Tag Archives: olives

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Porcini & Olive Farinata


Making farinata was a revelation. I discovered that it’s completely delicious – and incredibly moreish. I’ve heard about it, tried one version, and seen a few recipes, but it’s not widely known and it’s not a food that people talk about. And when you look at a recipe for a farinata, you don’t immediately think, ‘Oh, that will be lovely’. I assumed it would just taste of gram flour as it’s just a mixture of the gram flour (chickpea flour), olive oil, salt and water. But it doesn’t. Somehow, the quantities of olive oil and salt combine with the flour to produce a completely different taste. And it is truly delicious! I’ve made it here with sparkling water and I left it to ferment overnight, to create a light, airy texture. And I’ve added a porcini, olive and sage topping (you could use any dried mushroom) to create a rich, earthy vegetarian dish that’s perfect for a lunch at home or even to take with you to the office or in a lunchbox.

Serves 2 Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 4 hours or overnight Cooking time 40 minutes


  • 20g/¾oz dried porcini mushrooms or other dried mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g/1lb 2 oz mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 100g pitted black olives, halved
  • 1½ tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Farinata Dough:

  • 200g/7oz/heaped ⅔ cup gram flour
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 600ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups sparkling water
  1. To make the farinata dough, sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl. Add the oil and the sparkling water and beat gently with a whisk to draw the flour in to make a smooth batter. Cover with cling film and leave for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas 7. To make the topping, put the dried mushrooms and 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water in a bowl and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a clean bowl and reserve the liquid.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based ovenproof frying pan until hot. Whisk the batter lightly then pour half of the mixture into the pan, turning the pan as you pour to coat the bottom of the pan evenly. Bake in the oven for 15–20 minutes, until the farinata has set and the edges are slightly crispy. Remove from the oven and, using a spatula, turn the farinata out onto a serving plate and keep warm. Repeat with the remaining mixture, making sure you whisk the batter again lightly before pouring into the pan.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the remaining two tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, until tender and lightly browned. Add the garlic and fry for a further 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Then add the strained mushrooms, mushroom liquid, olives and sage, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low. Leave to simmer for another 5 minutes, until the liquid has been soaked up or evaporated.
  5. Spread the mushroom and olive mixture over the farrinatas and serve warm.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Roast Leg of Lamb with a Pine Nut & Herb Stuffing

It’s totally true that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach – well, certainly my husband’s. And if Peter’s reaction to this recipe is anything to go by, then THIS recipe is the way to his heart. I knew Peter would like this – he likes strong, robust flavours and loves red meat (a true Aussie bloke!) but, to be honest, I was surprised by quite how much he liked it. This wasn’t just awesome, it was apparently the best thing I’d ever cooked him. Wow!

We eat lamb at Easter, like many people, but as the season for Welsh lamb starts in March and English lamb in April, I find it’s nice to focus on eating lamb in springtime, anyway. Red meat is sometimes viewed by people as an unhealthy choice. The BSE and Foot and Mouth crises seem to have turned people away from eating red meat, and the fear of high amounts of saturated fat in those meats seem to have kept them away. But if you buy good-quality meat (I always buy organic meat because I want to eat meat that has been humanely reared and doesn’t have residues of pesticides, chemicals or antibiotics), and either buy meat that is lean or remove the fat after cooking, then you are eating something that is incredibly good for you. Meat is truly full of goodness – and is crammed with protein, the building block for our bones, tissues and teeth – which keeps us strong and healthy.

As well as being rich in protein, lamb is also an amazing sourced of two vital minerals – iron and zinc. Iron keeps us strong and full of energy (when you’re low in iron, you can become anaemic, and this will make you feel tired and weak). Zinc is probably the most important mineral in terms of your immune system. (If you get a cold or infection, it’s always worth increasing your zinc intake as it will help to fight these infections.)

Lamb is also a great source of many vitamins, including vitamin B3 (which helps boost your memory) and vitamin B12 (which is key to the production of red blood cells and cell metabolism). Lamb also contains selenium (great for your heart) and sulphur (good for your hair, nails and joints).

This is an incredibly easy recipe to make. You just whizz the stuffing ingredients up, stuff the joint and into the oven. Serve with lots of veggies and I promise you’ll love every mouthful!

Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 1 hour 11 minutes, plus 10 minutes resting time     Serves 6–8

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


2–3 slices gluten-free bread (or 100g/3½oz gluten-free breadcrumbs)
12 drained stoneless black olives in brine
3 garlic cloves
3 drained, bottled anchovy fillets in oil
8 drained, bottled sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 small handful of rosemary leaves
1 small handful of thyme leaves
1 large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 handfuls pine nuts
1 leg of lamb, approximately 2.5kg/5lb 8oz with the H bone and thigh bone tunnel-boned and removed (ask your butcher to do this)

1    Preheat the oven to 250°C/500°F/gas 9. Put the bread in a food processor and blend until the mixture becomes fine breadcrumbs. Remove from the food processor and leave to one side.
2    Rinse the olives and drain them. Put in a mini food processor and add the garlic, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary and thyme. Blend to form a finely chopped paste. Transfer to the food processor and add the parsley. Pulse until the parsley is finely chopped, then add the pine nuts and breadcrumbs and pulse until the pine nuts are chopped.
3    Spoon the stuffing mixture into the cavity of the lamb, pressing down well with the back of a spoon to pack the stuffing in, and secure by tying with string. (Next time I make this recipe, I’ll use more string and tie it up more!) Rub the olive oil over the lamb then transfer to a baking tray.
4    Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook for a further 55 minutes – 1 hour 10 minutes, depending on how pink you like the meat. Remove from the oven and cover with baking parchment, ensuring the ends of the paper are tucked under the tin. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then remove the baking parchment and serve.