Some months ago Deliciously Nell from I Need a Feed nominated my blog for the One Lovely Blog Award for which I am truly honoured. My readership is small but I thank Deliciously Nell for thinking of me as one deserving of this award.
Have a look at I Need a Feed as Nell’s blog as it is honest and sincere and her photography captures the beauty in food. I am particularly taken by her baking. Thank you Nell for your blog and inspiration.
There are a few rules attached with an award and this reinforces why blogging is great: the sharing, the referrals and opening our minds to new things. So here are the rules!
- Thank the person that nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
- List seven facts about yourself.
- Nominate (up to) 15 bloggers for this award and comment on one of their posts to let them know you have nominated them.
And now for the nominees! Thank you for your recipes and inspirations AND for your love of food.
And something about myself!
I enjoy the sleuthing and puzzling that comes with Family History Research and my family can attest to my obsessive compulsive nature.
I am lucky to have three sisters who are also my best friends.
I have undertaken six dinosaur digs out Winton way with Australian Age of Dinosaurs and yes Australia does have dinosaurs and lots of new to science ones such as Australovenator wintonensis and Diamantinasaurus matildae.
I have inherited my love of food and cooking from my mum who is such a great standard to be influenced and cook by.
I am currently researching the history of Italian Prisoners of War in Queensland Australia 1943 to 1946. Interestingly, Italians captured in theatres of war in north and east Africa during World War 2 were transported to Australian for the duration of the war with many working for and being billeted with farmers.
I belong to an Italian Folk Dancing group in Townsville
Most days I wear many different hats: blogger, gluten free baker, daughter, sister, friend, business owner but most importantly….
“Always a Mum”
Usually, I do all the recipe spotting, but it was my gf son who found this recipe for Buttermilk Onion Rings and asked “how difficult is it to convert it to gluten free?” To which the answer was “should be easy”.
And easy it is….
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup gf plain flour
1/2 cup gf cornflour
1 large brown onion, sliced into 3mm thick rings and separated
Canola oil for deep frying
Using a deep fryer* is best but you can also use a large heavy saucepan half filled with oil on medium-high heat.
Place buttermilk in a bowl.
Place flours in a flat dish, stir to mix the two flours and season with salt and pepper (you can add paprika).
Work in batches. Toss onion rings in the flour mixture and then dip the rings into the buttermilk and let excess drip from rings before returning to flour.
Fry onion rings in batches for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove and transfer to paper towel. Season lightly with sea salt.
There is a bacon ailoi in the recipe which is very tempting indeed.
*Deep Fryer – If you have kitchen cupboard space then I suggest a deep fryer as I find the temperature is more controlled than in a saucepan on the stove. I use it for Ricotta Dumplings, Sweet Potato Chips, our alternative to KFC
Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .
In the beginning, and every coeliac disease sufferer can tell you at least the month and year of the beginning of their gluten free life, the transition to a gluten free diet is chaotic.
There is no one easy one-size fits all collection of recipes.
There are no guidelines to warn you about how the transition will affect you emotionally, socially and mentally.
There is no simple list of packaged gf products that the individual will ‘like’.
There is no longer the luxury of only shopping at one supermarket.
It is said that “time is a great healer” and this is certainly true for coeliac disease sufferers.
Time does heal your body because gluten free food is your medicine.
Time does heal your soul as you centre your life around this major life changing shift.
And in time, you master your gluten free life and you find that your life is not defined by coeliac disease.
What have I learnt!
It is three years since by teenage son was diagnosed with coeliac disease and two years since I launched my blog so what has the last three years taught me as a gluten free cook.
1. Be creative
2. Be resourceful
3. Experiment with colour and texture
4. Make food interesting and enticing and colourful
5. Insist on honesty when trying new food and as a blogger write with integrity and always acknowledge the owners and sources of recipes you use
I clearly remember our first gluten free cookbook with unappetising photos of food all in shades of beige, off white, light brown and white. I thought, how am I going to sell gluten free food if it all looks so boring and colourless.
I clearly remember the unpleasant smell of our first store bought gluten free meat pies. I tried to lie my way through how tasty the pie was, but this lasted less than 2 minutes. From that point forward if my son rejected food on taste, look, texture or smell, then I listened and acknowledged his need to take control of his gf food preferences.
And I clearly remember the emotional roller coaster ride of those first 18 months to 2 years.
I have learnt that community is integral to a coeliac disease sufferer. Family, friends, teachers, doctors, bloggers, cookbook writers…
I am grateful to the many people who support my son and his gluten free diet and those friends, family members and bloggers who continue to provide me with new gf recipes to try.
Life is good and life without gluten is… the new normal .
Tomorrow is 100 years since the Australian and New Zealand armed forces landed at Gallipoli. As part of the commemoration is an amazing display of hand crafted poppies in Federation Square in Melbourne. What started out as a call for 5 000 poppies to be made is now a field of 250 000 poppies.
Lest we forget.
ANZAC Biscuits and Slices…an ongoing tradition…
Oats are traditional to an Anzac biscuit recipe, but I substituted quinoa flakes in this recipe and the result was still delicious. Flaked almonds is another substitute.
1 cup GF self raising flour, sifted
130 g melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
30 g melted unsalted butter
1 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup golden syrup
1 can (380 g) caramel filling
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Place the flour and desiccated coconut, sugar and 120 g butter in a bowl and stir until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Using the back of a spoon, press the mixture into the base of a 20 cm x 30 cm tin lined with baking paper.
Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Place the shredded coconut, quinoa flakes, golden syrup and 30 g butter in a bowl and mix to combine.
Spread the caramel over the cooled base and spoon over the cococunt and flakes topping.
Bake for a further 20 – 25 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
On behalf of my son I would like to publically thank Dr Gavin. In 2012, I took my son, yet again to the doctor to talk about his on-going gastro issues.
I had prepared my words….”Give him a script for flagyl as I am sick and tired of being told that my son doesn’t have giardia because what ever he has just keeps on coming back”.
We walked into Dr Gavin’s room as our GP of 6 years was on holiday. Some things are just meant to be and for KJ finally after 12 – 13 years of gastro-intestinal problems: countless doctor’s appointments, a trip to hospital and an appointment with a paediatric gastroenterologist, Dr Gavin in 15 minutes suspected Coeliac Disease.
In a conversation I had with Dr Gavin two years later, I talked with him about rates of diagnosis for Coeliac Disease and whether he found that there is an increase in the number of patients being diagnosed. I hear so many misinformed people say… but everyone has coeliac disease these days or how come so many people have coeliac disease.
I found Gavin’s response interesting… for him, it has been a matter of catch up… yes, it appears that more people are being diagnosed, but these patients should have been diagnosed years before. Our discussion went along the lines of research and publications which drawn attention to a particular disease and diagnosis and so then there is a ‘window’ when there is increased rates of diagnosis. He talked about Vitamin D deficiency as another example of this ‘catch up’ diagnosis.
Next month will be three years since my son and I walked into Dr Gavin’s consulting room. It was ‘kismet’ on many levels. We were lucky to see a doctor who had read recent literature and tried to make sense of KJ’s unwellness.
And luckily for this mother, I didn’t have to launch into the “I just want a script for flagyl…” tirade.
Unfortunately, there are still too many people who haven’t found their Dr Gavin to help them diagnose their coeliac disease.
As a member of Coeliac Queensland, I applaud their ongoing and continued campaigns* to highlight coeliac disease and its diagnosis.
So I think about ways for those already diagnosed to help make a difference. Maybe it might be worth making contact with your extended family and to just let them know the hereditary link with coeliac disease. Talk with those relatives that you know suffer from osteoporosis about the link between osteoporosis and coeliac disease. I think that sometimes, while we might tell family “my son has coeliac disease” we don’t also add the extra important information about hereditary links.
Being diagnosed is a severe disruption to the life of those with coeliac disease BUT for my son we are sincerely grateful to Dr Gavin who in 15 minutes identified a probable cause of my son’s lifetime unwellness.
*Coeliac Awareness Week is 13 to 20 March 2015 and Coeliac Australia’s campaign focus is
An Open Letter to GPs and Paediatric Gastroenterologists
From a mother of a teenager with Coeliac Disease
LISTEN, DON’T JUDGE AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE
Six months ago#, I took my 15 year old son to the doctor’s for yet another bout of gastro and stomach cramps. He had been off school for three days which had been preceded by a day off school 10 days previously.
Luckily this doctor, not our usual GP, listened. I was convinced that my son must have had some bacterial infection or parasite that just wasn’t going away, as 6 months previously he had missed some 10 – 12 days from school over a period of a month. And this GP listened when my son tried to put into words what his cramps felt like.
This doctor did not judge: he did not judge me or my son and sent my son off for tests.
And he listened.
As I glanced at the request for blood testing, I saw that the doctor was screening my son for Coeliac Disease.
Suddenly, the last 12 – 13 years all made sense.
In September the previous year, I had taken my son to our GP twice to discuss the latest ongoing or recurring bout of gastro and debilitating cramps and to obtain medical certificates for the school. We discussed the normal treatment which included hydration and a gradual return to food with a dry biscuit or toast. As well, a stool sample was taken. But I do remember the look I was given: that look which bordered on, this mother is overly sensitive to the workings of her son’s bowel movements and/or maybe this teenager is avoiding school.
Our visit to a Paediatric Gastroenterologist some 12 years previous also saw my son’s problems summarily dismissed. After some 1 – 2 years of ongoing bouts of gastro, my toddler’s stomach cramps had escalated to the stage that my husband and I took him to the hospital in the early hours of one morning. From there, our GP referred us to a specialist who took a summary of our boy’s health, asked pertinent questions about milk, cordial and fruit juice consumption and then explained that gastro bugs tend to spread among toddlers at Day Care.
“ But our son doesn’t go to Day Care” we said and I then remember the look I was given: that look which bordered on, this mother is overprotective of her son and/or overly sensitive to the workings of her son’s bowel movements. Suddenly, my son’s health outcomes were judged on how the Paediatric Gastroenterologist saw me. Did he listen to find out that on the days I worked, my son was cared for by a nanny or that at home I also had a preschooler and two teenagers? This judgement was further reinforced by his parting comment at the end of our second visit : “And when is your son going to Preschool?” Our boy was only 3!*
On our return visit to the specialist, and after blood tests which all seemed fine, he commented that he could send us off for more blood tests but he didn’t think this was necessary or he could do an endoscopy but he also believed that this intrusive procedure was not necessary. I cannot remember him ever mentioning our son being screened for Coeliac Disease. And the specialist did not mention endoscopy in any context. And off we went, still without answers as to what our son’s health problems were.
In those intervening 12 years, my son continued to have ongoing problems with gastro, vomitting and stomach cramps. And we continued to visit our GP for advice and treatment. Rotavirus. Giardia. Tummy Bug. Virus. He was even tested for Cryptosporidium. We installed a water filter to filter out any nasties but still the bouts continued sporadically. I suppose after a while, I even came to believe these problems were normal. It was just something going around, although I never could fully understand why only my youngest always seemed to get that “something” that was going around.
Luckily for my son, it only took 12 years before we found a doctor who listened and didn’t judge and we thank this doctor for looking at the “big picture” and searching for some answers.
My son’s journey is similar to so many others who eventually find themselves with a diagnosis of Coeliac Disease.
And I am sure that these people also wished that their medical practitioners listened, didn’t judge and looked at the big picture.
Always a Mum
*Preschool age was 5 years old.
# I wrote this six months after our son KJ was given his Coeliac Disease diagnosis. It took many months for my anger to subside and be replaced by disappointment for the many times our family doctor had failed my son.
Sometimes we get stuck making food with the same flavours over and over but with a few extra ingredients, you can add a new taste dimension to meatballs.
Shallow fried or steamed, these are easy to assemble and cook. If you are using a steamer, line it with baking paper and spray of oil.
They are great with a gf soy sauce, sweet chili sauce or a Vietnamese Dipping Sauce.
1 garlic clove chopped finely
3 cm ginger grated finely
1 bunch of coriander washed and finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon gf soy sauce
salt and pepper to season
In a bowl, mix all ingredients and then make tablespoon sized balls for cooking.
500 g chicken mince
2 cloves garlic chopped finely
3 cm ginger finely grated
1/2 cup parsley chopped finely
2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and then make tablespoon sized balls for cooking.
It is normal for teenagers to rebel or withdraw when faced with a problem, a hurdle or an unpleasant decision. And for the teenager who has been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, the same holds true. They can dig their heels in and refuse to eat gluten free or make your life difficult by rejecting all efforts to nourish them. Or they can withdraw from their friends and into themselves as they realise that sleep overs can never be the same if they have to explain what they can and can’t eat. Most likely their reaction is a combination of both.
As a parent then our priorities get skewed, because just as we were letting go and giving some decision making powers and independence to our teenager, suddenly we instinctively want to protect them and cocoon them and keep them safe from gluten.
In this whole process my husband and I have had to learn to trust our teenager and take our cue from him. So when our son felt comfortable with the gluten free tag and wanted to get back into his social life with his friends we had to walk a tightrope. Do we hover and intervene? Do we trust him to have made arrangements with friends? Do we make a ruling that sleep overs can only happen at his home?
So begins the series of FIRSTS
The first sleep over at a friend’s house Rather than demanding that we speak with the friend’s parents, we talked with our son about how we were feeling in wanting to make sure all would be good. Luckily for us, my husband had a work connection with the family and our son was happy for us to ring them. Sleep over = Pizza night so problem solved. Mind you I still packed our son up with a bag of gluten free goodies for snacks during the night.
The first sleep over with a family we had never met (and who lives at Magnetic Island) This time we had to let our son make his arrangements. With a few questions and a few prompts about do’s and don’t’s we packed him off with a packet of corn tortillas and gluten free snacks and put him on the ferry. (Magnetic Island is a 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville)
The first three night weekend camping at a Folk Festival This one caused me a little bit of angst, but my bottom line was, there is mobile phone reception and if an accidental ingestion of gluten happened, then we were only a phone call away. Our son gave me a list of things to cook, prepare and pack into a esky. He had a plan and he assured me that he should be able to get a steak burger without the bread or that heaps of hippies went to the festival and he had been assured that there would be some alternative food albeit vegetarian or something. I had to trust him and trust that he had listened to all the “be careful” advice I had given him over the last 6 months. Most of the food in the esky came home, he fell in love with Cheese Kranskys and the only problem was the theft of his iPod from his tent. I had talked to him at length about how to keep safe from gluten, BUT I had forgotten to talk to him about keeping his property safe.
The first friends’ get together at McDonalds This was a milestone on a couple of levels. Not only did our son feel comfortable ordering and eating a Quarter Pounder without a bun, he felt comfortable doing so in front of his friends. His friends gave him a bit of cheek about his meal but he was okay with the world and gluten free.
The first restaurant meal for a friend’s birthday Feeling somewhat anxious after we checked the menu on-line to find no reference to gluten free, my husband rang the restaurant and was given some options which he then passed on to our son.
The first restaurant meal with friends without our intervention We knew that all would be good because the friend’s mother had checked with the establishment to find out what gluten free options were available. We now know that our son has a good network of friends and their families and that he knows that it is okay to let people know that he has to eat gluten free and that all it requires is for him to do a bit of research in advance.
I think I will continue to worry for my son every time there is a new type of social experience involving food. Intervention and interference is no longer up to us, his parents. Discussion between us and planning by him and his friends will continue to be part of his gluten free life experiences.
Fear and concern have to be balanced with “what is the worse thing that can happen?” and “help is only a phone call away”.
So at the moment, I am calm, cool and collected about my son’s social life. His next big obstacle is “Schoolies Week” as I am in no doubt that the red frogs handed out at Schoolies are most definitely not gluten free.
PS What is the worse thing that can happen? Two gluten cracker biscuits = two hours of vomiting and diarrhea
Have a look at this product : Cocktail – R-Evolution which allows you to make bubbles, pearls and foam to add a little something special to your Christmas drinks.
“Mixology is now an art so stop simply mixing alcohols with juices! Learn how to deconstruct your favorite cocktails and serve your mojitos in a large bubble that will explode in your mouth, bite into a layered martini or add a touch of airy lime foam to your tequila shots!”
Non-alcoholic – perfect for the teenager.
Fun – perfect for all ages.
Gluten Free – perfect for those with coeliac disease.
I found them at Myer for $29.95 with the bonus being all Christmas food products are 20% discounted.
Ingredients : Cold Soluble Gelatin, Calcium Lactate, Sodium Alginate, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin
Thin Omelette Wraps
Omelette Wraps can be used in much the same way as rice wraps, torillas and flour wraps. They are simple to make and add variety to a rather restricted diet.
In those early days of my son’s coeliac disease diagnosis, before we found a bread my teenager would eat, before I felt confident enough to make bread rolls and focaccias and before we found a routine with gluten free food, weekend lunches did my head in.
Weekend lunches became pizzas or nachos. Unfortunately these were two ‘easy’dinner meals we used for busy nights or those nights when everyone in the family were doing different things. So taking pizza and nachos out of our dinner menu put more pressure on meals for dinners.
So I started to think outside the square and remembered how once I went to Chinese cooking classes and we made thin omelettes. We have mainly used them with a spicy mince filling. I have also seen them used as a lunch wrap. But considering my teenager was already struggling with how his school lunch looked to others, we did not push this one onto him.
2 tablespoons water
Salt and pepper to season
- Whisk ingredients in a bowl.
- Pour 1/3 – ½ cup of mixture onto crepe maker and spread with batter spreader.
- When cooked, flip and cook the other side.
PS I can’t emphasis enough about how essential the crepe maker is to our gluten free cooking: flour wraps, flat breads, pancakes, crepes, galettes, thin egg omelettes….