Welcome to Eat Well Every Day

Welcome to Eat Well Every Day!

I've spent years researching nutritional information, food ideas and recipes, because cooking and eating - especially with family & friends - are some of life's great pleasures. And guess what- healthy food doesn't have to be boring! It can be exciting and delicious!


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Saturday, December 17, 2011

More Gluten-free Festive Baking

I finally got my act together and made two batches of Burnt Butter Crisps, complete with the chocolate dollop on top. Here they are:

A colleague was talking about gluten-free biscotti, and I remembered I had a recipe for Christmas almond bread, which really is biscotti with an English name. Here’s the recipe:

Christmas Almond Bread

Like the Piparkakut, this needs forward planning, as the bread rests for a week before the final baking It may be too late for Christmas Day, but you can have it ready for Boxing Day, as something not sweet or chocolaty. Or as a New Year’s Eve nibble to go with the bubbly.

4 egg whites
125 grams (4 oz) caster sugar (superfine white sugar)
125 grams (4 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour, sifted
125 grams (4 oz) whole blanched almonds

Beat the egg whites until stiff, stir in the sugar, and beat well, like making meringue. Fold in the flour and the almonds.

Bake in a greased and lined loaf tin at 180C (350F), for 30 minutes, or until a skewer poked in the centre comes out clean. Turn out onto a cooling rack, and when completely cold, wrap in a clean tea towel or foil and store in the pantry for a week.

With a very sharp knife, slice the loaf as thinly as you can. Cut each slice into fingers. Spread on a baking tray and toast in a low oven (66C, 150F) for about 20 minutes until pale golden and crisp. Store in an airtight tin. These keep for a long time, unless all eaten over the holiday weekend!

Have a wonderful festive season! More good food ahead in 2012.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Gluten-free Christmas Goodies

I was all fired up for a session of baking Christmas biscuits – not cookies, because these spicy delights are crisp and slightly chewy, not soft and cakey. But I ran into a problem, or rather two:

1: I couldn’t decide between making the Finnish ginger snaps (Piparkakut), which recipe I pulled from someone else’s cooking blog a few years ago, or my daughter’s variation on burnt butter crisps.
2: I didn’t have all the ingredients needed for the Piparkakut, nor enough gluten-free flour and sugar for both. Drat!

So, instead, I’ll give you the recipes for both, and after I’ve been to the supermarket and bought supplies, I’ll post a photo of whichever Christmas biscuit I decide to bake. They are very easy to make, and both recipes work well with gluten-free flour.

These spicy biscuits are perfect as little gifts, or just another sweet nibbly on the Christmas table. I’m not sure if they’re suitable for Hannukah, but if they are, that’s great. They’re also lovely at other festive occasions, or just for when you want something sweet and spicy.

V’s Burnt Butter Crisps

½ cup (100 gram) unsalted butter
1 cup castor sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped into sugar, or 1 teasp vanilla essence
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain (all purpose) flour
¼ teasp cinnamon
½ teasp cardamom
½ teasp nutmeg (optional)
2 or 3 grinds fresh black pepper
pinch of salt

I’ve been calling these ‘burnt’ butter crisps, but actually, the trick is to brown the butter without burning it. Put the butter in a small, heavy saucepan, let it melt and continue to cook, watching the whole time, until it browns. Leave to cool slightly.

In a large bowl put the sugar and vanilla. In another, sift the flour and spices together. Pour the browned butter over the sugar and mix well, then stir in the egg. Add the sifted flour and spices, and mix until blended thoroughly.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on biscuit trays (cookie sheets) lined with baking paper. Put them about 2 inches apart to allow room to spread. Bake at 180C (350F) for about 12 minutes, or until edges are turning golden and the tops have begun to crinkle. Let cool on the trays for a few seconds, then remove and cool completely.

You can serve them plain like this, or go for the chocolate option. Alternatively, make one batch plain, one batch chocolate-topped and offer them together.

The Chocolate OptionMelt a handful of good dark, semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler, or a heavy based saucepan over another pan of boiling water. Take off heat, stir in an extra ¼ handful of chocolate chips, stirring until they melt. Drop a dollop of chocolate on top of each biscuit and allow to set.

Finnish Ginger Snaps (Piparkakut)

These take a bit of planning ahead, as the dough has to rest in the fridge or somewhere cool for at least 12 hours (and up to 2 days) before baking.

125 gram (4 oz) golden syrup or light molasses
2 teasp cinnamon
2 teasp ground ginger
1 teasp ground cloves
Rind of 1 orange, finely chopped
150 gram (5 oz) salted butter
150 gram (5 oz) sugar
1 egg
1 teasp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
500g (1lb, 2 cups) plain (all purpose) flour

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, then beat in the egg.

In a small pan, combine the syrup and spices and bring to the boil. Allow to cool slightly, then add to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and stir well.

Sift the flour and bicarb in to mixture and mix into a dough. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

Pre-heat the oven to very hot –250C (480F). Divide the dough into quarters and roll out very thinly (approx. 2mm or ¾inch). Cut with a biscuit (cookie) cutter into rounds, or stars, trees and other Christmas shapes, and place on a baking tray. Bake for 5-6 minutes until golden brown. Leave on tray for 5-10 minutes to cool before moving them to a cooling rack.

Nutritional value

These festive biscuits are not super healthy or brilliantly nutritious. There may well be microtherapeutic benefits from the spices. But they don’t claim to be super foods. Just cheery, spicy, seasonal treats from the Northern European midwinter to this year’s chilly Australian summer.

Buon appetito!