Thursday 30 August 2012

Sweet, Sweet

These are something that I make a lot. It seems that most recipes call for egg yolks and the only recipe that wants the white bits is meringue. I asked my mum if she had any other ideas what I could do with them, she suggested an egg white omlette and the thought of that makes me want to puke. Taking all the nice flavour and texture the yolk adds and leaving you with something resembling rubber. No thanks. So I keep on making meringue. And since I regularly make mayonnaise, I regularly have egg whites, so I regularly make meringues too.

This is a simple recipe, two ingredients, that is it. It bothers me that the commercial ones can contain so many ingredients.

  • 4 egg whites, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups of caster sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 110°C
  2. Place egg whites into a very clean, dry bowl of a mixer (Stand mixer is easiest, hand held electric is alright anything less is doable, but tiring).
  3. Beat/whisk the egg whites until they are stiff.
  4. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is all incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy and the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Pipe or spoon the mixture onto lined oven trays leaving a few centimetres between them.
  6. Bake for approximately 35 mins. Leave them longer so they are crisp through or take them out sooner for a gooier centre. It depends on how big they are too. Half the fun is testing them during cooking to see if they are done yet.

Variations: Make them large and flat to use for a pavlova.
                   Add 1-2 teaspoons of sifted carob just before piping for variety.
                   Add a small quantity of vanilla seeds before piping for flavour.
                   Sprinkle uncooked meringues with natural sprinkles for a special occasion.
Dairy/soy - After they are cooked and cooled dip the tips in melted white chocolate or carob.

These make great afternoon tea treats or are lovely for a party.

The Spice of Life

Sometimes I just want to cook meals that I used to cook. Although there is nothing to stop me from cooking things just for the adults or getting a take away (and at times we do do either) I like to try to make things a bit different for the kids. My re-imaginings of some of these dishes are probably a mere shadow of their original form, but they add a bit of variety and variety is the spice of life and since we can't have real spice we may as well have a bit of variety.

I was looking at the bean shoots at the grocers the other day. These instantly bring two meals to mind - phô and pad thai. I've had a few attempts at the phô and haven't quite got it good enough to publish, but the pad thai I made the other night did the job for me.

Pad Thai
  • 4 Tbsp failsafe oil
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 chicken breast fillets, cut into small cubes
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Gin
  • 2 Tbsp Golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp pear Ketchup
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 200g wide rice noodles, prepared to packet instructions
  • 3 cups (about) Mung bean sprouts
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced (include some of the green too)
  • 2 Tbsp raw cashews, roughly chopped (you could lightly toast them if you tolerate it)
  • Citric 'lemon' juice to taste 
  1. Heat oil in a large wok and fry the garlic until golden
  2. Add the chicken and stir fry until partially cooked.
  3. Combine the sugar, syrup, gin, ketchup and salt and add to wok.
  4. Add the beaten eggs, let them set slightly, then stir to scramble.
  5. Add the noodles and toss and stir them for about 2 mins.
  6. Reserve about 1 cup of the sprouts and add the rest to the wok. Stir until the sprouts are barely cooked.
  7. Serve into bowls and garnish with the remaining sprouts, shallots and cashews. Lightly sprinkle with the citric lemon to taste.

Salicylates - Also garnish with chopped coriander and dried chilli.
Soy - Use cubed firm tofu instead of chicken.

The boy declared this dinner "Awesome!"

Thursday 23 August 2012

Breakfast Biscuits

Breakfast can be tricky when you are gluten free and dairy free, especially if you don't really like milk substitutes and have trouble reconciling the "white brick" with being bread.

I saw a new product in the supermarket the other day - Breakfast Biscuits. Really? Biscuits for breakfast? I knew they would never be an option here, but checked the ingredients out of curiosity. Except for the sugar content they looked reasonably healthy. Surely I could make something like this that my son could eat. I made a batch and he was really happy to eat them. I thought them to be less than stellar. Batch two was tweaked a bit and now I'd be happy to eat them too. The boy likes them as they are easy to get himself and since he has recently come around to drinking rice milk he likes to have a glass for dunking them in.

Healthy Breakfast Biscuits
  • 125g Nuttelex
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/4 cup puffed amaranth
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flakes
  • 2 Tbsp quinoa flakes
  • 1 Tbsp psyllium husks
  • Small handful of freeze dried pears, broken up (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C
  2. Beat nuttelex and maple syrup together in a large bowl until well combined.
  3. Beat in the flours and psyllium.
  4. Stir in the remaining ingredients
  5. Take about a tablespoon and roughly shape into a short log. Place on a lined baking tray and flatten with fingers.
  6. Repeat for the remaining mixture (mine made about 24)
  7. Bake for 10-12 mins. They are ready when you can see them starting to brown on the bottom edge.
  8. Cool on the trays for 5 minutes before moving to wire racks.

  • These would work well with any tolerated flour. It does affect the taste.
  • Rice malt syrup would also work instead of maple syrup.
  • I'm also sure that other things could be substituted for the buckwheat, amaranth and quinoa. Just keep the quantities similar. You'll know when you try to shape them if they are too dry and need more syrup or are too sticky and need a little more dry stuff.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Sunday, Sunday

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. I'm not talking about rice bubbles, but something filling. Not something shoveled in as you are rushing out the door, but something a bit later, something that takes a little longer to make and is far more satisfying.

I like eggs and am incredibly grateful that we can eat them and all my favourite breakfasts have them and every now and then I can convince the less civilised people in the house to wait a little and have a decent breakfast. On Sunday that breakfast was Eggs Benedict. Well, almost. Since ham is on the "no go" list our eggs were a little on the naked side, but equally delicious. This is something you could make for guests. I've found since having children, that brunch is a really great time to get together with people. The kids are mostly happy and not tired, you have enough time to get it together in the morning and the kids haven't had a chance to trash any pre-visitor cleaning you've done. There is also the fact that failsafe breakfast food is not so different to non-failsafe breakfast food.

Eggs Benedict (naked)
  • eggs - allow two per adult
  • toast - whatever bread you tolerate
  • Hollandaise Sauce
Hollandaise Sauce  
Serves 6
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp citric lemon
  • 180g nuttelex in smallish globs at room temperature
  1. Part fill a medium saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat to barely a simmer and fit a bowl on the top so that the water doesn't touch the base of it.
  2. Put egg yolks and citric lemon into the bowl and whisk (by hand or with electric beaters) until it is thick and pale.
  3. Add the nuttelex a little at a time whisking continuously. Only add more when the previous piece is fully incorporated
  4. When all the nuttelex is incorporated and the sauce is thick remove the bowl from the pan and set aside.
Poached Eggs
I found some brilliant instructions for perfect poached eggs on another blog, and since they were so beautifully done with fabulous photos I will just give you the link. Not Quite Nigella's Poached Eggs 101

To serve, place an egg on each slice of toast and top with sauce. Garnish with a little parsley.

Yes, I know. The day I plan to take photos my sauce flops. Still tastes fab, but lacks body. I added the nuttelex too quickly.
You could also serve with slices of deli chicken.

Dairy - Use unsalted butter in the sauce.
Amines - Use salt cured ham or smoked salmon.

If you are serving this up for guests that don't have restrictions use slices of toasted baguette and ham or salmon for under the eggs. They probably wont notice the sauce isn't the real thing. I don't really like the taste of nuttelex and was worried it would taste terrible, but I happily devoured this sauce.

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Nanna's Cake

My mum is really great about cooking for us when we go there and always making sure she has snacks or something for the kids. This is a cake she has made on several occasions. It is nice for afternoon tea and lovely for dessert. Last night she made a rice milk custard to pour over it too. Everyone likes it except for my daughter who is quite the fuss pot.

She adapted it from some recipe she had cut out of a magazine ages ago. The original recipe was for a Pineapple Streusel Cake, but it now contains pears.

One thing I like to try to do with this blog is have recipes that are good for Failsafe beginners or for people wanting to cook something for failsafe guests. So I try to have some things that don't require a large quantity of strange ingredients and things that will only be used once and the go bad in the pantry. This cake fits that bill very well.

Photos were taken on my phone, so please excuse the quality

Pear Streusel Cake
  • 2/3 cup gluten free flour blend (like Orgran)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder (or use self raising flour)
  • 100g nuttelex
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 5 tinned pear halves, chopped small and lightly crushed with a fork.
Struesel Topping
  • 30g nuttelex
  • 1/3 cup gluten free flour
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  1.  Preheat oven to 170˚C
  2.  Lightly grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper
  3. Beat flour, baking powder, nuttelex, sugar and eggs in a bowl with electric mixer until well combined.
  4. Stir in pears
  5. Spoon into tin
  6. Make the streusel topping by rubbing the nuttelex into the flour until it resembles bread crumbs, then mix in the sugar.
  7. Sprinkle the topping over the cake.
  8. Bake for about 50 mins or until cooked when tested with a skewer.
Serve warm with custard or cold on it's own.

Leftovers also make a nice lunch box treat

Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!

These are the words with which Albus Dumbledore kicks off the welcome feast in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The boy loves Harry Potter a lot. He started reading the books late last year and has just started the last one in the series. His food was even further limited recently due to some medication he needed to take and it really upset him. When you have a narrow diet to begin with, taking away all his favourite things was very traumatic, even if it was only for a few weeks. So he was talking about when he could eat properly again and how he wanted some Harry Potter food. Our little talk about a couple of meals got completely out of hand and ended up with us inviting some friends over for a Hogwarts Feast. To be honest it was like a party and you could use these ideas to create your own failsafe Harry Potter party. I threw this together in six days, so with a little bit more time something far grander could be created.

The living room was decorated along the lines of the Hogwarts Great Hall. The boy made candles by cutting a sheet of white cardboard into long rectangles and sticky taping a piece of cellophane to the top. I strung fishing line around the room and stuck the candles to it. The rest of the decorations were wizard portraits (found via google) printed and stuck to the walls, and Hogwarts and House crests printed and hung on odd bits of black fabric I had. We had a trestle table for the kids table and the teachers (grown ups) got to sit at our normal kitchen table.

A Hogwarts style feast is incredibly easy to do failsafe. It is all English style food; the first feast in the first book describes roast beef, roast chicken, pork chops and lamb chops, sausages, bacon and steak, boiled potatoes, roast potatoes and chips, Yorkshire pudding, peas, carrots, gravy and ketchup. Obviously not all of that is failsafe, but a large part of it is. My son got to choose what he wanted and that was lamb chops, sausages, baked potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, brussel sprouts, cabbage, beans and bread. The visiting kids mostly ate sausage sandwiches and Yorkshire pudding, but he helped himself to extra vegies. All of this was washed down with bottles of "butter beer".

Serving themselves from big platters was fun.
The grown ups got bonus pumpkin and mulled wine
Dessert was going to involve more choices and be more feast-like, but I ran out of time, so there was just ice cream sundaes from "Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour". I used Kersten's rice milk ice cream recipe as the general base for five different flavours. We had vanilla, carob fudge, caramel, pear and vanilla and banana (moderate amines), with mini marshmallows and natural sprinkles on top. There were plans to make some sort of caramel sauce to go on top, but again, time dictated otherwise.

No visit to Hogwarts would be complete without a trip to "Honeydukes" sweet shop. This is where failsafe went slightly out the window. We had "Bertie Bott's Every Flavoured Beans" (natural jelly beans), Sherbet Lemons (also natural ones from the supermarket), Sugar Quills (homemade), Acid Pops and drops and Pear pops and drops (homemade), Werewolf Fangs (milk bottles), Vanilla and Carob Fudge (Carob made to Kersten's recipe, vanilla was experimental I'll make it another time before I post a recipe for it) and Cauldron cakes (homemade carob muffins with natural green tinged icing, a natural snake and a pipe cleaner handle).

The big Honeydukes logo came from here

Dumbledore has a dish of these on his desk
Another Dumbledore favourite
The labels for the bags were printed from here
Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans-A risk with every mouthful
Cauldron Cakes
Snakes are optional extras

My son absolutely loves the Butter Beer. It is sweet and buttery, has an amazing head and looks like a cross between beer and coke.

Butter Beer
  • 60g nuttelex
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 80ml rice milk
  • dash vanilla essence
  1. Place nuttelex and sugar into a saucepan and cook over a low heat until melted and combined.
  2. Add rice milk and increase temperature. Boil for about a minute.
  3. Store in the fridge until you need it.
  4. Before serving heat gently in the microwave as the nuttelex sets.
  5. Dilute to taste with soda water. This made five serves for the kids - about half a beer bottle each.

We served it in clean, empty beer bottles that had new labels put on them. There are loads of different labels to choose from when you google it. I printed them and used double sided tape to stick them to the bottle.

 Sugar Quills

The sugar quills were made with my standard lollipop recipe  with vanilla flavour. I added a white food colouring to them, but this is not really necessary. The major difference is in the method. These need to be pulled. You will need to have the oven on at about 80˚C to keep the pieces you aren't working with soft.

  1. Once your candy is cool enough to pick up (with protective gloves) stretch and fold it over repeatedly until it is opaque and glossy.
  2. Using scissors cut a portion of soft candy (I made five large quills to a batch of candy), put the rest in the oven. 
  3. Cut another small piece from what you have and gently shape it into a longish stick. Lay it down.
  4. Shape your other piece into a flat oval and lay it lengthways onto the other piece. This will be you feather.
  5. Using scissors snip the edge of the feather in towards the spine on an angle to make it feathery.
  6. All of this needs to be done very quickly before the candy hardens.
  7. Cut a portion from what is in the oven and repeat until all candy is used.
  8. Wrap in cellophane.

There are so many ideas online for Harry Potter parties and you are really only limited by how much time and effort you want to put in.

Friday 3 August 2012


Some of the basics that I use are straight from the Failsafe Cook Book or Friendly Foods and I thought it would be handy to add them to the blog so that they can be linked in and you don't have to get your books out or just in case you don't have these books.

I think the one I use the most is the lemon juice substitute.  We have been using it a bit less lately as the boy seems to be reacting to it.

Citric 'Lemon' Juice
  • 80mls (4 Tbsp) hot water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp citric acid
  1. Add sugar and citric acid to hot water
  2. Stir until dissolved
  3. Store in sealed container in the fridge.

I make a triple batch and store in an old lemon juice bottle in the fridge.


Mayonnaise is one of those things that can cause a lot of heart ache. People avoid making it as they think it is too hard or tricky and there are a few tricks to it, but once you know them you shouldn't have a problem. The only time I ever seem to stuff it up is when I'm trying to cut corners by using a different appliance.

Making mayo takes a little bit of time and some sort of electric mixer can save your arms. So electric hand mixer is great, a stand mixer is better, but does make larger quantities. I've tried using a stick blender and that is usually behind all my failed attempts. I'm pretty sure I've also made it in a food processor successfully.

A good homemade mayonnaise can transform raw cabbage into a desirable salad, add a European pizzazz to your french fries or glorify a chicken sandwich.

The kids' favourite Friday dinner - chicken nuggets and chips with pear ketchup and homemade mayonnaise

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed (according to taste)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp citric 'lemon' juice
  • 2 cups failsafe oil (I prefer canola, but any would work)
  • Salt 
  1. Place egg yolks, garlic and citric juice into the bowl of your mixer (with whisk attachment) and whisk until pale.
  2. Very slowly start adding the oil while still whisking. Start by adding a little dribble at a time. As that gets incorporated add a little more. It is important to not add too much at once as the mayo will "split" which means the oil will separate from the egg, very unappealing.
  3. As the oil starts to emulsify with the egg you can add the oil a little quicker.
  4. Once the emulsification really gets going the mayonnaise will get very thick and pale.
  5. When all the oil is added taste and add preferred amount of salt.
  6. Blob it onto anything you can.

This can be done by hand with a whisk. If you chose to do it that way then you are a far better person than I. You would have better luck making a smaller quantity doing it by hand or with smaller electric beaters

Actually, I think I quite like Friday dinners too