Fishy fingers with special seafood mocktail sauce

Oh dear, the warm weather is upon us and I’m not liking it one little bit this year! I’m dreading the full swing of summer! Although one bonus of this weather is the lack of “cooking” I can get away with because salads are just perfect in this heat.

We pulled out our trusty kitchen sprouter last week and got sprouting. It didn’t take long before we had sprouts ready to use so this week has been full of sprouty salads…so much more interesting than a basic coleslaw or green salad. I just love the crunch the sprouts give, not to mention the taste. And what accompanies a salad better than a little seafood? Not much at all! So I decided to give the kids a little treat and make some fish fingers, gluten free of course 🙂

Oh but I didn’t stop there! Yes, I was dying from the heat but after turning on the cooling, I cooled off, got motivated and made special sauces to dip our fishy fingers into and to dress our sprouty salad with. So the dinner menu read a little like this…Fishy fingers with special seafood mocktail sauce accompanied by a sprouty rainbow salad with creamy dresssing. Yum? I’ll say!!

So, the sauces. I recently saw a recipe on another Failsafe blog, “Failsafe Foodie”, for Magic Sauce. I was intrigued and wanted to give it a go, so I did last night. Only problem was I was missing one ingredient, and the final product was way too sweet for my palate, so with a few little tweaks, I came up with my own, slightly less sweet version and I shall call this….hmmmmm….sticky sauce, perhaps. Yep, that will do for now. The other “sauce” was actually my regular whole egg garlic mayonnaise. Then I had an epiphany! What if I mix the 2 sauces together? That could be YUM! Well, guess what? It was delicious! Oh, and perfect for dipping our seafood morsels into, so it became known as our “special seafood mocktail sauce”. All I did was place a couple of tablespoons of mayo into a little dish then add sticky sauce to taste, which was about 2 to 3 teaspoons for me, and mix well.

Fishy Fingers

1kg of firm white fish (I used gummy shark because it was well priced)

2 eggs beaten lightly

gluten free plain flour (or rice flour)

1 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of citric acid (optional)

Rice crumbs (I use a mix of quinoa and rice)

Cut the fish fillets into finger sized pieces, working across the grain (you could get your fishmonger to do this for you to save you some time). Mix the flour, salt and citric acid together then roll the fish pieces in it, shaking off any excess. Dip into the egg then coat well in the crumbs. Pan fry over medium to high heat, in a little oil, until cooked through. Yep, that simple.

Sticky Sauce

1/2 cup of golden syrup

1/4 cup of gin

1/2 cup of pear juice

2 to 3 tsp of salt (or to taste)

1 tsp of citric acid (or to taste)

3 tsp of carob syrup

1 tsp of tapioca starch

Place golden syrup, gin, pear juice, 2 teaspoons of the carob syrup, salt and citric acid into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes. Mix remaining carob syrup with the tapioca starch then add to the pot, stirring well. Simmer until thick and shiny. Allow to cool. For a little extra something, which would be perfect in a stir fry, add a clove of crushed garlic at the beginning.

Sprouty Rainbow Salad

Ok, so there are no exact measurements for this, like any salad really, just whatever looks good.

Red cabbage shredded (I have never understood why this stuff is called red, it’s purple!)

Wombok (Chinese cabbage) shredded

Spring onions finely sliced on the diagonal

Lots of delicious sprouts. I used mung bean and French lentil sprouts

Celery leaf (preferably home grown as it has a real pepperiness) roughly chopped (or parsley if you prefer)

Whole egg garlic mayonnaise

Whack everything in a bowl and mix well.

Special Seafood Mocktail Sauce

2 tbsp of mayonnaise

2 to 3 tsp of sticky sauce

Place in a little dish and mix well. Of course if you need more sauce than that, double/triple the quantities 🙂

Sticky sauce on the left and seafood mocktail on the right

The finished dish

Pizzas…again

My middle son is having a grade 2 sleep over at school tonight, to prepare them for school camp next year. The teachers have organized pizzas and soft drink for dinner and popcorn and lollies for a snack later as the kids watch a dvd. Well of course my guy can’t have any of that so I have spent a bit of time in the kitchen today, preparing food that he can eat. So the menu for him tonight is homemade gluten and dairy free pizza, savoury nibbly no-nuts and white marshmallows. Breakfast for the masses will be toast with jam or vegemite so I’ve sent along a couple of slices of white gluten free bread, ready spread with nuttelex. Wow, there’s so much to think about for an occasion like this. Imagine what I’ll have to go through for a 3 day camp!!!

I already have a gluten free pizza base that we all love, but today I wanted something a little different. No, the truth is I couldn’t be bothered mixing all the flours for the other one, then putting all the containers of flour back into the pantry so after my dazzling success with the white bread the other day, I decided to try adapting that recipe for pizza and guess what…..it worked! So here it is……

2 cups of white gluten free plain flour

2 tbsp of white sugar

1/2 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum

2 tsp of dried yeast

2 eggs

3 tbsp of oil

3/4 cup of warm water

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Beat the eggs until pale and fluffy then add the oil followed by the water. Pour the egg mix into the dry ingredients and using the dough attachment of an electric mixer, mix until a ball of dough forms. From into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes. Divide dough into 3 and roll out to desired thickness. If you want a larger and/or thicker pizza base, divide in half. Place on greased pizza tray and set aside in a warm spot for another 30 minutes or so. Top with your favourite toppings then bake at about 180°C until the edge is golden brown. This took somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes in my oven.

Topped with pear sauce, roasted potato and swede, spring onion and egg for a delicious failsafe and dairy free pizza

 

 

I did it! I did it!! Home made gluten free pasta!

Since going gluten free, I have really missed the silky, soft, delicious pasta I used to make. You really can’t beat home made pasta. I have been thinking about this for ages and finally felt motivated and inspired enough to give it a try today.

Passing it through my pasta machine was a bit of a challenge, but with perseverance and sheer determination I managed to get some lovely strands of fettuccine…and it was well worth the effort too. Ok, it’s not as amazingly wonderful as regular glutenous pasta but when you have no choice and must be gluten free then this is a fantastic compromise and I’m here to tell you that I’ll definitely be doing it again. I think my next challenge will be to come up with gluten free gnocchi….ohhh, I’m drooling at the thought.

So back to my pasta…..the dough is a lot more fragile than regular glutenous pasta so you’ll need to work in smaller batches and not make the strands of fettuccine (or spaghetti if you prefer) shorter than you normally would and you certainly can’t roll it as thinly as regular pasta. I found that number 3 on my machine was as thin as I could go, when I used to go right up to number 6 or 7 for wheat based pasta. If you don’t have the luxury of a pasta machine, you can still make it, just roll out between 2 sheets of baking paper then cut into strands as wide as you desire. Make sure that you roll the dough as thinly as possible first though otherwise you may just end up with a stodgy mess once cooked.

Once made, you can store in the fridge for a few days or even freeze it. This quantity makes 500 grams

3/4 cup of rice flour

1/2 cup of tapioca flour (or arrowroot)

1/4 cup of besan flour (chickpea/gram flour)

1/4 cup of quinoa flour

1/2 tsp of xanthan gum

3 large eggs (I used 700g eggs)

1/2 tsp of salt

water

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Now, you can do this straight onto the bench or in a large bowl then turn out for kneading, make a well in the centre of the flour, crack in the eggs and mix to form a dough, adding a little water if the dough is too dry or a little extra rice flour if too wet. Knead into a smooth ball, wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes. Cut into 8 pieces (for easier handling) then roll out each piece individually to make your pasta, but keep the remaining dough well wrapped to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Use an extra sprinkling of rice flour if the dough gets sticky while rolling and when you’ve cut your pasta ribbons, coat in rice flour to prevent the strands sticking together. Store in the fridge until you’re ready to use. To cook, bring a large pot of water to the boil then add the pasta and a little salt. Cook for about 3 minutes or until just tender. Drain and top with your favourite sauce.

Little nest of eggs

Nice smooth ball of dough

First few rolls of the dough

My pretty ribbons

The finished product with yummy mussels

 

 

 

 

Yummy strawberry compote

Well the salicylates challenge is finished and I had a lot of strawberries left over that were slowly getting a little long in the tooth so I decided there was only one thing to do with them…..cook em up! Luckily not all of us are on this Failsafe diet so they would get eaten one way or another, but not if they went off completely.

For breakfast yesterday I fancied some muesli with yoghurt and strawberries so I got busy cooking up my little jewels of yumminess. And oh were they yummy…bubs devoured what was left, ruining my morning snack 😦 So now I’m addicted and will be buying strawberries on a regular basis just to make this little treat. Perhaps it will take over my pregnant Mars bar cravings…my waistline can only hope 🙂

500g of strawberries cut into quarters (smaller if they’re big berries)

2 tbsp of brown sugar

1 tsp of vanilla

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and cook over low heat until soft and syrup, stirring occasionally. Eat warm or cold…YUM!

Mmmm, look at that syrupy goodness *drool*

Still challenging and chicken “koftas”

The salicylates challenge continued but I think it’s a big fat fail. Well not totally. After 6 days my middle son’s behaviour became a little out of control once again. He was whingy, whiny, obstinent and rude, all topped off with some incredibly toxic, shall we say, wind. You know the type, the ones that make you gag and run for the door! Unbearable!!! So I have concluded that he can tolerate high levels of salicylates for about 3 days before he starts heading slowly down hill, before the big crash. That means we can probably have a sals loaded meal once a week, or can go out for dinner without so much stress about what he can eat 🙂 Since I had planned the weekend meals ahead of time, I persisted with the high levels of salicylates in our food and decided to start afresh Monday morning (that’s today). So back to “beige” food for a week or so, maybe more but hopefully less, to detox his poor little system before we challenge red meat.

Saturday night’s dinner was to be koftas. “Hubby” wanted lamb ones but my middle son is red meat free at the moment so I had to make up 2 batches, one with chicken. I guess technically I can’t call them koftas because they are traditionally made of lamb, but hey, there’s nothing traditional about this family so chicken koftas it is!

Now, in this house, there is no exact science for making burgers and koftas but they always come out splendidly, if I may say so myself, so what I have written is really just a guide and you could use any herbs and spices you like and shape them any which way you like and therefore call them anything you wish…meat patties, chicken balls, burgers….

With the chicken ones, I find that thigh mince produces the best results. Breast mince is really lean and therefore produces a very dry result. If I use beef mince, I find that the lean stuff is the best, otherwise you have to double the amount of crumbs you use to help soak up the fat, resulting in a less meaty patty. However, I have never seen a choice in leanness for lamb mince, nor have I ever had an issue with it being too fatty for some reason.

Chicken koftas

1 kg of chicken thigh mince

1 medium onion finely diced

2 cloves of crushed garlic

2 eggs

2 tsp of paprika

2 tsp of salt

grind of black pepper

1 tbsp of fresh sage

1 tbsp of fresh tarragon

4 rice cakes, whizzed in the food processor to form crumbs

Place all ingredients in a bowl and, using clean hands, mix really well. (If, unlike me, you have a realllllly good food processor, you could whiz it all up in there. I tried it with a second batch, to try and make job a little easier but it bacame very apparent that I need a new processor….a realllllly good one this time.) Roll into…..now how do I describe the shape? Elongated balls? Fat, rounded sausages? Of course, in all the meltdown mess of the salicylate reaction in my son, I forgot to take photos 😦 Cook in a hot pan with a little oil, or on the barbecue, until cooked through.

Lamb koftas

1 kg of lamb mince

1 medium onion finely diced

2 cloves of crushed garlic

2 eggs

4 rice cakes, crushed to crumbs

2 – 3 tbsp of your favourite Middle Eastern seasoning (or 2 tsps cumin, 2 tsps coriander, 2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp cayenne)

1 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary

1 tbsp fresh, chopped oregano

2 tsp of salt

grind of black pepper

Follow the same method as for the recipe above and cook in the same manner. If you want to spice things up a little, add some extra cayenne or some fresh or dried chilli.

 

 

Peachy keen frozen dessert

I inspired myself with my super simple pear and maple sorbet and decided it could be done with pretty much any tinned fruit so I gave it a go…with peaches. When I pureed the fruit, it didn’t quite come out nice and smooth, instead it was a little lumpy. I could have gone to the effort of straining it but that would defeat the purpose of developing super simple frozen desserts. Due to the texture of this peachy delight, I was hesitant to call it a sorbet but if you can be bothered straining it, or even using a juicer (of which I don’t have….yet) to make your “puree” then you could definitely call it a sorbet. Whatever you call it, it’s delish!. Oooh, it would be extra yummy with a splash of vodka or gin 😉

1 large can (about 825g) of peaches in syrup

2 tbsp of maple syrup (or any other sweet syrup you like)

1/2 cup of soda water

Puree peaches (with their syrup) and maple syrup in food processor until as smooth as you can get it then pour into an ice cream maker with the soda water. Churn for about an hour or until pale and fluffy looking.

Mmmmm, peachy goodness

Super simple pear and maple sorbet

My ice cream maker would have to be about the best investment for my kitchen to date. With all these individual food intolerances in the family, I can’t just go out and buy a tub of ice cream that everyone can share. In fact, I can’t go out and buy a tub of ice cream for any of us to eat individually either…oh no wait, there are a couple of commercial sorbets that a couple of us can eat but they never taste as good as anything home made, they’re just a little less labour intensive, which, when you spend so much time making most things from scratch, can often make things taste better.

I’m forever trying to find ways of making my job in the kitchen less time consuming and a lot more simple. Now, I do love frozen desserts but I find it challenging to find the time and botheration factor to do so. I have been known to make the base for an ice cream, put it in the fridge to chill and then either forget about it or not find the time to put it in my whiz bang ice cream machine…then I feel as though I have wasted so much time and energy. I need simple solutions to this and the other night I had an epiphany! But that only solves the dilemma for one type of frozen dessert. Oh well, it’s better than nothing.

1 large can (about 825g) of pears in syrup (not juice, it needs to be syrup)

2 tbsp maple syrup

1/2 cup of soda water

Empty the can of pears (syrup and all) into the food processor along with the maple syrup. Puree until smooth. Tip the puree and the soda water into your ice cream maker and turn it on. Yes, it’s that simple! You’ll need to churn it until it looks a bit like mashed potato. It took about 6o minutes in my whiz bang machine. Store in the freezer, obviously….if it lasts that long!