The best gluten free porridge

I grew up eating porridge or cereal for breakfast and that’s what I fed my children too. Oats (oatmeal) was a favourite of mine so when I realized I was gluten intolerant it was a bit of a let-down. I know oats is supposed to be gluten free, but it doesn’t agree with me now so I prefer to avoid it. My son grew up mostly gluten free and he doesn’t even like oats. He ate a lot of mealie meal (maize) as a child.

In the search for a breakfast porridge I have found various recipes but nothing was really up to scratch. So I started experimenting and I think I have hit the jackpot! It does take about 20 – 25 minutes cooking, but I make more than I need and it keeps in the fridge for at least 5 days. Here’s my recipe:

Gluten free breakfast porridge

½ Cup Quinoa

2 tablespoons flaxseed (linseed) flour

2 tablespoons chia seeds

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

2 tablespoons dessicated coconut

Pinch of salt

Cook the Quinoa in 1 to 1½ cups of water for 14 to 18 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Mix the rest of the ingredients with a little water and add some of the hot quinoa to the mixture to avoid lumps. Add the flaxseed mixture to the saucepan and put back on the heat. Boil for a few minutes until cooked. Serve with full cream yogurt, or any other flavouring you prefer. Peanut butter? Cream? Etc.

There you are, my new favourite breakfast porridge. Please try the recipe and let me know what you think.

A hot, dry season

I am not going to say much about my garden right now.  The weather is so hot and dry, and water restrictions have been imposed in our area.  I have mulched with wood shavings which really makes a big difference, but on the whole my garden is looking like an old person with sagging skin and wrinkles.  Everything seems slightly droopy and tired.  The temperatures are going up to 39ºC. We all go through different seasons in our lives and the hot dry seasons build resilience and perseverance in our lives.  Just like the plants we learn to overcome the drought, often with a little bit of help from our friends.  Just like mulching and carrying water in a watering can instead of using a hosepipe, a little TLC goes a long way. The apple trees are looking great and that’s wonderful because they are long term.  They have to be able to withstand all kinds of weather conditions.  We just have to remember, in our own lives, that no matter what happens to us it says in the bible in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

This little basil plant doesn’t seem to mind the heat.

This Copia tomato plant appreciated the mulch which keeps its roots cool – this is one if my heirloom tomatoes

Gluten Free Bisquick Mix
2 cups white rice flour (500 ml)

1 ¼ cup coconut flour (325 ml)

1 cup milk powder (250 ml) (Nespray)

¼ – ½ cup white sugar (75 – 125 ml) (I’m sure Xylitol or a sugar substitute will also work)

½ cup cornstarch (125 ml) (Maizena)

1 TBSP Baking Powder (15 ml)

1 tsp Baking Soda (5 ml) (Bicarbonate of Soda)

½ tsp salt (2,5 ml)

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
I made the pizza crust and even though it was sweet it was a really nice contrast to the savoury topping.  Here is my pizza recipe:
2 cups pre-mix (500 ml)

1 tsp Xanthan gum (5ml)

3 eggs

¼ cup of oil ( 75 ml)

1 cup water (250 ml)
Add the Xanthan gum to the flour and combine.  Beat the eggs and add together with the oil and water to the flour.  The consistency is like mashed potatoes.  I used two rectangular foil of which the inner measurements are 24cm x 14cm.  Spread the dough into the bottom of the containers. 

1 sachet Tomato paste





Spread the tomato paste on the dough and top with the rest of the ingredients.  Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180ºC for 20 minutes.

The dough must be the consistency of mashed potatoes

These ingredients are only a guide.  Use what you like to eat and as much as you need.  The dough rises and make a soft crust.  I usually prefer a thin crisp pizza crust but this was so good.  
Enjoy trying this recipe and feel free to share your thoughts and your own recipes in the comment section.

The finished product – delicious!

More weeds

Yesterday I picked the last dried pea pods and pulled out the dried remains of the peas which had been so green and lush just a month ago.  I used their stakes (reeds) which hadn’t actually sprouted and started to grow, and made little teepee structures for my cherry tomatoes.  I had put stakes in next to them but they were totally inadequate.  Now my tomatoes can hold their heads up high and the birds can see the ripening fruit even more clearly!  When I turned my attention to the rest of the garden all I could see was weeds.  All beautifully green and thriving.  But how was this possible?  I had weeded just last week.  What do they say in the old plays, “Woe is me, woe is me!”  That’s how I felt.  How could this be happening.  I am going to have to spend more time on my knees – weeding!

I was speaking to a friend a while ago about anger and he was saying how he recognized anger in one area of his life and he realized that because he hadn’t dealt with it, it was spreading to other areas as well.  Anger is like weeds.  You have to be on top of it.  You can’t ever allow it to get out of control.  It will take you over and swallow you up.  You won’t be able to see the wonderful fruit because of the weeds.  They get so big and ugly that they overpower everything else.  Please take care of the anger, pull it out by the roots, don’t allow even a little bit to stay behind else it will slowly start to grow again and before you know it will be a problem.

OK, enough of the negative, on Sunday I cooked a lovely lunch for my family.  All gluten free and delicious. The chicken was the best.  I learned to cook chicken this way from my aunt.  She had spent a few years in Israel and this is how they do it there.  You need one whole chicken, a packet of coarse salt and a roasting pan.  You pack the salt around the sides of the roasting pan.


Cauliflower Salad

Today I am just going to give you a recipe for a really delicious salad.  I was paging through a gluten free booklet that I found and I saw a lentil and chickpea salad that looked really delicious. I went to the local supermarket and bought .. cauliflower. They didn’t have lentils or chickpeas. When you live in a rural area you get used to it but you also become very resourceful, learning to improvise with what you have. This morning the black Labrador got hold of my Princess Camille (just for a second) and fortunately no damage was done. She definitely knows now that he doesn’t share everyone else’s opinion that she’s just the very cutest girl in town!


The cutest girl in town

I cooked the cauliflower florets. One tiny cauliflower is more than enough for one serving. I fried three rashers of bacon and roasted some pumpkin seeds on the grill. I love having a hot grill always available. Well, when no-one is making burgers or toasted sandwiches it’s available. I crumbled some feta cheese, (homemade –  I’m going to have to share the recipe too) chopped a small tomato and some onion, and a sprinkling of sunflower seeds. Drizzle this with some balsamic vinegar and voila! What a tasty salad. Here’s a more logical version:


Gluten Free Cauliflower Salad

1 small head of cauliflower (boiled)

3 rashes Bacon (fried)

1 handful pumpkin seeds (roasted)

1 small tomato

half a small onion

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

sprinkling of sunflower seeds

Toss together in a bowl and drizzle with balsamic vinegar



Gluten Free Cauliflower Salad (I remembered to take a photo before I finished eating!)

By the way, the banana muffins I posted in a previous blog (Little Foxes) work just as well if you use grated butternut squash instead of bananas and add some orange juice for a lovely citrus taste and the extra moisture needed.



Little Foxes

The wind is blowing so hard I don’t want to go outside, not even to look at my garden, or maybe especially not to look at my garden.  I know that the top few centimetres of soil is going to be dried out completely, and some of the tomato stakes are going to be blown over.  Tomorrow morning when everything is quiet I’ll gi and survey what I can rescue.  Last Sunday five cows came into my gaden – somebody had opened the gate – but luckily one of our employees saw them through the window and ran out to chase them out.  She had acted quickly and the damage was minimal.  They already call my garden ‘holy ground’ so I’m guessing that they know my heart and soul are in it. This incident rminded me of the verse in Song of Solomon that speaks of the little foxes in the vineyard.

Patty pan squash are flourishing

Song of Solomon 2:15 – Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.

The first flower on the bush beans

Now cows aren’t foxes, and they aren’t little, and they can do a lot of damage.  I’ve been thinking about the little foxes in the vineyard and I wonder if a camel or a donkey wouldn’t do more damage to a vineyard than a fox.  A cow, a camel or a donkey are large and can be easily seen and easily chased out of a garden, whereas a fox, or any other small animal can hide between and behind plants and do a lot of damage before it is detected. Think about a caterpillar or a locust that chews away at succulent green leaves and can only be seen at closer inspection. Sometimes we are so busy concentrating on the big problems in our lives that we fail to see the little things that are going wrong.  The subtle bad habits that sneak in, the extra spoon of sugar in a cup of tea, the negative attitude, ignoring a health warning. There are so many things that can creep up on us like the little foxes in the vineyard if we aren’t vigilant. Despite the cows my garden is flourishing and I am enjoying the time I get to spend there. It is truly my happy place.

The beetroot looks very promising

On Thursday I baked some banana muffins for the shop and today I baked some gluten free ones. They came out so well tht I’m going to share the recipe:

Banana muffins – this recipe makes 12 normal size muffins

Gluten Free Banana Muffins

1 1/2 cups gluten free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (if the flour does not contain any)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

(mix these dry ingredients together)

3 ripe bananas

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon  vanilla

1/3 cup melted butter

1/4 cup milk

(place all the wet ingredients in a bowl and mix with a stick blender – or mash the bananas and then beat everthing together)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir till they are mixed. Spoon the mixture into muffin pans and bake at 180 degrees C for about 20 minutes.  

Princess Camille.

My kitten is also bringing us so much joy. She loves it when my husband watches TV because she can lie and sleem snuggled up close to him. Have a happy week and let me know if you try the muffin recipe.

Spinach and clover

​I really need to write!! I haven’t written in more than a week and what’s inside of me wants to jump out onto the paper. 

After the lovely rains my vegetables have grown so much, but so have the weeds! Last Saturday I spent almost 2 hours just weeding. While I was waging war on the undesirable elements between my beautiful veges, I noticed something extremely interesting. Only certain weeds were growing between certain vegetables. There was no clover between the spinach. Not a single one. The clover was very luxuriant around the onions and also the garlic, but where the spinach started there was a straight line where the clover stopped. I wish I had taken a photo to prove it.

My theory is that elves came at night and stole all the clover … I wish!! If that was so I could train them to take out all the weeds. On a serious note, I suspect that spinach and clover are simply not compatible and cannot exist in a symbiotic relationship. In companion planting we see that certain plants grow well together and others don’t. 

These are the first peas that actually made it to the pot from my garden home!

It works that way with people too. Some people just don’t get along. There’s no apparent reason; the relationship simply does not work. I think when we realize that there are people who, despite our best efforts, we cannot get along with we should do what the clover does and keep away from them. I know that I should be saying you should show them love, and by all means do, just remember that not everybody will be your friend. 
Coming back to the spinach, I harvested my first leaves for spinach and feta pies. When I weighed them they came to 2,4 kg. Enough for quite a few pies and the first vegetables from my garden that get used for the shop. 

I’m going to share a recipe I made during the week. These snacks are excellent as an appetizer.

I gratted baby marrows (about 2 cups full and blotted up some of the moisture with a kitchen towel) added 2 beaten eggs, 1/3 cup of flour (I used gluten free) and salt. Mix it and press it into an oven pan that’s been lined with baking paper. Its less than 5mm thick. Bake for 25 minutes @ 180°C. Remove from the oven an sprinkle liberally with cheddar cheese. Replace in the oven just till the cheese melts. Cut into squares and serve. They’re really delicious. 

The baby marrow bake before it went into the oven.

Have a lovely weekend. 




My first bean harvest


I plant marigolds among the vegetables to keep the bugs away – unfortunately they don’t keep weeds away!




In the process of beginning this new blog today I have contended with slow internet speed and passwords and even a name for my blog. Space for a garden wasn’t my first choice, but in retrospect it  probably is the best name as it encompasses so many of the things I would like to share. (Now after I’ve finished writing I’m a bit confused because I’m not even sure that is the name!!!)

Two and a half years ago my husband took early retirement from the job he had been doing for 28 years and bought a takeaway shop in our hometown.  I must confess that for a long time I didn’t think it was a good idea, but I decided to go with it and do my best to make a success of it.  At that stage I was running a nursery school for underprivileged kids which was a joy to me.

I very soon discovered that running this shop isn’t a job, its a way of life.  Putting in 16 hours a day is often the norm. I started to get extremely tired after 3 months and when I eventually went to a homeopath she told me to go gluten free and sugar free because of infection in my stomach and intestines.  I had been on a gluten free diet some years previously so I knew what to do. Within a week I was a different person. So here I am, on a gluten free diet, spending most of my waking hours in a shop that makes the most amazing pies, samosas, burgers and toasted sandwiches, to name but a few!  My working hours stayed the same because I was doing all the admin for the shop (I had no idea a little shop could generate so much paper work!!) and still running the school.  Then 8 months ago I got a mild case of shingles and the doctor said it was due to burnout.  This made me sit up and take notice. I knew I would have to make a change in my lifestyle.

I decided to give up the school. It sounds easy when you say it fast but it was a heart wrenching decision. Once I had made it I really had peace with it and for the last 6 months the running of the shop has become the major part of my life. But … I’m not an extrovert and being around grown-up people in a business situation all day isn’t my idea of the ideal life.

Then I looked out of the window and discovered that behind the shop there is more than enough space for a garden.  I nagged my husband enthusiastically (that is possible) to let me start a vegetable garden. I even employ a teenage girl part time to help with the heavy work.  She loves being outdoors and doing “hard work” – those are her words.

Last week I harvested  a handful of green beans! What joy. This is how I cooked them so that there would be enough for my husband and myself:

Chop the beans into pieces of about 1.5cm

Dice one potato – cook the potatoes and beans in the microwave untill the beans are tender.

Fry 3 rashers of bacon together with 2 chopped onions.

Add the beans to the onion mixture and season with lots of black pepper, salt and parsley.  Toss to heat through.

My neighbour, who just came to buy takeaways told me to add a cup of sour cream and grate cheddar cheese over the top and them bake it in the oven.  I’ll try that next time.

I also have swiss chard, onions (and spring onions) garlic and a few miserable tomato plants in my garden. Its really too cold for tomatoes so I’ll have to see how they do. I’ll sow more seed in the spring.  My peas have just put their first leaves through the soil. I love eating peas straight from the pods. Oh yes, my garlic is also growing. I get a bit carried away when I talk about my garden, and in a way that’s my aim. Its my happy place at the moment.  When I’ve had enough of admin and staff and customers I can run away and play in the garden.

I think that everyone should have enough space for a garden.  It doesn’t literally have to be a garden.  It can be any hobby or pastime that makes you happy. Something that allows you to switch off from the stress that living brings.  I also do other things that make me happy but I consider myself very privileged to have space for a garden.