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Cover: Gluten free cooking

June, 2012

05Jun 12

Cheese and Potato Pie

Cheese and Potato PieAlthough I suppose it’s not technically a pie as it doesn’t have any pastry, this cheese and potato pie recipe certainly looks quite a bit like a pie so I’m going to stick with the name.  It is baked in the oven like a pie and when you serve it cut into triangle shapes it also looks somewhat similar to a Spanish omelette, although the taste is quite different.  In France they make it with lean bacon and it’s called a truffade.  Whatever you want to call it, the result is very, very yummy and I can guarantee that everyone is going to want second or even third helpings so be sure you make plenty.

I’ve suggested using cheddar cheese in the recipe since it’s the easiest to find, but you can substitute any strong, hard cheese if you prefer.  The French usually use tomme cheese, but I don’t know where to get that here in the UK.  I’ve used Spanish manchego cheese on occasion and it tasted simply delightful.

You Need:

  • 2tbsp sunflower oil
  • 675g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 300ml grated cheddar
  • 1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Grease a deep oven dish with a little of the sunflower oil.
  3. Arrange a layer of potatoes along the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. Season this layer of potatoes with the nutmeg, salt and pepper.
  5. Coat with a bit of the sunflower oil.
  6. Arrange a layer of sliced onions on top of the potatoes.
  7. Sprinkle this layer with grated cheddar cheese.
  8. Arrange another layer of potatoes (with salt, pepper and nutmeg), onions and cheese.
  9. Keep adding layers until all the ingredients are used up.
  10. Top off with a layer of cheddar cheese.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until it turns a dark golden-brown colour.
  12. Let sit 5 minutes, loosely covered with a sheet of aluminium foil.
  13. Serve with salad on the side.

Ready In:  60 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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03Jun 12

Guacamole

GuacamoleThe first time I tried guacamole, I remember being intrigued by its green colour and greasy appearance.  After eyeing the bowl surreptitiously for at least half an hour, I finally got up the courage to give it a try.  I remember a smile instantly forming on my face as the first mouthful exploded in a rainbow of flavours and sensations on my unsuspecting tongue.  Spicy and smooth, tart and sweet, I had no idea such an incredible mixture of supposedly contrary tastes was even possible!

Ever since that mystical first time, I’ve been on an unending quest for the perfect guacamole recipe. This  version is definitely an excellent guacamole recipe, and I’ve even had more than a few compliments from my Mexican friends, so I must be on the right track.

One trick I’ve discovered along the way is how to keep the guacamole from turning brown as it tends to do not very long after making it.  The secret is to put the avocado pits into the finished mixture.  There seems to be some debate as to the effectiveness of this method. Some say it’s just an old wives’ tale, but I can attest to the fact that I’ve tried it repeatedly and it always seems to work just fine.  Clingfilm placed firmly against the guacamole works quite well too.

You need:

  • 2 large, ripe avocados
  • Juice from 1 lime (lemon may be substituted)
  • 2 spring onions, very finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, very finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped very fine
  • 1 plum tomato, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Mix together all the ingredients, except the avocado, pressing down on them as you mix to release the juices.
  2. Let the mixture marinade in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Add the avocados to the mix, mashing them well with a fork.
  4. Make sure all the ingredients are well mixed.
  5. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes so that the flavours blend together.
  6. Garnish with a bit of chopped coriander and tomato.
  7. Serve with corn chips for dipping.

Ready In: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

Note: Ever tried baked avocados? Just looking at the picture gets my mouth watering!

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