Friday, 22 August 2014

Gluten free crackers - onion and poppy seed

Tried a new combination of flavours for the gluten free savoury crackers ... and they were declared "absolutely, bloody, brilliant ... "  ... they were very, very good! Today we had gnomes, frogs, chicks, cats and crocodiles.

So, ...

Gluten free SR flour
Mustard powder
Butter / margarine
poppy seeds
dried fried onions
cold water

GF mixtures are gluten free ... dah dah! .. stating of the obvious!  This means that they are not elastic in the same way that wheat flours are - so think of this as a very "short" pastry.

So,  rub in the flour and fat as you normally would.  Add flavourings (bash hell out of the dried, fried onions in a pestle and mortar so that the tiny pieces can be distributed into the dough).  Mix gently, add water to bind.  Put the dough into plastic bags in the fridge to chill.

Turn oven to 180C.

Roll dough out between 2 sheets of floured baking parchment (it helps the mixture stick together and not split and crack).  Run a pallet knife gently under the pastry, lifting it from the paper.  Cut out shapes with a cutter, and transfer to a baking paper lined baking tray - I lifted them out of the mixture within the cutter squeezing the shape very gently together, rather than cutting out multiple shapes and then picking them out of the sheet. The lifting of the raw pastry means that you can move the fragile crackers - if you don't loosen them first you will not get them out of the shapes!

Bake for about 12 minutes - turning the tray around after about 8 minutes to get an even(ish) bake.

Cool on a rack (if you can wait) and then scoff!

Spinach cornbread bake

In Greece, many years ago, I had a delicious cornbread "cake" with feta and mint.  I have never reproduced it successfully, and this was not an attempt at it.  BUT, it did give me the building blocks to start thinking about what to do with shed loads of spinach and a gluten free bake - and I came up with this.

I don't measure things, so this is all guess work


Shed loads of spinach (half a kilo)
garlic (3 cloves, crushed)
nutmeg (not much, just a hint, grated fresh)
oregano (fresh, chopped, a small handful)
cornmeal/ polenta (200g ish)
Baking powder (1 tbsp)
olive oil (a splash)
2 eggs (separated)
milk (about 1/2 a pint)
feta cheese (most of a packet)
salt and pepper

Shred the spinach and allow to wilt gently with some garlic.
Make a batter with the cornmeal, baking powder, egg yolks and milk.  Whip the egg whites to soft peak stage.  Fold into the cornmeal batter.  Fold in cooked spinach and crumbled feta cheese - season.
Bake, in buttered dish, for about 30-40 minutes.

We had it with tiny roast potatoes and a tomato salad.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Gluten free "cheese" crackers with fennel ... and some gnomes

 For a while now I have been thinking of trying some GF biscuits - but savoury ones, because we're not a very sweet household.  Today I had a chance to try some.  The first batch was over cooked - but later ones came out better.  Today I made gnomes, cacti and guitars - but you can make whatever you fancy.

My decorated effort was a gnome - with sundried tomato hat and jacket, olive taponade wellies, olive eyes and cashew cheese beard.  Cashew cheese recipe - more or less this - from Chocolate and Zucchini.
The biscuits I made up myself ... )all ingerdients are "ish"

120g gluten free plain flour
75g polenta
salt and pepper
80g cold margarine (olive oil spread)
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp crushed garlic
cold water

Rub fat into dry ingredients, herbs and spices.
When it looks like breadcrumbs, add enough cold water, and stir/kneed to bring it together.

When it is pastry-like - roll out between 2 pieces of floured greaseproof paper - cut out - lay onto greaseproof paper lined baking trays, pierce with a fork, and bake in pre-heated oven (about 10-12 minutes)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Peanut spicy vegetable casserole with cheesy noodles

Years ago I was cooked something similar to this by a Nigerian friend.  It had chicken in it, and it was very very hot - and it was served with rice.  A few years later (and still some years ago) I was served a veggie version (green beans, tomatoes and peanut butter with chili) with the added cheesy noodles.  It is now a real "go to" comfort food - the lovely silky mild noodles with the spicy and sweet peanutty sauce/casserole (with or without chicken).

olive oil
chopped onion
chopped celery
chopped mushrooms
chopped green beans
chili flakes
peanut butter
chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper
lime juice

grated cheese

Sweat off onions and celery, in olive oil, until a bit soft.   Then add other veg, chili flakes, peanut butter and garlic.  Add some water and cover.  Simmer until softish, then add tomatoes.  Stew until soft and delish (you could steam the green beans and toss them in the sauce later, for a different texture).

Cook noodles.  When cooked stir in grated cheese and butter until noodles are all coated.

Serve, and squirt with lime juice.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Re-imagined salad nicoise

The end of the veg box included courgettes, cabbage, green beans and tomatoes.  The new veg box brought lots of things, but including some nice new potatoes - so I re-imagines a salad nicoise - green beans in a tasty sauce - new potatoes and boiled eggs (could have added tuna, but preferred to stay veggie today).  Also, a spoonful of steamed cabbage - we have so much, and it's really nice, so why not?

Easy bits, boil - washed and chopped, diced new potatoes, steam - green beans and chopped cabbage on top.

Gently cook chopped celery, courgette, shallot and tomatoes in olive oil with garlic, wild rosemary and a few chili flakes.  Cook them slowly, stirring now and again, until they are all soft and silky in the olive oil.  Boil eggs - peel shells off.

Mix beans and veg sauce - serve with potatoes, eggs and cabbage.

Scoff - have seconds!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Potato, cauliflower and courgette curry with rice

Stressful day (again) and latish home - but a rummage in the fridge and cupboards and this was on the table in about 45 minutes.


Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
curry spice mix (whatever sort you have really)
crushed garlic
4 potatoes, diced
1 courgette, diced
1/2 cauliflower
tin tomatoes
frozen peas

rice - cooked according to packet instructions.

1.  Sautee onion, in olive oil, until a bit soft.
2.  Add spice mix, garlic and potatoes, stir around.
3.  Add courgette cauliflower florets, stir around.
4.  Add stock, make sure it's not catching on the bottom of the pan and leave to simmer for a while.
5.  After 20 minutes or so taste and adjust seasoning - add a teaspoon of sugar if it is too hot.
6.  Keep adding stock if it looks a bit dry.
7.  Add a tin of tomatoes, simmer.
8.  a few minutes before serving stir in frozen peas.

Scoff. Delicious.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Lentil spaghetti

Some days you need comfort food!  Today was one of those days.

Quick search in the fridge and cupboard - and knew this would be tasty and filling.

Spaghetti sauce

olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1-2 courgettes chopped
Italian herbs
chili flakes
crushed garlic
2 handfuls of red lentils
about a glass of red wine
6 tomatoes, chopped
mustard (american hotdog mustard, or hot mustard and a tsp of sugar)
salt and pepper
grated parmesan to taste

spaghetti (gluten free for us)
salted water

So ...

1.  Sweat chopped onion in olive oil.  After a minute or so add chopped carrot and celery.
2.  When cooking has started add herbs, garlic and lentils.  Stir
3.  Add a glass of red wine and some water/stock.  Simmer.
4.  Add chopped courgette.  Simmer some more.
5.  When lentils are swollen and getting soft (10-15 mins) - add chopped tomatoes and seasoning.
6.  Put spaghetti into boiling water.
7. Simmer sauce and cook spaghetti.

... when done serve with (or without) grated parmesan