Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Cooking with a Potjie Pot - vegetarian chilli


vegetarian chilli recipe
Indulge me with this 'off topic' blog post; I haven't had time to bake... 
Way back when, I spent five months travelling in South Africa. Ahh to be 18 again, young, free, single and enjoying the beauty of the Garden Route!


Every girl needs a Potjie Pot
My little sojourn in SA introduced me to the joys of the Potjie Pot, (pron: 'poy key').  It's a cast iron cooking pot that you 'cure' with oil and then light a fire and get going.

Vegetarian Chilli Recipe
Prepare your ingredients (wine is essential)
Potjie pot cooking
Inhale the aroma

 It is the perfect way to  connect with your inner cave woman slash witch.

Vegan food

And the pot takes on the 'taste' of what you cook and thereafter all food tastes rich, garlicky, smoky and just truly delicious.


Also, when you have friends over in the Summer and everyone is chilling in the garden with a glass of rosé, you don't have to be indoors slaving away and feeling resentful. You can be outdoors too! (Slaving away and feeling resentful.)


If the fire starts to die down, whack on some pine cones to boost the heat (you see, it was worth collecting all those pine cones).

Potjie Pot recipe
I can see the attraction of being a witch.

 Click here for my vegetarian chilli recipe, or you can even cook risotto in it (prepare for lots of stirring).

To buy a Potjie Pot, have a look here (note, they don't come cheap, but it will last for years).

And when half term is over, I'll be back with more allergen free baking recipes!

Double double toil and trouble...


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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Valentine's Day gluten free love heart cookies


Looks cute, but I'd rather someone put on a load of washing for me...

I would love to wax lyrical about the beauty that is Valentine's Day. 

I'd like to say that I adore the old 'solitaire-diamond-in-a-champagne-flute' proposal trick, or even the 'aeroplane-pulling-a-banner-saying-Marry-Me' stunt (although that's a bit tacky), but I don't.

What do I find romantic? Ummm, not sure.

In fact now that I'm thinking about it, I think I hate the whole concept of romance. It seems to encourage an unrealistic view of the world whereas I'm much more into gritty realism and lots of help with the housework.

That said...

Husband, I'll take a surprise two week skiing trip to Whistler any time you're ready!

But for those of you who do favour love tokens in biscuit form, please enjoy my Valentine offering...

Valentine's Day Love Heart Cookies

I WAS going to just make my Gingerbread Mates recipe and cut it into heart shapes, but I'm probably incapable of not tweaking recipes. So I trialled an egg replacer using garbanzo bean flour and I'm quite excited. If you haven't got garbanzo bean flour, you know, just hanging around your cupboards, then use 1 tbsp of Orgran 'no egg' Egg Replacer. It's best to leave time to chill this dough in the fridge as it's easier to work with.

The 'fully free from' version
(free from: eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, soya, nuts)

225g Plain Doves Farm gf flour
125g gf buckwheat flour (I used Infinity Foods)
⅛ tsp xanthan gum
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsps ground ginger
125g dairy free margarine
135g caster sugar
175g golden syrup

For the egg replacer:
1 tbsp garbanzo bean flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 tbsp ground linseeds
Coconut milk to mix

Dark chocolate to decorate & gf, df, ef decorations

Gluten free (dairy free) with eggs

 225g Plain Doves Farm gf flour
125g gf buckwheat flour (I used Infinity Foods)
⅛ tsp xanthan gum
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsps ground ginger
125g butter or margarine
135g caster sugar
175g golden syrup

1 egg, beaten

Dark chocolate to decorate & gf, decorations

Egg free with wheat flour

350g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsps ground ginger
125g butter or margarine
135g caster sugar
175g golden syrup

For the egg replacer:
1 tbsp garbanzo bean flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1 tbsp ground linseeds
Coconut milk to mix

Dark chocolate to decorate & ef decorations

Dairy free with wheat flour


350g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsps ground ginger
125g dairy free margarine
135g caster sugar
175g golden syrup

1 egg, beaten

Dark chocolate to decorate & df decorations






















Method

If using an egg free version, put the garbanzo bean flour and ground linseed into a small bowl and whisk in some coconut milk/milk to combine. Set aside. It will thicken up, so don't add too much liquid to start with, you can always add more later.

Put the flour(s), xanthan gum (if using), ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter or dairy free margarine and rub in, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir. Add the beaten egg or egg replacer and golden syrup and start to beat. It's quite a stiff mix, so you may find it easier to get your hands in and start squidging it all together. If it's far too dry, add a tbsp of coconut milk or milk, but the best way to gauge the dryness is by using your hands. If the mixture is too wet, you can sprinkle over a little more flour.

Put the dough into a freezer bag and leave in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. 

When you're ready to start rolling, line a few baking trays with baking parchment. Dust the work surface (or a large sheet of baking parchment) with flour (gluten free flour if using) and break off a chunk of the dough. Gently roll it out, picking it up after the first few rolls and flouring the surface underneath again to prevent it from sticking. Roll out to a thickness of about 3mm. Use a heart-shaped cutter to stamp out the hearts and place them onto the baking trays. Repeat until the dough is used up, or you get bored and decide to put the remaining dough into the freezer for a rainy day.

Heat the oven to 180°Celsius and bake the biscuits for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Now here's the thing, if you are using gluten free flour, the biscuits will be fine at this point, but they will be a little soft. So if you want to crunch them up a bit, when they are cool, put them back in the oven at 140°Celsius for 15-20 minutes, then leave them to cool completely.

To decorate: melt the chocolate (either in the microwave or in a bain marie) and dip the end of the biscuits into the chocolate, place on baking parchment and cover with sprinkles/sugar roses/whatever you like. 

You can also paint them with the melted chocolate, just use a clean paintbrush! And I also used some BettyCrocker icing mixed with red food colouring which I piped around the outside to emphasise the heart shape. Maybe I am romantic after all...!



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Monday, 10 February 2014

Free From Food Awards 2014 - one food judge's story


Free from food awards 2014
On your marks, get set, sample!
Breakfast like a queen, lunch like a princess, dine like a woman on the bread line.
That is how the old saying goes. 

Except it doesn't does it? Because history is so rarely about herstory. So in the interests of swinging the pendulum the other way, I thought I'd rewrite the old saying to include the other 50% of the population. 


And why would I start rewriting idioms? Well, because I want to tell you about being a food judge for this year's Free From Food Awards and I wanted a nice, breakfast-based idiom to start the piece and got a bit annoyed at the male bias. Anyway... 

Regular readers will know that I had the honour of being a judge last year too, but here's what happened in 2014...

Free from breakfast cereals
Nom nom, time for breakfast

This year I was judging 'breakfast foods' and 'scones, sweet tarts, sweet biscuits and cookies'. (You see why I started off by mentioning breakfast and rewriting the saying, etc?!)

Free from food judging
Judges hard at work
First up, there were 25 breakfast cereals to judge.

So it was eyes down for some silent tasting (we're not allowed to influence each other with either beatific expressions or violent retching), then we awarded each product a mark out of 10, and battled it out to choose a shortlist. 

free from food judging
It's not all sweetness and light, we argue vehemently!
The debating bit is the most lively part and it clearly illustrates that there is truth in the saying 'One woman's √©clair is another woman's kale chips.'  

And of course I can't reveal any of the decisions that were taken...

gluten free breakfast cereals
Lots of yummy gluten free oats
Then it was time to start on more breakfast foods, which involved breads, plant milks and plant yogurts. There were certain products that were delicious. So delicious, that whereas most of the products are just nibbled at, at this session we were fighting over the very last scraps and begging Michelle to bring out some more! Again, can't say a word but remember to look out for the shortlist... 

Free from yogurts
Devastation caused by food judging
And finally, after lunch it was on to scones, sweet tarts, sweet biscuits and cookies.

Hmm. Well the operative word in this category was SWEET, because it seems that when manufacturers choose to exclude gluten, dairy or egg, they panic and heave in a ton of sugar instead. Umm, to make it 'taste better'?
2014 free from food awards
Where were the dairy and egg free biscuits and cakes?
And while I'm having a rant, where were the dairy free and egg free products? One of the other food judges, Sarah from Sugarpuffish, is intolerant to dairy and of the 19 products, she could try just two.

TWO! What is that all about? One of the gluten free biscuits (not pictured) that is a copy of a 'normal' (dairy free) biscuit, had even  included dairy just to, you know, make it 'taste better'?? 

Free from food judging 2014
Harsh comments were reserved for some products...
 Let's just say that certain free from brands need to understand that the way to a girl's heart is through her stomach, but only if the food is free from ALL the main allergens.

 Thanks again to Michelle Berriedale-Johnson (pictured below!) for inviting me to be a judge, and remember to look out for the 2014 Free From Food Awards Shortlist, which will be published here on Wednesday, 12th February, 2014.
Michelle Berriedale-Johnson hard at work

All photos subject to copyright, please contact me if you want to use them.

© Pig in the Kitchen All Rights Reserved