Thursday 31 May 2012

Warm My Chills

The cool weather has really set in now and I have to admit that I rather like it. I like scarves and warm coats, heaters and hot drinks and I really like winter food. It's quite lucky that failsafe food lends itself so well to delicious warm meals. Inspiration can be hard to come by in summer, but not winter, far less thought is required to come up with something that hits the spot.

This casserole definitely hit the spot. I have been getting into using the failsafe alcohols for cooking. They can really add a hit of flavour that failsafe cooking often needs. If you don't like to use them, you can leave it out or substitute a bit of stock.

Warm, stodgy, stick to the ribs goodness.

Beef Casserole
  • 1.5 kg diced beef
  • 1/2 large leek, diced
  • small stick celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 swede, diced small
  • 1/2 cup french lentils
  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup amaranth, washed very well
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1-2 tsp salt (or to taste)

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C 
  2. Put everything except the salt into a large casserole dish cover with lid and place in the oven.
  3. After about half an hour (when everything is boiling away) turn down to 120°C and cook for another 1 1/2 hours until the meat is tender.
  4. Add salt to taste and serve with mash and steamed vegetables.

That's it! So easy. You could mess around and seal the meat and saute the vegies first, but it really doesn't need it and any leftovers can be used as a pie filling or just tipped over toast.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Cake. Always.

I find more inspiration in sweets than real meals sometimes. I guess it is easy to make things tastier if there is sugar involved, and who doesn't like cake? Well at the moment my son is not a fan of cake, but he will happily eat this one. I used to make this one BFS (before Failsafe), but used different fruit. In it's original form it had gluten and dairy, but it was one of those fundamentally good recipes that you just know will work without them. Happily, it does not just 'work', it works fantastically!

It is based on a Donna Hay recipe and is brilliant for afternoon tea or you could serve it for dessert with a little custard.

Pear Cake
  • 125g nuttelex
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla (I always use it, but I think it would be really good without it)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self raising gluten free flour, sifted (or plain flour with 3tsp baking powder).
  • Tinned pear halves in syrup, drained and each cut into about 4 wedges  (depending on the size you will probably need 5 halves) You could also use very soft fresh pears.
  • 1 Tbsp icing sugar
Ready to bake. Pear pieces aren't too large.

  1.  Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a 22cm round springform (or loose based) cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Beat nuttelex, sugar and vanilla together until light.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until well combined
  4. Fold in the flour and scoop into the tin. You will need to spread it out a bit, it is quite a stiff mixture. Don't be fooled into thinking the tin is too big at this point, even though it doesn't take up much of the tin now, it will when it's done. I found this out the messy way.
  5. Place the pears on the top however you think looks nice. Don't press them in and try not to have them too big. If they are too heavy they won't stay on the top of the cake. I also found this out the annoying way recently. It doesn't wreck the cake, but it is less pretty with the pears on the inside.
  6. Bake for 1hr or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  7. Remove from the tin and dust with the icing sugar. It can be eaten warm or cold.

 Variations - Gluten - use wheat or spelt flour
                     Dairy- use butter
                     Salicylates - use nectarines, peaches or apricots. Any tolerated fruit should work as long  as it is soft.

This cake gets a really lovely crust on the outside and is quite heavy, but extremely delicious.

Thursday 3 May 2012

Bringing the Tagine Back

Once upon a time I had favourite types of food that I just loved to cook and that the whole family loved to eat. Just before we started the elimination diet, my absolute favourite was Moroccan. The rich sauces, fragrant spices, the sweet and savoury combinations did it for me. It was fun to make, there were so many things that I could do with it. I had, up until now, been far too apprehensive to try a failsafe equivalent, there was no way it could possibly measure up to the past efforts. Tonight I gave it a go and while it was nothing like the dishes that I used to make it was still good in its own way. It was flavoursome, it has the sweetness and the meatiness and it was rich and filling. Plus it gave me the opportunity to use my tagine which has mostly been gathering dust the last few years.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, the tagine is a Moroccan earthenware cooking vessel. It has a shallow dish for the food to sit in and a conical lid. These are traditionally cooked over hot coals, but can be used over a gas flame too. If you don't have one, never fear! A large frying pan with a lid or a lidded saucepan or a flameproof casserole dish would do the job quite well.

Chicken and Pear Tagine with Quinoa
  • 700g (approx) Chicken breast fillets cut into large cubes.
  • 1 medium leek, halved lengthways and sliced thinly.
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed.
  • Large pinch of saffron threads, soaked in 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp oil or ghee**
  • 1/2 swede, grated
  • 400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  •  1-2 tsp salt
  • 3 pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
  • 2 tsp nuttelex
  • 2 Tbsp rice malt syrup
  • 1 cup quinoa, well rinsed (I used a mixture of white, red and black for colour)
  • 2 cups water
  1. Heat oil or ghee in tagine base over medium to high heat. Cook leeks and garlic until soft.
  2. Add chicken and seal all over.
  3. Stir through the swede and mix in the saffron and water.
  4. Turn heat down to very low, cover and simmer for 20 mins
  5. While this is cooking bring water for quinoa to boil in a medium saucepan, add quinoa, cover and turn down to a bare simmer. It will take about 20mins to cook
  6. Heat nuttelex in a frying pan and add pears. Stir and turn often so they don't burn. Cook for about 10mins then drizzle the rice malt syrup over them and cook for another few mins.
  7. While the pears are cooking add the chickpeas to the tagine and add the salt to taste, cook for another 10mins.
  8. Serve up, placing the pears and syrup over the chicken and the quinoa on the side.

My son mumbled "This is really good" through his first mouthful. So I'm taking it to mean this is a winning dinner here.

Variations- Gluten - Serve with couscous instead of quinoa
                    Salicylates- Add ras el hanout just before you add the chicken and sprinkle with chopped coriander for serving. You could also use honey instead of the rice malt.
                   ** The ghee - There has been a bit of talk amongst some failsafe groups lately as to whether ghee is ok for those who can't eat dairy as the lactose and proteins should no longer be in it. Some people say they tolerate it, some don't. Use your own judgement or treat it as a challenge, or if you are unsure just don't use it.

This tagine is not for cooking in, just for serving and display. The cooking ones are far less ornamental. So don't buy one like this if you want to cook in it.