Pizza crust quest – store wars, part 3

Eagle Boys Maroubra Junction got a trial of the gluten-free pizza crust, although I have to admit the conditions are different to other trials as the pizzas were delivered. Every few weeks we have pizza (and chicken) nights at uni, with the pizzas delivered, so they spent some time in those pizza bags travelling to uni with almost 30 other pizzas. I’m not sure if the flexibility in the crust was a result of steam rather than a normal property of the crust itself.

I’m not sure if I prefer it to the Pizza Hut crust, but it’s better than the Dominos one (I doubt you would be able to find worse). At first I wasn’t sure if the Eagle Boys crust was GF as it was quite chewy – I ended up inspecting a few of the normal pizzas to convince myself that yes, the crust I was eating looked different to the majority of the pizzas. I will have to trial Eagle Boys again, but using my local Randwick store to avoid the possibility of “tainting” the crust with steam. That would just mean that my experiment has not been under controlled conditions, and thus invalid.

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Ricotta dumplings

I decided to venture to Eastlakes on the weekend – mainly because I’d lived nearby (less than 5km) for a couple of years now, but hadn’t visited. It’s an old little shopping plaza that probably needs a makeover, but has quite a few cheap greengrocers and butchers, a Woolies, an Aldi and a few other “specialty” stores. I knew of the little Eastern European store (Stolichniy Minimart) from this review of the shopping centre, so I had to pop in.

Much to my delight, I found some “Herbal pepper” from Poland – something that I came across earlier this year when I went home for a couple of weeks and visited a Polish restaurant in Dandenong. It was possibly the best thing from that lunch but discovered was a mix of herbs I didn’t like or don’t know if I like (coriander, caraway seeds, marjoram, chilli, horseradish powder and savory are amongst the spices listed on various websites with Pieprz Ziołowy recipes).

Polish herbal pepper, now on my spice shelf.

I thought of making pierogi, but couldn’t be bothered coming up with a gluten-free wrap or boiling potatoes for the filling. So I ended up making ricotta gnocchi, which I then pan-fried with bacon and onion (which is how mum and her mum serve pierogi – although they chop the bacon into small bits, and I was lazy and kept it in thin slices). The gnocchi recipe came from Simply Gluten Free, which I changed by replacing the nutmeg with the herbal pepper, and I drained the ricotta by wrapping it in a muslin cloth and squeezing the excess moisture out. I suspect the amount of potato starch (aka flour in Australia) would vary with how much moisture is left in the ricotta.

Ricotta gnocchi pan-fried with bacon and onion – light and fluffy dumplings!

The gnocchi were lovely on their own, but next time I’ll add more of the herbal pepper as its subtle flavour was lost with the addition of the bacon and onion. I’ll definitely make these again – especially since I only need to buy ricotta to make these as all the other ingredients are regulars of my pantry and fridge.

Pizza crust quest – store wars, part 2

Being 40km and at least an hour away from getting home at 6.30pm on a Wednesday evening makes takeaway pizza sound very enticing – especially since Pizza Hut’s Classics pizzas are $6 each (plus another $3 for gluten-free) every day at the moment. Sure, I would have saved $1 per pizza if I purchased them on Tuesday, but I spent Tuesday at home and hadn’t washed my hair. I hadn’t washed it for a few days actually, so it did not need to go out in public.

Back to pizza – I ordered the Italiano and the Ham and Cheese pizzas from Pizza Hut Menai (a fair distance from Domino’s Coogee) and ate slices as I drove home. Unlike Domino’s GF base, I could actually eat the Pizza Hut one with minimal added water. The toppings were ample too, and the base not at all greasy. It lacked that chew you get from real pizza bases with gluten, but this one was enjoyable nonetheless. I am also a fan of a thin-based pizza, and that is how the Pizza Hut GF base comes. It was definitely a superior experience when compared to Domino’s Coogee. I do have a Pizza Hut relatively close to home, but I still need to try Eagle Boys’ GF pizza bases. Then I need to find out if my local Pizza Hut is as generous with toppings as Menai.

Pizza crust quest – store wars, part 1

Now that I’m trying gluten-free, I have to get to know where to get my take away pizza from for nights when I can’t be bothered cooking. As a student, I also have to try and find the cheapest GF pizza. On Tuesdays, Eagle Boys and Dominos both have cheaper pizzas with Dominos producing the cheaper GF pizza, which is what I tried this week.

I wasn’t a fan of it – dry and chewy (in a bad way as I don’t think having Sjogren’s helps with the consumption of Dominos’ gluten-free crust). I also felt they were skimpy on the toppings of my custom pizza – which I have previously ordered from a different franchise and been happy with. I frown upon you Dominos Coogee.

Eagle Boys next week – I wonder what their GF crust is like.

Lo carb gluten free wraps

Fantastic wraps: gluten-free but still flexible!

My new diet really cuts back on carbohydrates (no fruit, sugar or refined carbs – complex carbs OK for lunch and afternoon tea/meal only), and after a few days of being confined to foods that could be eaten with cutlery I sought an easy recipe for gluten free wraps. I found a good post on the Healthy Indulgences blog that not only had a recipe for gluten-free wraps but also some good information on stocking a (low carb) gluten free pantry. I have to confess that my pantry is only just starting to get some kind of order since the gluten-free supplies stock-up.

I’ve been made aware of how non-flexible gluten-free wraps can be, so I was pleasantly surprised that these came out so well! The recipe is especially easy to go through successful if you have a sandwich press, take the desired quantity of mix, press down and in a few minutes you’ll have some wraps! If you’ve overcooked them and they’ve lost their pliability let them rest on a paper towel after pressing.

My wraps generally followed the recipe in the link, but with a very minor changes due to what I had available in the pantry. I used 3 tbsp ground LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond)2 tbsp almond meal1 tbsp buckwheat flour, 1/2 tsp protein powder1/2 tsp xanthan gum, 1/8 tsp sea salt, 1/4 tsp baking powder. The liquid ingredients were the same as in the original recipe. Later in the week I found that my local Woolworths stocked flaxseed so I’ll substitute 2 of the LSA tablespoons with flaxseed and make it closer to the original recipe. I also found I could add a bit more water and stretch out the mix to three wraps when made in a sandwich press.