Lesson Learnt

I’d stuck with the same brand of flour for so long that I’d forgotten what a difference it can make… So today’s lesson is, never again buy F. G. Roberts gluten free plain flour. It just doesn’t rise! The bread had adequate yeast and sugar, and the scones had baking powder; both should have risen, and they usually do when made with White Wings flour! Perhaps the most annoying thing is, I bought a 1kg bag of the stuff and still have half left. Maybe I’ll make pancakes!

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Staring Boy – part the second

In response to popular demand – that is, a couple of people wanted to know what came next… I wrote some more of this story. There’s more to come, too…

Elimere hesitated a moment, then sighed and followed him. She didn’t try to catch up to him; she walked slowly, keeping his shaggy black head just within sight. Although he never looked back, he seemed somehow to know when she was on the verge of losing him; he would slow down or pause as though window shopping, until she drew closer.

In a bizarre game of cat and mouse, she trailed the boy past shops and houses, along main streets and alleyways, through twists and turns. Despite knowing the area well, Elimere was soon quite lost. She knew time was getting on, although she wouldn’t be missed at home just yet; her dad would still be at work. She was just beginning to contemplate turning back when the boy abruptly stopped. She stopped too, still fifty metres away from him. They were in a narrow, grubby street, and he stood in front of a nondescript door no different from a dozen others Elimere could see.

‘What now?’ she called to him.

He beckoned again, and vanished through the door.

‘I’m not going in there,’ Elimere yelled. ‘You could be anybody. This could be some sort of trap.’ Curiosity was all very well, but this was bordering on madness.

There was no response.

She waited a moment more, then turned on her heel  and strode back the way they had come. She fancied she felt waves of disappointment emanating from the street behind her. How ridiculous, she scolded herself, quickening her pace.

She looked for familiar landmarks as she walked, wishing she’d paid more attention on the way to wherever she was instead of remaining intent on the boy. But it soon became apparent that she’d missed a turning somewhere. She was in a quiet residential street, but it was not a reassuring area: paint flaked from the houses and lawns were left unmown. There was an air of neglect and disregard that reminded Elimere starkly that she was from the proverbial, and literal, other side of the tracks.

Somewhere nearby, a dog began a spine-chilling howl that made Elimere jump. It set off a chorus of barks, whines, and growls all around. Elimere broke into a run, uncaring now in which direction, so long as she ran away from this dingy street and the menacing dogs.

‘Help!’ she cried as she ran. ‘Somebody, help me, I’m lost!’ The only reply was the echo of her own voice. Once she thought she saw somebody silhouetted in a doorway, but if there was somebody they ignored her plight and vanished inside.

All of a sudden she cannoned violently into a person. She hadn’t seen anybody in front of her, had heard nobody nearby. ‘I’m so sorry!’ she gasped, breathless, from where she’d fallen. ‘I didn’t see you.’ She glanced up then, and gaped. It was the boy, staring down at her coolly. ‘How did you…?’

‘Lost?’ he asked sardonically.

‘This is your fault,’ she accused him angrily as she caught her breath.

‘If you’d come inside…’ he replied, finishing his sentence with a tilt of his head and a shrug, which Elimere took to mean, you got yourself lost.

The Newfangled Way

So I tried this bread recipe in the breadmaker instead of doing it by hand. I hoped it would result in a smoother looking loaf, and it exceeded my expectations!

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I know there’s a lot to be said for the old fashioned ways, but let’s not neglect our breadmakers! All I did was chuck all the ingredients in and turn it on – I didn’t do any mixing or kneading by hand. The totally lazy way, but still a lovely home-made gluten free loaf of bread.

 

Gluten Free Small White Loaf

So, the top of this bread looks kind of funky. One day, I will remember to try putting water in the oven; my breads always do this and apparently a lack of steam might be why. However, it tastes delicious! So here it is:

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Ingredients

1 tablespoon dried yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon gelatine

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon psyllium husk

1/2 teaspoon citric acid

300 grams plain gluten free flour

2 egg whites

 

Method

Put 1 cup of lukewarm water in a bowl. Add the yeast, sugar, gelatine, salt, and psyllium. Lightly whisk to mix. Cover, and leave for 15 minutes.

Add citric acid, flour, and egg whites and mix well. Cover and leave for 20 minutes.

Beat for 1 minute, then scrape dough into a small greased bread tin.

Cover and leave for 25 minutes.

Bake at 220 degrees Celsius on a low shelf in the oven. Don’t slice until cooled.

Nom!

Being unwell… and some other random stuff

In the last couple of weeks I’ve had a cold, conjunctivitis, an ear infection, and some bizarre unidentified rash all over my neck and shoulders. It’s all cleared up now except for the ear, which is irritating me no end! I’m pretty sure the infection is gone; I was on antibiotics for a week and the pain has gone. But I’m left with the feeling that somebody’s stuffed cotton wool into my ear and won’t let me take it out. It feels blocked, and sound is muffled. Sometimes I’m nearly sure the blockage is about to come out, and I shake my head around like a lunatic to dislodge it, but to no avail. I think I’ll have to go back to the doctor for this one.  

If I were feeling particularly cruel, I could post a picture of my eye. Apparently rubbing at your eye too much – which one does when one has pinkeye – can burst blood vessels and you end up looking rather demonic. But it’s not pleasant to look upon, and so I shall not post it here. If you’re a sucker for punishment, you can click here to see it! (It got worse than that, but I didn’t take any more photos.)

In a quick aside, I should note that today I finally bought some “food rings” to use for making crumpets, muffins, and so on. Egg rings are tolerable only for so long; I needed something taller! Most of my creations rise up above the egg rings and spill out. Oh, and the lady who sold them to me, coincidentally, also can’t eat gluten! I’m finding us all over the place. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore, but I still half-expect a “What?” response when I say I can’t eat gluten. Instead I get, “Oh, me too!” or, “My sister/friend/mother/neighbour can’t either!” It is becoming more and more common, which is great because increased demand increases supply! It’s simultaneously becoming easier and cheaper to eat gluten free foods. 

I’m going to try a new bread recipe either this afternoon or tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I bought everything I need for it today – I’ve never needed citric acid before, I wasn’t even sure where to get it, but it was easily found in the baking section of the supermarket. Anyway, if it turns out well, I’ll blog it. 

Gluten Free Hotcakes

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What with this, and the Sausage McMuffin, anyone would think I was opening my own gluten free McDonald’s! Sorry, I’m not, but we can make our own delicious “fast food” at home!

Ingredients

2 eggs

1/4 cup lemonade, soda water, or sparkling mineral water

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

2 tablespoons olive oil

100 grams gluten free plain flour

2 tablespoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

 

Method

Separate the eggs: put the whites aside in a small bowl, and the yolks into a bigger bowl.

Add lemonade, vanilla essence, and oil to the egg yolks. Mix well, then add the flour, caster sugar, and baking powder. Whisk well to form a batter.

Whisk the egg whites in their separate bowl until they’re stiff. (Best done with an electric beater.)

Add the stiffened egg whites to the batter and whisk well.

Fry dollops in egg rings over medium heat until bubbles form and the top starts to set. Flip over and fry for another minute or so.

Nom with butter and/or honey!

 

Gluten Free Sourdough Bread

Back in my gluten-eating days, I loved a good sourdough bread. But I never considered making it, as it just seemed too hard. However, I’ve finally had a crack at it, and I’m really pleased with how well it’s turned out! Delicious. Here it is:

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Ingredients

Starter:

2 tablespoons dried yeast

180 grams gluten free plain flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Bread:

1/2 cup of starter

200 grams gluten free plain flour

1 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried yeast

1 egg

 

Method

The starter needs to be made at least 48 hours before you bake the bread. Mix all starter ingredients with 1 cup of lukewarm water, and put aside. Stir twice daily.

When ready to bake, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius (360 Fahrenheit), and grease a loaf tin.

Put the starter, 1/2 cup of warm water, and all other ingredients in a bowl. Mix well, or beat with an electric mixer for two minutes.

Pour dough into greased tin and leave to rise for 30 minutes. (Mine didn’t rise a lot during this time, and I felt discouraged, but it turned out fine in the end!)

Put on a low shelf in the oven and cook for 40 minutes.

Nom!