Tag Archives: basil

New Pictures for Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Paperback…

My publishers decided to do another cover for the paperback version of my book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free (which has just come out). We sat down and thought about possibilities… We came up with a the idea of showing either a bread, a pizza, perhaps a tart or even Salmon en Croȗte. So we shot a new version of the Tomato Tart and we also shot a revised version of the Roasted Onion and Lemon Thyme Tart, adding figs to make it look visually punchy. But, in the end, these looked too similar to the cover for my first book, The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes.

Tomato-Tart

Fig-&-Red-Onion-Tart

(We swapped the image of the Roasted Onion, Fig and Lemon Thyme Tart in the inside of the book, and I tweaked the recipe, too.)

We also shot a new version of the Salmon en Croȗte, (and used this new photograph inside, too), but it didn’t work as a cover image.

Salmon-Encroute

We shot a Seedy Bread and also the Rosemary Focaccia but these, too, didn’t work as a cover image. What did work, though, was the pizza. It came out looking completely delicious and seemed to underline the message of the book – that cooking gluten-free and dairy-free can be truly easy. So we went with it – and I love it. I had changed artichokes and olives for peppers and pine nuts in the recipe, to make it more colourful – and I think the colours now sing and the whole thing looks brilliant!

Pizza-2_RETOUCHEDuzma2

Chargrilled Pepper, Parma Ham and Pine Nut Pizza

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 2     Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes rising     Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 80g/2¾oz/1 cup drained, bottled or tinned chargrilled peppers in oil, cut into strips
  • 50g/1¾oz Parma ham, thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 large basil leaves, torn into little pieces
  • 30–60g/1–2¼oz/⅓–⅔ cup soya cheese, shaved
  • 25g/1oz pine nuts, toasted

Pizza Dough:

  • 85g/3oz/scant ½ cup brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • 85g/3oz/¾ cup gram flour
  • 30g/1¼oz/¼ cup maize flour
  • scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried active yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. To make the pizza dough, sift the flours, xanthan gum, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl and, using a metal whisk, mix thoroughly. Add the oil and mix in gently. Pour in 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup warm water and, using either a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly. It will be sticky. Alternatively, sift the flours, xanthan gum, salt and yeast into a food processor. Blend to mix together, then add the oil and blend well. Add 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup warm water, a little at a time, and continue blending to form a soft dough. Process for 3–4 minutes to aerate the dough. Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface and knead a little, then shape it into a ball. Flatten the dough slightly, roll it out into a large circle about 5mm/¼in thick and neaten the edge, using a sharp knife. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
  3. Put the passata and tomato purée in a bowl and mix well, then spread it over the pizza base and place the peppers, ham, cherry tomatoes and basil over the top. Bake for 12 minutes until the base is starting to turn brown and the tomato sauce is bubbling. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle the cheese and pine nuts over the top, then return to the oven for 3–4 minutes until the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.

New Pictures for Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Paperback…

My publishers decided to do another cover for the paperback version of my book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free (which has just come out). We sat down and thought about possibilities… We came up with a the idea of showing either a bread, a pizza, perhaps a tart or even Salmon en Croȗte. So we shot a new version of the Tomato Tart and we also shot a revised version of the Roasted Onion and Lemon Thyme Tart, adding figs to make it look visually punchy. But, in the end, these looked too similar to the cover for my first book, The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes.

Tomato-Tart

Fig-&-Red-Onion-Tart

(We swapped the image of the Roasted Onion, Fig and Lemon Thyme Tart in the inside of the book, and I tweaked the recipe, too.)

We also shot a new version of the Salmon en Croȗte, (and used this new photograph inside, too), but it didn’t work as a cover image.

Salmon-Encroute

We shot a Seedy Bread and also the Rosemary Focaccia but these, too, didn’t work as a cover image. What did work, though, was the pizza. It came out looking completely delicious and seemed to underline the message of the book – that cooking gluten-free and dairy-free can be truly easy. So we went with it – and I love it. I had changed artichokes and olives for peppers and pine nuts in the recipe, to make it more colourful – and I think the colours now sing and the whole thing looks brilliant!

Pizza-2_RETOUCHEDuzma2

Chargrilled Pepper, Parma Ham and Pine Nut Pizza

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 2     Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes rising     Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 6 tbsp passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 80g/2¾oz/1 cup drained, bottled or tinned chargrilled peppers in oil, cut into strips
  • 50g/1¾oz Parma ham, thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 10 large basil leaves, torn into little pieces
  • 30–60g/1–2¼oz/⅓–⅔ cup soya cheese, shaved
  • 25g/1oz pine nuts, toasted

Pizza Dough:

  • 85g/3oz/scant ½ cup brown rice flour, plus extra for rolling the dough
  • 85g/3oz/¾ cup gram flour
  • 30g/1¼oz/¼ cup maize flour
  • scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried active yeast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  1. To make the pizza dough, sift the flours, xanthan gum, salt and yeast into a large mixing bowl and, using a metal whisk, mix thoroughly. Add the oil and mix in gently. Pour in 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup warm water and, using either a wooden spoon or your hands, mix thoroughly. It will be sticky. Alternatively, sift the flours, xanthan gum, salt and yeast into a food processor. Blend to mix together, then add the oil and blend well. Add 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup warm water, a little at a time, and continue blending to form a soft dough. Process for 3–4 minutes to aerate the dough. Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with cling film and leave to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Turn the dough out again onto a lightly floured surface and knead a little, then shape it into a ball. Flatten the dough slightly, roll it out into a large circle about 5mm/¼in thick and neaten the edge, using a sharp knife. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet.
  3. Put the passata and tomato purée in a bowl and mix well, then spread it over the pizza base and place the peppers, ham, cherry tomatoes and basil over the top. Bake for 12 minutes until the base is starting to turn brown and the tomato sauce is bubbling. Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle the cheese and pine nuts over the top, then return to the oven for 3–4 minutes until the cheese has started to melt. Serve immediately.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Aubergine & Tomato Stacks

Full of the flavours of the Mediterranean, this recipe transports you to sun-drenched Italy! As someone who has been intolerant to gluten and dairy for many, many years, I’ve generally stayed away from Italian food, thinking that it’s mainly based around pasta, pizza and a lot of cheese. But when we went to Tuscany recently, I discovered that real Italian food is a wonderfully, all-embracing cuisine. Of course there’s pasta and pizza and of course there are many different cheese showcased throughout the menus. But there’s also a delicious range of recipes that create little bites of heaven with vegetables, meat, fish and fruit, as well. In Tuscany I gained enormous respect for the way Italians work with local produce and hope that this (dairy-free) Italian-style recipe does the cuisine justice.

gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 35 minutes

Ingredients:

Dairy-Free Pesto:

  • 60g/2¼oz basil leaves
  • 30g/1oz/scant ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g/1¾oz dairy-free cheese
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large aubergines, sliced widthways and ends removed
  • 3–4 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 large tomatoes, sliced and ends removed
  • 200g/7oz dairy-free soya cheese, cut into small square-shaped slices
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • a few basil leaves, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 and put the aubergine slices onto a baking tray. Drizzle over the oil and bake for 20 minutes until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Heat a large heavy-based frying pan over a medium heat. Add the pine nuts and dry-fry until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Wash the basil and pat dry in a clean kitchen towel. Put the pine nuts, basil, garlic and dairy-free cheese into a food processor and blitz. With the motor running, pour the oil until a thick, dense sauce forms.
  3. When the aubergines have cooked, put a slice of tomato on top of each aubergine slice. Then put a small dollop of the pesto sauce on top and cover with a slice of dairy-free cheese.
  4. Return to the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until the dairy-free cheese is starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven.
  5. To make the stacks, put one pile of aubergine/tomato/pesto/dairy-free cheese on top of another, on a serving plate, using the smaller piles to put on top of the larger ones. Press the stacks down slightly to anchor them. This will make about 12 stacks.
  6. Cut the avocado into quarters and remove the skins and stone. Slice each quarter into thirds and half each slice. Top the stacks with a couple of pieces of avocado each and sprinkle the basil over. Serve hot or cold.

Sunshine, Gluten-Free Bread & Bruschetta in Tuscany

Just back from a heavenly week in Tuscany. Ahhhhhhh. I’ve never been (other than a weekend in Florence for Peter’s 40th) and have longed to go for years and years – and we finally made it. We stayed in an agriturismo appartment on the side of a beautifully-restored old farmhouse and spent the week travelling around, seeing the stunning countryside and persuading Zoe to look round Pisa and Sienna with us… Every morning I would get up and go for a swim in the salt-water pool pictured above. Truly, life doesn’t get much better than those early morning swims as the sunlight bounced on the water and the scent of the lavender bushes filled the air. (We’re now back in grey, chilly London and I’m dreaming of those swims!)

The farmer grows olives and makes the most delicious olive oil – smooth and clean yet full of depths of flavours.

We swam and swam and swam some more – in the pool, at the beach and even in this river where there were hot springs. The smell of sulphur was strong but somehow not unpleasant and we lay in the water, and then covered ourselves with the mud and sat in the water, letting the water do its magic. The waters are mainly detoxifying, drawing out toxins and impurities, but they also act as a relaxant and stress-reliever (so you come out feeling very sleepy!) and are also great for various allergic/intolerant conditions, especially eczema, psoriasis, asthma and sinusitis.

We went to Sienna which was stunning. The medieval buildings, famous Piazza and Duomo were awe-inspiring. According to Roman legend, Sienna was founded by Senius, who was the son of Remus. (Remus, and his brother Romulus, were the legendary founders of Rome. They were the sons of Mars who were abandoned as babies but saved by a she-wolf who suckled them and a woodpecker who fed them, and then rescued by a shepherd.)

Sienna is full of statues and artwork showing the she-wolf suckling the young babies. And the duomo is bursting with beautiful paintings, statues and glass windows.

And I was wowed by the Siennese style of paintings (you can see a rather bad photo of one of them below) which are full of bright, bold colour blocks and a modern-feeling graphic styling (despite the medieval style of painting.)

We went to Pisa, too, and took Zoe round the Duomo there. The audio equipment was brilliant as it meant Zoe was intrigued by the handsets and chatted into those while we gazed at the paintings! The Italians are generally lovely about kids and let them play and run around. We kept it to a minimum in the Cathedral (!) but even when Zoe was ordering rice and chocolate cake down the audio handset, they didn’t bat an eyelid.

And on the subject of food – yes it was amazing! The fruit was sweet and juicy and the vegetables full of the flavours of sunshine; the selection of prosciutto and hams in the delis were joyous; and the fresh fish and seafood were all gorgeous. But generally gluten-free or dairy-free in restaurants or cafés weren’t an option. We were in deepest, rural Tuscany – where they would serve just a few dishes with home-made gluten pasta and rich cheeses. But I happened on a selection of gluten-free breads in the small supermarket in the local town and, from then on, happily munched my way through the gluten-free breadsticks, buns and bread…

And I made a wonderful, wonderful bruschetta with toasted gluten-free buns, rich, plump tomatoes, pungent garlic and sweet, earthy basil leaves.

This recipe (inspired by her home-grown tomatoes) came from Renée Elliott’s website and it’s utterly delicious.

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

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 as a starter    Preparation time 20 minutes     Cooking time 15 minutes

  • 125ml/4fl oz/½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 thick slices of gluten-free bread, or 4 gluten-free rolls, halved
  • 4 ripe medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 10g/¼oz basil leaves, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  1. Heat the oven to 220˚C/440˚F/gas 7.  Pour the oil into a medium bowl, add the salt and pepper and mix well.  Dip each side of the bread in the oil until lightly coated with oil and put the bread in a shallow baking tray.  Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until crisp.
  2. Meanwhile, add the tomatoes, basil and garlic to the oil and mix well.  Transfer the toasted bread to a serving plate, top generously with the tomato mixture and serve.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Kelp Noodles with a Chilli Lime Dressing

Last night I made a recipe from Christine Bailey’s new book The Raw Food Diet. A raw food diet is increasingly recognised as a superhealthy way to eat (and followed by many celebs, including Jennifer Aniston and Demi Moore). Raw food is basically food that hasn’t been heated above 47.7°C/118°F. It’s all about pure, unadulterated, whole food that is rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes and phytonutrients – mainly from lots of veggies (especially green leafy ones), fruit and nuts. Processed or refined foods are out, and alkaline foods and drinks are in, especially those that are nutrient-dense, such as kale. And by not cooking any of the food above 47.7%, the valuable enzymes are preserved. Raw foodists swear that their diet improves their digestion and immune function. Many lose weight and say that their skin and hair looks much better, and that their energy levels are much higher. They also claim that it can bring relief to allergies and intolerances, as well as reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. You don’t have to follow a raw food diet 100% of the time. It makes sense to eat food in its natural state and devotees reckon that even if you can only eat 40-50% of your food raw, this will make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing.

I made Christine’s Kelp Noodles with a Chilli Lime Dressing. I’ve never tried kelp noodles before but I’ve been wanting to try them because they’re so good for you. Kelp noodles look and taste very similar to glass noodles and are simply made of the sea vegetable, kelp, and water. They’re beloved by many people, including raw foodists, as an alternative to pasta or noodles because they are totally unprocessed don’t need to cooking, (People looking to lose weight also love them because they’re very low in calories and carbohydrates.) Plus, kelp is a true superfood, like all sea vegetables. It’s rich in minerals, including iodine, plus enzymes, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and amino acids. It’s also very cleansing and detoxifying for the body.

Kelp noodles have a very mild taste and soak up flavours beautifully. In this recipe, Christine has added delicious shiitake mushrooms, red pepper and cucumber and created a strong, vibrant dish, full of punchy flavours, especially from the chilli lime dressing. This recipe uses dried kelp noodles, but I used noodles that were immersed in water and sodium alginate, so I didn’t need to soak them.

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, nut-free, seed-free

Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 20 minutes soaking time     Serves: 2     Storage: will keep in the fridge for up to 1 day

Ingredients:

  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 225g/8oz/1½ cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, halved lengthways, deseeded and julienned
  • ½ cucumber, deseeded and julienned
  • 1 tbsp chopped Thai basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 large handful baby spinach leaves
  • 350g/12oz kelp noodles (soaked for 20 minutes, then drained)

Chilli Lime Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tamari soy sauce
  • juice of 3 limes
  • 1 tbsp xylitol
  • 1 tsp deseeded and finely chopped red chilli
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
  1. Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl, then chill until needed.
  2. Put the onion, mushrooms and pepper in a bowl and toss with the dressing. Leave for 10 minutes to soften. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Nutritional analysis per serving: Calories 84kcal • Protein 4.2g • Carbohydrates 16.2g • Fat 1g (of which saturates 0.2g)