Bread

Before going gluten-free bread was definitely one of the foods I looked forward to the most. So much so I had been known to eat a whole breadboard to myself as a starter. I really loved bread.

When I started trying gluten free versions, the results were mixed. Genius bread was quite nice for toast but their bread rolls where very dry and didn’t make for the most enjoyable sandwich. Tesco do some quite nice free from sandwich thins but they only come in white, and a brown range would be nice in order to get some variety.

I was delighted to read that Sainsbury’s in store bakery’s were going to be stocking fresh gluten free bread. When I popped in a few weekends ago, as well as a crusty white loaf, they also had bread buns.

I tried the bread buns first and had a lovely ham salad roll. I think you would have been hard pushed to notice the difference between my sandwich and a wheat filled roll. The next day I had two slices of the white crusty roll toasted. Having crusty bread, with jam again was amazing. I knew I had missed bread but hadn’t realized how much till then. The rest of the loaf was quickly sliced and put in the freezer, so there is always a supply.

So if you are looking for a crusty loaf but one which is gluten-free I would highly recommend Sainsbury’s. I only hope they start stocking it in more branches and even potentially expand the range!

Matthew Walker Sponge Puddings

During coeliac awareness week I entered a compeition on the Coeliac UK website for some Matthew Walker goodies. While I sadly didn’t win I was runner up and won two syrup sponges and two chocolate sponges.

I tired the chocolate one first, and was initially skeptical as it felt very hard and crunchy in the wee plastic tub. After microwaving for a minute I placed into a bowl and noticed how easily it came away from the tub while in one piece. Some other gluten free bakes I have tired have stuck and broke apart. The sponge itself was coated in a rich chocolate sauce which was a good thing as the sponge was a wee bit on the dry side and definitely needed something to give it a bit of moistness.

The syrup sponge was very similar to the chocolate one in terms of how it cooked and came of out the tub. But it didn’t have as much sauce and this caused it to feel quiet dry when eating it. It was also a bit too sweet for me.

Would I buy in the future? Yes and no. The chocolate one would be nice to buy as a treat now and again, but I think I would pass on the syrup. Matthew Walker isn’t stocked in many supermarkets near me though so will try some of the supermarkets own free from versions and hope they are similar.

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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

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!

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