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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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Bitter-sweet Beetroot with Sexy Spinach Quinoa…

This is a short & sweet, simple recipe. It’s fool proof.  But don’t let that fool you – it’s delicious; tasty and satisfying.  You have my word.

I was inspired when I found this recipe for the beetroot: a baker’s doesn’t original recipe so using 4 medium sized fresh beetroots, I sliced them, drizzled over some balsamic vinegar and honey (just switch this to some agave nectar to make this dish vegan), covered with tinfoil and popped them in a hot oven for 30 minutes, at around 220 degrees.

While they were in the oven, I got onto making the quinoa.  Quinoa is up there as one of my favourite grains, and it’s something that I had never even tried before I went gluten free.  Now, I don’t know how I lived without it – there are so many things you can do with it, and it always tastes amazing. Below is how I made it tonight…

Ingredients:

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper (of any colour – I used orange), finely chopped

1 clove of garlic (a nice fat one, minced or finely chopped)

75g fresh spinach

250g quinoa (dry weight)

600ml hot vegetable stock (I use GF bouillon powder)

Method:

  • In a large pan, gently heat the onion and pepper in a little oil for around 10 minutes, until they soften
  • Stir through the garlic and add the hot stock
  • Add the quinoa to the pan, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes
  • When there is very little water left to be absorbed, put the spinach on top of the quinoa, cover the pan and allow it wilt for a few minutes.
  • When the spinach is wilted, stir it through the quinoa, and serve…
  • Take the beetroot out of the oven (it should be tender now) and serve with the quinoa – drizzle over any juices left from the beetroot pan!

That’s it. As easy as that.  It’s a perfect mid-week dish when you’re tired from work and need feeding quick.  I got 3 servings out of the above quantities, so it fed me and B tonight, and there’s leftovers for B’s lunch tomorrow. Happy days :)

MeatFreeMonday: Chilli Sin Carne

Meat-Free Monday: Chilli Sin Carne – with fluffy rice & chunky chips… delicious!

Recipe here – it’s different every time I make it, but that’s the general idea :)

Getting Organised…

That’s our meal plan & shopping done for the week!

  • Tuesday – veg lasagne
  • Wednesday – chilli con carne
  • Thursday – Roasted beetroot with quinoa salad
  • Friday – Polenta pizza (& chips probably!)
  • Saturday – Pasta with spicy tomato sauce
  • Sunday – roast with onion gravy!
  • Monday – whatever’s left over, prob throw it into a risotto

That feeds me & hubby cheaply for a week! I find if I don’t plan out meals for the week before I buy the food, it’s easier to stay on the GF wagon, not get urges for things I can’t have and bored of what’s in the cupboard. Taking the time to plan what to eat saves me misery for the rest of the week, and saves a fridge full of food going to waste (I never planned anything before GF life and would quite often waste a lot because I didn’t buy it with a vision to create anything from it)… So, it’s going to be a good week!

savoury rice

OnePotWonder: Chinese flavour ‘savoury rice’…

Today, I needed carbs. Just a bowl full of carbs.  I fried some chopped red pepper, a little ginger, a few spring onions… then threw in 225ml veg stock, 75g long grain Thai rice, a handful of spinach, a handful of cashew nuts, one small potato, quartered and sliced, a pinch of Chinese 5 spice, pinch of black pepper, pinch of ground coriander and a splash of tamari sauce.

Tasted surprisingly amazing! If you’re thinking the potato is a bit of a wild card, it’s really there to represent the slices of waterchestnut I would have added if I’d had them here… and to carb it up a bit more!

SomethingForTheWeekend: Homemade Katsu Curry (gluten & dairy free)

Katsu curry is always someting I’ve loved at Wagamama’s – but theirs isn’t gluten free and always results in me going home doubled over in pain! Here’s a recipe for you to try that won’t leave you in pain and is seriously less complicated than it looks!

The original recipe I used is here: katsu curry, but below is my adapted recipe, to make it gluten free as well as dairy free, and I’ve halved the quantities because I was only cooking for me and hubby (and to suit what I had in the cupboard)

For the sauce:

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 cardamom pod

1/2 tsp ground fenugreek

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

2cm piece ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced,

1 green chilli, sliced

200g chopped tomatoes (from a tin)

125ml free range chicken stock

1/2 tbsp honey

1/2 tbsp GF tamari sauce

2 spring onions, chopped

For the Katsu:

2 free range chicken breasts, cut into strips

75g gluten free plain flour (rice flour or any GF flour)

100g gluten free breadcrumbs (I used mrs crimbles)

1 free range egg (lightly beaten)

4 tbsp vegetable oil

(and some long grain rice – 75g per person – for serving with)

Method: (it’s easier than you think!)

  • Toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom for 1 or 2 minutes (until they smell amazing) and then finely ground in a pestle and mortar, and add the turmeric and fenugreek
  • In a large pan, heat the onion, pepper and ginger in a little oil for 6-8 minutes, untl softened.
  • Add the garlic and chilli, stirring through and allowing to heat for no more than 30 seconds, or the garlic will become bitter.
  • Add the ground spices and tinned tomatoes, followed by the stock
  • Simmer genty for 20 minutes

Meanwhile…

  • Get your flour, breadcrumbs and egg laid out in separate plates / shallow bowls
  • Coat your chicken pieces firstly in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs, and set aside on a clean plate

Back to the sauce…

  • Once the sauce has been heating for around 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
  • Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Pour back into the pan and mix in the honey and soy sauce
  • Keep it on a very low heat until ready to serve

To Finish…

  • If serving with rice, add it to boiling water now (long grain rice, depending on the type, takes between 10 and 20 minutes)
  • Add a few tbsp oil to a frying pan, heat, and add half the breaded chicken (not to overcrowd the pan)
  • Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes each side,until golden brown & coked through ( cut a large piece open if you’re not sure) then put aside on kitchen towel to drain the excess oil (and repeat for the rest of the chicken)
  • At the last minute, add chopped spring onions to your curry sauce and turn off the heat
  • Serve, a mound of rice, pour over the curry sauce and top with the breaded chicken.

Yum.  It looks like a lot of work, but it’s not if you follow the steps in the right order. It’s such a satisfying curry, perfect for a Friday Night, and who’s to say you can’t change the chicken for another meat… or vegetables (Wagamamas do a fantastic veggie katsu curry with breaded sweet potato, squash and aubergine!) Go on, give it a try!

Food for Lovers: Spicy Chorizo Pasta (gluten & dairy free)

This is what I made for myself and hubby last night, our Valentine’s dinner. It’s the simplicity of Italy married with the fire of Spain. I don’t have a picture of it because, truthfully I got carried away eating it, but if you imagine; pieces of orange pepper and spicy sausage peeking out from under the penne pasta, smothered in blood red sauce with flecks of green basil running through it… you’ve got the idea. There were many reasons why I chose this. Firstly, tomatoes are red; the colour of love & passion. Secondly, meat is a supposed aphrodisiac, and there is little sexier than chorizo.  Lastly, a bowl of pasta is quick to make – which means more time to spend with your OH :)

Ingredients:

200g gluten free pasta (dry weight) – I used corn penne pasta

250g chorizo (chopped however you like)

1 red or orange pepper

5 (approx) medium mushrooms (chopped)

1 stick celery, finely chopped

1 clove garlic (peeled & minced)

400ml tomato passata

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp basil

Method:

  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil (for the pasta)
  • In a large deep pan, heat chorizo in a little oil, for 4-5 minutes (it will sizzle and spit so be careful)
  • Add the mushrooms, pepper and celery and continue to heat until they soften
  • Add the garlic at the last minute, stir through before adding the passata
  • Season with paprika, cayenne, and basil, then allow to simmer while you cook the pasta
  • Add pasta to the boiling water, and cook until al dente – firm (this is because you will finish cooking the pasta in the sauce)
  • Corn pasta is usually al dente after about 7 minutes, so then drain it and quickly throw it into the sauce, stir through and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes longer
  • That’s it, serve, and enjoy!

This worked well with a little tapenade of olives and cheese, a mocktail of white grape, elderflower, pomegranate & blueberry juice, followed with strawberries & cherries dipped (seductively of course) in melted dairy free chocolate. Who am I kidding – you can’t dip anything seductively in chocolate because it ultimately ends up all over your face, but it was a nice touch.

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