Diary, day eight

I’m still home sick, but at least now I’m stuck on a little research project.

I’ve been asked to make profiteroles… & I came to the realisation that in the 4 years I’ve been gluten-free, I’ve never once made choux pastry! Seriously, I don’t know how I’ve gone this long with out trying to make a gluten-free version, but the severity of this problem hit me like a wave.

Now I can’t stop thinking about it. If I wasn’t feeling like my lungs had been rolled over by a truck, I’d already be down to the shops to buy the missing ingredients.

How could I have let this happen?!

So here I am, books all over the couch, google wide open, having a look at peoples interpretations of recipes… & figuring out my approach for how I’m going to tackle this task with successful results the first time round.

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I don’t know who I’m kidding though, chances of me falling flat on my face for round #1 are pretty inevitable. Still, I’ve strapped on my boots, tied my cape around my neck & I’m doing my superhero stance. I WILL be making the most beautiful profiteroles the gluten-free community has ever seen. Come Sunday.

Oh yea… did I mention these have to wait till Sunday? Sunday is my cheat day. Sunday is the day I gorge on a whole deluxe chocolate cake. Or make pizza. Or eat my weight in cinnamon rolls. Sunday is the day my tastebuds cry out for joy & thank me profusely for feeding them sugar & vast amounts of creamy french cheese. Have I told you how much I love Sunday?

Listen, don’t get me wrong. My tastebuds are pretty joyous all the time. I feed them delicious things on a daily basis. I just try & keep my weekly dietary habits in check & stick to the healthy(er) side of eating rituals. Sunday is my no-holds-barred, anything-goes, “oh yeah?! WATCH ME!” day. Then come Monday I repent & go back to grilling broccoli & drizzling it with an olive oil, garlic & chilli marinade. My tongue is content… just sometimes it needs to strip down to its birthday suit & have a party. That’s all I’m saying.

….Just wait until Sunday, we can drool over profiteroles filled with vanilla bean pastry cream & drizzled with a hazelnut dark chocolate ganache.

Diary, day seven

I was so nervous before I posted my youtube video yesterday. Nervous about looking foolish or amateur. Nervous of being laughed at. Just nervous.

Now that it’s up? I keep checking the page to see if anyone has watched! It’s slightly obsessive how I’m behaving. So far it’s had 21 views. It’s bad that I know this.

I’m sat on the couch eating rice crackers with a home-made, spiced green-apple butter… & I can’t even concentrate on what I’m eating! It’s delicious… but I just keep eating more because I’m devouring these things absentmindedly & not actually getting any enjoyment out of what I’m eating.

Don’t you hate that? eating whilst you’re doing a task? You don’t really pay attention to what you’re consuming & half the pleasure is just gone. I think this is why I generally don’t allow phones or tablets at the dinner table. No technology during food. Of course, I don’t put the same ban on snacking & half a pack of rice cakes later, I still don’t know where they went.

There has been no progress today. I was supposed to pick up an order of ingredients & experiment some more with these protein bars that I’m making, but of course it hasn’t arrived. Now it looks like I’m getting sick, so I’ll just be fantasising about cooking instead of actually doing any.

That’s all I have to say for now.

Oh, & watch the video

Diary, day six…. & my first youtube video

I’m still working on my script for the kickstarter project. Every time I start working on it though, I become overwhelmed with this sense of anxiety about being on camera once again & talking at people. Literally just talking at them. It’s a one sided conversation involving me & only me.

Well, once my brain starts going, sometimes I come up with an idea. I don’t know if it’s a good one or not, but an idea all the same. For a while now I’ve been mulling over the idea of producing videos for youtube. Usually I talk myself out of it because my kitchen at home isn’t bright & pretty. I don’t really have a video camera other than the built in one on my laptop. I just never wanted to produce something that looked rough. Not everything goes as planned though.

Seriously.

What I decided was, the only way to get over this anxiety I have about my one person conversation & having random people watch me on their computers, was to just face my fear & do it already. I recorded my first youtube video. It is very home-made, in my dark little kitchen. & if I’m being honest, I really am just talking at you. Ranting more like it. It’s my way of putting myself out there & taking the first step to overcome my fear. I keep reminding myself that if someone isn’t interested, they have the choice not to watch.

Please forgive the very amateur feel of it. It’s a first attempt. Also, keep in mind that I really am going off on a rambling tangent. I did decide that it was appropriate to talk about something that I get asked all the time though. A lot of my readers (a lot of you), get a tiny bit frustrated with me for putting my recipes in grams instead of cups. The video that I’m providing you with explains why I do what I do. I hope I was able to articulate my thought process. Just don’t take me too seriously. Ok?

Enjoy.

Diary, day five

I’ve had too many glasses of orange juice & consumed a whole pizza. I’m somewhere between a food coma & pure bliss. It’s a delicate line & I can’t quite tell if I’ve crossed it. The pizza was divine though.

It’s all about the home-made pizza. Sure picking up the phone & ordering one is easy & effortless, but there’s always a sick, heavy feeling that follows when you’ve eaten too much. Some how, when you make your own at home & you know exactly what you’re putting on it & the quality of the ingredients you’re using, it takes away all the guilt associated.

My tomato sauce from yesterday was perfectly sweet & thick which made the perfect base to start with… & then I absolutely covered it in buffala mozzarella, tomatoes, onions, sweet red peppers, spinach, mushrooms & bacon. Oh, & an egg. I like a runny egg baked right into the middle. Using the crust to swipe that off the plate.

Ok. Maybe I over did it just a bit. Worth every bite though.

In my comatose state I’ve taken to online window-shopping. I scour the net looking for gluten-free vendors that deliver in bulk. The shipping charges are always outrageous, but I can’t help fantasising about placing an order for 10kg bags of all the flours I lust after. I don’t know where I would even store them all, but I dream about it all the same. Came across pea flour too. Not even sure what i would do with it, but that beautiful green colour is too appealing to pass up. What will they think of next?!

That’s all i have for you. Fantasy food shopping & a full belly. Isn’t that what Sunday’s are for?

Diary, day four

i don’t have much for you today. I mean let’s face it, it’s Saturday, I’ve kicked my feet up & I’m relaxing. Don’t want to fill my brain with madness. 

I do have one piece of advice for you though. If you’re making pizza sauce, always make it in bulk. Good pizza sauce can take an hour or two to cook down, & it freezes really well. I always make enough for at least 8, that way when the craving for pizza hits, I’m ready to go. 

That’s it. That’s my words of wisdome. Happy Saturday!!!

  

Diary, day three

Today I had to force inspiration.

I was sitting staring at the words I’d written for my script… & it all just felt forced. No creativity to it. Zilch.

I get this way sometimes before I cook, & it’s usually because the kitchen is a mess. The only way out of the situation is to tidy up & give the kitchen a proper cleaning… once that happens, inspiration starts to flow once more.

The only thing I could think of today was that maybe if I decluttered my counter space, I could in turn declutter my mind. An hour of rearranging & scrubbing later, not only do I have more work space & a better flow to my kitchen, but I also have a script.

I figured out that if I wrote down the questions that needed to be answered in the video, I could have someone ask me them on the day of filming. This sounds a bit odd, but it leads to impromptu responses. Responses that will come naturally & still keep me on point. In turn getting my message across, remembering all the things I need to say, & keeping the dialogue flowing in a natural way.

I ran this idea by my videographer & he seemed to agree. I suppose that means I have the first part down.

In my creativity, I also created my shopping list & dishes that I want to prepare on film. You know, beautiful, colourful, simple & something to catch the eye. It’s perfect really.

I’m feeling rather proud of myself.

diary, day two

I’m supposed to be working on my script for the new kickstarter video. I’ve been told by my videographer the first we need to have a script, so that he in turn can create a story board & time it out.

The problem is, I’m staring at what I’ve written & if feels so forced & awkward. It’s quite possible that I’m sabotaging myself & making myself appear to be forced & awkward as the idea of sitting on camera talking (for a second time no less) makes me uncomfortable.

I’m trying to remind myself to get over it. People can choose not to watch if they so desire. If they find me that annoying they can simply close the browser page & never have to hear or see me again. It’s that simple.

So why am I so nervous? I mean, I’m talking about cooking. I’m talking about the book that I want to create. It should be natural, right?!

Do I make it personal? Do I try & let my audience get to know me a little bit? Do I just stick to the facts? I could really use some stellar advice right about now. I like my videographer. I trust him. Maybe I’m just worried I will look like a fool. Or foolish. Or both.

We shall see. I’m a walking contradiction though. I can’t bring myself to write a script & yet I can’t seem to stop imagining making youtube cooking videos. I’d have to talk there too, wouldn’t I. I just need to get over myself & remember that nobody has to watch if they don’t want to. It’s that simple.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. On the bright side, it’s making me flip through old recipes looking for things that are “colourful” enough to be eye-grabbing on camera. Oh how I love any excuse to stuff my face.

Diary, day one

There as this phase I went through on the blog where I was trying to make everything I created dairy-free, sugar-free & vegan… on top of already being gluten-free.

I was aiming too high.

Of course I know it’s important to make recipes readily available to all dietary restrictions. My problem however was that I was trying to run before I could walk. There were so many things I had yet to master in the world of gluten-free baking, & before I even got to a level I dreamed fit, I was trying to tackle more than I could handle. I had to learn to make my first perfect loaf of gluten-free bread with the correct consistency, texture & taste, before I could start adding on additional handicaps such as VEGAN. SUGAR FREE. DAIRY FREE.

Case in point. I revisited an old recipe today. More specifically, I pulled up my recipe for my blueberry & oat loaf. I sat there looking at the ingredients list thinking that it was looking rather complicated. My latest thing is that I’m always trying to simplify my life, & in turn, simplify my recipes. I often find that when I look back at my original work, there’s a whole lot of fuss going on. Who knows, maybe it was a reflection of what was going on with me at the time.

Alright, back to the point. So I’m sitting there, looking at this recipe. Noticing that on top of everything I’d made it vegan, & I started to ask myself… was it any good? I remember being very pleased with it at the time. But I also had this faint memory where the end result was a little more cake-ey than chewy. I’m all for cakes, but I don’t want my bread to resemble a savoury cake. I decided it was time to go back to the drawing board. I looked at the recipe in all it’s complication & all it’s beauty & made some serious decisions. It was time to take the basic outline & apply the knowledge I’d gained in the last two years. I stripped it apart, & put it back together taking only what I thought was necessary.

The result?

It was gorgeous. The beautiful, softy, chewy, crunchy on the outside loaf that I just couldn’t get enough of.

This is it. This is the direction I want to be going in. This is why I want to much to assemble my cookbook. So that I can go back to the original ideas & make them better. So that I can share what I’ve learnt over the years & bring as much joy to your savoury endeavours as I’ve experienced.

This is where it all begins.

On that note, it would be pertinent to say that I met with my videographer yesterday. We outlined the basics of what I wanted to convey in my new video for kickstarter. We talked about my shortcomings in the first attempt. We discussed how we would get my message across. It’s all happening. I’m positive. I may fail again, but it certainly won’t be because I didn’t try. I just hope you all join me on my journey.

Good night, readers. I hope you’re feeling as excited as I am.

GUEST POST: Wild blackberry & apple pie – by Kate

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I am happy to announce that we have our first official guest post over here at Whatever’s Left! In the past I’ve invited one or two friends to do us the honours, but was generally met with people too shy to share their creations. Then I found Kate… or rather Kate found me! I woke up one morning to a lovely comment waiting for me on my pâte sucrée recipe & how wonderful it was. A few comments were shared back & forth, & it came up that another batch was going to be made, this time, for a blackberry pie with wild blackberries foraged from near Kate’s house. I’m not going to lie, my petite had been whet & I was dying to know more about this recipe. It didn’t take much persuasion to convince Kate that she was absolutely going to have to share it with us….

So let me take this moment to proudly introduce my very first Guest Poster… Kate R…. The floor is all yours!

P.s. All the photography is her own… isn’t is gorgeous?! :)

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About eight or nine months in to what would end up being a tortuously long 15 months in total of very large, very destructive, fatal earthquakes in my city (185 people lost their lives), I was told on a trip to an acupuncturist (to try and find some way of coping with the nightmare), that I shouldn’t be eating wheat, dairy or sugar. That was about three or so years ago (I think), and so began, what turned out to be a never ending journey of discovery which, to this day, can be endlessly challenging, but also very rewarding, especially when figuring out a new way to make what you ate in, ‘the before times’!

That is why it is such a great feeling when you come across a site such as this one that has recipes that actually deliver what they say they will. 

I have been converting recipes for some time now, and even this one for Pâte Sucrée needs some tweaks for me to be able to use it, but they were easy and boy was the result well worth it! 

2nd freeform no dish

I’ll confess now that the no-sugar recommendation was just one step too far for me when trying to find food to eat, and has thus fallen by the wayside, partially because I was just starving hungry; everything you try and buy seems to be riddled with the stuff, but also because the alternatives are rather expensive to buy and so prohibitive when inspired to cook. 

And so, I have reduced my intake severely, and use it as a treat now, as I think it probably should be for all of us anyway.

This recipe is in that category and is so easy, but makes such a great treat to end any meal.

My first use of the awesome pastry was to create a blind baked crust for what would eventually become a lemon meringue pie. It went super well, and tasted fantastic.

The plan this time was to try and make a wild blackberry and custard pie, (blackberries foraged from the paddock next to our property) but the husband put his vote in for Apple and blackberry pie.

Not having made either before, I thought I may as well try what he suggested as it sounded as good as my idea, and I wasn’t sure how a custard would work in the crust and was too chicken to find out!

One day it will get a try.

Meanwhile, this recipe called for an unbaked pie crust, and so it gave me the opportunity to see how the pastry would hold up when baked with a part liquid, part solid filling.

After some internet trawling I found a Martha Stewart recipe, which I duly adjusted to my gluten and dairy free and slightly lazy style. 

This apple and blackberry pie requires one recipe quantity of the ‘Whatever’s Left Pate Sucree’, with some adjustments.

-Where it states unsalted butter, I use a dairy free alternative called OlivanI available here in New Zealand.

-Where it states one tsp Xantham gum, I just use two of Guar gum as I don’t like the resulting after effects of using Xantham gum.

-Also, where it states to melt the butter, I just rub in the Olivani (as one would a normal pastry) 

Other than that, make as per normal up to the point where you wrap it and refrigerate for two hours. I would suggest dividing it into two circular portions for wrapping for ease when you need to roll it out.

Once you are ready to make your pie, roll out the pastry between two sheets of baking paper or glad wrap as it is much tidier, and easier to move into the pie dish.

I use a 9″ metal flan dish with removable bottom, but have also used a disposable tinfoil pie dish, I prefer the flan dish. The pastry is enough to make a top and bottom for this pie, or if you prefer, a lattice top, (with some careful handling). I recommend after any work with the pastry, putting it back into the fridge or freezer to keep it nice and cold. 

When it is rolled and you have successfully lined your pie dish, put it back in the fridge to keep it nice and cold until you are ready to add the filling below.

Roll the top out as well and refrigerate as above. Continue reading