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Cover: Gluten free cooking

Recipes with wheat-free

27Mar 12

Asparagus Risotto

Asparagus RisottoSmooth and creamy, sticky and cheesy, what’s not to like about risotto?  This Asparagus Risotto is my take on the classic Italian dish which is traditionally made using Arborio or Carnaroli rice due to their high-starch content (that’s what makes it sticky and creamy).  However, if you can’t find these kinds of rice at your local supermarket, then any short-grained rice will work well.  I’ve personally had a lot of success with whole, short-grain organic rice, although this does add almost double the time to the cooking process.  Either way, don’t skimp on the cheese, or try to rush the cooking process, as these two points are key to prepare a delicious authentic-tasting risotto. If you decide that you like your rice with more vegetables, try a squash and garlic risotto. Simply delicious.

You need:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups fresh asparagus cut into inch-long sticks
  • 1 large garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 5 – 7 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Steps:

  1. Heat up the broth in a saucepan and leave it on a back burner at the lowest setting in order to keep it warm.
  2. Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet.
  3. When the oil is hot, but before it starts to smoke, stir in the onion and sauté until translucent, but not browned.
  4. Stir in the garlic and asparagus and keep cooking until the onion is nice and tender, making sure it doesn’t brown.
  5. Stir in the rice and sauté for a minute or two, making sure that each grain of rice gets coated with oil and toasted.
  6. Add around ¾ of a cup of the broth to the rice and stir continuously until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  7. Continue adding the broth ¾ of a cup at a time, letting the liquid get absorbed each time.
  8. Continue cooking and adding broth until the rice is creamy and just slightly al dente, around 30 minutes.  There may be some broth left over.
  9. Remove from the heat and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  10. Stir in the parsley and parmesan cheese.
  11. Serve while it’s still hot, with a fresh bowl of Parmesan cheese on the side so your guests can add more as they desire.

Ready In:  45 minutes

Serves:  4-6

Difficulty:  Out of 5, it’s a 3!

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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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14Feb 12

Spinach and Lentil Soup

Spinach Lentil SoupThis easy-to-prepare Spinach and Lentil Soup makes a great starter or first course, and if you combine it with whole grain rice it provides a complete meal.  I find it is the perfect thing to warm me up when I come in from a run on a cold winter’s day, especially with the heat of the red chilli peppers.  In fact, I’ve toned down the spiciness of this version quite a lot as I know a lot of people don’t like it too spicy.  If you’re like me though, and you do like it hot, then I recommend increasing the quantity of red chili pepper significantly, anywhere from  ¾  of a teaspoon up to 1½ or even 2 teaspoons.

As always, the best results are obtained if you try and get the best possible quality fresh ingredients you can find – nobody likes wilted, damp spinach, not even in a soup!  So make sure it’s fresh, organic if possible, and be sure to wash it well under running cold water to clean off all the dirt.

For a bit of an exotic touch, try substituting the parsley for fresh coriander.  If you do this, add it just before serving so that it maintains its aroma.  Enjoy!

You need:

  • 2 cups of dried lentils
  • 9 cups of water
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 150g of tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of spinach, cleaned & chopped
  • ½ cup of fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. crushed red chili peppers
  • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice

Steps:

  1. Put the water, bay leaf and salt in a large pot and bring to the boil.
  2. Add the lentils, cover, and cook for 30 minutes over a medium-low heat.
  3. Add the onion, tomato paste and garlic and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Add the spinach, parsley, ground pepper and red pepper.
  5. Mix well and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Add more salt to taste.
  7. Add the lemon juice, mix well and serve at once.
  8. Garnish with a bit of fresh ground nutmeg and a sprig of fresh parsley.

Ready In:  75 minutes

Serves:  3-4

Difficulty:  Out of 5 (most difficult), it’s a 2!

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