Friday, 1 June 2018

Tomato soup with garlic bread (GF) (NF) (V)

Ramadan Mubarak. This is such a simple recipe and it led me to realise how much sugar is added to tinned soups which is so unnecessary. Maybe you'd think of buying a ready made baguette from the supermarket as "cheating" but admit it, most of you probably get ready made frozen garlic bread from the supermarket anyway... and yes, I have noticed that the freezer section does sell ready made gluten free garlic bread, but admittedly I think the manufacturer was a bit stingy when it came to how much garlic and butter to put in, so I prefer to make it like this. I saw a soup recipe a lot like this one on TV, but this recipe is how I prefer my garlic bread more along these lines.

Whatever baguette you buy, check the label to ensure it conforms to your dietary requirements in case you're looking for something egg free or to suit other allergies or intolerances. If you want the recipe to be dairy free; the soup itself is vegan so just look for a dairy free baguette and grind the garlic into some olive or rapeseed oil instead of butter. This recipe is based on the baguette being roughly 12 inches long.

Gluten Free
Nut Free

400g tin san Marzano tomatoes
1 finely chopped shallot
a handful of roughly chopped basil
1 ready made gluten free baguette
60g butter (preferably left at room temperature for an hour)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
a little salt and ground black pepper to taste

- Preheat the oven to 180 celcius or gas mark 5

- In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, crush the garlic, mix in the butter, oregano, salt and up to half of the olive oil and mix together

- With a knife, every 2-3cm make cut marks into the baguette that go 3/4 deep (ie cut most of the way through but not all the way through), then stuff each of those cut gaps with the garlic butter mixture, then place on a baking tray and bake for about 10-15 minutes by which time the butter should melt and the baguette should be golden brown

- Meanwhile put the remaining olive oil in a pan on medium heat, then add the shallot; you want to cook the shallot for about a minute till it is softened, but not changing colour as we don't want it to turn brown

- Add the tinned tomatoes and most of the basil (reserve one sprig for serving at the end) and simmer for 2-3 minutes, then blitz the soup using a blender or stick blender (if using a blender, you have to remove the middle part of the lid and cover it with a tea-towel for this bit), add salt and black pepper to taste and stir

- Serve the soup in a soup bowl with the remaining sprig of basil on top (optional: you can also drizzle a little olive or basil infused oil over the soup at this point) and serve the garlic bread on the side

Friday, 7 April 2017

Cheat's tiramisu (GF) (V)

This is hardly even a recipe as it's so easy to make, but it looks quite impressive. The key is to serve it in small glass dishes, ideally glass espresso cups. I don't have an espresso maker at home so I cheat by using instant coffee, but if you do have espresso to hand, ideally this should be made with it. There are two types of amaretti available in the shops: one is crunchy like a biscuit and the other is soft almost like a cake. I make this using the soft amaretti but you can use the crunchy biscuits if you prefer. Depending on how sweet you want the tiramisu to be, you can mix a little sugar or two drops of stevia into the coffee to offset its bitterness. This recipe serves two small portions.

Gluten Free

4-5 dessert spoons mascarpone
3 amaretti biscuits
2-3 teaspoons grated dark chocolate (or mini chocolate chips)
a few tablespoons of cold prepared coffee (preferably espresso)

- In a glass espresso cup, place one amaretti biscuit, then break a second amaretti in half and place it on top of it (repeat each of these steps with a 2nd cup to make the 2nd portion)

- Pour 2-3 dessert spoons of coffee over the amaretti in order to moisten and just about cover it

- Spoon roughly 2 teaspoons of mascarpone over the amaretti to form a layer over it (I spoon the mascarpone as it is, but you can whip the mascarpone beforehand with a little milk or single cream to make it less dense and easier to spoon over), then sprinkle some of the dark chocolate over it (this adds texture and colour)

- Spoon another 2-3 teaspoons of mascarpone (this should fill the cup) and then smooth the top a little with the back of the spoon

- To serve, either sprinkle a little cocoa powder on top or a little more grated chocolate, then place the espresso cup with a teaspoon in a saucer and serve

Monday, 28 December 2015

Potato wedges (GF) (DF) (EF) (NF) (Vegan)

If you're someone who likes to have a burger/steak/chicken/gf fish fingers with chips, then I suggest that it's worth giving wedges a try instead of chips. Some people even make wedges with sweet potatoes like this and say it's good though I've never tried that myself. As I'm not vegetarian or vegan, I like to have these with gluten free fish fingers or else with sour cream and chive dip. These are very moreish.

Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Egg Free
Nut Free

2 large baking potatoes, washed
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 level teaspoon black pepper
1/3 teaspoon garam masala

- Preheat your oven to gas mark 8/230C/450F

- Cut the potatoes lengthways into wedges

- Bring a kettle of water to the boil, then pour the water into a pan that is on the stove (on a high heat setting), then carefully put all the potato wedges in the pan and leave them to boil for about 12 minutes

- In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, salt, black pepper and garam masala

- Drain the water out of the pan, then spread the potato wedges onto a baking sheet and brush the masala oil on to all the potatoes and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes

- Take the tray of wedges out of the oven, turn the wedges over, brush the remaining masala oil over the wedges, then leave in the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes (if you're not vegetarian and want to eat the wedges with fish fingers or a burger etc, then now would be the time to put those on the baking sheet so that everything cooks evenly and is ready at the same time)

- Serve the wedges alongside a pot of sour cream and chive dip (if you're not vegan) and beware of the fact that these are addictive

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Potato gratin dauphinoise (GF) (EF) (NF) (V)

When I saw Michel Roux Junior make this on TV, I thought it looked way too easy and too good to be true, but it turns out that it really is quite simple to make. I've looked up a few recipes and made some changes, because most recipes set the gas mark very low and I personally feel the potatoes taste a bit "al dente" when they do that. I prefer my potatoes to taste more fully cooked than that.

I'd never tried Dijon mustard in my life until a few weeks ago. Then I experimented with this recipe by making two dishes; one with mustard and one without and I preferred the taste of the one with mustard so have added it to the recipe. The original TV recipe also mentioned something about putting foil over the dish in the oven for some of the cooking time but I don't bother. Other recipes have also said it's best served as a side dish with meat so if you were to make it as a side dish, this recipe would serve two people.

According to the recipe on TV, they say you shouldn't wash the potatoes. My advice is that if you have muddy potatoes, then wash and pat dry the outside but once the potatoes are sliced, don't wash them. This is very moreish!

Gluten Free
Egg Free
Nut Free

1 large baking potato
1 small pot double cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 level teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of black pepper
1/2 clove garlic

- Preheat an oven to gas mark 5

- Using a food processor fine slicer blade (or a mandolin or your own knife skills), cut the potato into fine slices that are 1-2mm thick

- Halve a clove of garlic then rub the cut side all over the bottom of the oven dish

- Layer the potatoes in an oven dish, then over each layer of potatoes, sprinkle a pinch of salt and black pepper, then place another layer of potatoes, salt and pepper, then make another layer until the dish contains 4-5 layers of potato slices

- Pour enough cream to cover all but the top layer of potatoes, then smear the mustard over the top layer and place the dish in the oven on the middle shelf for 25 mins

- Turn the oven up to gas mark 6 and leave to bake for a further 25 mins after which, turn the oven up to gas mark 7 and bake for a further 15-20mins

- Take the dish out of the oven and leave to stand for at least 4 minutes before serving (or eat it straight away if you don't mind the risk of burning your mouth cos' it's so irresistible)

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Griddled lamb and veg (GF) (DF) (EF)

This is one of my favourite gluten free meals. Whilst the griddled lamb is the star of the show, I feel the dish is incomplete without the rice and veg (and it's even better with the aubergine dip as well). This dish is nut free but as the dip contains sesame paste and even though that isn't a nut, I don't know if it would be suitable for nut allergy sufferers.

This recipe is a guideline based on how I like the dish: meat well done served with asparagus, red onion and courgette slices. The beauty of this dish is that you can swap out and switch some of the ingredients to your taste for example if you prefer, you can use griddled red peppers, parboiled new potatoes or halloumi cheese. In fact, this dish can be made using other griddled meat such as chicken or fish, though if you were to make it with either of those, I'd suggest using a different marinade.

I know there are a lot of ingredients and the dish sounds complex but the marinade takes minutes to make, then you leave it aside for hours and then at the end you just griddle the meat and whichever veg you choose (I prefer to brush a little olive oil over the veg but some chefs don't bother). Anything else such as the rice or dip are just icing on the cake... and if you have one of those big griddles that covers two rings of the stove then that would halve the cooking time and make this even easier to prepare. Bear in mind that Allspice is different from "Mixed spice". This recipe roughly should serve 4 people and if you're not on a dairy free diet, then you can use ghee instead of sunflower oil when making the rice. I don't have exact amounts for making the aubergine dip but you can choose to adjust ingredients to taste.

Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Egg Free

For the lamb

1lb or 500g lamb chops
1 tsp allspice powder
2 tsps ground coriander
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 level tsp salt
1/2 tsp caster or granulated sugar
juice of 1 lime

For the vegetables

a small bunch of asparagus
1 large courgette
2 red onions
a little olive oil

For the fried rice

1 builders' mug basmati rice
1/2 a large chopped onion
1 1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp Allspice powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsps sunflower oil

For the Aubergine dip

1 aubergine
2 tbsps tahini
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
a little olive oil
a few coriander leaves

- To marinade the lamb: mix the sugar and spices, squeeze lime juice on to the meat, then toss together with the sugar spice mix. Leave to marinade for 3-36 hours.

- Meanwhile, to make the aubergine dip: Roast the aubergine in the oven at gas mark 9 until soft and deflated, then (when cool enough to handle) peel off the skin and throw the flesh into a food processor along with the remaining ingredients (except coriander). Blitz till smooth, then sprinkle coriander over the top and serve. This dip goes well with barbequed meat or jacket potatoes.

- To make the fried rice: soak the rice in a bowl of water for 20 minutes, then wash the rice, drain out the water and set aside. In a stainless steel pan, fry the onion in the oil until it slightly browns, then add the spices and fry on a medium heat for another minute, then add 2 builders' mugs full of water and put the pan on full heat. When the water boils, add the rice and when the water evaporates to the point that little holes start to appear in the rice, then put a lid on the pan, turn the gas down to minimum heat and allow the rice to steam for 7 minutes, then turn the gas off and leave it to sit for a further 5 minutes (whilst the rice is steaming/sitting, that's a good time to focus attention on griddling the meat and veg).

- To griddle the meat and vegetables: Slice the onions into thick rings and as for the courgette, chop 1cm off both ends, then cut into 2-3mm thick slices lengthways, then brush olive oil over them. I cook the lamb by griddling it on one side for 3 minutes, then flipping it over and cooking the other side for 3 minutes, then flipping it over again and cooking it for a further 2 minutes. Meanwhile I use the rest of the griddle to cook the vegetables until they get light brown stripe marks on both sides.

- To serve: In a white plate, I put; 2 lamb chops, 3-4 asparagus spears, a few slices of red onion, 1/4 of the slices of a large courgette, a bowl (or 2 ramekins) of rice and a tablespoon of aubergine dip. Alternatively, if making this for the family or guests, you can serve all the meat and vegetables grouped together on a large platter, with the rice and dip in separate bowls.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chickory and pear salad (GF) (V) (EF)

For those of you who don't live in the UK, 'Chickory' is also known as 'Endive' or 'Witlof'. I tried it for the first time some days ago. It has a really nice crunch to it that you'd expect from iceberg lettuce, but it has a slightly bitter taste so having it with pears adds a really nice sweet contrast that works well with it. I've seen a similar recipe on TV where they use roquefort, but I dislike blue cheese so I used goats cheese instead. They also put mustard in the dressing but I didn't have any so left it out.

This dish should be served as soon as it's made; it doesn't keep well if you leave it to sit for a while. I recommend using a firm but sweet pear. I've given rough estimates of ingredients, but it's really worth tweaking it to your own taste. If you're about to eat something a bit rich such as quiche, then this would be a good side dish to serve with it.

Gluten Free
Egg Free

1 head of Chickory (endive)
1 pear (preferably a firm forelle pear)
An apricot size chunk of soft goats cheese
A few crushed walnut halves
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
A pinch of salt and black pepper

- Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, cider vinegar, salt and pepper in a bowl to make a dressing

- Core and cut the pear into slices, then toss the pear slices in the dressing

- Cut the bottom end of the Chickory, separate the leaves, then rinse and dry them

- Arrange the Chickory leaves on a plate, then in each chickory leaf, place a slice of pear, half a crushed walnut and crumble a few small pieces of goats cheese over it and serve immediately

Monday, 11 November 2013

Roasted Autumn Veg (GF) (V) (EF)

The recipe is just for the roasted butternut squash and other vegetables but as you can see from the picture I've taken, my dad decided to roast some chicken legs in the oven at the same time. I don't know what marinade he used so for now I'll just give the roasted veg recipe here. It all tasted really good; the saltiness of the halloumi complimented the sweetness of the butternut squash and it all just went well together. I can't take the credit for this recipe. I found the lovely recipe on the following link:

What's really awesome about this recipe is that not only it tasted great as a roast yesterday but also today, I chopped bits of the roast veg (everything except the roast chicken and halloumi) into some chicken quinoa (chicken curry cooked in garlic infused oil mixed with quinoa) and that combination tasted great too.

Gluten Free
Egg Free