Tag Archives: pasta

Quick, Simple, Fresh and Tasty Mushroom Pasta Sauce

So what do you do when you look in the fridge and see a large punnet of mushrooms that are about to go past their best? You make this! It’s a quick, easy and tasty dish that you can rustle up with ease and with the knowledge it’s healthy too. Plus it’s Wheat free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and great for getting those veggies into little ones 😉

Recipe (Serves 2 plus toddler):

1 tbsp oil

2 tbsp flour (I used rice flour)

200ml white wine

500g mushrooms

200ml water

Mixed Herbs

Seasoning

  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a pan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Dietitian UK: Mix Rice flour and oil to resemble breadcrumbs
Dietitian UK: Mix Rice flour and oil to resemble breadcrumbs
  • Add half the white wine and stir well to make a sauce free of lumps.
  • Place it back on the heat and gradually add the rest of the wine – do not stop stirring!
  • Add the mushroom and keep on a medium heat, the mushrooms will release water as they cook.
Dietitian UK: Cooking the Mushroom Sauce
Dietitian UK: Cooking the Mushroom Sauce
  • When the mushrooms have cooked down a little add some of the water, the amount you need will depend on your mushrooms.
  • Add mixed herbs (fresh parsley would be amazing) and season well. Leave it to simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve with pasta. Nom Nom.
Dietitian UK: Mushroom Pasta Sauce
Dietitian UK: Mushroom Pasta Sauce

 

Now of course you could finish this with cream……but that’s just not my way 😉 Enjoy and let me know your variations by commenting below…

 

Roasted Beetroot Pasta, It’s Pink!

This weekend we went to the farmers market and I just couldn’t help but buy a bunch of large, large beetroot. They have sat looking at me from the veg rack for a few days and today I knew I needed to use them. But how?

I knew roasting them would be ideal because of their size and roasting veggies always draws out their sweetness, so I washed them, cut the leaves off and put them in the oven to roast at Gas Mark 6. This gave me 45 minutes or so to plan what to do next!

It’s Friday so in our house that’s quick meal night as I have feed toddler, feed myself and  get toddler to bed all before 7pm. So I went for pasta and was mighty pleased with the result, a bit on the pink side but delicious and packed full of veg. Beetroot contain folate, manganese, vitamin C, fibre and potassium amongst other nutrition. The red colour is due to Betacyanins, a phytonutrient and antioxidant. Roasting for more than 1 hour or boiling for too long can lead to this antioxidant being damaged so keep the cooking time down.

Recipe (serves 2 plus toddler):

(gluten free, wheat free, low fat, weaning food)

  • 4 large beetoots
  • 1 tbsp rapseed oil
  • pasta (can be gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp low fat creme fraiche
  • 2 tbsp quark
  • pepper

 

  • Wash the beetroot and cut the leaves off, but do not peel. Place in a roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tbsp oil, roast for 45 minutes at Gas Mark 6.
  • When the beetroot feel soft  (you can stab them with a knife to check), remove and peel them. I did this under the cold tap as I was in a rush and had no time to let them cool. The skin will come off easily.
  • Chop the beetroot into bite size chunks and put into a non stick pan on a medium heat. Add the creme fraiche and quark and let is cook gently for 10 minutes.
Dietitian UK: Beetroot mixture cooks in the pan
Dietitian UK: Beetroot mixture cooks in the pan
  •  Meanwhile cook the pasta.
  • Season to taste then mix the beetroot into the pasta and serve.
Dietitian UK: Roasted Beetroot Pasta
Dietitian UK: Roasted Beetroot Pasta

It’s pink, it’s pretty and it’s packed with goodness. Go try it out!

 

Gluten Free Lasagne, homemade including the pasta.

One thing I know a lot of gluten free people miss is great tasting lasagne. Real comfort food that tastes so good, you don’t have to miss out any longer!

Today I decided to set about making a gluten free/wheat free lasagne completely from scratch, feel free to adapt this recipe and use bought lasagne sheets if you want.

I was inspired by a packet of BezGluten flour, having never used this flour and with it being new to the UK I was keen to give it a go and it looked good for pasta making to me. Here is the flour:

Bezgluten Dumpling/Pancake/Pasta Flour

Pasta Recipe:

200g gluten free flour (I used Bezgluten dumpling/pancake/pasta mix)

2 eggs

Drizzle of olive oil (about 1tbsp) and a drizzle of water (about 1tbsp)

Weigh out the flour, make a well in the centre and break in the eggs. Beat the eggs  and then start to combine into a dough. Use a little of the oil and water to help combine the mixture if it is a little dry. Once it is mixed cover with a damp tea towel and set aside.

You can use this pasta recipe for all kinds of things, I decided to try a lasagne today and it was delicious. The mix made enough for a lasagne for 4 people with a little dough left over which I have in the fridge for tomorrow.

Break the eggs into a well in the flour
Break the eggs into a well in the flour
Pasta Dough
Pasta Dough
Dietitian UK: Homemade Gluten Free Lasagne

Roll the pasta out either using a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Call me greedy but I like to use both, so I start with the rolling pin and then pass the dough through the pasta machine. Break off about 1/4 of the dough and keep the rest covered with the damp tea towel. Roll out to a couple of millimetres thick. To get a nice silky pasta you’ll need to do this several times. Sprinkle the dough with a little gluten free flour each time to prevent it from sticking, once you have rolled it thinly, fold it in half, then in half again and roll it out again.

Dietitian UK: Rolling out the pasta dough
Dietitian UK: Rolling out the pasta dough

Then slice the pasta into sheets that will fit your lasagne dish. Layer the pasta over your mince mixture and top with the white sauce (recipes below).

Dietitian UK: Layering up the lasagne sheets
Dietitian UK: Layering up the lasagne sheets
Dietitian UK: Lasagne layering in progress
Dietitian UK: Lasagne layering in progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mince Recipe:

There are so many great bolognaise recipes out there and any of these will do, here’s how I made mine.

Dry cook 500g lean mince in  a pan, it will release it’s own fat to cook in. Strain some of the excess fat off and then add an onion and 2 cloves of garlic, cook gently. Add 1 tin of chopped tomatoes and 2 tbsp tomato puree and 200ml stock (I used homemade chicken stock you could use a gluten-free stock cube plus water), let it simmer whilst you chop up 3 large carrots, a large handful of mushrooms and 1 pepper. Chop these fairly small and then add to the pan. Season with pepper and mixed herbs. I also add balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp sugar and a glug of red wine.

White Sauce:

Pour 2 tbsp rapeseed oil into a pan and heat, add 2 tbsp gluten free flour. Mix well and quickly add a little milk. Remove from the heat and stir to make a runny paste. Add some more milk and place back on a moderate heat, stirring continuously. I make my white sauce from half milk and half water, adding the liquid as it is needed. Keep stirring or whisking to prevent lumps and check the heat is not too high or it can burn. You want a consistency like double cream, so fairly thick but still pourable.

To make this dairy free use rice milk or soya milk instead.

Dietitian UK:  White Sauce
Dietitian UK: White Sauce

Layer up your lasagne with the gluten free pasta sheets and sprinkle a little cheese on the top (omit the cheese for a dairy free version) and cook at Gas Mark 4/200 C for 40 minutes.

Dietitian UK: the cooked lasagne
Dietitian UK: the cooked lasagne

Enjoy with a green salad and maybe a cheeky glass of wine!

Dietitian UK: Homemade Gluten Free Lasagne
Dietitian UK: Homemade Gluten Free Lasagne

 

 

 

Carbohydrates, the Good Guys.

Carbohydrates are often seen as the baddies of the nutrition world. There are so many low carb diets out there and lots of claims about carbohydrates being the reason people can’t lose weight.

 

Carbohydrates are actually the bodies favoured energy source. Given a choice of protein, fat and carbohydrate the body will always choose to use the carbohydrate first. Why? Because carbohydrate foods easily break down to simple sugars that are the fuel the body needs. Proteins and fats needs to be converted to sugars in order to be used, a time consuming process that uses energy up. However you will put on weight if you OVEREAT carbohydrates or eat too much of the wrong kinds.

 

So where do these anti-carbohydrate claims come from? 

After we eat carbohydrates, blood sugar levels increase and insulin is released. Insulin moves the sugar in the blood into the bodies cells and it will be used as fuel or stored as glycogen to be used later on. Eating too much carbohydrate in one go or more white, processed carbohydrates cause a larger, rapid peak in blood sugar levels. In response lots of insulin is released, which can cause a problem. After the insulin has done it’s job it takes a while to drop back down to normal levels, so you have insulin in the blood stream asking the body for more sugar. It’s this lag phase that can lead to you craving sugary food or wanting to eat a short while after a meal.  If you eat like this you are likely to put on weight. Those hunger cravings will get the better of you and you’ll eat more than you need.

 

What happens if you avoid Carbs:

If carbs are the bodies preferred energy source then it makes sense that avoiding them can lead to you feeling tired, grumpy, lethargic, perhaps dizzy and shaky. Ever had that energy slump after skipping a meal?

 

How to eat Carbohydrates without gaining weight:

  1. Eat carbohydrates at every meal. Just watch your portion size. If you are trying to lose weight keep those carbs to 1/3 of your plate, steer clear of adding creamy sauces, butter and oils to them.
  2. Go Wholegrain. Wholegrains have been shown to protect against cancer, obesity, diabetes and obesity. Choose wholemeal, granary or multi-grain bread, whole oats, weetabix, shredded wheat, bran flakes, rye bread, oatcakes,brown rice and pasta, bulgar wheat, quinoa, pearl barley and anything with the word whole/wholegrain in from of it!
  3. Lower the glycaemic index of meals. Adding lower GI foods (many of which are wholegrains too) will help stabilise your blood sugars, preventing the peaks and dips that can cause those sugar cravings. Also try adding beans and pulses to your main meals.

This post was written for Slimsticks and can be seen on their website here.

Bella Italia Gluten Free Review

I was really excited to hear that Bella Italia have started to do a Gluten Free menu. As you many know I’m wheat intolerant, it’s not quite the same as gluten free but pretty close, especially as I am very sensitive to wheat, so I’m often found trawling the internet for new gluten and wheat free recipes. However every once in a while it’s nice to have a day off cooking and eat out. That’s not always easy when you can’t eat wheat/gluten.

Bella Italia were kind enough to offer for me to go and sample their menu for free, which was a real treat. We went as a family (myself, husband and my one year old) and I  must say that it was a very baby friendly place to eat, although maybe not so great on the baby change facilities. Our little one was given colouring things, stickers and a balloon. She was most taken with my meal though!

There is a completely separate gluten free menu which makes life very easy and there is a lot of choice which is amazing – 6 pasta’s, 7 pizza’s, 4 salads and more…wow. We  ordered the “Ragu D’Agnello” (Lamb ragu with pasta) and the “Pollo Piccante” Pizza (chicken, peperonata, mozzarella and chillies) plus a side salad.

The pasta was really good, perfectly cooked and you wouldn’t know it was gluten free. Some of the pasta’s I’ve tried at other restaurants have been pretty awful, this one gets a gold star.

The pizza looked great but the base tasted pretty much like cardboard. It looked like a pre-bought one to me and was quite hard in places. However it was great to have it as a choice on the menu.

I was pleasantly surprised to see some desserts included on the menu, we shared a piece of the  “Torti Di Ciociolato” (chocolate cake) between the 3 of us, it went down very well with everyone. DIVINE.

I’d certainly recommend Bella Italia for those of you who are gluten free and have been missing Italian, I know I had. The staff were helpful and the atmosphere relaxing, what more could you ask for? Thankyou Big Bella’s how about working on a home made gluten free pizza base next?!

Disclaimer  – all views are my own. Bella Italia did not pay me to write this post, I asked to review their menu and they gave me a free trial with no strings attached. 

Roasted vegetable and mozzarella pasta.

Tonight I needed a quick, easy meal that could be thrown together with ease. You know those days when you wake up feeling tired, then spend the day running around, get to the evening and suddenly uh oh, it’s almost dinner time and you’ve not made any, you need something healthy and filling….well that was my day today. Pilates class, washing, cleaning, baking, baby party, and a teething, clingy baby but hungry mouths to feed.

So 5pm came and I raided the fridge. Finding a pack of peppers and some mozzarella I felt inspired. Cue the oven warming up to gas mark 6. Peppers thickly sliced onto a baking tray, chunky onions join them along with some halved large mushrooms, a drizzle of olive oil along with a splash of water and in they go to roast for about 40 minutes. Remember olive oil may be a healthier fat but it is still a fat, so a small drizzle, the water does the rest.

Meanwhile the baby partially ate her dinner and partially painted it in her hair and around her highchair 😉

Towards the end of the roasting the pasta went on (wheat free for me). Once cooked all that needed to be done was mix the pasta with the roasted veggies, mix in some chunks of creamy mozzarella and a teaspoon of pesto. After a busy day, this was simple, quick, easy, healthy, tasty family food.