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.