We could all benefit from a bit of tolerance in this crazy world, amirite? But what if tolerance wasn’t an option… what if you live with intolerance? Today is International Day of Tolerance, and in this case, I’m talking about food [in]tolerance.
I couldn’t think of anything worse than not being able to freely eat and drink whatever I please because of an allergy or sensitivity. Ice cream, flat whites, toast, schnitzel, nutella, cake, oh my! Some of my favourite foods – but all containing dairy or wheat or nut products.
With the rise in awareness of coeliac disease, gluten intolerance and other allergies has also come the rise in demand for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan options. Cynics may say that many of the intolerances are just a fad. I thought in honour of this tolerant day, I would compile a short guide to the Intolerant Diners of today.
The Genuine Sufferers:
The coeliacs, the-go-into-anaphylactic-shock-if-they-have-shellfish-or-nuts troopers. The unfortunate people that must live with strict diets and an EpiPen always on hand. They are careful about what they eat, but are generally understanding that it is difficult for them to dine out.
The ‘I’m on a gluten-free/carb free/paleo diet’ hipsters:
The ones who have adopted the gluten-free diet because it’s apparently good for you and also-I-felt-a-bit-bloated-when-I-ate-some-pasta-last-week. They haven’t actually been diagnosed with an allergy or intolerance but going gluten free has helped them drop the kilos. #isthisglutenfree is trending and so are they.
The ‘I don’t like a particular ingredient so I’m just saying I’m allergic’ diners:
This is not uncommon. Working in an Italian restaurant, I get a few “I’m allergic to garlic,” (Italian food doesn’t contain much garlic does it?) which is followed by “Oh it’s in the sauce already? Well if it’s just a small amount it should be fine.” Which to me translates to, “I don’t want to have overpowering garlic breath at work tomorrow.”
The intolerant intolerants:
“What do you mean I can’t have pasta or pizza? You don’t have gluten free pasta? I can have salad? I don’t want salad! This is ridiculous!”I get that it’s frustrating, but genuinely intolerant patrons are mostly understanding that it can be difficult to cater to allergies. This is just a shout out to the outraged customers that complain that they can’t get a nut free meal at a Thai restaurant, or a vegan meal at a steakhouse. It’s International Day of Tolerance, spread the love!
And speaking of, I thought I would spread the tolerance a little with a sweet dairy and gluten free recipe.
I couldn’t help but notice as I leafed through some of my baking and cook books that there wasn’t a whole lot in the way of allergy free recipes. The nature of baking is such that staple ingredients generally tend to be products such as flour, butter, cream or milk. Some cookbooks may have allergy-free sections, but they are often quite limited.
Whenever I received new cookbooks, my housemate kindly made a point of going through and bookmarking any recipes (mainly dessert related of course) that she liked the look of for me to create for her. The lemon meringue cupcake recipe became a regular part of my dessert rotation (and it’s not even a chocolate dessert, say what!), so I wanted to see if I could convert this old fave into a more tolerant, allergy respecting cupcake.
It seems to be a natural reaction that if a dessert or cake is gluten or dairy free, it is going to be flavour free or inferior. But that doesn’t have to be the case! The replacement ingredients I used in this recipe are not anything crazy or hard to find – in fact, I had all of it lying around the house (granted, my new housemate is gluten intolerant, but still). The only thing you might have to go out of your way to get is coconut oil, and that can be found at your local supermarket or health food shop. It is worth using it though, it is the perfect alternative to butter due to its similar consistency.
- For the cupcakes
- 125g coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
- 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free plain flour
- 1 1/4 tsp bi-carb soda (I used McKenzie's - it isn't marked but is in fact gluten free)
- 1/3 cup light coconut milk
- For the lemon curd
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons canola oil or vegetable oil
- For the meringue
- 4 egg whites
- 1 cup caster sugar
- For the lemon curd
- Combine ingredients in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Stir constantly for a few minutes until mixture begins to thicken.
- Cover the mixture with cling wrap and place in refrigerator until cold.
- For the cupcakes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160 degrees fan forced)
- Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases
- Beat the coconut oil, sugar, rind and eggs in a small bowl until light and fluffy.
- Stir in coconut, then sifted flour, bi-carb and coconut milk. (Feel free to decrease the amount of desiccated coconut if you wish, with the addition of coconut milk there will already be a fair amount of coconutty flavour)
- Divide spoonfuls of mixture among cases and smooth tops. Depending on your dollop size, you may get more cupcakes; around 12-14.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked. Test by poking a skewer in; if it comes out clean it is done.
- Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan-forced).
- Cut 1 1/2-2 centimetre holes in the tops of the cupcakes (here's your chance to taste test the cupcakes/feed your face and eat the discarded chunks)
- Fill the holes with the lemon curd.
- For the meringue
- Beat the egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add sugar, continuously beating until combined.
- Continue to beat the mixture until it is thick and glossy and forms hard peaks. Turn the bowl upside down and if the mixture doesn't move it is ready.
- Spoon meringue into a piping bag with a one centimetre tube and pipe onto cupcakes in a swirl.
- Place the tray of cupcakes back into the oven for around 5 minutes or until browned slightly.
- -I originally planned to use canola oil in the curd but then realised I only had vegetable oil, and it worked fine.
- -Make sure when you separate the eggs you drain as much of the egg white as you can from the yolks; otherwise when making the curd you will end up with chunks of cooked eggwhite in the mixture. You can pick them out fairly easily, but just save yourself the time.
- -It is also extremely important when separating eggs that no yolk gets into the white. If it does, discard it because the meringue will probably fail. Make sure the bowl and beaters are clean and grease free, otherwise it is also likely the meringue won't turn out.