Strawberry Sorbet

500g strawberries;

1/2 tbs lemon juice;

1/2 – 1 tbs honey (depending on how tart the berries are, and how sweet you would like the finished product to be!)

Wash and hull the strawberries, place in an open container in a single layer and freeze. Depending on the size of the berries this will take about 4-6 hours or you could do it the day before.

Take frozen berries out of freezer and put in the food processor with the juice and honey. I only have a mini processor so I had to be patient (yes I know, difficult, right?) and wait for the berries to partially thaw as they are like little rocks when you first take them out of the freezer. Blitz until smooth.

I used it to jazz up a jelly. Or you could eat it own it’s own, but this quantity only makes enough for 4 people if you are serving it with something else, or 2 people if you are just having the sorbet. If you have the freezer space you can always double the recipe.

Either use straight away, or put in a sealed container and freeze. I wouldn’t keep it long in the freezer (why would you anyway) and you will have to let it soften a little if you refreeze it.

Go on, eat it now – you know you want to!

Laziest Shepherd’s Pie EVER

It’s not really a Shepherd’s Pie – no mashed potato!

But for something quick and easy when you are pushed for time, or really can’t be bothered – it is tasty, even if a little sloppy. You could cook it in individual ramekins if you are worried about the “plating experience”. It serves four with some yummy bread to mop up the sauces.

Ingredients:

500g beef mince (you could use lamb or chicken, but I preferred the beef for this);

A handful of finely chopped veg (something that will soften quickly);

1 jar (500g or thereabouts) of a tomato based sauce such as a bolognese or similar (gluten free of course);

1 jar (500g or thereabouts) of cheese sauce – the type for pasta bakes is best (again, read the label and choose the gluten free one);

Two big handfuls of grated cheese of your preference.

Method (really easy here!)

Brown the mince & chopped veg. Stir in the bolognese sauce. Place into a casserole dish of about 1.5 litre capacity (I like my cast iron for this – then it is truly a one pot dish – you can brown the mince, assemble the dish and put it under the griller all in one). Cover gently (you don’t want them to mix in) with the cheese sauce, then sprinkle the grated cheese over.

Grill until the cheese is golden, or as I prefer it, golden with some browner bits. This should take 5-10 minutes, depending on your grill. Even if you use individual ramekins, the mixture should still be warm, you are just heating up the cheese sauce and melting the cheese, so it should take a similar time – just monitor it to make sure the cheese doesn’t burn.

Eat. See – how easy was that?

White chocolate and raspberry scones

These are so wickedly yummy. To be honest, you could use blueberries or whatever berry you wanted (cut strawberries finely if you are going to use them) but there is just something lovely about the combination of raspberry and white chocolate that makes for a good pairing. You will get 10-12 depending on the size of your glass or scone cutter, but bear in mind if you reroll the mixture, it will end up like raspberry swirl!

2 cups gluten free flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

Pinch of salt

1 & 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar

80g butter, chopped finely

100g white chocolate (chopped or you can use buttons)

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup cream (my mother always swore by cream that was still fresh, but approaching its use by date as she thought it would make the mixture rise more. Whether true or not, it’s a good way to use the cream that isn’t the freshest)

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

Lots of butter for when the scones are cooked and still hot!

Preheat oven to 210 celcius (200 if fan forced).

Put the flour, gum, salt and sugar into a large bowl. Drop in the butter and rub in with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs and you can’t find any more chunks of butter. Add chocolate and mix gently until just combined/. Make a well, pour in the vanilla and cream and mix with a spatula or rounded knife (like a butter knife) until the mixture forms a dough.

Turn out onto a floured board and knead just until all the crumbs are absorbed into the dough. Cut into two halves. Roll one half out into a rectangle about a centimetre thick. Cover with berries. Roll the other half out into the same size, cover the first and pinch the edges together. Taking either a glass or a scone cutter, cut scones and place on a greased tray. You can reroll the leftover dough, but only once as now you will have a raspberry, doughy goo to work with.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, checking towards the end. If you want them to brown (I didn’t), brush the tops with a little milk before baking.

I prefer these hot and buttered, but you can let them go cold, split them and serve them with jam and cream if you like.

Steak, pumpkin and sweet potato casserole

This is so easy to make, and your house will smell wonderful while it is cooking in the oven. Serves four.

1 tbs olive oil

1/4 cup gluten free plain flour

600g gravy beef, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces (this part was fun, I had a cat a two dogs begging for the trimmings as I cut the meat, I’d throw a bit of fat into the air and see who could catch it. Obviously the tallest dog won the most, so I had to slip some to the smaller dog and the grumpy cat, or I would have paid the price later, but I digress…)

1 red onion, peeled and cut into wedges

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped;

2 tsp ground paprika (I used the sweet, but if you like the hot variety, go for it)

1 tsp each of ground cumin, coriander, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger

2 cups of chicken stock

1 small sweet potato, your choice of variety, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

500g pumpkin, your choice of variety, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks

1 tin (approx 400 – 440 g) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1/2 to 1 cup frozen peas

Preheat the oven to 140 celcius

Put the flour into a plastic bag, place the cut meat into it and shake, knead etc… well until you can see the flour has coated the meat. Put half of the oil into an oven & stove top safe (I used cast iron) casserole dish, heat and cook the meat in two batches (using the rest of the oil) until browned, removing and putting in a bowl when done.

Place the onion into the hot pan, deglaze with a little recently boiled water and cook for about two minutes. Add the garlic and cook a further two minutes, adding a little more water if needed. You don’t want to boil the flavourings, just stop them sticking to the pan which will have remnants of the meaty flour in it. Add the spices, then return the meat to the pan and mix, add the stock and stir well.

Cover the dish and put in the oven, let it cook for one and a half hours.

Remove and add a little water if you need to deglaze, making sure the dish is scraped as clean of flavourings as possible. Add the potato, pumpkin and chick peas, cover again and return to the oven for half an hour.

Take out of the oven and add 1/2 to 1 cup of peas, depending on your preference (I like peas so I always err on the side of generosity), stir through making sure they are immersed in the gravy, as they don’t need to be cooked but will cook through from the heat of the casserole.

Leave dish to stand for five minutes before serving.

Orange rice

This is quick and easy and cooked in the microwave. Serves 6.

1 cup basmati rice;

1/2 cup sultanas or raisins;

1/2 cup pinenuts;

1 cup orange juice;

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken stock.

Mix everything in a microwave safe container, cover and cook on high for 8 minutes. Check, and cook for another minute if still a little sloppy.

Fluff with a fork and rest for two minutes before serving.

Braised steak and onions

I love this – it’s made in the slow cooker, so it’s so easy! Just layer and walk away! Serves 6.

6 blade steaks (about 250g each);

Salt;

2 brown onions, peeled and quartered;

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped;

1 cup gluten free BBQ sauce;

2 tbsp gluten free worcestershire sauce.

Layer the steaks in the slow cooker, sprinkling a good pinch of salt between each layer and on top. Put the onions and garlic on top.

Mix together the sauces and pour over the top, making sure the garlic is submerged or it goes green during cooking!

Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or high for 2 hours.

After taking the steak and onions out of the liquid, if you want to make a sauce from it, pour into a small saucepan. Mix together 1 tsp of cornflour in 1tbsp of water, then mix into the liquid in the saucepan. Heat and stir until it thickens to a sauce.

I served mine with orange rice.

Orange and Brandy flavoured rice pudding – gluten free

This is done in the slow cooker – so just mix and forget – I love it!

It serves about four, or six if you have smaller serves as it is heavy, but it is lovely on a cold night.

1/2 cup of basmati rice;

3 cups full cream milk;

1 cup of cream (I used thickened because that’s what I had);

1 tsp vanilla essence;

1 tsp orange essence;

1/2 tsp brandy essence;

Slivered almonds to decorate.

Put everything in the slow cooker and stir gently to combine.

Cover and cook on high for 2 1/2 hours.

Serve and enjoy.

You can also change the flavourings if you prefer – experiment a little and choose your favourites.

Chocolate ball slice

This is so easy to make. It’s basically melt and mix. I used the Darrell Lea chocolate balls as many varieties are gluten free. Vary the type of chocolate you use according to the flavour of the balls. For example try dark chocolate with raspberry, white chocolate with mint etc… There are so many varieties you can mix and match!

400g chocolate, chopped (or use good quality buttons, not the cheap stuff or it won’t taste very nice);

395g tin of sweetened condensed milk;

Two packs of the flavour of chocolate balls of your choice. You might not need them all (fortunately there always seemed to be a few left over for the cook).

Grease a 19cm square cake tin and line with cling wrap, with enough sticking up over the top for you to grip later.

Put the chocolate and the condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl, and melt in the microwave for 30 seconds a time, taking bowl out after each time and stirring. Don’t overdo it or you will seize the chocolate (it goes hard and crumbly and won’t melt).

When the mix is smooth and combined, scatter most of the chocolate balls into the cake tin, keeping enough for decorations (about 10 – 15 chocolate balls) and pour the chocolate mix in, smoothing the top. Roughly chop the reserved chocolate balls and use to decorate the mix.

Refrigerate the mix for at least two hours, or until set (it depends on how warm the day is). When it is set, get out a chopping board, and gently loosen the edges of the mix by tugging on the cling wrap. When you can lift it out of the cake tin, rest one side on the chopping board, and carefully peel all the cling wrap off and discard.

Chop the fudgy mix into small pieces (it is rich) you can even decorate it further with sprinkles or edible glitter or whatever.

Herb gluten free dampers

Ok these aren’t traditional dampers, which are made with plain flour and water, they are actually more of a cross between a scone and a damper, but I was bored….

3 cups gluten free self raising flour;

2 tsps xanthan gum;

A good pinch of salt;

1 tsp dried chives;

1 tsp crumbled dried rosemary;

1 tsp dried parsley;

100g butter, chopped finely;

1 cup of milk (you might need more as some GF flours are dry, use extra if you need it);

Extra milk to brush;

Extra butter for later – when they’re hot!

Preheat your fan forced oven to 190 celcius. Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl, drop the butter in and rub it through with your fingers until all the butter is rubbed in.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk, using a round bladed spatula or knife until the milk is stirred through and the mixture resembles a dough.

Turn onto a well floured board and knead for a minute or so to ensure all flour is mixed through, cut into four and form each quarter into a ball, place on a greased baking tray and flatten with the ball of your hand until the ball resembles a very thick pancake.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Cut and eat with lots of butter melting in.

Nutella Mousse

My daughter is a Nutella freak, and I don’t mind the hazelnut flavour (although I can’t eat it on toast!) and if you buy the gluten free marshmallows, this can be a gluten free treat too.

3 cups gluten free marshmallows (you can use the coloured ones if you like, they don’t have to be white in this recipe);

1/2 cup of softened nutella;

1/2 cup of milk;

600ml of thickened cream;

Some chopped hazelnuts, icing sugar, or sprinkles for decoration if you fancy.

Melt marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over low heat. Once the milk is just bubbling around the edges (don’t let it boil) take the pan off the heat and stir until the mixture is smooth.

Pour into a heatproof bowl, mix through the softened Nutella then leave the mixture to cool.

Beat the cream until it is forming soft peaks. Once the Nutella mixture is cool, slowly add it to the whipped cream, beating slowly.

Pour into a serving bowl, cover and place in fridge for a minimum of four hours, but preferably overnight.

When ready to serve, decorate it as you prefer.