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Category Archives: GF

Not Ration Hobnobs

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Oh, hobnobs, how I used to love you, and then I was diagnosed, and GF hobnobs are not sold anywhere.  *Sigh*  Actually, it’s probably a good thing I’ve gone more than a decade without hobnobs, because they are so addictive.  That has come to an end though, because I recently tried out this recipe, and my oh my, are they good.  Daughter and I made them one afternoon when she was down with a cold, and they went perfectly with posset and tea.

Posset and home-made Hobnobs, the ideal cold remedy

Posset and home-made Hobnobs, the ideal cold remedy

I must admit that this is not a ration recipe.  225 grams of butter and sugar, each mind you, is a lot of butter and sugar.  To be fair, I did get some 35 hobnobs out of the recipe, so they will last us a while, I think, if we don’t go too crazy.  I do use a similar ration recipe, which I will post soon for comparison, but these hobnobs are noticeably sweeter and butterier than the ration ones (duh).

The only caveat I noticed with making these GF is that it is better to leave them in the oven ever so slightly longer, so that they are crisp all the way through.  Otherwise, they get a bit weak in the middle and fall apart.

Go on then, no need to despair about not finding GF ones, or not finding them at all if you live outside of the UK.  They do have oats in them, so that makes them somewhat healthy, right?


To deal with a cold…

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Our whole family has come down with the lurgies this week, but thankfully it isn’t too nasty of a cold.  When it comes to medications for symptoms, we have a firm “tough it out” approach, and we generally only use ibuprofen.  I have a stash of pseudoephedrine (the real stuff), which we use in dire situations such as plane trips and maybe at night, and a children’s nighttime concoction with a decongestant and cough suppressant for Daughter to help her sleep.  (U.S. expats take note!  These drugs are not sold in Europe, so we stock up when we can and dispense sparingly.)  Mostly though, we rely on rest and hot liquids, which actually works like a charm.

I have to say, though, our favorite lurgy treatment is a posset.  I came across this a couple of times in books before I found a recipe, and I must say, I was intrigued.  Once we tried it, we were hooked, and now it is a serious comfort drink for us.

Posset and home-made Hobnobs, the ideal cold remedy

Posset and home-made Hobnobs, the ideal cold remedy

It’s not very ration-friendly, given the amount of eggs, sugar, and milk (and the lemon), and I can imagine it was one of those things that people sorely missed during WWII.  My recipes comes from Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer, quite possibly one of my most-used cookbooks (baking book?)

For two to four servings, you will need

600 mls or 2 1/2 cups of milk, full fat is best

the zest of half a lemon

some grated nutmeg to taste

two to three spoons of sugar, to taste

one egg

To make the posset, heat the milk with the zest, nutmeg and sugar until almost boiling.  Then pull the mixture off the heat and let cool for a minute.  Beat the egg in a separate container, then slowly pour the beaten egg into the hot milk while whisking furiously.  The milk cooks the egg, making the posset nice and thick, but if you don’t beat furiously or pour in too much at once, it makes scrambled egg bits.  If this happens, just strain them out and follow the procedure with a new egg.

Pour into mugs or cups and serve to the suffering soul who needs it.  (Posset is apparently also a hangover remedy.)  For those with a cold, it goes quite well with freshly baked cookies and a movie…

What to do with an empty milk container

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Or rather, what to do with it before you recycle, throw it in the bin, or use it around the house for some mysterious purpose.  I know I can’t be the only person that dumps a tablespoon or two of water into the milk jug to swish out the last bit.  At any rate, I do, and this leaves a milk wash that can be used in any number of ways.  It probably doesn’t save much milk, but I figure it must add up over the course of a year or two.

So, what to do with this one or two tablespoons of watery milk?  The possibilities are endless, but here you go…

1. Any baking recipe that calls for milk, just dump it in to the rest of the milk.

2. Use in baking recipes that only call for a few tablespoons of liquid in place of what is called for

3. Dump it in to any cream soup, and finish off with regular milk.

4. Use it in making creamy dressings.

5. Use it in as a wash to top baked goods before baking.

6. Use it as a liquid for making a spread for sandwiches, for instance if making a flavored butter or cheese spread.

7. Dump it into the glass of milk.  I promise that you can’t tell the difference.


4 meals from one chicken

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For today’s Double Dip Monday, I want to share how I got four meals for three people from one whole roasting chicken.  I will be upfront and admit that Daughter and I don’t eat very much meat, so this might not work out to four meals for you, but the principles still apply.

To start, I roasted the chicken whole for our big Sunday meal, and served the meaty breast and legs with brown rice.  There was one breast left over, plus the meat that was on the rest of the bird, so I picked that off, shredded it, and put it in the fridge.  I saved all of the bones, plus the meat on the wings and back, and made cock-a-leekie on Monday by adding leeks and the leftover rice.  This gave me enough soup for two full meals for the three of us, if I added some rolls or scones and a few cut up fresh veggies.  On Tuesday, I took the leftover shredded meat, added in some random salad bits I had floating about the fridge and some actual leaf salad, and served up chicken salad with a balsamic dressing.  Then, on Wednesday, I served the leftover cock-a-leekie.

Given that I could get three to four meals out of the roasting chicken, I splurged and bought a free-range, organic bird (what I generally refer to as “happy hens”).  The upside was that the bird was so flavorful that none of us ate as much as we would have eaten if it had been a factory bird.  I plan to try this out several more times, just to see if it is one particular type of chicken or all happy chickens in general, but you can get several meals out of any bird if you’re clever about it…

Double Dip Monday – again

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Oh, I know it’s been a long, long time since I’ve posted anything, but things have been rattling around in my brain.  We’ve been ill off and on, plus the weather suddenly turned gorgeous, so we’ve been outside as much as possible.  On the other hand, I’ve gotten very serious about my grocery budget in this country, and have limited myself for the whole month by taking money out of the cash machine and using only that (otherwise known as the “envelope method”).  This means that I have been emptying my pantry and freezer of anything usable first, before going to the store, which leads to fewer trips to the store and more time in the park (ultimately).

Here was my menu for last week:

Breakfasts were either cheese and bread or eggs and bread, with some kind of mild coleslaw for a veg.  We’ve definitely entered the barren months between abundant winter storage and sprouting spring garden.

Lunches were always either leftovers or polenta/pasta.  Husband took either apples and pears or leftovers to work for lunch.

Dinners were such –

Monday was roasted root vegetables with rice, cabbage salad, and some bits of bacon and cheese.

Tuesday was red beans and rice (actually quite a good way to clear out the freezer).

Wednesday is the day when dinner has to be done early and has to be easy and reheatable, so it was hoppin’ John and cornbread (incidentally another good pantry meal).

Thursday is a day when I have time to cook, so I made vyprazeny karfiol with potatoes and parsnip soup.

Friday, oh Friday, you always sneak up on me, and despite my grand dinner plans, we end up staying too late in the park.  I had planned on lentils and rice with caramelized onions, but made it home only minutes before dinnertime.  To prevent us from going out for food, I made pancakes.  I foresee a lot of Friday pancakes in our future…

Saturday is a great day, because it is market day, and all of our meals are cobbled together from last week’s buys and this week’s buys.  For instance, we had cheese and bread for breakfast and lunch, with various leftover salad bits.  Then we spent all afternoon at the park with a bunch of other families, and I made a GF snack with pastry from the freezer and cheese and pesto from the market.  Dinner was another “we’ve been in the park too long and now what are we going to eat” creation of GF pasta, pesto and cheese.  (yes, it was close to the pastry, and no one complained because we were thrilled and tired from our long romp in the park.)

Sunday is another one of those days when meals always sneak up on me – all three yesterday, actually.  We woke up late because of the time change, fended for ourselves for breakfast, then came home late after mass, so I threw together a veggie Thai curry and rice (ok, basically I cooked rice in one pot, then dumped frozen veggies and a bottle of curry sauce in another).  The time change caught us again at dinner, so Husband and Daughter had toast with grilled onions, leftover salad bits, and some milk.  I had rice cakes and home-made Nutella.

I think I need to try a crockpot.  What do you think?

Another look at last week’s meals

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Wow, looking over my calendar, I can see that last week was complete and total chaos.  I must apologize to all you who are GF, because I didn’t eat much last week = ).  I had been away and came back late Saturday night, only to discover that Husband and Daughter had subsisted on bread and eggs for four days.  Anyway, here it goes…

Sunday was a monumental effort by me to use up the gluten stuff I had purchased but no one ate, like sachet soup and instant pasta.  So that was lunch and dinner, and breakfast was left over bread.  I couldn’t tell you what I ate, but it probably revolved around rice cakes.

Ditto for Monday.

Tuesday was a bit better, I think.  I made hush puppies and black bean soup for dinner, and lunch was GF noodles.

Wednesday was even better, since I forgot to go to the store, so breakfast was all eggs, lunch was more GF noodles, and dinner was instant Thai curry (from a jar that I picked up on sale and had in my pantry).

Thursday was more eggs and leftovers, and dinner was particular inspired – broccoli and rice. = )

Friday was a bit better, though we probably had oatmeal for lunch, and maybe breakfast.  Dinner was GF pizza, home-made, with love, out of some pantry items (pesto and olives).

Saturday was a pancake breakfast and hot dog lunch, as we had some little girls over for the day.  Dinner was (drumroll, please) real Mexican food!  They just opened up a taqueria around the corner from us, so we decided to check it out.  We stuffed ourselves.  It was amazing.

And that was our week in food.  Not very exciting, but still affordable (minus the Mexican).  Next week, we’re starting a diet, so things will be a bit pricier and a bit out of character for me.

Hope it helps!


How I make hush puppies

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As requested, here is how I make my hushpuppies.  Hushpuppies are a great way to add a bit of body to your meal if you are otherwise just having soup, so I tend to make them frequently in the winter.  I base my approach (loosely) on the recipe in my version of the Joy of Cooking, and I tend to just go along with whatever I have.

For three or four people, mix one cup of cornmeal (I have to use instant polenta in this country) with 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt.  Then I add in some herbs and flavourings, like garlic powder, dried parsley, dried chives, dried onions, pepper, chilli powder, really just whatever goes with the soup.  Then whisk one egg and enough liquid into the cornmeal to make the mixture stick together.  I usually use about 1/3 cup of liquid, added bit by bit, but you made need a bit more or less.  I also use either water or milk, or buttermilk, or water rinsed in a milk/ plain yogurt/ sour cream container.

Once the mixture sticks together nicely, shape it into twelve little balls or fingers, and fry them in a bit of shallow oil until brown on all sides.  I don’t bake mine, but I suppose you could.  I don’t deep fry them either, which I think is the traditional way.  Fried in a bit of oil works best for me, because it takes me the least amount of time and I can do it right next to the soup pot (and it saves on oil).