Thursday, 31 October 2013

Easy Paella

Not feeling up to much cooking yesterday, I made one of my last minute easy to make dinners. This is some basic rice that resembles paella in the flavours, as it has sweet paprika and saffron, but without the glamour of seafood.
Ingredients (for 2): 1 chicken breast, cut in cubes, 30 grams of chorizo cut in thin slices, 1 green pepper cut in chunks, a small cup of frozen peas, 180 grams of rice (more below), 500 ml of hot water, 1 tsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of sweet paprika (unsmoked), a few threads of saffron, salt to taste. The brand of rice I use is SOS, a Spanish brand, available in London at Garcia and Sons on Portobello road. Otherwise any risotto rice should do the job.
Instructions: In a pot put the olive oil until hot and then add the chicken, chorizo and pepper until slightly brown. Then add the rice and brown a little (1/2 mins should be enough), add the paprika and move until all the ingredients are slightly coated. Don't move the paprika for too long, otherwise it will burn and give the dish a funny taste. I like to add the saffron and salt to the hot water while everything else if being cooked. Add now the hot water, saffron, peas and salt. Without moving anything further, leave it to boil for 10 minutes at maximum heat, then another 10 at low heat. I keep some additional hot water nearby in case it's all getting a bit too dry. You should be able to see some of the liquid in the surface in the last 5 minutes, if not, add a little more water then. Now you can take it away from the heat, cover with a kitchen towel, and leave it to rest for 20 minutes if you can wait that long ;)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Orgran buckwheat mix

After the dissapointing pancake experience at My Old Dutch, I had a craving for pancakes. By chance I was passing by my local health store and decided to check out any available pancake mixes. I bought this one by Orgran, made from buckwheat. Contrary to what the name suggests, buckwheat is not related to wheat, but to sorrel, knotweed, and rhubarb (thanks Wikipedia!), so, safe to use in a gluten free diet. I followed the instructions from the pack and the first pancake was quite thick, so I added more liquid to get a consistency closer to crepes. Very nice, will buy again :)

Sunday, 27 October 2013

New Genius Crumpets

I received a sample of these crumpets to try, Thanks Genius! They look very nice and they toasted well in the toaster. The flavour is quite nice, very much like the gluten crumpets I remember. The texture could be a bit more spongy, but as with most things gluten free this is difficult to achieve. Overall I'd say they are nice enough to have some now and then for breakfast, specially with my new found gluten free chocolate spread from Anthony Worral Thompson, very nice ;)

Marinated Salmon

A great dinner that is naturally gluten free. This marinated salmon recipe is from the book The Hairy Dieters. The salmon is marinated for 30 minutes with ginger, garlic, soya sauce (Tamari for me thanks!), chilli and orange (juice and peel) and then baked in the oven. Add some rice and some broccoli and you have a delicious meal that is quick to make, gluten free, filling and low in calories. Great dinner option!

Tom Yum from Wagamama

I like Tom Yum from Wagamama. The flavours are quite gentle but still interesting. It is at the moment my favourite dish when I visit, as it is naturally gluten free. At Wagamamas they have two folders that are very helpful if you are on a restricted diet. The first one, their allergy information has all the allergens in every dish (gluten = cereal), and will tell you what to have as it is on the menu. The second folder has all the possible substitutions you can do to take away specific allergens. I personally really like the two dishes that are gluten free in the main menu, itame, which has lots of chilli and ginger, strong flavours in what looks like a curried noodle soup, and Tom Yum in the picture, with a similar consistency but with subtle flavours, for those days you want something gentle in your tummy. For starters, salted Edame is quite nice, as it is the chilli squid, so I alternate between the one and the other on my visits. I was very impressed in my last visit to the Wimbledon restaurant when I mentioned my food intolerance. Our server checked twice that the dish I wanted did not have gluten, when ordering and when serving, and the manager also came by to check too, very thorough ;)

Friday, 25 October 2013

Cupcakes from The Healthy Cook Company in Kingston

It was my Birthday this month and I got up on the day full of happy thoughts, waiting for nice surprises along the day, and the first one was these lovely cupcakes for breakfast! Someone from the Gluten Free London Club had recommended this bakery in Kingston. As I was telling my sister about it, she cunningly got online to check out the cakes available and as we talked about it she made her order. I was a very happy girl indeed, the chocolate and beetroot ones were my favourite, and she even asked them to make them with not too much icing as she knows I'm not too keen! Great way to start a day that was full of good times and memories to treasure ;)

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Rasperry, Blueberry and Lime Drizze Cake

Oh yes!!! Another brilliant cake from the recipe book Cake Angels. I made this cake yesterday and I think it is the best so far from the book. The coffee and walnut recipe was my favourite beforehand, but this takes the crown! It was very moist, very berry and very drizzled ... In this cut, it even managed to get a little heart bubble. Of course it was made with a lot of love. I took it to my knitting group and everyone wanted to try it so there wasn't enough for a second picture or a second round. Will have to do it again ;)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Genius Multiseed Loaf - gluten, wheat and dairy free

On the same visit to a large Tesco I found my favourite supermarket bread. I know it doesn't taste like the home baked one, but I haven't managed yet to get a decent loaf out of my many experiments, so for now, I have to make do with what is available in the supermarkets. I like the flavour, not too bland and with lots of seeds. It's a bit of a delicate bread, as it tends to break quite easily, so you have to be careful not to squash it, or you won't get a complete slice out of the packet. Not that I'm talking by personal experience... ahem. It costs £3 for a 560 grams loaf. Unfortunately it is not available in my local Sainsburys, so it's one of those things I dream about when I write my gluten free wish list.

Newburn Bakehouse Gluten Free and Wheat Free Wraps

I came across this pack of wraps on a recent trip to a large Tesco. Now, I normally shop in a small Sainsburys so for me it was quite an experience. Soooo much gluten free choice, I was like a kid in a sweet shop! The presentation is quite good, 3 wraps ready to eat that are packed in a resealable bag to keep them fresh. Not cheap at £3.10 but a great addition to my lunch choices. You can eat them like a pizza by adding the topping of your choice and baking for 8-10 minutes, roll it with your favourite filling and eat just like that or put them under the grill to eat like a toastie. Not bad!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Gluten Free Pancakes at My Old Dutch, Oh Dear!

I went to My Old Dutch yesterday with the Gluten Free London Club. I was looking forward to some pancakes as I haven't been able to make any gluten free and dairy free myself that tasted ok. I ordered the Amsterdammer, with bacon, apple and maple syrup and it was delicious. The pancake was moist and sweet and the toppings complemented each other brilliantly. I would definitely recommend (see update below) a visit to any flourless eaters out there, but make sure you call in advance to let them know you'll be eating gluten free. We were a group of 10 and only managed to get 6 GF pancakes, thankfully there were 3 gluten eating people in the group, and we all donated a bit to the 7th GF eater. Sadly we didn't get a chance to eat dessert, which we were all looking forward to.
UPDATE: oh dear, I thought it was just me, but of the 7 we went, at least 5 of us have been sick afterwards... Another member went a week later and also got sick... Not good, not going back.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Hummingbird Cake

Since going Gluten Free 18 months ago, a few things have been a battle, and one of them has been sweet treats. I've always enjoyed cooking, so main meals have never been a problem, but, I have never been a baker, so when I went gluten free I turned to supermarkets for my sweet fix ... Not a great idea. After a lot of tantrums and being a total pain to my friends and family I got for my Birthday last year a book that has changed my GF life. It is "Cake Angels" by Julia Thomas, all gluten, wheat and dairy free cake recipes. The instructions are easy to follow and there are pictures for most recipes and so I've managed to get a few decent cakes, success! Now that baking is no longer a nightmare I decided to bake the Hummingbird Cake for my sister's Birthday. It meets her dairy free and my gluten free requirements so we are both happy.
The look is impressive, with those coconut flakes over the meringue frosting. The taste is very good and moist, with it's pineapple, pecans, bananas and cinnamon, very tasty. Would I do it again? Probably. I would definitely use the frosting for other cakes, but use almond flakes instead of coconut ones. My meringue frosting was a bit gritty, so next time I'll make a syrup with the sugar and water before mixing in the egg white. The cake itself would be more appropiate for an afternoon tea. Next Birthday cake I make i'll do something more towards a Victoria Sponge. Overall, sister has enjoyed it and I have too ;)

Saturday, 5 October 2013


Hello flourless people! Are you avoiding flour, bread, soya sauce and all those other nasties that have gluten in it? If you are, I might be able to help. I have been following a gluten free (and mostly dairy free) life for a year now, and it took a while to adjust. Worst nasties: flour, pasta, pizza, cakes, soya sauce, Worcester sauce, malt vinegar and all the hidden ingredients that I find difficult to identify. Best friends: GF flour (& pasta & pizza & bread), quinoa, polenta, Tamari sauce, Sweet Mandarin chilli sauce, the Allergy Show, nice GF blogs that make me laugh.