April 08, 2014
Recent Book Club Hosting
Recently, it was my turn to host Book Club dinner. This is a yearly event (as we have 7 ladies in our club and try to meet up every 6-8 weeks). It always takes a fair bit of planning and organisation. We have a variety of diet tolerances in our group - paleo, gluten free, health conscious and those that eat everything. So the big question is always - how to please and accommodate everyone's needs and preferences!!
I promised my book club the recipes for some of my dishes and decided to publish it on The Gift Loft blog, as well. If anyone needs inspiration for their book club or next dinner party, then these recipes may be helpful.
After trying many pizza base recipes, this one is my favourite. It works every time and is light and crisp.
(Makes 3 large pizzas)
1 Tbsp dried yeast;
2 tsp castor sugar;
1 1/3 cup lukewarm water (not too hot - about blood temperature);
3 cups flour - preferably, use High Grade Flour (available in the flour section of your supermarket);
1 tsp salt;
1 Tbsp olive oil.
Tomato Sauce for Pizza
Chop an onion and a clove (or two) of garlic, finely. Place in a saucepan and fry gently with a splash of olive oil until it becomes clear. Add a tin of plain, whole or chopped tomatoes (any brand will do, or, use fresh tomatoes). Stir and add about 1/4 teaspoon of sugar, salt and pepper to taste, a sprinkle of oregano, thyme and basil (or, use freshly chopped oregano, thyme or basil). Simmer for about 10 minutes, until it has cooked. Remove from the heat and use a food processor or a moulinex to puree the sauce. Cool. This step can be made a day or two ahead of time, or make a double amount and freeze half of the sauce for next time.
Pizza One: Buffalo Mozarella, in slices; Mushrooms, sliced thinly; Cheese (I like Edam and Parmesan but use your own preference). Add fresh basil leaves once the pizza is cooked.
Pizza Two: Chorizo Sausage, sliced (salami works well, too); Capsicum, sliced thinly: Mushrooms, sliced thinly; Cheese.
Pizza Three: Cooked Bacon or Pancetta, in small pieces; Cooked Chicken; Pineapple (you can use tinned pineapple); Capsicum; Cheese.
Be as imaginative as you want or, just use what is in the fridge. Another popular topping is Proscuitto Ham; Cheese; & Rocket Lettuce (add this once the pizza is cooked).
Chicken, Baby Spinach Leaves & Mango Salad
This suits a gluten free diet, the health conscious and anyone wanting a really tasty, fresh salad.
Juice of 1 lemon;
Grated fresh ginger;
1 clove garlic, crushed;
2 Tbsp fish sauce;
1/4 cup soy sauce;
Salt & pepper;
2 Tbsp brown sugar (if you do not use sugar, use honey, instead);
2-3 Tbsp chopped coriander.
Marinate tenderloins overnight, preferably (at least 2 hours, minimum). Place in an oven tray with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes on 180 deg C, until the chicken is cooked in the middle. Cool.
Bowl of baby spinach leaves, washed;
1 Mango, sliced in strips;
1 Avocado, sliced;
1 Spring onion, sliced thinly;
Cooked Chicken tenderloins (see above);
Lightly toasted 75g bag of almond slices (toss in a fry pan with a splash of olive oil. Toss constantly or they will burn. Remove from heat as soon as they start to turn golden. Cool.).
Mix the ingredients together. Add some more fresh, chopped coriander, if you wish. For gluten tolerant people, add some crispy noodles to the top at the last minute.
Dressing: 1 part olive oil to 2 parts balsamic vinegar; salt & pepper to taste; 1 Tbsp whole grain mustard. Mix together.
Gluten free and full of amazing nutrients.
1 cup quinoa;
1 tsp salt
500 mls cold water
Place the quinoa & salt in the cold water in a saucepan bring to boil, simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain in a sieve.
Mix the cooked quinoa with half a chopped telegraph cucumber; 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes; 1 cup of chopped parsley; 1 spring onion (optional).
Dressing: Juice of 1 lemon; 1/4 cup olive oil; 1/4 tsp sugar (or honey); salt & pepper. Mix and pour over the salad.
Caramel Crumble Slice
Recipe from Annabel Langbein "A Free Range Life" Magazine, 2013.
200g butter, at room temperature;
1/2 cup castor sugar;
1 tsp vanilla extract;
2 1/2 cups flour;
1 tsp baking powder.
Caramel Filling: 400g can condensed milk; 100g butter; 2 Tbsp golden syrup.
Preheat oven to 160 degC and line a medium (30x24 cm) sponge roll tin with baking paper.
Cream butter, sugar & vanilla until pale and fluffy. Stir in the flour and baking powder to form a soft dough. Press two thirds of the mixture into the prepared tray.
Caramel Filling: heat the condensed milk, butter and golden syrup in a small pot until the butter is fully melted. Pour over the slice.
Crumble the remaining base mixture over the top and bake until golden brown and set (30-35 minutes - mine took 25 minutes).
Allow to cool and slice. Makes about 30 pieces.
Serving Suggestion for Dessert: Slices and Chocolate are so much easier for dessert than dishing up a pudding or tart. Have the slice all ready to pop on a stylish plate, slice up the Devonport Chocolates Truffle Slice - this is gluten free, egg free and absolutely delicious. We sell Hokey Pokey; Berry Crush; Hazelnut & Plain with "Happy Birthday" or "Thank You" messages written on them with white chocolate - the perfect host or hostess gift on arrival at your dinner party!
Check out the beautiful and stylish General Eclectic Platter, shown in the Caramel Slice photo, above. The perfect gift for her, a mother or for yourself - at a great value price of only $20. We also sell the, very popular, Diva Set which includes the cake stand, platter and 2 mugs. A lovely mother's day gift! See our Mother's Day Collection for more inspiring gift ideas.
Watch this space for a delicious, very rich but super healthy chocolate slice - gluten free, paleo friendly, all natural (and, so far, loved by everyone who tastes it, despite it being healthy!!). Recipe coming soon to the Recipe Blog.
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