Posts Tagged ‘coeliac’

Time flies…

So the saying time flies really seems to apply here – I see my last blog post was December 20th! I came back from Christmas in Australia dragging kilograms of books and magazines with me (and of course some food), full of enthusiasm for where I had been, the best brunch I have ever eaten and all the fab things I was going to bake. And that all seemed to grind to a fatigue driven, joint aching autoimmune halt. Fast forward to July, I am still waiting to see a rheumatologist (appointment end August – note to self I should have been a rheumatologist as they are very scarce and apparently very popular) and it does seem like a second autoimmune disease has appeared. But despite the joint issues that I definitely do have, I am feeling better. I have gone back to pilates and gym, my flight to London is booked 24 September, my flight to Australia is booked 23 December,  and the time has come to begin 2016 for gluten free and vanilla. Better late than never!

So as inspiration to get started I am posting some of my favourite pics from my Instagram.

Flat white Weylandts

Coffee in the creative setting of The Kitchen at Weylandts in Kramerville – I think I would like to live here.

Sitting pretty Champagne at Kamers

I am always up for champagne – this time at Kamers 2016 (I did not even do a blog post on this, maybe I still will).

Gluten free chocolate souffle cupcakes

The weekend project: gluten-free chocolate soufflé cupcakes. Always add blueberries.

The eggspresso

The eggspresso from Motherland for Easter – do not be scared by the shot of Espresso – the melting chocolate inside more than makes up for this initial jolt to the system.

Best brunch ever Pixel Coffee

Best brunch ever at Pixel Coffee in Perth, blog post must be done. The plate alone is worthy of adoration.

Beaches of Western Australia

And the beaches of Western Australia – my other home away from home.

So…coffee, champagne, chocolate, best brunches and blue skies – this should be enough butt kicking inspiration to get started…



Gluten-free chocolate almond torte

One of my friends had a Christmas lunch this week (the benefits of having a public holiday the week before Christmas) and my contribution was gluten-free chocolate almond torte. I am not sure why I have never posted this torte, as this is my go to recipe. If I am asked to bring a dessert and I want wow factor then this is it! This is probably the first gluten-free torte/cake that I made and I have absolutely no idea where I saw the original recipe. I apologise to whoever you are, but I thank you!



  • 200 grams butter
  • 180 grams dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs separated
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder
  • ½ cup boiling water


Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease and line a 22cm round spring form cake tin.

Place instant coffee and water in a jug and stir to dissolve.

Melt butter, chocolate, cocoa power and coffee in a saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly until melted abut 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool slightly.

Beat eggs yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until thick (about 5 minutes).

Beat eggs whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Add chocolate mixture and almond flour to the egg yolk mixture and stir to combine.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold in half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Add the rest of the egg whites.

Pour into prepared tin. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool completely in pan. Dust with extra cocoa powder.

I always serve with berries but some cream would not go amiss here either.

The centre of this has a delightfully rich, fudgy texture. I have been known to add a chocolate glaze, but only serve that to committed chocolate lovers as is possibly a little over the top. People do not realise that this is a gluten-free recipe, and it goes down extremely well and rather quickly! It did beat out the Pavlova and homemade ice cream as favourite dessert at lunch… not that I am competitive at all when it comes to baking of course!





Salted caramel sauce

I am keeping busy with my macaroon obsession while I await the arrival of “The Macaroon Bible”. Yes such a book exists, and is arriving 17th December…just before I fly to Australia! Might be a 2016 read then. I have made glace cherries, cranberry and almond, salted caramel and apple macaroons– all of which are really just a variation of a basic macaroon recipe. However, I think I should share this rather wonderful salted caramel sauce. This recipe is taken from the book “For the Love of Baking” by Sarah Dall.



  • 100 ml golden syrup
  • 75 grams butter
  • 75 grams Demerara sugar
  • 75 grams castor sugar
  • 125 ml double thick cream
  • 15 ml Maldon salt


Heat the syrup, butter and sugars in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and salt. Return to the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Pour into sterilised jars and set aside to cool and thicken.

So this is a great simple recipe, with no faffing around with thermometers and the like. There is something very satisfying watching butter and syrup melt, comporting and exciting at the same time. Do not panic about the amount of sugar used – this recipe makes 350 ml of sauce and the caramel will keep in the fridge for up to 3 months (so the author says, the sauce has not lasted long enough for me to test that theory yet).

In terms of the book, there are not that many gluten-free baking recipes, but there are other desserts such as Pavlova, Panna Cotta and some interesting ideas such as salted caramel popcorn. There are, though, some great sauce and essential recipes – passionfruit curd, butterscotch sauce, coulis and a great section of “sweet smotherings” – the book is a great buy for these “smotherings” alone! Chocolate ganache anyone?


Gluten-free chocolate coconut macaroons

It has been so hot lately (above usual temperatures for Johannesburg) that baking has been a slight challenge, basically because my “vintage” gas oven also doubles as a furnace. Not optimal in 35 degrees plus! But with macaroons being so quick to make and bake, the quest was on for a chocolate macaroon variation, and thanks to Martha Stewart, the gluten-free chocolate coconut macaroon search did not take long. You can find the original recipe here.



  • 115 grams semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Break chocolate into small pieces, and then transfer to a medium heatproof bowl.

Set the bowl with chocolate over a pan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted. Let this cool slightly. Pour the melted chocolate into a large bowl; add the cocoa, sugar, coconut, egg whites, vanilla, and salt. Mix with your hands until well combined.

Dampen clean hands with cold water. Mound about 1½ tablespoons of the mixture into a loose haystack shape, and transfer to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture, arranging macaroons 1 inch apart.

Bake until just firm to the touch but still soft in the middle, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on baking sheet on a wire rack. Store in airtight containers at room temperature, up to 3 days.

The first batch of these macaroons mysteriously disappeared before a photo could be taken (yes, they were eaten). The second batch lasted only slightly longer. If you are a chocolate person then these macaroons are for you. Thanks Martha, I owe you one!




Gluten-free coconut lemon macaroons

I keep the nom nom chocolate bakes for the weekend/special events (everything in moderation!), and finding something that I can nibble on during the week seems to have fueled a continuing interest in macaroons. They are simple to make, let’s admit it baking a macaroon is very untaxing, and moreish to eat. And my book of the moment “Flourless”* has given me a new recipe, gluten-free coconut lemon macaroons.



  • 2 egg whites
  • Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons/130 grams honey
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2½ cups/180 grams shredded, unsweetened coconut


Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 150 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites for about 30 seconds to lighten them up a bit. Whisk in the lemon zest, honey, and vanilla. Add the shredded coconut and stir well to combine.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon portions of the coconut mixture. Using your hands, squeeze to compress the mixture and roll each into a small ball. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet about 2.5 cm apart.

Bake until the bottom and edges are just starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on the baking sheet. When fully cooled, peel the cookies from the paper before serving.

I melted some dark chocolate in a double boiler and dipped the bottom of each macaroon just to add a little something extra. The key to making these is the squeezing of the mixture. Don’t be shy, as this really helps the macaroons stay together. I have as of yet been unable to find shredded coconut, so I have just used the least fine desiccated coconut so that it still has some texture.

So of course I like these, and the addition of the lemon zest does give quite a fresh taste and little hit of the unexpected. But I must confess, Siba’s macaroons (see previous post) are winning the macaroon race at the moment!

*(“Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis, a book of 75 recipes all naturally gluten-free).


Gluten-free coconut macaroons with jam

Oh dear! It seems that I have already been distracted from the Great South African Bake Off. Maybe it was the episode on bread… but never fear I am still mentally preparing to take on the macaron challenge. But for now, the new series of Siba’s Table has caught my eye, and we move from the macaron to the macaroon. I was inspired by these delightfully pretty (and simple) gluten-free coconut macaroons with jam as seen in episode 1. You can find the original recipe here.



  • 2 large free-range egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • ⅓ cup/80 ml ground almonds
  • Guava jam (or jam of your choice if guava is not your thing)
  • Icing sugar, to dust


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

Whisk the egg whites in a mixer using the whisk attachment until frothy, then add the cream of tartar and salt. Continue whisking until soft peaks form, then add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until thick and glossy. Fold in the coconut and then the ground almonds.

Scoop a heaped spoonful of the mixture and gently shape in your hands into balls (being careful not to squeeze out the air that was incorporated by whisking) then make a small indent in the centre with your forefinger. (In her programme, Siba dips her hands in water before rolling the mixture as the water helps it not to stick to your hands).

Place on a baking tray and bake for 8-10 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from the oven, cool slightly and place on a wire rack. If some macaroons are cracked after baking, just push the sides up while still warm to create a more pronounced indentation and shape. Spoon the preserve filling into the macaroons and lightly dust with icing sugar just before serving.


As mentioned these are pretty easy to put together; the jam is a delightfully sweet addition, and makes them look pretty fabulous as well. I have made these twice in the last week, and although mine are not as perfectly shaped as in the TV programme (sometimes I lack a little patience in certain areas) I am sure they taste just as good!

(And I must say thank you for the Le Creuset preserve jar that some very kind Burgers gave me for my birthday – it fits right in).

Gluten-free double chocolate brownies

So episode two of the South African Bake Off has passed and this week’s inspiration is the tray bake, which to me means brownies. Not sure if I would attempt a wildlife scene or spaza shop made entirely with gluten free biscuits (and to be honest, plain biscuits are not really my thing). And brandy snaps… well never eaten one. So the tray bake it is, enter page 105 of “Flourless” and gluten-free double chocolate brownies.


Ingredients (makes 16 brownies)

  • 140 grams semi-sweet chocolate
  • ½ cup/155 grams unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1¼ cups/250grams light or dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup/50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1½ tsp pure vanilla extract


Heat oven to 180 degrees. Line a 20-by-20-cm square tin with foil, then lightly grease the foil with vegetable oil.

In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl; add the brown sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt and vanilla. Stir well to combine.

Spread the batter in the pan, smooth with a rubber spatula.

Bake until the brownies are dry on top and almost firm to the touch, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 1 hour.

Gently lift the foil out from the pan after cooling to remove the brownies. Place on a cutting board and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to fully set the brownies. Remove from the fridge and, using a serrated knife, cut into 16 brownies. Serve at room temperature.

The note with the recipe says to let the brownies sit after baking, even overnight, as the longer they sit the firmer they become. After a little nibbling after one hour (I have little restraint when it comes to such matters), two hours and then overnight, I must concur that they do need to be left to rest for quite a while as they become a great deal easier to cut. These brownies are rather decadent, very fudgy, very rich, but very worth it.

(Following each week’s episode of the Great South African Bake Off, I am making a recipe from the fab recipe book “Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis, inspired by one of the tasks the bakers are set. The next episode focuses on meringue bakes which means macarons #challenge).




Gluten-free chocolate soufflé cupcakes

So the Great South African Bake-Off is upon us (finally, technical issues aside). Obviously no one can replace Paul Hollywood, and I am not yet as committed to this series as I am to the British version, but it is early days still. I decided that I must bake an item every week inspired by the South African Bake Off, and that the recipe has to come from this fabulous new book “Flourless” (more on the book later). So let us begin on page 66 with gluten-free chocolate soufflé cupcakes.



  • 170 grams dark chocolate
  • 6 tbsp/85 grams unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 6 tbsp/50grams granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Dark chocolate frosting

  • ½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 115 grams chocolate, melted
  • 1 cup/100 grams confectioners (icing) sugar


Heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 12 cup cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Put the chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring, until fully melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and cool to lukewarm (alternatively I used a double boiler).

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is very thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in the chocolate, salt and vanilla. In a large bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed with an electric mixer until medium-firm peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in three additions, folding until no white streaks remain.

Divide the batter among the cups, filling each about three-quarters of the way. Bake until the tops are puffed and dry to the touch and a tester inserted into the centre comes out mostly clean, with some moist crumbs attached, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let sit in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting: In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, then add the melted chocolate, Add the icing sugar, a little at a time, until well blended. When ready, spread each cupcake with a generous amount of frosting.

The verdict? These are just great and the frosting alone is rather wonderful. In the original recipe the cupcakes are topped with salted caramel buttercream. I thought it might be a little too rich (even for me) and so I switched to the dark chocolate frosting… but the salted caramel buttercream is just shrieking out to be made! I actually want to try and bake these cupcakes in mini spring form tins, as I think they could form part of an impressive individual chocolate trio dinner party dessert, if it works of course (#maketime).

And to the book “Flourless” by Nicole Spiridakis. What attracted me to this book is that every recipe is naturally gluten-free, using eggs, nut flours and other gluten-free ingredients. Nothing is made with gluten-free flour (which I prefer not to bake with), and apart from the odd recipe with oats (I cannot tolerate oats, gluten-free certified or not), every page is a recipe that needs to be, and shall be, baked.


Martha Stewart’s gluten-free chocolate torte

I seem to have a growing obsession with Martha Stewart, not quite as consuming as the Great British Bake Off but growing none the less! In the midst of my torte quest I came across a Martha Stewart gluten-free chocolate torte recipe, and I thought if it is good enough for Martha then it is good enough for me. The directions may seem long, and this recipe has the added twist of cooking in a bain-marie, but it is worth it in the end. The original recipe includes peppermint extract which I have excluded as I am not a huge fan, but you can find the original recipe here.



  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (around 226 grams)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces (8 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, for dusting
  • Freshly whipped cream, for serving (optional)


Set a roasting pan on lowest rack of oven. Fill pan halfway with water. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Coat a 9-by-4 1/4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Cut parchment paper large enough to cover bottom and to hang over long sides of loaf pan. Place in loaf pan; coat with cooking spray.

Put chocolate and butter in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, stirring, until melted. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

Put heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl; set aside.

Put eggs and sugar in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on medium-high speed until tripled in volume, 3 to 4 minutes. Gently fold half of the chocolate mixture into egg mixture until almost incorporated; fold in remaining chocolate mixture. Fold in reserved whipped cream. Reduce oven temperature to 160 degrees. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Set loaf pan in roasting pan. Bake until chocolate loses its sheen and appears set when loaf pan is jiggled, about 25 minutes.

Carefully transfer roasting pan to a heatproof surface. Remove loaf pan from water bath; let cool completely on a rack.

Pulling up on parchment, remove torte from pan; transfer to a baking sheet. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Using an offset spatula, gently loosen torte from parchment and then invert onto a serving platter. Torte can be made up to two days in advance.

Using a sieve, lightly dust torte with cocoa. Serve with whipped cream if desired. I also served this with some strawberries and blackberries.


The recipe does say this serves 8, but with my chocolate loving friends it would not quite have stretched to 8, possibly 6. I would have needed to bake 2, and the teeny size of my original 70’s gas oven meant I could not fit a bain-marie large enough for 2 loaf tins, so it became more of a taste test for 2. The verdict – this does have a very light and moist texture and therefore does not come across as overly rich. I kept this in the fridge for 2 days and it was just as delicious as on baking day.



Gluten-free coconut macaroons with chocolate

I have to admit that I am not 100% sure where I found this recipe. I am a habitual recipe scribbler when I come across something that I like, and these gluten-free coconut macaroons fall into that category. The chocolate decoration should probably be a little less Jackson Pollock esque, but hey, whatever you feel like in the moment will work especially when it comes to chocolate!



  • 6 cups shredded coconut flakes
  • 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips*
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir together the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla until well combined (this takes some work but keep going until it is completely mixed together).

Use a spoon to scoop out the mixture and form small rounds. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12 to 18 minutes until the tops are golden brown and the macaroons are crisp.

Allow macaroons to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Melt the chocolate chips and oil together in a double boiler. Drizzle over the cooled macaroons.

*Usually I use “safe” dark chocolate that I chop into small pieces, but for convenience   I used Staffords choc chips as they are marked gluten-free.


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