Cauliflower works brilliantly with bold, spicy flavours. Its delicate taste and texture when cooked just soaks them in. And it’s a lovely firm vegetable that is substantial – making it a great addition to a gluten-free kitchen.
Here I’ve mixed up a batter, using rice flour, gram flour and cornflour, and then sparkling water as the Japanese do in their tempura recipes to make the batter light. I’ve seasoned the batter with salt and ground chilli, cumin, turmeric and coriander – making them quite fiery. But if you’d like them less full-on, just halve the quantities of those spices. And then I’ve made a coriander-yogurt to dip them into.
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Makes 12 large or about 20 small fritters Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 10 minutes
- 1 cauliflower
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour
- 50g/1¾oz/scant ½ cup gram flour
- 100g/3½oz cornflour
- ½ tsp crushed sea salt
- 2 tsp ground mild chilli
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150ml/5fl/oz fizzy water
- 2 large handfuls chopped coriander leaves
- at least 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup rapeseed oil or olive oil, for frying
- 300ml/10½fl oz/scant 1¼ cups dairy-free soya yogurt
- 1 large handful finely chopped coriander leaves
- sea salt
- Break the cauliflower into small florets. Put into a steamer and steam over a high heat for 4–5 minutes until the thicker stalks are tender but the cauliflower still has a firm texture.
- Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl and stir in the salt and spices. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the garlic, egg and fizzy water. Beat slowly with a wooden spoon to draw in the flours to make a smooth batter. Stir in the steamed cauliflower and, using the spoon, mash the cauliflower up into small pieces then add the coriander and mix in well.
- Heat enough oil in a large frying pan to deep fry the fritters over a medium heat until hot. Spoon a couple of large spoonfuls or a few small spoonfuls, depending on the size of fritters you want, into the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes on each side or until golden. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and put on a pile of kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.
- Repeat with the remaining batter, keeping the cooked fritters warm. Serve hot with the Coriander Yogurt.
This recipe is adapted from one in Sunil Vijayakar’s The Big Book of Curries. Sunil is a wonderful food writer and stylist whose understanding of how to cook with spices is inspirational. Here he’s used garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander and chilli, along with fresh coriander, mint and lime – which is a fairly traditional mixture. But what I loved about this recipe was the perfect balancing of these spices – just enough ground cumin and ground coriander to give a lovely pungent base and then a really fresh, vibrant chilli, ginger, herbs and lime mixture. (All I did to adapt it was to substitute dairy-free yogurt for the natural yogurt he uses, and I also used unsalted peanuts instead of the skinless roasted ones he uses, simply to reduce the salt count.)
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, egg-free, seed-free
Preparation time 20 minutes, plus at least 4 hours marinating Cooking time 10 minutes Serves 4
- 100ml/3½fl oz/scant ½ cup dairy-free, plain yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 tsp peeled and finely grated root ginger
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 green chilli, finely chopped
- 1 large handful coriander leaves, chopped
- 1 small handful mint leaves, chopped
- juice of 2 limes
- 800g/1lb 12oz skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 tbsp chopped unsalted peanuts
- lime wedges, to serve
- Put the dairy-free yogurt, garlic, ginger, cumin, ground coriander, chilli, coriander and mint leaves and lime juice in a blender and blend for 2–3 minutes until fairly smooth. Season lightly with salt.
- Put the chicken in a large bowl, pour over the yogurt mixture and toss to coat evenly. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 4–6 hours, or overnight, if time permits.
- If using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for at least 30 minutes before cooking. Preheat the grill to medium-high. Thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and grill, turning frequently, for 8–10 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve hot with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Jenny from Juvela very kindly sent me some samples of the Juvela range of products (many thanks, Jenny!) and I thought the Tagliatelle was great – incredibly easy to cook, with no need to add oil or keep stirring to stop it sticking together. And it’s made from good ingredients – Maize starch, Egg, Rice Starch, Emulsifier (Mono- & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids).
I tend to eat gluten-free pasta that’s either got a lot of corn in it, or made completely with corn – so they’re always a yellow colour. Having a beautifully light – almost cream-coloured – pasta in my cupboard inspired me to make a very light/fresh-coloured dish. So I made a Watercress & Pea Tagliatelle. Watercress is an often-unsung food hero. With a spectacularly unique, peppery taste, it’s absolutely packed with nutrition. It normally comes into season May–October but I found some last weekend. So, when autumn arrives and most of the seasonal veggies are root veggies or squashes, watercress stands out as a wonderfully fresh, zingy ingredient to work with. (I have cheated, though, and used completely non-seasonal frozen peas, too!)
gluten-free, wheat-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free
Preparation time 5 minutes Cooking time 10–12 minutes Serves 2
- 150g/5½oz gluten-free tagliatelle or other gluten-free pasta
- 200g/7oz shelled peas
- 2 egg yolks
- juice ½ lemon
- 200g/7oz/scant 1 cup soya yogurt
- 50g/1¾oz watercress
- 50g/1¾oz soya cheese, grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Add the tagliatelle and cook over a medium-high heat for 8–10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions.
- Meanwhile, put the peas in a steamer and steam, covered, over a high heat for 3–4 minutes until tender. Remove and set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice and soya yogurt and set aside.
- Drain the tagliatelle and rinse well with boiling water, then drain again. Put the tagliatelle back in the saucepan and quickly stir in the egg mixture. Quickly add the peas and watercress, stir thoroughly and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with the grated soya cheese sprinkled over the top.
Zoë is now 2 years old! We had a birthday party in the park at the weekend to celebrate with her friends, including Ivy pictured here – and it was wonderful! For the tea I cooked chicken nuggets, squash nuggets, sweet potato wedges, sausages and dips with vegetable sticks. And then I made Carrot and Beetroot Cupcakes from my book, The Best Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes. I still don’t give Zoe sugar generally and I thought these cupcakes would be good because they’re much lower in sugar than most cupcakes. I promised that I would post the recipe…
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 10 minutes Cooking time 15–18 minutes makes 12
150g/5oz dairy-free margarine, softened
125g/4oz/¾ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
75g/2½oz/scant ½ cup rice flour
75g/2½oz/⅔ cup gram flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
scant ½ tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp ground cinnamon
200g/7oz carrots, peeled and grated
100g/3½oz beetroots, peeled and grated
100g/3½oz soya yogurt
2 tbsp clear honey
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Arrange 12 paper cupcake cases in a bun tin.
- Using an electric whisk, beat the margarine and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until well mixed.
- Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and ground cinnamon into the mixture, then quickly fold it in, followed by the grated carrots and beetroots, using a metal spoon. Make sure the mixture is well blended, but take care not to overmix.
- Divide the mixture between the cupcake cases and bake in the hot oven for 10 minutes, then cover them with a sheet of non-stick baking parchment to prevent them from overbrowning and bake for a further 5–8 minutes until well risen and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Take the cupcakes out of the oven, transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
- When the cupcakes have cooled, prepare the topping. Using a whisk or electric blender, whisk together the yogurt and honey in a bowl until smooth. Spread a little of the topping over each one.
Do you like the new taste of Alpro’s Plain Soya Yogurt? www.alprosoya.co.uk I realised that they’d changed the recipe recently – changing it to a sweetened yogurt with tastes of vanilla, despite the fact that it’s still called plain and they already make Alpro Vanilla Soya Yogurt. I often use soya yogurt in savoury dishes – risottos, pastas and curries, for example, and Alpro’s new flavour just doesn’t work in these. So I emailed the company to ask whether they had changed the recipe – and whether they would reconsider. Here was their answer –
Dear Ms Cheetham
Thank you for your comments and feedback regarding the change of recipe to our Plain yogurt alternative and I am sorry that you have not enjoyed this product. We believe that there were improvements to be made to our Alpro soya plain yogurt alternative in order to improve the texture of the product and to eliminate water that could on occasions form on top of the product. We wanted to offer a product which tastes good, especially on its own with fresh fruit or with cereals, we do appreciate that it will no longer have the sour taste associated with some plain yogurts. We do appreciate that this product may not be suitable for savoury cooking. You may like to try our Provamel Organic range of products which are available in health food stores such as Holland and Barrett and independent health stores and does include our Organic plain yogurt which maybe more to your taste.
So I’ve tried to get hold of the Provamel Organic Natural Yofu but it’s hard to get hold of. The beauty of the Alpro yogurts is that you can get them in pretty much any large supermarket and in every health food shop, making it possible to buy them almost whenever you want. But I couldn’t find it in any supermarket or in my local Holland & Barrett. So I trekked to Wholefoods (which I do love, though!) and managed to find it there. And yes, it does taste just like the Alpro Plain Soya Yogurt used to – with a lovely tanginess. And I also bought the Sojade Bio Organic Natural + Bifidus yogurt which was good, but a little watery. But I’ll have to make a special effort to buy this now. I honestly don’t care that you needed to stir or whizz the original Alpro yogurt in order to get a smooth, creamy texture. But I mind hugely that it’s now difficult to get hold of a savoury soya yogurt.