Category Archives: Gluten Free

Quick Recipe – Asparagus baked in Parma Ham

This is another recipe that we used over the Jubilee weekend when we went back to Somerset to visit the family. It is so simple and quick to cook up, either as a starter or to go with a main meal.

As my Mum has always said and to which I agree:

‘I love English asparagus and wait every year for it to appear at a local fruit farm or even supermarkets. It is a short season but I will not buy asparagus from foreign sources, somehow in the autumn and winter it just doesn’t seem right. One day when my vegetable garden is enlarged I shall grow it myself.’

Asparagus is really versatile and can be cooked in various ways, just steamed, with butter (plain or garlic), or hollandaise sauce. Grilled on the barbecue or baked in the oven. The woody ends, which are snapped off before cooking, can be added to stocks for an additional flavour.

This recipe was first made when my Mum had a bunch of asparagus and some Parma Ham and wanted to stretch both to make a starter go further. The Parma ham can be cut into strips and rolled around each spear before baking, but it is fiddly and this is the simplest and quickest method as the Parma Ham always breaks up during cooking. We have made this loads over the years, so thought I would share it with everyone.

The flavour of the Asparagus is simply delicious after roasting with the Parma Ham!

Ingredients:
1 Bundle of fresh Asparagus – (English)
8 Slices of Parma Ham or Prosciutto
Olive or rapeseed oil
Parmesan shavings
Freshly ground black pepper
1 non-stick baking tray

Oven 200C; 400F; Fan 180C Gas Mark 5/6

1. Wash the asparagus then take hold of the woody end and snap it.

2. Lay four slices of Parma Ham onto the baking tray and place the asparagus on top, brush the spears lightly with a little of the oil.

3. Sprinkle with black pepper to taste

4. Lay the other slices of Parma Ham on top.

5. Put in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, checking to make sure the ham is not burnt and the asparagus is soft (al dente is preferred)

6. Remove from the oven and put on a warm dish and using a potato peeler shave Parmesan cheese over the top if required.

7. Serve with crusty bread and/or a rocket and tomato salad, dressed with a balsamic and oil dressing.

NB – this can be part of an antipasto or a starter.

Enjoy!

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Monkfish Moilee

I thought it was about time I tried a new curry recipe on here, after having had several requests from family and friends, for something they could try too!

Gordon Ramsay’s big yellow ‘Great Escape’ Curry book was staring at me from the bookshelf as soon as I thought about doing a new blog post, so decided to use it, to look for a fish curry recipe, as a change from all the meat I normally use.

As soon as saw this recipe, I knew it was perfect, as I had never cooked with Monkfish but it was something I had always wanted to try, especially after seeing countless chefs on TV show how easy it was to remove the large bone and then cook with it.

According to Gordon, a fish moilee is simple coconut fish curry from Kerala on the west coast of India. Some consider it an Anglo-Indian dish as it was commonly found in other Southeast Asian cuisines connected through the British Empire.

It is perfect for this time of year, especially with the warm weather we have been having, as it is not too heavy, even with the meaty Monkfish tail. Definitely one recipe to pin on the side of the fridge!

Serves 4

Ingredients:
500g skinless and boneless Monkfish tails
¼ tsp Ground Turmeric
½ tsp Sea Salt
Juice of 1 Lime
2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 Large Onion, peeled and finely chopped
3cm Ginger, peeled and finely grated
3 Garlic Cloves, peeled and finely crushed
3 Green Chillies, deseeded and sliced in half lengthways
4 Curry Leaves
400ml tin Coconut Milk
6 Cherry Tomatoes, quartered
Coriander leaves to garnish

1. Cut the monkfish tails into bite sized chunks and place in a bowl.

2. Mix together the turmeric, salt and lime juice to create a wet paste, then mix this with the monkfish chunks and leave to marinate for about 20 minutes.

3. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium to high heat.

4. Add the onion, ginger, garlic, chillies, curry leaves and salt. Stir frequently for 5-6 minutes until the onion is translucent and soft.

5. Pour in the coconut milk and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

6. Add the marinated fish and cherry tomatoes and gently simmer for another 4-5 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

To serve, ladle the curry into a warm bowl and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice.

Enjoy!

Jubilee Baked Blueberry Cheesecake (Gluten Free)

I’m not sure the exact relevance that a baked cheesecake has to the Jubilee but we were making this at the weekend for everyone to enjoy during the bank holiday celebrations.

We have been making this recipe in the family for over twenty years and once, an American friend told us ‘it tastes just like an American Cheesecake’, which is always a great compliment 🙂

This is the best baked cheesecake recipe I have tried to date and I know everyone who tries it will love it too!

Serves 8

Ingredients:
For the Biscuit Base...
100g/4oz Gluten free digestive biscuits
50g/2oz Butter, plus extra
25g/1oz Plain Chocolate, broken into pieces
For the Filling...
500g/18oz Ricotta Cheese
Grated rind of 1 Lemon
Juice of ½ Lemon
2 Eggs
100g/4oz Caster Sugar
Seeds of 1 Vanilla pod
350g/12oz Blueberries
1 tbsp Gluten free plain flour

1. Make the base: butter a loose-bottomed 8in round cake tin.

2. Crush the biscuits until fine (use a rolling pin).

3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of hot water.

4. Stir into the biscuit mixture, then spread over the base of the tin and chill.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

6. Put the cheese into a bowl and add the lemon rind and juice, eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds; beat to a smooth batter.

7. Toss blueberries in flour, then fold into the batter. Pour over the base and bake for 35 minutes or until just set. Turn off oven, leave door ajar and leave to cool.

8. Chill for a few hours or overnight.

Amaretti biscuits (gluten free) can be used instead of digestives. This can also be made with Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries, Blackcurrants and Cherries (stoned).

Enjoy!

For Jessica x

Orange Panna Cotta

Panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set. I’m not sure where the family got this recipe from but it has become a firm favourite with friends and family and, of course, it is gluten free.

We especially like it in the winter served with oranges soaked in Cointreau, and shortbread wafers or in the summer, the vanilla one, with raspberries or strawberries and home-made macaroon fingers. It is lowish in fat (if low-fat yoghurt is used), but have not tried it with half fat cream or crème fraiche, as it is not an everyday pudding and a little cream every now and again is always good 🙂

Serves 6 people

Ingredients:
½pint/284ml Double cream
75ml/2½oz Caster sugar
1 tsp Vanilla paste
2 Leaves of gelatine (soaked in cold water)
350g/12½oz Plain yoghurt (can be Greek or low-fat)
Zest of 1 large orange
Require:
1 glass bowl

1. Put the gelatine leaves to soak in a bowl of cold water.

2. Put the vanilla paste into a saucepan with the cream, sugar and orange zest – bring gently to the boil.

3. Turn off the heat, squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add to the cream mixture, whisk until dissolved.

4. Put the yoghurt into a large bowl and slowly pour the cream mixture on top and whisk together until well combined.

5. Pour into your chosen bowl and allow to chill for 3-4 hours or overnight.

NB This mixture will fill 6 ramekins or small bowls. If they are to be turned out line with cling-film.

Fresh fruit can be served with this and other flavours used such as rose water, (a few drops of pink colouring can be added if required), lemon or whatever your choice is.

Enjoy!

Elderflower Cordial

As a child, elderflower cordial always seemed like a very grown-up drink – though we drank it with soda water or tap water. My family always loved foraging in the hedgerows to make a variety of home-made wines, which until I was much older I was not allowed to drink! It was always great fun to collect the elderflowers and always picked more than was needed just to get the best ones for the cordial. It is really refreshing on a hot sunny day and tastes great!

Ingredients:
20/25 Sprays of elderflower heads – picked on a fine day when the fragrance is intense and not near a road
Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon – both unwaxed
Lemon juice
Sugar – unrefined will give a darker cordial.

1. Snip the flower heads from the main stems and place in a large bowl.

2. Pour boiling water over them – just enough to cover and press them well down.

3. Cover and steep until cold or overnight.

4. Strain the liquid through muslin and squeeze all the liquid out.

5. Measure the liquid and put in a pan and for every 500ml (18fl oz) add 350g (12oz) of sugar and up to 50ml (2flozs) lemon juice.

6. Taste to make sure your cordial is neither too sharp nor too sweet by adjusting the lemon juice.

7. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar stirring occasionally and then bring to the boil, just to thicken the syrup – about 2 minutes at the most but every batch seems to be different.

8. Strain again through muslin to remove any scum and pour into clean sterilised bottles.

9. Seal with screw caps, or corks, and keep in the fridge. I like to use the mini wine bottles that are dark green.

10. Serve diluted with chilled fizzy or soda water.

The cordial can be used to flavour home-made ice-cream, mousses etc.

NB this recipe can be doubled, trebled, however much you want to make.

Enjoy!

West Country Creams

I am not sure where this recipe came from but my Mum has been making these for over 30 years before teaching me. All I know is that the whole family absolutely love it, and we all have done since we were very small, and friends equally so. It is any easy dessert that looks as if it has taken some time to make.

Serves 8 people

Ingredients:
1 lb (450g) Raspberries
½ pint (275ml) Double Cream
½ pint (275ml) Plain Yoghurt – can be Greek or half-fat
Demerara or Muscavado Sugar
Ratafias to garnish

Use 8 ramekins or small glass dishes. It can also can be made in a large glass dish – it looks quite exotic.

1. Divide the raspberries between the dishes.

2. Put the cream into a dish and whip it until it comes to soft peaks – beware do NOT over-whip

3. Fold in the yoghurt, the mixture will thicken.

4. Spoon the mixture over the raspberries but leave a little space at the top of the dish.

5. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cream to cover it.

6. Chill the puddings for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

7. The sugar will melt to form a coat over the cream.

8. Serve with Ratafia biscuits.

I love raspberries for this dish best of all but any fruit will do even a mixture of one, two or three together.

Enjoy!

Baked Nectarines with Crushed Ratafia

This recipe came about when my mum found it in a magazine for baked peaches. The only trouble was that you had to skin the peaches (too much trouble!) and it used a Bakewell Tart mixture – so was totally useless for her gluten free diet. She looked it up as my younger brother had eaten it at a friend’s house and raved about it. A bit of thought later, she decided that she could cheat and came up with this recipe below, and this is even easier than having to make a Bakewell mixture. We all now prefer this recipe as the filling is lighter allowing us all to eat more than the allotted two!!

Ingredients:
1 Nectarine per person
Gluten free Ratafia or Amoretti biscuits – M&S do good ones!
Cream/Crème Fraiche
Clear Honey

1. Use at least 1 nectarine per person

2. Cut the nectarines in half and remove the stone.

3. Put them in an oven proof dish, cut side up.

4. Crush Ratafia or Amoretti biscuits into a bowl. Use 2 biscuits per nectarine.

5. Add enough Cream/Crème Fraiche to the crushed biscuits to make a thick paste.

6. Pile the paste on top of the nectarines, filling the hole where the stone was.

7. Then drizzle 2 teaspoons of Clear Honey over nectarines.

8. Put in oven for 15-20 mins @ 180°C until Nectarines are fairly soft, but not mushy.

9. Serve with extra cream or ice cream.

N.B. Peaches can be used instead of Nectarines.

Enjoy!

Easy Lamb Koftas

When my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, they decided to hold a ‘Drinks & Nibbles’ party at their home for our family and special friends. We put up a pergola, as English weather can be temperamental, cleaned the house, sorted the garden and we were ready. As my Mum suffers from coeliac disease and likes to know the source of food, organic if possible, she decided to cook the nibbles herself. 40 guests needed at least 12/15 nibbles each, so she cooked, froze and made fresh on the day. The weather could have been kinder, but the showers didn’t seem to dampen anyones spirits, and the sun shone for some of the day. They had a great day – just what everyone wanted.

The recipe for ‘Easy Lamb Koftas’ came from a friend and they are delicious.

Ingredients:
400g Minced Lamb
1 Onion, chopped and cooked in a little oil
1½ slices of bread made into breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
2tblsps Aubergine pickle – chop small any large pieces
2tblsps Mango chutney - chop small any large pieces
Salt and Pepper

1. Using a food processor, or just your fingers, process the lamb until smooth.

2. In a large bowl put the lamb and add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3. Add a little oil to your hands and shape into sausages – small ones for nibbles and large ones for the BBQ.

4. Cook in the oven at 180 Fan, 200C/400F, Gas 5. The nibbles are ready after 10/12minutes and the larger ones 15/18mins.

5. If making in advance cook until just done and then freeze. When required unfreeze and cook until nicely coloured.

Finally push sticks in one end and serve with a yoghurt dip.

Enjoy!

Crispier Meringue (Gluten Free)

Should you want to make a crisper meringue to the blog post below then here is the recipe.

Again the ratio is 1 egg white to 2ozs/60g caster sugar

6 egg whites
12oz/360g Organic castor sugar

Pre-heat oven to 110C/215F; Gas ¼/½ or Fan oven 100/110C

Method:
1. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and dry

2. Slowly add the sugar continuing to whisk until the egg white is stiff.

3. On a baking tray covered in non-stick baking parchment, either use two dessert spoons to make wedges or pipe into rounds or swirls.

4. Bake in the oven for 2/3 hours until dry.

Chopped nuts can be added to the mixture and also the top of each meringue can be sprinkled with the nuts before baking

Tip egg whites volume up in a clean bowl. To make sure it is grease-free wipe around the bowl with some lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Meringues (Gluten Free)

We have always loved meringues from small ones filled with cream or crushed to make Eton Mess to the bigger Pavlovas. They are gluten free and a much softer meringue than the white, hard shop-bought ones.

I can remember when I was very small, my Grandmother whipping up egg whites on a plate with a knife to make them stiff, then transferring them to a bowl and stirring in the sugar. She then either made meringues or topped a Lemon Meringue Pie. She obviously didn’t believe in hand-whisks and had never been brought up with a food mixer – no electricity when she was young!

These meringues are made with the Pavlova way of making meringues – crisp on the outside and softer in the middle. Of course it depends on how long you wish to cook the meringues or let them dry out in the oven.

The ratio is 2ozs (57g) of organic caster sugar to one organic egg white.

Chocolate or coffee meringues can be made by adding cocoa or coffee powder at the same time as the sugar.

Pre-heat oven to 120C/225F; Gas ¼/½ or Fan oven 110/120C

Method:
1. Whisk egg whites until thick and fluffy (so that they will stay in the bowl if it is turned upside down!) – do not over-whisk though.

2. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time until it is all combined and the mixture is stiff.

3. Then add one teaspoon each of white wine vinegar, real vanilla essence or paste and cornflour. Give a quick whisk to blend these ingredients into the meringue mixture.

4. On a baking tray covered in non-stick baking parchment, either use two dessert spoons to make wedges or pipe into rounds or swirls.

5. Bake for at least 30-40min, even 1 hour until the outside of the meringue is crisp to the touch.

6. They can now be removed from the oven or left inside with the heat off to dry out further. That is your preference.

7. Leave to cool; they will keep in an air-tight tin for 1 week.

8. If eating immediately fill two halves with cream and sandwich them together or eat singly with fresh fruit.

9. Suggestions; cream mixed with melted chocolate sandwiched together and chocolate drizzled over the top. Or cream mixed with coffee, again sandwiched together and caramel drizzled over the top.

Enjoy!