Monday, June 8, 2009

Frugal Foods tips and recipe June 8

Those with allergies/food intolerances have to think laterally to find substitutes for foods they can no longer ingest (that means devour, consume or eat, dear reader).
The average parent should be thinking laterally when it comes to catering for meals or cakes or parties (although most Victorian schools are supposed to ban birthday cakes/all cakes now *sigh*).
If catering for a party always ask for parents to remind/inform you of any food allergies/intolerances when they RSVP, even ask if they have any tried and favoured allergy-free recipes of their own.
The last thing you want is for the 7 year old's party to come to a crashing halt with ambos administrating an adrenaline injection to get a kids' heart started or inserting a tracheostomy tube through a hole they've cut in his/her windpipe to get the kid breathing again.
Yes, that is the extreme possibility but with rising allergies you cannot rule anything out, nor can you rely on children to tell you when they want to blend in and be the same as their peers.
And allergies are well catered for these days so don't fret if faced with several different allergies/intolerances.
This is where you'll find thinking laterally can have a flow-on effect to your cooking at home when vital ingredients are in short supply.
Dairy milks can be substituted with non-dairy (like soy, rice, almond milk) or fruit juices or plain old tap water, depending on the recipe.
Butter can be swapped with olive oil or margarine, again depending on the recipe.
Sugar can be alternated with honey, maple syrup, treacle, and fruit juice  depending on the recipe you're using.
If you're confident with alternating the recipes you're using then try to experiment (preferably on yourself before inflicting it on unsuspecting guests), otherwise check online or at health food shops for some fail-safe recipes and ideas.
If you've suddenly discovered you're out of sugar/SR flour/ honey/ milk, etc for a planned home meal don't go rushing down to the shops; stop and take stock of what you do have at hand and consider if anything can substituted for your missing ingredients.
Be flexible, sometimes it might mean altering only slightly some planned meal course or accompaniment to save a trip in the car to the shops.
Try typing the ingredients you do have into a search engine with the desired result ( ie - a search for "cocoa powder fruit juice chocolate cake" will bring up umpteen recipes using orange juice) this will not only give you a road-tested recipe but the measurements and other ingredients, with possibly other substitutes.
We should be looking in our pantries and asking "What can I conjure up from this?" more often rather than planning a meal and buying a long list of ingredients, some/most of which may sit unused in the pantry until they expire.

Coconut Ice Cream
  • Mash and blend 1 medium sized banana with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice until smooth, then beat in 1 cup of coconut cream and 1/4-1/2 cup of honey (or other tolerated sweetener).
  • Toss into a container and freeze.
  • Beat by hand twice more while freezing, serve with fresh/tinned fruit of choice.

Walnut Coffee Cake
  • In a mixing bowl sift 1 2/3 cups of brown rice flour, 1 cup of arrowroot, 2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder and 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon or ginger.
  • In a saucepan toss 1/2 cup of instant coffee (can be substituted with decaf or dandelion coffee) 1/2 cup of honey (or other tolerated sweetener), 1/2 cup butter (or milk-free margarine) and heat gently until all has melted and toss into the mixing bowl with the other bits.
  • Blend and throw in 2 eggs (or egg replacement) while beating like buggery for 5 mins then pop in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other preferred nuts (you can save your wrist and use a cake blender, you know).
  • Pour into a greased pan, then whack it into a moderate oven for approx.60 mins.
  • Allow to cool before removing from cake tin.
You may find that the 'alternative' recipes are the more tastier (and, sometimes, cheaper) version you prefer; look around, ask, and give them a try as some of the yummiest concoctions were once experiments like pavlovas, lamingtons, Melba toast, etc.