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.
No proving time makes this an easy quick loaf.
200 g gluten free white flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons gf baking powder
284 ml buttermilk (or milk with a squeeze of lemon)
2 teaspoons tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil
50 g sundried tomatoes chopped
30 g green olives sliced
Heat oven to 180 C (160 C fan forced)
Mix the sifted flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs, puree and oil.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry mix and then add tomatoes and olives.
Oil a 900 g loaf tin and pour in mixture.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Turn out onto wire rack until cool.
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.
1 pkt Basco Golden Butter Cake Mix
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
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.
I put together a cookbook of family favourite gluten free recipes for my son as a Christmas gift and found that it was going to take longer than I thought . Unfortunately a number of our family favourites have never been committed to paper before. It is literally, a pinch of this, a bit of that and measurements are all to do with the feel of things and sometimes the ingredients on hand. I hope I have got it right and that this recipe translates into a tasty pasta sauce.
1 pkt San Remo Spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion diced finely
1 stick celery diced finely
3 cloves garlic diced finely
2 rashers bacon diced
150 g tomato paste
500 g minced beef
100 ml chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in large fry pan.
Add olive oil and butter until melted. Add in onion and cook until soft.
Add in bacon and celery until bacon is browned then add in garlic.
Add mince a little at a time until browned. Stir in tomato paste and chicken stock and seasoning to taste.
Bring to boil and then reduce and simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
Boil pot of boiling water and cook spaghetti until tender and drain.
Combine meat sauce with spaghetti and stir until spaghetti is coated in sauce.
NB Use penne pasta to make pasta bake: layer penne, mince, cheese, penne, mince and cheese and cook in oven for 30 minutes.
Laksa is a popular spicy noodle soup in the Peranakan cuisine, which is a combination of Chinese and Malay cuisine. Laksa consists of rice noodles or rice vermicelli with chicken, prawn or fish, served in spicy soup; either based on rich and spicy curry coconut milk, or based on sour asam (tamarind or gelugur). (wikipedia)
Fragrant. Fresh. Flexible.
While my son preferred his Laksa on a bed of rice and without the snap peas this is an easy and versatile recipe.
500 g chicken sliced into strips (or use leftover roast chicken and add with coconut cream and chicken stock)
3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
2 cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups chicken stock (gluten free)
1 tin coconut cream (or lite coconut cream)
Pad Thai Rice Noodles
2 tablespoons Laksa paste (or use ‘Always Fresh’ Chilli Jam)
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
* snow peas or snap peas (or capsicum strips or vegetable of choice for colour and texture)
1 lime, juiced
coriander to serve
red chilli, finely sliced to serve
* fresh bean sprouts (for texture)
- Fry chicken with oil in a heated fry pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
- Add laska paste and fish sauce and stir.
- Add coconut cream and chicken stock, stir and simmer for 10 minutes.* Add snow peas or snap peas in the last 3 – 5 minutes.
- Add lime juice and heat through.
- Prepare noodles by soaking in hot water for 5 – 10 minutes. Drain noodles and place in bottom of bowls.
- Pour chicken laksa over the noodles.
- Garnish with sprigs of coriander and red chilli slices.* Add fresh bean sprouts.
500 g chicken thighs cut in half or chicken drumsticks
½ cup plain yoghurt or Greek-style yoghurt
3 tablespoons Tandoori paste
Heat oven to 200 C.
Cut 2 – 3 slits in chicken and place in bowl with yoghurt and tandori paste. Rub marinade all over the chicken and then cover and marinade in fridge for 2 – 4 hours.
Remove chicken from oven and place on oiled baking wire rack placed over an oven tray lined with baking paper.
Remove chicken from marinade and place on wire rack. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until cooked.
Serve with a combination of the following:
Coconut and coriander rice : cook one cup of basmati rice according to your preferred method (microwave or absorption method). When cooked, stir in ½ cup toasted desiccated coconut and ¼ cup finely chopped coriander leaves.
Raita: Place 1 Lebanese cucumber which has been deseeded and finely chopped in a bowl with ½ juiced lemon and 2/3 cup yoghurt. Mix to combine.
Salsa: combine 1 small finely chopped red onion, 1 Lebanese cucumber peeled, deseeded and finely chopped, 2 Roma tomatoes chopped and 2 tablespoons of lime juice in a bowl and stir to combine.
Pappadums: prepare according to instructions on pack
This slice is so good that even my sons will ignore the ‘green’ bits and go back for seconds.
Ingredients 1 handful sesame seeds 1 handful shredded coconut 1 handful slivered almond 1 handful flaked almonds 1 handful dried apricot 1 handful pepitas 1 handful currants or sultanas 120 g gluten free corn flakes 100 g gluten free rice bubbles 4 gluten free weet bix 150 g peanut butter 250 g honey 250 g butter 270 g brown sugar Method In a frying pan, toast sesame seeds, shredded coconut and almonds. In a saucepan, melt peanut butter, honey, butter and brown sugar. Reduce heat and continue to stir until sugar has dissolved and sauce begins to caramelise. In a large bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix. Stir in caramel sauce, press into tins and place in fridge. Once set, cut slice into small pieces.
My sons have warmed to the idea that this chicken IS better than KFC… so if you can’t buy LFGF Chicken Seasoning locally, then order it on-line.
500 g chicken cut
LFGF Chicken seasoning
Oil for frying
In bowl mix egg and water.
On a plate place LFGF Chicken seasoning
Dip chicken in egg mix.
Roll chicken in seasoning mix to cover.
Heat oil in deep fryer on high and fry chicken in batches until half cooked.
Put chicken to drain on kitchen paper towel.
Return chicken to deep fryer until cooked.
Drain chicken on paper towel.
Serve chicken with salad.
The original recipe is for a Peanut Marshmallow Tart with a chocolate biscuit and butter base which I ripped out of a Courier Mail newspaper. With limited time, I decided to make the filling only as a mousse which set beautifully. My sons know I need honest feedback and so one said, “you should have used smooth peanut butter” and I should have, as the recipe called for smooth but I only had crunchy in the house. My other son quietly said, “there were no marshmallows in it” as he had been looking for the chunks of marshmallow in the mousse that he imagined because after all the name of the recipe says so. So with this feedback I promise to use smooth peanut butter next time and have deleted marshmallow from the recipe title. But you could always stir through at the end additional cut marshmallows to add texture to the mousse. Ingredients 32 vanilla marshmallows, cut into smaller pieces 2 tablespoons milk 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter 300 ml thickened cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped Method Place marshmallows, milk and peanut butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring for 10 minutes or until melted and smooth. Transfer mixture to a bowl and stand for 5- 10 minutes to cool. Using an electric mixer, beat cream and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cream to marshmallow mixture. Stir to combine. Fold through remaining cream. Spoon mixture in serving dishes and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or until set. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts.