Friday, November 20, 2009

Mango and Coconute Cake - Gluten Free from The Great Outdoors TV show

A wonderful Gluten Free cake from Better Homes and Gardens show that aired tonight


Arrowroot flour
Desiccated coconut
Gluten Free flour
3/4 cup of pureed Mango
Coconut cream
200g Margarine
2 cups Sugar
Juice of a lime
5 Eggs
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup arrowroot
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
2 1/2 cups of gluten free flour
1 cup orange and mango juice
1/2 cup of caster sugar (for syrup)
2 cups caster sugar (for glaze)
  1. Scoup the flesh from a ripe mango and puree. You'll need about  3/4 of a cup of puree
  2. 200g margarine and 2 cups of sugar. Beat until light and creamy
  3. Add wet ingredients of Coconut cream, juice of a lime and 5 eggs. Beat it thoroughly.
  4. Fold in more dry ingredients - 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, 1/2 cup arrowroot, 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda, 2 1/2 cups of gluten free flour. Stir together gently.
  5. Stir in your mango puree and pour the cake mixture into a lined ring mould. Spoon any leftover mixture into muffin pans.
  6. Bake for 170 degrees 40-50 minutes
  7. Syrup is made by mixing one cup of orange and mango juice to half a cup of caster sugar. Bring to boil. Make sure it is nice and thick  The sugar is poured over the cake when it is hot. The glaze to decorate when it is cold.
  8. For the glaze mix 2 cups of icing sugar with just enough orange and mango juice to make it turn.
  9. Whilst the cake is still hot pour the syrup over it as it is most absorbent at this stage. Invert on a cake stand and allow to cool.
  10. Once cool decorate with glaze, coconut and mango.
Sounds delicious!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dining out: Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St Wollongong by you.

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St Wollongong by you.

On Thursday October 15th I photographed the Opening Night of the new branch of Crust Pizzas in 53 Crown St Wollongong. I had a great time photographing the many patrons and friends and family of the Crust Pizza Bar owners, business partners and staff.

I was lucky enough to sample some delicious pizza (I am in love with their Mediterranean Lamb Pizza - Drool!) and they have even achieved what sounds impossible - the healthy, heart-friendly pizza that tastes delicious!

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St, Wollongong by you.
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St, Wollongong by you.

Costa Anastasiadis, (right, in above image) founder of Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, is proud to say that Crust’s six Heart Foundation 'Tick approved' pizzas were launched in early 2008 and reported to have up to half the fat and saturated fat of comparable pizzas from other takeaway outlets, between 50-70 percent less sodium, virtually no trans fat and each provide up to 80 percent of the recommended daily fibre intake for an adult. Crust's Creative Chef Peter Augoustis tracked down the best gourmet ingredients to create six of the best tasting and heart-friendly pizzas that are winning awards and fans around Australia.

Crust Gourmet Pizzas, Wollongong store opening night by you.

“We spent a considerable amount of time in product development to ensure that the Tick pizzas could offer a higher quality, healthier choice of takeaway to our customers while still tasting great,” says Costa. “The feedback we have had from customers has been fantastic, and awards such as this are further testament to the fact that there is a growing market in Australia for healthier takeaway foods..”
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St Wollongong by you.

Crust is located next door to the Oxford Tavern in lower Crown St and offers Gluten-free options for all pizzas. Most definitely the best pizza I've enjoyed in Wollongong and wonderful service from staff who are more than happy to provide gluten-free options for pizzas and really know their pizza .

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St Wollongong by you.

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, Crown St Wollongong by you.
Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, 53 Crown St Wollongong by you.

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, Crown St Wollongong by you.

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, Crown St Wollongong by you.

 More images from the night:

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar
53 Crown St Wollongong

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gluten Free Recipe: Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi

I made this recipe and it was absolutely delicious! 

Homemade Pumpkin Gnocchi
from Gluten Free Italian Cookbook
by P. Rigoli & E. Nicolaci

  • 1kg Sebago potatoes
  • 400g pumpkin, finely grated
  • 2 eggs
  • 400g White Wings GF Flour
  • Extra White Wings GF Flour for dusting
Serves 4 people

1. Place potatoes in a saucepan of salted water, cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until cooked when tested.

2. Drain potatoes, peel and place in a large bowl, mash until smooth.

3. Add grated pumpkin and eggs to potatoes and mix thoroughly.

4. Add flour to mixture a little at a time and work with hands until dough consistency

5. Dust bench with extra flour, turn pumpkin mixture out and gently knead until smooth

6. Roll into large sausage shape and divide into 8 pieces.

7. Dust bench again and roll out each piece approx 1cm diameter and cut into 2cm lengths.

8. Roll pieces on gnocchi board (or gently press over the back of a fork)

9. Cook gnocchi in rapidly boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil.

10. Once gnocchi floats to the top of the saucepan, cook further one minute, drain and serve immediately with your favourite sauce. Enjoy!

Note: You could substitute sweet potato for the potato to make it even more healthy. 

Recipe from the Gluten Free Italian Cookbook

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Laucke Easy Bake Gluten-Free Meals & Grains bread mix

There is nothing better than home cooked bread. I just love getting it out of the oven and tasting some whilst it is still warm. Heaven! So when I visited Woolworths and found the Laucke Easy Bake Gluten-Free Meals & Grains bread mix I was really excited.

Laucke  Easy Bakers Meals & Grains Gluten-free bread mix
The packet weighs 1kg and includes two bags of 500 grams mix. Since I only have small loaf pans I decide to divide the mixture up and make half a batch. It came out to almost two level cups of bread mix to which I added 180ml of water at room temperature

Laucke  Easy Bakers Meals & Grains Gluten-free bread mix

And this is the result!

Laucke  Easy Bakers Meals & Grains Gluten-free bread mix

One of the best tasting breads I've ever eaten, gluten free or packed full of gluten. Next time I will use a larger bread tin and leave it to rise more but what it lacked in height it made up for in taste. I loved the kibbled corn and the addition of sesame seeds (not in the pack) really added to the texture of the bread. I have enough for three more small loafs or one and a half large one.

The only negative is that I can't stop myself from eating it! This bread is so nice to eat you'll have to hide it from yourself.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Crust Gourmet Pizzas opening in Wollongong and offering Gluten free pizza options

I have just heard the news that Crust Pizza is opening a branch in Wollongong!

Here are a few of my favourites but take a moment to view their full menu

Chicken Breast Fillets Marinated in Tandoori Spices with
Shallots & crushed Cashews, topped with Mint Yoghurt
Medium $16.00 Large $20.00

Satay Chicken Breast Fillets & Spanish Onions,
garnished with Snow Pea Sprouts, Sesame Seeds & a drizzle of Honey

Medium $16.00
Large $20.00

Philly Steak
Black Angus Roast Beef, Roasted Capsicum, Fresh Capsicum, Caramelised Onions, Mushrooms, Double Mozzarella, topped with Dijon Mustard & Wild Rocket

Crust Gourmet Pizza Bars provide a choice of gluten free take-away options. Using gluten free pizza bases manufactured off-site in a dedicated gluten free environment, there is an extensive range of gluten free pizza varieties to choose from. We also have starter pizzas that can be made gluten free, as well as a selection of salads.

Gluten free pizzas are available in a medium size, and are charged at large pizza rates. When placing an order, please mention your gluten free requirements to the Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar staff, and they will be happy to discuss your gluten free options.

Crust Pizza Store.
Wollongong Store Details

Shop 105, 53 – 61 Crown Street
Wollongong, NSW 2500
02 4226 4479
02 4226 4473
Opening night Thursday October 15th at 6pm

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gluten-free Hazelnut Kiss Macaroons with Chocolate icing,
Recipe and photo by Better Homes and Gardens
  • 200g hazelnut meal
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Dutch cocoa
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped

200 grams hazelnut meal
200 grams icing sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

it all in with hands and work it into a paste with one egg white

then use lightly damp hands to form up teaspoon sized balls and put them onto a lined baking tray

at 180oC 7-8 mins

While they bake, make the icing
Pot on the stove, 1/4 cup cream to warm not boiling then add
100g dark chocolate chopped fine, then stir it all together

Once they have firmed in oven sandwhich together with chocolate icing so they 'kiss' like every good biscuit should

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Gluten-Free Pizza Restaraunts in the Illawarra

The list is fairly short so please take the time to add a comment if you know of a Pizza Restaurant that offers Gluten-Free pizzas or meals.

Figtree Gourmet Kitchen
"Figtree Gourmet Kitchen is the Illawarra's longest established wood fired pizza restaurant. It was first founded in 1998 by the Caroutas family and was taken over by brothers David and Andrew Ferri in April 2001. After running the restaurant for 3 years together, Andrew took over sole ownership in 2004, and currently runs it with the support of his wife Elisa.
Andrew has 19 years experience in working and running pizza restaurants, and has established himself as one of the leading pizza chefs in the area. This is shown by the restaurants recent honors in winning the Restaurant and Catering NSW ‘2009 Best Pizza Restaurant South Coast Region’ followed by taking out the ‘Best Pizza Restaurant Regional NSW ‘which now qualifies Figtree Gourmet Kitchen for possible national honors!
Much of this success is attributed to a great team of dedicated staff, lead by head chef Luke Pennial, who collectively share the same vision of Andrew and Elisa of providing a great casual dining experience. The ingredients of great food combined with great service help them achieve this vision, and are key components in the restaurant achieving its most recent successes, and on moving forward in the future.
Whilst appreciating these industry recognitions, the team at Figtree Gourmet Kitchen continually strives to find ways of improving their overall operation of the business."
      Phone 4226 6995

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm
Shop 2/47 Princes Hwy, West Wollongong
(under awning in the Figtree Cellar complex)

All Major Cards Accepted

Opening Hours
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm

Shop 2, 47 Princes Highway, West Wollongong
(Under the awning in the Figtree Cellars complex)

(02) 4226 6995

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gluten-Free products available at House of Hope Food Barn, Berkeley and Warrawong

Vanessa Pike-Russell Photography

[ Image: Gally from House of Hope Food Barn, Warrawong with some of the many Gluten-Free items available. Photography by Vanessa Pike-Russell ]

On my first visit to House of Hope Food Barn in Warrawong I was impressed by the range of products available and the wonderfully helpful service by volunteers in my search for Gluten Free products.

I was very excited to see some Orgran Gluten Free products including Gluten Free Pasta & Sauce with Rice & Corn Spirals with Tomato & Basil Sauce

Orgran Gluten Free Pasta & Sauce
Other Gluten-Free products fond on the day included Polenta, Corn flour, Rice, Gluten-free recipe and sauce mixes, rice and corn-based snacks, rice crackers as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and other household items.

Read more about this wonderful charity that offers budget food, groceries and free fresh fruit and groceries for low income, pensioners or people who are struggling.

They also have a Cookery class on Wednesdays and stock a large range of gluten-free products.

Two locations:


Berkeley Food Barn
Shop 5 Winnima Way, Berkeley
Open Thursday & Friday 10am - 3pm

Cnr of Shellharbour Rd & North Cliffe Dr, Warrawong
Open Wednesday to Friday: 10am - 3pm

Previous articles on House of Hope in the Lake Times local newspaper

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Illawarra Gluten Free

A directory of Gluten free products,
stores and online shopping catering
to people from the Illawarra.

Who am I?
My name is Vanessa Pike-Russell and I started this blog after realising that my IBD symptoms all stemmed from being intolerant of wheat and gluten. I was born with an under-developed pituitary gland (hypo-pituitism) and recently learned that it is common for the stomach to not develop fully and thus unable to process gluten properly. I would suffer from stomach pains, bloating, cramps and lethagy until I went on a low-carb diet in 2002.

When it was suggested that I might be sensitive to wheat I did some research and since then I have all but removed the symptoms unless I eat the wrong foods. It is hard to remember that there is so much wheat and gluten in all manner of products and not just breads and pasta.

I started researching gluten-free products and culling wheat-laden foods from my diet. When I slip up I pay for it - literally. Pretty soon I had an extensive library of recipes and links to online resources and decided that with all the research I was doing it would be best if I archived it and shared with others in the same plight.

I am no stranger to keeping a foodie blog, starting 2002 and active in the Livejournal Food communities before moving to Illawarra Food Reviews on Blogger in 2005.  I come from a long line of foodies and wanted to journal as much of my travels around Tasmania as possible share with friends and family. I decided to continue the tradition of photographing and journalling my gastronomic journeys when returning to live in Wollongong in 2002. In the past few years I had noticed a significant cause and effect between foods eaten and symptoms labeled as IBS which have now almost disappeared once I cut wheat and gluten out of my diet.  You can read my story about discovering my wheat sensitivity here.

I have provided an index of directories: books, flours, product outlets, recipes etc to get you started.

Why Illawarra Gluten Free?
I chose to focus on the Illawarra area because that is where I live - between the Mountains and the sea. From South of Sydney down to Far South Coast of New South Wales. The definition of the Illawarra differs depending on the sources you read but in general it consists of three cities:

Wollongong, Shellharbour, Kiama and also loosely includes the 'South Coast' including areas such as Berry, Nowra and Kangaroo Valley

Illawarra Restaurants with Gluten Free Items

Know of a Gluten-Free Brand, Product, Food store, Cafe or Restaurant that isn't listed? Please contact me at and I will update our articles, links and tags.

Gluten Free Recipe Directory

Gluten free recipes

Recipes by Select Health Foods

Almond Recipes
Barley Flour Recipes
Barley Recipes
Besan Flour Recipes
Bread Machine Recipes
Bread Recipes
Brown Rice Flour Recipes
Buckwheat Flour Recipes
Carob Recipes
Chickpea Recipes
Cornflour/Cornmeal Recipes
Flour Recipes
Four Substitute Recipes
Glucose Syrup Recipes
Millet Recipes
Polenta Recipes
Potato Flour Recipes
Rice Flour Recipes
Rice Recipes
Rice Syrup Recipes
Semolina Recipes
Soya Bean Recipes
Soya Flour Recipes
Tahini Recipes
Wheat and Gluten Free Recipes

Gluten Free Brands

Friday, August 28, 2009

10 Must-have Gluten Free books

Since my first days researching gluten-free alternatives I've found a lot of information online but it can be overwhelming. It helps to have access to some great books which help to break things down into simple to understand information and some great recipes. Here are some of my favourite books. Some of them are available in the Shellharbour, Kiama and Wollongong City libraries. If your library doesn't stock the book you want you can fill out a card and request they order them in. You will then be notified when the image is available for loan.

My favourite book at the moment is:

Is it Gluten-Free? An A-Z of Things Gluten-Free.(Book review): An article from: Nutrition & Dietetics: The Journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia by Kim Faulkner-Hogg
Buy new: $9.95

I believe in the KISS method - Keep It Simple, Stupid - and with this book it helps to simplify things and give you a framework to build upon with further research. A great book to share with someone new to the gluten-free lifestyle or for a family member who has no idea why you'd want to reduce gluten from your diet or what are the hidden gluten ingredients in everyday cooking.

Another favourite is Living Gluten-Free for DUMMIES. Practical, delicious ways to manage a gluten-free diet. Much like the above book, it helps to have information presented in a simple and concise manner so that you can 'say goodbye to gluten and say hello to good health'.
Living Gluten-Free For Dummies (For Dummies (Health & Fitness)) by Danna Korn
Buy new: $13.59 / Used from: $7.98
Usually ships in 24 hours
Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts
Buy new: $12.21 / Used from: $10.32
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Gluten-Free Quick & Easy: From Prep to Plate Without the Fuss - 200+ Recipes for People with Food Sensitivities by Carol Fenster
Buy new: $12.89 / Used from: $10.50
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The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival GuideThe G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck
Buy new: $16.49 / Used from: $13.92
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The Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free RecipesThe Gluten-Free Vegan: 150 Delicious Gluten-Free, Animal-Free Recipes by Susan O'Brien
Buy new: $13.22 / Used from: $9.76
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1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster
Buy new: $23.10 / Used from: $19.51
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The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Comfort Foods: Creating Old Favorites with the New Flours by Bette Hagman
Buy new: $12.92 / Used from: $7.56
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Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can TooGluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too by Shauna James Ahern
Buy new: $10.17 / Used from: $10.11
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You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free!: 500 Delicious, Foolproof Recipes for Healthy LivingYou Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free!: 500 Delicious, Foolproof Recipes for Healthy Living by Roben Ryberg
Buy new: $17.12 / Used from: $11.85
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If you know of a book on gluten-free diet please leave a comment with a short blurb and I'll add your review to the site with credit.

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