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So, on the hottest day ever, or something like that, here’s a truly simple salad to help you through the heat! I always like to keep a melon in the fridge in hot weather, as a slice is like an ice pop and perfect for a cooling afternoon snack! Chilled melon is perfect for this salad, which is delicious as a side salad, a starter or just with fresh crunchy bread if you want something light.
Watercress and Melon Salad with Caraway Seeds
1 handful of watercress, washed
1 handful of lambs lettuce, washed
1 quarter galia melon, chilled
1 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp caraway seeds
Peel the melon and cut into small chunks. Add the watercress, lambs lettuce and melon to a bowl. Add the lemon juice and toss the salad. Sprinkle the caraway seeds over the salad and serve cool.
I can see that this dish is probably mixing my culinary metaphors, but I did think this was a successful combination. I tasted my first dukkah a few years ago after I was given some as a present, and it has since become a standard in the kitchen, albeit one that gets occasional use. Dukkah (or duqqa) is an Egyptian condiment, consisting of a mix of ground nuts, seeds, spices and herbs. The jar I’m currently using contains sesame seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, coriander, cumin, salt, garlic, thyme and black pepper. I use it mostly as a coating or in this case topping, added to breadcrumbs or cornmeal. Every family would have their own blend of dukkah, so you could certainly make up your own mix!
The fine spear asparagus was delicious, although thicker spears would work well cooked a little longer. This dish would make a wonderful seasonal starter, or a main course with a big side salad and chunks of crusty bread.
Asparagus with Dukkah over Chilli Polenta
Large handful of fine spear asparagus, washed and any woody ends cut off
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp dukkah
1 tblsp fine cornmeal / polenta
Dash of sea salt
1 pint water
1/4 pint polenta (I find it works well to measure the polenta as a quarter of the water!)
1 small red chilli chopped.
Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Put the asparagus into a roasting tin, pour over the olive oil and toss till well coated. Roast for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile heat the water in a large saucepan. As it heats, add the polenta, chilli and salt, stirring constantly with a whisk. Keep stirring until you have a thick, creamy mix, then keep warm over a very low heat (or just put the lid on the pan).
Mix the dukka and the cornmeal. Take the asparagus out of the oven, turn the spears with tongs, then sprinkle the dukkah mix over them. Put back in the oven for a further 5 minutes.
Serve on warm plates, by spooning up a heap of polenta and topping with asparagus spears.
Having had a big bunch of leeks in my veg box, I couldn’t resist trying this curious sounding recipe. I found it in a book I bought a while back in a second hand shop, ‘The Whole Earth Cookbook’ by Hilary Meth, (you can also get a copy on Amazon).
The book does feel like a flash from the past, using a lot of packaged and convenience foods in the recipes. But I did rather like this recipe for leeks. It was simple, a bit different, and went very well with some veggie sausages!
The original recipe called for the addition of soy milk, which I decided to leave out at the last minute, as I thought the dish looked complete without it. Also I finished cooking in a casserole in the oven with the sausages, which I think gave it a slightly richer flavour, but you could manage without this step.
Leeks in Marmalade Sauce
2 medium leeks
170 ml water
3 tblsp marmalade
1 tablsp olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 170C. Trim and carefully wash the leeks, then slice them into 5mm thick rounds. Bring the water to a boil in a pan, then add the leeks. Cover the pan and simmer the leeks for 3 – 4 minutes.
Add the marmalade and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Put the leeks in a small casserole, with the lid and cook in the oven for around 15 minutes.
This recipe is adapted from a recipe published by the Vegetarian Society for their theme of ‘Share’ for this year’s National Vegetarian Week. It was pretty simple to cook, filling and very tasty – perfect for sharing, in fact.
And to celebrate the week, DON’T FORGET to make a comment on the site to be in with a chance of winning a copy of Early Vegetarian Recipes!
Veggie Paella with Purple Sprouting Broccoli
200g Brown basmati rice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
30g flaked almonds
1tblsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
200g purple sprouting broccoli
50g black pitted olives
200g button mushrooms, sliced
1 tblsp tomato puree
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
Put the rice and turmeric in a large pan of water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile toast the almonds in a dry pan for 2 – 3 minutes. In a separate frying pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onion for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and broccoli and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, olives and tomato puree and cook for 5 more minutes.
Add the cooked rice to the frying pan, mixing well and stir in the tomatoes. Served sprinkled with the toasted almonds.
This delicious cornbread is a great addition to the bread basket and a fantastic gluten-free staple. It’s especially good as an accompaniment to spicy soups or a chilli, but is also perfect for breakfast with just some tangy marmalade.
This quantity made one loaf in a 20cm square tin, and 12 mini muffins. if you do this remember the muffins only need half the cooking time of the loaf. If you make this quantity into one large loaf, you will need to increase the cooking time to approx. 30 minutes.
DON’T FORGET to make a comment to enter and win a copy of Early Vegetarian Recipes.
Gluten Free Cornbread
450ml natural yoghurt
50g butter, melted
65g plain gluten free flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp salt
275g fine cornmeal
Preheat the oven to 200C / 300F / Gas 6. Grease and line the baking tin and grease the muffin tins.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl until they are frothy. Add the yoghurt and melted butter and whisk until combined.
Sift in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt, and stir in well.
Fold in the cornmeal, ensuring it is fully mixed in. Divide the mixture into the tins. Cook the muffins for approximately 10 minutes and the loaf for about 20 minutes. They should be slightly browned when cooked and spring back when gently pressed.