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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.

MealForOne: Tasty Thai Style Rice (gluten & dairy free)

This is pretty much effortless to rustle up when you’re just cooking for yourself – but would make an awesome side dish too. It’s a one-pot-wonder that’s healthy and tasty. Quantities below are for one person, scale up if you’re feeding more mouths.

Ingredients:

75g Jasmine Rice (dry weight)

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 stick of celery (finely chopped)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

2tbsp green peas (I used frozen)

1 lemon grass stalk

225ml (approx) hot vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp GF tamari sauce

To Make:

  •  In a small saucepan, heat the pepper, celery, ginger, peas and lemongrass in a little oil for a few minutes until everything begins to soften
  • Add the stock, followed by the rice
  • Stir, then cover and allow to simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until all stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender
  • Stir in the tamari sauce, and serve

I used Jasmine rice because it tastes amazing, and cooks really quickly.  You could make this with another type of rice, but remember to allow longer for it to cook.

Soda Bread, Help? (yeast free, gluten free & vegan)

Today I had my first pop at making Soda bread.  No particular reason why, I was just hungry and bored, I suppose! 

I followed the Dove’s Farm recipe – here: Original Recipe Link and just added 1/4tsp black pepper (because I am obsessed with black pepper…)

The bread was lovely, tasted delicious, and probably my best bread attempt yet, but it was a bit doughy inside, and had a crust that would crack a weak tooth… any suggestions on how to improve it would be great, please?

Recipe: Sweet Potato Thai Style Curry! (gluten & dairy free!)

The first time I’ve made Thai curry without a ready made paste, and possibly the freshest tasting, lovliest thing I’ve ever made. Honestly.  And no fish sauce!

I was inspired to make this after watching TV chef Dean Edwards make something similar with butternut squash – the first time I’ve seen anyone say it’s OK not to use fish sauce! Many people struggle with the hidden ingredients in ready made curry pastes – and really after trying this the pastes don’t compare to it anyway!


Ingredients:

2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cut to chunks of your choice)

1 green pepper (deseeded and chopped)

2 sticks of celery (finely chopped)

1 thumb sized piece of ginger (finely chopped)

1 stalk of lemon grass (whole, but bruised with the back of a knife)

1 red chilli (finely chopped – deseed for less heat)

1 or 2 cloves of garlic (peeled and minced / finely chopped)

400ml tin of coconut milk

200ml vegetable stock

juice of 1 lime

1/2tbsp tamari sauce

1/2tbsp honey (use sugar for vegan)

Method

  • Heat the lemon grass, green pepper, celery and ginger in a little oil in a large pan, for about 5 minutes – until it smells amazing.
  • Add the garlic and chillies, and stir through.
  • Mix in the sweet potato, and with the lid on, allow to heat for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and stock, bring to the boil and heat gently for 20-30 minutes until the sweet potato is tender.
  • Mix in the lime juice, tamari sauce and honey, and allow to heat for another 5 minutes.
  • Take out the lemon grass, and serve! (or hide the lemon grass on the plate of a guest you dislike in the hope that they will try to eat it – the choice is yours…)

This makes enough for 2 people, and some for leftovers / seconds.  It’s not a thick curry, it’s really light and tangy, and the consistency would work well with noodles, or as I’ve pictured above, with jasmine rice and a naan bread to mop up the sauce.

Recipe: Sexed up Lentils! (gluten & dairy free of course)

Puy Lentils are so sexy. If you disagree, it’s probably because you’ve never cooked them like this. With very little effort, puy lentils can be your go-to ingredient for comforting PJ food – and what’s sexier than that? ;)

OK, they’re not much to look at, but they are so tasty (pictured below in an oven-baked potato, and some red cabbage & red pepper on the side)

Ingredients:

225g puy lentils (dry weight)

2 cloves garlic – peeled and minced / grated

1 red chilli – finely chopped

2 sticks of celery, finely diced

2 tbsp red cooking wine

600ml veg stock

Method:

  • Heat the celery in a little oil on a low heat for around 10 minutes, until it is soft and smells fantastic
  • Add the garlic & chilli to the pan and mix through – leave for a matter of seconds, before throwing the lentils in
  • Add the wine to the pan, and turn up the heat, keeping the lentils moving for about a minute while the alcohol evaporates
  • Add the stock (preferably hot) to the pan, give it a stir, then cover and let it simmer gently for about 30 mins, until the stock has been absorbed and the lentils are soft (you want them soft but not mushy)
  • That’s it – serve, in a baked potato, on a salad, with a piece of meat or fish… or just in a bowl all by themselves!

As a rule of thumb I allow 75g (dry weight) of lentils per person. The above was enough to fill 3 potatoes generously.  Be warned though, once you’ve cleared your plate, you will probably wish that you made more. And you will want to make it again. Because it’s so easy, so healthy, and so damn sexy.

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.

Recipe: Sticky Peanut Noodle Stir Fry (gluten and dairy free)

I found some gluten free brown rice noodles at the supermarket (finally) so I had to make this! The great thing about stir-frying is that you can chuck in whatever veg you have lying around (or meat, if you’re that way inclined), make it as big or as small as you need, and it takes 15 minutes to make. What makes this one special is the peanut sauce!

Ingredients:

250g gluten free brown rice noodles (dry weight)

1 head brocolli, broken into small florets

2 carrots, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, chopped

1 stick celery, chopped

1 red chilli, sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp lazy ginger (or a 2cm piece of fresh ginger)

For the Peanut Sauce:

125g Whole Earth Smooth Peanut Butter

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp gluten free tamari sauce

1 tbsp honey (or agave nectar to make it vegan)

1 tbsp water

juice of 1 lime

50g sesame seeds

Method:

  • Put a large pan of water on to boil for the noodles, and meanwhile chop the veg for the stir fry
  • Pop your noodles into the boiling water, and add your veg to a hot pan with some oil (leave the chilli & garlic out for now)
  • Mix together the ingredients for the sauce
  • The noodles and the stir fry should both only take around 5 minutes, so at the last minute, add the garlic and chilli to the stir fry
  • Mix the peanut sauce in with the stir fry, then drain your noodles.
  • Add your noodles to the stir fry pan, and mix well (the rice noodles can be a bit sticky and stubborn, but persevere for a minute) then take off the heat and serve immediately!

This was supposed to make enough for me and OH tonight, with one dish left over for lunch tomorrow, but OH liked it so much he polished it all off tonight. So it must have been good :)

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