Friday, April 13, 2012

{ challenges }

We've been faced with some challenges of late with our youngest daughter, she already had some food intollerances, but at the end of last year following an illness her ability to tolerate even the basic building block foods was destroyed, so she is on an extremely limited diet and this has come with it's challenges so I've had to resort to getting very creative in the kitchen and come up with the following recipes. She is on a specialised formula to ensure that she is getting all the necessary elements, along with rice, buckwheat, quinoa and we are in the process of trialing rhubarb and beef is next on the list, so as you can see it is very limiting!

So here is the first of a few recipes that I have devised to ensure that she keeps getting a range of textures and doesn't develop aversions to eating different foods.

{Elecare Custard}

(we are using Vanilla Elecare for 1+ years)


3 Scoops of Elecare
2 Scoops of rice flour (use a spare scoop from a old tin of Elecare so you don't contaminte the formula)
180ml of water
* If you don't use the Vanilla Elecare, you can add in Vanilla Essence (I would not recommend the Vanilla Extract as it has alcohol in it)

  1.  Premix the Elecare, I use some Avent cups I have that I used when expressing EBM.
  2.  Place the Rice flour into a saucepan and slowly add the Elecare to form a paste and continue adding and whisking until combined, then heat, use a small element or flame
  3. Continue to whisk until it thickens, don’t step away from it as it can go from runny to think very quickly especially the higher you have the heat
  4. You will notice that as it gets close to thickening a white smoke/steam will rise from the pot, so don't step away!
  5.  It thickens a bit more once cooled and if you don’t cover it, it will form a skin on top quite quikly to best to cover it as soon as you can.
 I've tried cooking this in the microwave but it just doesn't seem to thicken, so old school on the stove is the best way.

{Baked Egg and Elecare Custard}

(we are using Vanilla Elecare for 1+ years)


180ml of water and 2-3 scoops of Elecare depending on the strength that can be tolerated
1 large egg (we use free range eggs only)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C
  2. Boil a kettle with 2-4 cups of water
  3. Beat egg until light and fluffy with a fork, I used a Tupperware Milkshake Shaker
  4. Add in the water and Elecare and beat well until combined and all Elecare is dissolved
  5. Place the mixture into an oven proof bowl, I used a small glass Pyrex bowl about 15cm across
  6. Place the bowl in the centre of a large baking dish and fill the dish with the boiled water to 1/2-3/4
  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes
  8. Once cooked, it should still look a bit wobbly, but will have browned on top, take it out of the water bath and let cool and when cool enough place in the fridge
  9. Once chilled serve, it should be cooked all the way through and be a smooth texture, similar to that of panacotta. If it is not cooked all the way through increase your cooking time by a few minutes.

Additional options
  • If sugar is tolerated you can add 20grams of sugar to the mixture and mix until dissolved and bake as per above
  • Sprinkle nutmeg over the top prior to cooking
  • If you are using a different milk, i.e. rice milk, add in 1/4 teaspoon of Vanilla Essence

Thursday, April 12, 2012

{ homemade rice crackers }

Continuing on from here, I was recently insipred by a dear friend who is also having to make a lot of specialized home made food and snacks for her little Miss, she'd made little crackers using quinoa, so that she was able to give her a little snack food and something different with a bit of crunch.

Due to Miss 1 being unable to tolerate less and recently no longer being able to tolerate rice cracker she was previously eating either due to the potato starch or the small amount of sugar that was in them I had to come up with something new. So I set my self a challenge to create some rice crackers using only water, rice and salt. There were not recipes on the net so I had to be creative!

Initially I used a combination of rice puffs that I ground using a mortar and pestle, added some rice flour so it was a 50:50 minx, then a few twists of salt and water to make a paste like mixutre. Spread this mixture on baking paper, baking in a hot oven, turning over part way through and then finishing baking until crispy. This is the result:

The not so great rice crackers, scroll down for the great ones!

They were ok, they were crunchy, and Miss 1 would eat them sporadically, but after a few days them became chewy and not so great, you know the stuck in your teeth kinda food. So I had to come up with something new... and like all good ideas it came to me at 1am when I was just finishing up work, and as I wasn't going to fire up the oven in the wee hours of the morning it had to wait until the next day, but it was so worth it and the results speak for themselves!

{Light Crispy Rice Crackers}

Part 1. Preparing the rice:

1 cup of long grain rice
2 cups of water

Place rice and water in a medium saucepan and cook on a low heat, this is the absorption method for cooking rice, so you will need to keep an eye on it so that it doesn't end up sticking to the bottom of the saucepan. If you find that the rice hasn't cooked through enough with that amount of water, just add in small amounts, mix it through and continue to cook for a couple of minutes longer.

Part 2. Making the Rice Crackers

1 cup of cooked (absorption method) rice
1/4 cup water
Salt (I use a salt grinder)

Preheat your oven to 210°C (fan forced) or 410°F, and line a large baking tray with baking paper

Take 1 cup of the cooked rice, place it in mortar and pestle and bang, smash grind as best you can, it doesn't have to be pefectly smooth, I seasoned it with 3-4 grinds of salt.

Slowly add water and mix through the rice to create a paste, you don't want it runny, needs to be so you can spoon it and it not drip.

 Using approximately a heaped teaspoon of the rice mixture and form roughly 5cm across "crackers, no need to be picky. as they will change as they cook.

Place in the oven for approximately 15minutes, they will be starting to brown on the edges, but the rice is still soft in the middle.

Using an egg slide, gently lift the crackers off the paper and turn them over, you will notice they the underneath has a crinkled shape from the paper absorbing the moisture from the rice. Place back into the oven for a further 5 minutes, if you want them crispier or browner just increase the length of the second cook.

The results, light crispy rice crackers, with no fat or oil, feel free to sprinkle salt on them or for a bit of extra flavouring you could also try chicken salt on them as well (but those with allergies or intollerances chicken salt often contains milk solids, garlic and/or onion.

Enjoy xxoo

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{ playdough }

As a young tacker I loved playing with playdough, my mum used to make it for us, it was always softer and much nicer that the tiny little tubs of plastic commercialised playdough on the market and even better we go to chose what colours we would get. We would sit perched atop a kitchen stool watching Mum measuring, mixing and cooking the dough. Then having to wait patiently as it cooled enough that we could let our creativity run wild and play for hours on end, cutting, rolling and smashing the soft dough into various things.

This year I made it for Miss 3's birthday party, it went into the goodie bags and funnily enough the adults were just as excited as the children to have it to play with.

So why buy  when you can make it yourself right at home, quickly and easily without even needing the cook top!

What you need for your NO COOK Playdough, this recipe is straight from the side of a container of Cream of Tartar, it's not special or amazing, with the exception I make it without using the cooktop, but it comes out smooth, soft and lasts for months.

~ 2 cups of plain flour

~ 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
~ 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
~ 1 cup of salt
~ 2 cups of boiling water. 
~ Food colouring ( I just used the basic Queens Food Colouring)

How to make it

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, until well combined
  2. Add boiling water* and oil and mix with a wooden spoon. (*Water must be freshly off the boil)
  3. Then as you can handle it with your hands, divide it into smaller portions and knead in the colour in on a plastic chopping board :)

For easter I altered the recipe to create chocolate playdough, and oh my does it smell divine! I whipped up a batch divided it up and filled little reusable plastic eggs. Although I recommend storing it in zip lock bags until you are giving it as these little eggs have breathing holes and it will dry out the playdough if not in a sealed bag. It is a great alternative to giving chocolate at easter, just remind the little people not to eat it :)

~ 1 1/2 cups of plain flour
~ 1/2 cup of cocoa
~ 4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
~ 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
~ 1 cup of salt
~ 2 cups of boiling water. 

To make it just follow the instructions above ^

Be creative  ~ Variations

Why not have some fun with it too, try these things:
When you colour it add a few drops of a corresponding essential oil for example:
~ lavendar with purple dough (may inadvertantly make child sleepy!)
~ lemon for yellow dough
~ rose for pink/red dough
~ peppermint for green dough
Glitter!!! When mixing spread the dough flat, spinkle glitter over the top and knead through the dough


This last for ages as long as you don't let it dry out (just like "off the shelf" playdough), I was actually surprised how long it lasts At the time of making my first batch, I was worried about making it too early for Miss 3's birthday as I didn't want it to go off before the party, I had little to worry about! As I just recently found 4 packets in a plastic storage tub that were left over from the party 6 months after the party, each had been stored in zip lock bags and were completely fine and usable, no mould or any nasties, they were just a little sticky, but 6 months old and not even refridgerated, this stuff rocks!

It can be kept in the fridge if you have room, best stored in a tightly sealed plastic container or I use zip lock bags.

And trust me you'll have just as much fun as the kids playing with this :)

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

{ chocolate brownies }

Welcome to my blog and where better to start than with something naughty but oh sooo good at the same time {chocolate brownies}! I was given this recipe some time ago when we began dietry restrictions for my youngest, I was craving something chocolatey and sweet and a dear friend with a little boy with a range of allergies, so they'd made changes to an original recipe and the results are a beautiful moist and chocolately gooey centre and a shiny and a bit of a crunch to the top.... mmmmmm


 ~   2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
 ~   2 cups raw sugar
 ~  3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
 ~   1 teaspoon baking powder
 ~   1 teaspoon salt
 ~   1 1/2 cups water
 ~   1/2 cup vegetable oil
 ~   1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C (350 degrees F).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water,   vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares. If you want them more crunchy and less gooey cook them for longer.

Dry ingredients ready to be mixed

Mixed ready to go in the tray and into the oven

The finished product

  • Add in a cup of frozen raspberries for a fruity change, you may or may not need some extra baking power to help offset the weight of the berries, it is a bit of trial and error with this one
  • Add in 2 teaspoons of peppermint escence for a mint chocolate brownie
These are fantastic, they keep well in a sealed container and don't need to be refridgerated.... ENJOY!