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Cover: Gluten free cooking

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23Jul 12

Winter Vegetable Pie

Winter Vegetable PieSomething like a fancier, vegetarian version of traditional shepherds pie, this winter vegetable pie recipe makes for a great Sunday lunch and is a good way to trick younger kids into eating their turnips and parsnips without them even realising it!  I usually prepare this in one large oven-safe dish, but an interesting presentation alternative is to bake individual portions in small, round dishes and give everyone their own.  If you find your kids still make faces and don’t want to eat it, try doubling the amount of cheese; in my experience, this seems to work just as well as the proverbial spoonful of sugar!

Although it’s only vegetables, this dish can be quite heavy. For a lighter cheesy recipe to “fool” kids into eating their veggies, try this baked fennel with tomato gratin. For dessert, I recommend this carrot halwa.

Serve this dish with cheesy bread for dipping. I also like to set aside a little ramekin with the tomato sauce to pour over the mashed potatoes right before serving. But that’s because I really love tomatoes. Most people tell me that the tomatoes inside the pie are plenty, but I just never can get enough!

 

Winter Vegetable Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 450g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 400g turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 50g butter
  • 50g Puy lentils
  • 1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
  • 200g leeks, washed and sliced in rings
  • 200g parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 75g chopped walnuts
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • ½tsp dried oregano
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Boil the potatoes and turnips in a large pot of salted water for 20-30 minutes, or until very tender.
  3. Drain off the excess water and mash the turnips and potatoes together with half of the butter.
  4. Cook the lentils in a pot with abundant water for 30 minutes, or until nice and tender.
  5. Drain and set aside.
  6. Heat the rest of the butter in a frying pan and sauté the onions, leeks and parsnips over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add the walnuts, thyme, oregano, the cooked lentils and the tomato.
  7. Mix well and season to taste with the salt and pepper.
  8. Place the vegetable mixture in a deep oven-proof dish and cover with a layer of mashed potato and turnip.
  9. Sprinkle the grated cheddar cheese over the top and cook in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until the mash turns golden brown and a bit crispy.
  10. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

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10Jul 12

Spicy Corn Pasta

Spicy Corn PastaOne of the worst things about my gluten-free diet has got to be not being able to eat semolina pasta!  I used to eat it by the bucketful (maybe that was part of the problem!), and to be honest, I don’t really find any of the gluten-free alternatives to be nearly as satisfying.

However, I have found that if you take the time to make sure you’ve got a superbly delicious sauce to serve it with, it does help to make up for it.  This spicy corn pasta recipe is similar to a tagliatelle dish I used to enjoy eating when visiting southern Italy and is definitely one of my favourite, non-gluten pasta dishes. (Also try this prawn and courgette tagliatelli recipe.)

 

Spicy Corn Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½tsp chilli pepper flakes
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 4tbsp red wine
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 500g gluten-free corn pasta
  • 250g broccoli, chopped in 1 centimetre pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 4tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying pan and sauté the onions, yellow pepper and pine nuts until the onions turn translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and chilli pepper flakes and sauté for 2 more minutes, or until the garlic is light brown in colour.
  3. Add the red wine and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the tomatoes, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
  5. While the sauce is cooking, cook the pasta in lightly salted water according to the instructions on the package.
  6. In another pot, steam the broccoli for 5 or 6 minutes, until the broccoli is tender.
  7. Add the steamed broccoli to the tomato sauce and cook for a minute or so.
  8. Strain the pasta and serve on deep plates with the sauce and a bit of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

 

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06Jul 12

Vegetable and Legume Soup

Vegetable and Legume Soup

This delicious and nutritious vegetable and legume soup is traditionally served to break the Muslim fast of Ramadam.  It’s called harira and is usually accompanied by dates, but as I don’t really like them, I’ve left them out of my recipe.  However, feel free to include them if you want the truly authentic experience. I also recommend this Moroccan hummus!

 

Vegetable and Legume Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 125g chickpeas, soaked overnight in water
  • 50g green lentils, soaked overnight in water
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 celery ribs, washed and chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1tbsp frshly ground black pepper
  • 400g canned diced tomatoes
  • 1tbsp tomato paste
  • 1tbsp cornflour
  • 40g gluten-free soup noodles
  • 4tbsp fresh, finely chopped coriander
  • 3tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 lemon, cut into 8 wedges
Instructions
  1. Rinse and drain well the previously soaked chickpeas and lentils.
  2. Place in a large pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
  3. Boil for 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook for 45 minutes, or until the chickpeas are quite tender.
  4. Drain off the liquid, but save it for later.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large pot until it's hot but not smoking.
  6. Sauté the onions, celery and garlic with the pepper, turmeric and cinnamon for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onions are translucent.
  7. Add the cooked chickpeas and lentils, the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 litre of the broth from cooking the legumes.
  8. Cook for 20 minutes. Add more broth if necessary.
  9. In a small bowl or glass, make a paste by mixing the cornflour with a tablespoon or two of the broth.
  10. Stir the cornflour paste into the soup a little at a time to thicken the broth.
  11. Add the soup noodles and cook for 5 more minutes or until the noodles are tender.
  12. Remove the soup from the heat and stir in the coriander and flat-leaf parsley.
  13. Serve in bowls with a lemon wedge or 2. The idea is for each person to squeeze some lemon juice over the soup according to their own taste.

 

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18Jun 12

No-egg Caesar Salad

No-egg caesar saladIf you’re like me and you don’t like to eat raw eggs, then this no egg Caesar salad will soon turn into your new favourite salad recipe!  The crispiness of the romaine lettuce and the tanginess of the Worcestershire, garlic, mustard and vinegar in the sauce come together to make a winning combination that’s been a favourite for discerning diners around the world for years.

As for the omission of the raw eggs, I can guarantee you that you won’t even miss them – in fact, I’m having a bit of a hard time understanding what they were doing in the original recipe in the first place! (Also try this chicken salad with roast tomatoes, almonds and balsamic dressing.)

 

You Need:

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 65ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 200g chicken strips
  • 375g gluten-free bread cubes, crusts removed, and cut in 1.5cm pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (omit for vegetarian-friendly guests)
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed, patted dry, and torn
  • 50g (1⁄3 cup) grated Parmesan cheese or soy alternative

 

Steps:

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC and place a rack in the middle position.
  2. Make the chicken: Fry the chicken in a frying pan until cooked thoroughly. If you prefer it hot, you can serve it immediately with the salad. If you prefer it cold, you can make it the night before and store it in the fridge until ready to add to the salad.
  3. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, mash the minced garlic with the salt and the oil; set aside.
  5. Make the croutons:
    1. Place the bread cubes in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until they are just lightly browned.
    2. Transfer the bread cubes to a large bowl, toss them with half of the garlic-oil mixture, and return to the baking sheet to bake for 3 to 5 minutes more, or until golden brown and crisp.
    3. Remove the croutons from oven and set them aside to cool just a little.
    4. In a large salad bowl, whisk together the remaining garlic-oil mixture, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and anchovy paste, if you’re using it.
    5. Add the Romaine lettuce and toss thoroughly.
    6. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, chicken strips and croutons, toss again, and serve immediately.

 

Ready In:  20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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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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31May 12

Menemen – Turkish Scrambled Eggs

Menemen - Turkish Scrambled Eggs

One of my fondest memories from a trip I made to Turkey a few years back has got to be the incredible breakfasts!  Nuts and cheeses, yoghurt, honey, fresh fruit and marmalades, and of course, menemen, a kind of Turkish scrambled eggs.  I can still remember falling asleep every night with my mouth watering in anticipation of the next morning’s breakfast!

This recipe, as with most scrambled egg recipes, is very quick and ridiculously simple to prepare.  The only thing you really need to keep in mind to make this taste as good as possible is to use the best quality vegetables you can find, preferably organic.  And if you haven’t switched over to organic free-range eggs, I strongly recommend you do so as soon as possible, as the difference in taste and colour is absolutely astounding!  Also, if you can find the Italian style green peppers (they’re longer and thinner), then you should use them for a more authentic experience.

If you like a big breakfast, why not also try these mini pancakes with mozzarella, spinach and pine nuts? You can technically eat them for lunch or dinner, but to me, pancakes are for breakfast. And I usually prefer salty over sweet in the morning.

 

Menemen - Turkish Scrambled Eggs
Author: 
Recipe type: Breakfast
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Ingredients
  • 3tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium-sized onion, minced
  • 1 medium sized green pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, washed and finely chopped
  • 4 eggs
  • 4tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
  • ¼tsp ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a medium size frying pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil until hot but not smoking.
  2. Sauté the onion for 5 or 6 minutes, or until it's very soft.
  3. Add the green pepper and sauté for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and mix well.
  5. Cover the pan and let it cook for 5 more minutes.
  6. Remove the cover from the pan and keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the excess liquid has evaporated.
  7. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and season to taste with the salt and pepper and nutmeg.
  8. Add the egg mixture to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds or so.
  9. Remove the pan from the heat and season the mixture to taste with salt and pepper.
  10. Add the freshly chopped parsley and mix well.
  11. Serve immediately.

 

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22May 12

Indian-Style Brown Rice

indian style brown riceLately I’ve been trying to eat more whole-grain foods, but at first I had a hard time getting down plain, whole-grain brown rice.  It’s just so heavy and seemed to always get stuck in a ball at the back of my throat.  I’ve always loved Indian pilau rice, so I decided to try and make something similar with organic brown rice.  This Indian-style brown rice recipe is the result.

As with most Indian dishes, you need a lot of ingredients that you might not have in your kitchen, so a trip to the shops might be in order before you can start making it.  In any case, I’ve tried to keep the ingredients list as short as possible and only use the most common Indian herbs and spices.  I also added frozen peas to the mix to try and make it into a full meal in itself, although the best thing to do is to top it off with your favourite curry.  It also goes quite nicely with my baked tofu in peanut butter sauce recipe.

You Need:

  • 500g organic brown rice
  • 1.5L water
  • 100g frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsps unsalted butter
  • Seeds from 8 green cardamoms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  •  2 tbsps fresh chopped coriander

Steps:

  1. Melt the butter in a 3 litre pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the garlic slices, cardamom seeds, fresh ginger, bay leaf, cloves and cinnamon sticks and sauté for about 2 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown.
  3. Add the rice and sauté for about a minute, stirring constantly and making sure all the rice gets coated and toasted with the butter and spices.
  4. Add the water, salt and turmeric and bring to the boil.
  5. Add the frozen peas.
  6. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the rice is tender.  The exact time varies greatly depending on the brand of rice used.
  7. Drain off any excess water.
  8. Mix the fresh coriander into the rice and serve with your favourite curry.

Ready In:  30-45 minutes

Serves:  6

Difficulty:  2 out of 5

Note: Now that I enjoy brown rice, I also eat this brown rice salad with pecans and sultanas. Simply scrumptious!

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13May 12

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

Vegetable Black Bean SoupBack in my university days, there used to be a café near my school that served the most delicious Vegetarian Black Bean Soup every Friday, and at a price that even us struggling students could afford.  Ever since then I’ve tried to keep up the tradition at my home, where Fridays are still known as Black Bean Soup day.

The original version used smoked tofu, but I’ve substituted it for firm tofu, fried with paprika and cumin. Of course, if you’re a meat-eater, you could go ahead and substitute the tofu for ham; just make sure you remove it before puréeing. Another hearty broth is this bacon, carrot, butterbean and coriander soup.

You need:

  • 500g dried black beans, soaked overnight in 5 litres of water
  • 250g firm tofu, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.25 litres water
  • A pinch of baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped fine
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 tbsp lime juice (lemon may be used)
  • Fresh coriander, chopped

Steps:

  1. Put the beans in a 5 litre pot with 1.25 litres of water, the bay leaves, half the salt and the baking soda.
  2. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a slow simmer.
  3. Cover and let it cook for 90 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
  4. Remove from heat. Take out the bay leaves and set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large (at least 9 litres) stock pot on a medium-high heat until it’s hot, but not smoking.
  6. Add the onions, celery, carrot, tofu and more salt.
  7. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned and softened, stirring occasionally.
  8. Reduce heat to medium and add the cumin, paprika and garlic, and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  9. Add the beans and their cooking liquid back into the mix along with the vegetable stock, molasses and red pepper.
  10. Bring to the boil; then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Remove from heat and put half of the soup in a blender and purée until smooth.
  12. Mix the purée back into the rest of the soup.
  13. Add the lime juice and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  14. Serve with the chopped fresh coriander as garnish.

Ready In: 2 hours

Serves: 6

Difficulty: 4 out of 5

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10May 12

Baked Tofu in Peanut Butter Sauce

baked tofu in peanut butter sauceIs it a dessert?  Is it a main course?  It’s hard to classify precisely although the one thing that’s for sure is that it is 100% awesome yumminess!  I pulled this Baked Tofu in Peanut Butter Sauce recipe out of my hat last Sunday after a meat-loving friend bet me I couldn’t prepare tofu in a way that he would consider delicious or even edible, for that matter.  Since he is notorious for having a sweet tooth, I decided to mix things up a bit and go for something leaning towards dessert than your typical savoury tofu dish.  This was the result.

So, to make a long story short, I made the dish, he tried it, and he was absolutely blown away!  The saltiness of the tamari contrasts nicely with the sweetness of the peanut butter, and the ginger, chilli pepper and garlic seemed like a good idea to give it a bit of a Thai feel.  (Another Thai dish that can be made with tofu is Pad Thai.) It may be a bit rich for some tastes, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth or just love peanut butter, I definitely recommend you try this one right away!

You Need:

  • 400g soft tofu
  • 3 tbsps gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce
  • 6 tbsps smooth peanut butter
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp fresh chilli peppers, finely chopped (can substitute ½ tsp paprika)
  • 200 ml boiling water.

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Mix the peanut butter with the boiling water in a bowl.  Stir until all the peanut butter is dissolved.
  3. Sauté the ginger, garlic and chilli peppers in a little oil for about 2 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown.
  4. Add the spices to the peanut butter and tamari sauce and mix well.
  5. Cut the tofu into ½ cm slices.
  6. Lay the tofu slices along the bottom of a deep, non-stick baking pan or casserole dish.  If you don’t have a non-stick pan, grease the bottom with a little oil or butter before laying out the tofu.
  7. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the tofu slices.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the peanut butter sauce solidifies and starts to bubble at the edges.
  9. Serve on top of rice or alongside some steamed veggies.

Ready In:  30 minutes

Serves:  3

Difficulty:   2 out of 5

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24Apr 12

Turkey and Sun-Dried Tomato Loaf

Turkey and Sun-dred Tomato LoafThis turkey and sun-dried tomato loaf with onion gravy makes for a great Sunday afternoon roast replacement, like this lamb roast with garlic and rosemary.  I like to use turkey mince, but it should work fine with whatever mince you prefer, or even textured vegetable protein if you want to make it vegetarian-friendly.

You Need:

For the loaf:

  • 250g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 500ml boiling water
  • 65g cornflakes, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ½  medium-size green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2tbsps mushroom or vegetable broth
  • 2 large eggs
  • 125g creamy Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 2tsps dried basil
  • 1tsp dried parsley
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • ½tsp dried thyme
  • ½tsp freshly ground pepper
  • ½tsp salt
  • 700g  turkey mince
  • Vegetable oil spray

For the gravy:

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 stock cube (vegetable or chicken)
  • 2tsps thyme
  • 500ml water
  • 4tbsp cornflour + 2tbsp water, mixed together to form a thick paste 

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Submerge the sun-dried tomatoes in the boiling water for a few minutes to soften and then drain. Chop into small pieces and place in a large bowl.
  3. Add the crushed cereal and mix to coat. Set aside.
  4. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and green pepper in the olive oil until soft, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
  6. Add to the sun-dried tomato and cereal mixture.
  7. Next pour in the broth and mix well.
  8. Beat the eggs and then add them to the mixture,  jumbling it all together.
  9. Add the cheese, herbs, seasonings and meat and stir until well-blended.
  10. Lightly coat a 23cm x 13cm loaf pan with the vegetable oil spray and then press the mixture firmly down into the pan.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the temperature of the loaf, when measured with a roasting thermometer, reaches 80ºC.
  12. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 to10 minutes before removing from the loaf pan.
  13. While the loaf is baking, prepare the gravy:
  • Sauté the onions in the vegetable oil until translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Add the stock cube, thyme and 500ml of water and bring to the boil.
  • Add the cornflour paste a little at a time until desired thickness is reached.

14. Cut into slices, cover with gravy and serve.

Ready In:  90 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:   3 out of 5

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