easy basic gluten free white bread

Another one of Vicki’s wonderful gluten-free creations.


3 cups gluten free plain flour

1½ teaspoons salt

2 tsp white sugar

1 cup hot water

1½ cups milk

14g yeast (often 2 sachets dried yeast required)

Glaze – spray oil


1. Heat oven to 180 celsius.

2. Grease a large loaf pan and line with baking paper (6cm deep, 13x23cm).

3. Sift flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix well together. Make a well in the centre.

4. Mix the hot water and milk together and test with a finger to ensure lukewarm. If not, set aside until lukewarm.

5. When lukewarm, sprinkle over the yeast and mix.

6. Pour into the well in the flour and mix well.

7. Spread the batter in the loaf pan and smooth the top.

8. Cover with a tea towel and sit somewhere warm to rise for 30 to 35 minutes.

9. Glaze and bake for 45 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack.



  • This can also make bread rolls. Spread batter in a muffin tin or muffin patty cases, rise for 20 minutes and cook for about 20 minutes.
  • Can be flavoured – Cheese and Herb for example – ½ cup finely grated tasty cheese and 1 heaped tblsp chopped fresh flat leaf parsley and chives.
  • As it has no preservatives, the bread is best refrigerated or frozen. Recommend slicing first before freezing and warm by toasting or heating in the oven.

vicki’s olive and pecan loaf

Vicki is a gluten-free baking guru, and this loaf tastes as good with or without wheat flour. Actually I might even say it’s better gluten-free!


325g (about 3 cups) plain flour

– to make gluten free, substitute gluten free flour (such as Orgran) and baking powder (such as Wards)

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp of mustard powder

Salt and pepper

70g freshly grated parmesan cheese

½ cup grated good quality tasty cheese

120g pecans, toasted and roughly chopped

80g pitted black olives, slivered

2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus extra for topping

2 tbs good quality extra virgin olive oil

2 large eggs beaten

1¼ cups (310ml) buttermilk

Glaze – 1 egg beaten, egg yolk and a little water beaten, butter or normal milk

Sea salt


1. Pre heat oven to 180 celsius.

2. Grease a large loaf pan and line with baking paper (6cm deep, 13x23cm).

3. Sift flour, baking powder, soda, mustard and 1tsp each of salt and pepper in a large bowl.

4. Add cheeses, nuts, olives and rosemary and mix well with a wooden spoon.

5. In a separate bowl/jug, whisk together the oil, eggs and buttermilk.

6. Make a well in the flour mixture, add oil mixture and stir to form a thickish batter.

7. Scrape into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

8. Brush with glaze and scatter with rosemary and sea salt.

9. Bake for 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. If the loaf is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil, dull side up.

10. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then cool on a rack. The loaf tastes better cooled rather than hot out of the oven.

Note:  As it has no preservatives, the bread is best refrigerated or frozen. Recommend slicing first before freezing and warm by toasting or heating in the oven.

vicki’s no-bake cheesecake

>The lovely Vicki at work made me this divine cheesecake for a birthday morning tea. It’s the nicest cheesecake I’ve had in years.

250g sweet biscuits
125g butter, melted
375g cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/3 cup lemon juice
400g tin condensed milk

1. Grease and line a 20cm spring form tin.
2. Place biscuits in food processor and finely crush. Add butter and process until mixed.
3. Press half of the mix into the base of the tin, and press the remainder around the sides, using a glass to firm it into place. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.
4. Beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add lemon rind and vanilla and beat. Add the condensed milk and lemon juice gradually, and beat until smooth and the volume has increased.
5. Pour into the tin and refrigerate overnight.
6. Decorate with diced strawberries and icing sugar, or as desired

1. To make gluten free, substitute gluten free biscuits for the base. I use Arnott’s Rice Cookies (supermarket biscuit aisle) and use approximately 90g of butter as these biscuits are shortbread-like and don’t require much butter to bind.
2. Recommend using 500g of cream cheese if making as per the recipe above.
3. Use 375g of cream cheese if adding melted chocolate (150, maybe 200g?).
4. I substitute vanilla paste or bean for the vanilla essence.

bajan sweet bread

>This is a lovely cake/bread from Barbados.


125g butter
1/2 teasp coconut essence
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
300g sour cream
1/3 cup milk


Grease a deep 23cm round cake tin.
Cream butter, essence, and sugar in a small bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in eggs one at a time until combined.
Transfer to large bowl.
Stir in half the coconut and sifted flour with half the sour cream and milk.
Then stir in remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth.
Pour into cake tin.
Bake in moderate oven for 1 hour.
Stand five minutes before turning onto wire rack.

making patties

>We set up a pattie-making factory one hot afternoon, Eric, Orlando and I. We had been hankering for a proper West Indian pattie for a while and Eric was the resident expert. We would have liked saltfish patties but the salted cod here takes far too long to prepare – a full weekend for one side of salted cod. So we went with beef instead.

First, Orlando set about cooking the beef filling. He browned a large chopped onion, then added 800g of heart-smart minced beef, four large chillies (two red and two green) finely chopped, a decent dollop of old-fashioned curry powder and some Indian meat masala. When the meat was brown he added four medium potatoes which had been cooked, cooled and diced beforehand.

About a cup of beef stock was added to make the mixture moist, then about the same again of breadcrumbs to make sure the mixture bound enough for us to fill the patties.

Actually, we didn’t have breadcrumbs so we used cornflake crumbs instead – which I think worked better.
Meanwhile I coloured the pastry by painting it with turmeric, then rolled out the sheets and cut out large circular shapes using a breakfast bowl. I kept all the offcuts and Orlando insisted he would not waste a bit. He persevered, and from the scraps of five pastry sheets he got an extra size cutouts plus one tiny piece we made into a party pie. Then the factory line began.
Orlando placed a dessertspoonful of the beef mixture onto the pastry round. I wet the edge with water, folded it over and used a fork to seal the edges into a half moon shape.
Then once we had a full tray ready, Orlando brushed the top of with a beaten egg to glaze them. Not too many in a tray – we didn’t want to crowd them. Then into the oven at 200C for about half an hour.
The results were splendid: 26 perfectly golden, sturdily made patties with a rich beef filling with just enough bite to them. We ate two each on the spot (just to make sure they were ok).
Now we know how long it takes, and we have had a bit of practice, there is no stopping us. Two hours in the kitchen makes over two dozen patties. Only problem is, they take less time than that to polish them all off…

red cross coffee snaps

>Our colleague Amanda brought a fresh batch of these amazing biscuits in every morning, a gift from her daughter who kept us stocked up throughout the worst of the workload.

If you use this recipe, please make a donation to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal – every penny counts!

125g butter, softened, chopped
275g brown sugar
2 tbsp ground coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
110g plain flour
110g self-raising flour

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan forced.
Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and coffee until lightened and fluffy.
Add egg; beat until just combined.
Stir in sifted flours.
Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls; place on baking paper covered trays.
Bake for 10 minutes, stand on trays for 5 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool.