Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A new address!

To all who have followed this blog, please note that I will be discontinuing this site. You can continue to follow my cooking and gardening exploits at

Happy New Year to you all


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Gluten Free - overcoming the challenges!

As many of you may be aware, I have recently been diagnosed as Coeliac. This means I must remove all wheat, rye, oats and barley from my diet. For a keen cook this has provided me with a challenge.

Challenge 1 - create fresh, homemade pasta
After 3 failed attempts (or 3 successful attempts at making hot glue:) I have successfully created home made fettucine. The recipe still needs some tweaking as it did not survive a pasta machine, but after handrolling and cutting the fettucine, the results were very delicious. I will continue to refine the recipe so that I can get the pasta thinner, but here is the simple recipe

TIP: replace all plain and 00 flour (as per previous recipe supplied on my blog) with Orgran pasta flour (gluten free and contains GFG). Only use potato or rice flour for dusting.

Challenge 2 - create gluten free orange and cardemon shortbread for Christmas
First attempt at this looked to be a success, until I moved the shortbraed from the tray to the cooling rack. After 10 minutes, when I returned, the majority of biscuits had crumbled through the racks.

TIP: allow to cool slightly on the tray until beginning to firm, then place on the cooling racks. My "normal" recipe calls for 3/4 cup rice flour and 1 1/2 cups self raising flour. I was successful with 1 cup of rice flour and 1 1/4 cups of orgran self raising flour (contains GFG)

Happy cooking for Christmas :)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

this one is a bit of a challenge

It took me by surprise, but 2 weeks ago I was given the formal diagnosis of coeliac disease. My hope over the previous four weeks was that the blood tests were all a false positive. This means I must now stick to a strict diet of gluten free. Gluten is a component of wheat, barley, rye and oats - it is what helps stick things together. Hence wheat is used in many unexpected things to thicken or "stick" flavourings.

The obvious no goes for me are most bread, pasta, breakfast cereals, cake, biscuits etc.
The less obvious are potato chips (wheat is used in the flavourings), soy sauce (as a thickener), ice cream (as a thickener) etc. So now I need to read labels carefully.

I also need to modify my famous tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauces as they both contain malt vinegar (another gluten derivative). All a challenge for Rie's kitchen to overcome. But first on a personal quest, I need to perfect gluten free fresh ravioli :) When I get this right, I promise to post the recipe to this blog. So far we have had 2 goes. The first created ricotta clag soup, and the second although edible had the wrong texture - very stodgy. I will get it eventually!!

For anyone wanting more info on coeliac disease, or gluten free diets, check out the following website

Thursday, September 4, 2008

now we have both kinds!

For those who like a little more tang then sweet, I am pleased to announce that "Rie's Kitchen" now has Blood Orange Marmalade for sale. It has a deeper colour and quite a tang without being tart.
It also led to me becoming a member of "Campbells Cash and Carry". Now that is a dangerous place to shop! but does offer me easy access to 15 & 25 kg bags of sugar.

so now with 80 or so jars of marmalde on hand, I only need 1 or 2 more products to hit the markets and see how I go :)

If you are interested in purchasing a jar, only $5.50 + P&H

Monday, August 18, 2008

ready, set ...

I am very excited to launch the first range from Rie's Kitchen.

Luckily for me, it was cold and wet outside yesterday, so Myles did not go Mountain Bike riding with his Dad. Instead he stayed at home and assisted me in the printing of my labels, and also putting it all together.

The most time consuming part was the ribbon. I wanted a practical way to show that the jar has not been opened. Pop lids are more than 3 times the price of regular jar lids, and for small scale operations like mine, are cost prohibitive. A trip to "Spotlight" and ribbon at $0.45 a metre does the trick with a bit of flair! Getting the ribbon centered and under both the labels (the back has the nutritional guide, mandatory for all food produce sold in Australia) almost takes 3 hands. Luckily, a trip to "Officeworks" and a box of black spot stickers did the trick and reduced my frustration :)

Together, Myles and I added the wax seal. A big plug for "Wax Seals Australia." I had the proofs for my seal within hours of my initial contact, and the seal and wax express posted to me within 24 hours!

...and it's such fun.

We also managed to label the Tomato Sauce I had made earlier this year. These are not for sale, but will be next year when Rie's kitchen is in full swing.

I would like to thank the many friends and family who have given advice regarding "Rie's Kitchen" , especially to Karen and Lisa who provided expert marketing advice regarding label design. This label is a long way from the clip art versions I used to produce, and your ideas and encouragement have helped it to this point. Thank you.

I hope to have an online service for sales of my produce in the coming months. It is a bit technical and I am getting advice. Until then, Marmalade, 270 mls $A5.50 plus postage and handling.

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's just like a sausage...!

High compliment indeed!

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a traditional Italian Salami making class. It was great fun and I came away inspired. Myles's first question was "what new kitchen gadget did you buy?". None I replied I can do it all with my own equipment, although in hindsight a mincer with funnel attachment would be very useful :) Using a piping bag was hard work!

Fresh Pork and Fennel Sausages

1 kg pork shoulder; 1 tblsp fennel seeds
15 grams salt; 1 tblsp freshly cracked pepper
15 mls red wine; 1 tblsp dried chilli (optional)
8 tblsp capsicum sauce (or good quality home made tomato sauce)
sausage casings

Mince pork to medium grind (or ask your butcher to do this for you). Add all other in ingredients and mix well using your hands. Allow to sit for min 3 hours (over night is best)
Insert into casings ensuring that your funnel nozzle does not create a vacuum in the casings. If air pockets occur, do not be shy about pricking with a sterilised needle. When sausages have reached their desired length, pinch in the middle and twist

As there are no preservatives in this receipe, sausages must be eaten within 24 hours, or frozen.

Vintage 2008 - the launch

I am pleased to announce the launch of 2008 Vintage from Mulgrave Heights.

And did you notice the groovy "zorks" capping the bottles. A very clever little closer that seals the bottle and can be easily removed (but not recapped). At less than A$0.50 a great Aussie invention for the small producer like me - no machines required, just a rubber mallet and gentle persuasion :)