Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baked Herb Goat Cheese Lemon Pots

I've got party food on the brain.  Maybe it's because it's wedding and baby shower season.  Whatever the case, you can't have too many options when it comes to feeding a group of hungry ladies any time of the year.

This dip can be made as shown here, or you can simply bake in a small gratin dish with a squeeze of lemon juice if you are strapped for time.  All the ingredients can be made ahead and assembled a day before.  Serves 4.

  • 125g (5 oz) Feta cheese (goat or sheep)
  • 125g (5 oz) fresh goat cheese, softened and at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, finely chopped; plus 2 or 3 sprigs for garnish
  • 2 Tbsp good quality olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 unwaxed organic lemons

Heat the oven to 350F / 180C.  In a small bowl, mix both cheeses, thyme, lemon zest and olive oil with the back of a fork until well blended.  

Wash lemons well.  Split in half so you are left with four halves.  Juice the lemons, removing the fruit and juice.  With a spoon, carefully remove the lemon pith while keeping a little left over at the bottom. Carefully cut the bottom ends off the lemon, being careful not to cut into the actual lemon.  

You want to be left with little pots which will stand up on their own and hold the cheese.  Don't worry if you accidentally cut into the bottom of the pot - the hole can be plugged up with any left over lemon peel or lemon skin.  

Fill the lemon pots with the cheese mixture and drizzle with a bit more olive oil and finish with black pepper. Bake until the cheese is warm and creamy, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.  

Allow to cool for a few minutes and then serve on individual plates along side strips of toasted gluten free bread or your favourite gluten free cracker.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Delicious Ginger Beef

I associate this dish with dining out and sharing with good friends. It's basically a replica of PF Changs and Joey Tomato's Ginger Beef.  It's easy to make and tastes wonderful.  Serve with brown or white rice.  Reserve the extra sauce for a marinade as it's excellent on chicken or salmon.

  • 1 Beef Flank Steak for Stir Fry (sliced thinly against the grain into approx 1 inch pieces)
  • 1/2 cup corn starch/flour
  • 2 TBSP cooking oil (sunflower or canola)

  • 1/2 cup gluten free soy sauce
  • 1/2 water
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped garlic 
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped ginger
  • 1 TBSP chili flakes (more or less depending on the amount of heat you desire)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced carrots (julilenne)
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions

To prepare meat, thinly slice the steak along the grain into uniform pieces about 1 inch long. Cover each piece in cornstarch and set aside.

Working in batches, fry beef in oil until cooked through and crispy.  Don't worry about over cooking as the meat will remain tender. Remove from pan, drain off any excess oil and set aside.

Add ginger, garlic and chili flakes to frying pan and cook for about one minute (until soft, not burnt!) Add beef and cook for another couple minutes until sauce starts to thicken. If sauce is too runny, add a mixture of about 1 TBSP of cornstarch with 2 TBSP cold water.

Add carrot and onion, putting aside enough for garnish. Cook for one more minute and remove from heat.

With a slotted spoon, place beef onto rice, reserving a majority of the liquid in the pan.  The sauce is meant to coat the beef, and not really intended to be used in the dish.

Serve on top a bed of egg noodles or fragrant basmati rice and garnish with remaining carrots and green onion.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gluten free spaghetti with rapini and mint

This is one of my favourite Pasta recipes.  I use good gluten free pasta instead of the regular pasta for this dish.  The freshness of the mint and the hit from the chili go well with the broccoli.  The parmesan and soft mozzarella add a creamy dimension and brings the pasta dish together.

Rapini is an asian form of broccoli.  It's very healthy and can be used in a variety of dishes.  This pasta dish is super easy to make and can be cooked in 10 minutes (as long as you've done your prep ahead of time)  As this dish is made right in the frying pan, I suggest making a couple servings at a time.  Too much pasta may be difficult to work with but if you make it in single or double servings, everyone will get equal quantities of ingredients.


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Tip:  when making pasta, use one liter of cold water and 1 tsp of salt per serving.  Add salt only after water has started to boil. Stir in a handful of pasta and boil to el dente stage. Strain but do not rinse! Save a bit of the liquid for the sauce as this will help moisten the pasta and create a lovely light sauce.  While the pasta is boiling, get started on your bacon rapini medley.

Bacon Rapini Medley (enough for two portions)
  • 1/4 bunch rapini, cut into 1 inch pieces, blanched in boiling salted water for about a minute and cooled. Should be bright green in color, firm and not mushy.
  • 1 - 2 rashers of bacon, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Garlic clove sliced
  • Pinch of chili flakes
  • 1-2 balls of soft mozzarella (boconcini) diced
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Handful of roughly chopped mint

Heat olive oil on low heat and lightly brown bacon.  Add sliced garlic and chilies and cook for about a minute.  Toss in rapini and then followed by the pasta, cheeses and mint.  Add a few tablespoons of reserve liquid and toss everything to coat.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon if desired.

The cheese will continue to melt once on the plate due to the hot ingredients. Watch for a cool stretching effect off the mozzarella.  This effect makes eating a bit more fun - especially for the kids.  Plus it's a great way to get them eating their veggies.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gluten Free chocolate cupcakes with green tea buttermilk icing

These cupcakes were inspired from a local cafe just outside of Banff National Park in Canada.  The chocolate and green tea icing go really well together, however you can use any type of icing you'd like.  Omit the green tea powder and you have a wonderful vanilla icing.  The cupcakes themselves are super moist and light - but more importantly...delicious!

P.S. I've converted the measurements from a UK recipe so I am hoping the conversions work!

  • 3/4 cup + 2 Tbs (90g) Green and Blacks Organic Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/3 cup (350ml) boiling water
  • 3 eggs 
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla 
  • 3 cups (300g) gluten free flour
  • 2 1/4 cups (430g) sugar 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (230g) unsalted butter 

Preheat oven to 350C/180F.  Line 2 x 12 muffin trays with paper liners and set aside.

In a bowl, mix together cocoa powder and boiling water.  Mix well removing any lumps.  Set aside and allow to cool.

Beat together butter and sugar until well blended.  Add eggs one at a time and beat on high heat until smooth.  Add chocolate mixture and continue to mix well.  In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients together and slowly fold into wet ingredients. Mix on high speed for a couple minutes until batter is light and fluffy.

Spoon batter into cupcake liners until 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until cooked.  Insert a toothpick into the centre.  If it comes out clean, they are done. Allow to cool on a cookie rack.

  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons matcha tea (japanese green tea powder found in most asian food stores)

Mix together sugar and butter. Mix on low speed until well blended and then increase speed to medium and beat for another 3 minutes.

Add vanilla and cream and continue to beat on medium speed for 1 minute more, adding more cream if needed for spreading consistency.