18 August 2010

Lemon Coconut Slice

 dairy free egg free nut free

This is old, OLD school lemon slice. The one that sits next to the chocolate hedgehog in cafes (though not necessarily hip inner-city ones). It's pure Aussie, and I love it. While strolling the aisles of Sunnybrook recently, I discovered that someone finally got their act together - in this case, the Brazilians - by making a dairy-free sweetened condensed milk.

(For those living outside of Melbourne, doesn't look like the product is listed in Sunnybrook's online shop yet - try Cruelty Free Shop)

Or you could try making your own here.

Makes about 18 pieces 

80g dairy-free margarine (Nuttelex)
250g (3/4 cup) soy sweetened condensed milk
250g plain sweet dairy/egg/nut free biscuits*
85g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
1 tablespoon (20ml) fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
extra desiccated coconut, for sprinkling on top of slice

Lemon Icing
250g (1 3/4 cups) icing sugar
2 tablespoons (40ml) fresh lemon juice

* McVities Digestives are dairy/egg/nut free though they are made on a production line handling milk. Arnotts Nice biscuits (and some other varieties) are also fine, but have traces of nut/dairy/egg/seed. Here I have used both plain and cocoa flavoured Kedem Tea Biscuits available at Coles - they are dairy/egg free and made in a nut-free facility - no traces. Orgran vanilla animal cookies might also make a reasonable substitute.

Grease an 18cm by 28cm slice pan or baking dish and line pan/dish with baking paper.

Place dairy-free margarine and soy condensed milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat when margarine has melted and mixture is smooth.

Finely crush biscuits using a blender or food processor. Stir crushed biscuits, coconut and lemon zest together in a large bowl until well combined. Stir lemon juice into condensed milk mixture.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Press mixture very firmly into the prepared pan using the base of a flat-bottomed glass if necessary. Refrigerate.

To prepare icing, combine icing sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until mixture is warm to the touch and completely smooth. Remove from heat and spread over slice, sprinkling with extra coconut.

Refrigerate slice until cold and firm then remove from the pan and cut into pieces. Store slice in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Celebration Paella

dairy free egg free nut free

If your child has ever had the good fortune of successfully passing a food challenge, you'll know the word 'celebration' is practically an understatement.

My eldest had a mild allergy to shellfish until an SPT (skin prick test) came up negative near the end of 2009. It took her a few months to work up the courage to embark on a food challenge. Her reluctance was understandable after recently discovering a kiwi fruit allergy by eating a whole one, then vomiting and huskily coughing for half an hour. Out came the Zyrtec - though thankfully, the Epipen stayed in its case. Phew. Once she got over the trauma of that experience, we encouraged her to try a prawn: first rubbing on the inside of her lip, then a quarter portion, increasing to half - then a whole prawn over a number of hours/days and checking for any reactions.

She passed. And we felt like all our Christmases had come at once.

Not only does passing the shellfish challenge mean an abundance of prawns and calamari (though the latter technically a mollusc); but suddenly, oyster sauces, curry pastes containing shrimp and even products containing traces of crustacea all become available to our hungry gourmand.

A paella is traditionally a Spanish peasant dish where a variety of  meats and/or seafood or whatever you have on hand can be added. It doesn't require stirring like a risotto - so you want a nice gentle crust to form on the bottom.

I have a 6 year old shellfish addict now, who wonders why we can't eat prawns every day...

Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 large tomato, chopped
300g chicken thigh, diced (or 1 chorizo sausage, sliced)
10 green prawns
1 large squid hood, sliced into 1cm thick rings
1 cup calasparra or arborio rice
2 cups hot vegetable or fish stock
2/3 cup cooked peas
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
10 saffron strands (optional)
lemon wedges

Heat oil in a paella pan or large flat frying pan over medium heat. Add onion, capsicum, tomato and garlic - stir until soft. Add chorizo/chicken until cooked. Add rice and stir to combine. Stir in stock, saffron (if using) and paprika. Ensure the mixture is spread evenly over the pan.

When the stock is boiling, cover and cook over low to medium heat for about 10 minutes until the stock has reduced and the rice is almost cooked. Push the prawns and calamari into the rice and cover for a further 5 minutes. Finally add the peas and parsley and leave it for five more minutes on low heat.

Serve with lemon wedges.

- Do not stir the paella during main cooking
- The perfect time to add seafood is when the stock is reduced enough for the rice to be seen. This is near the end of the cooking time and will allow for delicately steamed and very tender seafood.

15 August 2010

Raspberry & Coconut Muffins

dairy free egg free nut free

I am possibly the world's worst blogger.

It has been months since my last post. Forgive me, dear blog, for I have been very neglectful.

But I am back on the horse! And these delicious muffins are going straight to the lunchbox.

200g self-raising flour
1tsp baking powder
100g soft brown sugar
200ml coconut milk (or you can substitute rice/soy milk)
50g dessicated coconut
1 egg replacer
100g melted dairy-free margarine
100g fresh or frozen raspberries

Preheat oven to 180 C and line a 12 hole muffin pan with cupcake/muffin liners.

Sift together the flour and baking powder then combine rest of ingredients, folding in the raspberries last.

Divide the batter between the liners and bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes.

Dust with icing sugar.