Tag: Baking

Salmon Bake (for fussy eaters)

salmon bake-1

salmon bake-1-2

My son is a bit over the rustic salmon balls I make, he has this dish once a week to keep the allergy troll away;  high allergy foods need to be given regularly, so you can understand how you can get bored with the same ol’ dish every week.

I came up with a Salmon Bake. This dish is quick and easy and you will most likely have these ingredients in your pantry & fridge.

Salmon Bake Recipe – makes enough for 4-5 small ramekins

  • 1 tin of salmon – I use John West Pink Salmon
  • 1 celery finely chopped
  • 1 garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 zucchini grated
  • 3 florets of broccoli finely chopped
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes chopped into quarters
  • pinch of salt
  • a twist of pepper
  • pinch of dried herbs (or fresh if you have them)
  • tablespoon of olive oil
  • 2 cups of macaroni or penne pasta
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs (I just use our regular bread and crumb it in the thermomix)
  • 1/2 cup of dairy free cheese (or dairy cheese if you are lucky enough to be able to eat this!)

Place the celery and garlic in a pan with the olive oil and saute, add the zucchini, salt, pepper and herbs, stir fry until the zucchini is translucent.

Add the broccoli and cherry tomatoes and continue to stir, until they soften, add the salmon (mash it up before adding to pot) and mix.

Add the pasta to the pot and mix through.

Place the mixture in a ramekins (for individual serves) or casserole dish.

For the topping I use a dairy free cheese – Cheesly, but if you are lucky enough you can use parmesan, I mix this through with the breadcrumbs and then top the casserole dish.  I then pop into the oven – on a grill setting for about 5 minutes until the top is golden brown.   Just make sure you make this in advance as it can be quite hot for little mouths.

My son loves this dish, and I  get to pack in a few vegies in addition to the fab omega 3 dose in the salmon.  Would you give this dish a try?


Vegan Hot Cross Buns

hot cross -5300

cross section of bun-5303

Last year I made my own version of hot cross buns, but this year I wanted to try something new, after a quick google search I found essjay’s Vegan version.

What I love about essjay’s recipe, is that the buns are light almost like Italian Panettone, and importantly very delicious!  I made a big batch for Easter presents –  for my son’s teachers, it took a bit of work but I wanted to give them something home-made, something special, to show my appreciation for their inclusiveness and understanding of my son’s allergies.

My son’s teacher uses cooking as a tool for literacy and numeracy and he (like most children) is happy to write stories about food.  The head teacher has consulted me along the way and I have used recipes from my blog (very handy!), from gingerbread,  pancakes, muffins and chocolate biscuits – all allergy free.  My son is having a great time at school and he loves being part of all the action, especially cooking and eating!  PS he is having so much fun he hardly notices that he is learning to read and write!

hot cross wrapped-5308


A special Trifle

trifle complete 2 (1 of 1)

trifle complete (1 of 1)

I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in my small part of the planet Trifle is a dessert that is synonymous with Christmas.  My Mother in Law makes a killer trifle.  If you don’t know what’s in a trifle, please let me enlighten you on our version; in a large glass bowl you place a base of sherry soaked jelly roll (sponge cake rolled upon itself with a jam interior), a layer of jelly (jello) with seasonal fruit,  a layer of custard and to top it off,  a fluffy light blanket of cream.  So with every scoop, you need to excavate vertically, carefully, so you obtain a little bit of all of the layers, and it looks like a riot of colour on your plate, very Christmas!

After a large Christmas Eve dinner, I crave trifle, not the plum pudding and brandy butter – although that is also very good.  But as you can imagine here in Western Australia, Christmas Eve temperature is forecasted to be 35’C or 95F – so I crave cold comfort food to cool me down.

Now my little 5 1/2 year old is allergic to almost everything in a trifle except for the jam, jelly and fruit.  Loving a cooking challenge, I set my self the task of creating an allergy free version of my much-loved trifle, safe for him to eat.  I have to thank many a blogger for helping me to accomplish this, so with each step I have acknowledged gratefully these wonderful cooks and chefs for giving me the inspiration and the recipes to make something special for our little guy.

Bobby’s Trifle – Dairy and Egg Free

Jelly Roll

This sponge cake is based on a Fluffy White Cupcake recipe from Shmooed Food; I have used this recipe many a time and it is a wonderful base for birthday cakes and is delicious and moist.  I made this cake in a flat baking tray, I was careful to only half fill it.  When the cake was cooked I used the baking paper to gently roll it – alas it did crack and didn’t do a smooth roll, I quickly wrapped it in cling film in its rolled position and put in the fridge.  For the trifle I just cut a slice and placed it in the bottom of the glass and placed a teaspoon or two of orange juice (to replace the sherry).

sponge cake (1 of 1)

sponge cake with jam (1 of 1)

sponge cake rolled (1 of 1)

Chocolate Custard

The traditional trifle has a vanilla custard, last time I made this it was not such a big hit with my son, who prefers all things chocolate.  So to guarantee a winning combination I made a chocolate custard.  I found a great recipe here by Veggieful.  After making the custard and before putting it in the fridge my boy had a taste, and of course he wanted to eat the rest of the bowl!

Jelly (jello)

jelly and cake (1 of 1)

The easiest part of the dish besides the fresh fruit, I used Aeroplane Jelly –  Raspberry flavour.


fruit (1 of 1)fruit in glass (1 of 1)

I used strawberries, blueberries and seedless grapes.


Typically trifle is gently entombed with fresh cream.  I was contemplating using a whipped coconut cream but thought about the heaviness of this for a little 51/2 year old stomach, so elected to do a shaved white chocolate – thank you Sweet William for making dairy free chocolate!

My son has witnessed the assembly of his trifle and now there is a countdown to eating this dessert as well as Santa’s delivery – “how many more minutes Mum”?!

A special thank you to all the people who inspire me – my son, my husband and my family, bloggers, readers, commentators, likers, face book friends, blog readers, thank you!  I hope you and your family have a safe and happy festive season, Charmaine x

And for my allergy friends – here’s to dreaming and wishing for an allergy free Xmas…..one day soon xxx


Fruit Mince Pies

fruit mince pies (1 of 1)

fruit mince with holly (1 of 1)

Image above: Fruit Mince Pies photographed near our Australian native Holly Shrub (only one red berry on the whole tree!)

I love discovering new recipes, and found a great one for Fruit Mince Pies in the local newspaper, you can find it here. Unfortunately because of the dairy and egg allergies  in our house I could only use this recipe as an inspiration to tweak my version of this Christmas treat.

I also thought I’d try out my new Vegan Shortening recipe – this is very easy to make and does improve your pastry markedly; it’s all about the food chemistry and the incorporation of air.   A must ‘go to’ site is Vegan Baking and the Vegan Butter and Vegan Shortening pages.  I used my mini cup-cake silicone baking tray to set my shortening in the freezer – you can also use an ice cube tray.

I added jam and black strap molasses to the fruit mince and dutch pressed cocoa to the pastry. It turned out very well!

shortening (1 of 1)

Image above: Vegan Shortening (home made)

Fruit Mince Pies
Short Crust Pastry Recipe
1 cup Atta Flour
1/2 plain flour
3 tbsp of chickpea flour (besan flour)
1 tbsp of coconut flour
2 tbsp of dutch pressed cocoa powder
2 tbsp of icing sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
150 grams of Vegan Shortening
2-3 tbsp of iced cold water

In a food processor, pulse the dry ingredients until uniform in appearance, add the shortening and pulse until the mixture starts to look like breadcrumbs, slowly add the cold water and continue to pulse until the mixture forms a dough ball.  Remove from food processor and roll into a ball and wrap in cling film, allow to rest in fridge for at least 1 hour.  After an hour roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper, cut out base of each pie and stars for tops.  I used a mini cup cake baking tin, but you can make whatever size you prefer.

Fruit Mince

  • 200g raisins chopped
  • 200g currants
  • 200g sultanas
  • juice of one orange
  • 1 tsp mixed spices
  • 2 tbsp of black strap molasses brown sugar
  • 1 apple, peeled and grated
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 40g coconut oil melted
  • 50g jam – strawberry

Mix all the ingredients together and place in an air tight container, best to do this first thing in the morning to give the fruit a chance to absorb the liquid.

To make up the fruit mince pies, cut out the base from the pastry, place a spoonful of mince in each pie, garnish with a pastry star and bake in a moderate/hot over around 180’C for around 10 minutes.

If you have any fruit mince over, you can place it in an airtight jar in the fridge for about a week or so.


Run, run, as fast as you can

 You can’t catch me, I’m the gingerbread man
I’m the gingerbread man and I’m out of the pan!

Got him!

It’s always fun to bake gingerbread, and as you can see my son loves them!  He couldn’t wait to take a bite out of this one, albeit he was competing with a blow-up crocodile!

Gingerbread Recipe

125 grams (4 ounces) of non dairy margarine or coconut oil

1/2 – 3/4 cup of brown sugar

1/4 of molasses or golden syrup

2 1/2 cups of plain flour sifted

2 teaspoons of powdered ginger

1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Mix the non dairy margarine/coconut oil with the sugar until creamy, add the molasses, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda.  Mix until a smooth dough is formed.  Let it rest in the fridge for about 15 minutes.  Roll out the dough – you can do this between sheets of non stick paper, if you are a bit anxious about rolling this will make it a snap.  Roll out to about 5mm or a 1/4 inch thick, cut out your shapes with a cookie cutter and bake in a preheated oven of about 190’C (or 375’F) for 8-10 minutes until cooked.

To ice you can be as precise or rustic (see my gingerbread!) as you like!  I used organic raw sugar milled in my Thermomix to a fine powder and just added a tiny bit of water, and for the final touch we added currants.



I love crackers, I tend to buy them and have never ventured into the world of making my own.  Thanks to the Daring Baker’s July Challenge, I have just made my first batch!

Our Daring Baker’s host this month, was Dana McFarland, she shared some techniques for making crackers and encouraged us to use our creativity and the ingredients we love.

The ingredients I love are spices and herbs so I was really pleased to find an Indian recipe for Nippatu.  If you are game you could stick to the original recipe and add a fresh green chilli or two!


  • 1 cup of plain flour
  • 1 cup of Atta flour (whole-wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 large onion finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 handful of fresh coriander finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of dairy free margarine
  • 120 ml of canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 20 ml of rice milk to brush biscuits


Sift the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients (but not the water at this stage), gently combine and slowly add the water to make a firm dough.  Let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the dough evenly and thinly, press out crackers with a cookie cutter, make indents with a fork on each cracker, place on a cookie baking tray, lightly brush each cracker with rice milk, place in pre-heated (fan-forced) oven at around 150′ C,  turn tray 180′ after 10 minutes and then further cook for another 6 minutes.  When crackers are cooled place a light sprinkle of sea salt on top.  Eat straight away or store in an air tight container for up to 3 days.

Makes approximately 30 crackers.


Slice of (icy) Heaven

Think double choc-chip, a crispy molten indulgence, teamed with creamy vanilla infused strawberry ice-cream, then to finish the experience a layer of fresh strawberries…heaven in a mouthful?  Definitely!

This adventure into icy treats has been a challenge, I don’t do cookies!  But, luckily for me the stars must have aligned and the cookies turned out beautifully.

Next stop was making the ice cream, no sweat, we make strawberry ice cream all the time; you can find it here.

To form the sandwich/slice I used food preparation rings, they are quite tall so you could do several layers: what a wicked indulgence that would be!  Just put them in the freezer, for a few hours, pop out the ice-cream sandwich from the ring, and you are ready to enjoy!

This treat was made for the little muse in my life, my son, so it is dairy and egg free;  a new food sensation for him – the joy of ice-cream sandwiches!

My son misses out on quite a few things because of his allergies, my mission is to convert recipes, think outside of the box and come up with alternatives that are tasty, delicious and importantly provide him with wonderful memories of (home-made) childhood treats.

By the way, the cookie recipe is from one of my favourite Bakers – Erin McKenna, her book titled “Babycakes” is a must have.


babycakes divine!

It is not surprising that I have turned to my Vegan friends for baking inspiration and I am so pleased to tell you that I have found what I have been searching for, intro (this is worth a drum roll or two):  “Babycakes, Covers the Classics” & “Babycakes” by Erin Mc Kenna.  Erin is a vegan baker and her cookbooks are a feast for the eyes!  Erin has bakeries in New York City and Los Angeles;  these establishments have cult status and if I lived in the U.S.,  I would move into  their neighbourhood, or preferably next door to one!

Erin’s personality shines through the cookbooks, this woman is passionate and loves what she does.  I recently saw a video of her making donuts, and she talked about how ideas /  inspiration for her recipes came to her when she meditates – no wonder her cakes are heavenly!

The difference in her recipes is that she goes through and explains the importance of measuring correctly, having the right ingredients and also provides ‘rules for substitutions’ (for those that have food sensitivities or allergies to some ingredients).

There are amazing array of goodies and I so enjoyed pouring over the books with my son, and allowing him the delight and excitement of picking something to make, of course he picked the most decadent of the lot, the ‘Black-And-White’ Cookies.  This recipe was simple enough to make, however the icing was tricky!

What does Erin use that I haven’t been using?

  • Xanthum Gum;
  • Chickpea & Fava Bean Flour *- because Erin likes to ensure that sweet treats should have some (protein) substance to them;
  • Potato Starch;
  • Agave Nectar;
  • Rice Flour;
  • Spelt Flour;
  • Coconut Oil – now be careful here it is a particular sort that she recommends.

So far, I have made the cookies, the chocolate muffins and the pancakes – next baked horizon is the donuts….stay tuned!

*I have found a stockist in Australia for this flour, however, it is produced in a factory where almond meal is also processed.  If you have no problem with this you can leave me a comment and I will send you the link!

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