Monday, November 15, 2010


Another recipe that features Coconut Cream is Coconut Chocolate Mousse

1/2 cup Coconut Cream
75 g  dark chocolate pieces
½ vanilla pod, seeds only
2 tsp caster sugar
Strips of orange zest to decorate

   1. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, Allow to cool.

   2. Whisk up the coconut cream in a large bowl then carefully fold in vanilla, sugar and chocolate into the cream until mixed.

   3. Pipe into glasses and serve chilled.

Okonomiyaki - Japanese Pancake Pizza

Every year in October my husband and I travel up to Sydney for the Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park. There is something magical about being surrounded by people in the middle of Hyde Park at night,. The red lanterns illuminating the people and white tents of the many food stalls. Sydney restaurants from famous restaurants such as Bungalo 8, Chat Thai, Zilver, Efendy and my personal favourite Night Noodle Market fare - Japancake - Okonomiyaki.

I love Okonomiyaki which means"whatever you like, grilled" in Japanese,  which is like a vegetable pizza made with cabbage and topped with a rich sauce similar to hoi sin and home made mayonnaise. Absolutely delicious!


Pancake batter
3-4 cups cabbage; finely chopped
2 ½ Gluten free flour (I used White Wings Gluten-Free Plain Flour)
¼ cup cassava flour and ¼ cup water (optional)*
½ cup water
4 eggs
½  tsp salt (
Toppings - any of the below

1 cup diced chicken, pork or seafood
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup spring onions, chopped
¼ cup sesame seeds
1 onion, grated finely
1 can tuna or salmon (in oil)
Okonomiyaki sauce:
1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Soy sauce (substitute with Braggs Liquid aminos to make it GF)
1 teaspoon Honey

Sweet Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream and Black Beans

After indulging at the Sydney Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park (part of the Crave Sydney) my husband and I were walking past a Thai restaurant in Pitt Street, Haymarket and spotted this cute Thai taxi and a selection of Thai desserts in a cold bar.

Intrigued, I stepped closer and asked the patient waitress what each dessert was called and what the ingredients were.   Most of the desserts contained coconut cream, pandan or rice and were very tasty.

There were a few that I found a bit difficult to wrap my head around, including one which featured fried onion as a garnish. I will be sure to try it again next time I am feeling bold and daring a new taste sensation.  I am sure that given time I would acquire the taste for a savoury onion dessert.
There was one dessert which I was told is very easy to make and it was the tastiest. Sticky Rice with Coconut Cream and Black Beans. It's a little bit like Rice Cream we ate as kids but more grown up and garnished with Black Beans - a staple in Thai and Vietnamese desserts.  The first time I had tried this I was living on Campus at the University of Wollongong and sharing an apartment unit with a girl from Thailand, Taiwan, Canada and from Sydney. Patra Larpkatipanich (also known as 'Tip') would cook Sweet Sticky Rice for us and it was a great budget dessert for starving students with a sweet tooth :)

Read the recipe here

Thanon Khao San

413 Pitt St Map

Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 9211 1194


Thanon Khao San Thai Restaurant

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Almond Recipes: Marzipan

Another recipe with almonds is marzipan. If you've ever watched Cake Boss or Ace of Cakes you would know some of the amazing cakes and decorations formed out of marzipan. I found a medieval recipe for marzipan that I have added to my files and thought to share with you. Gluten free and a great addition to your desserts platter for special events. Commonplace Boke of Lady Avelyn Grene - Marzipan
* 1/2 lb blanched almonds, ground*
* 1/4 lb sugar**
* 1 Tbsp Rosewater
* 1 Tbsp water

Mix Ingredients for marzipan together. Marzipan should resmeble a dough - you should be able to mold it a bit.

*Using a food processor to grind the almonds is recommended. Also, the finer the grind, the more smooth the marzipan. Grinding the almonds to the size of sand granules works well. Be sure to not grind them to almond flour."

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal. Some marzipan is flavored with rosewater. Persipan is a similar, yet less expensive product, for which the almonds are replaced by apricot or peach kernels. In Goa (formerly Portuguese India) almonds are replaced by cashews. Many confectionery products sold as marzipan are made from less expensive materials, such as Soy paste and almond essence. (Source: Wikipedia)

Definition: Marzipan Wikipedia URL:

Almond Pudding

Almond Pudding | Photo by
I was reading some Medieval recipes and stumbled upon some desserts which used almonds rather than wheat. Almond pudding sounds very interesting and I will be making it this weekend. 

Recipe by Kristen Sullivan
* 1 cup almond milk
* 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
* 1/4 cup cream
* 1/2 Tbsp. rose water
* 1/2 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin

Heat almond milk and add cream. Add sugar and rosewater at simmer. When simmering again add gelatin. When thoroughly mixed, refrigerate for about 4 hours. When pudding sets (it will still be a bit thin to our modern idea of pudding), place in serving bowl and sprinkle with sugar.

Source: Greenboke: Recipes: Almond Pudding URL:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza: Costa Azzurra in Fairy Meadow just north of Wollongong provides traditional gourmet woodfire pizzas with a menu based on homestyle Italian cuisine. Executive Chef and co-owner Chris Stojanovski has devised a diverse menu that ensures an impeccable dining experience.

I was viewing the Country Life website and their list of restaurants and retail outlets in the Illawarra and saw that Costa Azzurra was on the list. It is great to see so many pizza restaurants catering for those requiring a gluten-free diet.  Make sure that you tell them that you heard about them on Illawarra Gluten Free. Azzurra is open Tuesday through to Sunday evenings from 5pm until late. They are also open for lunch gatherings 7 days a week for bookings of 15 people & above. Functions are available for up to 120 people with exclusive rights of the premises. For a dining experience in a relaxed, casual setting that is a family friendly environment and simply classic Italian food,  visit Costa Azzurra Woodfire Restaurant. For bookings call 4285 4520.
Woodfire Restaurant
71 Princes Highway
Fairy Meadow
Ph : 02 4285 4520

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Gluten-free friands from Gloria Jeans, Shellharbour

Last week I was shopping at Stocklands Shellharbour and feeling peckish. I stopped at Gloria Jeans and spotted their gluten-free friands made with almond meal.
For those who don't know, a Friand is traditionally made mainly with nut-meal, usually Almond, butter (melted at exactly the right temperature) and only a small measure of flour. Unlike the many oval or rectangular basic sponge cup cakes I see around posing as Friands, ours are the real thing - moist and long lasting. If you've ever eaten one of ours you'll never forget the difference. These were another example of successful in-house development. Based on a recipe from an old and treasured pastry-cook's "bible", all in French, Marc Spender - our R&D specialist at the time, developed eight spectacular flavours - I recommend the Lime!

The last time I had enjoyed a friand was from Out For Lunch at the University of Wollongong. They also serve gluten-free bread and a wide range of products.

It is great to see more cafes and retail outlets offering gluten-free options! Do you know of a cafe or restaurant that offers gluten-free options? Please let me know and I will add it to this blog and the directory of gluten-free Illawarra and Google Map.

Regards, Vanessa

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Lemon and mint sorbet

Continuing with the theme of gluten-free recipes featuring mint I just had to share this amazing lemon and mint sorbet recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller website newsletter.

This tastes just as you would imagine: light and tangy, with the lingering flavour of mint.

Lemon and mint sorbet

Serves 4
Cooking Time Prep time 10 mins, cook 5 mins (plus freezing)

220 gm   (1 cup) caster sugar
2 tbsp   coarsely chopped mint leaves, plus extra leaves to serve
1   lemon, finely grated rind only, plus extra lemons to serve (optional)
½ tbsp   liquid glucose
75 ml   lemon juice

1 Combine sugar, mint, lemon rind and 125ml water in a saucepan, stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Stir through glucose then lemon juice and strain (discard solids). Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve scoops of sorbet in hollowed-out lemons, if desired, and garnish with extra mint leaves.

This recipe is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller
 RECIPE Rodney Dunn PHOTOGRAPHY Jason Loucas STYLING Geraldine Munoz

grilled goat kofta with mint and yoghurt soup

Another brilliant Spring recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller newsletter.

“The love and patience that Guitta and Toufic (my in-laws) give to the mint they grow in their backyard wonderland of Lebanese herbs and vegetables, the time they spend hand-picking each mint leaf, laying them out on old bed sheets to dry under the summer sun, inspires me. 

Then there’s days of bending over buckets, hand-flaking the mint until it becomes a fine, bright-green pungent powder to be used in Toufic’s special za’atar mix and, of course, the nana, or mint, that is the soul of this dish. 
You cannot do this dish justice with old, grey, tasteless dried mint.” 

Shane Delia: Guitta Maroun’s mint
and yoghurt soup with grilled goat kofta

Serves 6
Cooking Time Prep time 30 mins, cook 40 mins (plus chilling)

500 ml   (2 cups) chicken stock
100 gm   carnaroli rice, rinsed
½   onion, finely chopped
10 ml   olive oil
20 gm   plain flour
800 gm   thick Greek-style yoghurt
1   egg yolk
1 tbsp   dried mint
To serve:   thinly sliced mint
Aleppo pepper oil
2 tsp   Aleppo pepper (see note)
80 ml   (1/3 cup) olive oil
Goat kofta
480 gm   goat leg meat (see note)
120 gm   lamb fat (see note)
1½ tbsp   Aleppo pepper (see note)
3   garlic cloves
1½ tbsp   coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 For Aleppo pepper oil, cook ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant (2-4 minutes). Strain through a fine metal sieve and set aside (discard solids).
2 For goat kofta, mince goat, fat, pepper and garlic through a mincer or food processor until combined. Transfer to a bowl, add parsley, knead until mixture is pliable and elastic (2-4 minutes). Roll into 6 balls, place on a tray, refrigerate to rest (1 hour). Preheat a char-grill over high heat. Mould each ball onto a metal skewer and grill, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (5-10 minutes).
3 Meanwhile, combine stock and 1 litre water in a large saucepan and bring to the simmer over medium heat, add rice and cook until tender (8-10 minutes), keep warm.
4 Combine onion and oil in a separate saucepan and sauté over medium heat until tender (5-10 minutes).
5 Combine flour and 100ml cold water in a bowl, whisk to dissolve, add yoghurt and yolk, mix to combine. Whisk into rice mixture, add dried mint and onion mixture, season to taste and bring to the simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened and flour is cooked out (3-4 minutes). Serve drizzled with Aleppo pepper oil to taste, topped with sliced mint and kofta to the side.

Note Aleppo pepper is hot dried Turkish chilli, available from Turkish grocers. If unavailable, substitute roasted chilli flakes, available from Asian grocers. Goat meat and lamb fat are available from select butchers. If goat is unavailable, substitute lamb.

This recipe is from the April 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

Drink Suggestion Juicy, spicy Yarra Valley shiraz.
RECIPE Shane Delia, Maha, Melbourne PHOTOGRAPHY William Meppem STYLING Geraldine Munoz DRINK SUGGESTION Max Allen

Crunchy beetroot and mint salad with labne

Today I received an email from Gourmet Traveller website. It's a wonderful free resource that you can subscribe to. I love drooling over the food porn and learning how to cook foods that have just come into season.  Many of the recipes are gluten free and absolutely delicious!

Australian Gourmet Traveller mint recipe feature including recipes for raspberry and mint mojito, goat's curd and mint tartlets, crunchy beetroot and mint salad with labne and many more.
I just bought some baby beets and was wondering how to cook them when I saw this series of mint recipes and found the perfect salad incorporating beetroot, mint and labne (yoghurt). Yumm!

Serves 4
Cooking Time Prep time 20 mins (plus standing)
Crunchy beetroot and mint salad with labne

4   beetroot, cut into matchsticks on a mandolin
2   Lebanese cucumbers, seeds removed, cut into matchsticks
1 cup   (firmly packed) mint leaves, coarsely chopped
200 gm   natural thick yoghurt
Lemon dressing
150 ml   olive oil
50 ml   lemon juice

1 For labne, place yoghurt in a fine metal sieve placed over a bowl and refrigerate overnight to drain (discard excess liquid).
2 For lemon dressing, whisk ingredients in a bowl to combine. Season to taste and set aside.
3 Combine beetroot in a large bowl, add lemon dressing, stand for 5 minutes, then add cucumber and mint, toss to combine, transfer to a platter, dot with spoonfuls of labne, season to taste and serve. 
This recipe is from the June 2010 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller. To sign up for the newsletter visit the website and fill out your name and email address on the right hand side column (see screenshot below) and you will be emailed with weekly features, recipes, etc.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Butterfingers Gluten Free Shortbread

I love shortbread. I love making my own and putting it into gift tins as Christmas presents. I always use rice flour and everyone loves the crumbly texture and flavour.

Recently I was browsing the gluten free aisles of Woolworths Warilla and spotted my favourite brand of Shortbread - Butterfingers.

This deliciously smooth pure butter shortbread is gluten free (tested) and has been made for people with a wheat intolerance. Look out for new flavour varieties on the supermarket shelf. 

Butterfingers Gluten Free shortbread is packaged in a single sealed tamper-evident inner and packed into cartons of 12.

For further product information please contact

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vanessa Pike-Russell Photography

Sugar Cube Belgium Waffles, Wollongong:Vanessa Pike-Russell

Today I finally made it into The Sugar Cube in Wollongong and enjoyed a gluten-free waffle with strawberries and cream. Such indulgence!

I also enjoyed a mocha and sat down at the cute red stools and table and enjoyed having a few moments to myself and just taking my time to enjoy my first ever gluten-free belgium waffles and a cup of Lazumba mocha coffee.

Definitely not the last time! I would love to try their Banoffee waffles. A great way to warm up on a cold, overcast day.

The service was fantastic and so friendly. Definitely worth a visit!

The Sugar Cube Coffee & Treats
13 Crown Street (Corner Crown & Harbour Streets)
Tel. 02 4227 3888


Mon – Thurs 7.15am to 6pm
Friday 7.15am to 10pm
Sat 8.30am to 10pm
Sun 8.30am to 6pm

Sugar Cube Belgium Waffles, Wollongong

More Illawarra Food and Restaurant Reviews at

Photography by Vanessa Pike-Russell

Recipe: Gluten-free Strawberry Cake

Image courtesy of

Note: You can easily substitute 3 cups of your gluten free flour mix for mine- just watch the liquid content.

1/2 cup almond meal

1 1/2 cups brown rice flour

3/4 cup tapioca flour

1/4 cup sweet rice flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons strawberry Jello® mix

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup pureed strawberries

3/4 cup milk (or until consistency of cake batter)


2 packages of cream cheese, softened

1 stick of butter, softened

3 cups or more of powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

squeeze of lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 inch cake pans. In a med. mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients including the Jello® . In your stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the strawberry mixture. Slowly pour in milk a little at a time until the cake reaches cake batter consistency- about 3/4 cup. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake cakes for 30-40 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean. Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Invert on to cooling rack. Cool cakes completely before icing.


In your stand mixer, combine cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add vanilla. Slowly add the powdered sugar until desired consistency. Squeeze in just a little squeeze of lemon juice.

Recipe and photography by

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Mal's Pizza Bites, Bega
Path:  Home > Bega > Business > Mal's Pizza Bite

Trading hours

Mals new trading hours are :
Monday to Friday  10.00am - 9.30 pm
Saturday and Sunday  4.30pm - 9.30 pm
PHONE ORDER: 6492 6000
(Closed Xmas & Boxing day)


Our new outside eating area is now open. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee or just relax after shopping

View Larger Map

Now available:

Pork spare ribs in delicious hickory smoked BBQ sauce or sweet plumb sauce.
full serve $15.00  or 1/2 serve with oven baked wedges $12.00
Home Delivery
$3.00 for all deliveries within 8km radius of the shop - Please leave a light on
Deliveries close at 9.30pm (The Delivery charge goes to the driver)
For Lovers of Pizza
Prices may change without notice

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Gumnut Chocolates in Newtown

Ok so not based in the Illawarra but I just had to share this! As seen in GrabYourFork's food tour of Newtown, Sydney. Only 90km north of Wollongong in one of my favourite towns of Sydney close to the CBD.

Gumnut provides an extensive range of gluten free biscuits.
 All Gumnut chocolates and sauces are gluten free too.
Dark chocolate Irish coffee with brandy truffleDark chocolate chilli & cinnamon truffleDark chocolate salted caramal truffleMilk chocolate coated cappuccino with rum truffleDark chocolate vanilla truffle
Dark chocolate chilli & lime truffle with almond nougatineDark chocolate with rum truffleDark chocolate with peppermint truffleDark chocolate with roasted coffee bean truffle

Box of 12 mixed truffles, 200g. All Gumnut chocolates are gluten free, available in boxes of 3, 8, 12 and 18.Orange & poppyseed macaroon available coated in milk chocolate (Gluten Free) and dark chocolate (gluten free & dairy free), 70g

Gumnut Sauces (gluten free) Salted Caramel Sauce 210g, Dark Chocolate Jaffa Brandy Sauce 180g, White Chocolate Coconut & Rum Sauce 190g

They offer a Wholesale sales service so if you are an Illawarra business and stock anything from the Gumnut range please let me know!

Gumnut Chocolates in  Newton Sydney Australia

Grab Your Fork's food tour of Newtown, Sydney

Welcome to Illawarra Gluten Free


Illawarra Gluten Free Map

View Illawarra Gluten-Free in a larger map