I love baking – when I open the door of the oven and take out the finished result, it feels like I’ve created something wonderful. This tart is taken from my new book Simply Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free which is going to be published on 1 April. This might look hard – but it’s actually incredibly simple to make. You just make the pastry case, then fill it with a mixture of baked aubergine and sun-dried tomato paste, and cover it with chopped tomatoes and basil. You can even make this ahead of time – the pastry dough can be made up to a couple of days before and stored in the fridge, or stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. And you can make the aubergine filling and store this in the fridge for a couple of days, too. Simple and utterly stunning!
gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, citrus-free
Serves 4 Preparation time 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling the pastry Cooking time 1 hour 5 minutes
- dairy-free margarine, for greasing
- 2 aubergines
- 100g/3½oz sun-dried tomato paste
- 6–7 tomatoes, sliced and end pieces discarded
- 12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half lengthways
- 1 small handful of basil leaves, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 potato, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 100g/3½oz/heaped ½ cup rice flour, plus extra for dusting
- 40g/1½oz/heaped ¹⁄₃ cup gram flour
- 40g/1½oz/scant ¹⁄₃ cup maize flour
- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed, plus extra to season
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 125g/4½oz chilled dairy-free margarine, diced, plus extra for greasing
- 1 large egg, beaten
- To make the pastry, put the potato in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat, then turn the heat down to medium and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain, then mash until smooth.
- Sift the flours, salt and xanthan gum into the bowl of a food processor. Add the dairy-free margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then add the mashed potato and blend for a few seconds until mixed in. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl and forms a sticky dough. There should be a little extra moisture at the base of the bowl. If it is too dry, gradually blend in 1–2 tablespoons chilled water. If it is too sticky, add a little rice flour.
- Shape the pastry into a ball, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and grease a loose-based, 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in tart tin with dairy-free margarine. Prick the aubergines all over with a fork, put them in a baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until very soft.
- Meanwhile, liberally dust a large chopping board with rice flour and gently roll out the pastry to about 5mm/¼in thick. Put the loose base of the tart tin on top of the pastry and, using a sharp knife, cut around it. Shape the pastry trimmings into a ball and set aside. Lift the chopping board and turn it over to drop the pastry and base into the tin.
- Dust the chopping board again with rice flour and gently roll the remaining pastry out again. Cut it into strips wide enough to line the sides of the tin. To secure the sides of the tart, lightly brush some water along the bottom edges of the pastry strips that will overlap with the base. Gently press the pastry into the sides of the tin and along the bottom edge where it overlaps with the pastry on the base, taking care to remove any air pockets. Neaten the edges, using a sharp knife, then prick the bottom of the pastry with a fork. Line the pastry case with a piece of baking parchment and fill with baking beans. Bake alongside the aubergines for 12–15 minutes until lightly golden. Take the pastry case out of the oven and remove the parchment and beans, then bake for another 2–3 minutes.
- Remove the aubergines from the oven and turn the oven down to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Cut the aubergines in half and, using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a bowl. Mash well with a fork, then mix in the sun-dried tomato paste.
- Spread the aubergine and tomato mixture over the bottom of the pastry case and cover with the sliced tomatoes, followed by the cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with the basil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Serve either hot or cold.
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.
This is a great mid-week supper for the family which can be made mostly out of ingredients from your storecupboard. You will need a large wok for this one, though, as you need space to stir-fry the egg at the end.
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, soya-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free
preparation time 10 minutes cooking time 15 minutes serves 4
- 250g rice noodles
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
- a 1cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into thin strips
- 2 tsp mild curry powder
- 6 spring onions, finely sliced
- 300g cooked, peeled large king prawns
- 3 tbsp tamari soy sauce
- 2 tbsp fresh gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free chicken stock, or vegetable stock made from gluten-, yeast- and dairy-free stock powder
- 1 organic egg, beaten
- 1½ handfuls chopped coriander leaves
- Put the noodles in a large heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to stand for 5 minutes until soft. Tip into a colander and rinse well with boiling water.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large wok until hot. Add the chicken and cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously, for 5-6 minutes until lightly browned and cooked through, then remove and put on a plate.
- Rinse and dry the wok and pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil. Turn up the heat and heat the oil until hot, add the ginger, chilli and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds, stirring continuously. Add the pepper and continue to stir-fry for 2 minutes, stirring all the time. Stir in the curry powder, spring onions and prawns and stir-fry for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken and noodles and pour in the tamari and stock, and stir in well.
- Push the noodle mixture to one side of the wok and quickly add the egg to the other side. Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes until cooked through, then stir into the noodle mixture. Sprinkle over the coriander and serve immediately.
Create a little piece of French-patisserie heaven in your own kitchen.
There really is something very heart-warming about making and eating Tarte Tatin. Do buy local, organic apples as these will really add to the meltingly sweet taste of the tart, and if you can find xanthum gum, it will make a difference to the pastry, (but don’t worry if you can’t as the pastry will still work without it). I made this for my friends Nichola and Alex when they came round for dinner – and Nichola, who normally never touches desserts, had 2 helpings. Result!
gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free
Preparation time 20 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time Cooking 40–55 minutes Serves 6
- 75g dairy-free margarine
- 100g fruit sugar
- 7 apples, peeled, cored and cut in half
- rice flour, for dusting
- 75g rice flour
- 50g gram flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 50g fruit sugar
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 75g chilled dairy-free margarine
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Sift the flours and the ground almonds into a large mixing bowl and stir in the fruit sugar and xanthum gum. Cut the margarine into small pieces and, using cold fingertips, rub it into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre and add the egg, mixing lightly with a round-bladed knife so that the mixture begins to hold together. Continue adding the egg gradually until it is all mixed in and the mixture begins to come together to form a sticky dough.
- Shape the pastry into a ball. Wrap in greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This amount will line a 25cm tart tin, 3cm deep, or 5 x 12cm tartlet tins, 2cm deep.
- The pastry can also be made in a food processor. Simply tip the sifted flours, ground almonds and sugar into the bowl, add the margarine and blend until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg and blend for 20–30 seconds until the mixture comes together to form a sticky dough, adding more water if needed.
- Heat the margarine gently in a 20cm heavy-based frying pan with an ovenproof handle until melted. Sprinkle the sugar over the top, then arrange the apple halves, cut-side down, in one layer.
- Cook over a gentle heat for 20–30 minutes until the apples are soft and golden and the liquid has caramelized. Remove from the heat.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. Roll the pastry out on a surface liberally dusted with rice flour into a round that is slightly larger than the frying pan. Be careful, as the pastry will still be slightly sticky. Trim the pastry neatly into a circle with a knife. Carefully lift the pastry with a metal spatula and place it on top of the pan, completely covering the apples.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Take the tart out of the oven and leave to cool in the pan for 2 minutes. Place a serving plate, upside-down, over the top of the pan, then, holding the pan and plate together, turn them over so that the tarte tatin turns out onto the serving plate with the caramelized apples on top, and serve.