Tag Archives: Wheat Free

Buckwheat Butternut Squash Ravioli and Noodles

One of my prized kitchen gadgets is my pasta maker. I’d wanted one for ages, then when I finally was bought one for Christmas I was of course super excited and quickly started making pasta. It was all going so well until I had to go wheat free. I had been meaning for absolutely ages to try out making wheat free/gluten free pasta, however a combination of much work and a small baby put things on hold 😉

Whilst having a rare baby free moment I slipped into one of my favourite places on the way home after a clinic… a food shop! I always end up looking round the special dietary foods sections and the baking section. This time I ended up buying some buckwheat flour. I use a large range of wheat free flours in my cooking – rice, tapioca, potato, rye, cornmeal… but buckwheat in one I hadn’t tried, and I was super excited to see it mentioned being good for pasta making. Woohoo!

So this week I’ve had a play with pasta, with buckwheat flour and fresh eggs from our chickens. I’ve found making the dough so quick and easy, getting use to the pasta machine has been the slower, trickier side but it’s getting there!

 

Our first buckwheat pasta meal was a Courgette Carbonara, a variation on the theme of Carbonara as I don’t use cream, so it’s healthier, lighter version and packed with veggies. I used thin strips of courgette, along with some mushrooms, some half fat creme fraiche and fresh herbs.

 

Yesterday I decided to make Butternut squash Ravioli using fresh buckwheat pasta. Now I won’t lie, this was time consuming. However I did it in stages around the baby. So whilst she snacked I had the butternut filling on the go, we made the dough together and then as she did some felt tip extravaganza I rolled out the dough and made the Ravioli. The thing I liked about this was I was able to leave the Ravioli covered in the fridge until we needed to eat and it was so quick to cook. We ate it with a little bit of pesto, partially as I hadn’t got round to making a sauce to go with it!

A brief recap of my recipe was: 1 butternut squash peeled, chopped then cooked with a little olive oil, white wine  and water along with onion and garlic. I added fresh herbs (parsley and sage), nutmeg, seasoned and pureed it. The buckwheat pasta was 200g buckwheat flour with 2 eggs. And here are the Ravioli themselves…not perfect but ok for a first attempt I hope you’ll agree!

 

Wheat Free Christmas

This year has been an odd Christmas for sure…. my husband has been working, pretty much all of the festive period. True some of that has been from home, but it’s been a very bitty and odd time. However having a 1 year old and having a great love of Christmas myself I’ve tried to make the most of it. Money is tight at present, so we’ve gone low key on presents and high key on a few quality foods that we all love (including the little one). One of those being cheese:

 

Being wheat free, we’ve not got into the whole mince pie, yule log and sweet treats, but what I did do was make a wheat free Christmas cake. I used plenty of dried fruit, rice flour and a little alcohol of course 😉  covered the cake with marzipan and icing. It turned out pretty well and is mighty tasty!

 

Most of our meals have been planned to work around the event of my husbands on-call phone going as we sit to eat (it always happens that way!), so easy to keep warm or not needing to stay warm. We had a paella for Christmas dinner and have had some lovely chilled meals of cold meats, cheese, salads and crackers/oatcakes.

What things make Christmas special for you?

 

Baking Flapjacks with the Little One.

My healthier take on flapjacks are well known by my friends, I’ve almost always got a tub of them on the go. They got me through the long early days of breastfeeding and are now enjoyed by 1 year old too. In fact she absolutely loves them. So today, when she was struggling to sleep and I was unable to bake during her naptime I decided she may as well help me. This turned into a really fun learning experience for us both.

I weighed out the oats and sultanas and Kezia enjoyed playing with the dried ingredients, especially as she was able to sneak a few sultanas! She also liked watching me measure out the sugar, honey and margarine.

Playing with the dry ingredients.

 

Then came the bananas, amazingly none of these went into Kezia’s mouth, she spent some time transferring the bananas from one bowl to another and watched as I mashed them. I left her a little in the bowl to play with being an interesting texture and tasty too 🙂

Banana time

Stirring all the ingredients together was a lot of fun, although the spoon was probably a bit too large! It was a pleasure watching Kezia have a good go at mixing and seeing the look of satisfaction on her face.

Stirring with the biggest spoon!

I was allowed to place it all in the baking tray and of course Kezia then was left with the empty bowl and spoon, which she instantly started to scrape with her fingers….finding the leftovers showing it’s a natural reaction to lick the cake mixture off the spoon 😉

Scraping out the bowl and spoon

Finally we had time for more mixing practice at super fast speed!

Look at me Mummy! Mixing in action.

What are your favourite recipes for cooking with children? Any tips to pass onto me?

 

Parsnip Soup for 10p a head.

I love a bargain, shoes, clothes, bags, they’re all good, but I must admit one of the bargain that excites me the most is food. I love rooting round the reduced food section of the shops and pulling out random items then concocting a hopefully delicious meal based around my beautiful bargains.

But what can you do if all that’s in the reduced section is a pile of worse for wear veggies? Do you pass those slightly sad specimens and ignore them? They may not be in their prime but if you take them home and use them quickly (on the day preferably) then you can knock up a scrummy meal for a cost saving price.


This week I picked up a couple of large bags of parsnips, reduced right down, so today we have made parsnip soup. Here’s what I did:

Parsnips peeled and chopped, put into a pan and cover with some stock (either a stock cube and water or homemade stock), simmer until parsnips are soft (10-15 mins). Then blitz with a blender until it’s smooth and creamy. I then added in come curry powder, black pepper and milk plus some grated nutmeg. And that’s it! I made enough soup for 6 people for about 60p.

Risotto Love.

We love risotto in our house. It’s just so versatile. You can dress it up all fancy and swish for a dinner party or keep it simple for an everyday family meal. Plus, its wheat and gluten free, can easily be vegetarian and it’s easy, peasey to make….even my husband who isn’t into cooking can make a risotto 😉

Our favourites at the moment are mushroom and blue cheese and a creamy leek and lemon version with salmon. Butternut squash with a grating of nutmeg works well as does chicken and pea.

Risotto’s take a bit of love and time, you can’t really walk away and leave them to cook themselves, unless you like crunchy rice…so stay by the cooker and let it cook slowly, simmering not boiling.

Using a home made stock is tasty and lower in salt. We make stock using the chicken bones after a roast and freeze it down for later.

Swap cream for low fat creme fraiche or natural yoghurt and low fat creme cheese. Keeps the creamy taste but cuts the fat.

Add a splash of wine and some fresh herbs for extra flavour. You can go fairly bold in a risotto so try some different flavour combos.

You can make it in advance, then finish off with the last bit of stock or a swirl of milk/wine when heating up. It also makes great leftovers for lunches.

If feeding a baby it’s perfect sticky finger food, my baby adores risotto.

 

A little bit of morning crumpet, wheat/gluten free of course.

Crumpets are a things of greatness, why should you miss out if gluten/wheat free? I love pottering in the kitchen, trying new things and I also love warm baked goods that are more savoury than sweet…being wheat free crumpets are the kind of foods I’ve missed. The shop bought versions just don’t hit the spot and are pretty expensive, so whilst pregnant and craving yummy things I perfected this recipe. It’s an adaptation of one in the Health Gluten-Free Eating cook book by Darina Allen and Rosemary Kearney, so credit should also go to them as all I’ve done is play around to make it suit me!

Crumpets may sound like a tricky thing to make and they probably are if you are making them to look like the shop bought versions. Mine look nothing like those but they taste very crumpet like and are just so satisfying to make. So if you like baking give them a go:

  • 150g rice flour
  • 75g tapioca flour or cornmeal
  • 1 tsp xanthum gum
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • drizzle of rapeseed oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml milk
  • water
Mix the flours, xanthum gum, bicarb and cream of tartar together. Make a well and add oil plus eggs. Add the milk a little at a time and mix swiftly with a wooden spoon to start and then a whisk – a good arm building muscle exercise 🙂 Try to get air into the batter. If it still looks quite thick add a splash of water. If should be like cake mixture. Drop tablespoons onto a non stick pan or a flat griddle pan and cook until there are bubbles appearing. I find a lower heat is better and they take longer than a thick pancake would. Flip over and cook the other side. 
Crumpets cooking on the griddle

These are best eaten warm, I find quite a few of these seem to disappear as soon as they are cooked….who knows where they go?! They also freeze really well and can be popped in the toaster to defrost and warm. Amazingly these turn out with a proper crumpet texture which you may be able to see in this photo (if you can’t then you will just have to believe me!).

Best served with a bit of jam and a good cuppa 🙂 Alternatively the baby had hers with melted cheese and some cooked mushrooms which went down very well. Go be inspired and try something new in the kitchen this weekend.

Wheat free/Gluten Free Pancakes

Everyone loves a good pancake, myself included. So here is my adaptation… its both wheat free and gluten free 🙂 quick and easy to whip up. We like them for brunch with bacon or as a snack.

135g rice flour

1 egg

130ml milk

1 tsp baking powder

2tbsp oil/melted marg

optional –  1 handful sultanas.

Mix up the batter adding extra milk if needed, it needs to be fairly thick, about the consistency of double cream. Heat up a non stick pan (or I use a large griddle that fits across 2 burners on my cooker) and drop tablespoons on. When bubble start to appear on the surface flip the pancake over.

They take a couple of minutes each side. Best eaten warm 🙂

If you have any left (unlikely), these freeze really well, I tend to make up a big batch and freeze some, then take a few from the freezer and toast them as a snack.

Peppers stuffed with Quinoa (Wheat free, GF, DF)

I love vegetarian food, though I’m not actually a vegetarian. I love the colours, flavours and creativeness of it. We tend to have meatless meals 3-4 days a week and use lentils, beans and pulses a lot.

Last week I really fancied having a go with Quinoa, its not something we eat that often but being wheat free I can’t eat cous cous and had had an urge for making stuffed peppers, plus the baby hadn’t given Quinoa a go yet.

These came our really well, even if my husband had to take his in a plastic tub back to work to eat as his on-call phone rang! His comments were that it was difficult to eat without a knife but the Quinoa was delicious and nutty. The baby managed to eat hers all without a knife 😉 fingers sufficed and the whole lot went quite quickly, so I’m taking that as a compliment.


Recipe:

Remove the stalk and seeds from the pepper and then halve them, roast in the oven for about 30 mins at Gas Mark 5.

Saute a mix of veggies (I used mushrooms and courgettes), cook the Quinoa using stock and then add to the veggies with a little stock and plenty of fresh herbs.

Stuff it all in the pepper and top with grated cheese, bake until the cheese bubbles (Use Cheezly if you are dairy free as it melts best). Yum yum.

Fresh, Fresh, Frittata.

I love summer. Firstly because I am so not built to enjoy a cold climate, the first sign of chillier days and the jumpers, fur lined boots and gloves come out. I end up wearing gloves inside and out when it’s properly cold. But I also love summer produce. Especially anything that I can get to grow in my garden. Having had a baby this year I’ve not managed to be as green fingered as I’d like, but we’ve still done quite well with white and red currants, plums coming out of our ears, greengages, carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, potatoes, kale, onions and courgettes. A post to come on the courgettes as they deserve it, I have a bountiful harvest of them.

Last night after a tiring day with a teething baby I set about thinking up a quick, easy, healthy dinner that required minimal thought and energy. Here’s what I came up with….

A fresh frittata using eggs laid that morning by our resident chickens, kale, courgettes and herbs from the garden and all the leftovers I could find in the fridge. Frittata’s are great for using up leftovers. Served it up with a salad using some home grown lettuce and a quickly made coleslaw. Yum and super healthy.