rubiks cubes shortbread cookies

gluten-free shortbread cookie. rubiks cube cookieNot going to lie…

I made these cookies look like Rubik’s Cubes just so I could laugh.

My motivation to make a fantastic gluten-free shortbread today came from a very practical place. You see, it’s imperative for every baker to have an amazing shortbread recipe in their repertoire. It’s such a versatile cookie that its possibilities are endless. Not to mention that if you’re gluten-free, your search for a good recipe may not have been the easiest so I wanted to offer you peace of mind.

Also, I keep saying I’m going to post one up so I’m just trying to keep my word.

As for making gluten-free Rubik’s Cube cookies

…well, there’s no explanation.

I literally sat looking at my discs of chilled shortbread dough & all of a sudden I decided I wanted to laugh.

Yea, my job makes me laugh all the time. There’s nothing like building a fondant world to get your abs aching from all the giggling. Mel just looks at me like I’ve lost the plot when he catches me at my work space giggling all by my self.

So there you have it. My inner child took over today & this is the results.

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champagne & strawberry cupcakes

I’m ashamed so say someone asked me to put up a recipe for strawberry & champagne cupcakes months ago….. and I’ve been procrastinating.

It would seem every time I got even close to making them, I had a craving for something else. Something different.

Then, by chance, I found a whole bunch of frozen strawberries at my local grocers & finally I found the inspiration. It first took the form of a strawberry puree, you know, the one I went on & on & on about a week ago. I don’t know why but that alone made me happy. After that, well, let’s just say I made more cupcakes than we could eat.

Let’s see, the first batch didn’t rise correctly because someone (me) forgot to put in the rising agent.

The second batch, I found mauled & decapitated by a stray cat that we’ve affectionately named Ninja… she’s decided that we belong to her on a part time basis & now insists on teasing Loki, our 2 month old German Shepherd. Yea, can’t say I was pleased when I found her on the kitchen counter with pink cake stuck to her fur & claws.

…..and then finally we made it to the third batch. The rose, I managed to save them from Ninja, and Mel didn’t manage to eat them all before I could snap a shot. Not bad huh?

They were so moist. So deliciously moist. & flavorful. I think I may need to make a cake variation. Not now though.

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lemon & coconut squares – gluten free

gluten-free

We’re back to lemons again. Lemon bars too for that matter. I’m calling them “squares” this time though, just to ensure that you know they are different.

It’s summer, at least it is here. 32°C outside more than counts as beautiful summer weather. With the weather change comes a change in cravings. People stop going for the heavy, dense, comforting flavors of winter that warm them from their toes into their souls. Instead, we crave fresh, light, fruity flavors that scream “I’ve been grown in the sunshine!!!!! Eat me!“.

Actually, come to think of it, all the flavors I’ve put in here remind me of my past.

Drinking coconut milk out of coconuts we cracked open ourselves on the beach in Dubai. Picking wild blueberries on our farm in Montreal. The smell of the newly blossomed flowers on the lemon trees in our back garden here in Greece. Each & every smell & taste just flood me with memories.

Yea, I think these lemon, coconut & blueberry squares just flood me with happiness right now.

I hope they make you as happy as they’ve made me.

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banana & chocolate loaf – gluten free

Please bear with us as we are experiencing some technical difficulties.

The transition of slowly moving the blog over to the gluten-free side of life is coming with some minor hiccups (a.k.a. failed recipes… not this one though).

Oh yea, and here’s the official announcement: (Aside from designed work), http://www.whateversleft.org is transitioning slowly, slowly to becoming a gluten-free happy place.

I should probably tell Mel this too actually. Hmm, maybe I should have told him first. He’s been wonderfully supportive of this new life style change though so I’m certain he’ll be on-board.

As of yet, I’m still kind of stumbling in the dark & desperately trying to find my footing. All considered though, I’m doing pretty well.

Here are some more key points I’ve learnt:
1. always remind yourself that gluten-free will never be like regular baking. If you can keep that in mind, you’ll accept this new world gracefully. If you can’t, you’ll live in misery comparing everything to their gluten-overloaded-equivalents.
2. if you live in Greece (like me), your options are very, very limited. Get creative. You’ll notice that most of my substitutions for flour will be some form of ground nut, this is because I have one option to gluten-free flour & I don’t even know what it’s made of. Seriously.
3. if you’re somewhere like the UK//USA, you can get really creative with flour blends & adding gums to your blends to mimic normal flour. Look into: tapioca, corn, rice, quinoa flours… you might be surprised.
4. if any one wants to ship me a kilo of each of those, HELLO! I am very down with people’s sympathetic charity right now. Seriously, when I say limited… the flour turns black when water is added to it. That just aint right!
5. don’t over compensate with more egg if you’re trying to turn a regular cake recipe into a gluten-free one, it just turns out rubbery.

So, now that we’ve got that out-of-the-way, I think I should also inform you that I’ve had an uber craving for bananas & chocolate. Actually, we had this banana chocolate loaf ordered by one of our customers at work, and ever since that I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wanted it.

I did the only logical thing. I altered the recipe & made it something I could eat. What else was I going to do, deny my craving? That’s preposterous.

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strawberry, pistachio & mascarpone tart – gluten free

gluten free

I’m really trying to embrace the gluten-free thing. Some days are a piece of cake (not literally unfortunately). Others are torturous. And some just really seem unfair. Still, we make the best of what we’ve got, right?

Here has what being gluten-free has taught me so far:
1. eating out is a pain
2. no more beer (this has to be the hardest to deal with yet)
3. always read the label
4. gluten-free pasta tastes like rubber
5. gluten free pizza is extra crispy
6. and gluten-free tart shells? Well, they are kind of fantastic.

For the first time in my baking career, I had the pleasure of working with black pastry dough. Of course it baked up much lighter, but the initial colour was this very dark, greenish-black that was flecked with tiny specks of light green, pinkish-red, and creamy yellow flecks of butter. I have to say, I think I really enjoyed it.

gluten free

In Greece, we aren’t very clued up on the whole “without gluten” concept just yet. Luckily for me I was able to find a single brand of flour in the grocery store that I could eat… but YIKES, it was 6 euros!!! For flour that’s just a joke. What am I going to do though, just put nuts every where? That gets really heavy.

In all fairness, I’ve been missing baked pastry so much that this was really worth the money.

…and the tart? Oh my goodness! Mel & I ate nearly the whole thing as soon as it was ready. He says he prefers the almond, ricotta & pear tart from earlier this week. Me though, I prefer the lightness of this one. Also, you can’t beat the combination of strawberries & pistachios together. It’s almost like magic.

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