Gluten-Free Success!

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I’ve had some disasters lately with my gluten-free experiments, but today I got something right. ๐Ÿ™‚
This banana bread is a recipe I created a couple of years ago but needed adapting to my store cupboard ingredients, so this is what I did…

In one large bowl, I stirred together

125g of gluten-free flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
just over 75g of dried fruit mix (sultanas, dried peel)

 

Then in another fairly large bowl, I mixed (well)

2 large mashed ripe bananas
1 egg
2 dessertspoons maple syrup
4 dessertspoons milk
50g. melted butter

 
Then poured the wet ingredients into the dry and beat for about 15 seconds (just to get the mix well combined and incorporating some air)

Poured into a lined loaf tin and baked in a preheated oven (175degrees) for 33 minutes – 2 more minutes and the top would’ve been too brown. I lifted it out with the baking parchment lining and left it to cool on a wire tray until I couldn’t wait to cut it!

This is a really good ‘filler’ loaf/cake and the ingredients can be healthed-up a bit by using melted coconut oil instead of butter and honey instead of maple syrup.

If you use a non-dairy milk this is a dairy-free, gluten-free and sugar-free recipe. And it’s delicious. The cut slice in the photo disappeared as soon as the photo was taken!

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Nutrition

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Well day two turned out to be nearly two weeks late! So much – and so little – going on right now on this crazy planet of ours.

Nourishment or nutrition was to be my next post so, chocolate aside, what can we eat to make us feel good and doesn’t require a cordon bleu diploma?

If you’re vegan you probably have all this stuff sussed by now. I haven’t managed the step yet as I don’t know quite how I would survive without eggs or honey, but there’s time, there’s time!

In my region, we’re not finding it easy to get basic foodstuffs (at affordable prices) and, having moved house fairly recently, I hadn’t yet stocked my food cupboards so I’m having to be very inventive when it comes to dinners. Some work out better than others. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you can get hold of fresh veg and a few herbs though, soups go down well and a crusty loaf of bread will satisfy the carb cravings.

I like to make soups and one-pot meals – less washing-up! But also, when you make soup, you’re keeping the nutrients in, rather than draining them away after steaming or boiling. And the more nutrients we can get, at the moment especially, the better.

In the UK, we should be in asparagus season about now. Asparagus is probably my favourite veggie but tends to be expensive. Making soup seems to make it go further.

Note to self: Remember to get some asparagus crowns to plant!

Anyway, there’s a recipe below fromย  this page and I hope you enjoy it.

Aside from fresh vegetables, dried foods can help fill the gap. Pasta seems to have become one of the most bought items in the big supermarkets. Whether you buy wholemeal, plain or gluten-free pasta, there are a ton of recipes you could try that liven it up a bit. Make it as enjoyable as you can.

(I’m a fine one to talk as years of cooking for a big family made me a very lazy kitchen person.ย  Nutritious? – tick = throw it on a plate.)

But yesterday, I had a moment of madness and created a pasta bake out of random ingredients. Lots of prep but quite fun and definitely not hard! Apologies to vegans and vegetarians but this is what I did:

*Cooked the gluten-free pasta (for two servings), drained and put in a bowl.
*Steamed a handful of torn up kale
*Grilled 3 thin rashers of bacon, then cut into small pieces
*Boiled two eggs, peeled and chopped them
*Gently fried 2 chopped fresh tomatoes and 3 cloves of chopped garlic

Mixed all the cooked ingredients together in a bowl, then I made a plain white sauce, using cornflour and milk. Found a little cheddar, so grated that and stirred it into the white sauce until melted. Poured the sauce over the bowl of pasta mix and stirred it gently to coat everything.

Then I popped it in the oven – not too hot – for about 20-25 minutes. Serve with any green salad or veg you can rustle up.

It was interesting and tasted good but a little bland. I didn’t have any fresh herbs, but if you have some, definitely add them. But, mostly, use what you have in the cupboard, tinned sweetcorn and tuna go well together. Experiment!

So, the promised asparagus soup recipe…..

INGREDIENTS:
asparagus
butter or margarine
water or stock
seasoning
1 medium sized onion

METHOD:
1. Prepare asparagus and onion and cut into small pieces.
2. Melt butter in saucepan and add asparagus and onions. Cook gently until the vegetables start to soften. Keep the heat low and a careful eye open at this stage. Don’t burn the precious veggies!
3. Add stock and seasoning and bring to the boil. Simmer until vegetables are soft.
4. Either serve as a clear soup or puree the vegetables in a blender or through a sieve. Re-heat gently.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

P.S. There’s a long list of family recipes here

 

Easter Eggs

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We often have rain or even snow at Easter. This year, who knows what’s going to happen next?! But, if you have some time on your hands and are up for a challenge, I found this recipe in an old recipe book called ‘The Chocolate Book’ – I don’t think it’s still in print but if I find it I’ll add a link.

Do this on a day when you can use the egg for an omelette or cake etc; because the eggs are moulds for this recipe.

Anyway, here goes…. (Very fiddly!)

 

Ingredients: (makes 4)

4 medium eggs
8oz. (225g.) plain or milk chocolate
3oz. (75g.) finely ground praline
2 tablespoons (30mls) cream

Decorations (all optional):
Icing to pipe
edible balls/flowers etc
coloured ribbon

 
Method:

1. Using an egg prick or pin, pierce a hole in the pointed end of each egg.
2. Using small scissors, carefully enlarge the hole to about 1cm (half and inch)
3. Using a cocktail stick or toothpick, push it into the hole to puncture the yolk. Shake the raw egg into a bowl.
4. Run water gently into the shells and shake until clean. Turn upside down and leave to dry.
5. Melt the chocolate. Stir in the praline and cream. Spoon or pour the mixture into the dry shells and leave to set.
6. When set, break the shell and decorate with icing or silver balls and flowers

Alternative:
When set, seal the holes with a small sticker and place face down in an egg box – probably be better to make six if you are doing this. Remember to increase the ingredients. Bon Appetit!

Stay safe and well,
Linda x

P.S. For grown-ups, you could add a little brandy or rum to the chocolate mixture ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Carrot Recipe

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Carrots are thought to have been cultivated 5000 years ago in many different colours including red, yellow and purple varieties. The bright orange carrot we know and love today was developed in Holland in the 16th century when they crossed red and yellow varieties.

Carrots contain beta-carotene which is a form of vitamin A. One medium carrot will provide the recommended daily requirement of vitamin A for an average adult. They also contain vitamins B1 and B6, and are a healthy low calorie snack.

 

Try this delicious recipe

CARROT, ORANGE and ALMOND SOUP

Ingredients:
6 carrots, prepared and sliced
2 onions, chopped
4oz (100g.) ground almonds
1 orange
A little butter
seasoning
2 pints (1 litre or about 5 cups) vegetable (or chicken) stock

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the prepared carrots and onions
2. Cook gently for a few minutes until vegetables begin to soften. Donโ€™t let them burn
3. Add the stock and seasoning to taste and bring to the boil
4. Reduce heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until vegetables are tender
5. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a minute or two
6. Blend quickly in a liquidizer or food processor and return to the pan
7. Finely grate half the peel of the orange and add to the soup with the almonds
8. Squeeze the juice from the orange and add to the pan
9. Re-heat gently for a few minutes and serve hot

Growing Carrots

One of the best things about growing your own food is that you can eat the fruits of your labour while very young and sweet! Make sure you remember to eat the tiny carrots you thin out from your lines. They are perfect in a salad bowl.

The recipe above is one of many veggie recipe ideas included in the new updated edition of Growing Everyday Vegetables – quick download and available in lots of online stores now!

Growing EverydayVegetables

Growing Everyday Vegetables

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Apple Bookstore , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble (Nook) , Etsy (Top featured listing),

Bon Appetit and Happy Gardening!
Linda x

Best Tomato Soup

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I’ve always been fussy about tinned soups and couldn’t understand why anyone would like tinned tomato soup when, in my world, it didn’t taste much like tomatoes at all!

Anyway, food snobberie aside :-), this recipe came to my rescue! Really worth a try.

TOMATO SOUP

Soups don’t have to be limited to winter months. Served with a hot crusty loaf, this tomato soup is as good as a wholesome meal on a warm summer evening.

INGREDIENTS:
As many tomatoes as you can fit into a large soup saucepan
1 medium sized potato
1 small onion
A little cooking oil

METHOD:
1. Remove skin from tomatoes before cooking. This can be tricky and time consuming. Try blanching by plunging the tomatoes into boiling water for a few seconds. Make a cross with a sharp knife in the base of the tomato first and remove any leaves and stalks. Blanching will help loosen the skin. Then either slide the skin off with your fingers or use a small sharp vegetable knife to remove it.

2. Peel potato and cut into cubes. Peel and chop onion. Gently fry both in a little cooking oil in a large saucepan. Stir until potato is fairly soft. Don’t let it burn.

3. Then start adding your peeled tomatoes. Cut them up roughly and add a few at a time, stirring well after each addition. Keep the heat on low-medium, and add your tomatoes until there’s no more space! You shouldn’t need to add water, but make sure the mix isn’t too dry. If it is, add a little water at a time.

4. Stir over a gentle heat until the tomatoes are cooked and everyone is hungry. Add a sprig of basil during the last few minutes of cooking to really zip up the flavour.

If you prefer to blend the soup, let it cool for a couple of minutes, blend in a food processor or similar device then return to the pan and stir over a very gentle heat for a couple of minutes until re-heated right through.

Optional: Swirl a spoonful of cream into each bowl or tureen and add a sprig of basil to garnish

Serve with crusty bread

Bon Appetit!
Linda x

P.S. Just a quick reminder. If you are thinking about growing some fresh organic produce yourself this year, and you don’t need a big garden or lots of energy to grow a few things, try tomatoes first. You’ll never look back. A freshly grown tomato tastes like a tomato should! This guide will help you get the most from your crops…

Tomatoes

How to Grow Tomatoes available from….

 

Amazon US , Amazon UK , Apple Bookstore , Kobo , Payhip , Barnes & Noble ,

 

Happy Gardening!

Vintage Download

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I love finding old fashioned recipes and always love posting ‘new’ vintage styles of cooking. Anyway, I decided to put a book together.

Just a quick download that you can dip into from time to time or go all out and try all 30 recipes this summer. They are mostly summer recipes I guess because of the ‘salad’ word!

Personally I like to have a salad with a hot meal but that’s not everyone’s taste of course.

Grab it now though while it’s still on the very low intro price – It’s only available on Payhip or Etsy as a pdf download and it’s only ยฃ1.00 ๐Ÿ™‚

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Vegetable Recipes

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Vegetable recipes make every meal a lot tastier and can even encourage the children to eat their spinach!

Although vegetables are tasty, most of us in the western world have had our taste buds bombarded with all sorts of dynamic flavours, some nicer than others. But on a healthy diet where cakes, crisps and highly flavoured processed foods take a back seat, vegetable recipes are a fun way to enjoy the most ‘boring’ foods.

Experiment with favourite flavours. Curry sauces or your own blend of hot spices can make all the difference.
Here are a few vegetable recipes using everyday veggies you can grow in your garden…….( remember to compost all your vegetable peelings.. find out how to start composting on my sister site at Wix …Composting )

Broad Bean Salad:

– Shell beans, rinse, place in a saucepan and cover with water.
– Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until tender.
– Drain and allow to cool thoroughly.
– Prepare a bowl of shredded mixed lettuce.
– Make a sauce by mixing natural yoghurt with mayonnaise or fromage frais or any low fat dressing that you prefer.
– Finely chop a few fresh leaves of mint and mix into the yoghurt sauce.
– Blend the beans and sauce together and then spoon onto the bowl of lettuce. Serve chilled.

 
Spicy Grilled courgettes:

– Cut washed courgettes in half lengthwise. Brush all over with a little melted butter, oil or low fat equivalent.
– Place cut side down on a grill pan and grill until lightly browned.
– Turn over and spread the cut side with mustard.
– Grill this side for a few minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

 
Early Spring Salad:

– Bring a large pan of water to the boil and blanch the following vegetables, one at a time:
Asparagus ( cut into small pieces )
Mangetout ( or sugar snap peas )
A large carrot ( cut into very fine sticks )

– All vegetables will need 3-4 minutes of cooking. Drain them all and run under cold water to freshen them.
– Allow all cooked vegetables to cool thoroughly and mix together in a large bowl.
– Stir in some chopped radishes, chopped spring onions and some pumpkin seeds if available.
– Pour over a light salad dressing and serve chilled.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

 

Veggie, Vegan and Yummy

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This is a basic veggie curry recipe. But be flexible. If you don’t like or haven’t got a turnip handy, for example, use something you do like that may be lurking in the corner of the vegetable rack!

Mixed Vegetable Curry:

– Peel 4 potatoes, 4 carrots and half a small turnip and cut into cubes. Prepare about 100g (4oz.) each of beans and peas, or use frozen if fresh peas and beans aren’t available. Boil all of these prepared vegetables in water for about 5 minutes. Drain, but reserve the cooking water.

– Heat a little oil in a large heavy based pan. Add a chopped onion and a clove or two of chopped or crushed garlic. Fry until golden brown but not burnt.

– Remove from heat for a moment and stir in a tablespoon of curry powder and a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree, or use a ready made curry paste or sauce. There are some interesting flavours available in most supermarkets. Or for a milder flavour, simply stir in a handful of chopped fresh coriander.

– Add a little of the reserved cooking water and stir to make a thick gravy. Cover and simmer gently for 5 – 10 minutes.

– Add all the par-boiled vegetables, and a little extra water if needed. Cover and simmer until all the vegetables are cooked. If liked you could add a little shredded coconut, a few raisins or some lemon juice during the last five minutes-ish of the cooking time.

– Serve hot with boiled rice or with a jacket potato.

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Vintage Tomato Recipes

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More from a century ago. There seems to be a lot of ‘stewing’ going on in these vintage tomato recipes and as we know stewing and boiling the life out of veggies really does reduce the vitamin content dramatically, it may be a better idea to steam or boil gently.

Although, having said all that, tomatoes are one of very few foods that retain their vitamin content during cooking.

I’ve kept the style of writing but added a couple of notes….

Baked Tomatoes. -Fill a pudding dish two thirds full of stewed tomatoes; season with salt, and sprinkle breadcrumbs over it until the top looks dry. Brown in the oven, and serve with a cream dressing. (“Or how about basil and oil?”)

Baked Tomatoes No. 2. -Wash and wipe a quantity of smooth, even-sized tomatoes; remove the stems with a sharp-pointed knife. Arrange on an earthen pudding or pie dish, and bake whole in a moderate oven. Serve with cream.

Scalloped Tomatoes. -Take a pint of stewed tomatoes, which have been rubbed through a colander, thicken with one and a quarter cups of fine wholewheat breadcrumbs, or a sufficient quantity to make it quite thick, add salt if desired, and a half cup of cream, mix well, and bake for twenty minutes.

Or, fill a pudding dish with alternate layers of peeled and sliced tomatoes and bread crumbs, letting the topmost layer be of tomatoes. Cover, and bake in a moderate oven for an hour or longer, according to depth. Uncover, and brown for ten or fifteen minutes.

Tomato Gravy. -Heat to boiling one pint of strained stewed tomatoes, either canned or fresh, and thicken with a tablespoonful of flour rubbed smooth in a little water; add salt and, when thickened, if desired, a half cup of hot cream. Boil together for a minute or two and serve at once.

Tomato Pudding. -Fill an ovenproof pudding dish with alternate layers of stale bread and fresh tomatoes, peeled, sliced, and sprinkled lightly with sugar. Cover the dish and bake. (“no time indication here so go with your intuition”)

Tomato with Okra. -Wash the okra, cut off the stem and nibs, and slice thin. For a quart of sliced okra, peel and slice three large tomatoes. Stew the tomatoes for half an hour, then add the okra, and simmer together for half an hour longer. Season with salt and a little cream.

“Lots of cream used in these vintage tomato recipes – but many good chefs swear by it! Flour, bread and breadcrumbs could perhaps be replaced with gluten-free alternatives?”

And just a quick note – peeling tomatoes can be time-consuming. Put them in a bowl first and cover with boiling water. Leave for a minute or two and the skins should come off easily. Be careful though, boiling water is hot! ๐Ÿ™‚

Bon Appetit!

Linda x

Tomatoes

 

P.S. Grow your Own! This handy downloadable guide costs less than a packet of seeds and will help you get the most from your tomato plants. Choose from your favourite book store on theย Mini Guides page

Italian Cauliflower

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I love cauliflower and can never resist buying them but sometimes, just sometimes ๐Ÿ™‚ , I don’t get around to eating it. Usually because I think I have to make cauliflower cheese and never seem to have enough milk or cheese at the right moment.

And with so many vegans and gluten-free’s popping up in the family, the right moment isn’t going to happen any time soon. So I’m pushing my cheffing abilities here but this recipe should hit the mark!

 

Ingredients

1 cauliflower
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 or 2 crushed or finely chopped garlic cloves
1 green pepper, finely chopped
6 small tomatoes, peeled or use tinned tomatoes
A few fresh basil leaves, chopped
Vinaigrette salad dressing, home-made or shop bought

 
Method

1. Pour vinaigrette dressing into a deep frying pan or wok
2. Add onion and garlic and cook gently until onion is tender
3. Break cauliflower into florets and add to the pan with a little water
4. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until cauliflower is cooked but not too soft.
5. Stir in the green pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes
6. Stir in tomatoes and basil and stir gently over the heat until hot right through.
Bon Appetit!

Linda x