Cream of mushroom soup – gluten free

This soup doesn’t have much actual cream in it, if you like a creamier soup you can add more, or you could put a mixture of milk and cornflour in if you wanted to keep the fat level down.  As there is such a small amount of cream in it, it isn’t all that naughty.  The oil you can see floating on the top is the oil used to start the frying process.  This provides four small to average sized bowls, or two very big serves.

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of mushroom soup

1 tbs butter

1 tbs garlic infused olive oil

3 tbs of the leafy ends of the celery, sliced finely

500g thinly sliced mushrooms

2 tsp beef stock powder (gluten free)

1 tbs gluten free plain flour

500ml hot water

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbs thickened cream

 

Heat the oil and butter in a large, heavy based pan and saute the celery until slightly softened.  Add the mushrooms and saute for about 15 minutes – the liquid should come out of the mushrooms and they will simmer in it and turn brown.  Sprinkle over the stock powder (if you want a vegetarian version, just use vegetable stock powder) and plain flour and mix.  Slowly add the hot water, and salt and pepper, adjusting to taste.  Bring the soup to a simmer, then add the cream and allow it to heat through (don’t let it boil) and serve.

The thing I like about this soup is that if you buy the pre-sliced mushrooms, there is very little chopping to do, and prep time is minimal.  You can have this on the table about half an hour after you start.

Jaffa brownies – gluten free

As I might have mentioned before 🙂 I love jaffa.  Of course, Jaffas and most commercial items like Smarties or M&Ms aren’t gluten free, so after searching high and low, I found some gluten free buttons and glitter balls.  Unfortunately, although they were orange coloured, they were not orange flavoured, so I solved the problem with my trusty cointreau.  (They were so yummy that I had to take the photo fast before they got stolen right off the plate!)  Thanks Adventurer Stacey for your stamp of approval!

Jaffa Brownies

Jaffa Brownies

200g orange coloured buttons (if you don’t need to be gluten free you can use chopped up Jaffas, but if you are only using buttons they don’t need to be cut up)

125g butter

250g dark chocolate melts

1/2 cup caster sugar

2 eggs

1 & 1/4 cups gluten free plain flour

2 tbsp cointreau

A handful of chocolate orange glitter balls to decorate

 

Preheat oven to 160 celcius fan forced (180 if not fan forced).  Prepare a square cake pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large microwave safe bowl, cook on high for 30 seconds, shake and repeat.  Then quickly mix to combine the chocolate and butter, the hot butter will finish melting the chocolate.  Allow to cool slightly, then add the sugar and beat, then the eggs, flour, buttons and cointreau.  Pour into cake pan.  Bake approximately 35 minutes.  Although brownies should be gooey chewy in the middle, check with a cake skewer to make sure they aren’t still “liquid”.  Allow to cool completely in pan if using silicone (which you can just “peel” away when they are cool) or if using a metal pan, allow to cool a few minutes before

The first batch I made, I put the orange glitter balls in and baked them, but they lost their colour when baked, so when I made the second batch, I just pushed the balls into the top of the mix as soon as it came out of the oven, while it was still soft.  When completely cool, cut into small squares (it is too rich for big squares) and dust with icing sugar.

Alternative decoration for Jaffa Brownies

Alternative decoration for Jaffa Brownies

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

I do love throwing together dinner using one of those “jars” – you know the type that you add your own meat and veg and the jar has a simmer sauce.  They are tasty and easy, but usually full of sugar (and often contain thickeners that aren’t gluten free).  So, armed with a memory of what flavours go well together, I came up with the following, easy one pot midnight dinner.  It serves four, with a little bit left over to take to work for lunch the next day.

 

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

Chicken in mustard cream sauce

 

500g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm cubes

1 small to medium brown onion, peeled and cut in half, and then into wedges

1 clove garlic, chopped very finely

2 carrots, peeled and cut into thick slices

6 small potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes

1 cup frozen peas

1/4 cup white wine

1 tbs mustard (not powder but whole mustard seeds)

600ml cream

2 tbs gluten free cornflour

1 tbs olive oil

 

Heat the oil in a large, heavy based pan (I use a cast iron french frypan).  Fry the onion and garlic until just softened.  Brown the chicken.  If the chicken starts to stick to the pan at this stage, I add a little hot water (I boil the kettle before I start cooking – if you use cold water on a hot pan you risk cracking the pan).  Sprinkle the cornflour over then stir.  Add the mustard, wine and cream, then tumble in the potatoes and carrots and mix well.  Turn the heat down to a slow simmer – you don’t want to boil the cream or it will end up looking like butter.  Simmer about 20-30 minutes – it depends on how small you have cut the potatoes and what type they are.  Mix in the peas and cook for a couple of minutes, then turn off the heat and the heat of the pan should do the remainder of the work while you set it up on the table.

I like to serve this with rice or gluten free couscous, just something to soak up the sauce.

 

Enjoy.

Gluten free chicken dumplings

I am not the “lightest hand” with pasty, and gluten free pastry is the worst!  However, I wanted my husband to have the experience of dumplings, so made some for him.  I had tried it before by hand, but it was disastrous – so when I got a pasta machine I tried it again.  If you make up pasta as per the recipe of your pasta machine, use the lasagne sheet setting and cut the rounds using a drinking glass, or scone cutter.

This recipe fed four people, with some leftovers.  You can put them in the fridge, or freeze them and reheat gently.  If you like, you can boil them then fry the bottoms to crisp them up.  The pastry is a bit heavier than the wrappers you buy in the supermarket, but for gluten free they are ok.

Gluten free dumplings

Make your pastry as per the recipe for your pasta machine, but I added a teaspoon of xanthan gum and a teaspoon of five spice mixture to the dough – the five spice adds a gently flavour to the wrappers.

Filling:

500g chicken mince

1/2 finely sliced sping onion

1 tsp lemongrass paste.

Cooking dumplings

Cut discs from the lasagne sheets – extrude one at a time then pause the machine – you don’t want to run all the sheets out at the same time as they will dry out and you won’t be able to work with them.    Put about a teaspoon of meat mixture into the middle – spreading it into a log instead of a ball – and then fold over the disc to make a half circle.  You should be able to pinch the sides together, keep a bowl of water handy for brushing if you need it.  Once you have make all the dumplings (it takes a while) I usually cook them by dropping each into boiling stock (you can use salted water, I just like the added flavour and colour to the skins that stock gives) and boil for a few minutes each.  The dumplings will float when they are almost done – just keep an eye on them as they are also known as potstickers, and that name is well deserved!  If you intend to put some in the fridge or freezer once cooked, separate the layers as the damp skins will stick together.  If you aren’t planning to cook them all at once, it is best if they are frozen raw.

Mexican chicken and beans

This is quick to make, and is flavoursome without being too spicy.  It probably isn’t very authentic, but we liked it anyway.  Serves four.

Mexican chicken and beans

2 tbs flavoured olive oil (I used a lemongrass and chilli flavour)

500g boneless chicken thighs, cut into rough 2cm cubes

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 red onion, cut into wedges

2 cloves garlic

1 stick finely chopped celery

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup frozen corn

Large handful cherry tomatoes

Large handful baby spinach

 

Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and celery until soft.  Add the chicken and stir until browned.  Add the tomatoes, beans and corn and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, or until chicken is nearly cooked through.  Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer until just softened.  Just before you remove from heat, stir through the spinach and allow to wilt.

 

Serve with rice.

Canteloupe (Rock Melon) Icy Pole

Having had some hot weather lately, and trying to avoid the sugar water that is most commercial icy poles, I made this.  I know honey is still a sugar, but it is supposed to be good for you!  (Combined with the canteloupe, it is SERIOUSLY yummy!)  You will need an eight icy pole mould (or use four and freeze the leftover mix in a container to chow down on later when no-one is around).

Canteloupe (Rock Melon) Icy Pole

Canteloupe (Rock Melon) Icy Pole

2 slices of canteloupe from the middle of the melon, about 2cm thick each (or the equivalent from the top if you haven’t cut into it yet)

1tbs honey

 

Cut of the skins and deseed the melon.  Roughly chop into chunks and put in a small blender or food processor (I have a small unit that the hand blender attaches to).  Drizzle in the honey, blend until smooth.

Spoon or pour into the moulds, insert the sticks and put in the freezer for at least two hours – it all depends on your freezer.  Just to be safe, I did these the night before so they were handy for a warm day.

Steak and pineapple casserole

I love the tropical fruit flavours in summer, even in a savoury dish.  This only takes a little time to prepare, then you can put it in the oven and walk away until it is done.  It takes a while because you use a tough meat, but the tradeoff is the flavour.  Easy.  Serves 4.

Steak and pineapple casserole

Steak and pineapple casserole

 

1/4 cup gluten free plain flour

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp mustard powder

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 kg gravy beef, trimmed and cut into fork sized cubes

1 large onion, cut into large chunks

1 green capsicum, cut into large chunks

440g pineapple pieces in juice

3 tbsp oil

 

Preheat a fan forced oven to 160 celcius, 180 if not fan forced.

Put the flour, salt, pepper, mustard powder and nutmeg in a plastic bag, put the meat in then shake well to coat.  Heat the oil in a frypan and brown the meat in batches, placing in an oven safe casserole dish as each batch is done.

Fry the onion and capsicum until just slightly softened and browned, add to the meat in the casserole dish.  Pour over the pineapple and add 1/2 cup warm water.  Place in oven for 2 hours.

 

Serve with rice or mashed potato.

Honey beef and beans

This dish is a one pot wonder, and although it is very similar to a casserole, it is much lighter and not so stodgy, so it is suitable for summer, and of course the ease of cooking is great for that post New Year period.

Honey beef and beans

Honey beef and beans

 

600g cubed steak (something more tender than a stewing steak as it has a short cooking time)

1/4 cup gluten free plain flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 onion, sliced finely

2cm piece of ginger, very finely chopped

1 can of chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup stock

2 tbsp honey

2 tbsp gluten free soy sauce

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tin drained white beans – I have used cannellini, but you could use butter beans if you prefer

A handful of baby spinach leaves

Olive oil, sufficient to fry

Place the flour, salt and pepper in a bag, add the beef and shake to coat evenly.  Brown the beef in batches in a large, heavy based pan or casserole dish.  Remove the beef to a plate, and fry the onion and ginger until softened.  Add the beef back to the pan with all the wet ingredients.  Simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes.  Add the beans and stir.  Cook for five minutes, then stir through the spinach so that it is wilted but not broken up.  Cook another five minutes, then serve.

 

Low sugar mango mousse

I love the tropical flavours in summer.  I also love Mango, but hate the mess I make of myself trying to cut one up.  Imagine my excitement when I found mango in juice in a jar in the supermarket!  Then I debated with myself whether to just scoff it as it was, or make it into something.  I experimented with making a mousse, as there was a mango mousse that I used to love, but the restaurant would not part with the recipe, so I had to guess.  I call this a low sugar mousse as I just added a bit as I went and stopped when I thought there was enough.  This mousse is not very sweet, but I like that.  You can add more sugar if you like a sweet mousse.  This quantity serves 4.

Low sugar mango mousse

Low sugar mango mousse

1 X 650g jar mango in juice, drained

2 tbsp icing sugar

300 ml cream

1 tbsp gelatine

2 tbsp hot water (boil the kettle, and stop if just before it boils)

1 cup juice either from the mango jar, or pineapple juice if you have it

 

Put the cream in a mixer and beat until soft peaks form.  In the meantime, mash the mango in a small bowl.  Mix the gelatine and hot water, then sieve into the juice.  Slowly pour the juice into the cream while the beaters are still running, and then continue beating the cream until stiff peaks form.  Fold through the mashed mango, then put into a bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours, longer if possible.

Chocolate and marshmallow mousse – quick and easy dessert! Gluten free too!

Ok, so it’s New Year’s Day, everyone wants dessert but you really aren’t feeling all that energetic, this is virtually instant and is really easy.  I used blue marshmallows for this, but the colour doesn’t matter, I just happened to have some gluten free marshmallows leftover from my Halloween Frog Cheesecakes!

This will serve four, or more if you put a bit less in each dessert bowl.

Chocolate and marshmallow mousse - gluten free

Chocolate and marshmallow mousse – gluten free

150g gluten free marshmallows

50g butter

200g chopped dark chocolate, or chocolate melts

1/4 cup water

300ml thickened cream

 

Place everything but the cream in a large, heavy based pan and put on a medium heat.  Stirring frequently, to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom, stir until the chocolate and marshmallows have melted together and the mixture is smooth.  Place in fridge until it cools to room temperature, at least half an hour.  Don’t leave it too long or it might start to set. (The gelatine in the marshmallows will still be active).

Beat the cream until stiff peaks form, then gently fold the chocolate mixture through.  Spoon into serving dishes and top with whatever you fancy.  (I didn’t even bother with fruit – with all the sugar in the marshmallows there is no way of kidding myself this is a healthy dessert, and after the excesses of Christmas? I topped it with chocolate sprinkles, I will start eating the healthier foods soon….