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Category Archives: vegetarian recipes

Gluten Free Gluttony: Macaroni Cheese!!

Gluten Free Gluttony: Macaroni Cheese!!

Well, Summer is over (not that we really had any Summer here in Cardiff…) and it’s getting colder & darker outside.  Don’t worry, I’ve found a way to make you feel warm & cosy inside – gluten free, lactose free Mac n Cheese!!  Hot, oozy, carby goodness; it’s the perfect time of year for it!  Shut your eyes to the calories, shut your eyes to the mess you will make in your kitchen (pour yourself a glass of wine if you need to!!) roll up your sleeves and prepare to make magic…

 

a real winter warmer…

Ingredients:

For the Sauce…

  • 20g gluten free flour
  • 200ml lactofree milk (or soy milk / dairy free milk)
  • 200ml veg stock  – cold (I used gf/df bouillon powder)
  • 20g dairy free spread (eg Vitalite)
  • 150g grated Lactofree cheese (* please note this cheese is not suitable for vegetarians)
  • black pepper to taste

Also…

  • 250g gluten free dried pasta
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 150g sliced button mushrooms
  • knob of dairy free spread
  • handful chopped spinach leaves
  • 250g halved pomodorino tomatoes (or just small / cherry tomatoes)
  • 100g grated Lactofree cheese for the top

 

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200C, and put a large pan of water on to boil (salt if you wish)
  • Use this time to chop/slice/weigh/grate…
  • Add your pasta to the boiling water (and boil for about 10-12 minutes, or until soft)
  • In a frying pan, melt knob of butter and fry onion & mushroom until just browned, then turn off the heat

Meanwhile make the Sauce…

  • In a jug add a little of the milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps
  • Add the rest of the milk and the cold stock and mix well
  • Pour into a cold saucepan, add the dairy free spread and heat gently, whisking frequently
  • Once mixture is almost boiling, mix in the cheese to melt, and bring to a very gentle simmer
  • Season to taste with black pepper, and simmer for a few minutes until thickened

Now for the Magic…

  • Once the pasta is soft, drain and return to the saucepan
  • Mix in the onion, mushroom, chopped spinach & cheese sauce
  • Spoon this all into oven proof dish (I like to use individual ‘pie’ dishes – or just use one large, preferably shallow one)
  • Layer the halved tomatoes on top, sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese, and pop in the oven
  • Bake for around 30 minutes, until bubbling, and cheese has turned a lovely golden brown
  • Serve with something naughty & comforting (I did chunky chips, skins on, seasoned with fresh rosemary…)

 

This was B’s idea tonight. I was going to do Spag Bol – I fancied something hot & pasta heavy; but this is B’s favourite and I haven’t made it for a while, so it was a no brainer! I got 3 very generous portions from the above quantities (greedy, gluttonous portions!).  The perfect meal for when you need something starchy & carb-heavy, with the added comfort of cheesiness! The only downside I can see to this is the washing up (thankfully, that’s B’s domain!) and the fact that you’ll burn your tongue again and again because it’s so delicious that you won’t have the patience to wait for it to cool before putting it in your mouth (think of the moth & the lightbulb from the kitkat advert…). Enjoy!

 

30 Minute Soul Food – Spicy Rice & Beans…

New home & new job has left my kitchenware feeling rather unloved.  My food processor is gathering dust and my matroyshka measuring cups have become mere ornaments to pretty up my kitchen.  My foot’s on the mend which means I’m out and about more now, and have less time to poke about in the kitchen like I did a few months ago.

Anyways, when there isn’t enough time to spend all day cooking, this one pot wonder is a life saver; throw everything in a pan, put the lid on it for a bit, then serve.  This is a real hug in a bowl, or a bowl full of hugs… Spicy, hearty, warming, stomach filling… I could go on!  And the end result is always delicious – slightly different every time I make it, but that’s the fun of it – it’s definitely food for the soul, and satisfying enough for times when you’re feeling greedy.  Enough rambling, here’s (roughly) how I make my Spicy Rice & Beans…

One Pot Wonder!

totally warming food for the soul!

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 large red pepper, diced
  • 1 large red chilli, sliced
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed / finely chopped
  • 1 400g tin red kidney beans – drained & rinsed
  • 1 400g tin black eyed beans – drained & rinsed (or any other bean you fancy! Adzuki works well!)
  • 1/2 cup frozen sliced green beans
  • 225g long grain rice
  • 750ml vegetable stock (preferably hot)
  • 100g tomato puree
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pan and add the onion & pepper – fry on a fairly high heat for around 5 minutes until the onion starts to brown
  2. Turn down the heat, add the garlic, chilli, paprika, smoked paprika & chilli powder and fry for a further minute
  3. Throw in your canned beans, frozen beans, hot stock, tomato puree and cayenne – mix well and bring to the boil
  4. Stir in the rice, cover and simmer gently for around 20 minutes (until water has been absorbed and rice is tender)
  5. That’s it – serve, and enjoy!

See, I said it was easy.  If this isn’t comfort food then I don’t know what is.  Best of all, it lends itself to whatever fresh/frozen ingredients you’ve got lying around – perfect for one of those ’emptying the fridge’ days.  If you’ve only got one tin of beans, add more veg; I’ve made it with carrot, courgette, sometimes mushrooms – and I’ve even been known to throw in a diced potato.  Yes, I make it that often!

The above quantities will make 3-4 portions (generously) as a stand-alone main dish. Use common sense; if you need to feed more people, add more stuff! If anyone tries it, I’d love to hear how yours turns out!

MeatFreeMonday: Paella Baby!

Wow, what a one-pot-wonder! This recipe is full of flavour, what a way to kickstart the week!  I’ve tried my hand at making paella before, but it was less than amazing.  I wanted to try again because I’m always drawn to the lively colours, and it’s rice – I love rice!  Looking back, my first paella fail was probably down to me over-complicating it, because tonight this was so easy and quick to make!

Here’s the recipe, it’s vegan and gluten free!

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil

160g spiced tofu, chopped (I used this one by Cauldron and it was fantastic)

200g paella rice

170g chopped mushrooms

2 green peppers, sliced (I only had green peppers here, any colour is great)

1 carrot, diced

1 medium courgette, diced

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1 red chilli, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

750ml vegetable stock

pinch of saffron (about 1/8 teaspoon)

2 teaspoons paprika (you could use smoked, but maybe use less of it)

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup of frozen peas (or fresh if you have them)

3 spring onions, sliced

juice of 1 lime

 

Method:

  • Add the saffron to the hot vegetable stock in a jug or a bowl and leave to infuse
  • In a large deep pan, heat the oil over medium/high heat
  • Add the tofu, mushrooms, carrot, celery, courgette and green peppers and heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring and shaking every so often as it simmers
  • Stir in the garlic and chilli and leave for about 10 seconds
  • Add the stock (with saffron) and keep the heat high, bringing it to the boil
  • Stir in the paprika and cayenne
  • Once boiling, stir in the rice, cover and keep on a medium heat to a fast simmer for 18 minutes until the rice is tender and almost all of the water has been absorbed (don’t poke about with it during this time or the rice will release it’s starch and you’ll end up with risotto!)
  • Open the lid, put the peas evenly on top of the paella, then re-cover and allow them to steam for 1-2 minutes
  • Take off the heat, stir in the lime juice and spring onions, and serve!

The above quantities came out with 3 generous portions. Simple! This is definitely my new favourite one-pot-wonder, it even had B’s seal of approval (and he’s a proper carnivore!).  You could change up the vegetables and use whatever you fancy or whatever you have to hand – throw in some tomatoes, maybe some green beans – I’d definitely use the Cauldron tofu again, it’s marinated and lightly spiced so goes really well in this dish.  Happy Meatless Monday everyone!

 

 

MeatFreeMonday: Sweet Potato Tacos (gluten, dairy free!)

I haven’t been around here much lately.  Things have been a bit crazy with househunting and one thing and another, but tonight I made Tacos that I just had to share with the world.  They were born from the simple fact that I had sweet potatoes in the cupboard that needed eating.  I’d like to say I made my own taco shells, but I didn’t.  B found the corn shells we bought on offer when they fell out of the cupboard this morning – so the decision was made, we were having sweet potato tacos for dinner!

They were sweet, tangy, creamy, and spicy all at the same time.  As well as being stupidly easy to make, they are healthy and filling too.  Here’s how I made the filling for roughly 8 tacos…

 

Ingredients:

3 small-medium sweet potatoes

400g tin white kidney beans, drained and rinsed

50g frozen spinach

1 red onion, chopped

1 small green pepper, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1/4 tsp each of: paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, mustard powder

freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/8 tsp)

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp ground flax seed

8 gluten free taco shells

 

Method:

  • Peel and roughly chop the sweet potatoes
  • Place them in a bowl, cover, and microwave for approx 7 mins, checking half way through – cook until tender
  • Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the onion and green pepper in a little oil until they soften (a few minutes)
  • Add the garlic, chilli, spinach and beans to the pan, cover and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until the beans are soft and the spinach has defrosted)
  • Add the cooked sweet potato to the pan, along with the spices, flax seed & oil
  • Mash the mixture together with a potato masher until the potato & beans are fairly smooth, don’t worry about the odd lump & bump, then turn off the heat
  • Heat the taco shells in the microwave for around 1 minute 30 seconds
  • That’s it – serve! Add salad, cheese, salsa, guacamole or anything else as desired – we had naked tacos – just the above mixture inside corn shells, and they were amazing

 

So there you have a satisfying taco filling – tasty and healthy, and no need for any micro-protein-pretend-beef-mince.  Happy Meat-free-Monday everyone!

Cocoa-Coconut-Cupcakes! (gluten & dairy free!)

Cocoa-Coconut-Cupcakes! (gluten & dairy free!)

Everybody needs cheering up on a Monday, don’t they?  B’s been feeling under the weather, so I decided to make yet more cakes in an attempt to perk him up.

I used up all the nuts in the cakes I made the other day, so I raided the cupboards and decided on a mixture of Cocoa Powder and Creamed Coconut (I but the Patak’s sachets of creamed coconut which is solid and then I chop it).  Here’s what came out of the oven:

And here’s how I made it…

Ingredients:

125g gluten free self raising flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

125g brown sugar

50g dairy free margarine (I used Vitalite)

25g Cocoa Powder (the Green & Black’s that was in my cupboard)

3 free range eggs (small to medium sized)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp lactofree milk or milk substitute

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

50g creamed coconut (chopped)

Easy Peasy Method:

  • Measure out your dry ingredients and mix them together in a bowl
  • Add your wet ingredients and mix well until there are no lumps and you have a nice thick batter
  • Spoon the mixture into cupcake cases, fairly full
  • Bake for around 20 minutes at 190 degrees C
  • Try not to burn your fingers when you try to eat them straight from the oven!

The chopped creamed coconut left lovely gooey chunks of coconutty goodness through the cakes – you can see it in the pic here:

This mixture made about 15 small cakes.  15 small cakes, for 2 people… all this baking can’t bee good for the waistline.  It’s just me and B here, and we live about an hour away from family… so whatever I make in this kitchen, gets eaten in this kitchen.  Oh well, that’s a dilemma for another day, these cakes brightened up my Monday and that’s all that counts!

I’ve Been Baking: Banana Cupcakes (gluten and dairy free!)

Okay, this is probably my greatest gluten free baking success to date, and it’s all thanks to Katie at Smell the Flours.  Her recipe for Banana Nut Bread is here – it brought on immense muffin cravings and I needed to get in the kitchen and make something sweet.  I deviated from the original recipe a  bit, mainly because I didn’t have all the ingredients, but had reasonable substitutes, and also because I find it difficult to stick religiously to any recipe.  I will have to, at some point, go back to the recipe and follow it step by step, because it looks so amazing.  Pictured below is my take, which turned out to be mini cupcakes…

I did have the desire to make sort of mini-muffins, but that didn’t turn out the way I’d planned. (Note to self: buy cake papers that are strong enough to hold the batter needed for muffins…)  I filled the first few cases fairly full, and one by one they collapsed and I watched in horror as the sticky batter poured out onto the baking tray.  So, I had to fill the flimsy cases half full, resulting in fairy-cake / cupcake type mouthfulls.  However, they were delicious, nonetheless!  Okay, so below, is how I ended up making mine…

Dry Ingredients:

120g GF flour (I used Dove’s Farm self raising)

90g fine brown sugar

1/2 tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

50g chopped Brazil Nuts

Wet Ingredients:

2 medium free range eggs

2 ripe bananas, mashed

150ml peach juice* (see notes below)

3 tbsp honey

1 tbsp oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  • Get your oven heating to around 180 degrees C
  • In a large mixing bow, put your dry ingredients together and mix well
  • In a separate smaller bowl, mix all of your wet ingredients
  • Add your wet ingredients into the larger bowl with your dry ingredients, and stir to form a sticky batter
  • Pour the mixture into cupcake cases, and fill them as full as your cases will handle
  • Pop them in the oven, keep an eye on them, and in about 25 minutes, they should be done!

*Okay – confession time – the truth about the ‘peach juice’… with breakfast this morning, I had tinned peaches with soya yoghurt.  I didn’t want to waste the juice from the tin, so I poured it into a plastic pot, and decided to keep it.  According to the label, it’s ‘natural peach juice’ – so I don’t see why you can’t use any fruit juice you fancy instead.  Phew. Glad I got that off my chest.

From the quantities above, I got 15 small cakes.  These cakes were much like I’d hoped they would be – moist, fluffy, and sweet.  Not dry.  Not crumbly.  Not heavy.  If I hadn’t made them, I wouldn’t have believed they were actually gluten free.  And B enjoyed them too, and he’s not even gluten intolerant!

Hungry for Homemade BBQ Sauce?

I’ve been playing around in the kitchen, because it’s Friday and tonight, I want to make a pizza to end all cravings for Dominos.

The pizza bases were ready to go, I just needed to create a tangy, oozy BBQ sauce to tickle the tastebuds with just the kick you need for a Friday night in.

Why don’t I just buy a jar of gluten free barbecue sauce to top the pizzas? Well, because this way is more fun, and have you read the ingredients list on a jar of sauce lately? It usually makes for scary reading.

Just a note on how to make it, it’s a really simple sauce to put together, and while there may seem like a lot of ingredients, I just used what I had to hand.  If there’s something on the list you don’t have or don’t usually buy, see if there’s something you have in your cupboard that you can substitute.  Recipes are great for inspiration, but you can always tweak them to suit your tastes.

 

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 small red onion, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped

2.5cm piece of ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 green chilli, chopped

300ml water

5 tbsp tomato puree

3 tbsp honey (please use agave nectar instead to make this vegan)

1 tbsp tamari sauce

1 whole star anise

1/2 tsp each of: paprika, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper

2 tsp molasses

juice of 1/2 lime

optional: 2 tsp cornflour

 

Method:

  • In a saucepan, heat the onion, pepper and ginger in the oil until they soften
  • Add the garlic and chilli and heat for no more than another 30 seconds
  • Now add the water and turn up the heat
  • Add in all the other ingredients, except for the lime juice
  • Bring this up to the boil and allow to simmer for 15 minutes
  • It should now start to smell like BBQ sauce. Add the lime juice and heat for about a minute.
  • Take it off the heat, transfer to a blender, and blend until smooth (depending on how good your blender is, you may want to fish out the star anise before blending)
  • At this stage, I like to put it back into the pan and add cornflour to thicken it up.  To do this, mix 2 tsp cornflour into about a tablespoon of water, and add it to the sauce.  The cornflour needs heat to thicken, so simmer the mixture for a further 5-10 minutes

That’s it! Allow to cool, bottle it, jar it, put it straight on your pizza, mix it in with some pasta, dip your chips in it – the choice is yours!

This recipe makes about 400ml sauce, scale it up or down to suit your needs, or store the leftovers in the fridge and it should keep for a few days.

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