Gluten free Blueberry Friands

The good thing about these, is there’s not a lot of flour, so using gluten free flour (which often gives not as good a result as “regular” flour) doesn’t matter much to the end result. I used a muffin tin for these, but if you have a friand tin, that’s even better. Whenever I made something that uses the yolk of an egg only, I freeze the white in a tiny container. After a while I get sick of all the little containers building up in the freezer, and look for something to use them in.

Blueberry Friands

Ingredients:

5 lightly beaten egg whites;

1 & 1/3 cup almond meal;

2 tsp lemon rind;

1 tbsp lemon juice;

1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar;

2/3 cup gluten free plain flour;

150g melted butter;

2 cups blueberries.

Method:

Preheat oven to 170 celcius (fan forced). Grease a 12 hole muffin pan. Put all ingredients except the blueberries in a bowl and mix. Spoon into muffin pan. Top with berries.

Bake 20 to 22 minutes. Friands should be golden and firm.

Red Capsicum Soup

Winter is just the time to enjoy warming soups, and this one is rich and a little sweet because of the red capsicums of course! It serves 4 to 6, depending on how hungry you are.

Red Capsicum Soup

Ingredients:

1 glug of olive oil for the pan;

4 red capsicums, seeded and chopped;

1 large onion, also chopped;

1 clove of garlic, finely chopped;

3 tbsp tomato paste;

1 tsp turmeric;

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil;

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock;

Finely grated rind and juice of one lime;

Sour cream to finish (basil leaves too if you have them).

Method:

Cook the capsicums and onion gently in the oil in a covered pot for about five minutes, shaking the pot occasionally.

Sitr in the garlic, then add the turmeric and chopped basil with the tomato paste. Stir in half the stock, then bring to the boil. Cover the pan again, lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for ten minutes.

Puree the mixture, then add the rest of the stock.

Add the lime rind and juice to the soup, season with salt and pepper. Bring soup back to the boil, serve in bowls with a spoonful of sour cream and a scattering of herbs (preferably basil).

Gluten free baked Creme Caramel cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust

This is great if you are entertaining as you can make the cheesecake a day ahead, then just decorate it when you need it.

Creme Caramel Cheesecake with Pistachio crumb crust

Ingredients

1 & 1/2 cups gluten free biscuits (like a shortbread or other plain biscuit);

1/4 cup finely chopped pistachios;

125 g melted butter;

500g softened cream cheese (get it out of the fridge while you are preparing the base);

3 lightly beaten eggs;

125g castor sugar;

1 tsp vanilla extract;

2 tbsp gluten free cornflour (not the wheaten variety);

150g sour cream;

1 cup sugar;

1/2 tsp vanilla extract;

Extra pistachios for decoration.

Method:

Heat the oven to 150 celcius (140 fan forced). Combine the crushed biscuit crumbs, chopped pistachios and butter in a bowl, then press over the base and a little up the sides of a 23cm spring form cake pan.

Using a mixer, beat the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, cornflour and sour cream until the mixture is smooth. Pour into cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes, then turn the oven off without removing the cheesecake and let it cool in the oven for two hours (don’t open the door). Remove, cover with cling film and refrigerate. I left mine overnight but you could use it with a minimum of an hour’s refrigeration.

When almost ready to serve, transfer the cake to the serving plate while it is still cold from the fridge.

Place the sugar in a small saucepan over a high heat and bring to a dark caramel. You can shake the pan occasionally to let the melted sugar mix with the unmelted sugar.

NOW, THE NEXT PART CAN BE DANGEROUS IF YOU AREN’T CAREFUL!!

Stand back a little and be careful – add one third of a cup of water, letting the bubbles subside if you need to before stirring with a long handled spoon. If you aren’t careful, the bubbling mixture can come up the spoon and burn you severely, so take care and make sure the kids (or the dog) aren’t underfoot at this point. Stir until the mixture is a thick liquid, but only just, because if you leave the caramel on too long, it can become bitter. Stir through the vanilla extract and pour over the cheesecake. Decorate with additional pistachios.

Allow it to stand for about 10-15 minutes before serving, to let the caramel set a little, and to prevent burning if people try to eat it while hot.

My Moroccan beef soup

My Moroccan Soup

This soup is so thick and hearty, we had it for dinner one night. You could serve it with any type of bread and it would taste good. This will serve 6 not very hungry people, or 3 – 4 hungry ones!

Ingredients:

Several large glugs of olive oil;

500g chuck steak, cut into chunks and put in a bag with 2 tbsp gluten free plain flour (seal and shake the bag to coat the meat with flour);

1 onion, chopped;

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped;

2cm ginger, peeled and finely chopped;

1/4 tsp chilli flakes;

1 tbsp paprika (you can use the hot type, but I like the sweet, even if it isn’t authentic);

2 tsp cumin;

1 litre vegetable stock;

4 X 400g canned chopped tomatoes;

1 X 400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained;

2 tsp caster sugar;

Sour cream to serve (you should use Greek yoghurt – use it if you prefer, but I love the sour cream with these combination of flavours).

Method:

Heat several glugs of olive oil in a heavy based soup saucepan, then add the flour coated meat, a little at a time and brown well, stirring frequently to prevent the meat sticking. (Even if it sticks a little, you can scrape it once you add the stock, just don’t let it burn);

Add onion, ginger, garlic and spices, stir for a minute or two, then turn the heat down for another minute or two, still stirring;

Turn the heat back up and add the (hot) stock and the tomatoes, combine well and check that nothing has stuck to the bottom of the pot;

Bring to boil, season with salt, pepper and the caster sugar;

Turn down to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 & 1/2 to 2 hours, checking occasionally;

Lightly whizz with a stick blender (or you can take it out and put it in a standard blender), don’t turn it into a puree, blend some but leave some chunks to give body;

Add the chickpeas and heat through.

Serve with a blob of sour cream (or yoghurt if you are a traditionalist!) and whatever bread you fancy.

Nutella Mousse with Gluten Free Popping Rocks

Serves 4

Surprise everyone!

I love the sensation of popping rocks in confectionery, but I am never sure with commercial confectionery if the rocks are gluten free, so when I found some in a packet, I bought them and stashed them in my bulging, messy pantry “just in case”.

As my daughter is a Nutella freak, I decided to make this Nutella Mousse, and in a naughty mood, “decorated” it with popping rocks before handing dishes over to my family.

Well, I thought it was funny anyway!

Ingredients:

100g dark chocolate buttons (or chop up some chocolate if you have it in block form);

300ml of chilled thickened cream;

1/2 cup Nutella.

Method:

Melt chocolate, either by placing it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), or melt it in the microwave. I prefer 30 second bursts, stirring in between.

Let it cool for 5 minutes, meanwhile beat the cream until soft peaks form.

Add the Nutella to the cream and gently whisk until combined, then gently fold the chocolate through, marbling it if you like. Spoon the mixture into serving glasses, just before serving sprinkle with the popping rocks.

BBQ chicken, ham & haloumi bake – gluten free

Of course you need a gluten free bbq chicken to make this gluten free, but if you can source one of those, life is easy!  I love the squeaky texture of haloumi, I know not everyone does, but as this cheese doesn’t melt it suits a “bake” type of recipe.

This is not really a recipe, just a way of ‘using up’ a lot of that stuff I had hanging around the fridge – I was tired and didn’t want to cook, so this was dinner.  Depending on how long your oven takes to heat up, if you put the oven on before you start assembling and chopping, you could have dinner done in little more than half an hour after walking in the door.

It was actually very tasty, but I have categorised it as a light meal as it wasn’t very substantial.  This will only serve about two people.

BBQ chicken, ham and haloumi bake

1/2 a bbq chicken;

250g haloumi cheese;

3 to 4 slices of ham (I had the triple smoked, it adds a good flavour, but whatever you have in the fridge);

1/2 cup of frozen peas;

1/2 cup red wine & garlic marinade (the gluten free one that comes in a bottle), mixed with 1/4 cup water.

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius (fan forced).

Chop the chicken and ham, dice the haloumi.

Pour half of the marinade & water mixture into the bottom of a 4-6 cup covered casserole dish (or use a small baking dish which you will cover with foil later), toss in the chicken, cheese, ham and peas, pour the rest of the marinade over the top.  Mix well, cover and place in oven for 20 minutes.

As the chicken and ham are already cooked, only the peas need to cook, and they should steam as the liquid is trapped by the lid of the dish (or the foil).

 

Serve with crusty bread.

 

Gluten free biscotti

I thought I would try my hand at biscotti, but that gluten free flour presents a challenge!  As the cooked biscotti cake is crumblier than one made with regular flour, I had to cut the biscotti thicker than they should have been, so mine aren’t quite as crispy as I am sure they are supposed to be, but they still taste fine dunked in a nice coffee!

 

Biscotti

 

If you want to toast your own almonds, place them in a single layer on a baking tray and cook for 8-10 minutes in an oven preheated to 170 celcius (fan forced) – but I cheated and bought ready toasted ones!

 

3 eggs,

1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract,

1 tsp almond extract,

3/4 cup sugar,

1 tsp xanthan gum,

1 tsp baking powder,

2 & 1/4 cups gluten free plain flour,

1/4 teaspoon salt,

1 cup toasted almonds, chopped.

 

Preheat fan forced oven to 170 celcius, prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of baking paper.

Beat eggs in bowl with extracts, add dry ingredients gradually, mixing well to ensure mixture is not lumpy, add almonds.

Turn mixture out onto lightly floured board, knead and shape to a log and slightly flattened (it should be tear shaped rather than round).  Bake for approximately 30 – 40 minutes, or until firm to touch.  Allow to cool on a wire rack for approximately 10 minutes (keep the baking sheet with the baking paper on it).  Ideally you should cut the log into 1cm slices, but if your cake is crumbly you will need to cut it a bit thicker.  Arrange slices on baking sheet and place back in oven for up to 20 minutes, until the surface appears firm and dry, remove the sheet from the oven and turn all the slices over, put back in the oven for up to another 20 minutes, until the surface is dry.  Cool, then place in an airtight container until required.

Chocolate Cointreau Sauce

Remember all that lovely Cointreau that had strawberries soaking in it?  I have been trying a few things lately that have a bit of that lovely liqueur in them, but of course you could use your favourite liqueur as a substitute here.

This is quite a rich sauce but is extremely yummy on fruit, ice-cream, or you could even put a dash of it in a milkshake – just for the grownups of course!.  Just be wary, the alcohol is still active.

Chocolate Cointreau Sauce

 

I made this in a large pyrex jug, so instead of weighing the chocolate, I measured it in.  Using an eye measure with chocolate means that it isn’t precise – some of the buttons will stick up above the line, but you don’t have to be precise with this recipe.

1 & 1/2 cups good quality dark chocolate;

1/2 cup thickened cream;

1/4 cup cointreau (or substitute).

Place the chocolate and cream in a jug and place in the microwave for 30 seconds, shaking when done.  Repeat twice, then stir until the mixture is smooth.  Once smooth, add the liqueur.  If you are pouring this on a hot dessert, you can use it straight away, if using it on something like ice-cream wait until it cools a little.  You can store any leftovers in the fridge for a few days.

 

Corn relish chicken

As I may have mentioned once or twice before, I love a one pot dinner.  This isn’t exactly that as you will need to cook some rice to go with, but I can do that in the microwave so that is easy enough.  I came up with this idea as I was looking for something to deal with the “not chicken again” cry that tends to go up in my house – I like chicken but need to find new flavours to stave off the boredom.  I had a rummage in the fridge to see what I had, and came up with this – and it smelt amazing when it was cooking, and tasted good too!

Corn relish chicken

1 tbsp oil (I like olive oil with chicken);

500g chicken breasts, chopped;

1/2 cos lettuce, sliced from the top down into ribbons;

3 sticks celery, finely sliced;

1 spring onion, finely sliced;

3/4 of a small jar of corn relish (check the label but these should be gluten free);

1/2 cup cream;

2 cups frozen corn kernels (you could use tinned so long as you drained them well).

Preheat a large, heavy based pan on medium high, add the oil and brown the chicken.  Add the green vegetables and stir to mix.  Stir through the corn relish and cream, turn down to a simmer.  Add the corn kernels and simmer for about 10 minutes more.

Serve with rice.

Honey & mustard chicken with gluten free noodles

This recipe is based on my Chicken in mustard cream sauce  recipe.  I decided to add honey to this one and to use gluten free rice noodles (you know, those ready to reheat ones you find in the international section of the supermarket).  Serves four.

 

Honey & mustard chicken with gluten free noodles

1 tbsp oil;

500g chopped chicken thighs or breast – your choice;

1 tbs honey;

1 tsp ready made mustard (the type with the seeds visible);

1 cup cream;

1 cup mixed frozen vegetables;

1 packet ready to heat gluten free noodles;

1 handful of salad leaves.

Preheat a heavy based frypan on medium high.  Heat the oil and brown the chicken.  Pour over the honey, mustard and cream, and mix together.  Add the frozen vegetables (use the ones that are finely cut, not the big chunky ones as this is a quick meal) and stir to combine.  Turn down the heat to a simmer and simmer the chicken mixture for a few minutes – if you have cut the chicken into small cubes this won’t take long at all.  While you are waiting, either using kitchen scissors, or a knife and cutting board, cut the wedge of noodles into small parts, so that when you put them into the hot mixture they break into small pieces rather than long noodles.  Add the noodles and stir until well combined.  Wilt through the salad leaves and serve.

You won’t need rice as the noodles should provide the starch.