Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gluten Free Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I recently bought my mum the Harry Eastwood Book - Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache as it has lots of gluten free recipes. It also uses vegetables instead of the fat such as courgettes and this sounded perfect for getting rid of a vegetable garden glut in a delicious way.

Here I have used the sponge recipe for her Strawberry & Cream Cupcakes but used lemon curd instead of jam and didn't add a buttercream top as these little cakes were rich enough. I really recommend her book which is quirky and fun with lots of lovely photos and you get to freak out your friends and family when you tell them what vegetable they have just been eating unbeknownst to them!

My cupcakes tasted really good being moist and tasty and coming out of the paper case easily - you really cannot tell that these are gluten free. However, they were really not particularly pretty and would look much better with a butter cream topping with a dollop of lemon curd added. As my OH and I both liked them as they were then all the pictures show them "naked" and like the best of us not looking their best.

You could make these little cakes dairy free if you need to by using good quality jam instead of lemon curd which is normally made with butter.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Lemon & Orange Curd

One of my Dad's favorite things is lemon curd preferably dolloped into pastry to make a lemon curd tart (known rather unpleasantly as lemon turd carts in our family following an amusing slip of the tongue by a young relative). It is divine spread on toast or a pancake. An old family friend used to make the best lemon curd tarts with homemade lemon curd and although this curd recipe isn't quite as good (I lack her 60+yrs experience) it is still delish and perfect to use in baking. Unfortunately, she passed away just over a year ago and making this is reminds me fondly of her and my dad who is currently thousands of miles away. I will be attempting to make mine into gluten free cupcakes so look out for the recipe.I made mine with lemon and orange but you can use just one citrus fruit if you prefer just remember to increase the amount of sugar to taste if all lemon and the reverse for all orange.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Katsu Tofu -Breaded Tofu slices

I regularly make Tonkatsu with curry for my OH and the breadcrumbs always look so crispy and tasty that I felt like I was missing out. Hence this tofu katsu recipe and to be honest it works really well with crispy crumbs and firm juicy tofu inside. As you can see from the picture I served mine with rice and japanese curried vegetables using Golden Curry roux mix for ease. You could try making your own curry sauce following a recipe such as this lovely one from no recipes or this one from just hungry and I am sure that you could use rice flour instead of wheat flour to thicken if you wanted it gluten free. Alternatively serve over noodles, with mashed potato and vegetables or in a sandwich with lettuce and tartar sauce. 

You could make this gluten free either by using ready made gluten free breadcrumbs which are sometimes available or by making your own. Luckily the dry texture of shop bought gluten free rolls may make for a miserable sandwich but are perfect for breadcrumbs. I just rip a bread roll up into the food processor and pulse it until I have fine crumbs. Spread these crumbs on a baking sheet and bake in a hot oven until crispy (normally takes 5-10 mins at 200 degrees for me). Allow to cool and use as you would normal bread crumbs.  

The ingredients I have used are approximate and you may find you need more flour or breadcrumbs to cover your tofu pieces. Feel free to season your tofu with what ever you have to hand or even marinade it in your favourite marinade.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegetarian & Gluten free Okonomiyaki- Japanese Pizza/Pancake

Whilst looking for a recipe to recreate a for a thin crispy pizza that I had had in Singapore I kept coming across recipes for Okonomiyaki which is often described as Japanese Pizza. I was so intrigued that I abandoned my original quest for another day.

Now to be clear that apart from being round, cut into slices and varied through the addition of lots of tasty ingredients, I really don't think this has any other similarities with a pizza. It is more like the Asian relative of the Spanish omelette or the Italian Frittata and very delicious. It is basically a savoury eggy pancake with lost of cabbage and other yummy stuff topped with a sweet tangy sauce.

Ok, so this recipe is unlikely to be very authentic as I have never tried the original version and from what I have seen on the internet there are multiple types and regional variations. If you want a more authentic recipe then try this one from just hungry. However, I had just enough of the ingredients needed to make my own version. Give it a go and feel free to try lots of different ingredients both authentic and otherwise.You can add meat such as pork slices or seafood if you are that way inclined.

If making gluten free then check the ingredients for the miso as some such as barley miso are not gluten free but most are. Also check the sauces used in the toppings are gluten free as although all mine were fine other brands may not be.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vegan Strawberry & White Chocolate Ice Cream

My OH cannot eat dairy and one of the things he misses is ice cream. After eating at VeganBurg he couldn't resist trying their brown rice chocolate ice cream which he declared was divine and that it tasted just how he remembered it should. This set me to thinking about how easy it would be to create something similar at home using some of his favourite flavours. Hence this recipe came about.

You can add different flavours to the basic recipe although I think you need quite strong flavours to mask the mild beany taste from the tofu. There is vegan white chocolate out there otherwise you could make your own like bittersweet's recipe. This version is also gluten free.

If you prefer you can add less milk to this mixture and it makes a moussy/pudding which I only found out because I couldn't wait to try this before I froze it!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brie, Pear and Balsamic Red Onion Pasta

It was lunchtime and I was famished. A quick look in fridge revealed a large asian pear languishing at the back which I couldn't think what to do with. I didn't want something sweet and I wanted to eat this raw to enjoy its crisp bite. This is what I came up with. It was tasty with just enough sweet and savoury. I might give it a try with some walnuts or feta instead of brie next time. Sorry no photos as I was so hungry I just ate it before I thought about it. Whoops!

Chinese Style Braised Pork Belly or Vegetarian Braised Egg, Mushroom & Tofu

My partner loves to eat pig in all its forms. Be it a sausage, bacon, a ham joint, plain pork loin or even pork scratchings it all gets gobbled down. A favourite Sunday lunch of his when we were living in London would be roast pork with lots of pork crackling and all the trimmings; roast potatoes, stuffing, apple sauce, vegetables and gravy. Now that we have been in Asia awhile we noticed that pork belly is beloved here too but in the form of a dark, sweet and warming braised pork belly oozing unctuous fat and melting in the mouth. So as the saying goes- 'when in Rome....' I decided to give it a shot.

On making the braising liquid and having the delicious aromas of star anise, ginger & chilli wafting around the house I decided that it would be highly unjust if I did not get to sample this dish I had so lovingly prepared. I promptly made some more liquid and added whatever vegetarian ingredients I had to hand which turned out to be dried Shitake mushrooms, firm tofu and several eggs. Boy am I glad I did.

Below are the two recipes; the pork version and the vegetarian version (omit the egg and substitute large chunks of aubergine for a vegan version).

Soya sauce contains small amount of gluten and is therefore not suitable for gluten free. However Tamari, a japanese variety of soya sauce often doesn't contain wheat and is suitable for gluten free diets. Check the label to ensure it is wheat & gluten free.

You can make a double batch of the liquid which is the same for both dishes and then split it between two pans, one for each version to save time.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Summer Vegetable Spaghetti Carbonara

I have been thinking all day about what I should cook as my first blog post. Should I do something exciting and original to start this off with a bang or maybe something wickedly decadent to pique people's interest? In the end I decided that I would turn to an old cupboard standby which has served me well and saved my bacon more than once when unexpected guests have arrived.  Mainly though, I just fancied a tasty supper of al dente pasta, smooth creamy pasta just waiting to be slurped up lady & the tramp style studded with sweet summery veg. Who could say no to such a simple and comforting dish!

As a teenager I used to make this dish with fake bacon but now I don't bother with fake meats and  frankly  this dish tastes better without it.  Most summer vegetables will work in this recipe so feel free to experiment with whatever is to hand or in season. Anything that will fry up and braise into a sweet nugget of vegetable heaven is a winner such as delicate asparagus spears, baby spinach, courgettes (zucchini), petite pois, young broad (fava) beans, leeks and tenderstem broccoli.

As my partner likes to eat meat , I normally make two portions of this and spilt it into two at the point of serving up by adding half the spaghetti and sauce to the fried bacon or pancetta pan and then stirring in all the bacony juices and fat to add flavour.