How to flutter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hello out there ,especially to a lovely young lady from South Africa whom I met last weekend at a Christmas fair,but neglected to get her name.I promised to put my personal Gluten Free flour mix in the blog for you…so here it is

150 gms white rice flour +

150gms brown rice flour [ or 300 gms Doves mixed rice flour instead of the first two.]

100 gms potato flour or better still starch if you can get it

100gms tapioca flour [or ground Gari]

100 gms Buckwheat flour

100 gms  maize starch

100gms Besan flour. or something else like Tef or extra brown rice flour .Happy baking. Fidela

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Flutter………or my attempt at FREE OF LACTOSE    butter..get it ?

A little while ago whilst attempting to make something as a butter substitute for my friend and HEAD EDITOR Stanna,I read somewhere that butter ghee was to all intents and purposes a lactose free substance,but anyone who has ever tried it will know that it cannot be used like butter can except for cooking with it.It also has a strange grainy texture which makes it unpleasant to eat as a spread.So I made some ghee by boiling a pack [250 gms ] of butter gently for 20 minutes after it started to boil,and then after straining off the caramelized lactose  i added lactose free cream and soya cream  and some salt and kept whisking it at intervals till it solidified.It makes a very adequate spread but I think still needs some work…I will post the recipe here and ask if anyone else has any thoughts on this subject.If you are lactose intolerant it might come as a relief from those dreadful margarinesImage  which are supposed to be lactose free and totally free of taste!

Above is the boiled butter being strained.Image

This is the first lactose free whipping cream I have ever seen and it is beautifulImage

stuff…so well stabilized you cannot over-whip it…believe me I have tried  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

and here is the finished product after blending in 60 mls of Milac Gold lactose free whipping cream,30 mls of Alpro soya cream and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt depending on taste.I still can’t get it to feel less grainy but perhaps you can let me know when you try it for yourselves.Thanks for reading my junk….Happy New Year everyone                     xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxFIDELA……

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Handy to Know

Unless you are an avid cake decorator you probably don’t have in your possession, a turntable, but if you do any entertaining at all, you will probably own a Lazy Suzan … so next time you want to decorate a ckake you will find it a lot easier to use your Lazy Susan … upside down as a replacement for a cake decorators turn table …… like so ………………

Fidela003

At Last the Cat is Out of the Bag

I would be kidding myself if I thought that anyone had missed seeing me post anything for the last few weeks, but all may now be revealed!!!!! I have been involved in a very hush hush project, which required my total silence.

The project was …..Stanna [Head ed] ‘s wedding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The whole thing had to be kept under wraps as the state of her finances [what finances???] would not support a traditional large [thousands of guests] wedding – so Stanna and Koullis had to make their arrangements very quietly and have a very short guests list, of which I was to be a privileged member. I qualified by making the wedding cake  lol , and somehow the happy couple managed to scrape together enough folding stuff to entertain about 40 people at a lovely old hotel called the Library in Kalavasos, a village which has been greatly restored and is not too far away from the village I live in.

I was very proud of Stanna, who has made it through months of pain and anguish after her terrible car crash which left her paralyzed . She even managed to wear high heels ! Only a few short months ago she was told by doctors that she would never walk unassisted again ………………. just shows you how wrong doctors can be … and how incredibly determined Stanna is . So I will not bore you any more with my ramblings … just leave you with a few pictures of what has kept me away from the keyboard.

Fidela.

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Cutting the cake

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Running the gauntlet of well wishers who throw Confetti and blow bubbles … and in high heels [her not him!]

 

 

 

 

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The Blush Rose

- The Anemone

– The Anemone

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The Peony

- The Completed Cake Topper

– The Completed Cake Topper

- The Completed Wedding Cake

– The Completed Wedding Cake

A Complete Tour of the Kitchen Part 1

A complete tour of my [not quite] perfect kitchen .. OR  

how to fit a quart into a pint pot!

It has taken me 20 years to reach this stage of workability … so don’t be in too big a hurry to set it all up over night!

Let us begin with the action part of the kitchen ie the cooker??????????

Mine is as you can see larger than average[ 80cms] because when I bought this one I was in the habit of producing lots of bread and cakes for my friends and neighbours. Strictly speaking I don’t need a cooker this wide any more but I am so used to being able to put two baking trays side by side on one shelf, and I still do the odd batch of bread or pies for my friends, so I would miss it if I changed to a smaller one .Besides it fills the space available,  and has 5 burners .. the only thing wrong is I find the back burners so close to the splash back that I cannot comfortably use large pans or a Wok on the back rings! Something to watch out for when choosing a cooker with plenty of burners! In the corner next to my cooker I try to house all my large tools,??????????003 (9)

so it is quite crowded. If you look at the above picture  [close up of behind the cooker] you will notice that I have a rail with many tools on it, but I have to go round to the right and have two more rails to accommodate all the bits .. and above the cooker [out of the picture] I have two more rails for small utensils. You will also note my seasoning round- about which just fits into the corner … thanks to my lovely friend Anne who found she didn’t require it in her kitchen in Cyprus … so gave it to me..exactly  what I needed. Also in view are my wand liquidizer  ..a tool I never can be without .. and my trusty oil pourer. This is strictly for cooking oil [sunflower] as I keep Olive oil in glass bottles in the dark where it will keep much better, especially  in this hot climate … but olive oil does not like light at any temperature .. so do not put it on a display shelf.

How many times in my life have I used the expression..” everything except the kitchen sink”…well we can’t do without one and here is mine…

Left side of the sink             Right side of the sink

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Not an expensive one … just a 1 ½ stainless steel sink from Ikea which I bought in 1993 and brought over from UK as large luggage when I came to choose tiles, pavers etc as the house was being built. You will note there is no draining board on either side and that in lieu of one on the left is a plastic tray bought [20 years ago] from a catering shop as a sandwich tray. Inside I use a plastic slotted  draining board to stop what I wash by hand from sitting in it’s  own drain water. I did this arrangement [no drainer] to give me maximum work space at all places in the kitchen . So when I am “in action” so to speak, the corner nearest the cooker is free to use and the drainer tray and insert get put aside until the washing up stage again. The other half of the sink, you will note,  has a washing up bowl which fits like it was made for that position. This enables me to have 3 “sinks”… one is removable if necessary. This was pure good luck as I really don’t like washing up bowls very much, however, the fact that this one actually fits makes me feel much better about using it. The taps on our kitchen sinks here are different from UK as we have a tap for hot water [the mixer on the far left ]as we are solar powered for hot water ,and the cold tank water is controlled by the tap head on the right of that mixer. The solo tap on the far right of the pictures is the  mains, drinking water tap. Because the mains water pipe to our house is too near the surface, in the summer we have two kinds of drinking water, Hot and Hotter!!!! So bottling for the fridge is something of a necessity. The cutlery drainer on the right side of this picture has a removable insert so the drain water remains in the bottom and cannot spill all over your work top [ a necessary attribute when you do not have a draining board to put it on].

Let us move on to the nice bits … FOOD ……to the immediate right of this area is my large spice rack which also has been with us for a very long time. I found it in Selfridges sale about 30 years ago and it was a rare creature indeed as it was just a lovely wooden rack with NO JARS ON IT! Being already an avid collector of such items they were the last thing I wanted. So here it is .. strictly speaking, I really should not keep so many herbs and spices in the light as they gradually lose their colour and flavour. But I love my spice rack so much I still use it with it’s back to the light to protect my herbs and spices as much as possible.I only keep small amounts in them and all the back up is in dark storage .. which I will show you when I get to it. The side of my spice rack is an ideal place to keep measures .. spoons and cups plus another faithfully old companion .. the nutmeg grater.

my small spice collection ed

the place for measuring things ed

the place for measuring things ed

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storing the nutmeg grater

Next we will be visiting a very important place .. the knife store .. but I think for today you have seen enough. There really is a lot of “Stuff” in my kitchen so I don’t want to wear you out.

Ciao     Fidela

 

I must be dreaming!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is 5.45 PM   and all afternoon I have been telling myself to write something in my blog today! Trouble is I could have sworn I wrote a post yesterday but now I can’t find it!So it must have been no good or I forgot to save it or something.I think I must be in need of Coconut oil to make my brain work better ….have you seen the videos on YouTube telling amazing stories of how coconut oil has changed peoples lives by seriously improving their memories?   Sets you thinking [if you can retain the idea long enough to give it some thought] Anyway the reason I didn’t get round to writing something here until now is that I find myself [yet again ] tied to the computer screen by trying to find Gluten free products to buy for Head Ed [Stanna] and researching the whole subject of gf cookery.I find myself pulled [like a big magnet] towards the subject to the exclusion of all else.What makes it worse is I will be going on holiday soon and then I will not be able to contribute anything for another two weeks.So bear with me folks..if there is anyone out there.Going to Sam and John’s Classic Car Inn annual mountain picnic on 12th so that should be fun.About 25 people or so head for the hills with barbecue equipment ,and tons of FOOOOD.

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Stanna’s real birthday

The reason  I have not been on my blog lately is . I .just have not had time…dashing here and there cooking for parties ,dinner parties and forgetting entirely to photograph what I was doing.In the middle of all this Head Ed   had a birthday…well you know how much work that entails!!!!!!!even though [god bless her] she actually made most of the food herself. She had a heck of a party ,and I hope, enjoyed herself on the night of her birthday  party at home and secondly on her official birthday here at our house.so I will just put up a few pictures from both events and will get back to you all with some more serious stuff when the weather here goes a little cooler [I hope]

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Stanna’s official Birthday

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Live prawns on toast!

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3 cold dishes..Bang Bang Chicken,Vinegared Hors Doeuvre,Cantonese roast pork

008????????????????????????????????????????018Happy birthday to you happy birthday to you happy birthday dear Stanna,happy birthday to you.

Fidela

A Croissant is a Croissant is A Croissant..isn’t it?

I’ve been at it again…

I have just been playing in the kitchen again! I don’t like making croissant as it is such a messy job,but whilst Head ed..{Stanna ] and I were out on the town last night at Mary’s Dinner club in Limassol..[Thanks for a great night Mary], the subject of Croissant arose and ..guess who “Loooooooves  “Croissant ? Yup …Head ed! So your’s  truly has spent a while head scratching and Alchemizing [does that word exist?] in the kitchen this a.m to see if a gf croissant is just a pipe dream or a real possibility. Sadly right now I am very short of the really expensive de-glutenised  wheat flour that has up to now been free of charge from my lovely friend at the Finax shop in Limassol.This flour [which comes from Sweden is so much easier to use than any other I have worked with..but the price is a big draw back…so I was trying to use as little of that stuff as I dare.So here is what I did……I took my old croissant recipe with me into the kitchen [this recipe came from a lovely baker called Sam who came from the Lebanon and used to work in one of the big bakeries in town where in those days [15 years ago] I was able to buy flour loose by the kilo,and frequently bought 6 k a week as I had a lot of customers for bread]  Anyway I digress…I weighed out some of the Finax white flour and slightly more of the Dove’s farm gf plain white flour and added a little gum,sugar,salt ,instant yeast,gelatine and an egg and a little goat’s yoghurt mixed with water..this is to replace the cow’s milk you were supposed to use..as my creations have to be not only gf but lactose free [cows only] as well.
When I had made the bread dough

Dough

Dough (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[ I made it like dough..not cake batter] it went in the fridge to rise [strange I know but that is how croissant are made] and then when it was ready I put a half and half mixture of Lf margarine and lard onto the rolled out dough and proceeded to pretend it was “normal” ……..well it didn’t work because when I tried to fold and roll [as you do for puff pastry]..it just wasn’t playing ball..all the fat ouzed out of the ends and then started coming out everywhere.So I was forced to throw the whole lot back into the mixing bowl and use the  dough hook to amalgamate the flour mix and the fat mix….as I did so I added  just a little pectin and that seemed to make all the difference..The dough came out of the bowl with a different feel to it..almost normal!So I continued as if everything was normal and folded and rolled the dough before putting back in the fridge a couple of times more.When I finished that stage I rolled it out one last time and tried to mark it for cutting..
??????????.not easy [but then nothing about this was easy!”]…Most triangles were long and skinny but one or too were too short and fat.So I cut them in the middle of the shortest side?????????? before rolling up to help spread the “wings” of the croissants….I have reasonable hopes for these but the finished product is going to be heavily influenced by the flavour of the margarine I used…as it is the only dairy free one I can find and is very soft it probably will not be too good…but we will wait and see.They are almost cooked and smell quite good……..they look very crumbly but as I moved them from one tray to another to change ovens I found that dropping one did not break it.So I tried a little of that one and decided the flavour was a bit odd and the texture made me believe more cooking would benefit the outcome…just a little longer.  Not bad with honey…no clart! Not too bad for a first totally unaided try!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Back to the drawing board………………….Fidela………………PS Since I wrote this page I have found 2 more lactose free margarines ..one is made with olive oil,and tastes quite nice and is called Horio..but is probably only available in Greek speaking countries?,and the other is a large tub from Carrefour which is specifically for baking and does not require refrigeration  until after opening…I suspect it is not going to taste good..but more later!
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English: Croissant, of unknown origin, associa...

English: Croissant, of unknown origin, associated with France. Cafés often offer Croissants for breakfast. Deutsch: Croissant. . Français : Croissant. 日本語: クロワッサン. クロワッサン. クロワッサン. クロワッサン. Italiano: Un croissant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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How I Made the Goat’s Cheese for the GF Lunch

I  never intended this blog to be all about GF foods, it’s just the the entire editorial staff [Stanna ] just happens to be allergic to gluten, cow’s lactose, and MSG … so I have to be sure when she comes around that I don’t accidentally kill her! So that is why some of the stuff here is gluten and dairy free…..when I say dairy I mean things from cows as sheep or goat products are OK for Stanna..

Like the Goat’s cheese I started yesterday morning! However, I am striving to make everything edible by everybody!!!       

I was very lucky because one of my Cypriot neighbours is very familiar with the goat farmers round here.So I asked if the village guy [who incidentally is the garbage collector  

English: The cheese market at Zakopane in Pola...

English: The cheese market at Zakopane in Poland, selling the local Oscypek sheep milk cheese. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

as well] still sold his goat and sheep’s milk [raw] from his house like he used to 20 years ago.So she went to find out what the score was and returned with the information that these days the farmers only sell their raw milk by the 26 litre churn! So what to do???I just wanted  a carrier full 4.5 litres to

English: Goat's milk cheese

English: Goat’s milk cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

try my hand at making what we Europeans know as goat’s cheese [the soft stuff].My neighbour went to see a cheese maker [home style] and had my 4.5 litre container filled straight from the churn as the cheese maker had collected it from the farm,and would not take any money for it…isn’t that kind?

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double muslin bag

So when she  got it home and gave it to me I immediately did my best to pasteurise it,and then let it cool to 45 C before adding a small amount of powdered rennet and some sheep’s yogurt along with 800 mls of Alpro [ “cream” made from Soya].After a good stiring I wrapped the container [to which I had returned the milk] and put it’s lid on tight.Then left it out on the counter all night to culture.

Next morning I was rewarded by their being clots formed in the milk.So I lined a large sieve with double layer muslin and gently poured the forming cheese through.I was staggered to see how much cheese I had made.I allowed the cheese to drain all day and at the end picked up the bag and squeezed it gently just to finish off.  

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cheese in muslin when finished draining
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put cheese in mixer and thoroughly blend with salt then scrape down before turning out and dividing for flavouring.

four flavours of goat ed

Finally I added the flavourings to my cheese as laid out in the recipe section of this blog.

Fidela..you never know what you can do until you try!