Black Dhal

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This is my all time favourite dhal. Much richer than my usual every day style dhal it is a real treat!

I make a large batch and freeze leftovers in takeaway boxes for another night. I also have a little weakness of having this for breakfast with rice, it tastes even better the next day, who says gluten free breakfasts should be boring!

Traditionally, this would be cooked slowly overnight. This version still achieves that same great taste but with a few cheats, stove top cooked and tinned tomatoes and tomato paste instead of fresh tomatoes.

Serves 10-12

Ingredients

300g Urad/Urid dhal, split

1.5litres water

1 x 400g tin, chopped tomatoes

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon Kashmiri chilli

4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

5cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

300mls cream

120g butter

salt to taste

Method

Wash the dhal, several times in cold water.

In a large pan, combine the dhal, water, tomatoes, paste, cumin, chilli, garlic and ginger.

Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently for 3 hours.

Add the cream and butter and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Season with salt and serve.

Nutella and Croissant Pudding

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It doesn’t happen often but, occasionally, I find some forgotten croissants at the back of the bread bin or lurking in the depths of the freezer. This is the perfect way to use them up with the boys favourite chocolate spread.

Ingredients

3 large croissants

60mls Nutella, approx.

4 eggs, beaten

250mls cream

200mls milk

150g caster sugar

Method

Butter an 18cm oven proof deep sided dish.

Cut croissants in half vertically and then horizontally to create quarters.

Spread each quarter, on the cut side, with Nutella.

Place in dish, four quarters in each layer with the Nutella facing upwards.

In a jug, mix the eggs, cream, milk and sugar.

Pour the egg mix over the croissants making sure they all get covered.

Leave for 1 hour or up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade.

Bake for 45-60mins until golden on top but still squishy in the middle.

 

 

Lamb Shanks With Yogurt and Spices

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Slow cooked with beautiful spices this is wonderful as part of an Indian inspired meal. I like to serve it with a dhal, raita, paratha and plain rice.

Easy to prepare and then left to its own devices in the oven makes this one of the simplest lamb dishes you can make.

Leftovers can be frozen off the bone.

Serves 8.

Ingredients

4 large lamb shanks, around 2kgs

500mls natural yogurt

2 lemons, juiced

2 tablespoons ground cumin

3 tablespoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons Kashmiri ground chilli

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped

4 large garlic cloves, grated

6cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 150 degrees Centigrade.

Combine all of the ingredients, except the shanks, in your roasting tin.

Take each shank, and with a sharp knife, stab several times on all sides. Add to the roasting tin and rub well with the sauce going into the cuts.

Cover tightly with foil and place in the oven for 6 hours.

Serve as is or pull the meat off with tongs and scrape off any remaining sauce into a prewarmed  serving dish.

Gluten Free Gingerbread Muffins

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I love the taste of gingerbread and it was one of the things I reallymissed when I went gluten free.

These are as close to the real thing as I can get! The boys love them, great for lunch boxes and they last a few days unlike normal muffins.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

150g glutinous rice flour

100g buckwheat flour

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg, beaten

100g brown sugar

150mls milk

90mls vegetable oil

60mls black treacle

60mls syrup

Method

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade. Line a twelve hole muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon.

In a jug, beat the egg, add the sugar and milk, using a fork mix it well.

Add the oil, treacle and syrup to the egg mix, use the fork to mix very well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until combined with no lumps.

Fill the muffin papers, around half full.

Pop in the oven and bake for 25mins.

Gluten Free Popcorn Chicken

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The fast food Friday challenge is upon me again!

A certain international fast food chain is held in very high regard by the boys. Apparently, their popcorn chicken is delicious, unfortunately, I can’t check as there isn’t a gluten free option.

After a bit of experimenting we came up with this recipe and it’s a winner!

Ingredients

For the chicken…..

750g chicken breast, diced into 2cm pieces

1 teaspoon Cajun spice rub

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

For the flour mix…..

340g gluten free plain flours

180g besan/chickpea flour

2 tablespoons Cajun spice rub

For the egg mix…….

3 eggs, beaten

200mls buttermilk

Serves 6.

Method

In a large bowl combine chicken, 1 teaspoon spice rub and smoked paprika, mix well and leave to marinade for an hour if you have time.

In another large bowl mix the flour, besan and 2 tablespoons of spice rub, use a whisk to mix it really well.

In a smaller bowl whisk the egg and buttermilk.

Heat your oil to 180 degrees Centigrade.

The next bit is easiest if you keep one hand clean, I can guarantee the phone will ring if both hands get dirty!

Take each piece, dip it into the flour, into the egg mix then into the flour again, set aside and repeat with the rest of the chicken. I find a large baking sheet the best place to set aside the prepared chicken, it must be kept in a single layer.

In small batches fry the chicken until golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and spread on a baking sheet lined with kitchen towel.

Serve the chicken with wedges and some sour cream to dip and obviously eat with your fingers!

 

 

Sweet Corn Fritters

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These are the best corn fritters, using fresh corn they have a lovely crunch about them but the whipped egg whites make them as light as a feather.

Use your imagination with toppings salsa, guacamole, black beans, ham, cheese, smoked salmon, bean stew, chicken and salad, the list goes on!

Makes 12-14.

Ingredients

3 ears of sweet corn, shucked

3 spring onions, topped and tailed, finely sliced

1 large red chilli, deseeded and diced finely

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

50g gluten free breadcrumbs

2 limes, juiced

4 eggs, separated

2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder

Method

Heat a large non stick frying pan over a medium heat.

In a large bowl combine the sweet corn, spring onions, chilli, paprika, cayenne, gluten free breadcrumbs and lime juice.

Add the four egg yolks and combine very well.

In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the sweet corn mixture.

Using a large spoon, spoon fritters onto the frying pan, do not over crowd.

Cook until the top looks set and then flip over and cook will medium brown.

Top with your favourite toppings and serve.

Gluten Free Rhubarb Muffins

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I love rhubarb, rhubarb fools and crumbles are a standard pudding choice.

Muffins are also well eaten in this house!

Great for lunch boxes and I think these ones would be lovely for a gluten free breakfast too, especially as they look like the “real” thing!

Ingredients

300g ground almonds

1 tablespoon gluten free baking powder

75g caster sugar

4 stalks rhubarb, around 320g, washed, topped and tailed, cut into 1cm slices

4 eggs, beaten

100g butter, melted and cooled

2 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees Centigrade, prepare a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases.

In a large bowl combine the ground almonds, baking powder and sugar.

In a jug combine the eggs, butter, milk and vanilla extract.

Add the rhubarb to the dry ingredients followed by the wet ingredients and mix well.

Spoon into the prepared muffin tin.

Bake for 35-40 mins until risen and browned.

 

 

Leek and Potato Soup

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There is something medicinal with soups that really bring out the flavour of really good chicken stock.

With the addition of leeks and potatoes this soup is a favourite in our house  especially if the boys are sick!

You could add a good handful of chopped parsley at the end to boost the vitamin c content but I tend to leave it out for the boys, they aren’t into parsley, yet!

This serves 8-10 depending on your portions and freezes well.

Ingredients

100g butter

3 leeks, trimmed

1kg waxy potatoes, peeled and diced, 1cm

2litres chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Method

Split the leeks in half lengthwise and then into quarters, chop into 1cm slices.

Place the chopped leek into a basin of cold water and rinse well to get rid of any soil or grit. Drain in a colander.

In a large soup pan, melt the butter.

Add the leeks and cook gently over a low heat until softened.

Add the potatoes and the stock.

Bring to the boil and gently simmer over a low heat for 30mins.

Season with salt and lots of freshly ground pepper.

Serve with crusty bread.

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Quesadillas

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I often make these at the weekend instead of a toasted cheese sandwich.

Using corn tortillas makes these gluten free and the fillings vary depending on what’s in the fridge.

I use a sandwich press or a large non stick frying pan to cook the quesadillas, a sandwich press is easier but the frying pan works well too, just flip the quesadilla when the bottom tortilla has crisped up.

This recipe is is for the quesadilla in the picture. Other filling ideas are, drained black beans, chopped avocado, spinach, jalapeño, leftover fajita chicken or beef. As a family we all have favourite fillings and the boys  make their own!

Ingredients

2 corn tortillas

2 Roma tomatoes,  deseeded and diced

handful of cooked chicken, diced

small bunch of coriander, leaves and stalks roughly chopped

40g Cheddar, finely grated

1/4 red onion, peeled and finely sliced

1/4 teaspoon Cajun spice rub, recipe in the blog

 Method

With one tortilla as a base top with your ingredients.

Top with the second tortilla and place on the sandwich press.

Bring the lid down to sit just above the top tortilla and toast until golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Basil Pesto

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The quickest meal in a family of five often involves pasta for 4 and a Gluten Free option for one.

I always have jars of pesto in the fridge  not just for pasta, spooned into a baked potato, smeared on to fish and chicken, used as a dip and there’s alway potato gnocchi!

Possibly the best reason for making this is it’s fridge life……. A year lurking, hopefully labelled, and it will still be good to go!

Leftover pasta? Great for school lunch boxes cold or hot or, stir through some drained, tinned beans, butter beans  work well, and you have another meal happening!

Makes 3 x 375g jars. One jar covers 500g dry pasta which serves 4-6 depending on appetite!

Ingredients

180g basil leaves

500mls olive oil, plus extra for sealing

200g pine nuts

8 cloves garlic, crushed

250g Parmesan, finely grated

salt and pepper

Method

Process the basil, oil, nuts, garlic, Parmesan and seasoning.

I process till it is still a little lumpy, but  process it to the way you like!

Check the seasoning, I add quite a bit of freshly ground pepper, not so much salt as the cheese adds salt.

Spoon into clean jars and pour some oil over the top to seal.

Put a tight fitting lid on, label and stick at the back of the fridge.