On a wheat-free diet there are now very few foods which are just totally irreplaceable. There’s always some means, some kind of flour that will just about pass for whatever cooking need you have. The foods that we’ve been unable to imitate are the ones which rely heavily on the structure that wheat gluten provides.
The one that stands out for me is filo pastry.
Spanokopita …. baklava … samosas … chicken pastilla … strudel …. and any number of food combinations, sweet or savoury, wrapped into a filo cigar. Crispy, buttery goodness. Godammit. I miss filo.
But have you heard of Mountain Bread? It’s an Aussie flatbread, not unlike a sheet of cooked filo. Sort of. Obviously they don’t have quite the pliable nature of uncooked filo – since I found out that there is an entirely spelt* version of the product, that is not going to stop me!
Spelt ‘filo’ cheese and vegetable tart
Sometimes you’re gonna spring a leak but as long as you’re careful, it works – here’s how I did it. I’ve also made chicken and mushroom parcels, fruit mince cigars, and a spectactular pear and berry frangipane strudel. Samosas next.
*(I realise this doesn’t help out coeliacs, and for that I am sorry – perhaps one day Mountain Bread will perfect a gluten free formula.)
I’ve really enjoyed having a tin of homemade Anzac biscuits winking at me from the kitchen this week. As a kid, my mum always had some freshly made delights waiting for us when we got home from school but as I didn’t drink tea or coffee until I was over 30 (I know! And I call myself British!) I never got into the whole ‘tea and biscuits’ scene.
Cake’s good, but there’s something rewarding about the crisp snap of a biscuit, or the way it yields to the warmth of a cuppa.
So I thought I might make some crisp, versatile biscotti. These are another type of biscuit that were made to travel. Traditional recipes do not call for any butter or oil, thus they are
naturally lactose free
keep for weeks
If you wanna make them a little more decadent, dip one end in dark chocolate and almond nibs.
There seem to be several techniques to make them, but Paul Hollywood’s method is a cinch – no processor or arm power required, and Martha Stewart’s uses polenta (cornmeal) – and as always I’m drawn to recipes that use ingredients other than wheat.
So this recipe is a combination of the two. Next time I might reduce the amount of sugar, and switch out for some almond meal. And there will be a next time!
This is such an easy curry you’ll never need to order out again – no paste to make, no list of ingredients as long as your arm, and no longer than 30 minutes from start to finish
Curry leaves might be a bit of a pain in the proverbial to get hold of, but worth it – I have to confess that I only started using this spice when we moved into our current house and found we had a curry tree in the garden. They have a really unique fragrance, almost petrol-like! Bear with! I assure you it’s fabulous.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that – barbecued calamari dusted with sichuan pepper or nanami togarashi, at your whim (both in my case); served with a salsa of red pepper, pineapple, sweetcorn, onion, coriander, chilli and lime juice.
Bliss! And calamari gets a sustainability tick of approval – it’s all good!
As promised in What do you mean ‘salad for dinner’? here’s some salad for dinner. This beast has SUBSTANCE: crispy duck with that deeply salty sauce, scattered with braised lentils, on a bed of cucumber, spring onion, courgette and avocado. You won’t feel hard done by, I promise.
Hoisin sauce usually contains wheat but gf versions are available. As always, MAKE SURE YOU READ THE LABEL
Same goes for crispy noodles – I use Chang’s Gluten Free Fried Noodles. They have a, erm, special texture and always need refreshing in the microwave before use to make them bearable. But, beggars … choosers etc.
It hits so many spots it’s just not funny. The noodles are slippery, soft and unctuous. Against that is the crunch of cashews. The sharp and bitey dressing makes the broccoli taste almost sweet (I know!) and the sesame seeds add a toasty aroma. And I slipped a little crispy fried summin’ summin’ in there too …. mmm mmmmmm!
Not only that but it’s gluten free*, vegan, and dairy free
*Make sure you use tamari and 100% buckwheat noodles – try Spiral Foods
Mr Eleanor is, I would go as far to say, a pizza fanatic. I’m going to the UK for 5 weeks soon. I’m a little worried that he’s only going to eat pizza while I’m away and I will return to find that he’s invented an as-yet-unknown nutritional disease. Or he’ll be 3 stone the heavier.
Pizza is the most infamous topped flatbread, but there are others out there. Lahmacun is the Turkish variant and, I hope, a much lower fat and lower calorie version.
My inspiration was again from Istanbul by Rebecca Seal. I couldn’t help but fiddle with what I’m sure is a great recipe, but I thought the savoury, fatty flavours of the meat needed balancing with some fresh veggies and tartness so I added spinach and rocket leaves, along with some strips of roasted red pepper. It was absolutely DELICIOUS! One of the best things I’ve cooked in a while.
True to my word, I have been using kangaroo and this recipe works incredibly well with it, keeping the fat down even further. As always, I also had my eye on how to make it vegetarian or vegan. Following consultation with the Grand Vegetarian Matriarch (my Mama) I reckon you could switch out the mince for VERY finely chopped, cooked mushroom (like duxelles), or even a tin of refried beans as they are already laced with cumin and coriander.
Love experimenting in the kitchen. You’ve got Maxine at Without Cruelty to thank for the inspiration for this one.
There are just 5 ingredients, of which the primary is avocado. It’s ridiculously easy, perilously quick and tastes divine. Gonna feed it to Mr Eleanor tonight and see if he can guess what’s in it. He he he he! Here’s the recipe! Enjoy, x