Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12

February and March is birthday season in our family, which means the obligatory birthday cake or 2, or in the case of my eldest daughter, 4! – Well she was 16!
On this occasion, some of the cakes didn’t need to be gluten free, but one did, and that is where my gluten free cake ‘bible’, ‘Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache’ by Harry Eastwood came in again. It is one of those special books, that has dog-eared pages, splattered with cake mix. The really interesting thing about the recipes is that they all include vegetables in their ingredients.
Handy if you’ve got a glut of anything or just vegetables about to ‘turn’. The other thing is that the vegetables are interchangeable, for example sweet potato instead of butternut squash (lets face it, they’re easier to peel!).
Chocolate cake is a popular choice and this one always goes down well. Continue reading “Light Chocolate Cake- serves 12”

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Ok, I have to admit it- I’m not a massive fan of cauliflower. I’m not keen on the texture or flavour. It’s a brassica like cabbage (which I love) and broccoli (which is ok sometimes) and Brussels Sprouts (NO!)- One group of foods, but not one of them the same as the other, as far as my taste buds are concerned. That is not to say that I don’t eat Cauliflower. I do. It’s so nutritious.
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It would be wrong not to. I just have to cut it into small pieces and add a different flavour (cauliflower cheese, anyone?) or blend it up and make it into soup. This soup is really spicy, which suits me, but if you really like the taste of cauliflower, then add less harissa paste.

Moroccan Cauliflower Soup– serves 4
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 tbsp. olive oil
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
2 tbsp. harissa paste
1 litre gluten free chicken or vegetable stock
50g toasted flaked almonds and a little extra to garnish.

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the spices and harissa paste for 2 minutes.
  • Add the cauliflower followed by the stock and flaked almonds.
  •  Cover and cook for 20 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.
  •  Allow to cool a little and then puree until smooth.
  •  Pour into bowls and top with a swirl of harissa paste mixed with a little water (otherwise it won’t swirl!) and a sprinkling of flaked almonds. And add a swirl of yogurt if you want to cool it down a bit!

Adapted from a recipe by BBC Good Food

“Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” -Mae West

One of the things I really enjoy about our trip to the South of France is rising to the challenge of producing delicious food in such a combined area.  Our fridge is tiny and storage quite limited, but I have all of the utensils I need and even a few gadgets, to help.  Don’t all campers have a blender to make smoothies?
Sometimes I have to use up the contents of our fridge before I go shopping for more.
This is a salad I made with what I found.

Continue reading ““Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” -Mae West”

“A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” – Laurie Colwin

One of my favourite salads to make with tomatoes is Panzanella.  Their is something special about the mixture of textures, although traditionally made with stale wheat bread, I have adapted it by using a gluten free bread roll. This recipe has been inspired by a salad in Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute cookbook. I have added avocado because, well, I love them, which is justification in itself.
I only make Panzanella when I’m on holiday, when I have time to relax with a glass of wine and eat a leisurely lunch in the
sunshine.

Continue reading ““A world without tomatoes is like a string quartet without violins.” – Laurie Colwin”

Comforting Cottage Pie – serves 4

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One of my daughters likes to have this after swimming training, as it’s so warm and comforting.  It’s like a big hug in a dish. I like it served with steamed greens or peas.

500g lean minced beef
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 leek, trimmed and chopped finely
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 tbsp. tomato puree
500ml beef stock
1 ½ tsp. herbs de provence
1 tbsp. sweet chilli sauce
Sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
800g potatoes, peeled+ 2tbsp milk

  • Preheat the oven to 220C/Fan 200C/Gas 7.
  • Place the mince, onion, leeks and carrots into a large non stick pan and cook until lightly coloured, breaking up the mince with a wooden spoon to ensure it is well combined.
  • Add the tomato puree, beef stock, herbs and sweet chilli sauce and season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
  • Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water until they are soft.  Drain and then pass them through a potato ricer.
  • Return the potato to the pan and then adding the milk stir briskly until fluffy.  Season with black pepper.
  • When the beef is cooked pour it into a baking dish, top with the mashed potatoes and bake for 25- 30 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling.
  •  Let the pie stand for 5 minutes or so, to cool a little before eating!

Spicy Stuffed Peppers- Serves 6

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I have boxes of recipes that I have torn out of magazines over the years, probably enough to wallpaper my entire house and more!  This dish is inspired by one of those recipes.  It is by Vicky Bhogal, but I’m not sure which magazine it originates from.

It makes a very easy and economical supper. 

6 Yellow, orange or red peppers
4 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped into small chunks
75ml sunflower oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
2 onions, chopped finely
1 ½ tsp. chilli flakes
1 tsp. grated rot ginger
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Handful fresh coriander, chopped

  • Gluten free naan bread and cucumber raita to serve.
  • Preheat oven 200C, fan180C or gas 6.
  • Boil the potatoes until soft (around 10 minutes), then drain.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan with the cumin seeds, 
  • When they are sizzling, add onions and fry gently until soft
  • Add chilli flakes, ginger, salt, garam masala, lemon zest and potatoes. Mix well.
  • Turn off the heat and mash roughly in the pan.
  • Add the coriander and mash again. Set aside.
  • Slice a small slither from the bottom of each pepper so that it will stand up right in a baking tray.
  • Cut the tops off the peppers and gently scoop out the membrane and seeds.  To get any stubborn seeds out, tap the peppers on the palm of your hand, cut side down.
  • Do not discard the stalks.
  • Stuff the peppers with the potato mixture, using your fingers to press in as much as possible. 
  • When they are full, pop the tops back on, so that they look like a whole pepper again.
  • Stand them upright in a baking tray or dish and drizzle with oil.
  • Bake for 40 minutes.

Serve with gluten free naan bread and cucumber and mint raita.

Chicken with Lemon and Honey- Serves 4

cut-themustard:

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Like a lot of food lovers, I have a large collection of recipe books lining my bookshelves (bedside table, desk, kitchen shelves, coffee table- you get the picture!)

I tend to use favourite recipes over and over again and unless I’m entertaining, those recipe books remain on the shelves.  I recently vowed to look at all of my books, as I’m sure that there are some recipes that are worthy of joining the favourites list!

I found a book called ‘Food for Living’ by Rachel Allen on my shelves, and thought that I should try some of her recipes instead of just looking at the pictures (in the same kind of way that I ‘watch’ exercise DVD’s!)

I often adapt recipes to either make them gluten free or to use the ingredients I already have.  However some recipes shouldn’t be changed and certainly can’t be improved and Lemon Honey Chicken is one of those.  Not only does it look delicious, it smells wonderful as it is cooking!

4 chicken legs
2 lemons, juiced, save the lemons
2 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • Preheat the oven to 180C
  • Place the chicken pieces in a baking dish, skin side up.
  • Mix the lemon juice with the honey and pour over the chicken.  Place the remaining lemon in the baking dish with the chicken.
  • Season with salt and pepper and tuck the rosemary sprigs in between the chicken legs.
  • Bake in the oven for 40 minutes until golden.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven discarding the lemons.
  • Serve with rice or roast potatoes and green beans.

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