Tag Archives: recipe

Purple carrot spaghetti

27 Oct

Purple carrot spaghetti

After a bit of a jog on a very cold October morning, I found myself in the supermarket looking for something inspirational for lunch.  And what did I find?  Purple carrots!  I assume, given the rather colourful packaging, that this product was aimed at children, to try and encourage them to eat vegetables and piggy-backing on the commercial wonderland of Halloween.  Nonetheless, i was sucked in.  Well done marketers.  Cartoons and bright colours obviously work in our supermarket aisles.

I have seen a couple of recipes recently profiling the “vegetable spaghetti”, so I decided this would be the perfect opportunity for me to give it a whirl.  I chose  to add some rice noodles as well to mix the dish up a bit, but you could use (gluten free) spaghetti instead, or even try some other veggies to “spaghetti”.

Now I used sesame seeds and toasted sesame oil to finish this off, but you could use pine nuts or other such ingredients.

The ingredients:

1 regular orange carrot

1 purple carrot

1 clove of garlic

1 red chilli (if you don’t like spicy food, only add ½ a chilli)

A good glug of good quality olive oil/rapeseed oil (maybe 5 tbsp)

Salt and pepper

A small sprinkling of Sesame seeds (optional)

1 tsp Toasted sesame oil (optional)

Fresh Basil

150g rice noodles (fresh, or dried, but if you use dried, make sure you have cooked them according to the packet instructions before use)

 

The Recipe:

  1. Cut both carrots into long thin sections.  I used a mandolin to get them all uniform (ish) so it was quite fast, but if you don’t have a mandolin, this could be quite a lengthy process, but a good excuse to practice your knife skills!
  2. Thinly slice the chilli and crush the garlic.
  3. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chilli and garlic and fry for about a minute, make sure the garlic doesn’t burn
  4. Add the carrot spaghetti and toss to coat in the oil and fry until the carrot has softened.  This will take maybe about 4-5 minutes.
  5. Add the rice noodles and toss to mix in with the carrot, chilli and garlic.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the toasted sesame oil.
  7. Serve and sprinkle with a couple of sesame seeds and fresh basil.
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Butternut Squash Gnocchi

3 Oct

Butternut Squash Gnocchi

Now, I made gnocchi once before, but with sweet potato, but I think they were too dense and not the fluffy little pillows that I was hoping for.  I think part of the reason was because I boiled the sweet potato rather than roasted and so it retained a lot of water, so I had to compensate by adding LOADS of (gluten free) flour.  I learnt my lesson, so this time, roasting was on the cards.

What with Hallowe’en round the corner, I was contemplating pumpkin gnocchi.  But obviously my local supermarket didn’t have the same idea as me, so I had to plump for butternut squash.  If you don’t fancy this, you could try with (roasted) sweet potato, normal potatoes, maybe even parsnip gnocchi might work… maybe too sweet… I’m sure someone out there has tried it.

The ingredients:

2 butternut squash (medium)

Drizzle of olive oil/vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

At least 400g Gluten free flour (I used Doves Farm Plain white flour blend) the amount will probably vary depending on how watery your butternut squash is, so it is best to have a plentiful supply.

The recipe:

  1. Peel and cut the butternut squash into chunks (smaller pieces will cook faster)
  2. Put into a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, toss to make sure the squash is coated in the oil and put into a pre-heated oven at 190 degrees Celsius until cooked through (about 30 mins, but again this depends on the size you cut the squash into!)
  3. When cooked, mash the butternut squash until smooth (I even squished mine through a sieve but I don’t think it was entirely necessary)
  4. Put the mash into a mixing bowl and add the flour (about 50g) at a time, mixing well, until you get a dough like consistency.
  5. Lightly dust a clean work surface with (gluten free) flour, take a ball of the dough and roll out into a long thin sausage.  It should be about the width of your little finger, and even.
  6. Chop the butternut squash sausage into little sections of about 1cm each.  These are your gnocchi.  Try to make sure each piece is the same size so that it cook evenly.
  7. Boil a sauce pan of water and add about a large handful of the gnocchi.  Be gentle with it and don’t try to put too much in the saucepan as it will all stick together.
  8. When the gnocchi rise to the surface, they are cooked.  This should take about 3 minutes.
  9. Drain and serve with your favourite sauce (I did mine with a beurre noisette sauce with roasted tomatoes and basil, in case you were interested!)

 

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

19 Sep

Spinach and ricotta cannelloni

A Saturday night in.  What better way to recover from the week than with some home cooking and a trivial pursuit marathon.  So here is what I created and served it alongside steamed green beans, served with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

And as if there wasn’t enough cheese in this meal anyway, we found an extensive cheese plate and a beautiful red wine to be a delightful accompaniment to the trivial pursuit and a perfect way to round off the meal.  Although in the interests of everyone’s cholesterol levels, the cheese plate isn’t a necessary finale to this meal.

The ingredients:

For the tomato sauce

1 medium onion

1 clove garlic

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

300g cherry tomatoes

1tbsp tomato puree

Salt and pepper

For the pancakes

110g plain flour, I used doves farm gluten free plain white flour

2 eggs

275ml milk

50g butter

For the filling

250g ricotta cheese

50g parmesan cheese

250g fresh spinach

Handful of fresh parsley

50g Pine nuts (save some for sprinkling over the cannelloni when you serve)

Pinch of ground nutmeg

To finish

50-100g Parmesan cheese

Pine nuts

The recipe:

  1. Dice the onion and crush the garlic.  Sauté with a splash of oil (~1tsp) on a medium/low heat with the chilli flakes until the onion has softened and is translucent.
  2. Quarter the cherry tomatoes and add to the onion with the tomato puree and about 150ml cold water and simmer for 20-30 mins, adding a little more water if it dries out.  Season to taste.
  3. Roughly chop the spinach and parsley and add to the ricotta in a mixing bowl, along with the nutmeg.  Grate in the Parmesan cheese Grate and season to taste.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan (don’t use any oil for this, there is enough oil in the pine nuts), but take care not to burn them.  Add to the spinach and ricotta mix, saving a few that you can use to sprinkle over the cannelloni when you serve up.
  5. For the pancakes: I could tell you how I did it, but Delia pretty much has it covered, so just follow her recipe (but with gluten free flour) and instructions (leaving out the lemon and sugar topping) here.
  6. To compile the cannelloni, take a pancake, spoon the spinach and ricotta mix down the middle and roll up.  Lay the cannelloni rolls in an oven proof dish.  I made my rolls quite fat like this
  7. Pour the tomato sauce over the pancake rolls (cannelloni), grate parmesan over the top (top tip, don’t hold back on the parmesan!  But then again, I am a cheese fiend)
  8. Pop the dish under the grill for ~5 mins, or until the parmesan is golden and bubbling.
  9. Serve with greens and a sprinkling of pine nuts.

Sweet Potato and Pea Samosas

16 Sep

Sweet potato and pea samosas

The ingredients:

1 large sweet potato

Peas

Small handful of cashew nuts

Rapeseed oil

1 onion

1 clove garlic

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 handful fresh chopped coriander

1 tsp chilli powder

1 fresh green chilli

150g plain flour (I made several batches and used doves farm bread flour blend AND Juvela white flour mix)

50 butter (melted)

The recipe:

  1. Score the skin of the potato and cut into large chunks and boil until cooked.  Add the peas for the last few minutes.  When cooked, drain and put the potato and peas into a mixing bowl.
  2. Dice the onion and crush the garlic and add to hot oil in a frying pan.  Sauté until the onion becomes soft and translucent.  Don’t let the onion go brown.  Then add the cumin seeds and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the onion to the potato in the mixing bowl, along with the coriander, garam masala, chilli powder and fresh chilli.  Mix well.  (You can afford to crush the potato at this point, but make sure you leave some chunks, it’ll make a good combination of textures in the finished product!
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  5. Cover and pop in the fridge for the flavours to blend for up to 2 hours.
  6. Take the plain flour in a new mixing bowl, add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil and bring together with a fork, adding small amounts of cold water to the flour until it comes together in a dough.  Take care not to add too much water, but if you do, just add a sprinkle more flour to balance it out.  You end up with a dough like this:
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  8. Cover in cling film and pop in into the fridge to rest for 15-30 minutes.
  9. Make a floury paste with a little flour and enough water to make a thick sticky paste (try to avoid making it too lumpy, too thick or too runny)  this will be the “glue” to keep you samosas in shape.
  10. When ready, roll out the dough to about 1mm thickness.  If you find the dough crumbles a bit too easy, just add a tiny splash more water.
  11. Cut the dough into circles the size of a tea plate, then cut in half to make semi circles.  (Top tip: If you are not immediately making the dough into a samosa, cover with a damp cloth or the cling film to keep it from drying out.)
  12. Take a semi circle of dough, imagine cutting it into 3 slices of pizza (but don’t cut!!)  fold the 1st third over the middle third like this:
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  14. Then fold the last third over the centre third, using a little of the flour paste to stick it together.  You should now have a little cone.
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  16. Take a spoonful of the potato samosa filling and gently put it in the cone, taking care not to overfill the cone
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  18. Now add a little more of the flour paste to the top of the cone and push the edges of the cone together to close the samosa
  19. Brush with melted butter and pop in the over at 220 degrees celsius for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown
  20. Serve with chutney as a yummy snack

Broad bean and leek risotto

9 Sep

Broad bean and leek risotto

For some reason, risotto is known as the “death dish” in Masterchef as it is so tough to “master”.  Now I don’t profess to be a “master chef”, but I do think my risotto is pretty tasty (even though I do say so myself), and no matter how much of it I make, it always disappears as people go back for seconds and even thirds.

I think there are a couple of points to take note of when making a risotto and these are:

  1. Never add all the stock at once.  Add in bit by bit and wait until it has been absorbed by the rice before adding more.  This way you won’t end up overcooking the rice and left with a soggy pan of rice.
  2. Don’t let the risotto run dry, make sure that there is always just enough liquid in the rice to keep a nice creamy texture and not thick and stodgy
  3. Use fresh parmesan and lots of it.  Ready grated parmesan just doesn’t give the right taste and texture.

The ingredients (Serves 3-4 people):

100g of butter/buttery margarine equivalent

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium white onion (diced)

2 cloves of garlic (crushed)

2  leeks (sliced into circles)

125ml white wine (a dry wine is best)

~2 pints gluten free vegetable stock (you probably won’t need all of this)

300g Arborio rice

~200g fresh or frozen broad beans (shelled)

Juice of ½ lemon

100g Parmigiano Reggiano (or other hard cheese similar to parmesan)

Salt and pepper

The recipe:

  1. If you are using fresh broad beans, make sure that you remove the beans from the pod, but also to take the beans out of their little shells.  Pod the beans by popping the beans into boiling water for a couple of minutes, drain, rinse in cold water, make a slit down each pod and using your fingers, push the beans out.  Then remove the thin skin that covers each bean using your fingernail to slit the skin and the bean will pop out!
  2. Melt about 30g of the butter in a pan with the oil and when hot, add the diced onion and crushed garlic and sauté on a low heat until the onion is translucent and soft.  Keep moving the onion around the pan to make sure it doesn’t brown.
  3. Add the sliced leek and continue to sauté for a couple of minutes
  4. Add the rice to the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure the rice kernels are coated with the oil/butter
  5.  Add the white wine to the rice and let it gently simmer until the liquid has been absorbed
  6. Add about 100ml of the vegetable stock to the rice, and again, let it gently simmer, stirring occasionally
  7. Once the liquid has been mostly absorbed by the rice, add in another ~100ml of the stock.  Continue until the rice is cooked (soft but with a bit of a bite), but make sure that stock has been absorbed before you add the next splash of stock.  NEVER ADD ALL THE STOCK IN ONE HIT!!!  If you find you need more liquid, add boiling water in the same fashion until the rice is cooked.
  8. Just before the rice is cooked, add in the broad beans as these only need a couple of minutes to cook and the heat from the rice will do this nicely.
  9. When the rice is cooked, remove from the heat and add a squeeze of lemon juice, a knob of butter and about 50g of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.  Stir in and season to taste.  You probably won’t need much salt because of the stock, butter and cheese, but freshly ground black pepper will be a beautiful addition to the dish.
  10. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Falafel

2 Sep

Falafel

As a vegetarian, I am very familiar with falafels.  An Israeli/middle eastern favourite showcasing the beauty of the humble chickpea.  Delicious eaten alone as a little snack, or as part of a meal with salad and hummus with a pitta and maybe a few grilled veggies, aubergines, peppers, courgettes and the like.

Sadly now I can no longer eat the pitta, so I decided to replace it with sweet potato chips when I was making dinner the other night and it worked perfectly (although I say so myself)!

I was tempted to play around with the falafel, maybe adding a bit of sweet potato, or a few different herbs and spices.  Then I changed my mind.  Sometimes you just don’t need to play with a dish.  Falafel are amazing in their pure form. Having said that, maybe if I had more time on my hands…

You’ll also notice that I baked these falafel rather than fried them.  This is simply because I’m not a fan of deep fried foods.  You could deep fry the falafel for a couple of minutes until golden brown (about 4 minutes).

The ingredients:

1 tin Chickpeas

1 medium onion

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp ground coriander

1tsp ground cumin

Small pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

Parsley

1 egg

½ lemon

The recipes:

  1. Dice the onion and crush the garlic
  2. Sauté over a medium heat until soft and translucent
  3. Add the cumin, coriander and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes
  4. Drain and wash the chickpeas and add to the onion mix, off the heat.
  5. Mash the chickpea mixture and add in a handful of chopped parsley and squeeze in the lemon juice
  6. Whisk the egg and add in bit-by-bit to the chickpeas and mix until it sticks together to form a dough-like consistency (if you find the mix is too sticky/wet, use a bit of gluten free flour – chickpea flour (aka besan/gram flour) to bind the mixture.)
  7. Lightly grease a baking tray
  8. Using 2 tablespoons, shape the mix into balls and place onto the baking tray
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until golden brown) at 180 degrees Celsius

Sushi

16 Aug

Sushi

I love sushi.  I really love sushi.  You may think this is strange as I am a vegetarian, but I love the textures and the clean flavours of such a complex food made with such simple ingredients.

In my mind, soy sauce makes sushi.  Don’t let this put you coeliacs out there off sushi, I sometimes carry around a little pot of gluten free soy sauce when I know I’m going to enjoy some sushi.  Problem solved!

I taught myself how to make sushi by watching an unhealthy number of YouTube videos, so I don’t claim to be a sushi master, but I like to think I have done some thorough research.  And every time I make sushi, I think I get better.  Practice makes perfect!

I think the key to making good/great sushi is good ingredients.  You may find it hard to find some of these ingredients (nori sheets, mirin, rice wine vinegar), but these are available in most large supermarkets in the UK.  Alternatively visit a Japanese or Korean supermarket as they will definitely stock these ingredients.

Sushi rice: this is stocked in most super markets so you should have too much problem finding it.  Sushi rice is a short grain rice that is really glutinous when cooked, so it sticks to everything from nori to fingers.  Don’t be tempted to rinse the rice before cooking as you want to retain as much of the starch as possible

Mirin: this is rice wine.  You can make sushi without it, but it does add another flavour dimension to the rice.  If you can’t find mirin, just use a pinch of sugar and stir that into the rice whilst it is still hot.

Rice wine vinegar:  if you can’t find this, I wouldn’t replace it with any other vinegar, I would just make sure the rice is well seasoned with salt.

Nori: this is toasted seaweed sheets.  Store them in a dry place as slightly damp nori is not a nice taste sensation!  You can’t make too much sushi without nori, so I would recommend trying to source this (I know that waitrose sell this).

Please don’t be put off by the length of my recipe, it is mainly hints and tips I have picked up along the way.

The ingredients:

200g Sushi rice

Splash of Rice wine vinegar

30ml mirin (sweet rice wine) (or alternatively use a pinch of white sugar (granulated)

Salt (for seasoning)

5 Nori (Seaweed sheets)

Avocado/cucumber/peppers/asparagus

Sesame seeds

Gluten free soy sauce

Wasabi

The recipe:

1.  Cook the sushi rice according to the packet instructions.  Take care not to overcook; the rice is the centre piece of this dish so you want to cook it perfectly.  Also you want the rice to absorb all the cooking water, so only add just enough water to cook the rice.  This way you won’t have to drain the rice and you retain the key quality of sushi rice: stickiness.

2.  When the rice is cooked, add a splash of rice wine vinegar and a large pinch of sugar and gently stir in, taking care not to aggravate the rice too much.  Leave the rice to cool (I usually spread it out on a large plate to speed up cooling time).

3.  Whilst the rice is cooling, prepare the vegetables.  Gently steam the asparagus and pepper for a couple of minutes.  Cut the cucumber, avocado and steamed pepper into long strips.

4.  Cover your sushi rolling mat with clingfilm (I don’t even want to think how nasty washing up a bamboo rolling mat would be if you didn’t cover it in cling film!)

5.  Place a nori sheet onto the rolling mat.  If you look closely at the nori, you will see that one side is slightly rough and the other is smooth.  Make sure that the rough side is facing upwards, the rice will stick to this rough side better.

6.  Wash your hands and leave them a bit wet as it will stop the rice sticking to your hands.

7.  Take a small handful of the cooled rice and gently spread out onto the nori, using your fingers, taking care not to squash the rice kernels.   Spread the rice right to the bottom (closest to you), left and right of the nori, but at the top, leave an inch of nori without rice.

8. Choose the filling of your choice and line it up about 1 inch up from the bottom of the rice/nori (the bit closest to you).  Don’t put too much in as you will end up struggling to roll the sushi.

9.  Rolling the sushi.  Curl up the bamboo mat with the nori/rice on top, and carefully fold over the filling, making sure it is rolled nice and tight, but don’t apply too much pressure on the bamboo mat when you are rolling or you will squash all the rice.  Now you have rolled over the filling, before you continue rolling, gently pull the rolled bit of the sushi towards you, and simultaneously push the other end of the sushi mat away from you.  Continue rolling the sushi and at interval, repeat this move of pulling the roll towards you and pushing the unrolled part of the sushi away from you.  Roll until the sushi has formed a cylinder.

10.  Cutting the sushi.  You will need a very sharp knife and quite a heavy one.  Make sure the knife is clean and slightly wet as this will prevent it from sticking to all the rice and squishing the roll (I wash the knife between slice to get a cleaner cut).  Start by cutting the roll in half, letting the weight of the knife do most of the work.  Place the 2 halves side by side, then cut each half into 3 pieces of equal size.

11.  If you want to make a California roll, spread the rice on the rough side of the nori, as described above, then flip the nori over, so the rice is between the bamboo mat and the nori.  Line your filling along the nori, 1 inch up from the bottom, and then roll as before.  I then roll the rice in sesame seeds.

Serve with gluten free soy sauce, wasabi and miso soup (you may have to hunt around to find a vegetarian miso soup, but Clearspring sell it in large waitrose and sainsburys stores)