Red Wine Beef Ragu (DF + NF)

Small humans. Even medium sized humans (you know the teenage kind?) take up time. Heck, I'm now in my 30's and my Mum was recently here helping me out; distracting our little cookie, doing dishes and just generally being the helping, loving Mum that she is. Yep, she pretty much sums up my parenting goals. Gotta love Mums.

Back to small humans. They take up time. As in, they take up our time with activities, with outdoor play, with laundry and dishes and shopping trips. It becomes our life. A life that is full of adventure. Or at least, that's how I view ours, one big adventure. This adventure is one that needs fuel. A. Lot. Of. Fuel. No, I'm not really talking about our little cookie (20 month old small human) but me. I'm an eater. Our little cookie is an eater too, oh boy is he! Then my man cycles, so that's a lot of carbs that get guzzled down (and the only gluten that's in the house; his oat based muesli and bread, occasionally he sneaks in licorice, the bastard!)

The answer to all this food consumption?

A plan.

Not crazy two week plan of meals, but a few days worth and a few extra things in the freezer. Thinking of how we're currently living (working, playing, sleeping on the floor next to our little cookie when he sleeps, sleeping when he sleeps due to lack of aforementioned sleep, play, laundry, did I mention laundry?) I thought I'd share how our meals work out, most of the time. I mean, there's days when we eat toasted sandwiches for lunch and dinner, or our little cookie gets a bowl of pasta with a little tuna mixed in or he only wants to eat scrambled eggs when he's teething. This is life. This is our around-about-winter-menu for a week.

Being a big fan of the fresh produce at our local farmers market; Manning Farmers Market, it rocks! our menu starts there. Our pantry is stocked with gluten free staples (I'll share more about that soon) but our weekly market shop usually includes a bunch of staple fruit and veg and seasonal items, this weeks was something along the lines of;

  • carrots,
  • broccoli,
  • cauliflower,
  • capsicum,
  • cucumber,
  • corn,
  • pumpkin,
  • potatoes,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • peas/beans of some kind,
  • onions,
  • avocado,
  • bananas,
  • pears,
  • oranges,
  • strawberries,
  • spinach,
  • basil
  • and coriander.

It's winter, I don't do salads in winter - too damn cold! So, this is our...

Round-About-Dinner-Menu-For-A-Week

  1. Nachos, a double batch. It's vego, with green capsicum + a bottle of beer (gluten free, obvs). Half was frozen. The other half did two meals for three people. The second night as stuffed sweet potatoes with cheese, baby spinach and plenty of smashed avo on top.
  2. Basil Pesto, a jam packed food processor full of basil, a little parsley and a good handful or two of baby spinach, for extra green. We made Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta, with enough to feed 4 adults and that growing small human of ours. There's still basil pesto in the fridge that's being used on toast with scrambled eggs or in toasted cheese sandwiches with leftover and on pizza.
  3. Moroccan Chicken Cauliflower & Chickpea with rice (cook extra rice, recipe in Vol 4 of The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine). Drumsticks ahoy! Chicken legs come to life with moroccan seasonings and is filled out with half a cauliflower and a tin of chickpeas. This meal did 2 dinners for 3 adults + a small human.
  4. Fried Rice (by no means, traditional). If there's leftover rice I'll make up a huge batch of homemade fried rice. I use most veg in my fried rice and always bacon, sometimes with leftover shredded chicken. It's usually about 60% rice, 40% veg; onions, carrot, capsicum, broccoli, corn, peas, snow peas, zucchini, cauliflower and some fresh basil. This usually does about 2 meals for 3 adults + I freeze another meals worth for later.
  5. Spiced Chorizo Pasta with Roasted Capsicum Sauce. You can make the sauce, or simply finely dice and saute a red capsicum to throw into a store-bought sauce with some black olives, sundried tomatoes and pan fried chorizo. Top with fresh ricotta and a dollop of pesto. Feeds 4.
  6. Pumpkin + Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger. A big pot of this gets us through lunches with toasted cheese and pesto sandwiches for a few days.
  7. Roast Lamb (whichever cut you love or whatever meat you love) with roasted veg; all the carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, a few roast onions and some slow roasted garlic cloves... You could do a potato gratin or broccoli cauliflower cheese if you wished. Leftover lamb would be thrown on top of pizza along with the leftover roast veg and pesto the following night.

There's often a ragu in the mix somewhere, such as the beef ragu below which is a cinch to make and spends most of it's time slowly bubbling away in the oven. This recipe is a favourite of mine from Vol 4 of The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine... ahem cookbook, which you can grab from my online store or pop down to my Market Cake Bake Stall at the September Upmarket. 

Red Wine Beef Ragu

/ Serves 6 / from The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine, Vol 4

method:

Preheat oven to 140 C.

Heat a generous glug of olive oil in a large, lidded, cast iron pot over medium heat. Brown beef in batches to create a lovely golden brown edge to the beef. Don't overcrowd the beef or it will stew, rather than brown. As the beef browns, place in a bowl along with any juices, and set aside.

If the pan is dry, heat another glug of olive oil in the pan and saute the onion, carrot & celery for 5-8 minutes until soft. Throw in the crushed garlic, return the beef and stir for a minute to cook the garlic. Add in the remaining ingredients, stir and bring to a simmer. Cover pot tightly with lid or foil and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2.5 to 3 hours, or until beef is falling apart, this may take a further half hour to an hour depending on the cut of beef. Stir every hour to ensure nothing has caught on the bottom.

Remove beef from the sauce and roughly pull apart with two forks to shred. Set aside, covered, to keep warm and avoid drying out. Remove the bay leaves from the luscious gravy. If you would like a thicker sauce, place the pot back over a low heat and simmer for 15-30 minutes. Keep in mind when you add the beef back in it will be thicker simply due to the beef soaking up that little bit extra sauce.

Return beef to pan and heat through. Season with pepper.

Serve over piping hot gluten free pasta or gnocchi with plenty of Parmesan cheese (please amend serving suggestions if dairy free)

Equally delicious with a cup of frozen peas and diced steamed carrots tossed in and topped with mashed potato as a shepherd's pie or use as a rich sauce for homemade lasagna, you could even make some ragu filled crepe cannelloni for something different.

ingredients

1kg casserole beef, chopped into 4cm cubes

1 brown onion, roughly chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 sticks celery, diced

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups (500ml) gluten free vegetable or beef stock

1 cup (250ml) dry red wine (or stock)

2 bay leaves

A sprig each of rosemary, thyme and oregano, chopped

Arctic Bars A.K.A Brownie Ice cream bars(NF)

Sometimes, as a kitchen tinkerer you hear about recipes and flavour combos and you think, why didn't I think of that? Or you think, damn that sounds so very deliciously good? Or perhaps you think, oh my gosh that sounds awful (how I feel about orange almond cake :) )

These Arctic Bars, were something I heard about from my brother and sister in law; a rich, chocolate brownie topped with creamy vanilla ice cream, smothered with a cracking chocolate coating. Seriously, how could one not love that? If you had the version my brother and sister in law speak of then these bad boys would be served up with a little bowl of warm caramel sauce... I can hear your sighs from here. Positively sinful.

Naturally, I set about whipping up my own version and I must say, I do believe I earned 'sister in law of the year' title for serving these up after a recent, rather loud, family dinner.

I've got a little more deliciousness to share...I'm so excited to let you all know that I will be at the September 18th Perth Upmarket again with a market stall full of Gluten Free Scallywag baked treats, including the magazines and possibly something a little extra I've been working on. I've created a little facebook event you can subscribe to and keep yourself up to date with behind the scenes recipe testing, news and of course pre-order and menu information. It was a blast meeting so many Perth folk at the June Upmarket and I can't wait for September! 

Arctic Bars (Chocolate Brownie & Ice Cream Bars)

/ Makes about 28 /

The thing I love about these Arctic Bars is that they are very simple to make, even though there are a few steps and because they are a frozen treat you can make them well in advance. The fun part is that you can use whatever ice cream is your favourite! A chocolate caramel swirl would be amazing but I think if I make a peppermint choc chip version of these my man would love me just a little bit more. So, go crazy and let me know what flavour combo you go with!

method:

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line two brownie trays (approx 28cm x 18cm) with baking paper.

In a medium, heavy based saucepan over low heat melt together the butter, sugar and chocolate. Do not boil the chocolate mixture, you simply want it all to melt and the sugar to dissolve so that it's not gritty. Allow to cool.

When cooled stir in the whisked eggs and sift over the flour and cocoa. Stir to combine; do not overmix as you'll end up with a tough brownie.

Divide brownie batter between trays and bake for approximately 20 minutes, a skewer inserted will come out clean.

Cool completely.

While the brownie cools soften the ice cream by removing it from the freezer. When the brownie is cool and the ice cream has softened divide the ice cream between the two trays of brownie and spread over evenly, smoothing the top. Return to the freezer to freeze solid.

When the ice cream has frozen solid remove the brownie ice creams from the freezer and using a large knife cut the brownie lenthways in half and then across in sections to create 14 bars. Using a hot knife, I run mine under hot water, will create a nice cut. Wipe the blade of the knife after each cut so that crumbs don't appear on the top of the ice cream.

Return to the freezer.

Place a large cake rack over a piece of baking paper. This will catch the chocolate drips from the coating process.

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a double boiler.  Remove a tray of brownie ice cream bars from the freezer and separate. Working quickly dip individual bars into the chocolate upside down to coat the top and sides. I didn't bother with the bottom as it's too messy.

Place coated bars on the cake rack. Continue with one brownie's worth. when the chocolate has hardened, this won't take long with the cold ice cream, carefully transfer to a freezer proof container and place them in the freezer.

Continue with remaining brownie and re-warm the chocolate if required. I leave mine over a bowl of warm water to stay melted throughout this process.

Enjoy straight from the freezer, with or without caramel sauce.

Will keep for about a month in the freezer.

 

 

 

ingredients:

125g butter, chopped

200g brown sugar

125g dark chocolate, chopped

3 eggs, lightly whisked

50g plain gluten free flour

35g cocoa powder

2L vanilla ice cream, softened*

200g dark chocolate

1TBSPN coconut oil

Chai Spiced Apple Hazelnut Cake (DF)

This little gluten free scallywag went to market... and had SUCH a wonderful time!

It was so lovely to meet a bunch of you at Perth Upmarket a few Sundays ago. What a ride! A whole bunch of you came out to say hello and buy up big on cakes, biscuits and slices. I can't wait to share with you more about how I set up the stall and the processes that went on behind the scenes along with some photos that my friend and official market photographer took on the day. 

I'm hoping to do another market, so I'll keep you posted here and on facebook about what those dates are.

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In the meantime though, let me introduce you to this delightful Chai Spiced Apple Hazelnut Cake which featured at the market.  The chewy outer crumb opens to a dense, apple scented, nut filled interior that is abundant with the aroma and flavour of chai tea. I love a piece with a cup of freshly brewed Rooibos tea; a generous dollop of double cream wouldn't go astray either!

I've made this cake half a dozen times now, sometimes with raisins soaked in chai tea and drained, sometimes with hazelnut meal and sometimes not, sometimes with a little more ginger and sometimes not. There are many possibilities, but the best thing? This is one seriously moreish mouthful and it's dairy free to boot!


Chai Spiced Apple Hazelnut Cake (DF)

 

/ 1 x 20cm cake / about 8-12 pieces / adapted from this nutty ginger cake which was originally from Gourmet Traveller

method

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celcius (fan forced). Lightly oil (or butter, if dairy isn't an issue) a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Using a stand or hand mixer (or by hand, if you're arm muscles are up for it!) whisk the eggs, sugar and golden syrup on high until pale and creamy. You want the mixture to double in size. Set aside.

Whisk together the dry ingredients; hazelnut meal, almond meal, baking powder and spices.

Fold the dry ingredients and apple into the egg to combine. Optional: if using the soaked raisins fold them in now.

Pour into the prepared cake tin. Smooth the top and bake for approximately 45-50minutes, turning the cake half way. A skewer inserted should come out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Serve at room temperature with a dusting of icing sugar.

Will keep, covered for 2-4 days. Apple cakes have a habit of going bad quickly, so if you're somewhere warm and humid, keep the cake in the fridge to prevent spoiling.

 

 

ingredients

3 eggs

175g sugar (I like raw castor)

65g golden syrup (rice malt and honey also work)

100g hazelnut meal

250g almond meal

1/2 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

210g stewed apple (about 2), roughly mashed

optional: 100g raisins soaked for 5minutesin 1/4cup brewed, black chai tea, drained

Sundried Tomato + Zucchini Muffins (NF)

SAVOURY GLUTEN FREE MUFFINS!  They're right up there on my list of gluten free baked goods to conquer and now they're crossed off because these bad boys it! Soft in the middle, with a slight crunch on the outside and are full of wholesome gluten free flours, zucchini, sun-dried tomato, herbs and a little cheese. These guys are awesome and so is a little news that I'm sharing today (scroll down ;))

My nearly one and a half year old (holy cr%p where did that time go?!) also loves these gluten free muffins, which is wonderful as they are such a healthy nutritious snack for a small child (and they're nut free, so perfect for school lunchboxes) and perfect to fit in their little hands at the high chair, or more importantly when you're out and about, they fit into a small container or ziplock bag so that there's still plenty of space in your handbag for a water bottle, wipes, spare nappy, oh and my wallet and phone for me. Yep, that's my life now; #mumlife !

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Don't get me wrong though, these are definitely a grown up veggie muffin. I love them as an on-the-go morning munch with our little cookie. I like to keep half the batch in the freezer so I can quickly defrost them in the oven or microwave for those 'oh, sh*t I have nothing to eat' moments! (I don't do well when I'm hungry, can't you tell?!?) Let's face it, as humans and especially I've found as parents (and I'm pretty damn organised) this happens so having half the batch frozen means I'm never in a bind of having nothing on hand that's nutritious and gluten free.

SO, ABOUT THAT NEWS.... I'm super excited to share that I'm going to have a stall at the next Perth Upmarket held at UWA on June 26th! My awesome little stall will be overflowing with delicious baked goodies and I'll also have Vol 3 and Vol 4 of The Gluten Free Scallywag Magazine (ahem, cookbook!) on sale! I'll be updating my shop soon so that you can pre-order cake or the mag and collect it at the markets. All you'll need then is a coffee to enjoy it with.

If you're like me and are sometimes forgetful you can subscribe to the event on my facebook page and it will remind you on the day that there's some serious deliciousness to be had! I'd love for you to pop on by and say hi and of course walk away with some kick arse gluten free cake. If you live in Perth I can't wait to see you there!


Sundried Tomato + Zucchini Muffins (NF)

/ makes 12 /

I love that these muffins contain no white flours, just whole grain gluten free brown rice and quinoa or buckwheat flour. I change it up with whatever I have on hand and you can definitely use 200g brown rice flour. I've not tried these with any pre-made flours. The batter with be quite solid when mixed, this is not a wet muffin batter at all, much more like a thick white cake batter. You can change up the zucchini to whatever grated veg you like, carrot works well too. I like to line the base of my cupcake tins with a round of baking paper to guarantee the bottoms from sticking, but you could generously oil the tin if you prefer. I don't recommend using paper muffin or cupcake liners as the mixture does tend to stick to them a little and you lose all that glorious soft crunch on the outside of the muffin.

method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius (fan forced). Grease 9 holes of a cupcake tray and line the bases with circles of baking paper to stop them sticking (extra work, but well worth it!)

In a medium bowl or just whisk together the eggs, oil and yoghurt to combine.

In a large bowl whisk together the flours and baking powder, stir in the zucchini (with the juices), cheese, spinach, herbs, half the sundried tomatoes and a pinch of pepper. Stir to coat the fresh ingredients with the flour.

Pour the the egg mixture into the vegetable mixture and stir to combine.

Scoop 1/3cup batter into the prepared cupcake tray. Smooth the tops a little and sprinkle with the remaining half o the sundried tomatoes and a sprinkle of seeds.

Bake for 16-18 minutes. A skewer inserted will come out just clean and the tops should be slightly domed and lightly golden.

Cool in tray for 5minutes before tipping out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

Best enjoyed warm on the day they're made but are also delightful a few days later when warmed through. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5days, or freeze in zip-lock bags for later.

ingredients

3 eggs

1/3 cup (80ml) olive or neutral tasting oil

1/2 (125ml) Greek or natural yoghurt

160g brown rice flour

40g buckwheat or quinoa flour

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

1 medium zucchini, grated (about 3/4-1 cup)

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated cheese

1/2cup finely chopped spinach

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley and basil

1/4 cup semi sundried tomatoes, finely chopped, divided

pinch of pepper

mixed seeds, to top - I used sesame


I've not tried these glorious gluten free vegetable muffins with pre-made or white flours. I'd love to hear back from you if you do. What flavour combo will you try?