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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Starters

09Apr 12

Gluten-free Pizza Crust

Gluten-free pizza crustIt’s taken years of searching and trial and error, but I’ve finally managed to find a decent gluten-free pizza crust.  And what’s even better, it’s not too hard to make!  The result is crispy on the outside and just a little chewy in the centre and the dough is strong enough to hold a good quantity of toppings without falling apart in your hands when you try to eat it.  And let’s face it, pizza (such as this spinach, tomato and blue cheese pizza) is meant to be eaten with your hands, not a knife and fork!

Once the dough is ready, you can top it off with your favourite sauce, toppings and cheese.  Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the cheese!  Mozzarella is the typical choice, but I suggest picking something with a little more originality and flair to branch out and try new flavours; you won’t be disappointed!

You Need:

  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 335 ml milk
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 1/3 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 80 ml gluten-free corn meal

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC
  2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is just a little warmer than room temperature.  It should not be too hot to touch with your finger.
  3. Mix the milk, sugar and yeast in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  4. Mix the flour, salt and xanthan gum well in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.
  5. The yeast mixture should now be foaming.  If it isn’t, wait until it is.
  6. Mix the apple cider vinegar and olive oil into the yeast mixture.
  7. Pour the yeast mixture onto the flour mixture and mix well.
  8. Roll out the dough on baking parchment paper with a roller and sprinkle the corn meal  onto both sides as you go.  You should roll it out to about a little less than half a centimetre thick.
  9. Transfer the dough and baking parchment to a baking sheet and bake it in the preheated oven until it starts to turn golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  10. Add your sauce, toppings and cheese and bake until the cheese melts.

Ready In: 40 minutes

Serves: 2

Difficulty: 3 out of 5

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31Mar 12

Pesto-Filled Cherry Tomatoes

Pesto-filled TomatoesWhether you’re having a few friends over for drinks, or throwing an all-out party with lots of guests, these pesto-filled cherry tomatoes are a great bite-sized appetiser that are quick and easy to prepare and sure to be a hit with your guests. I’m a big fan of pesto myself ever since I first tried pesto linguine at a local Italian restaurant years ago.

I love tomato stuffed peppers, but they fill me up. The size of these cherry tomatoes make them delicious and perfect as an appetiser or snack.

The taste is so sublime that it’s hard to believe how simple it is to make.  Some recipes call for leaving some of the pine nuts whole, but I prefer to grind them all up.  In any case, for this recipes that’s definitely the best idea, since there’s not very much room inside the tiny cherry tomatoes and the whole nuts would just get in the way.  Also, the best thing about this appetiser is the way you can just pop them in your mouth and swallow almost without even having to chew.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try sprinkling a little Parmesan cheese on top and sticking them in the oven or under the grill for a few minutes for an au gratin effect.  Whatever you do, make sure you have more ingredients at hand because these tend to disappear quite fast and your guests will soon be clamouring for more.

You Need:

  • 50 cherry tomatoes, washed
  • 500ml fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 250ml grated Parmesan cheese
  • 60ml pine nuts
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Combine the garlic, pine nuts and basil and mix for a few seconds with a food processor or blender.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend for a few more seconds.
  3. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside the mixture.
  6. Cut the tops off the cherry tomatoes and remove about two-thirds of the pulp.
  7. Fill the hollowed out tomatoes with the pesto.
  8. Serve on a serving platter as an hors d’oeuvre.

Ready In: 15 minutes

Serves: 6-8

Difficulty: 2 out of 5

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26Mar 12

Avocado and Mango Salsa with Corn Chips

Avocado and Mango SalsaEver since I was a kid, I’ve absolutely loved everything Mexican, and when I developed a wheat allergy I was glad to know that at least I’d still be able to eat a lot of my favourite dishes since they tend to use cornflour a lot more than wheat flour.  Or in any case, there are plenty of corn flour alternatives available, as long as you make sure to check the label in case it’s mixed with regular flour.

Anyway, after so many years of eating standard nachos and salsa, I became a little bored with the typical sweet tomato flavour and started to crave something different.  This avocado and mango salsa was the perfect solution and has since become one of my all-time favourite dipping sauces.  The sweetness of the mango is offset perfectly by the spicy peppers and tangy lime juice, and the avocado serves as the glue to bind it all together into one explosive taste sensation! 

If you prefer a spicy salsa as I do, feel free to pump up the quantity of jalapeño chilli peppers and/or the cayenne pepper.  If you go too far with the spiciness, mix in a bit of Greek yoghurt or sour cream to tone it back down.

You need:

  • ½  medium red onion, diced
  • A splash of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 large mango, peeled and seeded and cut into small cubes (1cm)
  • 1 ripe avocado, cut into small ½ inch cubes
  • 1 red jalapeño chilli pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 large bag of plain Mexican-style corn chips

Steps:

  1. Bring a small pot of water to the boil
  2. Add the onions and stir for 20 seconds.
  3. Remove from heat and drain off the water.
  4. Toss the onions with a splash of rice vinegar.
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the cayenne and the coriander, and toss the mixture well.
  6. Set aside for about a half an hour for the flavours to set.
  7. When you’re ready to serve, toss in the coriander and cayenne.
  8. Serve as a dip for the corn chips.

Ready In:  10 minutes

Serves:  2-3

Difficulty:  Out of 5, it’s a 1!

 

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