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Apples, pumpkins and ghostly nights….Halloween is here. Serve this fantastically tasty and easy apple dessert after trick and treating is done, to top off a special meal. This one is truly quick, simple and nourishing. Actually it’s a great dessert for any occasion…. Divali included!

Ingredients

6 medium size cooking apples. (good to have a sour variety)

4 Tablespoons dates, pitted and chopped

3 Tablespoons seedless raisins

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of 1 lemons/limes. Use 2 limes if small in size.

6 level Tablespoons brown sugar

Cream for serving.

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 F or 175 C

Wash apples, peel and core each one. If you are not using a corer, gently core with a knife to form and hollow and remove center.

Place in an ovenproof dish.

Sprinkle with lemon/lime juice.

Mix orange juice with the chopped dates and raisins.

Spoon the mixture into each apple hollow. Stuff it in as tightly as possible to get as much of it inside as possible. Add a few more dates and raisins if required.

Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar. Use a little more if required.

Bake for 40 minutes or until soft.

Serve hot with cream or ice cream.

Simply delicious!!!

 

This is a great variation of the wheat and egg free basic chocolate cake.  Orange gives a zesty, tangy, delightful flavor….very enjoyable at tea time, after school or even as a dessert or snack addition to school lunch.

 

Tea time orange cake

 

Ingredients

2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix

3/4 can condensed milk (a little over 10 ounces)

1 stick (4 ounces) butter

2-3 Tablespoons grated orange zest (gently grate orange zest without including the white portion beneath)

3/4 cup fizzy orange drink (Fanta, for example)

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 level teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

A few drops of yellow food color.

 

Method

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F (approx 180 C)

In a medium bowl, sift all dry ingredients together (flour, baking powder and baking soda)

In a large bowl pour condensed milk.

Add melted butter and whisk together.

Add orange zest and vanilla extract, and mix well.

Pour in the fizzy orange drink slowly, mixing with a spoon as you pour.

Fold in dry ingredients, a few tablespoons at a time, ensuring that there are no lumps. If batter feels too thick,add a couple of tablespoons more or orange drink.

Mix well using a hand mixer for a couple of minutes.

Transfer into a 9” bundt pan or use two medium loaf pans, (8”x4”)

Bake for 45 minutes or until cake is a rich golden color, and knife comes out clean.

Simply delicious!

Moong Dal Vadas

Many people I know are allergic to chana dal (chick pea flour). One really doesn’t lose out that much.  Try these yummy moong dal vadas…they are as tasty, crunchier and lighter than the chana dal ones.  Once you have made these, you will want to make them again and again, whether allergic to chana dal or not.

 

moong dal vada

 

Ingredients

1 cup moong dal

1 cup lightly packed grated zucchini or finely chopped cabbage

1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tablespoons or more chopped fresh cilantro (coriander)

Finely chopped green chillies to taste

1 teaspoon whole cumin seed

1 level teaspoon cumin seed (jeera) powder

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

Pinch turmeric powder

Salt to taste 1/3 teaspoon baking soda.

Oil for frying

 

Method

Wash and soak Moong dal for 3-4 hours, then drain the water.

Take care to drain all the water and keep dal as dry as possible.

Grind coarsely, so that dal particles and small pieces remain.

Mix all other ingredients into it.

In case dal is too moist, add a couple of teaspoons of rice or oat flour.  The mixture should be firm, not runny.

Heat oil.  Put in a small ball of dal mixture to ensure readiness. 

Shape mixture into balls, slightly flatten each ball and gently put into the oil.

Fry on medium-high heat till golden brown, turning each ball over so that both sides are a deep golden colour.

Remove vadas onto a platter or thali.

Serve hot with tomato ketchup or chutney.

These vadas taste good even when cooled and are ideal for carrying on a journey.

This is a fantastic breakfast/ brunch dish…good comfort food and very satisfying. Its amazing how you can achieve great taste without wheat or eggs.  If dairy is a no-no, use a combination of soy milk and soft, mashed tofu.  If gluten free bread is not available where you live, use thinly sliced potatoes.  I use SCHAR gluten free baguettes, as they do not contain wheat or eggs and are totally allergen free.  There are other options in the market, but a lot of gluten free products do contain egg and nut ingredients. I  have used cilantro and a tad bit of jalapeno, with sauted onion, but you can alter seasonings……try chives, green onions, basil, thyme, parsley, all equally delicious, in combinations of your choice.

 

hearty ham and cheese bake

 

Serves 2

Ingredients

6 slices of SCHAR gluten free bread (baguette), cut diagonally into longish shapes— or any other gluten free bread

4-6 slices cooked deli ham (Use cooked shredded chicken, cooked sliced turkey breast as ham alternatives) Chop ham slices into small bits

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup cream

2/3 cup grated cheddar

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 Tablespoons finely cut fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon chopped jalapeno, or to taste

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh garlic (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Preheat oven to 375 F

In a small saucepan heat olive oil, add garlic if using it, saute for 10-15 seconds.

Add chopped onion, saute till soft and transparent, then remove from heat and set aside.

Lightly grease a medium baking dish.

In a bowl, whisk milk and cream

Add sauted onion, 1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro and jalapeno.  Reserve 1 tablespoon cilantro for garnish.

Add salt and pepper

Pour half of the liquid mixture over the bread slices

Top with ham bits and half the grated cheese

Repeat layering of bread, milk-cream mixture and grated cheddar cheese

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden.  Edges should be slightly browned

Garnish with chopped cilantro.

 

Enjoy!

Yummy Quinoa Salad

You can’t go wrong with a combination of quinoa, pineapple, red peppers and raisins.  Its delicious and colorful, makes a great table centerpiece….you can’t beat it for nutrition and taste!

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

1 15 ounce can of diced pineapple, drained, juice reserved

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Salt to taste

 

To cook quinoa

Place quinoa in a fine sieve.  Wash under gently running water, rubbing the grain slightly as you wash.  When water has drained, repeat the process a couple of times.

Hear two cups water in a medium saucepan.  Add 1/4 teaspoon salt.  Gently pour in the washed and drained quinoa into the water.

Lower heat and simmer uncovered till most of the water has been absorbed and the grain is tender.

Cover and cook for a couple of minutes more till all the water is absorbed and the grain is well cooked.

Remove from heat. Uncover and fluff the quinoa grain with a fork to release steam and prevent grain from sticking.  Spread on a platter and allow it to cool.

 

To assemble

In a salad bowl, whisk together. 1/2 cup reserved pineapple juice with olive oil, lemon juice, sugar and salt.

Add pineapple bits, chopped red bell pepper and raisins.

Gently mix cooked and cooled quinoa.

Easy, filling and so healthy!

Nothing can be more allergy free than this cake, a real “wonder”—no gluten / wheat, no eggs, no dairy when you use oil instead of butter—and it is simply delicious!  Serve it as a dessert with fresh berries, or pack it in for snack time in school, this cake is healthier than you think, and a great filler for those in between ‘I am hungry’ times.

 

Rice pound cake

 

 

Ingredients

2 level cups Cream of Rice* (you can get the fortified one, with thiamin, niacin and riboflavin added)

1/4 cup oat flour (slightly heaped)

5 Tablespoons melted butter or oil

1 1/2 cups yogurt

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon plus one pinch (1/8th teaspoon) baking soda mixed in 2 Tablespoons milk

A few drops of yellow food color

*Cream of Rice, for my Indian readers is rice’ rava’, or semolina

 

Method

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except for the baking soda, using a large, heavy spoon.  Mix thoroughly.  Add 1-2 Tablesppons water if mixture appears too thick.  (Consistency of batter will depend on the thickness of yogurt used).  Basically you need to achieve cake batter consistency.

Add the baking soda mixed in milk, and whip it into the batter, whisking it with firm movements, so that it is fully incorporated.

Pour into a lightly greased 8”x4” loaf pan

Set aside for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean and cake has browned a little.

Let cool, then slice and serve……just great!

Its Thanksgiving time—time for vacations, family get togethers, the aroma of turkey in the oven and yummy pumpkin pies.

Here is a quick and easy recipe—no wheat, no eggs, and you can even use a substitute for dairy

The same filling can be used by the whole family.  I make a small allergy free crust, but  make a much larger quantity of pie filling to use in wheat pie crusts for the rest of the gang as well.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients

Crust

for a 6” pie base

1 cup Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix  (click here for recipe) 

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Tablespoon ice cold water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Method

Place flour and sugar in a large bowl.  My flour mix has salt added into it, so generally recipes with my flour don’t require more salt.  You can just add a pinch if you like.

Cut butter into small pieces and work it into the flour with your hands, so that the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Use just enough water to be able to form a ball of dough.  Add vanilla while kneading.

Alternately, combine ingredients in food processor, and pulse till pea size clumps form  Add water through the feed tube and pulse, stopping just before dough comes together completely.  Line rolling surface with plastic wrap. Transfer dough to rolling surface.

Press and flatten dough and place another sheet of plastic wrap over it.  Roll dough into an 8” round, to create enough crust for the sides of the small pie dish.  Remove the plastic wrap from top of rolled dough, then trim uneven edges with a knife or cut off with a pair of scissors.

Gently lift rolled out dough, place it on the palm of your hand and transfer it onto the pie dish.  It is easy to patch up any small tears.

Crimp edges with a fork to create a pattern, and prick the base with a fork to prevent a rise while baking.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Place prepared crust in oven and bake ‘blind’ (without filling for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare filling–

Filling

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup condensed milk*

3 teaspoons egg replacer or 1 teaspoon baking powder and pinch baking soda

1/2 teaspoon each of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg powders

pinch of salt.

* Use 1/4 cup rice milk and 1/3 cup (or to taste) brown sugar in place of condensed milk, if dairy is not permissible

Method

Whisk all ingredients together till mixed thoroughly.

Remove crust from oven after it has baked for 10 minutes.  Prebaking prevents the crust from getting soggy later.

Pour filling mixture into lightly baked crust.  Return to oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes till filling has cooked and looks set.

Let the pie cool.  Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Yes, you can actually make donuts with my gluten free flour (See Basics or scroll to the first entry on this blog)  You cannot imagine how easy it is to make kids happy that they can carry donuts to school for snack time as very special treats.  Donuts are fried which does not make them very healthy, but they are great as occasion food.  Moreover, my gluten free flour is very nutritious—much better to have than processed white flour.  So get ready to make this easy treat!

Makes about 16- 18 2” donuts

 

Donuts

 

Ingredients

2 cups Grandma’s Gluten Free Flour Mix  (click here for recipe)

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup milk

3 teaspoons Egg Replacer*

2 Tablespoons melted butter / oil

2 level teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder

Pinch of salt

Granulated sugar for dusting

* If you do not have Egg Replacer, use buttermilk instead of milk and add 1/2 teaspoon baking soda,  Add soda while combining dry ingredients.

You will also need a 2” round cookie cutter or a clean lid, and a smaller lid about 3/4” in diameter,  a sheet of parchment or plastic foil to line your cutting board. The number of donuts you will have depends on the size of your cookie cutter/lid.

Oil for frying

Method

In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg powders and salt.

In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk / buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Gradually fold in dry ingredients.

Using a food processor, or your hands, knead this mixture to form a soft dough, which can be manipulated with your hands.

Divide the dough into lemon size balls

Gently roll each ball and flatten with your palm on a parchment or plastic foil lined cutting board. This will prevent the donut rounds from sticking to the surface.

  Flatten or roll out sufficiently to press the cookie cutter on it to get a good round shape. Remove excess dough.  Then press the small lid onto the center of the ball and gently remove the small round which you cut off from the center.

Keep all the small rounds together to form into additional larger balls. Use extra small balls to fry as donut ‘ holes’. Or fry all small balls to make donut holes.

Heat oil in a medium size wok.  Oil should be sufficient for donuts to submerge.

Test oil for doneness by adding a small ball of dough.  It should sizzle slightly and slowly rise to the surface.

Remove the ball put in for testing the readiness of the oil.  Then carefully lift a cut and shaped donut and gently place it in the oil.  You may be able to place 3-4 donuts at a time depending on the size of your wok.  Do not crowd the wok.  There should be enough room for each donut to fluff and rise to the surface

After donuts rise to the surface and start to brown a little on the underside, gently flip them over with a fork.

The oil should not be over heated and must remain on medium heat for the donuts to cook through

When donuts are a rich golden brown color on both sides, remove each donut carefully with metal tongs or with a slotted spoon, and place on a paper towel lined plate.

After the oil has drained, roll each donut in granulated sugar and enjoy!

Donuts can be cooled and frozen.  I wrap each donut in wax paper and place the quantity to be frozen in an airtight container.  When ready to eat, thaw in the microwave before serving.

 

No Indian festival feast is complete without a plateful –:thaali” of pedhas.  Of course pedhas are wheat and gluten free, but most store bought pedhas are heavily garnished with nuts.  When they are made without nuts, there is still a very high risk of cross contamination as nuts are such an integral part of Indian sweets– ‘mitthai’ makers facilities process nuts all the time.

For anyone with allergies, home made pedhas are the safest.  This simple recipe is so easy to make and so delicious!

These pedhas are ‘modak’ shaped,  specially created for the on going Ganesh Chaturthi festival.

 

Pedhas

 

Ingredients

3 cups milk powder 

1 stick or 1/2 cup of white unsalted butter

1 cup cream

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seed

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (optional)

 

Method

In a small saucepan, lightly roast the saffron threads.  Alternately warm saffron in microwave for about 20 seconds or till threads become a little brittle.

Crush brittle saffron threads between fingers and place in a small bowl.  Add 2 teaspoons of hot water to crushed saffron.  Set aside.  After a while, color, flavor and aroma will get deeply enriched.

Place butter in non stick wok or large non stick pan, on medium heat  The process of stirring is easier in non stick equipment.

When butter has just melted, pour cream and give a stir.

Lower heat.

Mix in sugar, then gradually add the dry milk powder, stirring constantly.

Stir in milk powder well, making sure that there are no lumps

Stir well on medium low heat for about 10 minutes.  Stirring time depends largely on quality of milk powder.  Some brands of milk powder thicken faster than others.

Add cardamom powder and saffron- water mixture.  Stir till well mixed.

The mixture should not be so thick that it leaves the sides of the pan.  It should be soft and should be the consistency of thick cake batter or very soft dough.

Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle, but not really cold,  shape into round slightly flattened pedhas, or place into modak molds.

Finger-licking delicious!

Cheesy Potato Mice

This is an ideal snack for any kids party….these  potato mice will make little ones squeal with delight.  Omit the cheese if dairy is a no-no…the mice taste super with or without!  At other times a little potato mouse can be served as an exciting side dish to coax little people to eat a complete meal.  Potato on the side is a good substitute for grains.

 

Ingredients

10 medium potatoes

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)

1 -2 carrots, washed and peeled

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

A few drops of red and green food colors

1/2 teaspoon cornstarch plus half teaspoon water

 

Method

Wash and peel potatoes.

Place peeled potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water and boil

Boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes or so, or till potatoes are almost done, but not too soft.  Do not overcook.

Drain water

Place potatoes on a flat lightly greased, or parchment lined baking tray when cool enough to handle

Preheat oven to 350 F

Carefully make slits along length of each potato, without going close to edges.  Slits should be deep, but not so deep that the knife will touch the base and cut off pieces.  Try to make 4-5 slits

Stuff slits with grated cheese.  If cheese cannot be used, brush olive oil mixed with a little salt, pepper and a dash of garlic powder/ dried basil / thyme, or any herb of your choice, into the slits

Cut off top ends of carrot, then slice the top one third of carrot/s into a few coins. Using kitchen scissors, shape carrot coins into triangles to form ears.

Use the narrow part of the carrot to make very thin, long slices for tails

Grate some of the center portion of the carrot for mice whiskers

Push triangular carrot ears on either side of one end of each potato

Mix water into the cornstarch and use the sticky mixture to gently attach a few shreds of carrot to create whiskers a little below ears leaving space to paint eyes and nose

Push in the finely cut long, very thin carrot slices on the other end of each potato.  Use cornstarch mixture if necessary to stick on these tails.

Mix green and red food colors to make a dark brownish color, and paint on eyes and nose.

Place baking tray in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes or till potatoes brown a little on the outside and are soft cooked inside

These tasty mice are all time party favorites!

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