Month: April 2014

Warm Lentil Salad

I keep finding lots of recipes for amazing gluten free cakes and deserts, but I’m also challenging myself to eat less sugar, so I’m going to aim to post as many savoury recipes as I do sweet.

While travelling home from London on the train this afternoon, I spotted a shout out from @FeastAndGlory looking for recipes using green lentils. One of my most often cooked recipes is inspired by an Alkaline Cookbook that my Mum gave me. It’s easy, quick, fresh and delicious.

Although my version is scribbled down on a scrap of paper and never really followed properly, the original is available online via the Energise for Life website. This version is slightly different and just based on what I have in the fridge today – the important thing is to have a whole heap of fresh, crunch veg… use whatever you’ve got!


 

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150g green lentils

1 level teaspoon of vegetable bouillon dissolved in 400ml of hot water.

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

1 tablespoon of coconut or other cooking oil

1 Pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 orange)

2 small courgettes

Small head of broccoli

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Green Chilli (mild)

A handful of cherry tomatoes (a couple of regular tomatoes would work just as well!)

3cm (ish) of fresh root ginger (peeled and chopped small)

A large handful of baby leaf spinach per person (or other green leafy salad)

(Serves two hungry people as a main meal – would also work as a side with grilled chicken or some tofu steaks)


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Boil the lentils in the bouillon/stock for 30 minutes or until tender. Add more liquid if it starts getting dry.

Add the lemon juice, stir and set to one side.

Finely cut or crush the garlic. Chop the vegetables (other than the spinach) into small pieces.

Gently heat the oil.

Add the vegetables in order of their firmness – I went for: Garlic, Peppers, Courgettes, broccoli, chilli. Let soften slightly (you still want them a bit crunchy) 2 or 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and ginger.

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Let this heat through (1 or 2 minutes).

Serve over a bed of Spinach.

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That’s it! I sprinkled some seeds over mine too – delicious!

I’ll eat what’s left over, cold for my lunch tomorrow too….

 

 

Portuguese Rice Muffins

My boss mentioned these little cakes to me a few weeks ago. She’d had them on holiday in Portugal and had found them in the little cafe around the corner from the office. However, after a recent accidental poisoning from a cake labeled ‘gluten free’ I wasn’t tempted to run out and buy one – however delicious she said they were! I made a note and then completely forgot about them.

This week, while checking through my notebook, I found the note I’d made and immediately looked them up. After sifting through a couple of different versions, one of which included wheat flour, I found this lovely website Delicious Wordflux.

Teresa writes about her own search for the right recipe and accompanies the recipe with some really very beautiful pictures, which I can’t even hope to replicate. Not least because the batch I made were eaten before I got a chance to take a picture!

You can take a look at the original recipe and Teresa’s page here: http://www.deliciouswordflux.com/2011/05/portuguese-rice-muffins-bolo-de-arroz/ 

I haven’t really changed the recipe, just altered the measurements to grams and millilitres. I’ve found that a lot of the gluten free recipes I’ve found online are American and measured in cups and spoons. The best conversion tool I’ve found is actually through an ovens website: http://www.traditionaloven.com/tutorials/conversion.html & it works really well. Google helps out with anything else.


 

Ingredients:

85g of Butter (this should be room temperature, especially if you don’t have a food processor)

200g Sugar

250ml of whole milk

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

350g Rice flour (brown, white or a mix)

2 teaspoons of baking powder (check it’s gluten free!)

1/4 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Pinch of salt (I used salted butter, so left this out)

Zest of 1 lemon (unwaxed)

Juice of 1/2 lemon (the lemon I had was small, so I actually used the whole thing.

Granulated sugar to sprinkle on top.


 

Pre-heat oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4)

Prepare paper or silicone muffin/cup-cake cups.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the butter until creamy. (I forgot to get the butter out of the fridge in advance, so was very pleased to have my trusty food processor on hand for this!)

In a separate bowl or jug, mix the milk, eggs & egg yolk and lemon juice. Add to the butter mixture.

In another bowl, whisk the rice flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt (if using) and add slowly to the existing mixture, stirring/blending until well combined.

Half fill each of the muffin cups. Sprinkle a little of the granulated sugar on the top of each one.

Bake for 20/25 minutes.


 

Work in progress

Work in progress

The original recipe mentions that you should leave the cakes to stand for 20 minutes before baking. I cooked mine in two batches and I can’t honestly say there was a difference between the ones I cooked straight way and the ones I left to stand.

The only other difference from Teresa’s recipe is that I suggest you add the lemon zest to the flour instead of the wet mix, as I found when I made it all the zest clumped together.

The cakes were absolutely delicious and filled the whole house with a wonderful lemony cake-y smell. I will definitely be making another batch soon!

Links

I recommend:

Jack Monroe: Cooking on a Bootstrap – Her recipes are budget, simple, delicious and largely gluten free. Those that aren’t, can be easily adapted by using gluten free flour. (I’m basing this on having had a good read through her book, not the blog, but I can’t imagine there will be any nasty surprises!)

Shauna James Ahern: glutenfreegirl.com – The first blog I read when I started looking into going gluten free. Recommended by my friend Rachel, who is based in New York. The Lemon Birthday Cake on her page is out of this world!

Karen Lee: Sensitive Foodie Kitchen – Karen is an advocate of a Plant Based diet – having been diagnosed with MS, she uses food to help control her symptoms and her recipes are amazing – if they are not already gluten free, they can almost always be made gluten free and she is great at answering questions!

 

Do get in touch if you would like to be linked to!

Slow-cooker Chilli

Most recipes I’ve ever found for Chilli con (o sin) Carne have been Gluten Free & in fact most Mexican food seems to be Gluten Free too – especially if made with traditional with Corn Tortillas (flour or wheat tortillas clearly aren’t & shop bought ‘corn’ tortillas tend to have wheat flour in, so beware).

Anyway – this is a quick recipe that I have almost literally thrown together from what I have left in the fridge. What with the bank-holiday weekend and having a very laid-back (lazy) few days, I haven’t been shopping, or this recipe would also include onion and a red pepper at the very least!


 

Ingredients:

1 packet of lean minced beef (could easily be substituted for 150g red split lentils if going for a vege version, but you’ll need to add more liquid)

3 Cloves of Garlic (crushed or chopped finely)

1 Green Chilli (chopped small)

1/2 Red Chilli (chopped small)

3 heaped teaspoons of Cumin

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

1 heaped teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper (or other Chilli Powder – use more or less to taste)

1 level teaspoon of bouillon

1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 tin chick peas (drained)

1 tin of kidney beans (drained & rinsed)


 

Brown the mince over a medium heat until there is no pink showing. (The crock from my slow cooker goes on the hob, which minimises washing up!)

Take off the heat, add the garlic, chilli, cumin and oregano – stir well.

Add the chopped tomatoes & kidney beans.

Add the bouillon & ketchup to the bottom of the empty tomato tin – half fill with hot water, stir and add to the mix.

Stir again and put in the slow cooker.

I’m short on time today, so I’ve put the cooker on high for an hour to get it started and then will turn to low for another 5 hours.

About an hour before it’s ready, I will add the kidney beans and give it another quick stir.

That’s it! Easy, inexpensive and tasty!

Serve with rice, or a jacket potato or a big pile of tortilla chips! photo 2-2photo 1-2(Will add to the recipes tab once I work out how to do it!)

 

Gluten Symptoms & Getting Tested

Something that amazes me about Coeliac disease is the number and variety of symptoms.

I was first tested because I was anaemic and I had a vitamin D deficiency. As I mentioned in my first post – I didn’t go through with the full test, as eating a high wheat diet made me so ill so quickly. It could be that I have a Gluten Intolerance as opposed to full blown Coeliac disease, but at this point in my life (and on the advice of my doctor) I’m not prepared to go through the pain to find out one way or the other. I did have a blood test, which showed a negative result. When I looked closely at my diet (other than the enforced 6 day binge) I hadn’t been eating much gluten at all for months (because it made me feel bloated and ‘brain-foggy’) so the doctor wasn’t surprised by the negative result, and I’ve since learned that a false negative result isn’t uncommon.

If you are suffering from a variety of these symptoms (see picture below), go and talk to your doctor about it – if you’re eating gluten, don’t stop until after you’ve been tested, as your sensitivity gets more pronounced when you stop eating it, so you won’t want to go back!

Personally, the benefits I feel of going gluten free FAR outweigh any inconvenience. I went from being permanently ill with cold after cold, various allergies, issues with my joints, gynaecological issues, to being overwhelmingly fit and well in the year since I quit gluten. It hasn’t made me super-woman, but it has put a spring in my step!

Gluten Dude surveyed 130 of his readers and this picture shows the most commonly reported symptoms. Of course, a lot of these things can come from other things too, but I know there are a few things here that ring true to me after having been ‘glutened’.

Courtesy of @glutendude

Courtesy of @glutendude

Bread Bitch

Everything I’ve tried to write for this blog so far, I’ve read back and rejected, so this time I’m just going to write something, hope it’s not too awful and just post it, in the hope that someone other than my Mum, boyfriend and a few supportive friends might read it. Thanks for sticking with me so far!

I was ‘diagnosed’ with Coeliac disease in January 2013 – the inverted commas are there because I never went through with the full test. To be tested (which most of you reading this will already know) you have to spend 6 weeks eating a high gluten diet. I lasted about 6 days and pretty much had a full scale meltdown.  Not only were there the physical symptoms of bloating, upset stomach and headaches, but it also caused my anxiety levels to peak and periods of IRRATIONAL ANGER!

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that my header description (is that what it’s called?) bares an uncanny resemblance to that of Bruce Banner – The Hulk. Basically, that is how Gluten makes me feel – I swell up and I get really pissed of – really quickly, often followed by nasty feelings of depression and anxiety – not nice! Was interested to read recently that I’m not alone in this – take a look at Jane Anderson’s blog – I’m not sure how wide this study was, but it’s nice to know someone is looking into it!

Having been living on a gluten free diet for around 15months now, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not all that bad. It doesn’t have to be difficult. It doesn’t need to be expensive. It does mean a bit of extra self-control and it does mean planning ahead if you’re going on a long train journey, but it is manageable.

Oh yes, and friends and loved ones will think you’re the biggest fuss-pot on the planet, that you’re making it up, that it isn’t that bad. But they learn. They don’t like me when I’m angry.