A Little Celebration for a Very Big Boy
My little boy has just turned one years old (gasp! It still feels like yesterday when I brought him home all pink and chubby from the hospital, only two days old). And, being my second child, with time at a minimum, I organized a very small celebration for my favourite moms-in-crime and their four little ones to come and play (or in Junior’s case, four little rivals to smack and try bite if they touched his favourite toy car).
The party, in the middle of a
Cape winter downpour, was relaxed and chilled with lots of nibbling and
giggling - a totally stress-free party. Stress-free because I knew I had chosen
really easy, throw-together food… that was also allergy friendly.
(I now stand up and declare…“Hi, my name is Caghrey, and I’m Wheat and Dairy Intolerant!” There, I said it, feeling good about it for a change, and rather chuffed for standing up and ‘owning it’. No more whining about what I can’t eat anymore because I have an arsenal of fabulous recipes at my fingertips for every occasion, and now want to share them with all of you - how nice am I?)
In my house I am The Big-Chief-Main-Cook! In other words, if I’m doing the cooking, you’re going to be eating My Type of Food. My husband can tolerate anything and everything (it's beyond annoying), my five year old daughter is like me and can only handle small amounts of wheat and dairy, and my little boy seems, so far, to be ok with most foods (yes the men have it easier - again annoying - but I’m not whining anymore, remember?).
So to balance out the family meals to suite all of us I follow some basic rules. My Way of Eating is this: It has to be wheat free, as often as possible, lets say 90% of the time, very little dairy, hopefully wholegrain and healthy, and definitely delicious (don’t you just love alliteration?).
Keeping these rules in mind I put together a table of sweet and savoury treats for the moms, and littlies alike, that tasted as delectable as they looked. Bearing in mind that nobody else at the party had allergies so the food had to pass as being as good as the ‘normal’ stuff that they were used to.
I lovingly baked:
- individual savoury tarts with bacon and goat’s cheese using shop-bought puff pastry
- gluten free cheese & onion corn bread, with spinach, served with low-fat hummus
- gluten free chocolate cupcakes, instead of a big birthday cake, which were topped with chocolate ganache and little sugar toppings,
- my favourite gluten free baked frosties which taste just like cinnamon doughnuts,
- and the prettiest gluten free cake pops (now my hubby’s favourite)…
But the recipe I was most pestered for (yes, even by ‘normal wheat eating folk’) was the gluten free corn bread. It’s a kind-of focaccia-cross-corn bread. It is heavenly served with a braai, cooked in a cast iron skillet, although I usually leave out the spinach then. But when eating it focaccia style, it is perfect to add extras like spinach or even feta and olives (yum). Oh, and these also make a great school lunchbox filler (as long as it’s the version, I've been instructed, without any ‘green bits’ in).
So here it is, especially for my ‘pests’.
Try it and let me know what you think. I’m dying to hear your thoughts.
Good luck and happy nibbling
GLUTEN FREE CHEESE & ONION CORN BREAD (with spinach)
Butter & Oil for frying
3 Red Onions, large, chopped (you could substitute ½ with red peppers)
1 tsp Crushed Garlic
180g Rice Flour
80g Potato Flour
30g Tapioca Flour
1 Tbsp Mustard Powder
½ tsp Cayenne pepper (optional and to taste)
1 Tbsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
1 tsp Xanthan gum
2 tsp Salt
130g /1 cup Grated Gruyere or Cheddar Cheese
Herbs of choice (parsley, thyme, coriander)
Mustard Seeds, poppy seeds or black sesame seeds for sprinkling on top
250g baby spinach finely chopped (optional)
1 C Olives, pitted and chopped (optional)
½ C Feta cheese cut into little pieces
Fry onions and garlic in butter and oil, slowly over low heat, until very soft about 20minutes, then leave to cool.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 25cm cast-iron skillet with oven proof handle (or two brownie pans for little squares of bread)
Combine flours, polenta, mustard powder, cayenne pepper, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Stir in grated cheese and herbs.
In a jug, lightly whisk eggs and buttermilk then add to flour mixture.
Add cooled onions, and Optional Extras if using, and stir until combined, adding a little water if too thick.
Spoon mixture into skillet, or brownie pans, and smooth the top. Sprinkle with seeds.
Bake for 45min.
Should sound hollow when tapped underneath and well browned on top.
Delicious served warm straight from the oven, or sliced and toasted with home-made anchovy butter. Num num!
Can be frozen, in slices or squares, and refreshed in the oven or microwave as needed.
The ‘But-I-Can-Eat-Wheat’ Version:
The Rice, Potato and Tapioca flours mixed together makes about two cups of flour. Although I haven’t tried it, you should be able to substitute with two cups of wheat flour. This is a very forgiving recipe (just my kind) so be bold and brazen and give it a bash! I double-donut-dare you…
PS. Thank you to my special friend, Bev, for taking these pics and making my nibbles look so num num xxx