Saturday, March 21, 2009

GF flour mix.

Initially when you start of on a GFCF diet, you just want to lay your hands on flour that meets the criteria. I was extremely happy when I found one such brand Orgran, in a Spencer’s outlet. Later, when I tried the  first GF flour mix and the first cake came out well, I wanted to share my joy with the readers.I had a slice myself everyday savouring the sweetness of gf flour mix victory, hahah.... Initially, one starts out with small trial batches of cookies, cakes….with a GF flour, but if you are thinking GFCF long term, then it is better to make your own flour mix for the following reasons.I still yearn for the day I bake a cake for Ramam with the frosting,the works............Back to the point
Firstly, it is more economical.
 Secondly, when you go in for a mix the various attribute of the different flours; make up for the deficiencies of single flour, in terms of taste, nutritive value, gumminess or the binding abilities. For instance, when you use only rice flour to bake, the end product is hard/ gritty. Sorghum flour alone is bland.
The third factor is availability.
The good news is somebody has already done the home work for you and there is the Bette Hagman’s GF flour mix.
2 cups rice flour
2/3 cups potato starch flour
1/3 cup tapioca flour
 for a larger batch of 9 cups use
6 cups rice flour
2 cups potato starch flour
1 cup tapioca flour
As potato starch flour was a problem, I have substituted it with arrow root starch, in the same proportion. In India arrow root starch is used for purposes such as thickener for soups, more so in the hotels. From what I have read, generally corn and potato starch are interchangeable. I tried out apple cake with this GF flour mix. It came out fine, but the structure called for more attention and maybe a biding agent as unflavored gelatin may help.

Talking to an autistic child

When talking to an autistic child, these must be kept in mind.
Come down to the level of the child as it is easier to maintain eye contact.
Speak positively. For example instead of saying do not take my things, say hands quiet or for instance instead of saying do not leave this room, say stay in this room.
Be specific in your praise. Instead of saying good boy, be specific and state good listening, good writing, good sitting, good stringing beads.
Provide adequate information.  For example, instead of saying we are going bye-bye, state we are going bye-bye to hotel.
Give a choice and ensure the choices are readily available. Would you like to listen to music or go on the swing?
Label feelings. I am sad because the vase broke. I am happy you are sharing your things with Isha.
Meaningless threats such as I will never speak to you, hold no worth. It is vague and cannot be enforced. Instead tell the child what to do such as clear up and go to bed.
Be very clear in what you want the child to do. For instance I gave my son a sheet of addition sums and told him to do it. He had done all of them wrong, in an illegible fashion. I had to rephrase it to try to do the addition right and write neatly.
Teach them to obey certain commands such as wait, stop, out of bounds, hands to yourself.
Teach an autistic child to listen, either by social stories or making him follow simple commands initially.There are some interesting games in the official website of Disney, like the Higglyball game and  Jojo circus

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coconut walnut date cookies

½ cup sugar
½ cup dates, cut
3 Tbsp dalda
11/2 cup walnuts
1 egg
1 cup grated coconut.
Cream the sugar, dalda and the egg very well. Add the dates, walnut and coconut; mix well. Drop it on the baking sheet by the teaspoonful. Preheat oven to 350.c and bake for 15 minutes. These cookies taste even better the next day.

Cake mix cookies

The vanilla cake mix cookies.
125g gfcf vanilla cake mix, 1/8 tsp baking soda, 1/8 c olive oil, 1/2c white sugar, 2pcs eggs, 25g Amaranth flour, 1/2 tsp Xanthum gum,1/4 tsp salt
Mix gfcf vanilla mix, amaranth atta, baking soda, salt and xanthum gum. Cream olive oil, sugar and eggs.
Combine. Set aside to rest, and see if the mixture will be gummier. Preheat oven 180.c for 15 min. Cook for 10 min for soft cookies and 13 min for crispy cookies. Store in airtight containers for a week

The chocolate cake mix cookies
 I similarly made cookies with chocolate cake mix. Who doesn’t like a chocolate cookie?  Again, the advantage here, being you can ensure it is GFCF. To my knowledge, I am not aware of any available GFCF brand of chocolate chips. Initially, I did try it with drinking chocolate cocoa powder, but it may   not be GFCF. Cream the sugar, olive oil and eggs. Mix the cake mix, baking soda, salt. Fold in the nuts in place of the chocolate chips. Take small scoops .Place them evenly on the baking sheet and bake at 18o.c


                 Pasta is an all time favourite with Ramam. Depending on the quantity, it serves the dual purpose of a snack or dinner. I use Orgran rice-millet spiral shaped pasta. Cook the pasta with salt in water. Drain the excess water off and show it under running water. I make pasta the Indian way. Take oil (2tbsp) in a kadai. Add ginger-pepper-garlic paste. Add some raw cashews to this. Fry one medium sized onion cut finely. To this add 2-3 medium sized tomatoes and cook. Make a puree of this. To the puree, add the cooked pasta and cook over low flame for 1-2 minutes. After you put out the flame, add a tsp of extra virgin olive oil and blend it in. Garnish with cilantro/coriander leaves and oregano.Looks like I  will need a crash course in photography!

Happy Holi

Holi, is the festival of colours. Ramam celebrating Holi with his family

Besan ka dal

This is again a quick option. Take oil in a kadai, add cumin, and let it sizzle. Add half an onion, one tomato and ginger –garlic paste to this. Add salt and all the spices (turmeric, chilli and coriander powders). Mix chickpea flour and water. Add this to the to the onion-tomato mix and bring to a boil. Do this just before serving. Do not overheat it, as then the consistency changes and becomes semi solid. It is not advisable to repeatedly reheat it also. Garnish with coriander leaves

Chick pea fritters

One can choose the vegetable of their choice, be it onions, cabbage, cauliflower florets, spinach, maybe even GFCF bread. Called Pakoras, these are easy to make. Make a batter of chick pea flour, with salt, asafoetida (just a pinch), coriander and chili powders. Adding coriander leaves and grated ginger to the batter is optional. For onion, cabbage and spinach mix the chopped veggies in the batter the proportion of veggies being more than the batter, so that on frying it just leaves a coating. For cauliflower florets, Dip it in the batter and fry.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Summer is here!

I tried out these juices for my son, healthier way to keep him hydrated and nourished, this summer.
2 apples
1 medium beet
2 oranges
3 carrots
Peel the fruits other than apple. The apple peel  has a lot of nutritive value. Slice them. Juice all these fruits in a juicer.
Pomegranate  drink2 small  pomegranate
2 oranges
2 pineapple rings
¼ lemon
1/4 inch ginger
It tastes yummy. Juice all of these fruits and ginger.
Vegetable juice1 apple sliced
4 medium carrots
½ lemon, peeled
¼ medium cucumber, peeled.
 Process in a juicer and serve.
I add date syrup to all of these just before serving. There are more interesting recipes on

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chicken stew

300g boneless chicken
1 medium onion
1 cup potatoes cubes
1 cup halved carrots
2-3 beans
4-5 curry leaves ,shredded
2 tomatoes1 cup coconut milk
spices –turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder, chili powder, garam masala
salt to taste
Cilantro for garnish.
Cook the veggies and chicken with excess water until cooked.Take 3 tablespoons oil, add cumin let it sizzle. Fry onion till translucent, add tomato and fry. Add salt, curry leaves, and the above spices to it. To this add the veggie-chicken broth and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the pieces of chicken and vegetable. Now add coconut milk, cook for 1-2 min till everything blends in. Garnish with cilantro. Serve with hot rice/roti.

Our circus visit

The circus visit was a huge success considering the debacle it was last time, around 2 years back. My husband had gone with our little prince Ramam, (Yep, we have changed his name) it was a damp squib. Things were different this time, maybe because I was around this time….. LOL. Firstly, this time we got the front row seats and maybe this helped to hold his attention. Secondly, we ensured he had eaten alright before leaving so that he clamours a lot less for all the stuff the hawkers pedal. They do so much of pressure selling, it‘s hard for the child to resist.Thirdly the magician did some water tricks that held his attention, the trapeze also interested him. Fourthly, we had taken the night show, so it was much cooler. He even shook hands with the clown. We were in there for almost 21/2 hrs. All of this for a fruit juice, 1 packet of popcorn and 1 packet of chips. Not bad at all. He was a lot more patient  this time around. My daughter also did her bit and kept prodding him to look here, there.Yes, the visit was a super success.On our way back ,my husband had tuned to the radio and guess what was playing Jai ho,our current favourite from Slumdog Millionaire.We couldn't ask for more.Thank you,o lord.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Easy ways to handle GFCF

I think this is more about "me" handling GFCF .Usually the breakfast is one of these idli, dosa, ada with chutney.  Keep varying the chutney. Lunch and dinners are the basics with rice, roti, sabzi, dal, salad. 

·         Planning ahead like soaking the dals for the sprouts /batter/meal times, planning to ensure everybody in the house has a common meal such as parathas. It makes it less cumbersome also as you need one gravy to go with the parathas.The child is aslo comfortable as he is not being singled out.

·         Having some quick n’ easy recipe handy such as besan ka chila, besan dal.

·         Have a day in the week marked for baking, or any GFCF work in the kitchen and go easy on the regular cooking. Ensure the ingredients needed for the baking are stocked before hand.

·         Sometimes the leftovers are tastier the next day hahaha. For example make good use of leftover batter for uthappam, left over aloo (potato) sabzi (curry) the dry one for your bondas, the idlis for your idli upama. Please check GFCF breakfast for these recipes. There is  even a tasty preparation for left over rotis, where they can be stuffed with a filling and steamed. I don’t get it now.

·         We are not so much into freezing food stuff and reheating it for subsequent use, but doing it occasionally is ok, say with idlis for your breakfast, provided they are nice and fluffy on the first day.

·         As the last option, one has  hotels, where you can try some south Indian stuff /rice pulav, where the damage, is minimal

My must -haves in a GFCF Indian Kitchen

It is important for me to have these essentials in my kitchen at all times.

·         Batter for idli/dosa/ada.

·         Organic Tulsi tea( lost count of the gallons my son must have had)

·         Boiled potatoes 1-2 in number

·         Rice Parboiled and the regular variety such as sona masuri, basmati, kolam, ponni…….

·         Dal /pulses 3-4 in number .The more important ones being Toor dal (yellow lentils), Urad dal, Whole and split),Rajma(red kidney bean).

·         Flours-Raagi/ millet, singahdia, and an all purpose GFCF flour, Chick pea flour (besan).

·         Sago

·         Coconut for the chutneys, I cannot run my kitchen without it.

·         Tamarind

·         All the spices

·         Ghee

·         Oil

·         Vegetables. Amongst these again, onion, tomato ginger, garlic, coriander, curry leaves must have at all times. Apart from that vegetables that go into a salad cucumber, carrot, radish…Also this keep some additional 2-3 vegetables of your choice. These are mostly seasonal.

·         Fruits again seasonal

·         Baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract.

·         Olive oil

·         Nuts of your choice

·         Papads, just to spruce up a boring dinner/lunch when in hurry.

·         Home- made pickles, for the same purpose as above.

·         Off the shelf goodies, to be pulled out only in emergencies, or their super junk status would be lost. Check my previous post super junk

·         Dry herbs such as oregano, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, nut meg

·         GFCF pasta( my son likes the spring shaped ones)

·         Dates, and some dry fruits to munch on

·         Kitchen tools-a separate rolling board and pin, a separate vessel to make tea, a kadai, container to hold oil for his frying requirements, a tawa to make rotis. All of these are add-ons, as one begins to get stringent with the requirements and of course an oven.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Super Junk

We have successfully introduced the concept of Junk weekend with our son. On the weekend he gets to binge on off the shelf goodies that are within the permissible limits of GFCF. The Indian market has a plethora of GFCF sweets and savories. Like for example kaju katli. I checked this with some shops in Pune, now again in Jabalpur. I went online and also checked the recipes for Kajukatli. That was a real find. Again it matters; you pick it up from a reputed shop, because a little mixing and adulteration is not uncommon. Also the chiwdas, mixtures, south Indian murukku, banana and tapioca chips for the savories’ can be off the shelf buys. One cannot be sure of the ghee in the market, because it might not be casein free. It might not be as safe as making it at home with your own ingredients, but sometimes the excitement of picking up a goodie from a shop is something else. It is something like homemade versus hotel food, which is why we have classified these under super junk, for those small indulgences. It is always advisable to check with the shopkeeper, when in doubt. Recently we had been with our hero to a 3-star, and asked for a chicken preparation that would be GFCF. Finally the chef came in person and told us that if nothing else, at least some curds are added. We were disappointed but appreciated their honesty.
                                     Another fact we have observed is slow and steadily the child also begins to acquire a taste for these preparations. Earlier when he was getting a pizza, he would not care for sabudana vada. He relishes this and much more….Do not give up. 

Easy to make

Puffed rice preparationTake oil in a kadai.  Add mustard seeds, curry leaves and let it splutter.  Add fried chana dal to this. Mix in the puffed rice. Blend in salt, chilli powder (optional), and chat masala. This is a quick n’ easy snack. Easy to rustle up in few minutes.


 Chikki is a traditional Indian sweet, made from nuts and jaggery. Our little hero is not so ok with Jaggery, (molasses) and so I have tried it with honey and date syrup .Melt the honey over low flame and when it begins to get a little sticky, add the nuts and blend it in. Pour it into the moulds as this was a trial batch I had poured it into greased small square shaped steel plates. Garnish it with a little grated coconut. Leave it to harden overnight. With date syrup, again heat over low flame. When it becomes to boil, I added ground peanut powder and blended cashews to give the chikki variations. The honey version is a little sticky and tends to stick to your tooth. So lo! Two variants of our own desi energy bars from your desi girl. If you have a peanut allergy problem, you can also add raisin, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnut and apricots.The darker chiiki is using date syrup.The chiki needs to be refrigerated when stored,for subsequent use. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

Ginger bread cookies

3 cups flour-sorghum flour,Sunira foods
¼ th Baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/4th cup olive oil+2 tablespoon (This is a substitute for butter in the original recipe). I have used extra virgin olive oil
½ cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cups organic molasses/Jaggery. I have used organic jaggery granules and made the syrup mixing it with water and heating over medium flame to get the consistency
Cream the sugar and olive oil until well combined. Add the egg and molasses beat till fluffy. Gradually add the flour mixture with the spices, soda and salt. Blend the ingredients well. Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and leave overnight. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough out and use a cookie cutter. Bake for 8-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. I went wrong twice once with the quantity of ginger, adding a little extra. It leaves a very strong ginger flavor. The second time around the dough was a little sticky after refrigeration Again; the cookies did not come out well. After all, one learns by one’s mistake. It is better to have tried and repented rather than not having tried at all. Sounds cliché. LOL

Thumb impression cookies

½ cup ghee
¼ th cup white sugar
1 egg separated
½ tsp vanilla extract, again there is a gluten free vanilla extract, or try making your own with vanilla sticks.
1 cup organ all purpose flour (140g)
1/8 tsp salt, in some recipes you find kosher salt being used. The grains are larger; it is additive free (iodine free) and tends to make the flavours clearer.
1 cup Orgran All-purpose flour
3/4 th cup nuts .I use walnuts or almonds.
½ cup jam. This is optional if you want a longer shelf life.
In a bowl whisk the ghee and sugar until fluffy .Add the vanilla extract and egg yolk and beat.In a separate bowl whisk the flour and salt. Add the ghee batter to the flour mixture and combine. If the dough is soft, refrigerate for 30 minutes in a plastic wrap. In a small bowl beat the egg white till frothy. Make balls of the dough; roll it in the egg whites and then the nuts. Bake at 180 degrees for 12 minutes on a greased cookie sheet or till the nuts tend to become brown. Some cookies tend to break; I firm them up and put them back on the sheet to bake. Makes about 10 cookies. When rolling the balls make an indentation at the centre with your thumb. I generally fill the jam when they are fresh out of oven. Leave them to cool.Only two were left when I realised I had not clicked my pictures.He enjoyed the cookies more for the jam part of it.I had also sprinkled some sugar on it.

Lime n' lemon biscuit.

1/4 th cup ghee
1 egg beaten
1/4 th cup white sugar
Grated rind of 1 lemon
¾ th cup sorghum flour
              Cream the ghee and sugar in a bowl. Beat in the egg and lemon rind. Add the flour, blend it in. Let stand for 3-4 minutes. Roll the dough on a floured surface and cut the cookie in a shape you desire. Bake on greased sheet for 12-15 minutes at 180 degrees. The original recipe uses rice flour. Also check out finger millet biscuits in an earlier post.And hey, there is another interesting comment I came across on GFCF (what else) while surfing, which goes something like this. There are taboos on speaking on few subjects, namely sex, religion and politics in a polite conversation. You can now add autism remedies to it. That goes to say there are parent s who swear by GFCF, and some who rubbish it and a whole lot of other bio medical interventions. Each one to oneself.

Tapioca pappadum

                          Pappadum is an Indian preparation, available in most Indian stores. It is a thin wafer liker preparation that can be made with rice, black gram flours also. It is generally deep fried but also can be micro waved. I had some tapioca growing in my back yard, but it may also work with ready to use tapioca flour available in market. The tapioca is to be cut, cleaned and chopped into small pieces. After letting it dry in the sun for couple of days. I get it ground in a mill. I l would like to give a word of caution. I discard the initial lot say 1-2 kg, to ensure it is gluten free. I do the same with rice flour. My uses the discarded portion for her rangolis. It is a popular art form using white powder and colors to make beautiful colored sand like paintings. Talk of resource management.Whew! For 5 cups of the flour I use 10 cups of water. Bring the water to boil, add salt, chili powder, and asafetida. Add the flour to this and ensure no lumps are formed. Cook till the dough has a shiny feel. Add sesame seeds (til) to this. Spread out plastic sheets. Make a ball of the dough when still medium hot. Keep a bowl of water. Dip your hands in the water, and spread out the dough on the plastic sheet with your hand, into a round shape. The water is used so that the dough does not stick to your hands. Let dry in the hot sun for 2-3 days. One can also add finely chopped onion to the dough; shaped into dumplings .Leave those to dry. The photo showas the papads left to dry in the sun. Also refer ,My first GFCF cookie post, where again I have used tapioca flour.

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