Who said getting your 'five a day' was difficult?! With this recipe, we not only have 6 veg in the sauce, we also have another 3 greens in the salad! 9 in one meal? Well, I did say there was a sexy twist!
So, how did we do it? Well our sauce was made with grass fed beef (extra omega 3) along with
red peppers high in vitamin C so perfect to help absorb the Iron in the beef! The vitamin A in the pepper also improves night vision and the magnesium and B6 work together to help reduce anxiety. Interestingly, recent research has shown that sweet red peppers can increase thermogenesis and therefore metabolic rate. What? Burning calories? This meal just got sexier! But there's more...
The tomatoes are also high in vitamin C and the wonderful chemical which makes peppers and tomatoes red is lycopene which releases on heating. Lycopene has been shown in many studies to prevent many cancers and is well known for its protective effects against prostate cancer. We added a jar of Organic Passata along with a punnet of small tomatoes to add fibre and texture. Mushrooms are also known for their cancer protective effects as they are immuno-modulating and anti-inflammatory. The onion and garlic are from the allium family, much like leeks, scallions and chives which could also be used in this recipe! Onions also contain Vit C, B6, Folate, Iron and Potassium. But the super exciting ingredient is possibly the quercetin which has been found to act as a powerful anti-histamine and antioxidant! The popular use of onions in French cuisine has been suggested to be one of the reasons behind the French paradox as onions have been shown to improve blood lipids! Our advice is...add onion to everything! Then there's the garlic and we all know what a superfood it is in terms of taste and health benefits. This immune boosting superfood should also be included daily as it has been shown in countless studies to be cancer protective.
TOP TIP: Add garlic towards the end of cooking to maximine taste and enhance benefits. We also added spinach, again a wonderful nutrient dense vegetable with lots of folate, magnesium, Vit A, C, and calcium. Put a few handfuls in at the end and hide away the greens from small children (and not so small children!) to enhance their nourishment.
Our green salad was made with Romaine Lettuce which oddly enough is high in protein and an excellent source of calcium, so if you add it to calcium rich fruits like oranges you will have more calcium than a glass of milk! The little gem lettuce and coriander add yet more vit C and folate among other nutrients. The more greens the better!
I have to say, I rarely eat pasta. Most pastas are made from white bleached wheatflour which is great for weight gain but doesn't really pack a nutrient punch! This one is a gluten free brown rice option which is high in insoluble fibre but keep the portion size small, around a quarter of your plate. There are other good alternatives such as chickpea and buckwheat pasta which are better for fibre, nutrients and low glycaemic index, so have a look in your health store for options.
So.. there you have it. Buon appetito ( as they say in Italy!)
This mesmerising delight tastes every bit as delightful as it looks and I canât recommend it highly enough. There are some dishes that almost make you cry with delight (or is that just me?!) and this is definitely one of them!
Even better, for all of us Gluten Free converts and even the Grain free advocates, this is a wonderful treat for the Christmas table. I made it as a birthday cake for my daughter and it would also make an awesome desert to impress and delight family and friends throughout the year!
Soâ¦ whatâs the secret? Well, firstly the cake mixture has just three ingredients, eggs, cocoa and sugarâ¦no flour! The luxurious and mouth-watering inside is traditional chocolate mousse which makes the whole cake a slice of chocolate heaven. Ohâ¦and in case it isnât a tad obvious, I really REALLY love this cake!
Ingredients for cake:
6 organic eggs separated
5oz caster sugar
Ingredients for chocolate mousse:
6 organic eggs separated
12oz organic 70% cocoa solids cooking chocolate
A wee splash of brandy!
Pre-heat oven to 180F/350C/Gas 4
Grease and line with parchment a swiss roll tin or baking sheet 12 x 8 x 1 inch
1. Weâll start with the richest mousse on the planet! Firstly, separate 6 eggs into separate bowls.
2. Boil the kettle and half fill a pan with hot water. Then place your broken chocolate pieces in a bowl and melt slowly.
3. Meanwhile whizz up your egg whites until stiff and you can make fluffy peaks.
4. Remove your melted choccy from the heat and beat in the egg yolks and a splash of brandy (optional!)
5. Fold your egg whites into the mixture and place in the fridge to set.
6. Now for the cake mixâ¦ again separate 6 eggs. (you may be clucking after this recipe!)
7. Whizz up the whites until soft peaks.
8. Whizz up yolks until just thicken and then add sugar and thicken a bit more.
9. Sift the cocoa into your yolk/sugar mix and whisk together.
10. Fold in your fluffy egg whites with a metal spoon.
11. Pour cake mix into prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins and cool on a rack
12. When cool, take your mousse from the fridge and using a palate knife smooth over the cake until covered. You will find you wonât need all of the mousse and can keep some back for a sneaky treat after your guests have gone!
13. Then (and this really does add a little bit of heaven along with some extra antioxidants!) dot some raspberries all over your cake. Yummy!
14. Now for the scaryâ¦I mean exciting bit! Carefully lift your cake onto a piece of parchment which has been liberally dusted with icing sugar. I placed a tea towel under my parchment to stop it from slipping. Make a gentle mark with your knife about 1 inch in at the end you are going to roll from. (You donât have to mark the cake but it seems to help) Then without fear, lift your parchment and tea towel and roll cake into your chocolate log. Because you have already dusted your parchment with icing sugar, it will look lovely and Christmassy!
15. Transfer to a lovely Christmas plate.
16. Stand back and admire before demolishing!
I was just thinking what an incredibly healthy meal Christmas dinner is with so many opportunities for vegetables, fruits and even herbs. Just what we need to boost the old immune system at this time of year and Turkey stuffing is no exception. Don’t worry too much about the ingredients. As long as you have GF sausage meat and onion and a few herbs the rest is up to you to add in your favourites.
Gluten Free stuffing is available in supermarkets with own brands and Mrs Crimble offering veg and meat versions. M&S are particularly clever at this as they have very conveniently made gluten free their default position on sausages, sausage meat and stuffing. Even their ready stuffed Turkeys have GF sausage meat. Ask your butcher to prepare you some GF sausages or sausage meat. Some butchers are already doing this so find out who is in your area.
If you prefer a veggy stuffing or like to add oatmeal (popular in Scotland) remember you can buy GF oatmeal in any supermarket in the Free From sections. Oats are already gluten free but buying a specific GF brand guarantees no cross contamination in the Food Production and packaging.
2 large organic onions chopped
5 or 6 celery stalks chopped
5 small cups oatmeal
Garlic and seasoning plus sage and thyme or as preferred
1. Soften onions and celery in butter.
2. Mix in oatmeal and seasoning with herbs of choice.
3. Add a little water to moisten
4. Stuff turkey!
Sausage Meat Stuffing
2 or 3 celery stalks chopped finely
1 large onion chopped finely
1Ib (500g)GF Pork sausage meat or sausages skinned
3 or 4 oz GF Breadcrumbs ( throw any GF bread into food processor or break up by hand)
Seasoning plus herbs, sage and thyme or as preferred.
1 chopped desert apple
4 or 5 tbsp dried cranberries
100ml or4 fl oz GF chicken stock
2oz butter melted
Oven 200C/400F/Gas 6
1. Heat butter in frying pan and soften celery and onion for a few minutes.
2. Then add sausage meat. Cook until pork is thoroughly cooked through (about 10 min)
3. Pour into a dish to cool, then mix in remaining ingredients adjusting herbs and seasoning to taste and add further breadcrumbs or a handful of oatmeal if a bit too moist.
4. Stuff Turkey!
This recipe is for a tried and tested and I have to say delicious gluten free Christmas pudding! Some recipes for GF Christmas puddings and cakes that I have followed before cannot be made much in advance of Christmas but these recipes can be. I am also delighted to announce that Christmas puddings and cakes are actually good for you. Think about it, they are densely packed with antioxidant rich fruits full of much needed vitamins and minerals. The Spices are also packed with health-boosting benefits. Cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar (sounds like s win-win to me!) and nutmeg aids digestion. Don’t worry about the fat, as long as it’s grass fed butter it’s good for us. Do not be tempted to make the terrible mistake I made for years and add toxic margarine thinking it was healthier. What a numpty! The flour is undoubtedly better gluten free and makes for a much gentler pudding all round, helping us to avoid the Christmas bloat and other problems I’m too polite to mention!
There is also cocoa in this recipe which is again rich in antioxidants and the flavonoids in cocoa help your body process nitric oxide, thus helping blood flow and improving blood pressure. As for the sugar, well that’s a sticky one…! But as it’s Pantomime season, the Good Fairy is here to tell you that there are ways around it! Firstly, you can always reduce the amount any recipe tells you to add. I have done this for years and it doesn’t affect taste. Secondly, remember that as you don’t eat sugar often (you don’t do you?!) do we really need to worry at Christmas time? Thirdly, enter stage left the wonderful coconut sugar! If you haven’t tried it yet, you are missing a health promoting treat. Coconut sugar has half the glycaemic index of table sugar and as it’s dark in colour fits perfectly with this kind of cooking. It contains a fibre called Inulin which is thought to slow down glucose absorption and numerous minerals including calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. It goes without saying, that we wouldn’t use it as part of our regular way to obtain such nutrients, but it’s great to know that it’s far superior as an option for Christmas cooking. It can be purchased from health food shops. If they haven’t heard of it, get them to check their catalogues and order it in. That’s what I did and now it’s selling like hot cakes!
Not as tricky as you think…it really is a case of chuck it together and mix!
1. Place all ingredients in list one in a bowl and mix. Cover and leave overnight or up to two days to allow the fruit to soak.
2. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (325F/ Gas 3)
3.Lightly grease basins and line with parchment (We bought some wonderful Pudding Bowls and these make awesome gifts)
4.Cream butter and sugar together in large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs (organic of course!) whisking between each one (messy otherwise!)
5. Gradually fold in the flour with a metal spoon
6. Whizz up some breadcrumbs (or break by hand) using gluten free bread bought from any shop and add to mixture.
7. Then add walnuts (brain food!), almonds (packed with calcium!) and that gorgeous fruit and juices and we have ourselves a glorious Christmas Pudding!
8. Transfer to pudding bowl and cover with parchment pleated in the middle (a 1” fold) to allow for rising. Tie with a string (or if you’re super posh like us a ribbon!)
9. Place pudding bowl in a roasting dish and pour in boiling water from the kettle up to half way up the bowl.
10. Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours. You WILL NEED to top up the boiling water so check every half hour and add more as needed. When cooked, leave to cool
11. To cook for eating, follow the same process with the water in a roasting dish but this time with a slightly higher oven temp (180/350) and only for 35 mins. (You could microwave the same as bought versions but that’s unhealthy and against my religion!)
12. Don’t forget to have the matches at the ready for the flaming ceremony. Transfer your pud to a suitable serving plate. Then pour over some brandy, strike with a match and watch in wonder at the fruits of your labours until the flames die down.
13. Add cream, brandy sauce or other favourite and ENJOY!
60g (2oz) apricots/dates/prunes finely chopped
200g (8oz) each of sultanas, currents, raisins
100g (4oz) glace cherries halved
50g (2oz) mixed peel chopped
Juice and zest of one lemon
200ml (7floz) dry cider
4 tbsp each brandy and rum
3tbsp black treacle
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 desert apple cored and grated
200g (8oz) unsalted butter (grass fed)
200g (8oz)dark muscavado or coconut sugar. (You can reduce this amount slightly)
3 eggs beaten
75g (3oz) Gluten free SR flour
150g (6oz) Gluten free breadcrumbs
50g (2oz) chopped walnuts
50g (2oz) Ground almonds
NOTES: This recipe makes 3 x 600ml or 1 pint puddings so you can make for friends and family. Therefore divide by 3 if you require only one.
The ingredients are flexible as long as you keep to the amounts, so for example if like me you don’t like cherries, replace 4oz of cherries with 4oz of something you do like or increase raisins etc.
When I became gluten free the one thing I have always missed was having fresh pasta. I had always thought it would be a pain to make it from scratch but then I found a recipe for it in the Allergy-free cookbook by Alice Sherwood and it turns out its really easy. Anyone who has used gluten free lasagne sheets knows what a pain they are trying to cook them before use they stick together or fall apart. Well with this recipe lasagne is now a pleasure to make, I can even make my own ravioli and farfalle now.
In this recipe I am using Buckwheat flour as it is not only hypo-allergenic but incredibly good for you containing lots of amino acids, magnesium (for strong teeth and bones), fibre, and can help to reduce heart pressure and lower bad cholesterol. However, you can use plain gluten free flour if you would prefer.
3 oz of Buckwheat Flour
3/4 tsp of xanthan gum
1/4 tsp of salt
1 large egg
1 tbsp olive oil
This pasta couldn't be easier and takes seconds to make, simply weight out your dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Then make a well in the middle, crack in your egg and olive oil into the well and then it's time to get your hands dirty! Mix until it forms a dough, then kneed on a well floured surface until smooth. Then all you have to do is wrap it in cling film and leave it to rest for 30mins in the fridge.
Once the pasta has rested just roll the dough out as thinly as you can and then cut it to the size you need to fit in your pasta dish for lasagne, or however you need for ravioli etc. Then just pop the pasta on a board to dry out a little while you make the sauce and you are ready to go!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do :) It really is lazy pasta.
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