Friday, May 18, 2012

Lamb Tagine

A quick and tasty tagine


  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1½ tbsp paprika
  • 1½ tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 x shoulder of lamb, trimmed and cut into 5cm/2in chunks (about 1.1kg/2½lb meat in total)
  • 2 large onions, grated
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 115g/4oz dried apricots, cut in half
  • 55g/2oz medjool dates, cut in half
  • 55g/2oz sultanas or raisins
  • 85g/3oz flaked almonds
  • 1 tsp saffron stamens, soaked in cold water
  • 600ml/1 pint lamb stock
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp coriander, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 150C.
  2. Rub half of the spices about the meat and preferably leave overnight to marinate.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large casserole dish. Add the grated onion and the remaining spice mix and cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes so that the onions are soft but not coloured. Add the crushed garlic for the final 3 minutes.
  4. Remove and brown the meat and remove that.
  5. De-glaze the frying pan with ¼ pint of tomato juice and put all back into the casserole dish.
  6. Add the remaining tomato juice, chopped tomatoes, apricots, dates, raisins or sultanas, flaked almonds, saffron, lamb stock and honey to the casserole dish. Bring to the boil, cover with a fitted lid, place in the oven and cook for 2-2½ hours or until the meat is meltingly tender.
  7. Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over the chopped herbs. Serve.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Chocolate Brownies

Great brownies these - not dry and crumbly, but moist and with a great helping of raspberries.

  • 200g butter
  • 100g milk & 100g dark chocolate
  • 80g dark cocoa powder
  • 65g gluten-free flour (I've used variously brown rice, sorghum, even millet but regular gf flour like Dove's Farm will do too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (or a little more)
  • 200g castor sugar (could use more but this works for me(
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup raspberries (frozen is fine and hardly need defrosting)
  • 1/2 cup pecan nuts or similar, chopped
  • some ice-cream or creme fraiche to finish
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Line a 25cm square baking tin with greaseproof paper. In a large bowl over some simmering water, melt the butter and the chocolate and mix until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar, then add this to the chocolate. Add nuts if wanted. Stir together well. Beat the eggs and mix in until you have a silky consistency.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tray, decorate with the raspberries, and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. You don’t want to overcook them so, unlike cakes, you don’t want a skewer to come out all clean. The brownies should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Allow to cool in the tray, then carefully transfer to a large chopping board and cut into chunky squares.

Really yummy. Also freeze perfect - just wrap in tin-foil and nuke afterwards to serve!

For the carb-counters, I make it at least 350g CHO for the tray. That works out about 20g CHO per generous slice which is pretty good 'bang per buck' carb-wise.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Pizza. The quest is over! Okay, not really over the top - I've been looking for a decent gluten-free pizza base for too long. The boys have suffered some pretty bad results and hope was waning!
There are lots of gf pizza base recipes out there. Many involve making effectively a batter that you press out into a tray. I always felt this whacked out any air that might have been in there.
This one is different. You get a dough though it's really sticky. You'll also have to stock up on flours - we've got tapioca, white rice, corn, sorghum here. I've read versions that use just a blend but I'm risking nothing - this works and works well.

I found this on 'The Happy Tummy' blog but I'm sure Rebekah won't mind my reposting here for my convenience and for others.


  • 3/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour (not brown, apparently tastes gritty)
  • 1/3 cup corn starch (that's corn flour to us)
  • 1/3 cup sorghum flour (Juwar flour)
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp italian seasonings (optional)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 'Dough' mixture ready to 'roll'
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + plus more to use on your hands when handling the dough
  1. Use an electric mixer to whisk together tapioca flour, white rice flour, corn starch, sorghum flour, xanthum gum, and salt.
  2. Combine milk and 1/4 cup water and heat in microwave until warm but not hot to the touch, about 45 sec -1 minute
  3. Stir in yeast and sugar. Let proof for about 5 minutes. You should see a nice foamy top, indicating that the yeast is active. 
  4. Add milk–yeast mixture, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons oil to dry ingredients and beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes. The dough will still be pretty sticky which is ok.
  5. Preheat oven to 200°C fan. Put your baking tray in the oven on the bottom rack to preheat.
  6. Have ready two 12-inch squares parchment paper, dusted with white rice flour. Scrape half of dough onto each square and form each half into a ball.
  7. Next, you need to form a round approx. 9" diameter on the two sheets of paper as thin as possible/desired, around 4mm. This is tricky. I used a silicone spatula dipping regularly in olive oil and spreading like icing on a cake working from inside out.
    I've read that dusting with white rice flour underneath and on top and using a rolling pin can work. Your mileage may vary but persevere because this is worth it.
  8. Some versions also recommend you prove the rounds in a draught-free place for 30min while others say it isn't necessary. I did but will try not doing so next time and compare. I did notice a substantial rise but would expect something similar from oven-spring had I gone straight to oven.
  9. Place your pizza rounds onto the oven trays on bottom rack for 6 minutes or slightly longer.
  10. Remove from oven, remove parchment paper (now not sticky) and maybe dust with polenta grains. Then top with all you want and put back in bottom of oven for 10 minutes.
    At this point, you can reserve your round, let it cool and wrap to freeze for later use.
    I put a lot of toppings on mine and didn't hold back on the tomato sauce either, and it wasn't any wetter than a regular dough pizza.
Pizza 'rounds' rolled
Truthfully, this is so good that I probably won't bother with my regular dough mixture. Securing against cross-contamination is just to much hassle. The flours involved don't come cheap though at about 6X the price of regular good white flour. But you're not going to be eating pizza everyday, right?!

Now for diabetes... well, tapioca flour ain't that great. It's not that it's bad for you, it's just empty carbs. In fact, it pretty much all starch (a complex carbohydrate) and as refined as any flour so will bump your glucose levels up pretty quickly. Of course, any fatty food atop the pizza will have the opposite effect, delaying the release of the food (and hence glucose) from the stomach. Pizza is classic nightmare food for diabetics but with our little one eating a single medium slice, it was handled well with no spiking or delayed rise. Maybe, we got lucky but hey, this is a treat meal so what the heck!
Update: On second attempt, pizza was fine but despite allowing 36g CHO for half a 9" round, we seriously overshot and crashed. Seems wither 36g is too much or there is a significant delay in releasing sugars. Or, of course, a million other things... use pizza with caution!

Carbs per slice (9" round makes 6 generous slices): 30g CHO though this is a swag (seriously wild-ass guess!)

After-thought: It really is testimony to the power of the web how alchemy like this can be refined in a relatively short time. Bread making goes back about 30,000 years. I don't know how long we've been working on gluten-free variants but without the mass exchange or ideas and effective crowd-sourcing of recipes, the production of decent pizza crust would have taken a lot longer!


Lamb Rogan Josh

This was beautiful, one of the best curries I've made in a while, all credit to Neven Maguire. You'll find this recipe on the RTE web site.
I especially liked the added spices to the basmati rice. The photo would be better but the troops ate through it too quickly!

Buckwheat Pancakes

These are the real deal. Okay they're gluten-free but these win hands down over the wheat variety. In France, buckwheat is traditionally used for crepes, especially savory ones.

I can't claim any credit here. David Lebovitz, an American chef living in Paris hosts an excellent site (try his tarte au citron) provides the recipe.

I used Doves Farm Buckwheat flour. Buckwheat is actually made from the seed of buckwheat plant, a close relative of Rhubarb. And from Doves Farm:
"The specific characteristics of buckwheat proteins, and the relative proportions of its amino acids, make buckwheat the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date.
Compared with true grains, buckwheat is high in minerals: especially zinc, copper, and manganese.
Healthier fat profile. Unlike true grains, buckwheat’s low fat content is skewed toward monounsaturated fatty acids—the type that makes olive oil so heart-healthful."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Gluten-free bran bread


  • 600g Tritamyl flour (gluten-free flour)
  • 325g soya bran
  • 150g brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100ml sundried tomato pesto
  • 1L buttermilk
  • 2 tsp bread soda
  • 2 tsp Xanthan gum (if freezing)
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and lightly grease a loaf tin.
  2. Place all ingredients into a bowl and combine well together.
  3. Bak bread for 45min to 1 hour or until it sounds hollow when tapped.
  4. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Sprinkle sesame seeds over the top while cooling.
  6. Allow to fully cool before cutting.
Sundried Tomato Pesto
  • 6oz semi-sundried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 8 basil leaves
  • 200ml extra virgin olive oil
Place ingredients in a food blender and blend for 2 min, season and set aside.

Gluten-free Sweet Pastry

Another likely Neven Maguire recipe, and if so, thanks. This time sweet pastry, but easy to adapt for savoury.


  • 225g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 110g rice flour
  • 110g polenta meal (fine)
  • 110g potato flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum

  1. Blitz in a food processor until paste is formed. Do not overwork.
  2. Chill before use.
  3. Line flan ring and bake blind.