Thai Bean Cakes

Gluten Free Thai Fish Cakes

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure to go on a gluten free baking course run by the delightful Naomi Devlin at the delightful River Cottage HQ. I had really been looking forward to finding out how to make a gluten free sourdough loaf as well as finding out about some more unusual baking ingredients and Naomi did not disappoint. I’m used to cooking with pretty processed gluten free ingredients, think white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca etc, but Naomi’s baking centres around using wholemeal ingredients that actually have a decent nutritional benefit as well as tasting great. She’s a sucker for chocolate though – never stand between her and a block of 90% dark chocolate, your life would be in danger I’m sure. 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

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Vietnamese Spring RollsMy Christmas consisted mainly of something I like to call ‘chain snacking’. No sooner was my right hand picking the last of the mince pie crumbs off my expanding belly, I would find my other hand ferreting tentacle-like in the box of salted caramels nearby.  My right hand, not to be outdone, would then search out a cube of Turkish delight and be ready to shotgun it before the caramel had even had the chance to cling to one of my teeth. I suspect I looked like a combination of Homer Simpson and Vishnu, each of my 8 hands tossing the next treat into open jaws while a bowling ball sized lump expanded steadily at my midriff.

So now it is time for penance, and it will take more than holding of the breath and prodding of the belly to loosen these trousers. But the depths of winter is no time to turn to salads, so we must instead make comfort foods that are satisfying and wholesome, yet light. Most importantly, we cannot sacrifice flavour, otherwise our snouts will be back in the biscuit box before you can say oompa loompa. 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.