Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Easter Loaf in a Breadmaker

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Easter Loaf

Recently Panasonic asked me if I would like to try their breadmaker for their Ideas Kitchen. I’ve never used a breadmaker before, so I was really excited – especially when the delivery guy turned up with a beautiful, shiny machine the following day. In truth, it’s very, very simple, and it saves you having to do the hard-work-mixing (ie whisking the water into the dry ingredients to aerate the dough) – either by hand or in a stand mixer/food processor – and cleaning the messy bowl. Just mix together the dry ingredients, pour the water into the machine, and then the dry mix. And leave the breadmaker making little noises every now and then (much to Zoë’s delight) and creating delicious aromas.

I made an Easter loaf – with chopped apricots, ground mixed spice and lemon zest. It’s sweet from the small amount of sugar and the apricots, and the flavours sing through. It came out wonderfully moist, with a good rise and a fantastic crust.

gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Makes 1 loaf     Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 60g potato starch
  • 60g cornstarch
  • 150g brown rice flour
  • 50g maize flour
  • 50g gram flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • 150g unsulphured dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp dried active yeast
  1. Remove the bread pan and set the kneading blade.
  2. Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl, add the salt, sugar, spice, xanthan gum and lemon zest and, using a metal whisk, mix thoroughly.
  3. Pour 350ml tepid water into the bread pan.
  4. Add the flour mixture, then add the chopped apricots. Wipe the outside of the bread pan to remove any flour or liquid.
  5. Put the bread pan into the Bread Maker, turn slightly clockwise and close the lid.
  6. Place the dry yeast in the yeast dispenser.
  7. Select the bake menu number 12 by pressing the Menu pad.
  8. Press the Start pad to start the machine.
  9. When the machine has finished, press the Stop pad, remove the bread and leave to cool on a wire rack.

*If your Panasonic breadmaker does not have a yeast dispenser, then add the yeast with the flour as per point 4.

Please note, when I tested this I found that the paddle remained in the loaf which may be caused by the gluten free flour used.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Paella

paella Madhouse

If you’ve been watching What’s Cooking on Channel 4, you may have seen Jo Pratt cooking up a storm during the first week. I first met Jo a few years’ ago, when she was planning her first (gorgeous-looking and hugely successful) book In the Mood for Food. She wrote another after that, went off and had two beautiful babies and has returned to the world of TV, books and other foodie things with her new book Madhouse Cookbook, which I’ve been working on with her.

The premise of the book is really simple. It’s billed as a life-transforming collection of recipes for busy parents – for surviving the stressful week, coping with hectic weekends and enabling you to cling onto your social life. All of the dishes have been devised to make life easy – with shortened preparation and cooking times, brilliant plan-ahead tips and ‘Lifesaver’ and ‘Leftover’ mini-recipes to make those precious moments you spend cooking go further.

I made her Baked Seafood Paella yesterday. As Jo says, this is a “real-life recipe”. You don’t need a special paella pan and, instead of having to stir and continually do things, you simply prep it then put it in the oven and let it cook itself. It really is spectacularly easy – and it’s a great recipe if you’re having friends round for dinner, as well as a lovely one for the whole family.

gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free,

Makes: 4 adult portions     Preparation time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 300g/10½oz/1⅓ cups paella rice
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup dry white wine
  • a large pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika or standard sweet paprika
  • 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups hot gluten-free and dairy-free fish or chicken stock
  • 500g/1lb 2oz shellfish, such as mussels and/or clams
  • 2 medium squid tubes, cut into rings
  • 150g/5½oz/scant 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, or fresh green beans, chopped
  • 8–12 raw, whole king prawns
  • ½ small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Scrub the mussels thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove all traces of grit, then remove any barnacles or other debris attached to the shells and pull off and discard any beards. Rinse again and discard any mussels that stay open.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
  3. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and red pepper and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the rice for a minute or so until it is coated in the oil, then add the wine, saffron, paprika and stock. Stir well and bring to the boil, then bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mussels and/or clams, squid and peas and season lightly with salt and pepper. Nestle the prawns into the surface. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through. Make sure all the prawns are pink and discard any mussel or clam shells that haven’t opened.
  5. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Provide empty bowls for the shells, and a few finger bowls of warm water and plenty of napkins for messy fingers.

Paella Mixta:
If your friends aren’t massively into seafood, then make your paella with chicken and chorizo. Add 150g/5½oz thickly sliced or chopped chorizo and 4 roughly chopped chicken thighs to the fried onion and cook until the chicken is golden. Add the rice and follow the recipe as above, but just using prawns and not the mussels or squid.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Paella

paella Madhouse

If you’ve been watching What’s Cooking on Channel 4, you may have seen Jo Pratt cooking up a storm during the first week. I first met Jo a few years’ ago, when she was planning her first (gorgeous-looking and hugely successful) book In the Mood for Food. She wrote another after that, went off and had two beautiful babies and has returned to the world of TV, books and other foodie things with her new book Madhouse Cookbook, which I’ve been working on with her.

The premise of the book is really simple. It’s billed as a life-transforming collection of recipes for busy parents – for surviving the stressful week, coping with hectic weekends and enabling you to cling onto your social life. All of the dishes have been devised to make life easy – with shortened preparation and cooking times, brilliant plan-ahead tips and ‘Lifesaver’ and ‘Leftover’ mini-recipes to make those precious moments you spend cooking go further.

I made her Baked Seafood Paella yesterday. As Jo says, this is a “real-life recipe”. You don’t need a special paella pan and, instead of having to stir and continually do things, you simply prep it then put it in the oven and let it cook itself. It really is spectacularly easy – and it’s a great recipe if you’re having friends round for dinner, as well as a lovely one for the whole family.

gluten-free, dairy-free, soya-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free,

Makes: 4 adult portions     Preparation time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
  • 300g/10½oz/1⅓ cups paella rice
  • 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup dry white wine
  • a large pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 tsp smoked Spanish paprika or standard sweet paprika
  • 750ml/26fl oz/3 cups hot gluten-free and dairy-free fish or chicken stock
  • 500g/1lb 2oz shellfish, such as mussels and/or clams
  • 2 medium squid tubes, cut into rings
  • 150g/5½oz/scant 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted, or fresh green beans, chopped
  • 8–12 raw, whole king prawns
  • ½ small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Scrub the mussels thoroughly with a stiff brush under cold running water to remove all traces of grit, then remove any barnacles or other debris attached to the shells and pull off and discard any beards. Rinse again and discard any mussels that stay open.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.
  3. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat, add the onion, garlic and red pepper and fry for about 5 minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the rice for a minute or so until it is coated in the oil, then add the wine, saffron, paprika and stock. Stir well and bring to the boil, then bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the mussels and/or clams, squid and peas and season lightly with salt and pepper. Nestle the prawns into the surface. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes until the rice is tender and the seafood is cooked through. Make sure all the prawns are pink and discard any mussel or clam shells that haven’t opened.
  5. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with lemon wedges. Provide empty bowls for the shells, and a few finger bowls of warm water and plenty of napkins for messy fingers.

Paella Mixta:
If your friends aren’t massively into seafood, then make your paella with chicken and chorizo. Add 150g/5½oz thickly sliced or chopped chorizo and 4 roughly chopped chicken thighs to the fried onion and cook until the chicken is golden. Add the rice and follow the recipe as above, but just using prawns and not the mussels or squid.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Birthday Dragon Cake

ioc dragon cake

I’ve never made a show-off decorated cake before… Or, indeed, anything with show-stopper decorating before. But, with Zoë’ in my world now, many things are changing… Up until now, I’ve done fairly simple cakes for her birthday parties. But her best friend, Ivy, had had a Peppa Pig cake for her 3rd birthday and then had a Princess Castle one for her 4th birthday. Zoë’s birthday is 5 weeks after Ivy’s and, as her 4th birthday approached, I realised I was going to have to step up to the mark.

I decided to try something from Juliet Stallwood’s book, Icing on the CakeBilled as the ultimate step-by-step guide to decorating baked treats, the book tells you that “like your very own fairy godmother, Juliet Stallwood will transform you from humble home baker to icing queen with a wave of her piping nozzle!” Great – sounds like just what I needed!

Zoë and I chose the Dragon Cake. I made it in a slightly different order to the recipe below, just because I only had the evenings to make it in, plus I was making a gluten-free and dairy-free version, and I find that dairy-free frosting works better if it’s chilled in the fridge. I started off by making 2 gluten-free and dairy-free sponges – that was Thursday night, after work. Then, on Friday night , I made a dairy-free frosting and then left it in the fridge to chill and firm up. Then I rolled out some modelling paste and coloured them. I used natural colours, which is why it ended up pink and yellow – (plus Zoë loves pink). I made all the parts for the dragon and left them to harden overnight. I remember texting a friend a picture of the bits at about 11pm at night and then heading off to bed, slightly nervous…

Dragon bits

The following morning, I sandwiched and covered the cakes with the frosting, and then covered the whole thing with a layer of the modelling paste. Modelling paste feels a little weird at first, but once you get used to how stiff it is to work with, it gets easy. Then I attached all the dragon and flame bits and I started to smile for the first time in the whole process… It had seemed like it was going to be difficult and it took quite some time. But, in fact, it was fairly easy. And it felt FANTASTIC when I’d finished it.

ioc kids

Zoë was suitably impressed. So were all her friends. Yay! Now I’ve just got to go one better next year…!

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Makes 1 cake

Ingredients:

  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 150g/5½oz coloured modelling paste (I used a natural red dye and added just a few drops to the paste, and kneaded it in, to make pink)
  • 60g/2¼oz coloured modelling paste (I used a natural yellow dye and added a few drops then kneaded)
  • 2 x 20cm/8in round sponge cakes (I made gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate ones)
  • 1 recipe quantity frosting (I made a dairy-free chocolate one)
  • 100g/3½oz seedless raspberry jam
  • 800g/1lb 12oz white sugar paste
  • 200g/7oz red-coloured sugar paste (I used a natural red dye and added lots of drops then kneaded)
  • edible glue or cooled, boiled water (I used boiled water)
  • 5g/¹⁄8oz black-coloured sugar paste (I used a raisin, instead)

You will need:

  • small rolling pin
  • 5mm/¼in marzipan spacers (optional)
  • sharp knife
  • dragon and flame templates (see this link)
  • tray lined with baking parchment
  • 20cm/8in round cake drum
  • small paintbrush
  • ruler
  1. Dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, then knead the first colour of modelling paste until it is soft and pliable. Roll out the kneaded modelling paste until it is 5mm/¼in thick, using marzipan spacers if you like, and cut out the dragon’s head, ears, body and legs, using the templates. Indent the toes and mouth with the sharp knife, then smooth the edges of all the parts with your fingers. Repeat with the second colour of modelling paste to make the tummy and wings, indenting the line details on both parts with the sharp knife and smoothing the edges with your fingers. Without assembling the dragon, transfer the parts to the prepared tray and leave to dry overnight, uncovered, in a cool, dry place. Roll the trimmings into balls and store in an airtight container so the modelling paste does not dry out.
  2. When the dragon parts have dried and, using the cake drum as a firm base, layer the sponge cakes, then fill with frosting and jam to make one tall 20cm/8in cake. Cover the cake with the remaining frosting. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. When the frosting has set, dust the work surface with a little icing sugar, then knead the white sugar paste until it is soft and pliable. To cover the cake with the kneaded sugar paste, roll out the kneaded sugar paste until it is 5mm/¼in thick, using marzipan spacers if you like. Carefully lift the rolled sugar paste and gently place it over the top and side of the cake, taking care not to stretch or pull it. Use your hands to smooth it over the top and side of the cake, making sure to smooth out any air bubbles. Trim off any excess sugar paste at the base of the cake with the sharp knife. Roll the trimmings into a ball and store in an airtight container so the sugar paste does not dry out and crack.
  3. Dust the work surface with icing sugar, then knead half of the red sugar paste until it is soft and pliable. Roll out the kneaded sugar paste quite thinly and cut out about 10 flames, using the template. Brush the back of each flame with edible glue or water, then press them vertically onto the side of the cake. Repeat with the remaining red sugar paste until the side of the cake is covered in flames.
  4. Brush the back of the dragon’s body and head with a little edible glue or water, then attach them to the top of the cake. Attach the ears, tummy, legs and wings, securing each part with edible glue. To make the nose, roll a tiny ball of the first colour of modelling paste, then flatten it slightly and indent with the end of the paintbrush. To make the eye, roll out a very small ball of the remaining white sugar paste. For the pupil, roll out a tiny ball of black sugar paste and attach it to the eye (although I used a raisin), then attach an even tinier ball of white sugar paste to the top of the pupil, flattening it slightly as you do so. Attach the nose and eye to the head with edible glue or water. To make the tail, roll the remaining first colour of modelling paste into a long, tapered sausage about 15cm/6in long. Flatten the wider end of the sausage to form the base of the tail, then attach the base to the top of the cake with edible glue or water, making sure it lines up squarely with the body. Mould a tiny ball of the second colour of modelling paste into a triangle and attach it to the tail tip with edible glue or water. Curl the end of the tail slightly to form an s-shape over the top and side of the cake, securing it in place with edible glue or water. Roll the remaining second colour of modelling paste into tiny balls, then attach them to the body and head of the dragon with edible glue or water, flattening them slightly as you do so. Leave the cake overnight to allow the sugar and modelling pastes to dry.
  5. Tips: You will need to make the dragon parts at least a day before they are needed. And you can change the expression of the dragon by altering the position of the pupil.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pizza Delivery from Dominos

dominos

dominos chimichurri

dominos farmhouse

dominos vegaroma

Recently I was asked whether I’d like to try the new gluten-free pizza delivery from Domino’s. Free pizza, that’s gluten-free? Sure!!

I asked the PR people whether they could guarantee that it would be dairy-free as well and, after a few emails, decided that it sounded safe to try. Apparently, Dominos have spent the past four years developing their gluten-free (and dairy-free) pizza base and it’s endorsed by Coeliac UK. They also say that, because all Domino’s pizza are made to order from scratch, you can have a pizza that’s dairy-free, too. When I asked for confirmation that there wouldn’t be any cross-contamination, the PR lady came back with the following –

One team member will take ownership of each gluten-free pizza from the start to the end of the makeline. The gluten-free bases are made in dedicated central production facilities and every gluten-free base is stores in a sealed pouch before use. Before opening the base, the team member must wash their hands. New pizza screens will be used where possible. If not, the screen will be visually checked to ensure it is clean before a gluten-free base is placed on it. We have carried out extensive testing to prove that any gluten on the screen does not transfer to the gluten-free pizza. Fresh sauce, a clean spoodle and a clean cutter will be used for all gluten-free pizzas. Within each store, a manager or appointed person will conduct a hot rack check to confirm pizza is on the correct base, correctly topped and boxed before it is sent for delivery. I believe that this should remove the issue of cross contamination with dairy, as anything that goes on/near the base is washed thoroughly.

Sounds all good, I thought, and went onto the website to order. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t make the website work (and got a little confused anyway, because the g-f symbols arent consistent). So I called up my local branch and… 15 minutes later… finally finished the call. The woman I first spoke to said that they didn’t do dairy-free. I asked to speak to someone else so she passed me onto another woman who said point blank that they didn’t do dairy-free pizzas. When I pressed her on this (saying that the PR people had asked me to try the pizzas and had assured me that dairy-free was possible), she said that she couldn’t give 100% guarantee that they’d be completely dairy-free. So we talked… and talked… and, in the end, she said that, yes, the team member will wash their hands before making the pizza and, yes, they will use a completely clean screen for it, and that all the equipment and the sauce is guaranteed to be fresh/clean. So I decided to give it a go…

I ordered the Chimichurri (chicken breast strips, red and yellow peppers with a drizzle of Chimichurri sauce – apparently this is the result of a competition on ITV’s This Morning). And I also ordered the Farmhouse (ham, onions, mushrooms) because I thought that Zoe would like it, and the Veg-a-Roma (sundried tomato & garlic sauce, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, herbs) because I love sundried tomatoes.

The pizza base was good. It’s crusty, it holds together well and, while it has a very bland taste, it does taste good (no obvious metallic or bitter aftertaste). And I liked the Chimichurri. The chicken was tender, the yellow and red peppers were really nice, and the sauce was was punchy and garlicy – great. Yay! A good-tasting gluten-free and dairy-free pizza that you can get delivered!

But when I tried the Farmhouse and the Veg-a-Roma, I was disappointed. The Farmhouse had hardly anything on it, and mostly tasted of the tomato sauce, which wasn’t particularly good. Pizza-loving Zoe tried it but didn’t want to eat anything other than the ham on the top. And the Veg-a-Roma again had very little toppings on it, and I didn’t think it tasted particularly of a sundried tomato & garlic sauce, but more of a sugary-sweet tomato sauce with slightly bitter green peppers.

Domino’s tell us that, while some gluten-free products attract a premium, Domino’s gluten-free pizza will be charged at the same price as its other pizzas. Which is great. But what seems to happen when you order it without cheese, is that they don’t make up the shortfall at all. So you end up with a pizza which can feel overpriced for what you’re getting. The Chimichurri is £13.99 which seemed fine because I liked it. But the Farmhouse (£11.99) and Veg-a-Roma (£13.99) didn’t.

So all in all, yes, the pizza’s seem to be safe for anyone who’s gluten-free. And, if you make sure the staff at your local branch understand that they need to be just as careful in terms of dairy-free, it seems to be safe, too. But it would be great if Domino’s would look at what they could do to add extra to the cheese-less versions…