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FridayFood: Polenta Pizza (gluten free, of course!)

When your intolerances get in the way of you ordering in a pizza, it doesn’t have to ruin your weekend.  In fact, it can be more fun to make your own! Last night, I made (and ate) so much food, I could barely move afterwards – BBQ pizza with a polenta base, a side of crispy potato wedges with a creamy garlic & herb dip, and even a gluten free lager to wash it all down with.  I was only cooking for me and B, and I think it’s fair to say I made too much food.  That didn’t stop us eating it all, mind you. Anyway, pictured below is my Friday Feast.

Yes. We had a whole pizza each. I had a search online, and took inspiration from a handful of recipes for the bases before getting busy in the kitchen, mainly these ones; annabelkarmel, fatfreevegankitchen, and Carla’s GlutenFreeRecipeBox.  Below is what I ended up doing, and gives the quantities to make 2 pizza bases, roughly 10 inches, and around about 1cm thick.

Ingredients:

190g polenta (dry weight)

850ml vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp xanthan gum

1 tbsp GF plain flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

1 tsp dry parmesan substitute

Method

  • Bring the stock to a simmer then slowly add the polenta, whisking as you do so
  • Keep at a very low heat, and cook for around 3-5 minutes, until you have a smooth polenta mixture (add more water if it starts to become dry)
  • Turn off the heat and mix in the xanthan gum, flour and ‘parmesan’

Now time to make them into pizza bases…

  • If you have pizza tins, spread the mixture into the oiled tins to desired thickness
  • I don’t have a pizza tin, so I put a sheet of baking paper over a dinner plate and used that.  The polenta will probably be stick and stubborn, so persevere and try to spread it evenly
  • Bake in a fairly hot oven (200 degrees or thereabouts) for 15 minutes
  • Once done, the polenta will feel springy and spongy
  • Remove from the oven, and either allow to cool, and refrigerate until you need it, or put on your toppings and pop them straight back in the oven!

I was surprised at how well the base held up.  The middle was a little bit on the floppy side, but the majority of it was very ‘handleable’.  Pizza is all about the hands, and if you’re gentle, this base doesn’t require a knife and fork!  It is, however, very filling, so one pizza between 2 should be plenty.

I topped mine with homemade BBQ sauce, which was amazing! The recipe is here.  I also added grated lactofree cheese, fresh spinach, and some salami. Of course, you can top it with whatever you like! I like my pizzas crispy, so I baked them for 25 minutes, meaning the polenta had a total of 40 minutes in the oven.

Now, pizza wouldn’t be pizza without a side, would it? I made some simple potato wedges to go with mine, and of course, a Dominos-esque garlic and herb dip.  With inspiration from this beautifully simple recipe, I threw together 100g Lactofree soft cheese, 50g Alpro plain soya yoghurt, a crushed clove of garlic, some chives and a squeeze of lime juice, and wound up with a delicious dip!

So, that was my Friday Food.  I would definitely make a pizza base from polenta again.  I’ve seen some fascinating things turned into ‘alternative’ pizza bases before, but in taste and in texture, I always imagined polenta would be pretty similar to one made from bread.  And I was right.  I’d love to hear if you’ve made any weird and wonderful gluten free pizza bases?

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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.

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!

Intolerance isn’t always bliss…

Yes, I’m contradicting myself, I know.  But I don’t want you all to think that I’m completely at peace with gluten & lactose free living.  I don’t want you to get the wrong idea.  I’m not.  Sometimes I hate living with intolerances.  Every Tuesday I crave Dominos pizza.  Every time I walk past Greggs I yearn for pastry.  Every time I’m in Tesco I drool over the cheese counter. You get the idea.

Learning to manage your intolerances can be bliss, but it is also hard work, and I don’t want to give anyone the impression that it’s not.  Sometimes it’ll drive you crazy. 

Now that I’ve cleared that up, I’ll get on with sharing the good stuff :)

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