Friday, 30 April 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms

We got our weekly vegbox from Riverford Organic today.  It's always good and packed full of things to inspire me in the kitchen during the week and today was no exception.  There they were, three beautiful, perfectly fresh and delicious looking chestnut mushrooms just asking to be stuffed.  I took the stalks out and peeled them, then popped them under the grill to start cooking down as I made the stuffing.  Onions, the stalks, peppers, and tomatoes were fried until cooked and the liquid was gone then mixed with a chopped ball of mozarella and a tablespoon of wild garlic pesto that my SO made a few weeks ago.  The mushrooms were topped and popped back under the grill until the cheese was golden and then we enjoyed them with some rocket and cherry tomatoes.  Excellent!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Not quite Naan Bread

Naan bread is one of the things I miss about being gluten free.  There's something very special about dipping chunks of warm, flavourful, buttery bread into curries and delivering it to your tastebuds.  Wonderful!  Now this recipe is a very happy accident.  It came about when I was trying to make my frying pan corn bread and wanted to go lower carb so tried using gram flour in the place of the polenta.  It came out great and slightly naan bready in flavour, so the next time around I tried it with just gram flour.  It's not quite a naan bread, but if you're on a gluten free diet, or just going low carb, this is a great way to almost get a naan bread.

Not quite naan bread
1/2 cup of gram flour
1/4 cup of milk
1 egg
1 tsp baking powder
1tsp ghee or ground nut oil

Heat a small frying pan and add the ghee or oil.  In a bowl mix the other ingredients together to make a smooth batter.  Pour into the pan and cook on a medium heat until the bottom is golden, then turn and cook the other side.

We've had this plain and we've had this Peshwari style, by adding dessicated coconut, raisins and flaked almonds to the pan once the bottom has started to cook and patting them down into the mixture.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Cauliflower 'rice'

I'm still experimenting with a low(er) carb diet.  Not Atkins or South Beach or anything like that, just trying to eat lower GI foods than I generally would, and increase the protein content.  Whilst looking for recipes I came across one for cauliflower rice which sounded intriguing.  Now, cauliflower and I used to be best friends.  It was my favourite vegetable.  I loved it with white sauce particularly, and a good buttery cauliflower soup was a real treat.  Then I got pregnant.  For some reason cauliflower became my nemesis.  At one point if someone even said the word to me, I was sick!  Even now I just don't enjoy the flavour any more, so when I read that this cauliflower rice didn't really taste of cauliflower I wondered whether this would be a good way to wean myself back on to the stuff that I used to adore, both cooked and raw.

To make cauliflower rice, you just cut a head of cauliflower into pieces and grate it in the food processor.  The result is a rice-like mixture that just needs a little cooking.  Most of the recipes I found used a microwave but not being a fan of the thing that goes beep, I decided I'd try a fried rice approach instead.  I sauteed an onion in some vegetable oil, then added the cauliflower and cooked over a medium heat, turning regularly, until the texture was rice like.

The result was very light and tasty, like the fluffiest of rice.  You really weren't aware you were eating cauliflower, and it was a great partner to the vegetable curry I had made to go with it.  I have to say, I'm a convert!  I'm really looking forward now to trying this 'rice' in some of my favourite recipes, including Paella.

Wild Garlic and Soft Cheese Gnocchi

Home Baked blogged about wild garlic and ricotta gnocchi a few days ago, I mentioned this to my SO and said it sounded good and so the next time he came across a patch of the stuff he brought it home for me. Wild garlic is wonderful stuff. All the aroma of the 'real' thing with none of the heat, it has a subtle flavour and wilts like spinach into any dish you care to put it in. Soup, stew, stir fries, curries; you name it, it tastes good in it.

We didn't have any ricotta in the fridge, but we did have a tub of soft cheese, so I checked out a few ricotta gnocchi recipes and adapted to come up with this:

Wild Garlic and Soft Cheese Gnocchi (serves 3-4)
1 1/4 cups of plain flour
8 ounces of soft cheese
1 egg
A bunch of wild garlic, finely chopped

Mix the ingredients together to form a dough, adding extra flour as needed until you can work it into small balls.  Make your sauce.  Boil some water and add the gnocchi, cooking for 2-3 minutes.  They will rise to the top during cooking but leave the in for the full time to ensure they are cooked in the centre.  Eat with the sauce!

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Coconut Lime Cake with Lime Cream Cheese Frosting

I've become a regular reader of Home Baked, a blog about baking and home educating.  Whilst I don't plan to home educate my son, I'm not ruling out the possibility that we might end up doing it; and in any case there are some great examples of activities to do with bright and active kids which are always handy to have.

Each month the blog has a competition, I entered last months on fantasy food with a bath of my Pop Biscuits, though sadly for me I missed the deadline!  I was determined not to repeat the mistake this time, although when I first read the theme of 'Spring Greens' I didn't have the slightest bit of inspiration.

And then it came to me.  Coconut Lime cake.  I've been wanting to have a crack at this Delia recipe for a while, and this seemed the perfect opportunity.  We had a fresh coconut in the fridge so I grated that up to go in, but unfortunately didn't have the coconut milk powder (or any Malibu to add coconutty-ness). It smelt heavenly as it baked, and my three year old was tempted to steal a piece as it cooled.  Cheeky!  I thought it might go well with a cream cheese frosting, so googled until I came across this Key Lime Frosting recipe, and made that with my rather mundane bottle of lime juice.  I tossed a little dessicated coconut in Apple Green food colouring and scattered it over the top.  Voila!  A spring meadow that only wanted for a few sugar flowers to make it perfect.