26 November 2008

The Lamington

I’ve been wanting to bake Lamingtons for quite some time now. I discovered Lamingtons during my time in Australia and have instantly fallen in love with them. Unfortunately, I haven’t found any Lamingtons anywhere else so far.

Last weekend the time had come. One of my dearest friends was celebrating her birthday and since we met in Australia I was looking for something Australian: The Lamington.

I have to warn you, though. It takes some time to prepare the Lamingtons. And your kitchen will be a mess afterwards. But I promise you it is worth it. You’ll forget everything after the first bite.


For the batter:
1 cup of rice flour
½ cup of coconut flour
½ cup of tapioca starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup of margarine
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
1/2 cup of milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a 20 cm square baking tray. Mix together the rice flour, coconut flour, tapioca starch, salt and baking powder. In another bowl, beat the shortening until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and vanilla sugar and beat more. Add the eggs one after the other and beat well. While having your mixer on low speed add the flour mixture and milk alternately, in three additions, starting and finishing with the flour. Put the batter on the baking tray and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a small wooden stick comes out clean when sticked into the centre of the batter. Let it cool for about 5 minutes before inverting the cake on a cooling rack. Once it has cooled cut it into cubes of about 5cm. Let the cubes cool thoroughly for at least 2 hours.

For the icing:
2 cups of icing sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
3 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of shredded coconut

For the icing melt the icing sugar, cocoa powder, shortening and milk in a double boiler. Stir until smooth. Now cover all cubes with the icing and roll them in the coconut right afterwards. I found rolling a cube gently in the cocoa icing and then in the coconut is the easiest way. Let the icing dry thoroughly. Makes about 30 Lamingtons. Enjoy.

12 November 2008

Letting go

I’ve been thinking a lot about fruits lately. Especially about apples and apricots. And grapes.

Do you think it is easier to know that you’re doing something for the last time? To be able to experience that moment with all of your senses?
Or do you rather prefer not knowing? Just realising at one point that you won’t do it again.
I really don’t know.

I was not expecting not to be able to eat apples again. Nor apricots. Nor grapes. Well, at least at the moment. After some time I might try to have small amounts of those fruits again. But it is possible that I can’t have them at all.
And I’m wondering what comes next. So I’m enjoying every bite I take. You never know if it’s the last time.

Swede soup

This one is a family recipe. So if you feel lonely, make yourself some swede soup and your loved ones will be right there.

1 swede, peeled and cut into cubes
about the same amount of potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup of bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 cups of vegetable stock (depending on the size of your swede)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Put the olive oil, onion and bacon into a soup pot. Sauté until translucent. Add the swede and cover with vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and add the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes until you can easily slice through the potato and swede cubes. Mash thoroughly. Top with melted butter before serving. Serves two (depending on the size of your swede). Enjoy.

05 November 2008

Spinach-feta-beef-tomato lasagne

Since I went gluten-free I’ve been exploring.

I’ve tasted food I’ve never even heard of before. I’ve been cooking food I’ve never cooked before.

Such as spinach. Of course I’ve eaten spinach before. I’ve even cooked spinach - frozen packaged creamed spinach that is. But I’ve never bought fresh spinach and prepared it.
I think it is totally amazing how spinach collapses when you cook it. And it is so simple to prepare.

Last weekend we had lasagne. We couldn’t decide on the ingredients though. I was in favour of spinach and feta; my boyfriend preferred minced meat and tomato sauce.
So we just combined them. It was delicious.

Spinach-feta-beef-tomato lasagne

For the pasta dough follow GlutenFree Sox Fan's recipe. This time I didn’t substitute any flour (as for the tortellini) and it turned out great!
Either use your pasta machine or just roll the dough really thin and cut it to the size of lasagne sheets.

For the sauce:
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup milk
salt, nutmeg to taste

Slowly melt the butter in a sauce pan. Add the corn starch and stir well. Add the stock and milk. Stir more. Season with salt and nutmeg. Let the sauce boil once and let it cool down a little.

For the lower layers:
250g minced beef
3 tablespoons tomato puree
salt, pepper to taste
1 teaspoon freshly minced thyme
1 teaspoon freshly minced basil
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the shallot and garlic until translucent. Add the minced meat and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomato puree and herbs when the meat is thoroughly fried. Set aside.

For the upper layers:
150g fresh spinach, rinsed and dried
salt and pepper to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
200g feta
1 tablespoon olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a small pan and sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add the spinach and let it fall. Stir occasionally. When the spinach has collapsed, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put one or two lasagne sheets in a casserole (depending on the size of your casserole). Add some of the meat-tomato mixture and top it with a bit of the sauce. Place another layer of lasagne sheets on top. Add the rest of the meat-tomato mixture and top it with some more sauce. Put another layer of lasagne sheet(s) on top. Now add a bit of spinach and crumble some feta onto the spinach. Add some more sauce and put another lasagne sheet on top. Thereon put the rest of the spinach, crumble some more feta onto the spinach and add some of the sauce. Put the last layer of lasagne sheet(s) on top. Finish with the rest of the sauce and the rest of the crumbled feta. Add some more shredded cheese if you like. Put the lasagne into the oven and let it bake for 30 minutes. Serves 2. Enjoy.

26 October 2008

From now on sorbitol-free

It is really amazing how much better I feel after cutting gluten out of my diet. I’m still monitoring my iron levels but the results of my last blood test were really good. After all these years I finally have good iron levels!

However, after some time being gluten-free I got stomach aches again. It feels different though. Not the pain I have after being glutenised. So I’m back on the road looking for food I can’t have.

I was told that this might happen. It seems that the body is focussing on gluten which covers other intolerances or allergies you might have. But once you are on a gluten-free diet the body suddenly notices that there are much more foods it can’t cope with.

I tested negative for lactose intolerance. However, I tested positive for sorbitol intolerance this week.

I’ve been reading quite a lot about sorbitol on the internet. I have been browsing food lists about sorbitol content of fruits. But I’m still a bit confused about what I can and can’t have. So I would be more than happy if anybody has some recommendations for me!

The fructose test is yet to come. Keep your fingers crossed it is negative!

Last weekend we had Flammkuchen. It is actually quite easy to prepare and you can vary it any way you like. The traditional one is with onions and bacon but it is also great with veggies. You can also serve it with apples for dessert. Unfortunately, I can’t anymore. Apples contain sorbitol.

For the crust:
(You can basically use any pizza crust recipe you like.)

2 cups of Schär Mix B
1 package of dried yeast
4 tablespoons of olive oil
½ a teaspoon salt
¾ cup lukewarm water
Combine the flour and the yeast and add some salt. Slowly add the water and olive oil using your food processor. Knead well. If the dough is too sticky, add some more flour. If it’s to dry, add some more water. Let the dough sit for about 1-2 hours in a warm place. (I usually heat my oven to 50°C, switch it off and let the dough rest in the warm oven. Works great!)

For the traditional topping:

1 cup onions, minced
1 cup bacon, cut into small cubes
½ cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 250°C or as hot as possible. If you have special baking trays for pizza you can use them for Flammkuchen as well. Otherwise use your regular baking tray.
Grease your baking tray with a little bit of olive oil. Roll the dough really thin as you would do for pizza. Smear the sour cream on top of the dough (as you would do with tomato sauce for pizza). Scatter the onions and bacon on the Flammkuchen and season with salt and pepper. Put the Flammkuchen into the oven and bake it for about 25 minutes. Serves 4.

For a sweet version cut 2 apples in half. Remove the core and finely slice the apples. Smear the sour cream on the Flammkuchen as you would do in the traditional recipe. Put the apple slices onto the Flammkuchen and season with sugar and cinnamon. Let it bake for 25 minutes.

If you like you can flambé the sweet Flammkuchen before serving. Sprinkle some Calvados over the Flammkuchen and light it up. Enjoy.

Good bye apples.

19 October 2008

Vacaciones sin gluten

For me going gluten-free is learning to plan ahead.

I have never enjoyed planning too much. Well, now I have to. No matter where I go I always have to think about food. Will there be gluten-free food for me? Can I rely on the people serving the food? Do I have to take food with me? How much food do I have to take so I won’t starve?
Especially on holidays. I have never really managed to travel with light luggage. But now with all the food I have to take with me? It’s even worse.

Early in October I went to Gran Canaria for a week. I had called the airline to request a special gluten-free meal. I took enough food with me to survive one week in a foreign place.

We had a small apartment so we were able to have breakfast at our place. Although we also had the chance to have dinner at home, we went out for dinner every evening. And guess what? I didn’t get stomach ache or any other signs of being glutenised once!

Fortunately, I have been to Gran Canaria quite a few times and know my way around. Even though this was my first gluten-free stay there, I knew what kinds of food to expect when dining out.

My parents were spending their holidays on Gran Canaria as well. They arrived one week before we did so they already checked with their favourite restaurant Chez Luigi if I was able to eat there. Fortunately, the head waiter was well informed and told me which food I can eat safely. It was even possible to adjust some of the sauces to my needs. So if you ever happen to be around, ask for Manolo.

I don’t know how you feel but when I’m going to another country I am always excited about new gluten-free products. And no matter if I need them or not I have to try all of themeverything. So one day we went to the capital Las Palmas. El Corte Inglés is the biggest store around and I heard that they offer a variety of gluten-free products. It took quite some time to find the special dietary needs section but oh my god, they had plenty of gluten-free things! They even had a frozen food section and if I had been able to take them with me I would have spent quite some money in that store!

We didn’t do anything really but relax. But what do you need on a holiday besides your loved ones, sunshine, the beach, the sea, a couple of good books and, needless to say, awesome food?

Ristorante Chez Luigi
C.C. Sandía
Playa del Inglés

El Corte Inglés
Avenida José Mesa Y López 18
35007 Las Palmas De Gran Canaria

Parafarmacia Oasis Beach
C.C. Oasis Beach Local N102
35506 Maspalomas

30 September 2008


I was longing for tortellini for quite some time and I know that DS produces frozen gluten-free tortellini. Every time I went to a supermarket where they offer products from DS I rushed to the frozen food section. And every time the same disappointment: no tortellini! They had fish fingers and ravioli but just no tortellini. I hope nobody noticed me shouting madly at the freezer...

Well, what to do about it? I was longing for tortellini and apparently I wasn’t supposed to get them at the supermarket. I had to make some by myself.

So far I’ve only made my own pasta dough once and I wasn’t really happy about the dough. When I tried to roll the dough really thin, it just broke apart. Luckily, Carrie from Ginger Lemon Girl put my attention to Gluten Free Sox’s recipe for pasta dough (Thanks for the tip!). I used brown millet flour instead of the cornstarch but I think I’ll try something else next time. The taste of the brown millet was just too distinctive. But it was still really good! And oh my god the filling! The filling was so good that we really had to restrict ourselves not to eat it completely plain. (We used the leftovers as pizza topping the next day and added some feta cheese. I simply love cheese if you haven’t figured it out by yourself yet. My boyfriend is always kidding I have pasta and sauce with my parmesan cheese.)

I planned to have a simple tomato sauce with the tortellini. When I read the recipe for 15-Minute Tomato Sauce from chez pim I just had to try it. I was always too intimidated to try my own tomato sauce from scratch. But this recipe sounded really good. So I bought some tomatoes and actually did my first tomato sauce from actual tomatoes! My boyfriend thought that it tasted too much like tomatoes (he doesn’t like tomatoes) so I reckon the sauce was fine. If you haven’t tried your own tomato sauce from scratch you should really try Pim's recipe!

So I managed the pasta dough, the filling and the sauce. The only problem left was how to form tortellini! It took me a while to figure it out and we probably had little pasta parcels rather than tortellini. But who cares? I finally had my tortellini.

Ricotta-spinach tortellini with self-made tomato sauce

For the pasta dough follow gluten free sox’s recipe. I put the pasta dough in the fridge and let it rest while I prepared the tomato sauce.

For the filling:
1 cup ricotta cheese
200g spinach
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese

Combine ricotta and parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and garlic in a frying pan and add the spinach. Season with nutmeg. Sauté until the spinach has fallen. Remove the spinach from the pan and chop it roughly. Add to the ricotta mixture and mix well.

Roll the pasta dough really thin or use a pasta machine if you have one at hand. Cut the dough into quarters (about 5cm²) and put one teaspoon of filling in the middle of each quarter. Wet the rest of the dough with water or egg yolk to make it sticky. Carefully cover the filling with one corner of the dough and roll it over. Stick the remaining ends together.
Bring water in a cooking pot to boil and add some salt. Gently add the tortellini and cook until the tortellini swim on the surface. Serves two (if you are really hungry). Enjoy.

21 September 2008


I have been longing for döner kebab for quite some time now.
You can get döner kebab almost everywhere here in Germany. It has become quite popular fast food and the smell is haunting me every time I pass a place where they sell it.

Usually it is served with pita bread but a döner kebab still isn’t gluten-free without the bread. A döner kebab consists of different layers of meat and can contain minced meat. The minced meat, have a guess, may contain bread crumbs. And if it doesn’t there are still the spices to consider. With all those sources of possible contaminations I just don’t dare to buy a döner kebab anymore. But if you know a place that sells gluten-free döner kebab somewhere, please let me know!!!

Well, I didn't want to give up. I told myself if I want to have a döner kebab, I’ll have to make one on my own. And so I did. I’ve been browsing the internet for spices used for döner keband found pul biber. As far as I understood it is some sort of spicy paprika. Although it took me some time to find it, I finally discovered some in the international food section in one of the supermarkets around here. So I bought some chicken breasts and started to cook.

I was certainly aware that the döner kebab I was making at home in a frying pan will taste different. But still I had high expectations on that döner kebab. You know how it is if you are longing for something really bad and you finally can have it?
Unfortunately, I seasoned the chicken with quite a lot of pul biber. When I tasted the meat the first time it was already too late. It was simply too hot.
Well, I was waiting for that döner kebab for quite some time so we had it anyway. Fortunately, I made enough yoghurt dip to put on the meat to neutralise the taste a little bit. But I can tell you, we were sweating while we were eating!

So I will work on that recipe. Please be careful with the amount of pul biber you use (unless you really like hot food)! I let you know when I found a better combination of spices. And I am more than happy if you have any suggestions!

Döner kebab

For the pita bread:
2/3 cup wholemeal rice flour
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup amaranth
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 packet dry yeast
a pinch of salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup lukewarm water

Combine the dry ingredients. Gently add the water and olive oil and mix everything well. Form small balls with your hands. If you wet your hands with some water the dough won't stick to your hands. Flat the balls to the size of your hands. Put them on a baking try and let them sit and rise for half an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake the pita bread for 20 minutes.

For the yoghurt dip:
1 cup yoghurt
1 tablespoon chives
salt, (cayenne) pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until the meat is done.

For the döner kebab:
2 chicken breasts, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
pul biber (don’t use too much)
1 tablespoon olive oil

While the pita bread is cooling down, gently heat the olive oil and garlic in a fry pan. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add pul biber. Turn the meat from time to time. Fry the chicken for 10-15 minutes.

Carefully cut the pita bread in halves. Don't devide the bread completely so you get a pocket where you can put some chicken breast. Top the meat with some of the yoghurt dip. Serve with chips if you like. Makes 4 döner kebab. Enjoy.

12 September 2008

It must be autumn

Today I found the first horse-chestnut of the year. The leaves are starting to fall. I reckon it’s autumn. Yesterday was a perfect day with a clear blue sky but today the sky was grey all day long. Nevertheless I realised I like this time of year. You can still feel summer around and yet get a glimpse of the colder and darker season to come.

And there is a whole bunch of vegetables around which I am more than excited about. I always like to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings and check what’s offered. I was more than happy when pumpkins started to appear everywhere a while ago since I was eager to make pumpkin soup. I have enjoyed pumpkin soup quite often, especially while I was in Australia, but I’ve never tried to make it myself so far.

So I bought my first pumpkin and made myself a pumpkin soup.

1 butternut squash, cut into cubes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
vegetable stock
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon sour cream

Put the onion with the olive oil and butter in a cooking pot. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent. Add the pumpkin and sauté further until you can cut easily into the pumpkin with a knife. Pour the vegetable stock into the pot until all the pumpkin is covered with fluid. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, cumin and coriander. Turn down the heat and puree everything with a mixer. Add the sour cream and the parley.Serves 2 (depending on the size of your butternut squash). Enjoy.

05 September 2008

A diagnosis, finally

I was suffering from iron deficiency anaemia as long as I can remember. The iron pills I was taking didn’t really help. Of course, nobody believed me. I tried “Floradix Kräuterblut” which is really disgusting. But it helped! So I took it. I was feeling better.
My belly was blown up like a balloon quite often. People were kidding that I looked like being six months pregnant. I was told that this is common for young women with my statue.
When I was in my first year at uni, it got really bad. I was tired all the time. I wasn’t able to climb up the stairs. I was out of breath before I managed to the first level. My iron and haemoglobin levels were so bad that I had to be admitted to the hospital. It turned out that I was having a peptic ulcer thanks to Helicobacter pylori. I was sleeping all the time and was almost too weak to walk. That was the time when I started to have iron infusions. They helped really well but it meant to go and see the doctor every second or third day for around two weeks. As soon as we finished the infusions, my iron levels decreased again. I was told that a lot of women are suffering from low iron levels.
Then I went abroad for a year. I wasn’t taking any kind of iron at that time and felt ok. However, during that time I got something new: aphthous ulcer. It started with one or two but at one point my whole mouth was covered. At least it felt like that. Do you know that feeling? That pain? When it is almost too painful to drink, eat or even talk? I was told that I have simply too much stress.
After I got back to Germany, I moved to Heidelberg where it got really bad. 2007 wasn’t a healthy year for me. It started with the flu. As soon as somebody was sick around me, I caught it. Thanks.
In autumn I got diarrhoea. It took a month to find out that I was suffering from a yeast infection in my intestines. I lost 5 kg in four weeks. In addition to the drugs that I got for treatment I had to cut out a few things from my diet, most importantly wheat and sugar. Looking back it was probably a good training. Although I was allowed to eat rye and all other grains besides wheat I was reading labels and discovering where wheat and sugar are hiding.
After I recovered from the yeast infection, I broke my collarbone. I was hardly able to move my right arm for two weeks, then it got a bit better.
After the next series of iron infusions my iron levels dropped far too fast. I went to a haematologist where they took further blood tests. I wasn’t only lacking iron but folic acid and vitamin B12. More pills to take. In addition, I was told to have a gastroscopy.
I had the gastroscopy in early February this year on what we call “Rosenmontag”. Although I have never really been into carnival it is still not a nice day to be told to change your life. Right after the gastroscopy the doctor told me that I was most probably having celiac disease. However, I had to wait for the histological results. I was browsing the internet that night and was surprised. Most of the described symptoms fit me almost perfectly! When the doctor called the next day I already knew: I have celiac disease.
Still I had to get my antibodies checked. Until then I had to continue a diet containing gluten which gave me time to say good-bye to the food I was used to. It was hard to know that you have that pasta or that beer for the last time. When my antibodies were positive for celiac disease I was prepared. I was ready.
Three days after I cut gluten out of my diet I was feeling better. I’ve been feeling better ever since. I discovered that the way I used to feel wasn’t ok. Now I have energy. I am happy. For the first time in my life my iron levels aren’t dropping. No more aphthous ulcer. And I don’t have stomach ache any more.
Since my diagnosis I have been exploring. I have discovered a whole new world. I’ve started to bake my own bread. I’ve started to cook properly. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes I just miss some kind of food. What I miss most at the moment are tortellini and kebab. You can be sure to find those recipes soon on my blog.

29 August 2008

A story to tell

Hi, I'm Anna and I have celiac disease.

I was diagnosed half a year ago. I wasn't prepared at all.
I mourned for a couple of days. Then I realised. I have a diagnosis. I finally know what's making me sick. All I have to do is stick to a gluten-free diet. And I started to learn.

You know, I have never been a good cook. I cooked just because I was hungry. When I realised that I have to start cooking to be well fed, I just did. And I realised that I simply love it. I am learning to make everything from scratch. There have been a few disasters. And there certainly will be more cooking disasters to come. But I'm learning.

I'm not sad anymore. Well, sometimes I am. When I pass a pizzeria and the smell hits me. I allow myself to be sad for a little while. And then I go home and make myself a fine pizza.

So I'd like to take you on a journey. My journey. How I started to live well, gluten-free. How I am learning to live well, gluten-free. I hope you'd like to come with me.