Sunday, 30 October 2011

An old fashioned pudding - my way

Once again today we enjoyed the company of our friend and neighbour, Mr Webley, for Sunday lunch.  Roast lamb, roast potoatoes, beans, baby carrots - and instead of redcurrant jelly we had Blackberry and Apple jelly which was delicious with the lamb (sorry to my veggie friends...)!

It was a drizzly day, perfect for an old fashioned pudding.  I have a bag of apples in the shed from my friend Kerry's garden and the store cupboard provided the rest:

Gluten and Dairy Free Apple Sponge Pudding

'Butter' a pudding dish with sunflower margarine and place a generous layer of apples (peeled and chopped) in the base.  Dot over a few teaspoons of jam or jelly - I used the end of a jar of Damson jam but anything would do.  Or, a generous tablespoon of Demerara sugar with a sprinkling of cinnamon would be good.  Not cinnamon and jam together though, I don't think that would work.

For the sponge, mix together with an electric mixer:

4 oz sunflower (or any diary free) margarine
4 oz caster sugar
2 large free range eggs
4 oz Dove's Farm gluten free self-raising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder

Spread the sponge mix over the apples and jam, and bake at 180c for approx 30-40 mins until the top is golden and the cake mix is cooked through.  Serve warm with Alpro Soya Custard or soya cream. 


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I do like a challenge.... and I don't like cooking separately

After a spell in hospital last year and six months on high doses of steroids I was feeling lousy and very fat.  Determined to find a sustainable way to lose some weight and regain a sense of health and well-being I gave up gluten and dairy, following advice from several friends who had done so and never looked back.  Ten months on it has been the best decision I have made in a long time (along with giving up full-time work and getting a dog!)  I am 3 stone lighter, much fitter and not really missing much of what I used to eat (when I get the urge for a cheese sandwich some egg mayo on a gluten-free oatcake seems to do the trick!)

I'm not fanatical about it.  I don't think I am truly allergic to those substances - though probably intolerant.  However, if someone gives me a cup of tea with ordinary milk I drink it  - and I eat the bread in communion services!  Generally though, I avoid gluten and dairy where I can.

Tonight my daughter asked for Spaghetti Carbonara - one of her favourite dishes.  Yes, we did have a sachet of Dolmio Carbonara Sauce in the cupboard - but I wanted to keep that for a work-day when I send her round to the neighbour's with her supper in hand.  I don't like cooking two separate meals and I try to eat together as a family where we can.  So I created a version that we could both eat happily and share it with you to tickle your tastebuds if that's your thing:

Cut 4 slices bacon into strips and fry until crispy.  Set aside.

Cook 2 servings of gluten-free spaghetti (I used Morrisons).  Add a handful of frozen peas a few minutes before the end of cooking time (my concession to 5 a day).

Meanwhile, put 2 fresh egg yolks in a large bowl with 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard.  The mustard flavour goes some way to replacing the cheesiness of parmesan.  Add 75mls soya cream (Alpro soy is the best) and about 2 tbsp soya milk.  Try to use unsweetened cream and milk - the cream I used today was sweeter than I would have liked and I will try it with Alpro next time).  Whisk this all together with some seasoning.  Go easy on the salt as the bacon is salty - but lots of pepper is good!

Grate some parmesan cheese for anyone who is eating dairy.  Chop some chives.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and immediately stir into the sauce, leaving for a few minutes for the hot pasta to 'cook' the sauce.  Add in the bacon and chives and put the cheese on the table for anyone who wants it.

Nice :)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Spicy Dairy-Free Mussels with sherry and soya cream

I love mussels but never cook them at home because no one else in the house is that keen.  In fact, before tonight I have never cooked mussels but have eaten them many times in restaurants and seen them cooked on TV and in my sister's kitchen on numerous occasions.

Lingering at the Morrison's fish counter this morning I wanted squid but there was none - then I spied the bag of mussels.  I didn't know what I would do with them but I knew I wanted them!

Tonight, with the rest of the family on a sporting sojourn at the far end of the county I browsed the BBC website for Mussel recipe ideas, then adapted them to create my own.  I have to say they were the BEST mussels I have ever eaten, so share the recipe for you to try for youself.

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a large pan with a lid.

Finely chop 1/2 large onion, 1 stick celery, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 red chilli and gently saute in the pan until soft.

Meanwhile, clean the mussels (not a difficult job).  Pull off any 'beards' and throw away any mussels that are still open and don't shut when tapped.  Rinse the mussels under cold running water.

Turn the pan up high and add the mussels.  Throw in 1/2 wine glass of dry sherry and put the lid on the pan immediately.  Steam for about 4 minutes until all the mussels are open, shaking the pan periodically.  Add 2 tbsp soya cream, salt, pepper and a handful of chopped coriander and serve in a big bowl with a spoon (for the juice) and a separate bowl for the shells.  Don't eat any mussels that remain closed.

I didn't have anything else with this - no chips, no bread etc - it didn't need it - just used the spoon to consume the yummy 'soup' at the end!

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