Jane preferred vegetarian and so one of her mainstays was lentil pasta. Different and interesting as was the lava rock home her boyfriend lived in which had a sauna but no kitchen sink.
We have rediscovered lentils after a visit to my cousin Monsterrat in Sabadell near Barcelona. Miquel her husband served us lentils as one of the many lunch courses and both my husband and I asked for seconds. Its simplicity gives it its taste: four ingredients and a little time to gently stir.
Ingredients for four people
1/2 onion, finely diced
400 g mashed tomato or can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 kg lentils, cooked as per instructions on packet
1/4 kg mashed meat or black sausage (butifarra), decased Italian sausage, chorizo
Use a big pan (paella) and a bit of olive oil 10 cc aprox.
Cut the onion into small pieces and when oil is hot, put it in the pan.
When the onion is golden, add the butifarra or mashed meat.
Wait until meat or black sausage is melted down.
Add the mashed tomato and mix well with onion and meat.
Add lentils that have been cooked previously.
Wait 10 minutes.
My sister Terese is our Dessert Queen and this is one more of her creations. A special celebration dessert, this cheesecake will more than please the gluten free-er and gluten eater alike. The base is a rice bubble (gluten free of course) and white chocolate mix which Terese also used to adorn the top. Use you favourite cheesecake filling recipe and VOILA! Here is Terese’s version.
Raspberry and White Chocolate Coconut Crunch Cheesecake
Prep: 35 mins + chilling
Cook: 5 mins
Serves: 12 – 16
- 300 g Cadbury White Chocolate Melts
- 60 g butter
- 2 cups puffed rice cereal
- ¾ cup coconut
- 750 g Philadelphia Original Block Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
- 1 tabs gelatine, dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 ½ cups cream, whipped until stiff
- 3 x 125 g punnets raspberries
- Place chocolate and butter in a bowl and place over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring until smooth. Combine puffed rice cereal and coconut in a bowl, then add the melted chocolate and butter and mix well.
- Line the base of a 24 cm springform pan. Evenly press half the mixture into the base and chill. Reserve remaining mixture at room temperature.
- Beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla essence with an electric mixer until smooth. Stir through the dissolved gelatine, then fold in the whipped cream.
- Scatter 1 punnet of raspberries over the base, then pour over half the cream cheese mixture. Top with another punnet of raspberries, then pour over the remaining cream cheese mixture. Lightly crumble over the reserved chocolate mixture, top with the remaining raspberries and chill for 3 – 4 hours or until set.
Can I afford another Gluten Free Recipe Book?
Can I find space on my bookcase for one more recipe book?
Do I really need another gluten free recipe book?
Will I make any of the recipes?
Yes. No. No. Maybe.
But my husband has already bookmarked a number of mains and I have taken note of a number of sweets. So I think that I really did need to have this book.
Perfect as a Christmas or special occasion gift, this Women’s Weekly recipe book lives up to its reputation.
There are lots of new ideas for produce already in your kitchen but also a few yummy recipes:
Raspberry and Chocolate Brownie
Almond, Coconut and Pineapple Slice
Orange and White Chocolate Blondie
Banana and Maple Syrup Loaf
Baked Ricotta with Caramelised Onions and Flatbreads
Pina Colada Smoothie
Short and Sugary
What caught my eye about this recipe is the small amount of rice flour it uses. And the currants. Rice flour can make a biscuit chalky and sandy – my son’s words and texture has become an important criteria for rating new products.
Too short for a lunch box, but perfect with a cup of tea.
Gluten-free shortbread with lemon and currants
250 g butter, softened
1/2 cup caster sugar , plus extra to sprinkle
2 tablespoons of currants
2 teaspoons of lemon zest (lime zest works well)
2 1/4 cups gluten free plain flour
1/4 cup rice flour
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Mix in currants and zest.
Sift in combined flours and salt. Mix to combine.
Turn dough out onto a board and knead gently. Roll into an even 5 cm x 20 cm log. Wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to moderately slow 160C. Line two oven trays with baking paper.
Cut dough into 1 cm thick rounds. Arrange on trays 2 cm apart and sprinkle with extra sugar.
Bake 20 – 25 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool on trays 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
(From Woman’s Day : Baking – Kate Brown)
I cook a lot with chicken followed closely by mince. Both are versatile and can become a Mexican or Thai or Italian meal without too much effort.
I found this chicken recipe on the back of the tetra pack of chicken stock, also another important staple in my kitchen. The bonus is that not only is it a one pot recipe but also that once the preliminary preparations are made it is then baked in the oven. Remember for many of the supermarket products we buy, you can find recipes on their websites.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
100 g bacon rashers, thinly slice
500 g chicken thighs, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon lemon zest finely grated
1 tablespoon rosemary finely chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups chicken stock
Finely grated parmesan, to serve
Preheat oven to 180C.
Heat the oil in a large flameproof ovenproof dish over medium heat.
Cool the onion and bacon in olive oil until golden brown about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken and cook, stirring for 3 – 4 minutes or until golden.
Add garlic, lemon zest and rosemary and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the rice and cook, stirring for 1 minute to coat the grains.
Mix the tomato paste and stock n a jug and pour over rice. Stir.
Bake covered for 35 minutes or until rice is just tender and the liquid has almost been absorbed.
Stir through parmesan. Serve.