Hi, my name is Demelza. This is my first blog ever!
I never thought in a million years that I would start my own blog, considering I failed english and left school at the tender age of 16 to enter the big bad world of cooking. And it certainly was a big bad world!
I have been very lucky though, to have travelled around the world with this cooking skill I acquired! Not sure from where, but I must admit I am pretty good at it. More than I give myself credit for. I am a fairly shy person, who’s personality only shines once my brick wall comes down. I have found it a lot easier to meet people with my kids around though, they certainly are my ice breakers!
I grew up in a country town before I left for the big smoke, Sydney, where I cooked for 5 years. I moved around quite a lot during my apprenticeship, which isn’t a good thing. But for me I loved it. I learned loads in my first 5 years and even had the privilege of working for Stefano Manfredi at Belmondo. Soon after that I set off to London where I had my best years of cooking. I started at The Sugar Club in 2000. It was a special kind of family, that place! Fantastic food, amazing people and most of all great memories. Some of my closest friends today are from that very restaurant. After I left there I moved into rock n roll catering and went on tour with Lenny Kravitz as my first job. It was amazing! Pretty lucky I was!! Then came Coldplay, Goldfrapp, Macy Gray, Bruce Springsteen, REM and many many more. After several years in London I needed a change so I upped sticks to the Turks and Caicos where I went to learn raw food, at Parrot Cay. It was there that I found my true love for raw food. I was under the watchful eye of Jill Pettijohn the private chef of Donna Karan at the time. Jill taught me the foundations of the raw food world. I am so grateful to have crossed paths with this unbelievably beautiful, knowledgable woman, and now dear friend. I took this knowledge back to the UK and set up a stall selling my raw goods. Sadly it was not the time to pursue this, so I went back into catering. Years’ went by and 2 beautiful girls later, I found myself setting up shop in the back streets of Stoke Newington, London. Fred and Fran was born. It was quaint and small, just what I wanted. I built this up from scratch, from the furniture to the food. But perhaps more on that later…..
That brings me up to date… kind of! Im now living in Sydney with my family and its certainly been quite an eventful time since I have returned after 14 years abroad.
A few weeks ago my partner found out he has coeliac disease. Four months before that my 8 year old daughter found out she has coeliac disease. My instant reaction was, awesome….!!! Now we can finally get rid of all the gluten products in the house and concentrate on what I truly love, raw and gluten free food. But reality has crept in and that means no more eating out, no more of a lot of things. But thats okay, I am a chef and I believe I can make this easy for us!
Gluten and me don’t really get along that well either. I have suffered from a strong reaction to wheat and gluten for years. I have being researching gluten free options for many years among other things, as food is my passion and life. I also thought it was a pretty good reason to start this blog. I have been toying with the idea for some time, and originally wanted to write a cookbook about my cafe Fred and Fran in London, which I sold about 14 months ago. Now with good reason, my focus has changed. I am venturing into the unknown world of blogging, with the intent of sharing all the beautiful recipes I have created over the years. Wish me luck!
As you can imagine, being a chef I have a tonne of recipes, most of them in my head, the rest of them on scrap pieces of paper all over the house. ‘One day I will organise them’… I say this to myself over and over again… now 20 years on I feel its about time I do something with all these recipes!!
I have also wondered which one would make the best first impression to my audience. It only feels fair to owe it to all my loyal customers that I had over the few years of running Fred and Fran in Stoke Newington, London.
I took this recipe from the cookbook ‘Bills Sydney food’ by Bill granger. It took some time playing around, removing the flour to make it gluten free. It was either too dry or too wet or came out like a brick. Finally I got the result I was looking for. This recipe is perfect for an afternoon tea cake, just out of the oven or sliced up and stored in the freezer, or simply in an air tight container for up to 3 days, if it can last that long. It toasts up really well with a toastie machine, however don’t bother with a toaster, it will fall apart and you’ll spend most of the afternoon cleaning up the mess. If you can only find the fine desiccated coconut reduce the amount to 100g otherwise the coconut will absorb all the moisture in the mix and will come out really dry.
Coconut bread ( gluten free )
180g or 1 ¼ cups gluten free plain flour
155g or 1 ¼ cups almond meal, gently pack down the meal in the measuring cup
150g shredded or medium desiccated coconut
1 cup raw castor sugar or coconut sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons cinnamon
320 ml milk or soy milk
85g melted butter
Preheat the oven to 160c. Line a large loaf tin approx. 30cm by 10cm.
Place the butter in a small saucepan and melt, set aside.
In a mixing bowl put all your dry ingredients and whisk them together. Break your eggs into a jug with the milk and vanilla and whisk together. Pour your egg mix into the dry ingredients and whisk them together until almost smooth, then add your butter and continue mixing until the batter is smooth. You will have to be quick at this point otherwise the gluten free flour absorbes the moisture fast and can also make the cake dry. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes or until the cake is tested with a skewer. Its okay to slightly undercook this cake, so if the skewers comes out a little sticky, thats fine, cakes usually continue to cook a little after the come out of the oven. If you can wait till it cool before diving in, thats brilliant. I certainly can’t, I had a massive slab of butter on my piece not long after it cooled down!! Enjoy.