Category Archives: Recipes

Red Velvet Gluten Free Cupcakes


Red Velvet Cupcakes

Struggling with your gluten free diet because you feel you can no longer eat some of your favourite cakes?

Once you get more confident with gluten free baking, you might just find that a packet cake mix plus a bit of tweaking could just be the answer.

Cup Cakes

1 pkt Basco Golden Butter Cake Mix

2 eggs

3 tablespoons softened butter/margarine

2/3 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

2 tablespoons cocoa, sifted

1 tablespoon red food colouring


125 g cream cheese

25 g unsalted butter, softened

60 g icing sugar mix

1 ½ teaspoons milk


Cup Cakes

Place all ingredients in a large bowl and with an electric beater, mix on low until all ingredients are combined.

Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed.

Divide batter between cupcake papers.

Bake in a moderate oven 180 C (fan forced 160C) for 15 – 20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool.


Place cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat for 8 – 10 minutes with an electric mixer.  Add icing sugar and beat for a further 5 – 6 minutes until smooth.  Add the milk and beat until just combined. Top the cupcakes with the icing.

Coq au Vin

Bouquet Garni.JPG


We forget, we get caught up in the world wind of fads and fashions in food.  We are bombarded with cooking programs on television highlighting how we need to be cooking. We read about food trends and new products and subliminally we think we need to be serving up restaurant quality meals at the dinner table and go on a around the world culinary tour every night of the week.

Good old fashioned classics might be difficult to photo shoot or plate up looking like a Masterchef meal but more importantly, the old classics are tasty, easy family meals and should not be forgotten.

My sister is  compiling a cookbook “Tastes and Memories of Our Childhood” for a family reunion.  She has encouraged our cousins to dig out recipes that our mothers and grandmothers made. It has been an interesting journey and reminds me that I need to go back to my basics, play to my strengths and cook with my senses.

coq au vin


4 chicken drumsticks

4 chicken thighs

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

200 g bacon, diced

30 g gluten free flour

2 teaspoons tomato puree

3 cups chicken stock (Masterfoods is gf)

500 g red wine

250 g button mushrooms

Bouquet garni – (bay leaf, thyme, parsley tied up with kitchen twine)


In a heavy based frypan, add oil, heat on medium to high and brown the chicken well for about 10 minutes turning once.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Return pan to heat and fry onion for 3 – 4 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for a further 2 – 3 minutes.

Add flour, stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes stirring constantly.  Add mushrooms, stock, wine, chicken and bouquet garni and heat to a simmer.  Cooke for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened.

Remove bouquet garni and remove chicken.  Increase heat to medium high and reduce sauce.

Return chicken to pan and serve on a bed of fettuccini or with cooked baby potatoes and steamed vegetables.


Ossi Di Morte  – Dead Man’s Bones


This recipe belongs to Nonna Fu Fu my Aunty Dora’s mother who came to Australia from the Isle of Elba, Italy in 1936. Made to look like gnarly bones, traditionally this is a biscuit made for All Souls’ Day, though some of you know this as Halloween.  I have found many Italian recipes for Dead Man’s Bones but all use almond meal.  Using the whole nuts, makes this recipes unique and special.


4 egg whites

2 cups caster sugar

6 ozs Marsala

4 cups almonds (2 cups whole and 2 cups sliced in half)

1 sifter plain flour (start with 4 cups gluten free flour plus extra added as needed)


Preheat oven 150C fan forced. Line three baking trays with baking paper.

Beat egg white and sugar until glossy.

Add and fold through the Marsala, almonds and flour. You might need to add extra flour 1/4 to 1/2 cup to make the dough workable but not stiff.

Line bench with baking paper. Place one half of dough onto paper and with hands and fingers, spread out into a rectangle of about 20 x 30 cm. Try to move almonds in between dough.

Cut into stripes.  Cut smaller pieces of 7 cm. Remove from paper using the blade of a knife and lay onto baking tray. You might need to pat with flour or flatten out dough between nuts with your fingers. You want the dough to be thinner than the nuts.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden. Rest on trays for 5 minutes before transferring and cooling on racks.

Repeat with rest of dough.

There are many recipes for Ossi di Morte but most use almond meal and therefore you don’t get the gnarly look as you do when whole nuts are used.

Eleanora Balwin shares her Nonna’s Piemonte recipe on Aglio Plio e Peperoncino which is the closest recipe I have found to Nonna Fu Fu’s.

Coconut Flan


Coconut Flan 1.JPG



3 eggs, lightly beaten

395 g an sweetened condensed milk

1 cup (250ml) milk, warmed slightly

1/23 cup (125 g) shredded coconut

Caramel Sauce

1 cup (220g) sugar

1/2 cup(125ml) water

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 21cm x 10cm (base measurement) loaf pan or rectangular pyrex dish.


Caramel Sauce: Combine the sugar and water in a small pan. Stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved.  Bring to boil and cook uncovered until a deep caramel colour.  Remove from heat and pour immediately into prepared pan.

Combine eggs, condensed milk and milk in a large bowl.  Stir in coconut.  Pour mixture into loaf pan.

Place loaf pan into a medium baking dish.  Pour enough boiling water into the baking dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until set and browned lightly.  Remove loaf pan from baking dish and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

To serve, turn flan out onto a rectangular serving plate and top with fresh fruit.

Taken from Australian Women’s Weekly and submitted by Rebecca Clay, Kallangur, Queensland.

Spanish Roasted Tomato, Chorizo and Chickpea Soup

IMG_0012 (2)

You know you are in Spain when the buffet breakfast showcases salami, chorizo and jambon. Our first breakfast in Madrid made me forget (very quickly) my  standard yoghurt and fruit breakfast as I quickly filled my plate with tasty morsels of pork products.  Many years ago, I was told by cousins that they “the Spanish” use everything from the pig.  This accounts for Paella recipes calling for pig’s ear.  On that holiday 29 years ago Terese, my sister ordered a pork menu item… at least we could translate the word ‘pork’. What she didn’t realise was that she had ordered Pork Cheek – still on the jaw so once she ate the tender meat, a row of teeth appeared.

This soup recipe is not so confronting but chorizo, chickpeas, paprika, tomatoes and capsicums combine to make a  hearty Spanish Style soup.


1 teaspoon olive oil

2 chorizo sausages, cut into 1 cm pieces

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 litre chicken stock

1 cup water

400 g can chickpeas, drained

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Gluten free bread to serve

Roasted vegetables

500 g Roma tomatoes, halved lengthways

2 red capsicums, quartered and deseeded

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Roasted vegetables : combine all ingredients in a roasting dish and cook in a very hot oven (240C) for about 25 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly and then chop coarsely.
  2. While vegetables are roasting, in a large stockpot, heat oil and then add chorizo. Cook, stirring for about 3 minutes or until golden.  Add onion and paprika.  Cook, stirring for a further 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
  3. Add roasted vegetables to stockpot together with stock, water, chickpeas and vinegar. Bring to boil.  Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

(New Idea: from the New Idea Test Kitchen)

Beef Stroganoff



Like most classic recipes there are many variations of Beef Stroganoff. Below is a simple version because I really only have to buy in  mushrooms and rump steak as all the other ingredients are generally in my pantry or fridge.


1 tablespoon olive oil

600 g rump steak, thinly sliced

20 g butter

1 large brown onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

200 g button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 – 1 tablespoon paprika

1 cup sour cream (can reduce to 1/2 cup)

½ cup beef stock

2 tablespoons gf Worcestershire sauce (Spring Valley or Beerenberg)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Gf fettuccine and chopped parsley to serve (I find the strands of GF fettuccine can glug together so I use gf spaghetti or gf elbows or serve it on a bed of rice)


Heat oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches for 2 – 3 minutes or until browned.  Transfer to bowl.

Melt butter in pan with pan juices.  Add onion and garlic and cook stirring for 5 minutes or until softened.  Add mushrooms.  Cook for 5 minutes or until mushrooms are tender.

Add paprika, tomato paste and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Add sour cream and stock.  Cook, stirring, over low heat for 2 minutes or until combined.  Return beef and beef juices  to pan.  Stir to combine and beef is heated through.

Served with fettuccini tossed with chopped parsley.

Donna Hay – gluten free bakes

I have slowed down the number of recipes I cut from magazines to bake lately.  After three years of gluten free baking, I have found ‘good’ and ‘suitable’ gluten free recipes as substitutes for old favourites.

BUT I couldn’t help but notice Donna Hay’s three gluten free biscuits in the Sunday Mail two weeks ago: Choc-chip Hazelnut Cookies, Lemon Crackle Cookies and Orange and Almond Florentines.

A quick search highlighted a number of recipes on Donna Hay’s website. Her Jam Drops using buckwheat flour and almond meal has caught my eye as did the Flourless Carrot Cake. *

With a family luncheon in a few week, I think I have the perfect reason to bake a few new gluten free recipes.

You can find the Choc-Chip Hazelnut Cookies Recipe on Donna Hay’s website and I have included her other two recipes below.

Hazelnut cookies 2

Happy Gluten-Free Baking

Lemon Crackle Cookies

2 cups (240g) almond meal

1 cup (220) caster sugar

1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp finely grated lemon rind

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 egg whites

1 cup (160g) icing sugar sifter

Preheat oven to 160C. Place the almond meal, caster sugar, bicarbonate of soda, lemon rind and juice in a large bowl.  Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and whisk to soft peaks.  Gently fold the egg whites into the almond mixture until smooth. Toll 1 tbsp dough into a ball.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Place the icing sugar in a small bowl.  Toss the dough balls in the icing sugar to coat.  Place on lightly greased baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper leaving 5 cm between each to allow room for spreading.

Cook for 14-16 minutes for until lightly browned and cooked through.  Allow to cook slightly on trays before transferring to wire racks to cook completely.  Makes 14.

Orange and Almond Florentines

50 g unsalted butter, chopped

1/4 cup (55g) caster sugar

1/4 cup (90g) golden syrup

1 tbsp finely grated orange rind

1 cup (140g) slivered almonds

1/2 cup (100g) rice flour

Preheat oven to 160C. Place the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes or until thick and syrupy.

Place the orange rind, almonds and flour in a large bowl and mix to combine. Pour over the butter mixture and mix until well combined.

Place tablespoons of mixture on lightly greased baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving 8 cm between each to allow room for spreading.

Cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool slightly on trays before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Makes 12.

*Post Script: The Flourless Carrot Cake was moist, dense and scrumptious and would have been even better had I remembered to include the sunflower oil… I was distracted…I put the cake in the oven and then realised why the bottle of sunflower oil was on the bench… oh dear….but my guests still enjoyed the cake. And yes, I will make it again.

Carrot Cake.JPG




Risotto has as many definitions as there are recipes but I like this simple one: an Italian dish made with rice and often vegetables or meat

Reality TV programs can make the home cook frightened of trying a risotto  which has been labelled the ‘death dish’  and even restaurants can get it wrong but the important thing is to remember is that you are making a meal for your family and your family might like risotto a little on the dry side or without parmesan  or quite soupy.

So grab a risotto recipe, put your stock on the boil and go for it.  With experience: you might adjust your recipe, you might prepare your meat separately and plate with the risotto and garnishes at the end or you might find your own combinations of meat and vegetables.

Rice is a versatile staple for the gluten free diet so add risotto to your list of favourite gluten free meals.

Step by step to Risotto

  1. In a saucepan bring the required quantity of stock to the boil, then reduce the heat so the stock is kept at a gentle simmer.
  2. In a wide heavy based pan, heat butter or oil, a combination of both, or as per recipe.
  3. Add chopped onion and garlic (as well as other ingredients as per recipe) and cook over low heat until soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the rice and stir to coat with fat. Sauté for 1 – 2 minutes over a moderate heat, stirring.
  5. Add ½ cup simmering stock (and wine if used in recipe) and stir well. Simmer, stirring until the rice has absorbed almost all of the liquid.
  6. Continue to add simmering stock, ½ cup at a time. Cook and stir until almost absorbed .
  7. Continue adding the stock until the rice is tender but still firm and the risotto is creamy but not runny.
  8. The risotto with take 20 – 30 minutes to cook in total.
  9. For a creamy result, stir in ½ – 1 tablespoon butter at the end.


 Risi e Bisi – Rice and Peas

1 onion chopped finely

1 stick celery chopped finely

60 g butter

2/3 cup Arborio rice

½ cup white wine

3 cups simmering chicken stock

Stir through toward the end

500 g frozen peas

30 g butter extra

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper


Risotto Milanese

60 g butter

1 onion chopped finely

½ cup dry white wine

375 g Arborio rice

3 cups simmering chicken stock infused with ¼ teaspoon saffron


Stir through toward the end

30 g butter

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper

Leek and Chorizo Risotto


1 tablespoon olive oil

1 chorizo halved lengthways and sliced on an angle

1 large leek thinly sliced (remove outer layer and bottom and top of leek)

2 cloves garlic crushed

6 cups simmering chicken stock

2 cups Arborio rice


1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese


Heat oil in heavy base pan and cook chorizo until cooked and browned.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Chorizo is to be returned as a garnish at serving.


Prepare risotto as normal.


Chicken and Prosciutto Risotto

1 tablespoon olive oil

6 slices prosciutto


60 g unsalted butter

400 g chicken, chopped in small pieces

½ onion chopped finely

1 ½ cups Arborio rice

6 cups simmering stock

1/3 cup dry white wine


1/3 cup finely grated parmesan

Parsley chopped to serve


Heat oil in heavy base pan and cook prosciutto until crisp.  Remove from pan and drain on paper towel. Roughly chop  prosciutto to garnish at serving.


Prepare risotto as normal.



Change it Up



I am always on the look out for ways to up-style family favourites and while Spaghetti Bolognese    Pie and Mexican Lasagna are not new,these recipes torn out a Woolworths Fresh Food Magazine, reminded me of simple ways to change up old recipes. If you want to be more adventurous then you will find that Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson also have a few creative variations on this theme.

Spaghetti Bolognese Pie =  cooked gluten free spaghetti combined with 2 whisked eggs and 1/2 cup grated parmesan which has been pressed into the base and sides of a greased pie dish +your favourite spaghetti bolognese sauce layered over spaghetti base + topped with whisked egg and 1/2 cup smooth ricotta + topped with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella + bake for 30 minutes

Mexican Lasagna  = (gluten free corn tortillas + Mexican meat sauce+salsa + grated cheese) layered into a greased round pan + top with tortilla and grated cheese + bake for 30 – 40 minutes

Ricotta Recipes

Gluten free cooking and baking makes us better cooks.  

Gnocchi ..

We learn to seek out new recipes, try out new meals and experiment with new ingredients.

Ricotta is one such ingredients and it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes.  It is easy to handle and forgiving so if you are looking to broaden some of your meal choices, then give ricotta a go. Here are some of my favourite ricotta recipes:

1. Honey Lemon Ricotta Cakes

2. Ricotta Gnocchi


3. Pancakes


4. Baked Ricotta

5. Savoury Fritters

Ricotta Fritters

6. Passionfruit Ricotta Flan


7. Ricotta Dumplings

Ricotta Dumplings 2

8. Dark Chocolate Coconut Cheesecakes

Chocolate Coconut Cheesecakes (3)

9. Red Velvet Cheesecakes

Red Velvet

10. Ricotta, Raspberry and Passionfruit Curd Terrine

I am yet to find time to try this recipe, but it is oh so tempting.