If I was a puppy dog, I’d be pretty healthy right now, because my nose is so cold!*
In fact, I’m chilly all over. The weather has been (insert appropriate swear word here) freezing!
Admittedly, I spent the first 25 years of my life in a tropical country, and I whinge when the thermometer dips under 20˚C, but believe me, I’m not the only one complaining around here.
Of course, when faced with extreme conditions, my brain starts obsessing about food. Yours doesn’t? Oh…
Anyhow, I couldn’t stop visions of gooey, warm chocolate fondants from dancing in my head. You know, those pudding type desserts with the melty centres? I’d never baked them before, under the false assumption that they were very tricky to make. But a quick web search later, I’d found a recipe by a certain Mr. Ramsay, and it looked pretty do-able.
Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so I decided to make them gluten free and flavoured with ginger.
Mmmmm, they worked a treat, and exactly what I needed. They were warm, and oh so rich and chocolatey, with an extra touch of spicy heat from the ginger. A luscious warm ginger-caramel sauce poured over the top lifted it to “lick the plate” level.
I don’t think anyone would have guessed they contained no gluten. At least I think they were gluten free, since I wasn’t too diligent about checking the labels on the cocoa powder and chocolate. The thing is, if I’d accidentally allowed a bit of gluten into the pudding, my family and I wouldn’t have really been affected. Our bodies can deal with it, unlike coeliacs or people with a gluten intolerance.
Which brings me to the heart of this post. I was contacted by a nice PR person, who informed me that the Coeliac Society of NSW will be hosting the 6th annual Gluten Free Expo on Friday 6th August and Saturday 7th August at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. The expo is a free event for the public, and there will be gluten free products on sale, plus the odd tasting or two. You can also listen to informative talks and seminars, or watch live cooking demonstrations. Here’s the website for the event: www.glutenfreeexpo.com.au.
So put that it your diary for next weekend, if you’re interested in all things gluten-free.
Have a lovely weekend, and keep warm!
(Northern hemisphereans, don’t rub it in by telling me how it’s so hot the only way you can cool down is by lying at the beach all day)
*apparently this is just a myth, but I needed an effective opening for my post. Call it creative license.
Ginger caramel sauce
100ml pouring cream
a ginger chunk (thumb sized), peeled
½ cup caster sugar
a few tablespoons water
pastry brush for washing down
A few hours before, or overnight, scald the cream with the ginger chunk. Take off heat and leave to cool, then store covered in fridge.
When ready to make sauce, bring cream back to room temperature. A skin had formed over my cream, I just stirred it back in, didn’t seem to affect the final product.
Heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Shake saucepan lightly from time to time to make sure the sugar has melted. Cook over medium high heat until the sugar turns golden brown. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides, to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Do this as often as needed.
When sugar is golden, remove from heat, pour in the cream (remove the ginger chunk first), and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. If lumps if sugar remain, just put back over low heat and stir until smooth.
Set aside until needed.
“I think it’s gluten-free” Ginger, hazelnut chocolate fondants.
(These are the ratios I used, for the method, go here.)
The puddings weren’t as liquid as some I’ve seen, and I think this was caused by the hazelnut meal, or maybe it was the rice flour. But it still “oozed” beautifully, and there was definitely a contrast between the “outside” and “inside” of the puddings.
70g hazelnut meal (I bought this ready ground)
125g good quality dark chocolate (I used one with 85% cocoa solids)
100g caster sugar
30g rice flour
about ¾ tsp ground ginger (or adjust to taste)
melted butter for brushing
cocoa powder for dusting
glace ginger to decorate (optional)
Method: Follow the website link above.
Notes: When brushing the ramekins with the second coat of butter, then dusting with cocoa powder, best do this one ramekin at a time, otherwise the butter solidifies because of the cold ramekin.
Serve the fondants with the caramel sauce and a piece of glace ginger on top.