Vegetable Pakora (Gluten and Dairy Free)

I adore Indian food and it has to be right up there with my favourite foods!

Indian foods can be really great for gluten free diets as they use lots of alternative flours like chickpea flour (gram flour) and potato flour.  I love a good mooch around an Indian supermarket to see what you can find and exploring all the different spices and pastes.

These vegetables pakora’s I’ve adapted to be a lighter version to either put in the oven so we cut down on the deep frying or you can lightly fry them in a frying pan.  The good news is i do not think you loose any flavour or taste either by doing so.  I have also used gram flour here so this makes them gluten free.  To add extra bonus points they are incredibly easy to make!!img_4762

So you will need:

2 cups of Gluten Free Gram Flour (Chickpea Flour)

1 tsp of baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp of your favourite curry paste

2 tsp of cumin seeds

1 tsp tumeric

1/2 tsp paprika

2 cloves of crushed garlic

1/2 head of cauliflower (small) run the the grater of a processor or thinly sliced.

1 small onion chopped or sliced in the processor

1 large carrot chopped grated or run through the grater of the processor

1 large sweet potato grated or run through the grater attachment of the processor

 

Method:

  1. So if cooking in the oven, preheat the oven at 220’c
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients including the gram flour, baking powder, salt, curry paste, cumin, turmeric, paprika, crushed garlic cloves and then add 1 1/4 cups of water and mix to a thick batter consistency.  Leave this to one side.img_4754
  3. Take the cauliflower and run it through the slicing attachment, then do the onion if slicing.  Then change this to the large grating attachment and grate the carrot and sweet potato.  Pour the vegetables into the batter and mix well so that everything is coated.
  4. You may wish to put some in the oven and some on the hob so you can decide which you like best.  I prefer them on the hob personally.  So if cooking in the oven take a baking tray and place a generous amount of cooking oil and then dollop generous amounts of mixture onto the tray leaving space around the mixtures.  Place in the oven for 10 minutes and then turn the mixture over and then cook again for a further 10 minutes and then serve.img_4760
  5. If cooking on a hob, preheat some oil on the hob and the dollop some mixture and gentle fry on a low heat for 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through and serve.
  6. Makes about 25 pakora but more if making smaller ones.    img_4762

 

 

 

Pizza Swirls

This is a great recipe for many occasions and freezes very well so you can have them prepared either individually for lunch boxes or snacks or have in batches for entertaining or parties or dinners.  You can vary these for vegetarians or meat eaters, vegans.  just adapt your fillings for your guests or who your making them for.

So you will need for the dough:

500g Strong White Bread Flour or OO flour

2 tsp fast action dried yeast

2/3 tsp salt

300ml warm water

2 tbsp olive oil

For the filling:

This could be anything you choose but here is some suggestions:

Passata or tomato pizza base

thin chopped slices of onion

sweetcorn

ham, bacon or pepperoni

mushrooms

olives and sun-dried tomatoes

mozzarella, red Leicester and or cheddar cheese

fresh tomatoes

fresh basil

Method:

  1.  To make your pizza base, If you have a mixer with a dough hook then through the ingredients into the mixer and mix on a slowish speed to combine and let it do its work for 10 minutes to make a nice smooth elastic dough.  Cover the bowl in cling film and rest for 1 hour which the dough should rise considerably in size.img_4138
  2. Knock the dough back and remove from the bowl.  Flour your surface and take your rolling pin and roll out your dough as thin as possible to create a rectangle about 40cm wide by about 20 deep.
  3. Smooth of the surface with passata or tomato base and them scatter with your choice of  toppings.  I would advise cutting these on the thinner side as apposed to the chunkier side as it will pay of later.
  4. Scatter lastly with cheese and then begin to roll this up from the side that’s closest to you like a Swiss roll.  When you have completed this cut this with a sharp knife in sections (ideally the same size if possible!) about 2 inches deep)
  5. Take each roll and place this in a deep size tray spacing then about 2cm apart on their sides and then leave them to sit in a warm place for at least half an hour, and they should increase in size.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 180’fan assisted oven (or 200 non fan oven) for 20-25 mins.img_4748
  7. If freezing and wanting to reheat in the oven, i cook for slightly less to allow for heating again.  Allow to cool and place either a foil tray or a freezer bag.  If wanting to use for a snack or lunch box i separate at this stage and put in single freezer bags so they are easy to access and you can eat cold.

Gluten Free Frangipane Tartlets

I love the taste of frangipane and the gorgeous fluffy almondy texture of the filling mixed with the jam at the bottom of the tarts of the pastry cases.  They are such classics.img_4726

So if you are making these gluten free you can either buy gluten free ready rolled pastry or make your own as below:

So you will need:

250g Gluten Free Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting.

1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 tsp salt

180g margarine at room temperature however I’ve used butter

75ml of ice cold water

Method

1. Combine the flour, xanthum gum and salt in a bowl, and the margarine or butter and rub into breadcrumbs.

2. Make a well in the centre and add the ice cold water and knead for a moment. Make a disc and ball and wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 mins.

3. Use as normal.

 

For the frangipane recipe here you will need:

100g ground almonds

100g butter (at room temperature)

90g golden caster sugar

1 orange or lemon – zest and juice

1 tbsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 tsp almond essence

sliced almonds to decorate

 

Method;

  1. Either make your gluten free pastry using the method above or you can by gluten free pastry and allow time to chill in the fridge (approx 30 mins).
  2. Mix together your frangipane mixture in a bowl.  Place the almonds, and butter and caster sugar and cream together.  Zest the lemon and orange zest and add to the mixture and the beaten egg, along with the beaten egg and almond essence.  Add the juice of the lemon or orange and mix well together.
  3. Take a non stick mini muffin pan (if making smaller frangipanes) or tartlet pan) and take a round cutter to the appropriate size and cut your pastry out and place your pastry out and place then over the holes and gently push down.
  4. Place a small amount of jam in the bottom of the pastry case and then a generous dollop of the frangipane mixture on top.
  5. You can decorate the top with a sprinkling of the sliced almonds to decorate.
  6. Place in a preheated oven at 180’c fan (200’c non) for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.
  7. remove from the tray and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

 

 

Potato and Vegetable Frittata (Gluten and Dairy Free Option)

I love a frittata and there is so many options here that you could do and make vegetarian one like this one or add meat.

You could keep it simple and do a Spanish omelette, with just eggs, onions and potatoes, yummy, but somehow they taste extra special in Spain!

They taste totally different with bacon or chorizo in, make it spicy with chilli in!  They are all delicious….img_4666

They are fabulous served hot or cold, for lunches, dinners, snacks, cut up for lunch boxes, as stand by’s for snacks in the fridge with hungry teenagers and children!, great for using left overs in the fridge as you can put all sorts in them! go give it a go as you cant go wrong!

So for this one i cooked this in a paella pan as was cooking this for 25 hungry children at a preschool and used 12 eggs but i would imagine you would want to make something a little smaller.  So Here’s a suggestion (it would depend on your size pan as i think a thicker frittata is better).  I would suggest using a pan that you can put in the oven if you can with a metal handle or oven proof handle)

for 4 people: (Use this as a guide and add what you have or have a taste for)

1 onions sliced thinly or chopped

1 carrot peeled and chopped smallish

1 stick of celery chopped fairly small

4 potatoes peeled and sliced thinly

Brocolli heads or spinach works well.

1 garlic clove

2 handfuls of mature cheddar grated (or dairy free cheese)

5 eggs and 250ml of milk (or milk alternative) whisked together with a pinch of salt and generous grind of pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180′ fan (200′ non fan)
  2. Take your slices of potato and put in a microwaveable dish and add a pinch of salt with a couple of tablespoons of water and place in a microwave to soften for about 5 minutes, ideally they should be cooked and soft with a little bit of bite so they hold together.
  3. Saute the onion, carrot and celery in your chosen frying pan with a little olive oil, ideally than can go in the oven and that has deep sides.  You can add broccoli heads if using too.  Add a chopped garlic clove, ideally we are not looking for colour we just want them cooked and soft.  Add the potatoes they should ideally be soft.
  4. Crack your eggs into a jug and add the milk and whisk together with some salt and pepper.
  5. Once these are softened you can add things like spinach or things that dont need to much cooking.  Stir the veg together and then pat it down to create a nice shape.
  6.  Turn down the heat on the hob and pour over the egg mixture around the pan so it covers all the areas. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the top. Leave it to cook for about 1 minute and then transfer to the oven.  Cook in a middle shelf for about 10 minutes.
  7. When you remove from the oven you should see a nice golden brown top and hopefully it was the right size pan to give a puffy top.  You will work out how many eggs/veg etc you will need for your size pan as this is a guide.  This is lovely served immediately or can serve cold with salad etc.

Gluten and Dairy Free Cornish Pasties

Following on from my pasty theme the other week i thought i would continue this and make some Cornish pasties, something i love especially when we go to the west county and everyone is tucking into theirs and i am left empty handed just salivating at the want to bite into one!img_4639

So here you go.  Don’t be scared of this pastry and really folks this is so easy and also if you have a food processor this is even easier as you can just throw it all in, the key is to have iced water chips if you can, if you are going to do it this way and cold butter.

So you will need: (this should make 4 pasties)

250g Gluten Free Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting.

1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 tsp salt

180g dairy free hard margarine (like dairy free hard stork) or if not making dairy free can use butter.  If making by hand use at room temperature or if using in a food processor i use this cold but chopped into small pieces.

75 ml of ice cold water or crushed water chips in cold water.

1 pack of 400g steak mince

1 onion

1 carrot peeled and chopped

1 celery stick chopped

1 Large potato peeled and chopped

2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon mixed herbs or dried thyme

salt and pepper

gluten free beef stock (knorr stock melts are good)

corn flour

2 tsp of mustard

1 egg.

Method

1. I like to make my pastry in a food processor as i find it quick and easy but this is up to you.  If you are doing it in a food processor i put the all the ingredients in a bowl apart from the iced cold water and whizz it together to make breadcrumbs and ideally use cold chunks of butter or if making dairy free use dairy free margarine like dairy free stork or lard or vegetable lard or shortening.  Then take ice cold water (or even better use ice flakes in water) and whizz in to form a dough and done.  If i am in a real hurry i’ve even managed to roll this out without chilling if its managed to be cold enough but ideally chill it in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

2.  If making by hand – Combine the flour, xanthum gum and salt in a bowl, and the margarine or butter and rub into breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the centre and add the ice cold water and knead for a moment. Make a disc and ball and wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 mins.

3. While your pastry is chilling you can make your beef mixture.  Take your potato and peel and chop it into smallish chunks and place this in a dish with a tablespoon or two of water and some salt and put some cling film and place in a microwave for 4 minutes just to start them off.   Lightly fry off your steak mince and drain of any excess fat if you wish and leave the mince to one side for a second.  Chop your onion, celery and carrot and saute this off in a pan until soft and add to the mince and add the potato.  Add your herbs, Worcestershire sauce and mustard stir through, then take your stock cube and melt into the mix and add 200 ml of water.  You do not want a lot of liquid here as you just want a bit of a gravy so use your eye to judge what you need.  Mix through and put the lid on to gently simmer for 10 minutes and check the mixture doesn’t get to dry if so add a bit more water.  Check on your mixture and by now it should be cooking nicely and you should have a bit of a savoury gravy and once the carrot and veg have softened and the meat is soft it is ready.  If you feel you need to thicken the gravy as you do not want this to be runny – take a couple of teaspoons of cornflour in a small mug and add just enough water to make a paste.  Pour this slowly whilst stirring into your beef mixture and this will thicken up.  use your eye to how much you need to get the right consistency.  Transfer the beef mixture to a cold bowl to cool down.  You want to fill your pastry with cold mixture as it will just melt your pastry if you try to fill them hot!  once cool your ready to move onto stage 4.img_4631

4.  Big tip here!  Roll out the pastry in-between baking parchment so you do not have to handle the pastry and more than you need to and it helps it not to stick to surfaces too!  Gluten free pastry is not kind and cracks easily, so i find this step helps and you can lift them onto a tray later without having to worry about handling it, you can just cut round the baking parchment!  Cut your pastry into small tea plate circles or rough shapes or go for a large circle.

5.  Fill one side of the circle with your mince mixture and carefully lift over the pasty and press down the edges to seal.  You can use some egg wash if you wish to do this but i find this holds well just by pressing together.  If you do not want to handle your pasty you can cut round your parchment paper and lift the whole thing onto a baking tray which is a great technique for me as gluten free pastry does not like being handled!  Continue to make the others and put an egg wash over the top and make a hole in the top for steam.

6.  cook on a middle to top shelf for 20-25 mins at 180′ fan (200′ non fan)

7.  Eat straight away or cool them and refrigerate for picnics, lunch boxes or road trips, delicious!

 

Exeter Christmas Market

We has a lovely weekend in Devon, if not a little windy and a bit chilly by the sea, but always good for a bit of a change of scene and blow the cobwebs away.  If your in the area, i would highly recommend a visit to Exeter Christmas Market.  This is in the centre of Exeter and sits in the shadow of the spectacular Exeter Cathedral, which is an amazing backdrop and when the light starts to drop it is stunning as they have lit this up in a wonderful way.img_4646

There is an amazing array of food stalls selling everything from vegan food to burgers, crepes to hogs! And there was food that was catered to gluten free people too! i had a gluten free crepe which i have to say was really yummy!  There is a marquee to rest your wearing legs and warm up with some mulled wine maybe or meet friends.

There is a good array of stalls to look around with everything from Christmas type gifts, stocking fillers, unusual gifts, crafts and artisan food gifts to large items such as clothes, home items, and lots more.  We came out with an amazing light for our porch which was salvaged from a ship, several tubes of fake snow, big handmade chocolates, glass hand made Christmas ornaments and full tummies!  2f3dbbcd-a9ad-4001-9b4f-c0cb945ac859

If you too want to take a visit here is the opening times: (but check their website below for information)

Opening times

Monday to Wednesday: 10.00-19.00
Thursday to Saturday: 10.00-21.00
Sunday: 11.00-17.00 (open until 19.00 on 18th November 2018)

For more information have a look at this link:

https://www.exeter-cathedral.org.uk/news-events/exeter-cathedral-christmas-market/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA28nfBRCDARIsANc5BFA-4CvI3x_S5GVMKqvEYBEu5fjyRG17UG4AdJXsgOTtaZ4YwwdzPsMaAoIuEALw_wcB

While we were there we also had our first Christmas Dinner which was delicious and they catered for us gluten free people amazingly well! Lets see how many Christmas Dinners i can get in for the big day as this has to be one of my favourite meals ever!img_4657

 

 

 

Gluten Free Lemon Crunch Flan

This has to be my favourite ever dessert, and my boyfriend wowed my with this and adapted this to be gluten free for me.  He is now my husband so this has to have impressed me, as i am a real foodie ? .  (but i guess the real person i need to thank is his mum as it actually came from her!)img_4508

So this is a really nice dessert as you can make this is advance (you need to chill this a good 4-5 hours in advance so its lovely to get out the way for a dinner party, take to a gathering, you can make as individual portions so if you prefer.  If you want to make just one or two two gluten free portions and the rest normal this wont be a problem either. I have made this with just gluten free digestive biscuits if that’s all you can find or its really nice with ginger gluten free biscuits too as complements the lemon nicely.

So you will need:

8″ loose bottom flan dish if possible but if not a flan dish you will be serving in.

2 oz butter

4 oz gluten free ginger biscuits or digestive biscuits

The rind and juice of 2 large lemons

1 small tin of condensed milk

1/4 pint of double cream

 

Method:

  1.  Melt the butter in a small saucepan or gently in the microwave
  2. Place the biscuits in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin until fine
  3. Mix the butter and the biscuits together and push them into the base of the tinimg_4343
  4. Take the rind of the lemon and place in a medium size bowl, with the condensed milk and double cream and whisk together.  Slowly whisk in the lemon juice and you will feel the mixture start to thicken up.
  5. Pour this mixture ontop of the flan base and leave to chill in the fridge until form (should be 4-5 hours)
  6. Enjoy!img_4508

 

Gluten Free Curried Chickpea Pasties

These are a great lunch to pack up or picnic dish or lovely to have as a lunch with salads or other side dishes or even as a dinner.  This is a real treat being gluten free i find as i do not know about you but i find whenever i have pastry it feels very special.

Now for this dish, as a time saver i have used a can of chickpea curry.  Now im a big fan of cooking from scratch normally, but this particular brand of chickpea curry from Geo is particularly yummy so i do not mind using it here, but feel free to make your own and use that as an alternative if you wanted to, but the beauty is i can knock this up in 40 minutes from start to finish and on the table which i think is pretty good going!

So you will need:

250g Gluten Free Plain Flour, plus extra for dusting.

1/2 tsp xanthum gum

1/2 tsp salt

180g margarine or butter room temperature

75 ml of ice cold water

1 Can of Chickpea Curry

Method

1. I like to make my pastry in a food processor as i find it quick and easy but this is up to you.  If you are doing it in a food processor i put the all the ingredients in a bowl apart from the water and whizz it together to make breadcrumbs and ideally use cold chunks of butter.  Then take ice cold water (or even better use ice flakes in water) and whizz in to form a dough and done.  If i am in a real hurry i’ve even managed to roll this out without chilling if its managed to be cold enough but ideally chill it in the fridge for 1/2 hour.

2.  If making by hand – Combine the flour, xanthum gum and salt in a bowl, and the margarine or butter and rub into breadcrumbs.  Make a well in the centre and add the ice cold water and knead for a moment. Make a disc and ball and wrap in cling film and place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 mins.

3.  Roll out the pastry onto baking parchment so you do not have to handle the pastry and more than you need to!  Gluten free pastry is not kind and cracks easily so i find this step helps and you can lift them onto a tray later.  Cut your pastry into small tea plate circles or rough shapes or go for a large circle.  Pour your filling cold from the can and mix this first in a bowl so its evenly distributed.  This should make 2 very large pasties or 4 smaller ones.  Spoon some mixture onto one half of the circle and then fold over being careful not to overfill.  Put a little water and fold over the pasty and press down the edges to seal.  Continue to make the others and put an egg wash over the top.

Lift your pasty on the baking parchment onto a baking tray and place in the oven on a middle shelf and cook for 20-25 mins until golden brown.

 

Greek Salad

A Greek salad is a real classic and can go with so many things, whether its served on its own for a lunch, go with grilled fish, meats or steaks.  It is lovely as a side dish or with BBQ’s in the summer, or included as a buffet dish at a party.

It is very simple to make and a dish that i think we should all hold in our reserve to pull out from time to time, which is why i have included it.  I like to marinade my onions before i add them to my salad which gives them a much milder flavour as nobody likes to bit into a chunky bold red onion do they!

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So you will need: (this will make one large big bowl but feel free to reduce etc as needed)

5 big red tomatoes

1 large red onion

1 block of feta cheese

1/2 jar of black olives

1 whole large cucumber

2 teaspoons of dried oregano

salt and pepper

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

4 tbsp olive oil

 

Method:

  1.  Peel the red onion and cut into think half moons and place in a bowl breaking them up.  place the dried oregano and good pinch of salt a generous amount of black pepper and pour over the onions followed by the olive oil and red wine vinegar.  give this a stir and allow to sit.
  2. chop the tomatoes into random chunks.  #Again chop the cucumber into bite size chunks and place both in the large bowl.  place in the olives and cut the feta cheese into chunks and toss them around.  By now the onions would have had a chance to sit for a while a they should have had a start to loose teir bite.  Tip this is and toss round.
  3. If you are not eating straight away cover and refrigerate ready to serve.

Party Food

Well i thought i should probably include a post about party food as we are now coming to up to that time of year when we are going to be putting parties into our diary and we need to start thinking of menus to cater for a the festive season!! I catered for a party this weekend and it was such fun.  My brief was finger food, some gluten free food, some vegetarian food and then food for everyone else.  I think its fair to say that is probably a fair description of most parties.

For a lot of party food you need food that you can prepare for in advance and then be able to hurry upstairs and get ready to look fabulous and it does not look like you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day!  You also want your food to look fabulous and pretty and things that are ideally not going to require plates and that are not going to make a mess that you will find trod into the carpet the next day.

So here is a few suggestions for you….

Skewers of food:

Things like:

Mini Skewers of Antipasti type food such as:

Melon and Parma Ham

Melon, Parma Ham and Mozerella

Pepper, Olives, Tomatoes and Mozerella and Parma Ham

Tomato, Basil and Mozerella

Artichoke, Tomato and Olive

The list is endless be creative….. and colourful they look so pretty…. These are also great for gluten free guests, make sure you put labels on them too so people can see what their eating!

Then things like hot dough balls with garlic dip or sour cream and cheese dip, this is a real winner with people of all ages, and to be fair it doesn’t matter if they go cold either, as who doesn’t like a dough ball and certainly helps to soak up some alcohol when the night gets going.  This can look really pretty too served in big round bowls with the dip in the middle.  Sadly i did not get pictures of this but here are picture of the dough balls, you get the idea.  Here is a link to my recipe.

Dough Balls

Also this is a real show stopper my dough ball camembert ring.  This is something you can prepare in advance and then bring out warm and serve with drinks etc.  The link to my recipe is here.

Camembert Dough Balls Ring

Humous is a great thing to serve and home made humous is so much better that shop bought, and also you can pimp it up to your taste too.  You could serve this with crudites vegetables, garlic toasts, vegetable chips, tortilla chips, kettle chips, so many options.  I also have a recipe for gluten free flat breads which look rather pretty if you are thinking of gluten free guests too. I will put both of the links here.

Gluten Free – Dairy Free, Gram Flour Flat Breads

Home Made Humous Recipe

These cucumber and Dill bites are delicious and great little drinks canapes to just pick up.  They look so pretty and delicate and so appetising.  Just what you need for a buffet table.  They are quick and easy to prepare too.  Although if you look at the picture its like “wheres wally”, where is the one i missed the pepper off the top.

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For sweet treats things like mini brownies, shortbread’s, rockieroad’s go down a treat, these can be cut up into bite size pieces and piled high on platters for your guests to help them selves.  They look amazing and its not to sickly.  These can be made gluten free too and nobody would know the difference but remember to label them up so that your guests know they can have them!!

Gluten Free Shortbread

Gluten Free Vanilla Cupcakes with Crunchie and Curly Wurly

If you wish to do bowls of food if you were doing a buffet, I have recipes here for the following which are great for these occasions and can be made gluten free too.

Greek Salad

Italian Pasta Salad (Gluten Free)

Quiches that can be made gluten free

Asparagus, Potato and Pea Quiche (Gluten Free and Dairy Free Options)