Piperade – Basque Red Peppers with Baked Eggs

This is not exactly traditional, as it is an all-red dish. Proper piperade is made with green peppers so that it resembles the colours of the Basque flag (red, green and white).  With the addition of baked eggs, this is more like the flag of Guernsey (red, white, yellow). I have made this recipe with both fresh and roast peppers, and both versions are delicious. This can be either a starter or dip with toasted gluten-free bread, or a comforting main meal if served with diced ham.

Ingredients

Serves   2
Plum tomatoes skinned and roughly chopped 2 cups
Extra virgin olive oil 3 Tbsp
Red bell peppers roughly chopped (can use roast peppers) 2
Red onion, large thinly sliced
Salt 1/2 tsp
Garlic cloves minced 6
Smoked paprika 1 tsp

Method

  1. In a large frying pan over medium high heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking.
  2. Add onions, peppers and salt and sauté, stirring frequently, until onions are translucent but not browned. Add garlic and continue to fry for another minute.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and smoked paprika.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until tomatoes disintegrate and the peppers soften, about 35 minutes.
  5. Remove cover and continue to cook, stirring frequently for another 5 minutes until the piperade thickens.
  6. Season to taste and serve with toasted gluten-free baguettes or ciabatta slices.

To make this into a meal, take it to the next level: use the sauce to make nests for eggs, and bake in the oven.

How?

  1. Spoon the piperade into a medium-sized oven-proof dish.
  2. Make 4 wells in the pepper mix.
  3. Crack an egg into each well.
  4. Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes, or until the whites are set but the yolks are still runny.
  5. Eat straight from the dish, dipping toasted bread into the sauce.

 

 

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Poached Eggs with Spinach and Mushroom

The beauty of poached eggs is that they look restaurant-fancy, but they are so simple to do at home. The secret is to get the freshest eggs possible, preferably organic and free-range so that you have a lovely bright yellow-orange yolk to ooze over the plate and sauce the vegetables.

If you have never tried to poach eggs before, here is an instructional video from MyRecipes.com. I don’t use vinegar in the water, although it’s helpful if your eggs are less than perfectly fresh as the vinegar helps to firm the egg whites around the yolk.

 

Ingredients

Serves 2 1
Fresh eggs, preferably organic and free-range 4 2
Ghee 1 Tbsp 1 tsp
Onion, sliced  1/2  1/4
Garlic cloves, crushed 2 1
Brown mushrooms, large, sliced 4 2
Baby spinach leaves 100g 50g
Salt and pepper

Method

  1. Melt the ghee over medium high heat and fry the onions until golden.
  2. Add the garlic and fry lightly.
  3. Introduce the mushroom slices, and fry until the mushrooms are cooked.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes.
  6. Poach the eggs for 3-4 minutes – the yolks should be soft.
  7. Pile the spinach and mushrooms on a plate, and top with 2 pa

Buttered Butterflied Chicken

Unless you have a rotisserie at home, chances are that the chicken you roast in a conventional oven results in perfectly cooked legs and dry breasts, or perfectly succulent breasts and semi-raw legs. There are a couple of things  you can do to prevent this: brine the chicken, or cover the breasts with foil, or turn the chicken frequently, or split the chicken along its back to butterfly it.  This recipe uses 2 of the techniques above, plus ghee for additional flavour.

If you have never butterflied a chicken before, here is a useful how-to guide from MyRecipes.com:

Ingredients

Serves 4
Large fresh chicken 1 (2.5kg)
Sea salt (I use Maldon salt) 1 Tbsp
Ghee, melted 4 Tbsp
White pepper  1 tsp
Method
  1. A few hours before you intend to start cooking, rub the butterflied chicken with salt and leave it in the fridge. This is dry brining, and helps to keep the chicken flesh moist and the skin crispy.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C
  3. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and baste with the ghee. Shake the white pepper over the chicken,
  4. Place in the oven and cook for 45-60 minutes, until the thigh juices run clear.  Baste every 20 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before carving.

Creamy Coleslaw

This salad is quick to prepare and tastes good right away – but it is better if it is left to stand for a couple of hours or overnight.  Shred the cabbage and carrots as finely as you like – some people prefer tiny shards which balance more elegantly on a fork, others like something with a little heft to work into sandwiches.  Feel free to substitute a gluten-free mayonnaise in this recipe, although you may need to thin it a little with milk.

Ingredients

Serves 6 2
Green cabbage, finely shredded 1  1/3
Large carrots, finely shredded 2 1
White onion, grated 3 Tbsp 1 Tbsp
Homemade mayonnaise 1 cup 1/3 cup
Apple cider vinegar 3 Tbsp 1 Tbsp

Method

  1. Mix everything into a glass bowl.
  2. Leave for a few hours for the flavours to mingle and mellow.
  3. Serve with grilled or cured meats.

 

 

Merry Berry Smoothie

This may not be the healthiest or most fashionable smoothie out there (note the absence of kale and wheatgrass!), but it is a very pretty pink and tasty way to start the day. Provided that they are not loaded with sugar, smoothies tend to be a brilliant way to boost health:

  • Get a serving or two of your 5-a-day with very little effort (both in terms of preparation and chewing)
  • Add superfoods to nourish your brain and immune system
  • Introduce more plant fibres into your diet by using raw ingredients
  • Hydrate your body with foods that have a high water content (plus ice!)
  • They are pretty quick to prepare – this one takes about 5 minutes from start to finish

Ingredients

Serves 2
Frozen mixed berries 1 cup
Plain Greek Yogurt 2 cups
Ice (cubes or crushed) 1 cup
Honey 2 Tbsp
Maca powder 1 tsp
Ground cinnamon 2 tsp

Method

  1. If you can’t make a smoothie, I feel bad for you, son. I got 99 problems, but a blender ain’t one.
  2. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth – about 2 minutes.
  3. If you don’t have a jug blender, use an immersion stick and leave the ice out, unless you have finely crushed ice.
  4. Pour into 2 tall glasses and drink within half an hour. If the smoothie mix separates, simply stir it to combine the layers.

 

Liebster Award

Oh my word! What a lovely way to start a Sunday afternoon 🙂 This little blog has been nominated for a Liebster Award by Small Adventures Big Life (http://smalladventuresbiglife.wordpress.com) and I am thrilled to accept the nomination!


Official Rules


If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

  1. Thank the person that nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog.
  3. Answer the eleven questions about yourself  provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide eleven random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate five to eleven blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 200 followers.
  6. Create a new list of questions for the bloggers to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post.
  8. Inform the bloggers that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post.

Here are the questions that Small Adventures Big Life asked me:

  1. Why did you start blogging? I started this blog last year as a way to share my recipes with friends and family as the monthly cooking lessons in my kitchen were getting out of hand. As a lot of us were avoiding gluten for one reason or another, it made sense to document what I was doing as a way to both teach and help. When I first started a gluten-free existence, I spent a lot of time grumbling about how I had nothing to eat and was getting bored with steamed chicken and salad (and chocolate and chips …)
  2. What have you learned from blogging? Camera phones are your friend!  Be organised! Plan ahead!
  3. What inspires you? Travel. Experiencing different flavours, textures and colours. If I hadn’t travelled, my imagination would be a lot poorer.
  4. What do you do when faced with hard times? I change and adapt to new circumstances very quickly.  Hard times soon become just how things are once I have adjusted my lifestyle.
  5. Who is your favorite comedian?  Bill Bailey
  6. Who is your favorite musician? Tori Amos
  7. What is your favorite book?  The Lord of the Rings trilogy – I read it every year.
  8. What are your hobbies?  I write, I paint, I cook, I sew, I dream.
  9. What is your favorite TV show? Battlestar Galactica
  10. How do you start your day?  Slowly and gently, with tea and golden milk.
  11. How do you end your day? Reading, usually historical fiction.

11 Random Facts about Me:

  1.  I love Maine Coon cats
  2.  I don’t watch broadcast television.
  3.  I will try everything on a restaurant menu, then once that is done I will move on to the next restaurant.
  4.  I won’t travel without reading materials (usually a Kindle and a print book or magazine)
  5.  I will try anything once. Sometimes two or three times to make sure that I don’t like it!
  6. I meditate.
  7. I learn a new skill every year.
  8.  I would love to live on a self-sufficient farm.
  9. I am allergic to rabbits and Burmese cats.
  10.  I prefer tea to coffee.
  11.  I collect pen and ink drawings.

I nominate the following blogs for the Liebster Award:

My questions for the nominees:

  1. Where was your first real travel adventure?
  2.  Which Game of Thrones character would you choose to be?
  3. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
  4.  Why did you choose to blog about what you are blogging about?
  5. Who inspires you?
  6. What do you do to relax?
  7.  What food would you not eat, on principle?
  8.  Do you think that you are a creative person?
  9.  If your life had to be a work of fiction, what genre would it be?
  10.  What is the best thing that happened to you yesterday?
  11.  What would you like to achieve in 2015?




Very Berry Apple Crumble

A crumble is a very simple dessert that takes next to no time to prepare. It can be popped into the oven to bake while you are cooking the main meal, and then left to cook while you are eating.  This can be served with vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream, or coconut cream that has been whipped with a little vanilla extract. If there is any left over (!) it is also pretty good for breakfast.

Ingredients

Serves 4 2
Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced 4 2
Frozen mixed berries 250g 125g
Almond meal 1 cup 1/2 cup
Desiccated coconut 1 cup 1/2 cup
Ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp 1 tsp
Raw honey 4 Tbsp 2 Tbsp
Coconut oil 4 Tbsp 2 Tbsp
Slivered almonds 4 Tbsp 2 Tbsp

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Grease a suitably sized baking dish.
  3. Mix the diced apple and berries together and place at the bottom of the baking dish.
  4. In a bowl, mix the almond meal, desiccated coconut, cinnamon and almond slivers.
  5. Gently heat together the coconut oil and honey, then stir through the crumble mix.
  6. Spread the crumble mix over the apples and berries.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until your crumble is golden brown.
  8. Serve warm, with whipped coconut cream.

 

Prawns with Whiskey and Cream Cheese

This recipe is loosely based on the Greek dish Garides Saganaki, which uses ouzo and feta cheese where I have used whiskey and cream cheese made from Greek yogurt. I have soaked fennel seeds in the whiskey in order to get some of the licorice taste of ouzo.

Ingredients

Serves 2
Whiskey 60ml
Fennel seeds 1 Tbsp
Prawns, shelled and deveined 12
Tomatoes, chopped 4
Red pepper, chopped  1/2
Onion, chopped 1
Garlic cloves, chopped 2
Fresh marjoram, chopped 1 tsp
Fresh parsley, chopped 2 Tbsp
Smoked paprika 1/4 tsp
Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Greek yogurt cheese (or feta) 50g

Method

  1. Soak the fennel seeds in the whiskey.
  2. Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and fry the onions, red peppers, garlic, parsley and marjoram until softened, stirring frequently.
  3. Add the tomatoes and cook gently for 10 minutes, uncovered so that the sauce thickens.
  4. In a separate pan, heat more olive oil and fry the prawns until pink. Season with salt,  pepper and smoked paprika.
  5. Strain the fennel seeds from the whiskey, then add the liquid to the prawns. Turn the heat up high and stir frequently to deglaze the pan.
  6. Pour the prawns into an ovenproof dish, top with the tomato sauce and dot cubes of the yogurt cheese on top.
  7. Place under a hot grill until the cheese browns.

Serve with brown rice, or gluten-free bread rolls to mop up the sauce.

Beef “Stroganoff”

This is a quick and relatively simple supper dish. Originally made with sour cream, this dish originated in Russia in the 1800’s and the recipe has been adapted several times over the years, rising to the height of popularity in the 1970’s.  Serve with gluten-free tagliatelle noodles, cauliflower rice or brown rice, or eat it on its own.

Ingredients

Serves 4 2
Beef fillet, strips 500g 250g
Onion, chopped finely 1  1/2
Garlic cloves, crushed 4 2
Mushrooms, sliced 200g 100g
Tomato paste 100ml 50ml
Coconut cream 250ml 125ml
Apple cider vinegar 2 Tbsp 1 Tbsp
Smoked paprika 1 tsp 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper To taste To taste
Fresh parsley, chopped 4 tsp 2 tsp

Method

  1. Fry the beef fillet in ghee over high heat until the outside is brown, but the inside of the strips is pink. Remove from the pan.
  2. Add the onions and fry until translucent before adding the garlic and mushrooms. Fry over medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked.
  3. Return the beef strips to the pan, stirring well to mix all the solids.
  4. Add the tomato paste, coconut cream, apple cider vinegar, paprika, salt and pepper and stir through until heated.
  5. Remove from the heat, and stir in the parsley.
  6. Serve with your choice of carbohydrate or riced cauliflower.

Apple Flapjacks

I remember my grandmother dipping apple rings into pancake batter and serving them with cinnamon sugar.  These are slightly different, but equally delicious and extremely popular with my daughter (and me!). Fried in coconut oil, the tartness of Granny Smith apples is tempered with a nutty cinnamon batter to produce a breakfast treat.

Ingredients

Serves 2
Granny Smith apples 2
Eggs 3
Coconut oil, liquid 3 Tbsp
Coconut cream 3 Tbsp
Salt 1/4 tsp
Cinnamon 1 tsp
Almond meal 3 Tbsp
Ghee or coconut oil for frying

Method

  1. Mix the eggs, coconut oil, coconut cream, salt, cinnamon and almond meal into a smooth batter. Leave to stand for a few minutes, as this improves the texture.
  2. Slice the apples into rings of about 5mm in thickness, removing the apple seeds. You can use a mandolin slicer to get uniform thickness.
  3. Heat a little ghee or coconut oil into a griddle pan.
  4. Dip the apple slices in the batter and fry on medium heat until the batter is brown. Flip over and fry the other side.
  5. Repeat until either all the apple slices or the batter is complete.

 

Serve with the sweetener of your choice, or eat them plain.