Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cheddar Crackers

There are a lot of similarities with my no starch diet and a Paleo diet. The bonus being there are zillions of great Paleo blogs posting delicious recipes.  However a major difference is I am a happy eater of dairy and sugar; gotta have it! I stumbled upon another relevant diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet.  This diet is specifically starch, sugar, grain & complex carbohydrate free. Perfect for me! (I can do with out sugar now and then). I am not nearly as strict as the diet dictates, but as with everything I believe you have to find your own level.

I have bought this fantastic cookbook which adheres to the SCD. 

The cheddar crackers were the first recipe I tried from the book. They are amazing. Buttery, crisp, cheesy & big bonus do not taste of almond flour.

Cheddar Crackers

This recipe is slightly adapted from Healing Foods by Sandra Ramacher

1 cup almond flour
1 cup of grated sharp cheddar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp smoked paprika
black pepper
3 tbs cold water

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Gradually add the water until the mixture comes together to form a dough. It may be a little more or less than 3 tbs of water. Cover the dough and pop it in the fridge for 30 mins or more.

Preheat the oven to 300F.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Roll the dough into small balls then flatten with the heal of your hand. Leave a gap between each cracker as they will spread a little.  The size of your crackers depends on how many you will make - I think I got just over a dozen from this amount of mixture.

Bake in the oven for about 15 mins, or when they just begin to brown at the edges. Then remove them from the oven and allow them to cool a little (about 5 minutes or so). Meanwhile turn the oven down to 210F.  Gently flip the crackers over then put the tray back in the oven for 30 minutes.  After the crackers have baked for 30 minutes turn the oven off and allow them to cool in the oven.  When the oven has cooled down remove the crackers and transfer to a wire rack to completely cool.

Store them in an airtight container between kitchen paper.  I kept mine in the fridge.

Despite my efforts to keep them to myself, they are a family favourite.  I am sure you could vary the recipe with whatever cheese you have to hand (providing its got a bold flavour). Or add dried herbs a la the the original recipe. 



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The easiest fruit cake - starch and gluten free

This recipe is adapted from Pauline's fruit cake recipe. Pauline is my sisters step grandmother in law. Sis and I have done this recipe a million times (in the starch format) even as our Christmas cake for several years; its that good.  Its so quick and easy, beautifully moist and a great filler upper, a major plus in my book.  The original recipe adapted very easily to a starch free version with no compromise on taste or texture.

It is also a very forgiving recipe. You can vary the quantities/types of dried fruit and nuts with good results.

Pauline's fruit cake

600g mixed dried fruit of your choice
100g nut pieces of your choice
50g desiccated coconut, unsweetened 
3oz of liquid (sometimes I use brandy, orange juice or just water)
1 1/3 cup of almond flour (ground almonds)
1 egg beaten
1 tin of condensed milk
generous shake of mixed spice (cinnamon & ginger)
2 tsp baking soda

Preheat the oven to 320F (160C). Grease and line your preferred tin, usually 2 loaf tins for me.
Simmer the fruit in your chosen liquid for a few minutes, or until the fruit absorbs the liquid a little.  Transfer to a large bowl.  Add all the other ingredients and stir thoroughly to combine.  Spread evenly into the tin and bake until a tooth pick comes out clean. I tend to check it after about 45 minutes as it may need covering, and leave it in for another 10 mins or so.

A mighty fine looking cake in my book... 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

New baby gift - Owls in a tree

I love making gifts for new babies, fortunately I have friends who are still having babies!  This time around I went for a new idea, owls in a tree. I decided to personalize the gift (like this one) and luckily her name has only 3 letters.

The owls were made from fabric scraps and felt. I made a pattern then cut all the pieces out put them together, either sewing or gluing (felt pieces).  I put a few small bells inside so they can rattle in her little hands.

The 'tree' is an oatmeal container wrapped inside & out with felt. In my haste I forgot to do the inside first (hence not done in the pictures), I would suggest doing it first before sealing up the lid of the container. I used the lid as a template to cut out the hole and a permanent marker to draw the faux bois on the outside.

What new baby gifts do you make? Do you have a 'go to' one, or do you like to try new things?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Geometric mobile

In the summer I went to the Renegade Craft Fair in LA.  Many of the vendors were big Instagrammers and I started following several of them. I love it; now I get to steal see great ideas from what super crafty people are up to.  One of those people was Robert Mahar.  He also posts YouTube videos on how to execute his projects; gotta love that sharing!

My take on Robert's geometric mobile
I knew I wanted 'something' to fill the space but couldn't seem to settle on anything. Then I saw this great geometric hanging pendant (see image below) and it got the cogs turning...Unfortunately not quite turning enough for me to be able to replicate but enough to decide on something geometric and hanging.

Image: via ahouseinthehills.com
So I plumped for Robert's mobile, a take on a traditional mobile from Finland.  The supply list is minimal - coffee stirrers & craft thread. 

Don't you just love the neon stirrers?! I won't go through the process as its done so well on Robert's YouTube clip, and it really is very easy.

First basic shape

Mobile taking shape

What to do with the other 900 coffee stirrers?! I am thinking mini ones as Christmas tree decorations.  Any other suggestions?

I also think the wall is still a little bare, further thought required on that one...