Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Gluten Free Hot Cross Buns

Easter is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate with some freshly baked gluten free hot cross buns?!

The smell of hot cross buns are so distinct…Cinnamon and spices often waft through the office mid-morning as people are toasting their hot cross buns for morning tea. Although the traditional buns are not my favourite (sultanas and I are not friends, and have never been), but give me a chocolate chip bun and I will melt – literally like the gooey chocolate in a warm hot cross bun!

I remember being diagnosed with Coeliac just before Easter of 2009. As it was my first holiday having to go without something I was used to I decided I was going to bake my own gluten free hot cross buns – how hard could it be right?! At this stage I had never attempted to bake anything gluten free – why I chose something as hard as hot cross buns still baffles me. Lets just say I attempted to knead the dough and instead ended up with all the dough sticking to my hands… I looked like a gluten free dough monster! The dough ended up in the bin and I was absolutely devastated that living life gluten free was going to be harder than I thought.

But now that I have experienced living gluten free in all its glory, I am happy to say that I am now able to share with you a joyous experience of absolutely yummy homemade gluten free hot cross buns!

I received a lovely care package from Well & Good a while ago and while planning and researching my recipe for gluten free hot cross buns I came across a recipe using Well & Good Crunchy Bread Mix. With a few tweaks I created the yummy gluten free recipe below, just in time for Easter!

These buns are best eaten on the day, but can be heated in the microwave the next day or two to taste just as fresh. If they aren’t going to be eaten straight away, please freeze them to maintain their freshness. Perfect toasted, with a spread of butter if feeling extra naughty! Enjoy with a cuppa tea xxx 

The following was adapted from a Well & Good recipe. 

{Gluten Free Recipe} Hot Cross Buns

1 packet Well & Good Crusty Bread Mix
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 sachet yeast (supplied in pack)
1/4 tsp mixed spice
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp butter, melted
1 3/4 cups warm water
1 cup gluten free chocolate chips*
Extra flour for dusting (supplied in pack) 

*This is an estimation – you may add less if you prefer – or even substitute with sultanas.

For the Cross 
1/2 cup Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup water

For the Glaze
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp castor sugar

1. Combine sugar, yeast, melted butter and water in a large bowl and mix well. 

2. Add spices and crunchy bread mix and stir with a spatula until well combined and flour pockets are removed. 

3. Add the choc chips, mixing through the dough until evenly distributed.

4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and a tea towel and let rest for 15-20 minutes.

5. Dust the bench top with the extra flour provided, and pull the dough out of the bowl, kneading for a few minutes until smooth. 

6. Grease a baking tray with oil. Divide dough into approximately 12 pieces and roll into balls, using the extra flour on the mixture and your hands to avoid sticking. Place prepared dough balls onto baking tray.

7. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cover dough with a tea towel again and let rest for a further 45 minutes.

8. For the cross mix the gluten free self-raising flour with the water, slowly adding a bit of water at a time until the mixture comes together forming a paste.

9. Once the buns have risen, brush with a little olive oil. Place the flour mixture into a piping bag (alternatively use a plastic bag and make a small hole in the corner) and pipe a cross over the top of the bun.

10.Bake for approximately 18 mins or until buns are cooked through (ovens will vary so keep an eye on your buns making sure they don’t burn!)

11. After the buns are out of the oven prepare the glaze. Place sugar and water in a small saucepan, and over low heat stir until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Brush the warm hot cross buns with the hot glaze.

12. Serve warm, with butter if desired.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

My Byron Bay Birthday Weekend

My yummy gluten free birthday cake when I got back to work!

Byron Bay has been on my list of places to visit for a while now, but for some reason I had never managed to get there until recently. Mr L had decided he wanted to whisk me away for my birthday, and so we both decided that Byron would be an ideal location for a weekend escape.

Famous for its diverse range of creative and alternative cultures, Byron is known to most as a ‘hippy’ town. And I was not surprised at all. I loved the free-spirited vibe and how happy and peaceful everybody was. Day and night the streets were filled with buskers – musicians, hula hooplas – there was even a pet rabbit on display! There were tarot readers on the streets and plenty of alternative health and medicine places on every corner. Yoga and massage centres were also spotted throughout the streets. Scents of incense and occasionally other ‘special’ smells wafted through the air. Even amongst all the backpackers it was still a beautiful and humble place to be.

Now I know you are all excited to hear about the food. Not only is Byron the home of the famous ‘Byron Bay Cookie Company’ but let me just say eating out on a gluten free diet in Byron Bay was a dream! Majority of cafes and restaurants were able to provide gluten free alternatives, and many included real food and gluten free bread, not just salad options!

We arrived in Byron Bay late afternoon, and after checking into our hotel and taking a walk around the town we decided on having dinner at a little restaurant called Asia Joe’s. Tucked into a little lane way, just behind The Beach Hotel, where we snuck in a quick pre-dinner drink, Asia Joe’s is a tiny little eatery described as delicious, healthy Asian street food. The big GLUTEN FREE sign on the front of the menu got me in straight away – it was a great start to our trip!

Food is ordered at the counter and then brought out to you. The service is quick and tables have a very high turnaround. Although Asia Joe’s does not take reservations, waiting for a table would not be an issue. I watched people order their food, eat and get out straight away. I guess you could say this place has a fresh take on ‘fast food’.

For starters we ordered the gluten free Salt and Pepper Squid. It’s a rarity for me to find gluten free options for this dish, so when I see gluten free salt and pepper squid on a menu it’s a must! And this dish did not disappoint, it was crunchy and delicious as expected!

For mains we ordered the gluten free Crunchy Beef Thai Salad which was full of flavour!

And gluten free Crispy Snapper with Stir Fry Vegetables served with gluten free noodles. Yum, yum, yum!

The atmosphere was authentic and the food was very fresh and delicious. With gluten free being clearly marked up on the menu and the staff being so knowledgeable, I would definitely recommend this place as a great gluten free eatery.

Although dinner was more than enough, as we were walking home enjoying the shows of the street buskers, I stopped by an ice creamery, Bella Rosa Ice Cream, and had a peak in the display cabinet and what did I see? Gluten Free markings on some of the flavours! Hooray!! I ordered the coconut and lychee ice cream. Sorry I gobbled it up before I could take a photo but take my word for it, it was delicious!

The next day (my birthday!) we started the morning off by having breakfast at The Balcony. Gluten free bread is available and GF items are specifically marked on the menu. We sat outside on the balcony overlooking the busy streets of Byron Bay, people watching. I loved watching the happiness below – streets jammed with traffic as people made their way to the beach – there was no beeping of cars, no road rage – just peace and serenity. Locals and tourists roamed the streets, and surfers carried surfboards on their bikes eager to hit the waves.

I ordered the ‘Three Cheese Eggs’. Scrambled eggs made with cheddar, parmesan and goats cheese served on gluten free bread with corn, chorizo, and rocket pesto. Yum! Every mouthful was full of flavour!

After spending a few hours at Byron Beach, on a perfect summers day, we got a bit ‘thirsty’ and decided to check out the cocktail scene. I was on a mission to try as many places as possible in the short amount of time we were there, so decided on Miss Margarita, as it looked like a really cute and funky Mexican place.

I settled on a ‘Loving Lychee’ – a fusion of vodka, lychee, strawberry, vanilla and a twist of lime (great pick!).

Although we were there for a drink only – and my stomach was in no need of food yet – my eyes glazed over the menu, and there it was again… Gluten Free mentions everywhere! Byron Bay was just too good to be true! We decided that just a little ‘snack’ wouldn’t hurt right? And wait… was that a slight grumble of my stomach?? Probably not, but let’s just pretend okay (no judgements here!)

Gluten Free is marked up on the menu but it is important to inform the staff when ordering your food. I decided on the Mexican Pulled Pork Street Taco served with house black beans, chipotle coleslaw and jalapeno salsa. The tacos were served in a cute little basket and were the perfect size for our much deserved ‘snack’ ;)

And now let’s get onto the grand finale… the big birthday dinner! We had looked around and decided that Fish Heads would be a lovely way to end the day on a high. We enquired in advance and were assured that my gluten free dietary requirements would be taken care of.

Fish Heads is located directly opposite the beach and has a relaxed vibe. We sat on the beachfront deck and started our meal off by sipping white wine and breathing in the fresh sea air. Gluten free is marked up on the menu, and the staff were well educated on gluten free dining.

We decided to get straight into it and ordered the Fish Heads Ultimate Seafood Platter! I was assured it could all be made gluten free and consisted of a mixed selection of hot and cold seafood including lobster, prawns, scallops, mussels, natural oysters and smoked salmon.

We decided to also get a bowl of gluten free fries & garlic aioli, although the waitress warned us that the seafood platter was quite large already. We gladly polished off both the platter and the fries (probably to her surprise!)

And then there was dessert… and who doesn’t love dessert, even after they’ve stuffed their face on dinner right?! There were quite a few gluten free options but I was tossing up between the Coconut Panna Cotta served with pineapple salad and ginger granita, or the Mango Creme Brulee. Hmmmm, Decisions, decisions. And then Mr L spoke, “Why not get both? It is your birthday after all” and my eyes lit up with excitement and that is exactly what we did!

Both desserts were absolutely amazing and the complete taste of summer! The Coconut Panna Cotta was creamy and delicious and the pineapple and ginger (surprisingly) was a brilliant compliment to the dish.

And the Mango Creme Brulee… words cannot describe it. Underneath the crack of the sugar coating, mouthfuls of creamy, sweet mango flavoured crème brulee combined with fresh mango pieces mixed throughout it. My tastebuds were definitely in party mode! A perfect way to end a fabulous dinner :)

The next morning was sadly our last day, and after checking out we attempted to find yet another café to fuel our bodies with food before the long drive home! And easily done, The Byronian Café seemed like the ideal location.

I ordered the smashed avocado with roasted capsicum, capers, feta and lemon zest, served on gluten free bread with the addition of a poached egg. The avocado was so flavoursome I just wanted more and more.

To wash it down I had a freshly squeezed watermelon and pineapple juice, served in a cute jar glass.

Sigh. And that was the end of our Byron Bay mini getaway. What a fantastic place Byron is! I had so much fun and I will definitely be back! The tranquillity, the peaceful people, the amazing food… everything was just perfect! If you haven’t been to Byron Bay and are looking for a good beach holiday give it a go and I’m sure you will love it just as much as I did! And have no fear about the gluten free food because as you can see it was a breeze – if only everywhere was that easy!

Here’s a list of the gluten free friendly places that I visited on my weekend away: 

Asia Joe’s 
4 Bay Ln, Byron Bay NSW 2481
(02) 6680 8787 

The Balcony
3 Lawson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
(02) 6680 9666 

Miss Margarita
2 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
(02) 6685 6828
1 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
(02) 6680 7632 

The Byronian Café 
111 Jonson St, Byron Bay, New South Wales 2481 
(02) 6685 6754 

Bella Rosa Ice Cream
2/11 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481
(02) 6685 8805 

Byron Bay Cookie
Shop 3, 4 Jonson St, Byron Bay NSW 2481

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

1,000 Likes And A Gluten Free Ice-Cream Recipe!

Hello dear readers! 

Welcome back to Two Silly Sisters. We hope you have had a great start to 2014 and are ready for a fantastic year ahead! We recently celebrated over 1,000 likes on our Facebook page so we are pumped and ready to have our best year yet! To all our new likers, welcome, we hope you enjoy our page. To all our dedicated fans thank you for being a part of our gluten free world. And for those who have still not checked us out on Facebook, what are you waiting for?? Head on over now and like our page – you could be missing out on lots of fantastic gluten free tips and tricks. 

On that note, we just wanted to take a bit of time out to say thank you – thank you to each and every one of you who reads our posts and who follows Two Silly Sisters Gluten Free Foodies. Without you we wouldn’t have the fantastic gluten free community that we have built today. We have big plans for 2014 and cannot wait to share them all with you! And remember if you have any questions about gluten free living, or any special requests, please do not hesitate to contact us. That’s what we’re here for and that’s what we love doing. 

So now that all that soppy stuff is over let’s get cracking into 2014! It’s been a great start to the year already and we’ve been having a very typical hot Australian summer. I love the hot weather! We’ve had plenty of gorgeous sunny days, perfect for the beach or chilling out with friends with an Aussie BBQ. 

But when entertaining in the heat, we know that finding motivation for making decent gluten free dessert can be tough. That’s where this Cheats Ice-Cream comes into play. You are going to be amazed at how easy this recipe is and just how delicious it is too! And this recipe is perfect for getting rid of any leftover gluten free cake or cookies. The best way to describe this ice-cream is gluten free cookies and cream with a berry swirl. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did! 

{Gluten Free Recipe} Cheats Berry Swirl Crumble Ice-Cream 

2L Gluten Free Vanilla Ice-Cream (we used Bulla) 
Approx 3 cups gluten free cake* or biscuits, roughly chopped 
1 cup frozen (or fresh) mixed berries 

1. Remove ice-cream and berries from freezer and allow to defrost for about 15-20 minutes before attempting to start assembling your ice-cream. 

2. Place chopped gluten free cake into a large mixing bowl and once ice-cream is soft enough, turn contents of tub upside down into the mixing bowl. Stir cake through the ice-cream. 

3. Place berries into a small bowl and use a fork to squash them into a chunky pulp. 

4. Add berries to ice-cream a few spoonfuls at a time. Stir into ice-cream creating a swirl effect. Continue adding spoonfuls of berries and stirring until all berries have been added. 

5. Return the ice-cream mixture to the ice-cream tub and freeze until hardened (at least a few hours). 

And voila super easy gluten free dessert done!

* We used a gluten free sponge which had dried out. 

Note: This ice-cream recipe is very versatile. You can add almost any flavour you like to the mix and add more or less of any of the ingredients if you wish.

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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Get the gluten free cookies out… because Santa Claus is coming to town!

He's making a list, and checking it twice. He’s gonna find out who's naughty and nice. Santa Claus is coming to town!

Can you believe we are only weeks away from Christmas?! This year we have decided to do a round up of our favourite gluten free kids Christmas ideas, to help you keep the little ones entertained and happy which can sometimes be challenging around this busy time of year!

Start their day off with these super cute gluten free breakfast pancakes by Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons. Choose from either Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer Pancakes

We love the idea of sprinkling out Reindeer food the night before Christmas. Make these Reindeer Bags from Craft Buds. Alternatively use these bags to fill with gluten free Christmas treats as a sweet DIY Christmas gift.

With all the running around Santa does on Christmas Eve he will be hungry by the time he gets to your house, so prepare these yummy Gluten Free Christmas Cookies by Saveur with the kids a couple of days in advance.

We love these decorated Snowman Milk Bottles by Live Laugh Rowe! Perfect for Santa or for the kids on Christmas Day.

This cute gluten fre Reindeer Sandwich by Little Nummies will surely keep the little ones happy. For a savoury version we would use gluten free bread, bocconcini cheese and olives for the eyes, and a cherry tomato for the nose.

For a great nibbles plate try this Christmas Tree Relish Tray by Coupon Clipping Cook. Great fun for kids and it will surely be a hit with the adults too!

The kids will love this super easy gluten free Rice Reindeer Bowl by Cute Food For Kids. Just use gluten free sausages available in supermarkets and most butchers.

Or why not tempt them with this gluten free Christmas Pizza for lunch by Delia Creates? You could even use pesto, and basil or rocket to add green to your gluten free pizza.

If you prefer a healthy snack option try this Healthy Christmas Tree by Little Nummies.

For some novelty fun decorate the ice bucket as the North Pole Ice, as seen on Jacolyn Murphy.

This Non-Alcoholic Christmas Egg Nog by Jennies Kitchen can be drunk hot or cold.

How cute are these gluten free Edible Marshmallow Snowmen from Curbly?

If you are strapped for time you can make these Marshmallow Snowmen from Cute Food For Kids with store bought gluten free marshmallows. The kids will love to get involved in making these as well.

For a super cool icy treat give these gluten free Christmas Tree Cherry Ice-Creams by Yahoo Lifestyle a whirl!

If you want a healthier treat for the kids, these fruity Banana And Strawberry Candy Canes by Nourishing Minimalism will surely be a hit.

We absolutely LOVE the idea of these Novelty Christmas Photo Props by Paper And Cake! Fun for kids and adults of all ages!

And lastly but not least while you’re in the creative mood why not try these DIY Snow Globes from The Sweetest Occasion with the kids.

… He knows when you've been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake! So have you been good this Christmas?!

We hope these ideas have helped spread the Christmas cheer to you and your little ones!

If you enjoyed this you might also be interested in last years Christmas round up too. Click here to read.

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