Monday, 20 December 2010

Apple Maple Porridge (V) (NF) (EF)

I've been pondering over a dilemma recently.  I was wondering whether to upload this recipe at all.  I'm not a food stylist so I don't always know how to make food look pretty and porridge never looks pretty so I was wondering if the image of it might look off putting.  Then I realised that this recipe is so incredibly delicious that it would be unfair to deprive my blog visitors of this lovely stuff just because it doesn't look pretty.  In fact there are a fair number of recipes that fit in this category; the pics don't look that nice but the recipes are well worth trying out and taste really good.  Whenever I make this, people enter the kitchen and say "Wow, what's that lovely smell" and are shocked when I tell them it is porridge.  This makes such a nice breakfast and is a great winter warmer.  I once ate this before venturing out in snowy weather and it really helped me to stay warm outside.  You can make this recipe with ordinary cows milk but I prefer to use Oatly Organic Oat milk.  I haven't tried making this using other types of milk alternatives so can't vouch for them.  I make this in a frying pan and it takes less than ten minutes.  I've noticed the way I make porridge is thicker than most, but I just happen to like it that way.

You can view what my porridge looked like here:

Apple Maple Porridge

Half a red (gala or cox) apple, chopped
2/3 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cups milk (or preferably oat milk)
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp raisins (optional)
1/2 tsp ghee (or butter)

- In a pan on medium high heat, melt the ghee, then add the apple pieces and stir fry until lightly golden brown

- Add the maple syrup (and raisins), then pour the oats all over the apples so that the oats spread out as one layer, then after about 20 seconds, use a heatproof spatula to fold the mixture so that the oats are at the bottom of the pan where the maple syrup can stick to it

- Add the oat milk (or other milk if you prefer), then stir the mixture after 1-2 mins

- When the oat milk has reduced and the oats have softened, pour the whole mixture into a bowl and serve

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Quick fix easy alternatives (updated)

In recent years, I’ve noticed that supermarkets are catching on to the fact that there are an increasing number of people with food allergies and intolerances, so there are more alternative foods available than there used to be. Alhamdullilah many of these foods don’t even taste like cardboard:P I still don’t like some of the ‘gluten free’ products which list ingredients or E numbers that seem better suited to a science lab than a food list. The biggest change I’ve noticed in my diet is that I can’t order take aways as I used to because most fast foods contain or are coated with breadcrumbs or some other wheat product so these are some ‘quick foods’ I use:

Quick fix easy meals:

- most supermarkets sell wheat free fish fingers so I bake those in the oven with crinkle cut chips (I use the shops own brand of chips and it’s worth bearing in mind that many brands of frozen chips are coated with wheat so check the ingredients list if you want to avoid that)

- Spelt pasta or gluten free spagetti with stir in sauce or pesto (the variety of stir in sauces is endless but my personal favourite is roasted red pepper pasta sauce), but bear in mind Spelt is similar to wheat and contains gluten (if you can tolerate corn then corn spagetti is a good gluten free alternative to wheat pasta).  I must admit I don't like the taste of rice pasta

- I make ‘topless’ sandwiches using toasted “Stamp Collection New York Deli Bread” which is available from Waitrose or select branches of other supermarkets (I normally top the toasted slices with omlette or cream cheese, tuna and cucumber), though I suspect this contains gluten so check the label

- There is a new product I've seen in the shops called Genius bread; it's gluten free but does contain egg and other stuff so check the label.  Having said that, it does taste fairly similar to wheat bread so although it's a bit pricey, it's a good quick fix and is also suitable for home freezing

- An obvious option is jacket potatoes: if I don't have time to bake them then I prick a large potato with a fork, put it in the microwave for 4 mins on one side, then turn it over and cook for 3 mins on the other side (timings may vary depending on the microwave you have), then I cut it open and eat it with cream cheese, tuna, cheddar and sprinkled with salt and pepper

- If you REALLY can't be bothered to cook, supermarkets are starting to sell basic margarita gluten free pizza

- Cereals: check the labels as many are unsuitable for special diets, but I know quinoa pops and some rice cereals are gluten free... I personally love porridge and granola but bear in mind oats contain gluten (albeit low levels of gluten so there is controversy surrounding whether it's suitable for celiacs)

- Soba noodles: I wasn't sure whether to mention these because although there are gluten free soba noodles available (check packets as many brands of soba contain wheat as well but bear in mind 'buckwheat' is not a 'wheat' and does not contain gluten), I tried cooking these the other day and did not like the taste much (which is why I haven't posted the recipe).  I'm hoping it's just a case of finding a better recipe for it cos' it would be so convenient to have decent gluten free noodles around

- Kofte kebabs; make a batch and freeze them so they are ready to eat in minutes whenever you have a bad day and too little time... that reminds me, I need to post a recipe for it- duh, silly me!

Quick fix snacks (bad habits but nice as an occassional treat):

- Poppadoms/Crisps
- Plantain crisps,
I think you'll forget about other crisps once you've tried these

- Corn tortillas with salsa (plain corn nachos are best cos' many are coated with wheat flour, check the labels)
- Dried fruit/nuts and seeds
- Chocolate mousse
- Flapjacks
(not suitable for a gluten free diet though)
- There are nice wheat free, gluten free ice cream cones available in the shops these days, so I really enjoy those on a hot day with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (check labels as many ice creams contain gluten, egg and other things)
- Fruit; yes I know it's obvious but it's so quick, convenient and healthy that it deserves a mention whether it's just munching on an apple, or chopping lots of fruits up into a fruit salad and sqeezing orange juice over it to keep it fresh
- Salad; another obvious and healthy option but to be honest, I'm not the best person to ask about making good salads, I'm still in the process of learning about that because there are so many varieties out there

I’m sure there’s loads of other stuff that can go on the list but I can’t think of any at the moment. I do intend to post up tasty wheat free recipes though- honest! 

Pizza (GF) (NF) (V) (EF)

I found a decent brand of gluten free bread mix from Lakeland limited with which I can make pretty decent pizza.  I use the Napolina brand of pizza topping tomato sauce, but whichever brand you use (including napolina because I haven't checked the label), check the ingredients to make sure it is suitable for your dietary requirements.  If you're using 'Laucke' bread mix, then grease the pan thoroughly otherwise the base can stick to it- the extra fat also gives the edges a good crust texture.

165g (about a third of a packet) Laucke gluten free bread mix
150ml tepid warm water
4-5 tablespoons “pizza topping” pizza base tomato sauce
2-3 tablespoons olive oil to grease the pizza pan

Any toppings according to taste can be used but I used roughly:
7 long thin courgette slices (chargrilled on a griddle)
half a red onion, sliced
A few slices of mixed capsicum (red and yellow) peppers
one ball mozarella, sliced

- Pour the warm water in a bowl, then pour the breadmix on top of it and stir continuously for about 3 mins, by which time all the floury lumps should disappear

- Pour the mixture into a thoroughly greased pizza base tray and bake for about 8-10 mins on the top shelf at gas mark 8 until the mixture cooks and solidifies

- Take the base out of the oven, allow to cool for a while, spoon the tomato base “pizza topping” sauce and spread all over the base, then scatter the vegetable topping slices (or arrange them in a design if you prefer) all over the pizza and top it with slices of mozarella

- Bake in the oven for a further 8 mins or so until the mozarella melts and starts to turn a light golden brown

- Slice and serve immediately

Fresco quinoa salad (GF) (DF) (NF) (EF) (Vegan)

I really should not take credit for this recipe because I was inspired by the recipe I’d found on here:
I didn’t have any red wine vinegar at home to make it so I used balsamic instead and it still tasted fine but I leave it up to your discretion as to which vinegar you use.  “Red wine vinegar!  Is this really a halal blog?”  I hear you ask…. indeed it is.  You can speak to a sheikh regarding the use of wine vinegar if you want but as a lay Muslim who has looked this up, I should at least explain why I think it’s halal to use.  If you look in the Quran, Allah (swt) did not specifically forbid ‘alcohol’ but rather forbade ‘khamr’ which means intoxicants.  Intoxicants (or mind altering drugs) such as heroin, cocaine, lager, rum, wine etc are all haraam, but remember that vinegar is permitted and has been mentioned in hadith even though it is derived from alcohol.  This is because the process for making vinegar means it does not intoxicate.  Put it this way, have you ever heard of anyone getting ‘drunk’ on vinegar?  This is why I follow the opinion that it is permitted.

This recipe might look a bit like a tabbouleh or cous cous salad, but the great thing about this is that it’s suitable for diets that are vegan, gluten free, dairy free, nut free and egg free and still tastes pretty good.  It’s a very ‘touchy feely’ recipe in that you don’t have to follow it to the letter cos’ it depends on your personal taste, add more herbs or lemon or change a few details to suit your taste if that’s what you would prefer.  I think it would be a great picnic food or side dish for a barbeque.  As it is served at room temperature, I think it would be a good dish to take as a packed lunch- yes indeed I’m all too aware how HARD it can be to find a proper convenient food to eat at lunchtime when you’re trying to avoid gluten cos’ usually it means sandwiches are off the menu, as well as about 90% of other lunch foods in the shops (wraps, pasta salads, takeaway pizza etc).  I also put leftovers in the fridge and ate that the following day so I know it keeps well- if anything, it tastes better the following day!

(serves 2)

Vegetarian (Vegan in fact)
Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Nut Free
Egg Free

1 litre water
200g quinoa
Half a (dutch) cucumber, diced
Half a red onion, diced
A third of a deseeded red pepper, diced
A small handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped (leaves only)
About 10 mint leaves, chopped
60ml extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of balsamic or red wine vinegar
Grated zest and juice of half a lemon
Half a teaspoon, salt
Half a teaspoon, black pepper
Half a tin, chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)

- Bring the water to the boil in a large pan, then add the quinoa and let it boil for 10-12 minutes until it has softened

- Drain the quinoa using a large seive, rinse well in cold water, then set aside so that the water can drain out thoroughly to remove excess moisture (otherwise you risk ending up with a soggy mess)

- Once the quinoa is try, transfer it into a large bowl, throw in all of the other ingredients and then toss it so they all mix well together

- It can be served as it is, or as a side dish for a picnic or barbeque- alternatively spoonfuls of the mixture can be wrapped in lettuce leaves and served as an appetiser

Mince Pies (V) (GF pastry)

I’ll admit I find gluten free pastry a little fiddly to handle but it tastes wonderful- as good as any good quality shortcrust.  I always buy the Sainsburys mincemeat which comes in a jar with a red lid (I’ve tried other types of mincemeat but not liked the taste as much and some brands contain alcohol). Having said that, check the jar ingredients in case the mincemeat doesn't conform to your dietary requirements. This recipe makes roughly 9 mince pies and I used (Gluten Free) Doves Farm Plain White Flour instead of wheat flour. I didn’t bother using eggwash on the pies but I did sprinkle some caster sugar and cinammon on top of them at the end and this made them look nice (otherwise without eggwash, gluten free pastry doesn’t colour well). This recipe sounds tricky and fiddly, but the results were well worth the effort!  Edit: I’ve now got a bluetooth dongle so I can show you how the mince pies looked too- shame you don’t have taste-a-vision cos’ they tasted loooovely!

100g Plain White Gluten Free Flour
50g Butter
2-3 tablespoons Water
1 small jar Mincemeat
1/3 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 whisked egg as eggwash (optional)
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar
A pinch of cinammon

- Rub the butter and turmeric into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs, then mix in enough water so that it comes together as a dough

- Leave the dough in the fridge for 20-30 minutes

- Take the dough out and roll it carefully between two sheets of clingfilm till it is about 3-4mm thick, then peel off the top layer of film, cut into circles using straight (ie not fluted) round pastry cutters; using slightly larger round cutters for the base and slightly smaller ones to go on top

- Place each of the larger base pastry circles into a bun tin, then place a teaspoon of mincemeat in each of the bases and top them with the smaller pastry circles

- Brush the tops with the whisked egg (or if on an egg free diet then don't bother) and poke 2-3 holes into the centre of each pie using the back of a teaspoon

- Bake on the top shelf of the oven at gas mark 6 for 25 minutes

- Leave to cool slightly in the bun tin, then put the sugar and cinammon into a seive or tea strainer and lightly sprinkle it over the mince pies

- Serve warm with a little cream or icecream and a nice cup of tea or coffee.

Cooks tips:
- Using butter in pastry can make it fragile and more easily breakable whilst it’s being rolled out or shaped so some people find it easier to substitute up to half of the butter with a white fat such as trex instead. This makes the pastry easier to mould and less likely to fall apart (but I never use white fat because I think it tastes much better using just butter even if it is more fiddly to handle)

- If the dough is too warm, it becomes too fragile and breaks easily (which is why putting it in the fridge for a while helps), whereas if it is in the fridge for too long, it feels a bit stiff. What I do is after refrigerating it, I leave the dough out for five minutes and if it is still a bit stiff, I press it gently with my hands whilst rolling it. When it is at the right temperature neither too hot nor cold, then it is fairly straightforward to work with.

- In my experience, this type of pastry dough is suitable for freezing. I left the frozen pastry in the fridge overnight and then out at room temperature for a couple of hours before rolling it out and had excellent results.

Vegetable Quiche (GF) (V) (NF)

The recipe below makes enough pastry and filling for a 5 inch tart tin which serves one person. You can make a bigger quiche in a bigger dish by doubling or tripling the quantities as appropriate but just bear in mind that a larger quiche will need a lot longer to cook the filling in the oven- an 11 inch diameter quiche would need at least 35 mins to cook at the end. If you’re wondering what it looked like, then (edit) I managed to get a photo of the second time I made one so I’ll make sure you get to see it- yippee!

100g gluten free plain white flour
50g butter
2 tablespoons cold water
half a small courgette, sliced
half a red onion, sliced
1 egg
2 tablespoons creme fraiche
35g grated cheddar cheese (I prefer medium Irish cheddar)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
half a level teaspoon turmeric powder
salt and pepper to taste

- In a bowl, rub the butter into the flour and turmeric until it resembles breadcrumbs.

- Add the water and gather it all together with one hand into a ball of dough, then wrap it in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 mins.

- Drizzle the olive oil on the courgette and onion slices, then griddle them for a minute or two on each side until they are cooked.

- When the dough has rested, roll it out between two sheets of cling film into a circle which is about 4mm thick and is slightly bigger than the size of the dish (this recipe is for a 5 inch or 13cm size dish for one serving), then pick it up and lay it into the dish, cutting off any rough or overlapping edges (and using bits of excess pastry to cover minor cracks).

- Prick the base of the pastry all over with a fork and bake in the oven for 13 mins.

- Whisk an egg and brush the pastry base with a little bit of it to form a seal, then bake for a further 7 mins.

- Whisk the creme fraiche, salt and pepper into the rest of the egg, then stir in the veg and half of the cheese.

- Pour the creme fraiche mixture into the quiche base, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese and bake for 15 mins, then bake for a further 5-10 mins on gas mark 7 (a larger quiche such as an 11inch one would need to bake twice as long at this particular stage). You know it is cooked when you can place a spoon in the middle of the quiche and the creme fraiche mixture is no longer liquid.

I think this would be a great thing to eat at a picnic or with a cup of tea in the afternoon. It’s a little rich but thoroughly enjoyable.

Cooks tips: It’s not necessary to use courgettes and red onions in this recipe, it can also be made with asparagus, red pepper and spring onions or spinach and ricotta. Different cheeses can be used according to taste- I prefer medium cheddar but some people prefer to use stronger mature cheeses so that depends on taste as well.

Fish cakes (GF) (NF) (EF) (DF)

Fish Cakes
Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Nut Free
Egg Free

1 large baking potato
1 small tin tuna in oil
A knob of butter or cream cheese (optional ingredient if not on a dairy free diet)
2 level teaspoons ground arrowroot
4 tbsp sunflower oil
Half a teaspoon garam masala (optional)
Half a teaspoon salt
Pinch of black pepper

- Boil the potato for 10 mins or until soft enough to mash, then drain the water and remove the potato skin

- Mash the potato, then add all the ingredients to it except for the oil and mix well

- Scoop out about a handful of the potato mixture, then use your hands to shape it into a fish cake, then repeat the process until all of the mixture is shaped into fish cakes

- Heat half the oil in the frying pan, then place about 5 or 6 fish cakes in the oil, frying them on medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side or until each side turns golden brown

- Serve with chips and ketchup

Crepes (GF) (V) (NF)


Who says pancakes are only for Shrove Tuesday? I enjoy having crepes as an indulgent breakfast any time of year. Breakfast can be a particularly difficult meal to cook for when on a wheat free diet- especially if it is gluten free as well. As supermarkets are starting to sell good quality wheat free white flour, such a great breakfast treat is no longer out of reach for those of us on special diets (I use Doves Farm Gluten Free Flour).

Crepes (Pancakes)
Gluten Free
Nut Free

4 tablespoons White Plain Wheat Free Flour
1 large egg
120ml milk (approx.)
25g butter (or a tablespoon of ghee)

- Whisk the egg and flour together, then add the milk a little at a time until the batter has the consistency of single cream

- Heat a tiny knob of butter in a non-stick pancake or frying pan until the pan becomes hot

- Pour a small ladleful of batter into the pan and slightly tip the pan sideways so that the batter spreads thinly all over the pan, then allow to cook for about 20 seconds or until it browns a little underneath

- Flip the crepe and cook the other side for another 15 or so seconds, then place it on a plate with some greaseproof paper, then heat a little more butter and repeat the last two steps until all the butter and batter is used up (this recipe should make about 5 crepes)

- Serve with chocolate sauce, or raisins and maple syrup, or blueberries and bananas, or lemon juice & sugar, or strawberries and mascarpone, or caramelised banana and double cream, or use it as a wrap to stuff with spicy potatoes or mincemeat; the possibilities are endless

Pakoras (GF) (DF) (V) (EF) (NF)


Gluten Free
Dairy Free
Vegetarian (Vegan)
Egg Free
Nut Free

You will need a wok/karahi/chip pan/deep fat fryer containing approximately 1 litre vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil or crisp n’ dry but not olive oil- how much oil you use depends on the size of the pan used for frying).

1 litre vegetable oil (for frying)
2 large white baking potatoes
1 large onion (optional)
A handful of fresh chopped coriander (optional)
3 cups gram flour (besan)
2.5 tsp mild chilli powder
2.5 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1 tsp garam masala
0.5 tsp ground black pepper
0.5 tsp ajwain/lovage seeds (optional)
A little water

- In a large bowl, stir all of the spices into the gram flour.

- Peel and slice the onion, then peel and slice the potatoes into slices which are about 3mm thick.

- Stir in the onion, potatoes and fresh coriander into the gram flour until the slices are coated with the spicy flour.

- Stir in a little water at a time until there are no dry floury lumps left. If there are floury lumps left, then stir in a little more water, but if the batter becomes too thin or watery, then add a little more gram flour. The batter mixture should have the consistency of creamy yogurt. Leave the mixture aside for about 10 minutes.

- Heat up the oil for roughly 2 minutes. You’ll know the oil is ready when you add a drop of the mixture to it and it sizzles at the edges a bit (If the mixture sizzles too much and browns instantly, the oil is too hot, and if the mixture drops to the bottom, the oil is too cold).

- When the oil is ready, use a desert spoon to drop a few mixture coated slices at a time, until the pan is full and sizzling mildly. After about 2-3 minutes, turn the pakoras over and continue to cook them for another 2-3 minutes so that they cook on both sides. Make sure they become lightly golden brown on both sides and that is when you know that they are ready (if you’re making a large amount, you may have to fry them in 2 or 3 batches).

- Use a slotted spoon or a wire net to remove the pakoras and allow them to dry on kitchen towels for a minute. If you’re cooking more than one batch of pakoras, at this point, the hob should be turned down so that the oil is not too hot for the next batch.

- Serve the pakoras with ketchup, imli (tamarind) sauce and/or minty yogurt sauce.
Salam and welcome once again,

Welcome to the new home of Myalgic Muslimah's halal wheat free blog.  I was recently informed that the "" site will be shut down at the end of the month after which will no longer work.  I decided to keep the "myalgic muslimah" name for the sake of consistency, even though I've since been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease and Bartonella Henselae so perhaps the Myalgic Encephalomyelitis label might be inapplicable (but hey, the alliteration sounds better this way lol). 

I apologise for not updating the blog as much as I should.  Inshallah for now I intend to import all the recipes and information from the old islamicink site to this one, after which inshallah I'll need a slap if I don't get my act together and post updates on some of the newer yummy wheat free recipes I've been experimenting with.

As I have mentioned in the previous blog, I suggest that anyone who wants to make such a drastic change in their diet should first consult a doctor.  I am not qualified in any field of medicine so anything that I say on here regarding health issues is just my personal opinion.

ALL recipes on this blog are wheat free and halal (ie follow Muslim dietary laws of avoiding forbidden foods such as intoxicating [alcohol] and porcine products).  The letters next to each recipe title represent which dietary requirements the recipe is suitable for and are listed as follows:

GF= Gluten Free
EF= Egg Free
DF= Dairy Free
V=  Vegetarian
NF= Nut Free