It Just Has To Be Delicious

Posts tagged ‘dairy free’

Health Freak Cafe, Joondalup

Health Freak Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you are on a special diet, or have food allergies, Health Freak provides a range of foods that you can eat – Vegan, Vegetarian, Paleo, Dairy Free, Gluten Free – there’s something for everybody.

With a range of healthy burgers, salads, dessert bowls, juices, smoothies and fries the menu is tempting for the dietary-challenged customer, and it’s nice to read it and think “oh I can eat almost everything here” rather than the regular process of picking just one or maybe two items that fit one’s brief. Options include Pulled pork BBQ jackfruit burger, the ultimate vegan burger, sweet potato fries which can be loaded with jackfruit, keto waffle egg benedict, dairy free ice cream, natural iced teas, acai bowls, caffeine free lattes…the list goes on.

We popped in to the Joondalup branch for a healthy treat and chose a peanut butter slice:

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This was nice but could have been a bit sweeter – agave syrup is a good sweetener. The peanut section was quite thick and crumbly and could have been nicer to eat if it was softened with maybe some vegan cream substitute. The chocolate a biscuit layers were very nice.

We also chose a chocolate brownie square:

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This was a nicer texture than the peanut butter slice and much more chocolatey but had a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

I chose a red apple tea which consisted of rooibos tea with freshly squeezed apple and mint. It was nice, but I didn’t get much of the tea flavour.

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All in all the healthy treats were okay, but they also didn’t blow us away, and it was quite expensive – not surprising really, because healthy does seem to equate to costly.

I will probably try Health Freak again for a main course – stay tuned.

Click here to find out more

Gluten free, dairy free recipes

Wow, I am really happy right now. Earlier this week I ordered some books called ‘Cut out the crap’. They arrived today and are full of wonderful recipes. With my huge list of intolerances, it was a pleasant surprise to see that I can make approx 95% of the recipes, and they all look so appealing. It is so hard to find good gluten free and dairy free treats and desserts, but there is an excellent basic cake recipe, and also a recipe for cherry bakewells that I can’t wait to try.

I also ordered the kids book, and have found that it is full of appealing recipes that will help me to make suitable packed lunches for myself.

If anybody else is interested in reading these books, they can be purchased online from the Cut out the Crap website – they are written by a lady called Collette White. Collette has also answered some of my queries via e-mail – she is an absolute inspiration.

Thank you Collette!

Amazing books

Amazing books

Dairy free dessert

Can you think of a dairy-free dessert ? It’s a tricky one isn’t it ? There are a few things, but most desserts contain cream, butter, milk etc.

One of my favourite weekend pastimes used to be going out for a coffee and some cake or cake-related dessert, and I used to have the pick of the whole cabinet…. but now, I’m lucky if I can find one thing that satisfies my food intolerance criteria. Even humble carrot cake (if you take the cream cheese off the top) contains carrots – and unfortunately carrots are in my next most serious batch of intolerances behind cow’s milk and guar. This weekend I had a soy iced coffee (no cream or ice cream, another little treat that has been diminished by this bombshell), and the only thing in the cabinet that looked vaguely acceptable was an apple slice – chopped apple filling between two thin layers of pastry – I just had to hope that the pastry wasn’t too butter-rich.

At home when making desserts, butter is ok – I have found Nutelex which is a suitable alternative and seems to be basically olive oil with emulsifiers added. For milk I can use rice milk or soy milk (although soy is something which I am very mildly intolerant to), but cream is a tricky one. Most things that are ‘fake’ cream are either unwhippable or contain guar E412.

So for desserts you really have to think outside the box – and one of the easiest ways to deal with a dairy intolerance is to think “what would the asians do?” because cow’s milk really doesn’t feature that much in asian cuisine. Today I have friends for lunch and this will be the first lunch for friends where I have cooked with non-dairy in mind. It’s okay because my friends are used to my ‘experiments’, but I really want the dessert to be good because Mike loves my desserts. So I thought long and hard and came up with the idea of dairy-free trifle. Sponge fingers – hmm they may contain some butter, but probably not enough to warrant me making my own right now – if I had more time, I would make some using Nutelex. Jelly – tick, dairy-free. Fruit – tick, dairy-free. Custard – oh dear – maybe I should use rice milk, but how do I make a nice rich custard with thin rice milk ? Coconut milk….mmmm…coconut milk custard – can it be done ? I think coconut milk/cream is what asians would use.

Well I did two experiments, first of all, I used the lite coconut milk – one tin with three egg yolks, a splash of vanilla, a third of a cup of sugar and a heaped teaspoon of cornflour. I heated and stirred and stirred and heated….. and it thickened, but didn’t thicken as much as I would have liked. I did the same with a tin of coconut cream and used an extra spoonful of cornflour – and this time it did thicken nicely. Rather than waste the first batch, I whisked it into the second batch, and it seems to have worked quite well and it tastes good too.

So now for the topping to the trifle – traditionally whipped cream – I checked to see if you can whip coconut cream, and yes you can. So the topping is whipped coconut cream with some gluten free amaretti biscuits (oh yes, I am mildly intolerant to gluten too), and some shaved dark chocolate.

Here is the recipe:

Take a nice large bowl, preferably glass, and put some sponge fingers or savoiardi biscuits in the bottom. Splash the biscuits with some sherry or brandy  or any other liqueur you fancy (optional) and then a few tablespoons of fruit juice (juice from canned fruit is ideal – just enough for the sponges to soak up, but not so much that they fall apart).

Now take some fresh fruit (you can mix it up with canned if you like – I put a few canned lychees in mine) – I used strawberries, mango and cherries, and layer the fruit on top of the sponge.

Make up one or two packets of jelly – I needed one and a half packets of strawberry, so I just put the leftover jelly in a separate bowl for evening snacking purposes. When you make jelly you usually add boiling water to dissolve it, and then top it up with cold. When you top it up use really cold water from the fridge so that it cools more quickly, and when it is cold enough (no more than room temperature), pour it over the fruit so that it just covers the fruit and put it in the fridge to set (approx 4-6 hours or overnight).

For the custard, separate 3 large eggs and put the yolks in a bowl. Keep the whites for making meringue later. Whisk a third of a cup of caster sugar in to the eggs and keep whisking until the yolks go pale and creamy, then whisk two large teaspoons of cornflour into the eggs along with a splash of vanilla essence. Heat a 400ml can of coconut cream in a saucepan until almost boiling (you will see the bubbles rising around the edges) – pour the hot coconut milk onto the eggs and whisk them together like mad with a hand whisk – this is a delicate operation, so you may need a helper to pour while you whisk. If you don’t whisk straight away, the milk will cook the eggs and they will go omelettey. Now transfer the contents back to the saucepan and stir constantly while heating. You will feel the mixture thicken as you stir – be patient and heat it gently. When it is a nice custardy consistency, thick and luscious but not gloopy, it is done. Leave it to cool to room temperature, giving it the occasional stir, or if you are impatient like me, cool the saucepan down in cold water (don’t let the water get into your custard though). Gently pour the custard over the set fruit and jelly, and put back in the fridge to set a bit more. If you need more custard, just make a second batch and layer it on top.

Now – the plan was to whisk up some coconut cream with some icing sugar – pipe the cream onto the top and then garnish. My coconut cream didn’t whip very well (it was cold from the fridge, but had formed a few lumps), and it looked a greyish white in colour which was not very attractive – I think that I ended up overwhipping it, so I left it in a bowl on the side for guests to help themselves. I ended up garnishing the custard with grated chocolate and amaretti biscuits.  Garnish with whatever you like e.g. glace cherries, candied peel, sliced almonds, crumbled honeycomb, maple syrup etc.

Coconut Trifle

Coconut Trifle

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Coconut Trifle before the toppings

My finished trifle, no cream but chocolate and amarettis.

My finished trifle, no cream but chocolate and amarettis.

 

Food Intolerances

Hi everybody. Sorry that my blog has been a bit quiet lately. Firstly, I have had visitors staying for the last 3 weeks, and secondly, I have had some news that has turned my diet upside down – I am intolerant of cow’s milk.

I first noticed a few years ago that ‘normal’ cow’s milk made my skin a bit dry, so I switched to soy milk for my cereal, but I didn’t worry too much about it, and if I went out I still ate cream and ice cream and other dairy products. However, I have always had sinus problems which were made a lot worse this year by a nasty sinus and lung infection and I started to wonder if there might be a particular food which affected my sinuses. I dithered over paying for a food intolerance test, and when my tax rebate came through, I decided to go for it. I used Imupro, which tests almost 300 different food types. I eat absolutely anything, with no obvious ill effects, so I wasn’t really expecting more than a few intolerances.

The results come back in 4 categories of intolerance, ranging from 1 (mild) to 4 (severe), and I have a total of 72 intolerances.

The good news is that I have no intolerances to fish or shellfish whatsoever, and I am ok with most meat although I have a mild (category 1 ) intolerance to chicken.

I have a severe intolerance to cow’s milk, guar flour (or gum) and quail’s eggs.

I had another 13 foods in category 3 with some surprises such as carrot, kiwi, pineapple, ricotta, mandarin, red cabbage, radish, oats and leek.

I also found that I have a category 2 intolerance to gluten containing cereals, but I am ok with maize and corn.

I have therefore decided to completely eliminate my category 3 and 4 foods from my diet, as I figured that 19 foods to remove would be easier to deal with than 72, and with the others, I am just aware that they are a problem, so I am only eating them in minimal quantities.

My biggest challenge now is to find replacements for dairy products that I usually eat which contain cow’s milk. I have decided to try rice milk for my cereal (which will now be cornflakes with strawberries), I have found Nuttelex a good butter substitute, but I haven’t yet found an alternative for cream, yoghurt and ice cream.

The problem with yoghurts and ice creams is that most of them, even if they are dairy free contain guar (E412) as a thickening agent or a smoothing agent to avoid ice crystals. So it looks like I might have to make my own sorbets and ice creams so that I know exactly what goes into them. It is going to be tough – but it’s a challenge that I find interesting, so look out for some quirky recipes in the future where I work out how to make chocolate mousse, tiramisu, bread and butter pudding etc all within the confines of my new regime.

The motto is still that ‘It just has to be delicious’, but now it has to be delicious and good for me too, and the good news is that my breathing is the best that it has been in ages. My recipes will still show you how to make good food using dairy products, but I will include my optional milk-free variations too. It’s going to be interesting….

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