So I entered my vegan, gluten-free coconut brownie recipe into a brownie contest at the University, and I have made it into the semi final. It takes place next week, and “professional bakers” will test the recipe and rank it against 7 other recipes. The top three will be voted by students on December 1st. Pretty exciting 🙂
I haven’t been doing much interesting cooking lately, as I have been pretty busy marking and writing papers. However I did make arepas last weekend! I picked up a bag of Harina P.A.N, the precooked Venezuelan corn flour which is especially made for this stuff, and just followed the instructions on the package to make the masa (dough) and then an online recipe for how to cook them. Basically you form the batter into discs that are about 6-7 cm across and 1 cm thick. Then you brown them for a while in a hot pan, and finally you finish them off in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until they sound hollow.
They were pretty tasty, especially cut in half and slathered with butter 🙂 (I didn’t have any cheese). I also used them as “hamburger buns” for some black bean burgers I made (for which I won’t post the recipe because they ended up pretty bland…)
Arepas are naturally gluten-free, which is great. However, the special process of pre-cooking apparently removes a lot of the nutrients from the corn. This special pre-cooking thing also means that you cannot substitute normal cornmeal for the PAN brand flour in this recipe, so you can only really make it if you find a Latin American supermarket. But this is definitely nice for a change as a gluten-free bread substitute, and if you ever find a Venezuelan restaurant or snack bar you know you can eat arepas without worrying too much about gluten.