Gluten Free Fresh Pasta – A Tale of Two Pastas

Gluten Free Fresh Pasta

Now no-one is going to chance upon these recipes and think ‘Good Lord! I can finally have pasta again!’. These days even the dingiest supermarket will have some kind of gluten free pasta on their shelves (the best is Salute from Waitrose, in case you’re wondering). But still, if you’re thinking of making your own ravioli, lasagne or even just for a special occasion, it’s a good recipe to have in the arsenal.

Rather than start from scratch, I thought I’d try out two very different recipes. The first is from Shauna James Ahern of glutenfreegirl.com, which has the rare benefit of being an American recipe that gives the ingredients by weight, rather than volume.  The second is from Michela Chiappa, a Welsh-Italian (or perhaps Italian-Welsh) cook who presented the show Simply Italian on Channel 4. Continue reading

Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Pancakes – Suitable for all, yet still delicious

gluten dairy and egg free pancakes

I’ve had to rush this recipe out in time for pancake day, so there is hardly any time for the usual babbling (which I’m sure most people will be thankful for). Although I usually just cover gluten free stuff on the site, I though gluten free pancakes were so simple that anyone could manage them, and a vegan, gluten free, egg free and dairy free pancake recipe that everyone could enjoy would be more useful on a day which should be about people coming together and enjoying fun food together.

These pancakes are very thin and crispy on the outside, almost like crepes. If you’re not used to cooking with ingredients that sound fairly weird, have faith; avocado and apple are common substitutes for egg, and they help bind the mixture along with the xantham gum. For anyone who wants more of the same, I took a lot of inspiration from Erin Mckenna’s book Babycakes Covers the Classics which offers vegan and gluten free sweet treats along with covering a few other allergies. Continue reading

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie – One Brownie to Rule Them All

Gluten Free Chocolate BrownieThere’s no reason why a gluten free diet should preclude some of the finer things in life. And this rich, sticky, unctuous gluten free chocolate brownie is certainly one of those things. There can be fewer greater pleasures than biting through a brittle crust to reveal endless rivers of squidgy, chocolatey goo.

But make no mistake, we’re not settling for some half baked (‘scuse the pun) gluten free knock off of the wheatier brownie cousin. Serve this up to your gluteny friends with impunity – it is as fine as any gluten filled brownie they will ever taste. It almost seems like cheating to call this ‘gluten free’, after all flour is such a minor ingredient that you could probably swap it for sand or shredded paper without anyone noticing. Continue reading

Basic Gluten Free Flour Blend

Gluten free flour blend

Most store bought gluten free flour blends centre around three main ingredients; rice flour (base),  potato starch (stretchy) and tapioca flour (more stretchy). Xantham gum is added for yet more stretchyness.

This flour blend is a good general base for cakes, breads, pancakes, and cookies. It doesn’t have an especially complex flavour, but this can be useful when you are adding other flavouring ingredients. It’s the base for a lot of the recipes on the site, including five minute gluten free flatbread, quick gluten free pizza, gluten free lemon tart and probably many more to come. Continue reading

Quick Gluten Free Pizza

Gluten Free Pizza
This gluten free pizza recipe is a variation on my five minute gluten free flatbread recipe, essentially just adding pizza toppings after partial cooking, then finishing it all off under the grill. It’s a quick meal to make, and you can even keep the pizza base dough in the fridge for those sudden urgent pizza cravings. As with the flatbread, use any supermarket gluten free flour with xantham gum (Doves Farm in the UK or Bob’s Red Mill in the USA), I use my quick and easy gluten free flour blend here. Continue reading

Five Minute Gluten Free Flatbread

gluten free flatbread

Gluten free baked food products tend to either aim for a vague approximation of the original, or completely bypass it and settle themselves happily into the category of ‘mysterious wad’.  Until recently, most gluten-free breads have tried earnestly (and very successfully) to replicate cardboard rather than a genuine loaf (thank God for Genius). Cakes and biscuits are usually more successful, relying less on a well-formed gluten structure than bread, though occasionally they can be mouth-numbingly dry.

Home recipes can meet with a similar range of results, from unusual brown dollops in the bottom of a baking tray, to fantastic fresh rustic (and often unusual) loaves that have to be greedily gobbled down with butter while still warm. Even the best recipes can be inconsistent though (in my experience), except for this little gem I discovered last week.

So then, 5 minutes before dinner is ready (minestrone soup, since you ask), what do you do?  Set the table? Open a bottle of wine?  Sensible ideas, but not me, I decided to ‘have a go’ at gluten free flatbread.  Never done it before (not in 5 minutes anyway), but hey, why not.  And how was it?  It was fantastic, incredibly easy to make and definitely one of the best savoury gluten-free recipes I’ve ever cooked – crispy and light with a delicious fresh bread flavour.  You can use whichever shop bought gluten free flour blend with xantham gum you can get (e.g. Doves Farm in the UK, Bob’s Red Mill in the USA), I use my gluten free flour blend here, which gives measurements by weight (g or oz) or volume (cups).

Gluten Free Flatbread

150g gluten free flour blend (my recipe here)
Warm water
Olive oil
Sea salt
1/2 tsp cumin seeds

  1. Preheat the grill to as hot as it will go.
  2. Add water gradually to the flour in a bowl and mix until the mixture is the consistency of creamed butter and sugar (i.e. like cake mixture).
  3. Oil a baking tray (or grill pan) with the olive oil.  Spoon the mixture roughly on to the tray, then drizzle oil over the top.  Oil your hands too.
  4. With your hands, flatten the mixture out into a rough rectangle – it should be as thin as you can get it, with areas where the dough is almost translucent (“windowpaning”).
  5. Sprinkle sea salt over the top and then put under the grill.  Keep an eye on it – the dough will start to bubble and char in places – take it out and turn it over.
  6. Before the dough is charring on the other side, take it out and scatter cumin seeds over the flatbread, then place back under the grill until it is lightly charred.
  7. Cut into smaller rectangles and scatter with parsley or basil. Serve immediately with soup or dips.

Tips

You may find the dough lifts up at the edges after turning, and start to cook too quickly – in this case, just wait until the edges have browned then cut them off and carry on cooking the remainder.

Experiment – you could try black onion seeds or fennel in place of cumin, or even pine nuts and rosemary. Heck, I reckon if you get the moisture levels of the tomato sauce right and the grill hot enough, you could turn this into a decent thin and crispy pizza.  Somewhere between Jeff Varasano’s epic pizza recipe and Heston Blumenthal’s home pizza method lies the answer.

UPDATE: Just as I suspected, this makes great pizza – here is my quick gluten free pizza recipe.