Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gluten Free Banana Bread

Only way to deal with over ripened bananas - banana bread!  The photo above was baked with brown gluten free flour and it turned out nicely. It's equally as good with plain white gluten free flour as listed below.

250g plain gluten free flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
115g butter
115g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon Xantham gum

Preheat the oven to 180 C / 350F. Lightly grease a 23x13cm loaf tin. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. (except sugar).

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at at time until batter is light and fluffy. With a spoon add mashed bananas. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture and stir just to moisten. Pour mxture into prepared loaf tin.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a knife inserted into centre of the loaf comes out clean. Leave to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gluten Free Yorkshire Puddings

There's nothing better than digging into a delicious roast beef dinner, complete with potatoes, veggies and yorkshire puddings smothered in gravy!  If you are lucky enough to have left overs puddings, they are great the next day filled with thinly sliced beef and mustard.

These gluten-free yorkshire puddings are easily mistaken for regular ones. It's near impossible to tell the difference. The key is the blend the heck out of it and make sure the mixture is at room temperature when you are ready to bake. I recommend making up the batter a couple hours ahead of time, let sit out on the counter and then give them one last blast in the food processor right before pouring into the hot pan.

1 cup gluten free flour (less 2 TBSP)
2 TBSP corn flour
1 cup milk
3 eggs
1/4 tsp Xanthan gum
Pinch of salt
Vegetable oil or goose fat

In a food processor or blender, blend flours, milk, eggs and salt.  Mix for one to two minutes on high.  Set aside and let reach room temperature.

Heat oven to 220ºC/Fan 200ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.

Place enough oil/fat in the bottom of each muffin tin to just cover the bottom. Place the tin in the hot oven until the oil is piping hot. CAREFULLY remove the pan from the oven and quickly pour in the batter until it fills half way up each of the tins. Quickly return to oven and let bake. Do not open the oven door for at least 20 minutes our your muffins will drop.

For large yorkshires bake for 35/40 minutes and small ones for 15/20 minutes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grown up Mac and Cheese - Gluten (but not Calorie) free!

This delightful 'adult' version of Mac and Cheese is just as comforting as the version you ate as a kid.  The smoked paprika adds a hint of smokey goodness and the sharp cheddar, along side the beer, make it packed full of flavour. 

2 tbsp white onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 red pepper, chopped
pinch fresh thyme
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup gluten free beer (can substitute with milk)
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
salt (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)
salt for pasta water (1 tsp per 1 L of water)
400 grams torchietti pasta (about 13 ounces)
4 ounces aged cheddar (2 cups)

Heat a heavy sauce pan over medium heat and add the butter and bacon. Let the bacon cook until the fat renders (melts). The bacon should almost be cooked but not browned. Then add the onion, garlic and red pepper and gently cook, turning the heat down to medium-low to avoid any browning. Cook until the onion and garlic begin to soften and release their flavors. Then season with the paprika and a pinch of cayenne pepper for extra heat, if desired.

Next, sprinkle the mixture with the flour and stir to form a roux. Let this cook gently for about 2 minutes, being careful not to let the bottom scorch or burn. Then add the beer and stir to combine. Add the milk a bit at a time to temper it. This will prevent lumps from forming. Continue until all of the milk has been incorporated. Finally, add the thyme.

Turn the heat up to medium, if needed, to bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer. Once the mixture starts to bubble, reduce the heat to low. Stir occasionally and let cook for about 10 minutes or so. While the sauce cooks, go ahead and cook the pasta

To cook the pasta, add the salt to the boiling water and stir. Then add the pasta and stir to prevent it from sticking together. Cook for about 10-12 minutes, or according to the instructions on the package. For this dish, the pasta should not be al dente, as you want a soft texture.

While the pasta cooks grate the cheese and stir the sauce occasionally. Test the pasta and once it’s just cooked through, reserve a bit of the cooking water (in case you need to thin the sauce out later).

Next, turn off the heat and add some cold water to the pasta. This will slow the cooking process so you can finish the sauce.

To finish the sauce, turn off the heat and temper in the grated cheddar by adding it a little bit at a time. Stir each time until the cheese melts. By adding a bit of cheese at a time, you prevent the sauce from splitting. Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

To finish the dish, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Then pour the sauce over top and gently fold everything together. If the sauce seems a bit too thick, you can thin it out with a bit of the reserved pasta water. Taste for seasoning, serve immediately and enjoy.

    Sunday, August 14, 2011

    Gluten Free Beer Battered Fish and Chips

    If you miss the crispy saltiness of fish and chips, suffer no longer. This is a super recipe that beats most fish and chip restaurants you'll find around town.  The rice flour adds an extra crispy dimension and the beer batter adds a nice kick of flavour.  


    Vegetable oil, for deep frying
    1 1/2 cups rice flour
    1 tsp baking powder
    2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning
    1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
    1 (12-ounce) bottle of gluten free beer such as Estrella DAURA*
    1 large egg, beaten 
    2 (8-ounce) cod or haddock fillets, cut in 1/2 on an angle
    1/2 cup more rice flour, for dredging
    Apple cider or gluten free vinegar, tartar sauce and lemon for serving

    *Can also substitute beer with equal amounts of soda water.


    Heat 3 inches of the oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F.  Or alternatively, you can use a deep fat fryer if you have one.

    In a large mixing bowl, combine the 1 1/2 cups of rice flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Combine beer and egg and pour into the flour mixture. Whisk to a smooth batter. It should not be too thick - if it looks like pancake mix, thin with a bit more beer.  Should be the consistency of heavy cream.

    Spread the rice flour on a plate.  With paper towels, pat the fish to ensure it's dry. This is important or the flour/batter mixture will not stick. Dredge the fish pieces in the rice flour and then dip them into the batter, letting the excess drip off.

    Carefully lower the battered fish into the bubbling oil. Fry the fish for 4 to 5 minutes until crispy and brown, turning over if using less oil.  Remove from oil and place fish on paper towels; season lightly with salt. Serve with your favourite chips/fries and toppings.

    A bit more about....

    Estrella Daura Gluten Free Beer -
    Voted best beer in the World suitable for those suffering from Gluten intolerance and/or Coeliac.

    This award has been given in recognition of the quality of Daura, which retains the same taste and properties as tradition beers, as well as having gluten levels of less than 6 ppm, much lower than the 20 ppm recommended for people with coeliac disease by the World Health Organisation.

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Mango Crab Roll

    My first experience with this dish was in Hawaii at a restaurant called Sansei.  I loved it so much, I returned to the restaurant at least four times during my seven day stay.  I searched high and low for the recipe and alas, finally found it.

    I'm warning you now, Mamanori sheets are pretty difficult to track down but if you find them, it's well worth the effort.  Keep in mind though, that some of the colors (not all) contain traces of gluten so be sure to do your research before you buy.  You can also use regular nori sheets as these can be found at most supermarkets in the Asian section.


    • 3 - 4 cups blue crab meat
    • 1/4 cup gluten free mayo
    • 4 large (8 small) sheets mamenori or nori
    • 1/2 cup cooked white sushi rice (or other sticky type rice)
    • 8 cups loose mesculin greens
    • 2 cups diced mango
    • 1 cup dry roasted peanuts (unsalted preferably)
    • 2 cups fresh cilantro (coriander)
    • 1 cucumber, sliced thinly
    • 1/2 cup Thai vinaigrette (see below for recipe)
    • 4 tsp sweet Thai chili sauce


    In a mixing bowl, combine crab enough to bind and reserve for later. Lay mamenori on a clean flat surface, lace cooked rice 1/4 inch from the top of the mamenori for binding the roll. Lay mesculin mix on mamenori, lace crab, mango, peanuts and cilantro in the middle of the roll and firmly roll with a bamboo sushi roller. 

    With a sharp knife, cut roll into four parts and place two pieces in the middle of a plate ladling two tablespoons of the vinaigrette on and and round the roll. Garnish with sweet Thai chili sauce and peanuts, cilantro/coriander and cucumber.

    Ingredients for Thai Vinaigrette:

    4 Tbsp sake
    4 Tbsp mirin
    1 1/2 cup white sugar
    3/4 tsp chopped garlic
    1 tsp Sambal Olek
    3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
    2 Tbsp fish sauce
    1 Tbsp yuzu juice (or lime juice as a substitute)

    Heat sake and Mirin in a medium pot until hot.  Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Turn off heat and add garlic to hot mixture.  Add Sambal Olek, rice wine vinegar and fish sauce. Remove from heat and cool. Prior to serving, add yuzu or lime juice to finish.  This can be made way in advance and will keep refrigerated for a long time.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    Braised pork and chorizo sausage stew

    I'd consider this a delicious winter warmer but good God, is it ever tasty!!! I'd eat this anytime with some big thick slices of bread (gluten free of course!) and butter. It's pretty easy to make but you need to start it the day ahead.  Finally, you can take your crock-pot out of the closet and put it to some good use.

    Braised Pork Shoulder

    • 1 small pork shoulder
    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 1 leek, washed and sliced 
    • 3-4 cloves of garlic 
    • 2 chopped ribs celery
    • 2 chopped carrots
    • Bay leaf, salt and pepper to season
    • Water

    Stew Ingredients:
    • 1 dry-cured chorizo sausage (make sure it's gluten free!) about 8 inches long or about 1 1/2 cups. Cut into thin slices about 1/4 inch thick.
    • 2 cups of braised pork, broken into large chunks (do not shred as the meat will continue to break down in the stew and you want to be left with nice bite size pieces).
    • 1 small onion
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
    • 1 small anchovy - chopped (optional)
    • Approx 1/2 cup of the pork stock (oil removed)
    • 2 - 8 oz cans of good quality cherry or plum tomatoes (preferably organic for best flavour!)
    • 1 - 8 oz can/box of pre-cooked butter beans
    • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
    • Lemon

    Day Ahead or Morning Of:

    Pull out the crock-pot. Throw in the braised pork ingredients and season well with salt and pepper.  Cover about half way with cold water and turn on low for the day. Should cook for about 12 hours, until the meat is tender and flakes easily with a fork.   

    Go out and enjoy your day!!!

    Remove the pork and set aside. Strain remaining liquid into a bowl so you are left with a clear broth. Let cool, remove fat and set aside.  

    Making your stew:

    In a deep non-stick frying pan, fry the chorizo over medium to high heat. Once the oils start to release from the sausage, add the onions and anchovy then cook for another three to four minutes until soft. Add white wine and reduce down for about a minute or so.  

    Reduce heat and add the braised pork and toss until the meat is coated in all the tasty goodness. Add canned tomatoes, paste, stock, beans and a little bit of water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper, cover and let simmer for about 20 - 25 minutes. You are looking to meld all the great flavours together and create a rich, yet chunky sauce. Add more water or stock if needed to reach your desired consistency.

    Remove from heat, toss in chopped fresh parsley and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.