Delicious gluten free banana and coconut cake.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's been too hot here lately for any baking, so on this cooler, wet day I thought I'd get reacquainted with my oven and make something yummy for morning tea. I found a recipe for a banana and coconut cake on Pinterest and adjusted it to suit the ingredients in my pantry. The result was one damn fine, gluten free cake. Yum.

Gluten Free Banana and Coconut Cake
1 1/2 cups of gluten free self raising flour (I used Aldi's 'Has No...' SR flour)
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup apple puree (I cut and steamed two apples and then pureed them)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Preheat your oven to 190˙C and line a loaf tin with baking paper. Combine the dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a bowl and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, eggs, oil, vanilla and apple puree until combined. Mash the bananas with a fork and mix into the wet ingredients. Add the coconut. Mix the dry ingredients bit by bit into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour the mix into your lined tin and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Check on it after 40 mins (my oven can be slow). If the top is browning too quickly, cover it in foil.

Festive Days.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

It's my favourite time of year. I love getting ready for Christmas. My days have been filled with Christmas craft, Christmas tunes, Christmas lunches and Christmas cleaning (in between looking after my children).
This year I have wrapped my gifts in black, white and brown paper with pops of colour. I recycled a Country Road catalogue, cutting it into circles and stitching them together to make garlands, and made stars out of sticks and embroidery thread.
My favourite craft this year has been making decorations out of Cornflour Dough (recipe below). So cheap and so easy!
Now for some Christmas baking, if Elke will sleep long enough!

Cornflour Dough
1 cup cornflour
2 cups bicarbonate soda
1 1/4 cups water

Mix ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture looks like mashed potato. Turn into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Let it cool and then you can knead and roll out the dough to cut. Air dry overnight.
I used a felt tip pen and pages from a damaged old book to make my decorations look pretty.

To know or not to know.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

When I found out I was pregnant for the second time I was excited and relieved, as well as being completely freaked out. I knew what my body was going to go through and that before the year was out we'd have a baby to look after.
My thoughts were consumed by how to deal with morning sickness, whether the baby would be a boy or a girl, what names I liked and whether or not we should splurge on new and fancy baby goods.
We had an eight week scan to check the heart beat and the due date, everything was fine. When my Doctor asked if we wanted a 12 week scan to check for Down Syndrome we said no. Partly because we would have the baby regardless, and partly because I took for granted that our baby would be fine.
As I lay looking at the monitor during my 18 week scan I asked the Sonographer if everything looked normal. She said yes. She also told us we were having a girl and a wave of excitement rushed over me. At that moment I felt ecstatic. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.
As I paid and waited for our photos, the Doctor who checks the scans asked if she could talk to us for a moment. A wave of dread rushed over me. She explained that our baby had short long bones, and that it could be a sign the baby had Down Syndrome, she also looked my five foot nothing frame up and down and said it could just be genetics. It was comforting to know that it could just be the fact I come from a long line of shorties, but we couldn't rule out the possibility of Down Syndrome.
We had the last appointment on a Friday afternoon, so we couldn't even call our trusted Doctor to discuss what we'd been told. I cried on the way home.
That Sunday after a long phone conversation with my Mum about how helpless I felt, out of the blue, my Doctor called. Yes on a Sunday. He said he was in the office doing some paper work when he saw my ultrasound results. He talked me through the options we had and told me about the risks of having an amniocentesis. I ruled that out then and there. He told me not to stress and that we would just have to play the waiting game.
Over the next few weeks I tried not to think about it. Then one night as I was reading my favourite blogs I stumbled across Natalie Falls and her story about her second son Elias who was born with Down Syndrome. I cried as I read through her inspirational blog. It prompted me to do some research about Down Syndrome to get a better idea of what it actually is. I was also ready to have a proper conversation about it with my Husband. I filled him in on what I had learnt and we started to make some plans. After that I felt a lot calmer about things and new that we would be ok no matter what happened.
After 22 weeks of waiting, wondering and planning our perfect and healthy daughter arrived. Short long bones and all.
Would it have been better to be blissfully ignorant of our baby's short long bones or was it better to know there could be a chance she had Down Syndrome?

Type love.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

As you know, I'm a type lover. I get excited when I spot a nice type specimen, especially if it's of the vintage persuasion. I love that examples of beautiful type pop up everywhere, sometimes in the most unexpected places.


Friday, November 8, 2013

Last night as the usual evening chaos descended and we were becoming more and more frustrated and exasperated by our four year old, I took a minute to escape. I shut the door behind me and sat down. I was feeling angry, helpless and tired. I wanted to cry. As I listened to my four year old carry on, I realised my four week old was sleeping soundly in the middle of it all and I had a moment of clarity and calm. I was suddenly thankful that God only gives us what we can handle.
Forget the terrible twos, four is hideous. We have coined it the f*@!ing fours. In a way I'm comforted by the fact I'm not alone and my child is not unique. The other four year old boys I know seem to be the same and apparently testosterone is to blame. Who knew that at four boys had a surge of testosterone? Marry that with the arrival of a new sibling and no wonder our house is all kinds of crazy. I hope my sweet, thoughtful boy will come back to me soon, sans attitude.

And Then There Were Four.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Four weeks ago our lives changed again with the arrival of our baby girl, Elke Scout. She was born on a mild Tuesday night without too much drama. I have been lucky with my births, both labours have been about 8 hours and the births have been straight forward.
I must admit that after my first birth I felt empowered and excited by what had happened, whereas the second time around I just felt thankful that it was all over and vowed I wouldn't be repeating the experience.
Being a parent of a newborn for a second time is much easier. Rather than stressing and obsessing, this time I'm enjoying my tiny human. Breathing her in and savouring this brief time.

Quinoa Choc Chip Cookies.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A couple of weeks ago I had the most delicious Quinoa Choc Chip Cookie at my favourite cafe Anonymous. Ever since then I have been searching the internet for a recipe to try. I found one here and tried it out this morning (I did alter it slightly, my version is below). My cookies are a lot finer than the one I had at Anonymous, but just as delicious!
The cookies are by no means healthy, but if you are after a good gluten free choc chip biscuit give this recipe a try.

Quinoa Choc Chip Cookies
1 1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 egg
115g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup choc chips (I only had chocolate buddies, so I roughly chopped them)

Preheat the oven to 180ยบ c.
In a medium bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl combine the egg and cooled, melted butter. Add sugar and vanilla and mix well. Add the wet mixture to the flour and mix to combine. Stir in the choc chips. Chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes (this will make the dough easy to work with).
Roll teaspoons of the dough into balls and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Flatten the cookies slightly with your fingers or the back of a spoon. The dough should make about 24 cookies.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden.

Chickpea Salad: an old favourite.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A little while ago a bought a carton of chickpea tins from Costco. At the time I had a million recipe ideas in mind, but the reality of so many tins was overwhelming. I made hummus, curry and even salt and vinegar chickpeas (which were awesome) but I still had tins left.
Then I remembered this quick chickpea salad. I hadn't made it for years, but now it's back as a regular lunch time favourite.
The recipe isn't an exact thing, you will get a feel for how you like it. So don't be scared to experiment a bit.

Chickpea Salad
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed.
A good drizzle of Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (feel free to add more or less if you want)
A few sun dried tomatoes cut into strips
A quarter of a block of feta cheese (again feel free to use more or less), chopped or crumbled.
A handful of parsley, finely chopped. You can also use basil in the summer months.
Black pepper to taste

Put the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and add the oil and balsamic vinegar, mix to combine. Add the feta, sun dried tomatoes and herbs and toss to combine. Add a small amount of ground black pepper. Serve on a bed of lettuce. Enjoy!

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