Thursday, 28 November 2013

Ink Squid

I love fish and seafood, and I take any opportunity to eat plenty of it. I was in Spain this week visiting my mother and I went to the supermarket where I saw some yummy squid that I had to have!
My mum always lets me cook, so that makes it easy, I can have whatever I want ;)
The ink in this dish comes from the squid, so it's all natural. The squid has a little bag inside of it with the ink, which can be used in the sauce to give it the dark colour. If you buy the squid prepared and the insides have been removed, you can buy an ink sachet separately. I've bought them in London in a local fishmonger or at Carluccio's (Nero di seppia). These sachets are long life, I think they are pasteurised, so I always have a couple in the fridge just in case. The taste is a bit salty and a bit fishy.
Cooking the squid is easy, all you need is a bit of time.

Ingredients: Nothing needs to be in a particular proportion, so you can do the same recipe with any amount of squid. I'll list the ingredients that I used but feel free to have more or less of anything, it won't make a huge difference to the dish.

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 onion thinly chopped
2 garlic cloves thinly chopped
1/2 kilos of squid cut in chunks (plus one/two ink squid bags or a sachet)
2 tablespoons of tomato sauce
4/5 tablespoons of water to dilute the ink

Preparation: Heat the olive oil in a large pot (will have to fit the squid) and add the onion and garlic.
Let it cook at a low heat and stir some now and then until the onion is slightly translucent.
Now add the squid, stir a bit, add the tomato sauce and the ink previously diluted in water.
This will now have to be cooked at low heat for around an hour. The test to see if it's done is to taste one piece, the squid should be tender.
I like to serve it with rice, boiled the Spanish way, with salt and plenty of water as if it was pasta, then drained in a colander and cooled under cold water. To finish it, fry it in a pan where you've previously browned a couple of chopped garlic cloves.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Vanilla cupcakes

I was dreaming of some sweet nothing the other day and reached for my baking book, Cake Angels by Julia Thomas, going over my favourite recipes for a quick and easy one. Vanilla cupcakes it was, plishhh plashh plosh, done in no time!
I always leave out the frosting, too sweet for me.

Carluccio's Gluten Free Funghi Pasta

I was out and about this week and in need of dinner, so I decided to pop into Carluccio's at Waterloo Station. I remember from previous visits to other branches that the gluten free pasta was reasonable and I was looking forward to it. I have to take my hat off to Carluccio's, as his are one of the first gluten free pasta options I remember since going gluten free.
Unfortunately on this occasion, the pasta was not as good as I remembered, it was a bit hard, a bit cold, just nothing special.
The restaurant was very busy so maybe that was the reason, as my gluten eating companion was not too impressed with hers either. Hopefully this was just a one off.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Chickpea Stew - Cocido

Another winter warmer. I've eaten many cocidos in my life, but haven't tired of them yet, and it is a naturally gluten free dish, brilliant. I like to cook them in a pressure cooker as otherwise it takes forever, but I guess a slow cooker could be used too (not tested!)
Ingredients: 100 grams of chickpeas per person, 30 grams of chorizo per person, a piece of serrano ham (or serrano ham bone, or bacon), bay leave, salt, cabbage or spinach.
Instructions: soak the chickpeas in salty water overnight. They will double in size, so make sure the water is well above the chickpea level. When you are ready to cook them, drain the chickpeas and put them in the cooker, with enough fresh water to cover them and approx 1 inch more. Add the chorizo, a piece of serrano ham or a bone if you have it, this gives the dish a smoky, salty taste that is really nice and the bay leave. There is no need to add salt as the ham is salty. Better to adjust at the end if needed. Close the pressure cooker and cook on the meat setting for approx 30 minutes. If you are doing it in a normal pot, it will probably take approx 3 or 4 hours at low heat, it might be a good idea to check it now and then until the chickpeas are tender.
Once the chickpeas are cooked, you can add the greens to it. If using cabbage, shred it, boil it in a separate pot with a bit of salt and water and drain in a colander. Add a tsp of olive oil and some garlic chunks to the pot and when the garlic is slightly brown, add the cabbage and stir quickly. This can now be added to the chickpea pot or served on top.
If you are not too keen on cabbage or don't fancy spending much time on it, you can also add some washed baby spinach to the cooked chickpeas and boil for a few minutes, it's also very nice. Spoon ready!

Le Veneziane Tagliatelle, Molino di Ferro

I bought this tagliatelle at the Allergy Show in London last June. I always like to buy Italian pasta when I can, the flavour is much nicer. I was a bit doubtful as they are made from 100 corn and I was looking for more of a mix of flours but I didn't need to worry.
The flavour is awesome, eating this kind of pasta makes you forget about the gluten one. I'm just sorry I've now finished the packet, I'll have to wait for the next Allergy Show to get some more, more, more ...

Clearspring Organic Miso soup

When it's cold out there a soup is my thing, and when I don't have the time or the inclination to make one from scratch, Clearspring miso soup does the trick, just need to boil the kettle! Check out which variety you use though. The organic one with Sea Vegetables (in the pic) is gluten free, but the Mellow White one is not.
It also makes a nice lunch if you add a few things. Using two sachets and a bit more water, you can boil in it most kinds of vegetables for a few minutes. I like mushrooms, broccoli, red chilli and salad onions, all thinly sliced. I also like to add a shredded one egg omelette and a bunch of rice noodles, quick and tasty. You can also add some tamari sauce for seasoning.
I must say I've been known to do this soup with any leftover vegetables in the fridge, asparagus, spinach, baby corns, peppers, you name it. As long as it's all thinly sliced, it'll boil quickly. If you are after a more substantial meal, you can also add a boiled chicken breast (thin slices) and a few more noodles. Dinner is served!

Goody Good Stuff

I love these sweets! the sour mix is my favourite, but I tried the other flavours at the Allergy Show and they are equally yummy.
They are made with natural ingredients and no E numbers, they are vegetarian and free from many things, gelatine, fat, dairy, artificial colours and gluten.
I recently found them in Waitrose for around £1.50, and seem to be available through Amazon too. Great treat!