Tag Archives: gluten free

Gluten Free Steamed Bao Buns

I am going to be starting the new year, as so many do, with good intentions!  I have been planning this for a while now but this year I intend to phase out gluten from my diet.  I know it’s not going to be easy but I believe the benefits will be worth it!  As such I’ve started to experiment more and more with gluten free recipes in preparation for this transition.  Some things work well, others not so much but it’s always fun trying new things!

Gluten Free Steamed Bao Buns

These steamed buns make me very happy!  Filled with pulled pork they are sublime! I have always loved the soft chewiness of steamed buns and it seemed like a logical substitution to use a rice flour based gluten free flour mix to create these Asian inspired buns.

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They are very much best enjoyed fresh though so this recipe makes 8 rounds, enough to serve 4 buns.  If you are only cooking for one then they can be wrapped and frozen before steaming them and you can have more buns for later!  I use pre-cut steamed bun papers from the Chinese supermarket but if you want to cut your own from baking paper then go ahead!

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Makes 8 rounds for 4 buns

300g gluten free plain flour mix (rice based ones work well!)
40g sugar
10g baking powder
4g fast action yeast (1/2 a sachet)
pinch of salt
50ml milk
100ml water
30g vegetable shortening (Trex) (Could also use coconut oil here)
oil for brushing

– Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl.
– Gently warm the milk and water in a jug or pan.
– Add the milk and water to the dry ingredients and mix until it comes together into a dough.  (Add most but not all of the liquid at first and see whether you need it all to bring the dough together.)
– Add the vegetable fat and knead through.
– Turn out onto a lightly floured* worksurface and knead until soft and elastic.   (*Gluten free flour!)
– Divide the mixture into 8.
– Form into round balls, then gently flatten into discs.
– Lightly brush with oil.
– Place on  your paper circles.
– Steam for 15 minutes until soft and springy.   (You may not be able to fit all of the buns in at once.  You can do them in batches or layer them up and steam them for longer.)
– Fill with pulled pork or whatever strikes your fancy!

 

 

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Filed under Breads, Easy, Gluten Free, Mains

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

November’s Clandestine Cake Club challenge for the York group was enough to tempt me back into the fold.  The challenge was to produce a vegan AND gluten free cake.  Well, I couldn’t pass up on that kind of fun, could I?

I chose to go for a chocolate cherry cake… because YUM!  But you could really take this cake in any number for directions for a scrumptious, vegan, gluten free, packed full of flavour, moist and delicious cake!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

It is equally at home being a loaf or a layer cake.  Whether you are after something for a celebration or just a little something to serve with tea.

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

So often I find the texture of gluten free cakes to be lacking.  There’s something just not right about them.  However, this cake proves that not only does it not have to be that way but that you can make a quick, easy, fuss free gluten free AND vegan cake without making any sacrifices at all!  What’s not to like about that?!?!

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Cherry Cake

Makes 1 cake (Large loaf or 2×7″ victoria sponge tins)

1 cup gluten free flour mix (I like Asda’s own brand one.  It’s mainly rice, potato starch and tapioca flour and works well in a variety of recipes.)
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup soft brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (Make sure no milk has been snuck in, you are after cocoa powder, never ever drinking chocolate!)
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder (Most are but always best to check!)
1 cup soya or almond milk
1 tbsp Trex solid vegetable fat
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g plain chocolate (Check for milk!)
100ml soya or almond milk
cherry jam
glace cherries to decorate
plain chocolate sprinkles

– Heat the oven to gas mark 3/170C and prepare your chosen tins by greasing and lining them.  (If you use silicone tins then no need to line, this recipe won’t stick.)
– In a large mixing bowl combine the flour mix, the almonds, the sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.
– In a small saucepan heat together the milk, fat and syrup until all melted.
– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well to combine into a smooth batter.
– Pour the batter into your prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes.  (Loaf tin may well take a little longer to cook in the centre.)
– Test with a skewer to check if it is done in the middle.  If the skewer comes out clean then place it on a wore rack to cool, otherwise pop it back in for another 5-10 minutes.
– To make the icing melt the chocolate in a microwave proof bowl.  30 seconds, stir it, then another 20 seconds work for my microwave but they are all different so go slowly in short bursts, checking and stirring regularly.  Alternatively you can place the bowl over a pan of boiling water until the chocolate melts.
– Pour in the milk and mix vigorously to combine into a smooth ganache.
– When your cakes are cool spread jam in the centre if using, then ice the top with the ganache and decorate with cherries and sprinkles!

 

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Thai Noodle Crab Cakes

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These were a bit of an experiment, hashed together from a few different ideas I’d seen about the place.  I may tweak the recipe further still but for now I like this one!  I love crab cakes but they tend to be rather calorific (I recently saw a crab cake starter clocking in at 789 calories!!!) The idea here was to cut down on the calorie count and embrace more “eat clean” ideas in my diet.  These are quick and simple to whip together and taste great!  I served them here with sticky rice, edamame and tsuyu dipping sauce but they’re equally good with a bit of sweet chilli sauce.  (And, yes, spot the deliberate mistake, I forgot to buy the spring onions when I cooked them in these pictures, it adds a nice aspect in both taste and colour but they work just fine without them!)  These also make a nice addition to a picnic or lunchbox as they don’t fall apart!  I’d even be tempted to make them into mini cakes for a picnic or party.

Makes 6

50g vermicelli rice noodles
1 Frozen Coley portion ~90g
1 tin crab meat, drained
2 egg whites
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
2 tbsp corn flour
3 tbsp tinned sweetcorn
3 spring onions, sliced

– Boil some water and pour over the noodles in a bowl, leave to stand.
– Put the frozen coley on a microwave safe dish and microwave for 1 1/2 minutes (Your microwave may vary, you want the fish to be defrosted and just cooked)
– Shred the coley in to a bowl, you can use fingers or forks to gently flake it apart into small shreds.
– Add the crab meat, the egg whites, the fish sauce and the sweet chilli sauce and give it a good stir.
– Add the corn flour and again, stir well to combine.  If the mixture is still very wet looking you can add more corn flour, you want to be able to take a scoop of it.
– Drain the noodles well and roughly chop them then add them to the mixture.
– Add the tinned sweetcorn and the spring onions and mix well.
– Heat some oil in a large flat bottomed frying pan.
– You should be able to make 6 patties out of this mixture, take a scoop, roughly shape it and place it in the pan where you can tidy up the edges a little if you like.
– Leave to cook on the first side for 3-5 minutes until the cake is cooked about halfway up, you should be able to see the difference in texture as it cooks.
– Carefully flip over the cake and leave to cook for another 3-5 minutes on this side without moving it.
– The cakes should be dry and firm to the touch when fully cooked.
– Serve with whatever sauce you prefer and may be some rice and veggies, they also go nicely with salad!

 

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains

Fast Day Stir Fry

I think that I’m rather beginning to get into the swing of Fast Day recipes now!  The temptation at the beginning was to just keep it simple and stick to basics.  You can’t really mess up a grilled chicken breast and a plate of steamed veg, can you? But that got boring, fast.  I like to look forward to my dinner, especially when I have to look forward to it all day without even the blip of lunch to see me through.  So I’ve been playing around with some fancier options recently.

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This dish is still simple, and it does essentially comprise a plate full of chicken and vegetables.  But presentation is everything!  You eat with your eyes first, after all.  By stir frying you get a different texture and the cauliflower ‘rice’ adds a visual appeal and a satisfaction that I just don’t feel you would get if you just added cauliflower into the stir fry.  The crunchiness of the baby corn and sugar snap peas is incredibly welcome after a day’s abstinence and the punch that you can pack into what boils down to the simplest of sauces gives you a lot of flavour for very little!  The other nice bonus is that this is a proper plate full of food.  You certainly can’t feel deprived looking at that!

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Serves 1 (~300cal)

100g cauliflower, coarsely grated
1/2 tsp five spice
~125g chicken breast, sliced
100g courgette, sliced
100g baby corn, halved
50g sugar snap peas, halved
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
a dash of boiling water

– Place the grated cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and add a pinch of five spice and a pinch of salt.
– Stir well and add 1 tbsp water.
– Microwave for 2 minutes on full power.
– Heat your non stick frying pan or wok.  (Now, as with any dry frying, non stick is your friend.  Do not try it with anything else or you will weld that chicken to the pan!)
– Add the chicken and cook until just browned.
– Add the remaning five spice and the courgette, corn and peas.
– Stir fry until the courgette is just starting to soften and is catching a little colour.
– Add the soy sace, oyster sauce and just a dash of boiling water.  Just enough to cover the base of the pan.  If you add too much, simply boil until the sauce is reduced.
– Make sure everything is coated in sauce by stiring well then serve with your cauliflower “rice”.

NB. If you want to make this gluten free make sure you have the right soy and oyster sauces!

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Red Lentil Daal

Over the last year surely everyone has heard of the 5:2 Fast Diet?  Well, I am one of the latest people to give it a try.  I haven’t been doing it for long enough to really pass judgement yet.  Suffice to say, it’s not hard, you just have to have some will power, and perhaps a little creativity too!   Whether or not you’re interested in fasting, this is a delicious, low fat, low calorie dish that can be enjoyed any day you like!

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Serves 2 (~170 calories each)

1 / 2 squirts olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
75g red lentils
salt and pepper to taste
fresh coriander to serve

– Heat the oil in a medium saucepan.  You really want to be using as little as physically possible here, it really is to just stop the onion sticking.
– Add the onion and garlic and cook until just turning translucent.
– Add the herbs and spices and cook for another minute.
– Add the chopped tomatoes and about half a can of water.  (Swish it around to get the last tomato bits out.)
– Add the lentils and bring to the boil.
– Simmer for 30 minutes over a low heat.
– Season to taste and serve scattered with fresh coriander.
– A grilled chicken breast makes an excellent addition too!

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Filed under Dairy Free, Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains, Sides

Breakfast Omelettes To Go

I have a complicated relationship with breakfast.  I am NOT a morning person.  I am about as far from the concept of a morning person as it is possible to get.  If given the option to choose more sleep over almost anything else I will do it.  I am the queen of “5 more minutes”.  Which leaves me with a problem: Breakfast.  Because I will always, always, choose to stay in bed for those fabulous “5 more minutes” over getting up and getting breakfast.

For years I just skipped breakfast.  I would grab something mid morning when I was more up to thinking and eating, usually something sweet and sticky!  Or I’d grab some pop tarts or a croissant and run out of the house.  And that’s where my second problem happened.  Sugary breakfasts do not agree with me.  I’ve been working through some health issues this year and one thing I’ve been paying much more attention to is the food I’m eating and the effect it has on me.  Sugary breakfasts are great, I mean, it’s sugar, yum! But I find that if I’ve had a sweet, carby breakfast I am slower to wake up, I feel sluggish all day and generally down in the dumps.   I also run out of energy by the time I get home after work and often succumb to a nap.  All in all not ideal.

But it’s not all doom and gloom! I found a solution;  Sugar wasn’t working for me but I needed to eat something to get me through the day.  Eggs.  Eggs are a classic for a very good reason: They’re awesome! But mornings were still an issue for me.  So I needed to find a way to have something egg based that I could prepare in advance and then just grab and go.  Breakfast Omelettes To Go were born!  Not only do they give me energy, I feel full until lunchtime, no need for a sugary morning snack, I feel bright and clean and energised throughout the day.  They are easy to eat on the go, or to wolf down while the kettle boils and they also help me get my veggie portions in.  They also come in at around 100cal each, so ditching the sugar and turning to these has also helped me lose weight I desperately needed to lose without feeling like I’m missing out on anything at all.  All in all these are a total winner for me!

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Makes 6 mini omelettes (I either eat 2 for a perfectly filling, under 200cal breakfast!*)

12 baby plum or cherry tomatoes, halved
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
2 handfuls spinach
6 large, free range eggs
splash of semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp corriander
salt and pepper to taste

– Heat a very small splash of olive oil in a frying pan.
– Add the tomatoes and pepper.  Cook, stiring, until the tomato skins are starting to burst and colour.
– Add the spinach and stir occasionally until wilted and any excess water has evaporated.  Get a nice char on the veg if you can.  (Beware the smoke alarm!)
– Divide the vegetables equally between the holes of a 6 hole silicone muffin tray.  **
– In a jug mix the 6 eggs, splash of milk, chilli flakes, corriander and salt and pepper.  Beat with a form to combine.
– Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables equally between the 6 holes.  This should come up to just the top of the holes.
– I cook mine for 15 minutes in my toaster oven at 220C.  You could use a grill or cook them in a regular oven at 200C.  You could even microwave them for 2-3 minutes if your muffin tin will fit in and turn round cleanly.  You want to cook them until they are just set in the middle.
– Once they are cooked and cooled put them in easy to grab tupperware in the fridge.
– In the morning bung them in the microwave for 2 minutes and enjoy!

* Variations: Why not switch out one omlette for a turkey sausage (tasty and low fat!) or add some closed cup mushrooms to the box too (virtually calorie free and full of flavour!).  If you’re adding mushrooms cook everything for 2 1/2 minutes to ensure the mushroom is cooked.  You can also play around with the vegetables to your heart’s content!
** I generally don’t recommend using a silicone mould for muffins and cupcakes, you just don’t get as good a rise.  For this, however, a silicone mould is perfect.  The eggs just pop right out, no need to grease.

 

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Chocolate Rapeseed Oil Cake

This Chocolate Rapeseed Oil Cake recipe was the result of a Clandestine Cake Club challenge.  The theme was Blind Date.  You had to bake a cake you had never baked or tasted before.  Now, this was a challenge in a lot of ways.  First, if I haven’t tasted a cake before it’s because I don’t think I’m going to like it.  Why would I bake something I won’t like?  Second, I like to have something reliable when baking for others.  I want to know how the recipe is going to work and what tweaks I might need to make to have something I’ll be proud of.  With this challenge I really was flying blind!

Chocolate Rapeseed Oil Cake

I hit upon Nigella’s Chocolate Olive Oil Cake because she happend to have tweeted about it around that time.  I like chocolate but I had never tasted an olive oil based cake before.  However, there was the small issue that I don’t like olives.  I use olive oil all the time in cooking where I’ll never taste the oliveyness but I felt that this was one of those times where it would make a difference.  I happened to have a bottle of Yorkshire Rapeseed Oil just begging to be used.  I love the nutty flavour of rapeseed oil, it’s just gorgeous, and I thought this would compliment the almonds nicely.  I was right, it gives a gorgeous nutty flavour and really gives another dimension to the cake.  I’m really keen on trying to use this oil in more cooking in the future.  I think it has a lot of potential!

The end result is a gorgeous nutty, moist, brownie like cake which would be a perfect dinner party dessert cake.  (Imagine it piled up with raspberries or other summer fruits and served with lashings of whipped cream if you will!)  However, it also held its own as a simple cake without any adornment.  The rich chocolateyness of the cake means it really doesn’t need any help to be delicious and the decadent squidgy texture will certainly have you coming back for more!

Chocolate Rapeseed Oil Cake Washing Up

Serves 16

50g cocoa powder
125ml boiling water
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
150ml rapeseed oil (Yorkshire if you please!)
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5/190C and grease and line a 23cm springform cake tin.
– Put the cocoa powder in a mug then pour over the boiling water and the vanilla.  Mix together until you get a delicious looking chocolaty paste (don’t taste it, it’ll be gross!) Leave to cool while you do the rest.
– Mix the almonds, salt and bicarb together in a small bowl.
– In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, sugar and rapeseed oil.
– Use a handheld electric whisk to beat the sugar, eggs and oil until plae and thick.
– Add the cocoa paste to this mixture and beat in.
– Add the almond mixture and gently fold in until everything is totally combined.
– Pour the mixture intot he prepared tin and bake int he centre of the oven for 45-50 minutes.  It should look just set int he middle and a skewer will come out clean when it is cooked.
– Allow it to cook for 10 minutes in the tin then run a sharp knife (I actually always use a thin bone handled knife for this) round the edge fo the cake to loosen it.  Then unspring your tin and either leave to cool completely or serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

 

 

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Filed under Cakes, Dairy Free, Desserts, Easy, Gluten Free