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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!

 

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!

SaucySaturday: Smoky Salami Pasta (gluten & dairy free!)

Saturdays are meant to be fun, free and easy, yes? That’s why, on a Saturday, I like to make food that’s quick and simple.  It still needs to be tasty though, and it still needs to keep B happy, since he’s jumped on the gluten & lactose free bandwagon with me, to make life easier.  Tonight, we fancied pasta.  Pasta and olives.

I should probably explain that this isn’t strictly just ‘salami’ pasta – I used some smoked streaky bacon, too.  I had some salami left over from last night’s epic pizzathon, and some bacon in the fridge ready for the mandatory Sunday bacon sandwich, so I used a bit of both.

 

Ingredients:

5 slices of salami, chopped

4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced / finely chopped

1 small green chilli, finely chopped (deseed for less heat)

500ml tomato passata

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

175g dry GF pasta (I used Sainsburys corn penne)

 

Method:

  • Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta
  • In a drizzle of oil, heat the salami and bacon in a large saucepan for around 5 minutes over a fairly high heat, until they start to brown
  • Add the chopped pepper to the pan, turn down the heat, and stir through, allowing to cook for a few more minutes
  • Add the garlic and chilli, and heat for no more than a further 30 seconds (burned garlic will become bitter, and by this stage the pan will be hot so it will cook quickly)
  • Now stir in the passata, and season with the smoked paprika and black pepper

While the sauce simmers, it’s time to add the pasta to the boiling water.  Simmer for about 7 minutes, until the pasta is cooked but still firm – ‘al dente’

  • Drain the pasta, and quickly stir it into the sauce
  • Allow the pasta to heat in the sauce for about a minute, and then serve!

This made enough to feed 2 hungry people.  Me and B are always greedy hungry.

Of course, pasta loves a side of olives.  Stuffed olives, to be more precise.  I had bought a jar of ready-pitted olives, and really fancied stuffing them with lactofree cheese. Tonight was the first time I attempted the ancient art of olive-stuffing, and it was a bit fiddly, but turned out great, with the use of the back of a small spoon.  Then I dressed them in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of tomato puree, and about 1/2 a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.  They were yum, if I do say so myself!

So that was my Saucy Saturday.  Now sat with B, sipping a GF lager, and watching the Bodyguard.  Perfect weekend :)

 

Homemade Vegetable Lasagne (gluten & lactose free)

Homemade vegetable lasagne, just as it should be; hot, oozy and messy, with garden peas & chunky chips!

I don’t have the inclination to let it rest long enough for the layers to firm up properly. That’s just because I’m greedy and by the time it comes out of the oven I want to just put my face in the lasagne pan.  This is a vegetable lasagne without any weird mycro-protein-whatever-textured-stuff… just vegetables & tomatoes, with a homemade white sauce (made with lactofree milk & cheese, and gluten free flour).  I have been known to make my own pasta sheets for this but tonight I used sainsburys gluten free pasta sheets (dry).

Ingredients:

  • for the vegetables…

2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

1 small red pepper, finely chopped

2 good sized courgettes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced / finely chopped

500g carton of tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp mustard powder

  • for the sauce:

20g plain gluten free flour

200ml stock (COLD!)

200ml lactofree milk

knob of ‘butter’ (or dairy free spread)

100g grated lactofree cheese

black pepper & parsley to taste

  • also…

250g dry lasagne sheets

100g grated lactofree cheese for the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and start with the vegetables…

  • in a large pan, heat the onion and pepper in a little oil until they start to soften
  • add the courgette and heat for around 5 minutes until it softens
  • add the garlic, stir through, and then add the passata
  • stir in the basil, mustard and oregano, and add the whole bay leaf
  • bring this to a simmer and heat for 10 or 15 minutes before turning off the heat

Meanwhile sort the cheese sauce…

  • add a little milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps, then add the rest of the milk
  • mix in the stock, and pour it all into a cold saucepan
  • add the butter to the pan, and heat very gently, whisking, until it comes to a simmer
  • stir in the cheese before adding the parsley and black pepper to taste
  • keep it on a gentle heat, and keep an eye on it while you begin to assemble the lasagne

To layer the lasagne…

  • oil / grease a lasagne pan (24x28cm works well) and cover the bottom with the pasta sheets
  • onto that add a layer of vegetables, then a little cheese sauce on top of that
  • repeat the pasta – vegetables – cheese sauce layering until you come to your last sheets of pasta
  • top the final sheets of pasta with a thick layer of cheese sauce, then sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • pop this in the oven for 30 minutes

Once it’s cooked and the cheese is golden brown, take it out of the oven, and ideally let it rest for 20 minutes – this will allow the layers to firm up and it will be easier to cut and serve… me, I don’t have the patience for that, but if you’re cooking for guests you might want to.

This is one of those dishes that’s so tasty and satisfying, it really doesn’t need meat (or ‘fake’ soya-protein-pretend-meat).  This recipe might come in useful to any omnivores looking to give up meat for lent! :)

Recipe: Easy Peppercorn Sauce (gluten and lactose free)

I made this Friday night with steak & chips (and the mandatory mushrooms of course) but was too busy stuffing it in my face to take a picture. This recipe isn’t dairy free because I make it with lactofree (treated) cows milk, but give it a try with whatever substitute you would normally use and see how it turns out (if you can tolerate goat’s milk I’m sure that would work, or soy milk… if using rice or oat milk then you may need to use a bit more flour to thicken).  

It’s stupidly easy to make, in 10 minutes or less.  It’s not heavy or too creamy like other recipes, and it tastes gorgeous.

Ingredients:

2 or 3 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced/grated)

1tbsp dairy free margarine

175ml skimmed milk (lactofree or any alternative)

drizzle of olive oil

1/2tbsp gluten free flour (I use Dove’s Farm all purpose)

1/4tsp mustard powder

1tsp ground mixed peppercorns (add more or less to your taste)

Method:

  • Heat the oil in the pan with the garlic (gently! – burn the garlic and it’ll be bitter)
  • Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt (still on low heat)
  • In a measuring jug, add a drop of milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps, then add the rest of the milk
  • Add the flour/milk and mustard powder to the pan, and heat very gently until it boils, stirring with a whisk or a fork to stop a skin forming
  • The sauce will thicken at boiling point, so keep stirring, and now add the peppercorns, and allow to cook for about a minute
  • That’s it – serve it ASAP!

See, I said it was easy. Done in less than 10 minutes. The above makes enough for 2 generous servings.

I made cake! And it tasted like cake!

Baking has never been my strong point. Before GF & DF I never even bothered because I could just go and buy cake. But the gluten free cakes out there, in my experience, are pretty bad. Anyway, I finally got hold of some gluten free baking powder (that stuff is like gold dust!), and had the urge to make a cake. I had the urge to make a chocolate cake, but there’s no DF chocolate, or cocoa powder in the house. So I used hot chocolate powder. And it was good! Recipe below.

Gluten & Dairy free chocolate & brazil nut cake (with ‘artistic’ drizzle of soy cream courtesy of OH)

Ingredients:

125g rice flour

150g demarara sugar

25g hot chocolate powder (I used Green & Blacks)

150g dairy free margarine

3 eggs

1 tsp gluten free baking powder

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

1 handful brazil nuts, chopped

Method:

mix everything together in a bowl

spread evenly into a greased baking tin

bake at 180 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes

Voila, the easiest chocolate cake ever. It’s not the prettiest cake, but it was my best cake yet!

Lazy days! Made up a Hale & Hearty quick pizza base. Smothered it in Tiger Tiger gluten free BBQ sauce.  Grated a load of lactofree cheese over it. Threw on some sliced mushrooms & red pepper. And shoved it in the oven with some chips. Score!

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