Pesto Cod

Since going free from I have definitely been eating lots more fish in order to make my diet more varied. Recently after making my own pesto for a salad recipe (pesto recipe below) I decided to put the reminder on top of a piece of cod and then top with some gluten free bread crumbs before baking in the oven for 15 minutes. For something so simple to make, I thought it had a wonderful fresh taste while being both soft and crunchy, and then to serve I just roasted some wee new potatoes and sautéed some spring greens. I look forward to having this again.

For the pesto:

Combine pine nuts, olive oil, a bunch of basil, sun dried tomato’s, and seasoning and blitz in a food mixer. It will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge but I also froze some in an ice cube tray until solid before popping into a freezer bag. Before making the fish I took 3 cubes out in the morning, put in a tupperware with a little olive oil.

pesto cod

Nectarine cake

My second gluten-free vegan bake came about due to having an excess of nectarines all needing to be eaten right before going away for the weekend. As I knew I wouldn’t be able to eat I starting googling for a recipe that would let me us them all up! And I found this one!

While not a gluten-free recipe I decided to give it ago with gluten-free flour and some Xantham gum thrown in to help hold it all together.

I made the mix as detailed in the recipe and put into a tin. I found the mixture hard to spread out, as it felt rubbery (a lot like the vegan strawberry shortcake sponge I previously mentioned), and it definitely wasn’t as wet looking as the mixtures suggested. The texture of the sponge also meant it was hard to press the nectarines down as much as I would have liked. However having them on top accidentally caused a lovely syrup to run down off the fruit and almost glaze the top once it came of the oven, which was no bad thing!

After baking for 25 minutes my knife came out clean and I left to cool. The texture was quiet close, very much like the other vegan gluten free cakes I’ve made. It is nice enough but not as soft and moist as I would like. Unlike the previous cake attempt this time it wasn’t sandwiched with filling and I did miss that.

I would try this again but next time I’m wondering about chopping the fruit up and mixing into the cake. Then it could maybe be sliced in half and maybe some apricot jam used to sandwich together. Will have to pop out and get some more nectarines too see!

necterine cake

Fish cakes

For a simple mid week dinner, fish cakes had always been one of my top go to meals. The ones from the supermarket were always really handy to have in the freezer as they could be cooked from frozen in about 30 minutes, come in a range of flavours and sometimes even have a wee saucy centre! However they are also generally covered in breadcrumbs. Not the best for a gluten free diet.

So I decided to try making them myself. I used the salmon and horseradish fish cake recipe from The Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick. It was a simple recipe which involved baking the salmon in the oven, cooking the potatoes until soft, and then combining with horseradish, capers, diary-free margarine, parsley, and seasoning. I did adjust the recipe slightly by not adding in the horseradish, as I personally find the flavour too strong but I still found it flavoursome without.

After combining the ingredients and shaping into four cakes, I pan fried the first one on each side for about 5 minutes. Then it was lovely golden and crispy on the outside while soft and fluffy on the side.

The other three I popped in the freezer for another time. It was here I had a wee issue with them. I found that when defrosting they lost their shape slightly, not completely but not as round as before. When pan frying this time as well it was harder to flip them in the pan as they did feel a lot more fragile. And when serving up they did tend to spilt. As it was just me eating them after work it was fine, as the taste was still there but did make me note that if friends where coming over I would maybe try and make fresh as they look a lot more presentable first time around.

All in all though I thought these were a success and will defiantly be repeating.

Sweet Potato Noodles with a Satay Sauce

I’ve already blogged about a few Deliciously Ella recipes but this time it is one from her “with friends” book and one that immediately took my fancy when I read it; mainly due to the sweet potato noodles. I love sweet potato! The recipe on the next page though for sautéed tamari greens also appealed so I kind of combined into one super stir fry!

To start with I fried garlic celery and fresh ginger together. I could taste the garlic and ginger in the end dish but the celery was neither here or there. Next time if I have some in I will use it but I won’t get some in specially. After that I added in some chicken (this isn’t in the recipe but I eat and like chicken so decided to add it in) until it was brown all over. Then came time to add the sweet potato noodles and cook for a couple of minutes.

To make the noodles I peeled and then spiralised two small (200g per potato) sweet potatoes. I used the finest noodle setting on the spiraliser but next time will use the larger one as the noodles where quite fragile and as they are moved around lots I think bigger ones would be better.

After cooking the noodles for a few minutes I added a courgette, some long steam broccoli, and shredded spring greens and stir fried until all cooked.

Then came time to add the sauce; crunchy peanut butter, almond milk, tamari, chilli flakes, lime juice, and honey. It recommended blitzing everything in a blender but I just mixed by hand until it all came together. Once it has, add to the rest of the dish and cook until heated through.

The result was lovely. The noodles were heartier and had a more filling texture than courgetti and the sauce was very creamy. I’m looking forward to showing this recipe off next time I have visitors!

chicken satay

 

Dips

One of the things I have tired a few times since going Free From is dips. They just make a great pre tea snack or addition to my lunch box.

The recipes I’ve tired so far have been from the aptly named “Deliciously Dip” section of Deliciously Ella Everyday. Its been handy as a few of the ingredients overlap so has reduced the costs of making each dip.

First up was a sweet potato and garlic puree. I was very excited to try this one as it was very simple; just sweet potato, garlic, lemon, salt, and almond milk. However once all blended together the result was a little disappointing as it was a lot like eating mashed sweet potato. If I had some sweet potatoes to use up I would make again, but it won’t be my go to dip.

Next up was a spiced turmeric hummus. Spice wise it contained two teaspoons of ground cumin, two teaspoons of coriander, two teaspoons of turmeric, two of paprika, and one of chilli powder, and the flavour was lovely. Texture wise I found the recipe slightly dry, so will play around will the recipe to try and get the perfect consistency. Maybe a little more lemon juice, tahini, or a wee dash of water.

But the one I’ve had the most success with is a smokey aubergine dip. Aubergines, sun dried tomatoes are the two main ingredients and Deliciously Ella flavoured with cumin. Now I have a low spice tolerance, even a korma can sometimes be too spicy, but I thought this recipe needed more spice flavour. The second time I made it I used a teaspoon of cumin, along with a teaspoon of paprika and a teaspoon of turmeric. The result I think was much better. I had friends over the day I made it too, and they both asked for the recipe so I’ll take that as a positive.

Over all recipes I’ve tired so far have been good bases but have, in my opinion, needed a little adjusting. This has helped grow my confidence in the kitchen though and get to know a little more about what spices and flavours I like, so can’t be a bad thing.

dipsMy food processor hard at work!

Back on the gluten

The best news of this week came on Thursday through the post. The letter rescheduling my gut biopsy appointment came and is set for the 30th May. From the positive blood test coupled with the fact I felt great not eating gluten, but all symptoms came back the week I reintroduced it in April (before that appointment was cancelled), I already know gluten doesn’t agree with me. Personally I’m fairly certain, as is my GP, of the celiac diagnosis but hopefully this biopsy confirms things. So the next three weeks is short term pain, hopefully for long term gain.

I had planned to start with the reintroduction yesterday by having beans on toast for lunch. However I treated myself to a Frys Peppermint Creams on Friday night as I read the label and thought it was free from gluten and diary. However I wasn’t well Saturday morning, it was the only thing different I had had in my diet so did a quick google and found a lot of celiac websites saying Fry’s chocolate isn’t suitable due to cross contamination in the manufacturing process. While I was glad I had figured out what it was and preferred that causing the symptoms than something I eat regularly, it did make me think how careful I will need to be after the biopsy with cross contamination, especially in shop brought food.

After my lunch of beans on toast, the bloat came back big time. My boyfriend, rather than say (as he often does to make me feel better) “you look great, can’t notice anything”, just said “you look huge”. Hopefully though people might think I’m pregnant and maybe I’ll get a seat on the train to work!

And today, due a broken oven we went out for a Sunday roast. Normally I have to check the gravy and roast potatoes too see if they are gf, and forego the Yorkshire Puddings. But today I ordered as normal. The result can be seen below! While the meal was lovely, it wasn’t worth the side effects, which extended to joint pain, and nausea. A photo of my tummy before and after is below. Due to having the Yorkshire Pudding it would have been the first time I had eaten diary since middle of March, the symptoms I got were no worse than when I’ve just had gluten, so hoping that once the gluten is out of my system in June and I give my tummy a little bit of time to heal, I will be able to reintroduce small amounts again which would make eating out and going to friends much easier!

Will keep you posted how the next few weeks go. I’ve still got some of the free form dishes I’ve made over the last few weeks to share!

before and after lumchBefore and after Sunday lunch.

Strawberry Shortcake Sponge

Personally for me nothing is more relaxing than baking a cake on a Sunday afternoon. However since March, my attempts at gluten free, diary free, and egg free cakes have failed to raise to the occasion.

But while writing this blog I stumbled amongst a website dedicated to gluten free vegan bakes and took a look.

There were a few required ingredients I hadn’t got in, such as flaxseed, and I didn’t have time to pop to the shops to get them, but I had everything needed for the Strawberry Shortcake recipe.

The recipe was easy to follow, and I soon had the mixture ready for the oven. I will say though that the mixture seemed to have a rubbery consistence, and I was sceptical about that. The only change I made to the recipe was add in 2 teaspoons of Xantham Gum as I find it always helps give sponges strength.

After 25 minutes in the oven it seemed well risen and definitely resembled a cake. I left to cool but when I took it out of the tin one of the sponges cracked a little down the middle but the cake was still together and I thought icing would fix it.

For the icing, I didn’t have time to chill the coconut cream before mixing it up, and used three little cans of creams, as the recommended brand in the recipe isn’t stocked in the UK.

After it was all put together, I couldn’t wait to give it a taste. And without wanting to blow my own trumpet, I think it was success. The texture was light and fluffy, and the coconut cream was lovely and fresh.

The only downside was after 24 hours and being cut a few times, it did crumble, but I guess if you eat it quickly this wouldn’t be an issue!

Definitely a recipe I’ll be repeating and a site I’ll be using again.

strawberry cake