Friday, 15 November 2013

New Hot Chocolate Discovery

I have made an exciting new hot chocolate discovery, just in time for the temperature drop.

Hello, Sweet Freedom Choc Shot. This is liquid hot chocolate, which means no annoying lumps (yes you Options, you know who you are). And it has no refined sugar, but it tastes great. Just to added to its credits, Choc Shot is gluten free and vegan. 

Just add 200ml of your choice of hot milk to 3-4 teaspoons of choc shot and enjoy. This is making me very happy as we head into winter.

Loving this liquid hot chocolate.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Whatever's left smoothie

I hate throwing unused food away. I like to try and think of ways to use up leftovers, which is why I love frittata! And now I am turning to smoothies to do the same kind of thing. I had a bag of salad that was just starting to turn. You can't really use it for lunch, it would be too much of a sad salad and I couldn't bear that. I often use salad leaves in my juices, but I didn't have much in the way to add to the salad to make a juice. What to do, what to do?

Then I remembered, some smoothies have a little juice in then, often stuff like pineapple for sweetener, or something like that. So I decided to add the juice of the salad leaves to a smoothie, to make a healthy breakfast and use up whats left in the fridge. I keep fruit in the freeze, which can always be used for things like smoothies, so no ice cubes required.
Leftovers smoothie
The Ingredients 
110g salad bag
Wedge of lime
1 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
1 handful of frozen strawberries
1 handful of frozen blueberries
200ml plain natural or soya yoghurt
(Optional scoop of peanut butter, for added crunch and flavour)

The Method
Juice the salad and lime.

Add the frozen fruit the blender and whizz until properly broken up.

Add the juice, sweetener and yoghurt (and peanut butter) to the blender and whizz again until smooth.

Enjoy a sweet nutty fruity smoothie, you'll forget its a salad too!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Best burger ever

Not only that, but the best gluten free burger ever and its in London! And its reasonably priced. I have just had pleasure of an Honest Burger, in Brixton Market. They can also be found in Soho, Camden and Portbello Road. 

There has been a burger revolution over the last few years in London. We were amazed by GBK, cos it wasn't McDonalds. I liked the variety and the fact I could have a burger without a bun. Then Byron came along, you can get the no-bun 'skinny' burger. Less choice, but the burgers, chips, well everything, is better. Goodbye GBK. 

What I liked about Honest was the fact that they have gluten free buns. Even if they didn't it still would have been an amazing'y tasty burger I had the honest burger, so it has all the trimmings; cheese, bacon, pickle, relish, green stuff. The beef patty was cooked beautifully, and just divine, as were the rosemary salt chips.

As I was saying, there are lots of great places to have a burger in London now, just ask Timeout. But, not everywhere caters for those who don't do gluten. Most places that do gluten free burgers do it substituting the bun for salad. I appreciate the fact that Honest Burger have bothered to provide a gluten free bun, it feels like a proper burger experience. So thank you Honest Burger, you are my new favourite! I love you. 

Honestly, the best burger I've ever had!
Image from Honest Burgers website. Words my own.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Gluten Free Banh Mi

The Vietnamese baguette. Choc full of lovely stuff. Its all good. Just being able to have a baguette is good in itself, not that many places do gluten free baguettes. But, Sainsburys do a proper good one! All it requires is about 5 minutes in oven and its good to go, its light and fluffy on the inside and crunchy on the outside, tastes good too. 

Vietnamese seems to have become more popular in the last few years, or perhaps I have just become more aware of it. Having been lucky enough to travel around Vietnam for a few weeks a couple of years ago, eating amazing food, seeing amazing things, its always nice to try and recreate food memories in the kitchen or have other people do it for you in restaurants. What I like about Western recreations of Vietnamese food is that they seem more authentic and healthier than Chinese-Western food. By my unscientific, uneducated estimation anyway. 

This is adapted  from the Street Food Revolution book and this recipe is one ofBanh Mi 11's popular baguettes. 
BBQ Pork Gluten Free Banh Mi.

BBQ Pork Gluten Free Banh Mi
Serves 1 for a substantial lunch

The Ingredients
2 tbsp xylitol 
50ml hot water 
4 slices ham cut length ways (or tear up left over pork if you have it)
1small onion chopped
2 small spring onions chopped
1 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon fish sauce 
Salt & pepper 
Small chunk of cucumber deseeded and sliced 
Few sprigs coriander 
Gluten free baguette

The Method
Heat up a saucepan - make sure it is dry before adding the xylitol. 

Stir in a circular motion until it is light brown. Add the water and stir for about 20 seconds before taking it off the heat. 

In a bowl combine the onion, spring onion, ham, garlic, fish sauce, salt & pepper and then pour over the caramel. Mix well and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Soak two wooden skewers in water. 

Preheat the oven on 190C for the baguette. 

Prepare the skewer by adding the onion, spring onion, and rolled up ham. 

Preheat a griddle pan with a little oil. 

Add the baguette to the oven and the skewers to the griddle

Bake the baguette for 5-6 minutes, take out and allow to cool. 

Keep turn the skewers over to cook both sides. 

Once the baguette has cooled down a little, cut in half and cut open. Spread the pate & mayo on the bread. Add the coriander and cucumber.

Once the skewers are cooked to your liking, take all the goodies for the skewers on to a plate.

Fill your baguette to the brim with tasty stuff and enjoy a hearty Banh Mi lunch!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Banana Peanut Butter Mash

Its not pretty, to be honest it doesn't look appealing at all - but it sure does taste good! And it sure is versatile. 

You can use it for:
  • filling things - cakes, sandwiches
  • topping things - yoghurt, more cakes, granola, rice cakes
  • mixing into things - I put it in my porridge this morning  
Its simple and quick to make, and delicious too. So you can see it has many redeeming qualities. To me it doesn't matter what it looks like, bananas and peanut butter is such an amazing combination.

The Ingredients
(1 serving for porridge)
1 over ripe banana
1 heaped dessert spoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup 

The Method
First mash the banana.  

Second, mix in the peanut butter.

Now mix in the maple syrup. 

Then do your thing - top, fill, mix. 


Banana Peanut Butter Mash

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Harissa Chicken with Quinoa Salad

There is nothing harissa to make a salad interesting. And this is a pretty interesting, with a mix of spice, coolness, soft chewiness and crispy crunch - it really makes you appreciate using textures and different temperatures in food.

This recipe was inspired by the hairy dieters.

Harissa Chicken with Quinoa Salad
Makes 1 serving 

The Ingredients 
The Chicken
1 chicken breast cut into strips 
Harissa mixed with olive oil. I got my harissa from The Spice Shop in Notting Hill. The packet has instructions to make the mixture. You can get harissa paste, but I prefer the Spice Shop mix.

The Salad
Roughly 100g of ready to eat quinoa (for speed)
5 halved tomatoes 
1 stick of celery diced
1 inch of diced cucumber 
2 spring onion finely sliced 
Small bunch of parsley chopped
Small  bunch of mint chopped
Juice of half lemon 
Freshly ground black pepper

The Method
Add the quinoa to a dry pan - don't turn on the heat yet.

Prepare the salad, with the lemon juice and black pepper. 

Heat a second pan for the chicken, use a medium heat.

Cover the chicken in harissa mixture and add it to the pan. 

Then turn the (low) heat on under the quinoa, turn over regularly.

Turn the chicken after each minute to cook evenly. 

Both the chicken and the quinoa will only a few minutes to cook. 

The quinoa will be done before the chicken, once done mix in with the rest of the salad.

When the chicken is done, place on top of the warm quinoa salad. 

A beautiful meal, made in a very short space of time. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Amazing chocolate discovery

I'm late to the party most likely but I thought it was worth a mention! I have discovered some amazing dark chocolate with no nasty ingredients, from Willie's Cacao. My favourite at the moment is Lime and Ginger but that may change, I got a pack of several flavours, a very welcome gift.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Secret Ingredient Banana & Toffee Cake

Another delightful recipe from Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache; banana and toffee with a twist... this time the secret ingredient is butternut squash. Warm and comforting on a rain day, or any other excuse you may want, not that you really need one, its the same yumminess you know but with less sugar.

Banana & Toffee Cake
Makes 9 servings (not necessarily for 9 people!).

The ingredients
The cake
3 medium free range eggs
160g xylitol
250g peeled and grated butternut squash
1 tbsp vanilla
50g rice flour
100g ground almond
2 tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
80g chopped pecans
150g peeled and finely sliced banana

For syrup
50g unsalted butter
100g honey
3 tbsp boiling water

Bake in a 22cm x 5cm square tin

The method - cake
Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base of the tin with baking parchment. Grease the parchment and the sides of the tine with a little butter.

Whisk together the eggs and xylitol for about 5 minutes on full blast on an electric hand whisk.

Beat in the grated butternut squash and vanilla extract until well combined.

Whisk in the the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until smooth.

With a spatula mix in the nuts banana (save a few slices of banana for the top).

Tip the mixture into the tin and the slices on banana on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes.

Once baked, allow to cool in the tin while you make the toffee syrup.

Once the syrup has done (see below for instructions) pour the hot liquid on the cake quickly. Tilt the tin so the syrup overs the surface. It should seep in a bit, but I'm stayed on the top and became a sticky toffee layer and the cake is moist enough itself, so it was all good.

The method -syrup
In a medium saucepan melt the butter with honey, and water on a low heat until the butter is liquid.

Turn up the heat, and once at boiling point (the surface is covered with small bubbles), continue to boil hard for 3 minutes exactly (you'll need a timer).

When the 3 minutes are up, take the saucepan off the heat immediately and beat out the bubble (about 30 seconds).

Pour immediately!

Best eaten warm with vanilla ice cream or custard.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Putting pieces of the puzzle together - gluten free Mexican again

One of my favourite recipes is Chicken Fajitas - from Jamie's Ministry of Food. But its not always easy to get a gluten free holder of mexican goodness; shops sometimes stop stocking your favourite products. Ocado no longer have gluten free tacos and you don't want to trudge around loads of shops in the hope that someone somewhere will have some gluten free tortillas. So it was time to once again attempt making my own. My previous attempts had been unsuccessful, but this time was different, because I can now make Galettes. Purest will revolt as this not strictly a tortillas and a makes a french-mexican hybrid, but it works! Now we have....

Chicken Fajita Galettes! 

Note of the method: I prepared all the fajita ingredients first and left them marinating in the fridge while I made the galettes. The fajita are quick to cook. Of course, those who a skilled in multi-task cooking could do both at the same time :-) 

The Ingredients 
Makes (roughly 8 pancakes)
100g buckwheat flour
pinch of salt
300ml of water
Melted organic butter or other spread for frying

The Method 
Mix the flour and salt together.

Make a  well in the centre and gradually mix in the water. It should have the consistency of double cream by the end.

Put it in the fridge overnight, and you'll be ready to go in the morning.

Before making the galettes, whisk the batter again (add a little water if necessary).

Heat a small frying pan (15-18cm), brush with a little melted butter.

Pour 50-60ml of the batter into the pan and quickly swirl it around so it covers the bottom of the pan.

Cook for a minute, loosen the edges with a spatula and then the galette over, cook  for another minute.

Slide the galette out and add a little more butter to start all over again.

To keep the galettes warm put them on a baking tray covered with tin foil in an oven at 120C.

The ingredients
Chicken Fajita
Makes enough for 2 people
1 red peppers
1 medium red onion 
2 skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Small pinch of cumin
1 lime
Olive oil
Salt & pepper 
Soya Yoghurt 
Tub of guacamole
100g grated (lactose-free) cheese

For the salsa 
1/2 fresh red chilli 
15 ripe cherry tomatoes 
Small bunch of coriander
Salt & pepper 
1 lime
Extra virgin olive oil   

The method
Halve and deseed the pepper and cut into thin strips.

Peel, halve and finely slice the onion. 

Slice the chicken into thin strips. 

Put the peppers, onion and chicken into a bowl with the cumin, paprika juice of the lime, a big lug of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix them altogether really well. Let them marinate for 5 minutes. 

For the salsa, finely chop the chilli.

Roughly chop the tomatoes and coriander.

Put all this into another bowl with salt, pepper and the juice of 1 lime. Add good lug of the extra virgin olive oil, mix well.  

Put a griddle pan on a high heat and let it heat up for a minute.

Put the pepper, onion and chicken into the griddle pan. Use a pair of tongs to keep everything moving. It will take 6-8 minutes, and then its done. 

Put a serving of the yoghurt, guacamole and cheese on each plate with half the contents from the griddle pan. 

It may seem simple but it feel good to apply new skills to old favourites and make cooking-life easier for myself. 

Friday, 6 September 2013

Cashew, Sultana & Chocolate Muffins

This recipe has been adapted from a new healthy food blog I have recently discovered, Daily Bites. This is the first recipe I have tried from this blog and I was very pleased with the results. It makes me happy when new recipes turn out well first time around. 

The original recipe says that the chocolate is optional, but for me chocolate is not an option its a requirement. Easy to make, moist and tasty muffins, yay! 

The feedback I got for these muffins, was that they don't taste healthy, praise indeed. Generally as muffins go, you can't get that much healthier, surely? 

Makes 6 muffins. 

The Ingredient
1/4 cup cashew butter (I used Meridian, you can also use almond butter)
1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (melted) 
1/4 cup honey
1 large egg
3 tablespoons coconut flour (I used Tiana Fair Trade Organic Coconut Baking Flour)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Sultanas
1/4 cup chocolate roughly chopped (I used 70% dark Green and Blacks, or any other good quality chocolate)

The method
Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC. 

Line the muffin tray with 6 muffin cases.

With an electric mixer, beat together the cashew butter, coconut oil, and honey until smooth. 

Add the egg and beat until smooth. 

In a bowl, mix together the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. 

Add the dry ingredients to the nut butter mixture and beat to combine. 

Stir in the raisins and chocolate.

Divide the mix even among the lined muffin cups. 

Bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown and a knife inserted, comes out clean. 

Cool completely before storing or serving. 

The original recipe says you can store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or refrigerate or freeze for longer storage. This is good advice, but these days I like to make just the amount I need for that day and then eat them as fresh as possible! 

Friday, 30 August 2013

Gluten Free Cheese & Egg Sandwich Muffins (Lazy Version)

Yes, another cheese and bread related recipe. This one is adapted from my favourite and only french recipe book - Rachel Khoo's My Little Paris Kitchen, so this recipe is also known as Croque Madame Muffins (they are meant to look at ladies hats). Its important to experiment with your favourite ingredients in different forms. So yes, another cheese and bread recipe. But, it was a late supper and I wanted to something quick and easy to make, so I made a lazy version of the Croque Madame Muffins... Rachel's version has a lovely creamy cheese but I couldn't do 20 minutes of prep and then 15-20 minutes of baking. So here is my cut down version. 
Gluten Free Cheese & Egg Sandwich Muffins

Makes 2, easy to scale up or down. 

The Ingredients 
2 slices of gluten free bread
2 medium eggs
A small lump of cheese, finely grated.
Thinly sliced ham (optional)

The Method
Preheat oven at 180C.

Cut the crusts off the slices of bread.

Flatten the bread with a rolling pin. 

Lightly oil two holes of a muffin tin. 

Gently fold the bread into the muffin tin holes. 

If you have ham, add this now, if you want you can add some cheese as well. 

Crack an egg into each of bread muffin cases. 

On top of eggs sprinkle the grated cheese, make sure you have enough cover the top completely.

Pop in the oven and bake between 15-20 minutes. 

Serve immediately with some fresh salad. 
Croque Madame Muffins.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Gluten free cheesy bread sticks

Great on their own or as a scoop for dips and I no longer have to miss another bready product that I gave up and their good for the rare occasion I make dinner for a large group as a starter. There easy to make, which is very important to me as I am lazy.

This recipe was adapted from Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids.

The Ingredient
250g gluten free plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
100g cheddar cheese grated
200ml creme fraiche
50ml natural yoghurt
150ml milk

The method 
Preheat the oven to 220c. Line a baking sheet with a greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum.

Add the grated cheese and mix together.

Combine the creme fraiche, yoghurt and milk in a jug and whisk the mixture with a fork.

Make a well in the centre of the flour/cheese mixture and pour in the liquid.

Mix with a fork until you have a sticky dough (its meant to be this way).

Lightly flour a board (work surface) add the dough and gently make it into a round disc (of even thickness, about 1.5cm).

Cut into strips, and cut them in half.

Using a palette knife, gently place them on the baking tray.

Bake for about 10 minutes until lightly golden.

Best eaten straight out of the oven (but leave to cool for a few minutes). 

Friday, 16 August 2013

Not just for winter soup

The 30C July has gone and the 20C is with us, as much as I loved the 30C heat after the eternal winter, 20C is a much more reasonable temperature for soup and I do love to eat soup. Here is another recipe adapted from my favourite French cookery book 'The LIttle Paris Kitchen'; Pistou soup, with summer vegetable, beans and pasta is hearty and fresh. 

Makes about 6-8 servings. 

The Ingredients 
The soup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions diced 
4 cloves of crushed garlic
4 tbsp tomato paste
2 carrots diced 
 2 courgettes diced 
200g green beans diced 
400g tinned white beans (such as haricots) drained
2 litres boiling water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp xylitol 
Some pepper
100g dried gluten free pasta
200g frozen peas
1 sprig of thyme

The sauce 
1 bunch of basil 
3 cloves of garlic
1 stalk of lemongrass roughly chopped
1/2 small red chilli 
5 tbsp sunflower oil

To make the sauce, pound all the ingredients together. 

To make the soup heat the olive oil, in a large saucepan. 

Add the onions and the garlic, cook gently on a medium heat. 

Add the thyme, tomato paste, carrots and courgettes, cook for 15-20 minutes. 

Add the green, white beans and the boiling water. 

Bring everything to a boil and add the pasta and peas. 

Cook for another 10 minutes, then remove the thyme. 

Add the salt, xylitol and pepper, cook for another minute. 

Serve with the pistou and enjoy!

Friday, 9 August 2013

Chicken, french bean and almond salad...

...Not your average salad. Its tasty, healthy, quick, easy, and satisfying. With only three ingredients.

Its summer and that means lots of salad, which is of course good for you, but we don't want to get salad fatigue, so its good to mix it up.

It doesn't have to be done with chicken, ham or mackerel work well too.This recipe was taken from River Cottage Everyday.

The recipe serves 2.

The Ingredient
200g french beans (or green beans) trimmed
A large handful of blanched almonds
200g cold shredded cooked chicken

The dressing
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

The Method
Cook the french beans in a saucepan or boiling water for 3-5 minutes, until tender but not too soft.

Drain and rinse under cold water, pat dry.

Scatter the almonds in a dry frying pan and toast on a medium heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally, until golden brown. Leave to cool.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients.

Put the beans, chicken and almonds in bowls and toss.

Drizzle over the dressing and toss again.

Tuck in!

Friday, 2 August 2013

Vegan Banana Pudding With Cinnamon Biscuits

A lovely summer pudding, adapted from a recipe on healthy dessert blog Chocolate Covered Katie. I've adapted recipes from here before, with varying degrees of success, due to my impatience I would imagine. This recipe, however, went great first time round, being simple to make helped greatly!

For the banana pudding, its basically add the ingredients to the blender and whizz up. Done. The biscuits (better known as Graham Crackers in the States) didn't look promising at first, the dough was crumbly and dry, but out came chewy, tasty biscuits.

Its not a 'pretty' dessert, but most importantly it tastes good. It can be prettified by adding a little turmeric to the banana pudding as Kaite suggests. You could also drizzle chocolate on the biscuits, for extra prettification. I, however, am a rustic (lazy) baker and didn't bother with the prettification as I didn't have turmeric in the cupboard and I didn't want to melt chocolate on the stove on a hot summer's day. I guess it depends what your priorities are :-)

The Banana Pudding

Makes enough for two generous servings 

The Ingredients
80g ripe mashed banana
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-4 tbsp cashew butter or melted coconut oil
1 pack silk tofu (I used Blue Dragon Tufo Firm Silken Style (349g)
3-4 tbsp xylitol
optional: 1/8 tsp turmeric for a deeper-yellow hue

The method
Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth.

The Cinnamon Biscuits

Makes about 12 biscuits 

The Ingredients
1 cup plus 2 tbsp rice flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp salt
3 to 4 tbsp xylitol
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
2 tbsp water

The method
Line a baking tray with baking parchment.

Combine dry ingredients.

Combine wet in a separate bowl.

Mix wet and dry together. 

Take small handfuls and shape into a rough biscuit circle on the baking tray, use a cookie cutter to make the edges neater if you want.

Repeat until all the mix is used.

Bake at 180C for 12-15 minutes.

Once removed from the oven allow to cool on a rack.

Once cool, store in an airtight container until its pudding time!

Banana pudding and cinnamon biscuits - the pale one.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer Baking for Special Occasions

Its hot and I'm not complaining. The hottest summer in the UK in 7 years after the longest winter ever. I'm very happy to see the sun and feel the warmth, but the amount of baking has greatly reduced.

But it does matter what the weather is like, there is a birthday then a cake it required. So I turned to a book that I have been looking forward to using for ages, but haven't got round to it; Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. A book full of delicious looking recipes, most of them gluten free and containing interesting ingredients to help improve the texture and increase the nutrition of the cakes. Yes, many of the cake contain vegetables! I was not disappointed by my first outing with this book, and I'm already looking forward to the next and the recipe only need slight adaption.

If you are feeding this to vegetable-haters, if you don't tell them they will never know, this may be a bit unethical but it means they will get to enjoy a wonderful cake, that can't be bad, can it?

'Secret Ingredient' Coconut Cake

Serves 10

The ingredients

The Cake
200g desiccated coconut
3 medium free range eggs
180g xylitol
250g topped, tailed, peeled, and finely grated courgette (the secret ingredient, which I grated in the blender)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
120g rice flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 bicarbonate soda
1/4 salt

The filling
St Dalfour sugar free strawberry jam

The icing
100g Billingtons golden (unrefined) icing sugar
2 tbsp non-dairy or lactose free milk (ideally coconut milk)

Two 18cm diameter - 5cm deep loose bottomed cake tins

The method
Preheat the over to 160C (GM3)
Food processor / blender
Electric hand whisk

Lightly brush the tins with a bit of veg oil. Line the base and sides with baking parchment, then oil them again.

Whizz up the coconut in the blender for 2 minutes. This will make it finer, to help the texture. Set aside.

Whisk the eggs and xylitol for about 4 minutes full blast with a hand-held whisk until its pale and fluffy.

Then beat in the grated courgette and vanilla.

Combine coconut, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate soda and salt. Mix well.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, again mix well.

Pour the mixture evenly between the two tins.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes.

Remove the cakes from the oven and the tins. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

When the cakes are cool, spread the jam over one cake and sandwich the two together.

Make the icing, once the cakes are cool and sandwiched together with jam. By sifting the icing sugar and then mixing in the milk.

Pour the icing, covering the top.

Enjoy as soon as possible!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Finally... A summer recipe

After a wee blogging break, summer has arrived in London and we are all happier for it, mostly (unless you are commuting). 

To celebrate the sunshine,  here is a lovely recipe from my newly acquired book: by Gwyneth Paltrow - 
It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes that Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great. I wondered at first if it would be a uninteresting celebrity fad book, but its not, its a proper recipe book for those who want to eat more healthily!

Instant Berry and Coconut Ice Lollies 

The Ingredients
2 cups frozen berries, I used strawberries as that's what I had available, but blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or a mix would also be good
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoon good quality maple syrup

The Method
Combine everything in a food processor and pulse until completely smooth. Easy.

Freeze in lolly molds and get them out for about 10 minutes to soften before serving or you can skip the freezing and molds and eat immediately, just as good.

Quick, simple and delicious - it certainly is all good. 
These are not mine but Gwyneth's, mine didn't look this nice.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No.8 Galettes

Fancy something for breakfast from neighbours on continent? The galettes are thin buckwheat pancakes, close relation to the crepe.

Galettes can really be eaten for any meal and can be sweet or savoury. They only require a couple of ingredients and are simple to make. They're also gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free (depending on your toppings).

I didn't need to adapt the recipe at all (doesn't happen often)! I just changed the quantities for the number of pancakes I wanted. This recipe is from Rachel Khoo - The Little Paris Kitchen. Loved the BBC programme and I love the book, it made me want to runaway to Paris and spend the rest of my life baking.

The French Galette - naturally gluten free!

The Ingredients (roughly 8 pancakes)
100g buckwheat flour
pinch of salt
300ml of water
Melted organic butter or other spread for frying

The Method 
Mix the flour and salt together.

Make a  well in the centre and gradually mix in the water. It should have the consistency of double cream by the end.

Put it in the fridge overnight, and you'll be ready to go in the morning.

Before making the galettes, whisk the batter again (add a little water if necessary).

Heat a small frying pan (15-18cm), brush with a little melted butter.

Pour 50-60ml of the batter into the pan and quickly swirl it around so it covers the bottom of the pan.

Cook for a minute, loosen the edges with a spatula and then the galette over, cook  for another minute.

Slide the galette out and add a little more butter to start all over again.

To keep the galettes warm put them on a baking tray covered with tin foil in an oven at 120C.

Once all the batter is used - prepare the galettes with your toppings of choice!

So far I've tried melted cheese and fresh cherry tomatoes as well as peanut butter and (sugar free) strawberry jam. Both were excellent. Other loveliness was the more traditional Toulouse Sausage and grated Emmental cheese galette from Whitecross Market for lunch.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No.7 Almost Healthy Bacon Sandwich

The bacon sandwich. Its a classic and a Sunday morning regular, just because. Because their so great.

Its not exactly the healthiest of breakfasts, but its so tasty and feels you up for ages, its hard to say no, ever.

I've tried to make it as angelic as it possibly can be...
I think the Hairy Dieters would be proud of me! Maybe.

Either way, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Bacon Sandwich!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No.6 Juicing

I often have a homemade juice for breakfast, 2-3 times a week in general, sometimes I have a smoothie. Three days a month, I detox which is only drinking specific fruit and vegetable juices for three days.
I have completely bought into the ‘juicing is for life’ concept, which the Juice Master preaches. 

It seems to me to be a good way to get a lot of goodness in one glass and it’s easy to digest. It’s one of those win-win situations.

I have read and used a few of Jason Vale’s (the self-proclaimed Juice Master) books. The first book I used prescribed a 7 day detox every 3 months. It’s a thorough detox but takes a lot of organising and will-power.

If you doing the detox thing ‘properly’ then you a meant to ‘Turbo-charge your life’. These days I use some ‘turbo charge recipes’, but I don't usually do the 14 day programme. 

My latest is the 3 day detox from another book, 'Keeping it simple'. Which is much more manageable. Detoxing definitely helps with any digestion problems but it hasn’t stopped the coffee and chocolate cravings, as other people have claimed.

When I’m retoxing I like to make this juice for breakfast:
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Ginger
  • Courgette

I have talked about smoothies before. My tastes have evolved since then. At one point I did get into the habit of putting peanut butter in my smoothies for a while, which is excellent (peanut butter is excellent in everything). The 3 day detox programme has a really simple, easy to make and tasty smoothie of:
  • A handful of frozen blackberries
  • A handful of frozen blueberries
  • 200ml of plain yoghurt (bio active, ideally)
  • A little pineapple juice (optional and should be freshly juiced, not required but does add some sweetness)

This is a much need smoothie in the middle of a juice detox. If detoxing sounds too much, a couple of breakfasts a week is doable and is good for those trying to create some kind of healthy balance. 

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No.5 - Rhubarb Almond Breakfast Muffins

Back to breakfast. I came across this recipe on the Etsy blog, it makes for an interesting read if you like all everything crafty. I only slightly adapted the recipe and they are very easy to make. There are good to eat at anytime of day, but should you want muffins for breakfast (and who doesn't) these are a good bet, when rhubarb is in season. These muffins are so good because the flavours and textured are well balanced. Most of the ingredients are sweet which balances the sharpness of the rhubarb and the sliced almond gives a crunch amongst the softness of the muffin.

Breakfast Muffins, yes please!
The Ingredients for 6 muffins

125g brown rice flour
125g oat flour
93g xylitol
85g sliced almonds
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg
60ml buttermilk (I used lactofree milk with a spoonful of vinegar)
60ml olive oil
3/4 cup diced rhubarb

The Method
Preheat oven to 180C.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, sugar, almonds, baking powder and soda, spices and sea salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the buttermilk with the olive oil. Add the diced rhubarb and stir thoroughly.

Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry.

Put muffin cases in your muffin tin and fill about 3/4 of the way.

Bake for 20-25 minutes (once the knife comes out clean, they are done).

Can be made the night before to enjoy with a cup of tea in the morning. Lovely!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Jar Full of Cookies - Gluten Free Cookies

I thought it was time for a quick of a break from the morning meal series, to tell you about some cookies I have made recently. I have had my eye on getting cookie mix jar for sometime, thinking they're a nice gift idea but I wanted to road test at least one before attempting my own.

I choose the gluten free triple chocolate cookie mix jar from Scarlet Bakes which I got from Not On The High Street:

The jar comes with instructions and all you need to add is some butter and an egg, mix everything together, chuck it in the oven for 12 minutes and you get lovely get lovely cookies that are crunchy on the outside, with a soft chewy center and great flavour:

I can't take credit for these cookies, I got the image from notonthehighest, mine would have looked this good if I had more patience to make food beautiful but I never can muster it. Whether yours are ugly ducklings or beautiful swan cookies they will go down a treat with whoever you decide to share them with, or better still give the cookie mix jar as a gift, get them to make the cookies and share them with you!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No.4 - World Champion Porridge

I caught an repeated episode of Nigel Slater's Simple Cooking the other day, the episode focusing on contrasting temperatures, all different recipes put combining hot and cold. Nigel visited a guy in Scotland; 'where the best porridge comes from'. This guy, Ian Bishop, has been perfecting his porridge recipe for 18 years, and is a world champion porridge maker, so he obviously knows what he's talking about. It seemed like a golden opportunity to add to my recipe series and try a breakfast of champions, before the weather gets to hot for porridge, hopefully this is not wishful thinking.

Ian's instructions were very precise and I have noted them here, in case you too want to try award winning porridge, its worth trying at least one, its delicious, it does seem a labour of love, more time and effort than I've put into my porridge before but it was worth it. This recipe serves 1.

First you need 1 part oatmeal and 3 parts water. To get the oatmeal I simply blended a 1/3 of a cup of gluten free oats for a few seconds and added it to a saucepan on a medium heat with a cup of water.

Stir frequently. When the first 'bubbles' appear add a little salt, roughly a 1/2 a teaspoon. Now stir continuously for 5 minutes, apparently its important to only stir clockwise :) in this time it seemed the porridge thickened, tightened and then loosen several times, I wasn't always sure if it would end up with the right on texture, but I kept in mind this is an experts recipe, so I stuck to the instructions.

After the 5 minutes, pour the porridge into your bowl, add some cinnamon, honey, jam and a splosh of cold milk. And then enjoy this wonderful concoction.

Ideally I guess you should use heather honey,  homemade jam and milk fresh from the cow this morning. Being the city dweller I am I used organic honey from the St Dalfour sugar free strawberry Jam and lactofree milk. It probably won't make me champion of the world, but it was rather a lovely breakfast. You can watch Nigel and Ian at work for yourself

Friday, 12 April 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No. 3 - Overnight Oats

Another oat based breakfast, oh those oats - their oats of versatile. I love them. They absorb whatever flavour you want them to be and then fill you up for ages with that slow to release energy. Oats have all sorts of good in them, according to Google*. They just keeping giving.

*As with most food related googling there are as many results for oats are amazing as oats may kill you, eventually. Something is only true until the next truth comes along. Oats / Chocolate / Fill in the blank is good for you one day, bad the next and then good again. Who knows.

Anyway, if you like oats and believe they are good for you, then this may be a recipe for you. In my mind its a cold version of porridge, ready when you get up in the morning, cos you were organised and made it the night before. So its particularly good in spring/summer when you want something to fill you up, but you don't want the heat of porridge and you want something smooth in texture instead of crunchy granola. I like looking at recipes for overnight oats, porridge and oatmeal on a couple of different healthy food blogs. In particular Fit Foodie Finds and Chocolate Covered Katie. You can adapt it easily to your tastes / whats in the fridge/cupboard and its quick and easy to make to your dietary requirements.

The Basic Ingredients
1/4 cup of oats (60ml)
2 tbsp milled flaxseed (30ml) (or other kinds of milled seed)
About 1/2 cup (120ml) of milk or yoghurt of your choice. Depending on how thick you want the consistency you may want more liquid. Its just a case of trial and error. I like it thick so tend to go for the yoghurt version, but both work well.

Other Potential Ingredients
1 small ripe and diced banana
A tbsp (15ml) of honey or maple syrup or agave if your using plain (soya) yoghurt/ milk. If using flavoured milk or yoghurt you won't need this.
A heaped table (or dessert) spoon of nut butter - any kind will work. So far I've tried peanut butter, which adds a saltiness to the sweetness (and adds to the texture, I always use crunchy peanut butter), hazelnut butter adds to the sweetness and almond butter adds something that I like but can't yet describe, thats more subtle than the peanut or hazelnut
Chocolate chips
Sultanas / other dried fruit
Whole nuts instead of nut butter - pecans are particularly good (but I think we are good in everything)
Fresh fruit
Vanilla or coffee essences 
Other spreads you may like (Nutella?) 
The Method
I like to measure everything into some tupperware, mix it together, put the lid on and stick in the fridge. Not much to it.

And the possibilities are endless, just not all at once. 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No. 2 - Oat Crunch

There are a lot more tasty gluten free options out there for breakfast now, but homemade will always be top trumps! I can’t leave the house or function in general if I haven’t had breakfast, just a fact. Its so important, I’ve decided to dedicate the next few weeks and recipes to breakfast. Breakfast I salute you.

This recipe is adapted from Stoats recipe in Street Food Revolution.

Tasty bakes oats, good with both hot and cold milk or sprinkled over some yoghurt. 

The Ingredients
115g gluten free oats
100g desiccated coconut
100g chopped almonds
25g pumpkin seeds
10g sesame seeds
40g dried cranberries 
40g sultanas
87g honey

The Method
Preheat the oven to 150C Fan (GM2).

Mix the oats, coconut, almond in a large bowl. 

Heat the honey and stir into the oat mix. 

Line a baking tray with parchment and spread the mix evenly over it. 

Bake for 20 minutes or until its golden. 

Allow to cool and add to an airtight container with the rest of the ingredients. It can last for two weeks in the airtight container, but it’ll be eaten long before then. 

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Gluten Free Breakfast Series Recipe No. 1 - Pecan Apple Cinnamon Granola

I have discovered once you've made your own granola, you can't go back. You can't go back to the shop bought stuff, its never going to taste as good. Not only does this taste amazing, its got great texture and keeps you going for ages (slow release energy!!) and its easy to make, AND its sugar and gluten free and vegan win, win, win. Another win... its easy to adapt to your favourite flavours, but for me you can't beat pecans, and apples with cinnamon is a classic.
Amazing granola
The Ingredients
Makes 5 portions 

1 cup dried apple
3 cups of oats
2 tbsp flaxseed
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup chopped pecans
0.25 cup of honey*
0.25 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of cinnamon 

*if a strict vegan use maple or agave syrup instead.

The Method
Preheat oven to 180C (fan).

Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Pour the honey and olive oil.

Mix everything together again. 

Line a baking tray with parchment.

Spread the the granola out evenly over the baking tray. 

Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Toss every 5 minutes. 

Try not to eat all at once :)