Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Gluten Free Spicy Silverbeet Rice Soup

Although we have been very lucky to have a late burst of sunshine and warm weather in the past couple of weeks, winter is definitely fast approaching. And what better way to warm up, than with this spicy soup! 

It is packed full of healthy stuff like Silverbeet (also known as Swiss Chard) which is high in vitamins A, K and C, and rich in minerals, dietary fibre and protein – making it possibly one of the most healthiest vegetables around!

This dish is also full of ginger, which is great in winter to assist with sore throats or help if you have a cold or flu. Ginger has been used in Asian, Arabic and Indian cultures as a herbal medicine since ancient times. It aids in digestion and is believed to have anti-inflammatory qualities that may relieve swelling and pain. 

With all of this in mind this spicy soup has to be good for you! It is a yummy vegetarian dish and is super quick and easy to make – perfect for a weekday meal. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do but be   careful with the amount of chilli you use in this. Remember it is a soup, and a chilli liquid is worse than a dry chilli dish! 

{Gluten Free Recipe} Spicy Silverbeet Rice Soup 

2L water
3 gluten free vegetable stock cubes
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
3 medium sized mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium sized bunch Silverbeet
1 teaspoon chilli oil (or 1 small chilli)
Juice of 1/2 lemon 

1. In a large pot bring water to the boil and add gluten free stock cubes, stirring until dissolved. Add garlic, ginger, and raw rice to liquid stock and allow to cook through. 

2. In the meantime wash and roughly chop Silverbeet, including stems and leaves.

3. After about 10 minutes of cooking add the sliced mushrooms and stir through the liquid.

4. Add half of the chopped Silverbeet to the rice, pushing down and stirring through the liquid. Place lid on the pot for a few minutes to help steam and soften the silverbeet. Once the first half is mixed through the rice mixture repeat the process for the second half.

5. At this stage the rice should be cooked. Add the chilli to your tasting. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the rice, stirring evenly throughout. Serve hot with a generous amount of liquid.

Did you enjoy reading this blog? For more great tips and tricks follow us on FACEBOOK!

 post signature

Monday, May 19, 2014

Gluten Free Quinoa Stuffed Baked Capsicums

Here at 2SS Kitchen Headquarters we have been trying to eat healthier meals and experiment with healthy food options. We believe it is important to fuel your body with the right foods and we know how hard it can be to maintain. So we are here to hopefully inspire you along the way. But have no fear, we have not changed, we will still post naughty treats and meals every now and then… life is about balance right?!

Today we want to share with you a super yummy gluten free recipe that we have developed – Quinoa stuffed capsicums. The capsicums are baked with minimal oil so are very healthy and filled with one of the great superfoods – quinoa. Quinoa is packed with vitamins and minerals and a great source of fibre. This is a vegetarian dish your whole family will be sure to love. There is nothing boring about this healthy gluten free meal!

{Gluten Free Recipe} Quinoa Stuffed Baked Capsicums

3 medium sized capsicums
1/3 cup pine nuts
1 packet Celebrate Health Moroccan Quinoa* (130g)
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus extra for capsicums)
1 Spanish onion, finely sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
200g tin chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
50g fetta, crumbled or thinly sliced**

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place pine nuts on a baking tray and roast for 5-10 mins or until golden brown.

2. In the meantime prepare the quinoa according to the packet directions.

3. While the quinoa is cooking halve and wash the capsicums, removing the seeds and membranes. Place in a medium sized oven dish (it is best for the capsicum halves to lean up against each other). Season the capsicums with salt and a light splash of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes and then remove from the oven until the stuffing is ready.

4. While the capsicums are in the oven, start on the stuffing. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the Spanish onion and cook until browned and softened. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft, stirring frequently. Add chickpeas and stir for a couple minutes more. Turn off the heat.

5. At this stage your quinoa should be ready. Separate the grains with a fork and add to the frying pan. Stir through the onion and mushrooms.

6. Add the roasted pine nuts and chopped parsley and mix through. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Stuff the capsicums with the quinoa mix and bake for 10 minutes.

8. Remove the stuffed capsicums from the oven and crumble or place the fetta slices on top. Return to the oven for a further 10 minutes so the fetta can heat through. Serve hot or warm.

* Normal quinoa can be used instead
** This can be omitted for a dairy free option

Did you enjoy reading this blog? For more great tips and tricks follow us on FACEBOOK!

 post signature

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.

 post signature

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

Did you enjoy reading this blog? For more great tips and tricks follow us on FACEBOOK!
 post signature